REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 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: Bonaventura (Present), Capello (Present-arrived late), Clark (Present), Hoadley (Present), Hodges (Present), Lorenzo (Present), Mutch (Present), Taub (Present), Weddington (Present)
(9) Present (0) Absent
A quorum be present, the meeting was in session.
ALSO PRESENT: Brandon Rogers - Planning Consultant
David Bluhm - Engineering Consultant
Rod Arroyo - Traffic Consultant
Dennis Watson - Assistant City Attorney
James Wahl - Director of Planning
Steve Cohen - Planning Clerk
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Planning Commission pledged Allegiance to the flag.
Chairman Clark then asked everyone to remain standing for a moment of silence for their fellow Americans who died in Oklahoma City today.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Hodges
To approve the Agenda as submitted.
(voice vote) Motion Carried Unanimously
None and Chairman Clark closed the Audience Participation.
Member Taub indicated there were four letters submitted. He said the first was from Johanne Finley of 28805 Summit regarding the Proposed Zoning Change of the property on the east side of Meadowbrook Road between 12 and 13 Mile Roads.
Member Taub indicated the letter stated:
"I would ask that since I will be unable to attend the scheduled public hearing on Wednesday, April 19th that you include this letter in the public comments and present it to the Planning Commission on my behalf. I am a resident of Summit Hills, the subdivision directly east of the property requesting the zoning change, and my home abuts the property in question. I have some concerns about the rezoning that I would like to express.
The homes both in Summit Hills and along Meadowbrook are all on well and septic. The quality of the ground water is of concern to all of us. The decision to construct the Haggerty Connector in its present location resulted in the loss of wetlands in this area, and a possible deterioration of ground water quality over time. Exceptional density is already assured west of Meadowbrook in the Vista's PUD. Increased development, with increased density, will continue to erode the quality of the water. As the quality of the water declines, what options are available for existing homeowners?
If eventually City water must be brought in to well communities, it is the existing homeowners who will be asked to bear the cost for this increase in density when they pay to bring City water to their homes. Increase density, even if new homes are on City water and sewer, could possibly introduce additional run-off from lawn maintenance and other substances which would reduce the quality of ground water available to surrounding homes on well systems. Does it make sense to down size lots, add many more homes, and reduce the quality of the ground water in an area already predominantly developed on large lots and wells?
The growing density is the other obvious concern. The area directly to the east and south of the property in question has already been developed under R-A zoning, with most lots exceeding the 1 acre called for in an R-A zoning. The area to the north has been sold to the Walled Lake School District to be developed as an elementary school. The area to the southwest is Toll Gate Farm, rural in character and by design. There clearly needs to be a break between the high density urban development of the proposed Vista's PUD and its surrounding neighbors, rural in character.
This break or transition will not be accomplished by the rezoning of this parcel east of Meadowbrook to R-3. There exists a natural, logical break, Meadowbrook Road. Considering the possible availability of an adjusted lot size option on the piece in question the lots developed would, even under an R-A zoning, be considerably smaller then the lots of the surrounding existing homes in Summit Hills and along Meadowbrook Road, an unpaved Scenic Drive.
I would ask that you consider the possibility of retaining the existing zoning of R-A and thus allow and encourage the area between the Haggerty Connector and Meadowbrook Road and between 12 and 13 Mile Roads to develop as a large lot, low density area, a counter point to the planned Vista's development, as called for in the Master Plan. We could all then look forward to the quality development this would bring to the area.
Thank you for your time and allowing me to express my opinions on this matter.
Member Taub said the next letter was from Edward Guttman of 28765 Summit Drive in Novi dated April 10, 1995. He indicated the letter stated:
I strongly oppose Map Amendment No. 18.533, which proposes to rezone an area east of Meadowbrook and north of Twelve Mile from R-A to R-3. Given the rapid development of the area and the lack of voter enthusiasm for funding additional facilities, the last thing we need is another new subdivision. Let's preserve some of the area as it is. Traffic in the area should be another consideration. Enough people use Meadowbrook as it is. This rezoning will certainly require a costly rebuilding of Meadowbrook. Let's reject this rezoning proposal.
Member Taub said the next letter was from Mr. Mark Less of 24770 Willowbrook Drive in Novi and that letter stated:
I strongly disapprove of this proposed subdivision Willowbrook Farm (SP95-02) for the following reasons.
This sub would exit to Joseph Drive and Brenda which now is in terrible shape. Having more traffic on these roads would greatly reduce their condition and make it impossible to use. These streets would become a safety hazard for the many people and small children that live on them and become another liability for the City. This road would have to be paved to accommodate the traffic of this new sub and all the others that now use this road to travel to Grand River.
The second reason is on the entrance at Ten Mile. Currently when new subs are connecting to a main thoroughfare, there are acceleration and deceleration lanes and on the other side of the street there is a lane to pass turning traffic. At that proposed location, there is a bridge preventing any of these safety lanes. I feel that by putting this entrance in this location would be an accident waiting to happen.
The third reason is that the traffic on Willowbrook would be greatly increased from where it currently is now. There are small children in almost every house on this street. With more traffic, there is a greater risk for the possibility of one of these children getting hurt by the increased traffic.
Thank you for your time.
Member Taub stated the last letter was from Joyce Stickley and William Stickley of 24763 Joseph Drive and that letter stated:
"In regard of a notice I received of a meeting for possible tentative preliminary plat recommendation to City Council.
The subject of joining Joseph Drive with a foreign sub to be developed. I have attended several planning Commission meetings and Council meetings where the extension of Joseph Drive has been turned down.
Why do these contractors keep throwing safety and welfare and the peace of our neighborhood to the wind by introducing error in their plans, by not outletting streets into main thoroughfares like 10 Mile and/or Grand River. Directly from their acreage. Also, keep intersections and drives at a minimum distances for safety. There is presently an error at Grand River and Joseph. Turning east on Grand River the distance is less than 150" into Industrial Drive causing accidents. I have witnessed and had some close calls when turning onto Joseph from Grand River.
As an inspector for M.S.H.D. for 29 years, I have belief that safety is paramount!
We pray you design this sub in a more responsible manner than shown in the sketch.
Joyce Stickley and William H. Stickley"
1. Approval of the February 22, 1995 Special Planning Commission Meeting Minutes.
2. Approval of the March 15, 1995 Regular Planning
Commission Meeting Minutes.
Member Mutch referred to the February 22, 1995 Minutes and indicated she had a correction to Page 14, the second paragraph from the bottom. She said there were paragraphs where Member Weddington speaks, about the third paragraph up, then followed by a paragraph in which she had something to say and it begins, "Member Mutch said she was missing the point." Member Mutch indicated the person missing the point was her and not Member Weddington so she would like to state the following: "Member Mutch said she herself did not see how they were going to be taken advantage of....."
Member Mutch indicated it looked as if she was saying that Member Weddington was missing the point but it was her missing the point.
Member Lorenzo also had a correction to the February 22, 1995 Minutes and she referred to Page 20, the second paragraph, the first sentence, which stated, "Member Lorenzo said that the Planning Commission Budget should be reduced...." Member Lorenzo indicated the word not should be added after the word should and read as follows: "Member Lorenzo said that the Planning Commission Budget should not be reduced...."
Member Capello referred to the Minutes of March 15, 1995 and he referred to the Roll Call and said he had advised the Commission that he would be in Florida on vacation so he should be noted as Absent-Excused as opposed to Absent.
Member Lorenzo referred to the March 15, 1995 Minutes, Page 39 the third paragraph, the sixth sentence, which stated, "Mr. Cousineau's favor or the....." Member Lorenzo indicated that the word or should be over and read as follows: "Mr. Cousineau's favor over the....."
Member Hoadley referred to Page 59 of the March 15, 1995 Minutes and indicated he had no correction, but in the third paragraph, Mr. Watson had indicated he would provide him (Mr. Rogers) with a written opinion on the issue he had brought up and he hasn't received that opinion as yet. Chairman Clark asked Mr. Rogers to make a note of that.
It was then,
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Hodges
To approve the Minutes of February 22, 1995 and March 15, 1995 as amended.
(voice vote) Motion Carried Unanimously
1. Map Amendment No. 18.533 - Property Located South of Thirteen Mile Road, Easterly of Meadowbrook Road For Possible Rezoning from (R-A) Residential Agriculture to (R-3) One-Family Residential District or any other Appropriate Zoning District.
Mr. Ronald Hughes was present on behalf of Hughlan Meadowbrook Limited Partnership. He indicated he was there that evening to respectfully request the consideration of a rezoning from R-A to R-3 District of approximately 40 acres of land on Meadowbrook Road, about a quarter of a mile south of 13 Mile on the east side of Meadowbrook Road.
Mr. Hughes said their opening statement that he would like to read to the Commission was from the City of Novi's Master Plan for Land Use which states as follows: "The City's Goals are as follows: The City of Novi should encourage all types of housing to meet the needs of residents having varied lifestyles, family size and income. Housing distribution shall recognize environmental conditions, neighborhood identity, infrastructure availability and create design to allow height standards of development."
Mr. Hughes indicated that Mr. Rogers has issued a statement as his recommendation to the Planning Commission and they have all due respect for Mr. Rogers, but in this instance, they have a disagreement of positions. Mr. Rogers has stated, "he saw no reason why the subject property cannot be developed under R-A District regulations, including the option permitted therein, and be compatible with the surrounding development."
Mr. Hughes said as landowners, they would like to respond as follows and they would also request that if any pre-determinations have been made by the Commissioners, that they would closely listen to their position and facts. He added he has brought along a map, which he would discuss.
Mr. Hughes then pointed out on the map where the property was located. He said their property of 40 acres was across the street from The Vistas of Novi and was also contiguous to the Walled Lake Consolidated School site. He indicated they were the general partners and developers of The Vistas of Novi, and they were bringing up the sewer from 12 Mile, up Meadowbrook Road and into The Vistas project to accommodate the sewer needs of The Vistas and also the sewer needs of the properties east of Meadowbrook Road namely their parcel and the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, and there was sufficient capacity to do so.
Mr. Hughes said the easterly side of the 40 acres would require a lift station with additional cost in order to get the lots serviced with sewer on approximately 50% of their property. He said for the 40 acres, only approximately a third of the property could be developed. He said what was shaded there on the map was an approximate indication of where the woodlands and wetlands fall on the site, leaving the small sliver of land which was next to the school which could be developed.
Mr. Hughes said so with an R-A designation that was in this quadrant, he pointed out the half mile circle radii which indicates The Vistas, which has a density of 3.78 units per acre, the Tollgate Farm, the mobile home, now the schools, and their parcel that they were petitioning that night for consideration.
Mr. Hughes said generally, when a school district acquires property, which they own 25 acres contiguous to them, they go into a high density area or a high growth area. He said in reviewing the schools that were in the City of Novi, the three that were close with one another were Park Elementary Middle School and Wood Elementary School, and to the west of the school parcel was zoned R-1 and to the north was R-4 and to the east was R-4 and to the south was R-4 and then for the High School north and east was zoned R-3 and south and west was R-4.
Mr. Hughes also indicated Orchard Elementary School to the west was Multi-Family and to the south, the north, and the east was zoned R-4. He indicated for Village Oak Elementary School, all four sides were zoned R-4, which basically indicates that all seven schools in the Novi District either have an R-3, R-4, or Multi-Family designation.
Mr. Hughes said the two schools that were in close proximity to their site in the Walled Lake District was the Durbin Elementary School and the north and west sides were zoned R-4, the south and east side was zoned Multi-Family and Mobile Home Park.
Mr. Hughes said the proposed Meadowbrook Elementary School, as he mentioned before, was directly across the street from The Vistas of Novi, which has a density of 3.78 units per acre.
Mr. Hughes said so it was their position with the close proximity to the School, that the R-A zoning was now not compatible or relevant with the surrounding area. He said the R-A zoning was a holding zone for farming, livestock, dairies and large residential lots, and in most cases, large acreage sites in the R-A zoning do not have sewer and water and now this site would have sewer and water.
Mr. Hughes indicated they were paying for the installation of the sewers to come up 1 1/2 miles into The Vistas project, which would accommodate both sides of Meadowbrook Road.
Mr. Hughes said the property was two-thirds wet and wooded and it was not a self-imposed problem that they were left with a small sliver of land to develop, which was also the consideration for their R-3 request. He said the buildable land was very difficult with the shape of the parcel and the close proximity to wetlands and woodlands.
Mr. Hughes said the overall density with an R-3 classification, including the entire size of their parcel of approximately 40 acres, makes it still compatible with the properties to the east, and with approximately 36 lots that could be accommodated on the site, it would be compatible to the property on the east, with a total of 40 acres.
Mr. Hughes said if the property remained at an R-A designation, it would be too expensive to bring in sewer and road improvements for an R-A designation with the very few lots that the parcel would generate because of its configuration, woodlands and wetlands, and the close proximity to the school.
Mr. Hughes said they were not spot zoning this parcel as there were other parcels in the City that the City has already made determinations on. He said as an example, for Beck and 11 Mile Road, there was a subdivision surrounded on all four sides by R-A zoning and for 11 Mile and Napier, all four sides were zoned R-A with a mobile home park in the middle.
Mr. Hughes said for 13 Mile and Meadowbrook Road, which was just a quarter of a mile away from their proposed rezoning site, that was also zoned Multi-Family contiguous to an R-A zoned parcel.
Mr. Hughes said in addition, when this area was Master Planned for R-A, one, it was before any utilities were determined to be at the site, and two, it was before the Haggerty Connector was planned to go from I-96 all the way up to Pontiac Trail. He said as all the Commissioners were aware, there was an exit at 12 Mile, 13 Mile, 14 Mile, and Pontiac Trail, so the area of the R-A designation would be very difficult and not practical to withhold with that type of a major highway going through.
Mr. Hughes said in summary, they feel that the R-A zoning was not currently relative and practical and the City in effect would deny practical and economic use of this property and there was no adverse effect on the health, safety and welfare. He indicated the lots would be compatible in size considering they have a total acreage size of 40 acres and they were contiguous to a school and they were across the street from a high density Vistas of Novi PUD, and they were adhering to the community needs.
Mr. Hughes said as all of them know, they were developers here in Novi and they want to develop the property prior to the school being constructed, and they would look forward to the Commission's favorable recommendation for a rezoning from R-A to R-3.
Mr. Hughes then stated both he and his partner, Mr. David Lanciault, would be happy to respond to any questions the Commissioners or the public may have.
Mr. Rogers reviewed his report of April 12, 1995 concerning those 40 acres and the request in the Petition was "to allow for development of single family per R-3 Zoning District."
Mr. Rogers indicated the site was vacant and to the north it was zoned also R-A District, planned for the elementary school and he believed that purchase of land has occurred.
Mr. Rogers indicated the property to the east was the Spring Valley Subdivision and to the south, the Wildwood Hills Subdivision, and along Meadowbrook Road to the south, the property was also zoned R-A District with certain parcels developed on large lots, single family, and then, of course, to the west was The Vistas of Novi PUD.
Mr. Rogers said the Master Plan for Land Use adopted by this Planning Commission in July of 1993, recommends this subject property and all property to the northeast and south for single family residential at a density of .8 units per acre or in other words, minimum lot size of one acre and after they take out 20% for streets, the overall gross density might be .8 units per acre.
Mr. Rogers said to the west of Meadowbrook Road, The Vistas PUD Revised plan was now approved but the gross density was something less than 4 and the residential density was at 4 units per acre. He said that was part of a PUD and that did not technically change the Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Rogers said he saw on the map here the R-4 above the words of Novi PUD, and he didn't know whether that map was depicting zoning or an estimated density and actually the R-4 density was 3.3 units per acre.
Mr. Rogers said the R-4 on the Zoning Map was actually over to the left near Novi Road where the circle was cutting through and they see the dotted line, the vertical line and it appears that the applicant has taken that R-4 off and put it over nearer Meadowbrook Road. He said Meadowbrook Road was classified on the Master Plan as a scenic drive of a 66 foot proposed right-of-way.
Mr. Rogers said it was his opinion, which he was recommending to the Commission, that to introduce small lot development in this area would constitute poor planning and spot zoning with substantial on-site regulated woodlands and wetlands on site, and were the property to be zoned R-3 District, there could be consideration of R-4 size lots or sites if it were a site condominium under the Preservation Option.
Mr. Rogers said he didn't see any problem in their qualifying for the 20% lot area reduction, but they have to submit a request for the Preservation Option and they would have to go through hearings and consideration by City Council.
Mr. Rogers said in his report of May 17th, he recommended against the rezoning of the site to R-4 District and subsequently he believed in June, the applicant requested that that petition be withdrawn. He might add that under the Preservation Option, if the property were zoned R-3, they could drop down to the R-4 lot sizes.
Mr. Rogers said in summary, he saw no reason why the subject property could not be developed under the R-A District, including the options permitted therein and be compatible with the surrounding development.
Mr. Rogers felt Mr. Hughes brought up several good points, however, this was not open land, and this area by his own exhibit, was developed and homes exist on most of the properties to the east, the southeast, and the south and they could see that on the property line map.
Mr. Rogers said even up on 13 Mile, they have some large lot development.
Mr. Rogers said regarding the elementary school, they have an elementary school at Taft and 11 Mile adjacent to which to the west was Walden Woods at R-1, Adjusted Lot Size, and to the north of 11 Mile from the elementary school, there was R-A zoning.
Mr. Rogers said he would rather not go around the City and try to make a case for every other school site, but there were examples on the other side of the fence.
Mr. Rogers said the Preservation Option he felt was tailored to this type of property and he would suspect that the applicant knew of that option when he purchased or had an option on the property, so he respectfully recommended against approving this rezoning.
Mr. James Kushman of 28751 Summit, Novi, was present. He indicated his property was just to the south and east of this parcel for which rezoning was being requested. He said he had written the Commission last May when there was a request to rezone this to R-4 and the point that he made in that letter and what he would like to repeat that night was that presently the R-A zoning for one lot size, still leaves lots which were smaller than most, if not all, of the residential parcels in the half-section involved where this property was located.
Mr. Terry Sullivan of 28785 Summit, Novi, was present. He said he owned Lot 3 and he also owned one-half of Lot 2 which currently was an unbuildable lot because it doesn't pass a perk test. He said he had expressed interest in the possibility of connecting to City sewers and possibly City water if brought in when the Moratorium was over. He said he just wanted to add this to the discussion and he was expressing interest in those two matters.
There being no further Audience Participation, Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
Member Hoadley said he would oppose this rezoning. He said in his opinion, they had enough high density development in that general area and he felt they have to draw the line some place and maintain the integrity of their Master Plan and this was a pretty good place to do it. He said if they rezone that, then the next thing they were going to have was another rezoning for a higher density on an undeveloped adjacent property to that area, so he could not support the rezoning and would not support it.
Member Bonaventura said he had no comments at this time.
Member Hodges said she would like to make a motion.
It was then,
Moved by Member Hodges
Seconded by Member Hoadley
To recommend to City Council denial of Map Amendment No. 18.533 to rezone from R-A to R-3 District.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Weddington indicated she agreed with Mr. Rogers' comments and would support the motion as made. She said the effects on health, safety and welfare, were evident from the additional crowding and burden on services and traffic that would be created by a more intense development. She felt in this case, they were not going down one level of zoning, but three, and with the Preservation Option, that could drop down even further as Mr. Rogers has pointed out and she felt that was going from one extreme to the other.
Member Weddington said as Mr. Rogers pointed out, the Preservation Option was available for situations such as this and she believed that they do need to maintain the integrity of their Master Plan. She said the neighbors who live there now, as well as others who may come to the community, need to have some confidence and be able to rely on the Master Plan and the Zoning District as they were described, so for that reason, she would support the motion.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers about the Petitioner mentioning the R-A area as being a holding zone, and he was curious where that phrase came from as far as any documentation to it. Mr. Rogers replied it was a reference to the Zoning Ordinance for the R-A District and it was in Section 300 on Page 3186.
Mr. Rogers said it was very brief and it stated, "The R-A Residential Agriculture Districts are intended to provide areas within the community for agriculture uses until such time as the land may eventually be developed and other uses, pending proper provision of utilities, transportation and other facilities, and to provide for a particular living environment characterized by large lot low density single family homes."
Member Bonaventura said that was what he thought because he has heard off-the-cuff by different people who work within the City and people that represent the citizens of the City, mention this holding zone and he always planned on their attempt, as far as the R-A Districts, to remain R-A.
Member Bonaventura said this particular area, although they could put any spin on it that they want, from what he sees west of Meadowbrook, they have a certain rural character and having been out in that area, he truly believed that this particular site should be upheld and that rural character should be upheld.
Member Bonaventura said he was out of town for a week and he saw the map and he thought maybe someone changed the zoning on that particular section from R-A to R-4, but those familiar with The Vistas, it wouldn't make a difference as far as the density, and it was a high density development and it was right across the street and it did recently receive approval, which was something that was in the past, so he was trying to look forward to the future here.
Member Bonaventura then indicated he would be against a recommendation for rezoning this property.
Member Mutch said since the Preservation Option has been mentioned, could someone provide a review of what the Preservation Option would provide to a landowner if the zoning remains the same and if the request was granted and what the differences were between the two.
Mr. Rogers explained the Preservation Option allows a person, if they have qualifying woodlands and wetlands regulated and certain other features of at least 20% of the gross area of the site, to be able to reduce the lot sizes and to a degree, the lot widths by 20% and there was another clause that says not withstanding that.
Mr. Rogers said for example say a person was in an R-1 District, and they couldn't drop down below a floor of the next lower district, the R-2, and the maximum they could achieve under that option, if they had 20% or more regulated woodlands and wetlands, would be about 17%, so they have the floor and they could only drop down one district.
Mr. Rogers said but in the case of the R-A District, and it was brought out by the staff report on Page 1 of their packet, the minimum site area of an acre, 43,560 sq. ft. could be brought down, if approved by the Planning Commission and Council after a showing of the existence of those regulated sensitive lands, to 34,848 sq. ft., which was 80% of an acre.
Mr. Rogers said this Preservation Option replaced the former Adjusted Lot Size Option, which they may remember allowed up to 35% reduction and that some of their existing subdivisions were now being built under, but that was rescinded by Council and the Preservation Option was on the books.
Mr. Rogers also said they have a new Preservation Option that just came in called Lakesides Preserves up on West Road in Walled Lake for 230 homes and the Commission would be seeing that shortly.
Member Mutch asked regarding this particular piece that was the subject of the request for rezoning, does it qualify for the Preservation Option, and Mr. Rogers said absolutely and they have half the site's regulated wetlands. He indicated the minimum lot size in an R-3 was 12,000 sq. ft., and if they take 20% of that, that would be 2,400, but they could only go down as far as the R-4, which was 10,000 sq. ft., so the maximum reduction would be around 18%.
Mr. Rogers said there was no doubt in his mind that they could qualify under the Preservation Option and come in with R-4 lots which was petitioned a year ago, and which the applicant withdrew the petition and it never went to Council.
Member Mutch asked what was the difference in number. She said it really would be hypothetical without a site plan, but she would like to know the difference in the number of lots that might be developed R-A with the Preservation Option versus a straight R-3 or R-4.
Mr. Rogers said he hasn't done such a study but he just happened to have a small sketch here from last year's petition which was done by Mr. Gibbs for an R-4 scenario. He noticed that there were 41 lots shown, so for example if half of the property was wetlands, and he thought he heard Mr. Hughes mention that, that would leave 20 acres of the 40 developable plus or minus.
Mr. Rogers said he would take .8 x 20 which would result in 16 lots at acre size, however, they could then reduce under the Preservation Option, which would probably raise by 20% to up to 20 lots under the Preservation Option versus the applicant's last year plan of 41 lots.
Member Mutch said it would be half the number approximately. She then asked what about a straight R-A and Mr. Rogers said for a straight R-A, if they had the 20 lots x .8 units per gross acre, it would be 16 lots.
Member Lorenzo said continuing on with that discussion, somewhere along the line she recalled with the Preservation Option, she thought it would only credit upland woodlands and wetlands of two acres or less and she wasn't sure if that was the option that was adopted or if that was just one of the considerations at that time and she would like that clarified.
Mr. Rogers said she had a point and they should keep in mind they haven't submitted an application for this and he would stand corrected on the question of wetlands, which were not allowed to be counted in on net density, but they do allow woodlands, wetland buffer areas, and certain other areas contiguous to such wetlands.
Member Lorenzo said she recalled special habitats, something of that nature and Mr. Rogers said yes, locally important plant and/or animal habitats. He said there has been no woodlands survey and no documentation so they would have to demonstrate 20% of those credits.
Member Lorenzo said she would support the motion and the only other question she wanted to ask was if the motion-maker would consider just adding on to the motion "Per Mr. Rogers' recommendations" and Member Hodges said yes and Member Hoadley said yes.
Chairman Clark felt in this particular project he was in support of the recommendation from Mr. Rogers and he supported the comments of the other Commissioners and as Member Hoadley pointed out, they have to draw the line somewhere.
Chairman Clark felt it was somewhat prophetic in light of what Member Hoadley said in the sense that if they don't draw the line, this downsizing would continue on and it was something prophetic that before them they see a group of concentric circles and the site in question seems to be almost at the dead center of the circle.
Chairman Clark said it was like taking the proverbial pebble and throwing it into the pond and the ripples go from the center on out, and perhaps Member Hoadley has hit the nail on the head on this issue, and he felt the drawing makes the point, that if they start at the center, it was going to go out to the farthest edge.
Chairman Clark felt they have to draw the line and this was the place to draw the line and there were certainly ample areas within the City of Novi based on the Master Plan for all types of housing, and he felt that the Master Plan in this City could be held up in comparison to any community in Oakland County, so he would support the motion.
Member Hoadley then called the question and a vote was taken.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes)
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
2. Willowbrook Farms Estates, SP95-02A - Property Located North of Ten Mile Road, Easterly of Meadowbrook Road for Possible Tentative Preliminary Plat Recommendation to City Council.
Mr. Tom Jetke of Singh Development was present. He indicated they appeared before the Planning Commission about two months ago seeking approval of their Tentative Preliminary Plat for Willowbrook Farms Subdivision.
Mr. Jetke said at that time, they were denied based on some issues outstanding that the Planning Commission wished them to address. He referred to his letter dated March 16, 1995 where they have outlined all the issues outstanding and the questions raised by the Planning Commission and the residents that spoke at that meeting.
Mr. Jetke indicated they have resubmitted the Preliminary Plat based on their investigation and the City Consultants reviews which they felt was the best plat they could come up with based on the questions that came up. He said he would like to address each of the questions individually from that March 16th letter and then after he would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. George Norberg of Seiber Keast & Associates was present. He said he would be going over some of the drainage issues and then also Mr. Crane was present from C & W Traffic Consultants and he would speak to the Commission about the traffic both at Ten Mile and the north end of the site.
Mr. Norberg said briefly there were some questions by the residents relative to drainage on the site along the property line, stating that there were some drainage problems in that area. He said for the Planning Commission's information, they have to install catch basins at every other lot within that area and any existing drainage problems within that area, and then along any of the other boundaries, those would be corrected or cleared up by those catch basins.
Mr. Norberg indicated those catch basins run into the detention basin which they would be using as a sedimentation basin and some water quality, as well as detention and then discharge down into the Bishop Creek. He indicated between the detention basin and the Bishop Creek, there would also be a gas and oil separator installed.
Mr. Norberg said basically those were the questions or problems that they understood the residents had with this development from a drainage standpoint and he had wanted to address those.
Mr. Norberg said Mr. Crane was present and he would go over the traffic issues with them next.
Mr. Crane, traffic engineer from C & W Consultants was present. He said he was asked to look over the subdivision proposal to review it relative to traffic generation and roadway geometrics. He said he spoke with Mr. Arroyo on several occasions in his review, and has received Mr. Arroyo's review of the proposed designs.
Mr. Crane said he would start at the south end of Ten Mile Road and he concurred with Mr. Arroyo's recommendation that they were re-engineering Ten Mile and going to go to a five lane cross-section and rather than put in the passing lane, that they go to a center turn lane provision and that would keep things centered on the right-of-way and would aid in the incorporation when they widen Ten Mile Road in the long range plan.
Mr. Crane said that doesn't make any problems for them and it would be at a slight additional cost to make the tapers longer but it would improve the traffic flow and would improve the City's long-range improvements.
Mr. Crane referred to the boulevard approach to Ten Mile Road and the realignment of the subdivision street there was probably the highest level and the best intersection design that they could attain at that location.
Mr. Crane said to keep the streets and have two streets intersecting Ten Mile and a creek between them, would not be feasible and would not be his recommendation for an improvement.
Mr. Crane said regarding the addition of adding a two-lane exit, allowing lefts and rights simultaneously onto Ten Mile, would improve traffic flow and it should actually make the 310 trips created by this subdivision, the new subdivision, or 31 trips during the peak hour, approximately 22 out and 9 or 10 in, negligible and of no consequence. He said that would be 1 every two minutes or less.
Mr. Crane said he concurred and recommended this design as being the ideal as opposed to two separate intersections in close proximity or actually trying to jimmy it back and forth into the intersection.
Mr. Crane said going northbound, he understood there was some discussions about Brenda and the paving and making it one-way. He said he would recommend paving the streets in subdivisions, unfortunately the street to the east was not paved but to make Brenda Lane one-way into the subdivision so the folks from this subdivision didn't go to the other, wasn't really good internal circulation, and he wouldn't recommend that at all.
Mr. Crane felt he and Mr. Arroyo were pretty much in concurrence on those recommendations.
Mr. Crane said the last item was the intersection design at the northerly end where they attempt to pick up the angle of Grand River and stub it off for a future street. He stated they have looked at alternative designs and maintaining their 230 foot radius and as recently as today, they were looking at alternatives. He said the City's Fire Marshall recommended this as he hates to see a quarter mile plus roadway with no place to turn around, even if they do have a stub-street off to the future.
Mr. Crane said they looked at the alternative of putting a 230 foot radius in and the eyebrow design, and while his clients didn't lose any lots, it would not be his recommendation from a traffic flow and traffic safety standpoint.
Mr. Crane said they would have basically a Grand Prix course if there was ever any development off there with the succession of S curves going through the subdivision. He said curvelinear streets were nice but long stretches of them tend to create cut-through movements, increase speeds and generally impede safety.
Mr. Crane said he would recommend the quarter mile stretch, with an intersection there as long to 90 degrees as possible, and in this case, it was about 70 degrees taking off of Grand River. He said he would also recommend a yield sign traffic control for the southbound should there be a subdivision at this location. He said those would be his recommendations and he knows he differed from Mr. Arroyo but it was strictly from a traffic flow standpoint.
Mr. Crane said they did a map of other subdivisions that incorporated designs exactly like this and found 20 instances of the exact design that was proposed in this subdivision. He said he knows it was a deviation from the City's design standards requiring a minimum of 230 foot radius with the 70 degree angle and the sight lines would be adequate with traffic control to the future.
Mr. Crane pointed out the location of where that specific design was incorporated throughout the City and he believed there were 34 locations that they were able to identify in a short time. He said he would recommend its approval as proposed. He said they could coordinate with the Ten Mile widening project and the boulevard approach and the adjoining of the existing street was the ideal way of doing it and maintaining the creek.
Mr. Crane said the absence of a one-way road on Brenda and the realignment allowing the intersection at 70 degrees with yield control should there be future development, were his recommendations. He said he would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. Rogers said this was the second time this particular proposed plat has been reviewed and the name was changed to Willowbrook Farms Subdivision and it used to be Willowbrook Estates Subdivision #4. He indicated it was substantially the same area maybe slighter smaller because of better definition of the boundaries of the site.
Mr. Rogers said the proposal was for 31 lots. He said there was one minor detail which was that the Location Map should be at 800 scale and that could be done at the time of Final Preliminary Plat.
Mr. Rogers said all the lots in the present submittal comply with the underlying zoning, the R-4 zoning, all being at least 10,000 sq. ft. in area and 80 foot in width at the building setback line.
Mr. Rogers said this new submittal has adjusted a half dozen or a dozen of the lots slightly in square footage and the density was 2.35 lots per acre or under the 3.3 lots per acre cap in an R-4 District. He said the plan as Mr. Arroyo and others would comment on, retains the boulevarded entrance pretty much the way he recalled from the first submittal at 10 Mile and Mr. Arroyo would comment on that in greater detail.
Mr. Rogers said certain lot splits would be required, particularly at the Spirit of Christ Lutheran Church, where the entering roadway from the south would take a corner of the property and that needs to be parceled out. He indicated the stub streets he has taken notice of and there were two and one would lead south of the Leslie Park Subdivision someday to cut across to a similar stub in the Cambourne Place Subdivision to the east if, as, and when the property owner decides to subdivide the farm.
Mr. Rogers said the other stub that has been talked about was at the far north end leading into the Weiss property to the west. He said a stub would connect to Brenda Lane in the Leslie Park Subdivision much as the stub connects from the Cambourne Place Subdivision at the east and that would provide the secondary access and that was the intent of it.
Mr. Rogers said sidewalks would be placed on all interior roads and the Street Naming Committee should approve of course the name of the street, Brookside Drive, and the matter of accel and decel and by-pass lanes on Ten Mile, he would defer to Mr. Arroyo.
Mr. Rogers said he recommended Tentative Preliminary Plat Approval subject to certain lot splits, adjusting the scale of the Location Map and approval of the street name by the Street Naming Committee.
Mr. Bluhm said he has also reviewed the Tentative Preliminary Plat and from an engineering prospective, the plan was pretty much unchanged from what was submitted before. He said one of the bigger issues from previous was the storm drainage and the water quality issues related to that and as Mr. Norberg mentioned, some additional items could be installed to help drain the waters more in swales and that type of thing to enhance the quality in the rear yard areas.
Mr. Bluhm said while that would not really treat the street waters, it was certainly going to help the situation with water in the rear and they would welcome any of the people that live adjacent to this, if they do have problems, to bring them to his attention and as plans progress, they could take a look at some mutual benefits that could be improved to enhance some of their situations potentially.
Mr. Bluhm said the detention basin was, as they mentioned before, going to provide some water quality benefits. He said an oil and gas separator prior to release of the detention would help and Mr. Norberg has also mentioned a gas and oil separator between the basin and the outlet to the creek which would also enhance it.
Mr. Bluhm said beyond that, there was not too much they could do, and they have a pretty straight subdivision that drains right to a detention basin. He said they would be taking a good hard look at the construction drawing level and they were continuing to recommend approval.
Mr. Arroyo said he has also reviewed the Tentative Preliminary Plat as well as the traffic reports submitted by Mr. Crane, the Applicant's Consultant. He said as has been discussed already to some extent that evening, one of the key components and one of the areas of focus of this proposed Tentative Preliminary Plat was the re-design of the access point for Border Hill to Ten Mile, so that as proposed, this development would actually have the access to Ten Mile and Border Hill and would intersect with the proposed internal road for this development.
Mr. Arroyo said Mr. Crane has indicated some of the benefits associated with that were having two lanes in and two lanes out, providing for deceleration tapers and lanes from Ten Mile, and a center turn lane on Ten Mile. He said he agreed that those were in fact benefits.
Mr. Arroyo said one of the things that he pointed out in his letter was if this project were to actually intersect with Border Hill and the Border Hill intersection with Ten Mile remained as it was today, that intersection would then be an off-site intersection effectively and it would not be part of this plat, whereas as proposed now, their property and the intersection, a combination of their property and the existing right-of-way, actually intersect with Ten Mile Road, so consequently that would be based on the City's requirements for certain improvements such as decel lanes, center turn lanes and the like.
Mr. Arroyo said so he felt not only do they get the benefit of having the boulevarded entrance, but they also have the ability to see some improvements to Ten Mile Road, and to make access into the site and in particular, it was better than it would be if the existing Border Hill intersection with Ten Mile were being used exclusively or as a primary entrance to this proposed subdivision.
Mr. Arroyo said they have noted in their letter under Comment No. 4, a previous comment that had been made already that evening about the plans for Ten Mile to be widened to five lanes. He said as they were probably aware, preliminary engineering has been approved and that was underway.
Mr. Arroyo said they have indicated that a center turn lane should be provided as he previously mentioned and the plans had shown a passing lane, and he felt the applicant has agreed to providing a center turn lane rather than a passing lane due to the long term benefits of establishing the access to this subdivision and hopefully making it consistent with the future widening of this road when it occurs.
Mr. Arroyo said the trip generation forecast has been mentioned, 155 trips in and 155 trips out over a 24 hour basis and roughly 31 PM peak hour trips. He said if they assume that roughly half would go to Grand River and half would go down to Ten Mile, it was roughly 15 peak hour trips going in and out of the access to Ten Mile and 15 peak hour trips in and out through the access from Grand River via the Leslie Park Subdivision.
Mr. Arroyo said the access to the future stub street or access point to the property to the west at the northwest corner of this property had also been the point of discussion at the last meeting when they considered this Tentative Preliminary Plat. He said he noted in the packet, they did have a letter from the Fire Department and they prefer the eyebrow configuration primarily for being able to turn around emergency vehicles.
Mr. Arroyo said they have had this come up before in other instances where the cul-de-sac or eyebrows were not provided and in some instances, applicants had been required to provide temporary gravel turnarounds for emergency vehicles until stub streets were extended into adjacent properties and that, of course, was one option.
Mr. Arroyo said one of the things that was driving his comment was that their Design and Construction Standards do call for a 230 foot center line radius for all streets that appear to be continuous. He said if they had a short cul-de-sac street for example, they wouldn't necessarily have to meet the 230 foot centerline radius standard, but a street such as this being a main road, traveling for roughly a quarter mile or so, that was obviously a continuous roadway and it would go into a subdivision to the west and it does need to meet the 230 foot centerline radius standard. However, he said that was a standard that, if the Council chose to, could grant a waiver to.
Mr. Arroyo said one of the things that the Applicant has mentioned was that there were a number of subdivisions in this City that have 90 degree turns with eyebrows and they were, in fact, true and correct and there have been a number of instances where the Council has granted those waivers in the past and if they approach the Council, he didn't know what their reactions were going to be.
Mr. Arroyo said he pointed out that as a matter of meeting their standards, the 230 foot radius would be required unless Council did choose to grant the waiver.
Mr. Arroyo indicated they were also in the process of working with Mr. Bluhm and the DPW Department to re-evaluate the Design and Construction Standards and there has been some discussion about that issue, and he didn't know if they have totally resolved everything finally, but they were still looking at it and trying to determine if there was any need for modification to the current standard, so it was something that was under review and he thought he would bring that out as a point of information.
Mr. Arroyo said he has also indicated in his Comment No. 6 that they feel there should be some review at some point in time by JCK and Brandon Rogers in particular, to determine if that stub street location was appropriate in relationship to the property to the west. He said he has not seen any plans for the property to the west and he didn't know if there were any that have been drawn up, and he would be curious to know if there have been any and it might be a question to see if the applicant was aware of that.
Mr. Arroyo felt it was an important consideration to make sure that the stop street location was in a reasonable point so that when it was extended to the west, it would fit in, in an appropriate location for the internal circulation system for the property to the west.
Mr. Arroyo said also he would point out as a point of information that related to the 230 foot radius standard, it was briefly mentioned that the Applicant had looked at providing the 230 foot radius and also providing an eyebrow bulb to go along with that kind of a combination between the two proposals, and that was a suggestion that was made by Commissioner Hoadley in a telephone conversation that they had.
Mr. Arroyo said he has looked at it and apparently that was a realistic possibility and they would not lose any lots under that scenario, whereas if they went with the straight 230 foot centerline radius, they would lose one lot, so in terms of addressing that particular area, they have at least three options to consider that evening.
Mr. Arroyo said one option was the one that was currently shown on the plan, the other option was the alternate, which he thought everyone had an 8 1/2 x 11 copy which shows the 230 foot centerline radius, and then a hybrid of the two, which shows the 230 foot centerline radius and the eyebrow and would provide for improved Fire Department turnaround.
Mr. Arroyo said that concluded his comments and he was recommending approval, subject to the resolution of the items that he has identified in his letter.
Chairman Clark indicated there was also two letters under the signature of Daniel W. Roy, Captain, City of Novi Fire Department, and the first was dated March 20, 1995 and indicates that the plan has been reviewed and approval was recommended.
Chairman Clark indicated the second letter was dated April 12, 1995 and states, "Concerning the issue of the north end of Willowbrook Drive, the Fire Department would prefer the road to remain as it is on the submitted plan 95-02A as opposed to the drawing submitted to me from Tom Jetke on 3-24-95. This drawing would not be acceptable as shown as it provides no turnaround possibilities for emergency vehicles at the end of Willowbrook Drive. The plan 95-02A does provide this turnaround by way of the bulb/cul-de-sac at the north end of the street."
Mr. Bluhm indicated Ms. Tepatti was not present, but she has reviewed the revised plan and was continuing to recommend approval with a further administrative review as they progress.
Mr. Warren Jocz, of the Willowbrook Community Association and Ten Mile Road resident, was present. He indicated he was present that night to again express his concerns about this proposed development of Willowbrook Farms Subdivision. He said since their first attempt at requiring a positive Planning Commission recommendation for Tentative Preliminary Plat Approval, Singh Development has addressed several of the technical issues raised by concerned residents at that February 15th Planning Commission Public Hearing.
Mr. Jocz said those issues were addressed that night and although they have been referred to as neighborly actions in various City correspondences, he did not believe that those actions were addressing what he saw to be the root problem with this subdivision proposal.
Mr. Jocz said as he indicated in February, he strongly felt that the root problem was that the land in question was essentially landlocked except for the extremely narrow strip of property which was located between the existing Border Hill Road and the Spirit of Christ Lutheran Church. He said this was a problem because quite simply, the proposed development does not have the ability to provide their own entrance and exit to their subdivision from an arterial road.
Mr. Jocz said not only could they not provide two entrances as required by the City of Novi, but they were unable to provide even a single such entrance and exit on their own account, therefore, to meet the letter of the law, the proposed subdivision must use the existing entrances of neighboring subdivisions, Willowbrook, Leslie Park, and Cambourne Place to gain access to an arterial road as required.
Mr. Jocz said the roads which they must exploit to make this a viable project, Border Hill and Joseph Roads, were never intended to serve this purpose, especially Joseph Road, which was barely a two-lane dirt road, and was not physically able to bear the more than double traffic volume which this development would bring along with degradation of the road itself.
Mr. Jocz stated the increase safety issues with children must be reviewed and there were no sidewalks, thus forcing walkers and children to use the street. He said with the addition of flow- through traffic which would be present with this proposed subdivision, local traffic speeds would be increased and safety decreased when the new residents use this road as their primary access road.
Mr. Jocz said the same concerns hold true with Border Hill. He said in an attempt to make the acquisition of the Willowbrook entrance somewhat palatable, Singh Development was offering to move the entrance 12 feet towards their property and then have Border Hill residents "t" into their own road. He said a stop sign would have to be placed for safety reasons at this new Border Hill road intersection, thus allowing the existing Border Hill residents to stop at their own road so that their new neighbors, who would have the right-of-way, may proceed ahead of them.
Mr. Jocz said as he had stated two months ago, he reviewed this arrangement as "parasitic," that is, "using an existing host for its own gain without giving back to its host."
Mr. Jocz said that night's proposal does not change this position. He said after all was said and done and after all the well-established neighborhoods have been forced to compromise their roadways so that a minimum of 31 homes could be placed in a landlocked location, they would not have obtained any positive benefits from this arrangement.
Mr. Jocz said they should keep in mind what was being presented was the best case scenario for the neighboring residents. He asked what would be the magnitude of those effects when Singh Development exercises their right to purchase the land that extends to Meadowbrook Road and the potential problem would go from 31 homes, which was Phase One, to approximately 150-200 homes, which would include Phase Two.
Mr. Jocz said even with the acquired additional access road that was required to support this second development phase, Border Hill and Joseph Streets, would see even further increase in its use, thus only magnifying the problems brought forth.
Mr. Jocz said he would challenge the Commission to find an example of any other subdivision, which must solely depend on the existing subdivision roads to gain access as primary roads. He said there were cases such as Chase Farms, a recent development, where there were three primary non-shared access roads that were required. He would question why set a negative precedent.
Mr. Jocz said with the philosophical debate behind him, he would like to discuss some technical issues. He said first and foremost was safety and he already mentioned the increased safety concerns for those residents along Joseph Street, whose current dead-end road would make a drive-through street which would more than double the traffic volume as well as faster traveling vehicles.
Mr. Jocz said regarding just the safety concerns related to Border Hill on Ten Mile Road, Singh Development originally countered, until that night, with the following proposal, which was to move the Border Hill entrance eastward 12 feet and essentially rename it to Willow Road and then "t" the original Border Hill Road into Willow Road, and then add an acceleration/deceleration lane to the north side of Ten Mile and then add a right-hand passing lane to the south side of Ten Mile for eastbound traffic.
Mr. Jocz said many of the City Officials like this proposal as it shifts the responsibility and money for many modifications to Ten Mile Road from the City to Singh Development. He said it seems that in the excitement of having someone other than local government pay for road work, the City has lost sight as to the result of those changes to Ten Mile, as well as a long-term plan for this roadway.
Mr. Jocz discussed the addition of a right-hand turn lane. He said again they were now going to a center turn lane and they would have the ability to go back to a right-hand turn lane, and that does not resolve the safety concerns as expressed in February. He said the simple fact as documented by the Federal Highway Administration in the Novi Master Plan for Land Use, was that there were too many access points to and from Ten Mile Road for the 45 mph speed limit.
Mr. Jocz said he was fully aware that Singh Development was not adding another access point, however, they were more than doubling the amount of traffic that that single access point would exceed, thus doubling the probability of an accident occurring to the residents who use that facility.
Mr. Jocz said the only means to reduce the probability of an accident along Ten Mile Road was to reduce the speed and the Federal Highway Administration recommends for Ten Mile, 25 mph and that was found in the Master Plan.
Mr. Jocz said the "so what" of all this was the following. He said the last thing the City should want to do was to encourage traffic to travel 45 mph as it was passing a vehicle making a left-hand turn into Border Hill. He said in fact, if a car was stopped while attempting to make a left-hand turn into Border Hill, a person entering or exiting Ripple Creek, which was only 170 feet away to the east of this intersection, has 2.6 seconds to react to the fact that a vehicle traveling 45 mph was passing on the right-hand side of that car.
Mr. Jocz said he would assure everyone that 2.6 seconds was not sufficient reaction time to make the correct driving maneuver. He said what they should want to encourage was traffic to slow down, not pass at highway speeds.
Mr. Jocz said the City of Novi Traffic Consultant, Mr. Arroyo, made a counter-proposal to the situation as stated in his letter to Mr. Steven Cohen on April 12th and it was Item No. 4, which he would read to everyone: "As we previously noted, Ten Mile is proposed to be widened to 5 lanes in the future (construction date uncertain - preliminary engineering dollars approved), the Applicant should provide a center left turn lane on Ten Mile Road, rather than a passing lane. This will set the Applicant's access 30 feet from the centerline of Ten Mile (with the decel/accel lane). This may prevent the future shifting of the driveway to the north when Ten Mile is widened. This can be addressed at Final."
Mr. Jocz indicated this was the plan that Singh development has adapted that night.
Mr. Jocz said he was extremely disappointed that Mr. Arroyo has not been paying very close attention to the City Council's revision of the MDOT contract which authorizes the engineering study of traffic on Ten Mile Road. He said the City Council has made it extremely clear that all options would be reviewed regarding the traffic condition on Ten Mile Road. He said nowhere was it to be stated that it was assumed that Ten Mile Road would become five lanes. He said in fact, if they rely on expert analysis, SEMCOG, the Federal Highway Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the correct solution as he has previously stated, would be to reduce the speed limit only, with no road widening required.
Mr. Jocz said therefore, if they assume that Singh Development should put in a left-hand turn lane, they have not looked at the long-term prognosis for Ten Mile Road and have spent unnecessary dollars, as well as created a long-term traffic problem at this local road widening condition.
Mr. Jocz said even if the turning lane remains, no benefit was gained and a possible additional hazard may be created if nothing happens to Ten Mile Road. He said he was sure that Singh Development was an excellent developer and intends to plan to build a nice residential neighborhood, however, he did not believe that all options for a road access have been exhausted.
Mr. Jocz said he wouldn't be so adamantly opposed to this project if it did not require the resources of its neighbors without giving anything tangible in return. He said that was not being a good neighbor. He believed the City has a moral obligation to protect its existing residents first, and once this was satisfactorily accomplished, growth could then occur. He said new subdivisions could and should be allowed but not at the expense of those communities who built this City. He said his motto should be "first-come, first-served." He then thanked everyone for their time.
Mr. William Colbeck was present of 24566 Border Hill. He said he had two questions. He said one question was the proposal as presented by John Crane already assumes that Ten Mile Road was a five-lane highway and as far as he was concerned, if Mr. Crane assumes that was the case, then he should wait until the five-lane highway was built, if it ever was built.
Mr. Colbeck said secondly, they were setting a precedent on existing subways. He said if the City allows a contractor to enter a street that has never been entered before, then the next contractor could come along and say they want to buy a house some place in the middle of the street and he would cut a road through there because the City has already allowed egress into an existing subdivision previously and he could stand on it because that was what they were doing.
Mr. Colbeck said they would be setting a precedent that basically says that anytime there was a street in a subdivision and some contractor wants to build around it, by it, or near it, he could not be denied the use of an existing street in an existing subdivision for entrance.
Mr. Colbeck said that was what the City was telling their developers in the area by approving this program. He said the City should think about that. He said there was nothing that says that someone could not sell a lot to someone in the back end of a subdivision and then someone developing behind it, could demolish the house and come through the subdivision, because they have already set the precedent allowing someone to do that if they allow this to be built.
Mr. John Sherman of 24569 Willowbrook of Cambourne Subdivision, was present. He said he represented a lot of the people in their subdivision on Willowbrook Drive. He said their concern was that if they do allow access to Willowbrook Drive through Brenda Lane, because Joseph Drive was not paved, there was going to be increased traffic on Willowbrook Drive and there were a lot of young kids there. He said he has three kids under the age of 5 and there were a lot of other people who have young children.
Mr. Sherman said their concern was that the people would be taking Brenda Drive to Willowbrook and using Willowbrook because Joseph was not paved and using Willowbrook as access to Ten Mile as well. He said he moved from a subdivision in Canton where they used a road as a cut-through and it looked like the Indy 500 there on a daily basis, and that was why they moved to this subdivision.
Mr. Sherman said he wasn't trying to fight progress so to speak, and they want them to allow their development, but they would like to see a different way to have the access to Willowbrook Farms addressed.
Mr. John Waack of 24841 Joseph, Leslie Park Subdivision, was present. He said as he brought up in the past meetings, when this project or a similar one was proposed, the health, safety and welfare of the Joseph Street and Brenda Lane residents needed to be considered. He said Joseph Street and Brenda were dirt roads and the two streets were approximately 20 feet wide and Joseph and Brenda residents do not have City water or sewer, nor do they have sidewalks.
Mr. Waack said currently the conditions of the streets, right now today, would be considered poor by most standards and they have really taken a beating lately. He said if this project would be approved, approximately 155 more trips would be taken down Brenda and Joseph Streets.
Mr. Waack said today, using the same logic 140 trips were taken by their subdivision residents and when Cambourne Place was opened, once again using the same logic, approximately 165 trips were generated through the Leslie Park Subdivision and in total, that would be 460 vehicles a day going in and out of Joseph and Brenda Drive.
Mr. Waack said if anyone has been down there, they were not big streets and there were no improvements and those roads couldn't take this kind of usage as they were currently constructed and the other two subs generate more traffic in their subdivision than their own does. He said he considered that to be cutting through and the City might not consider that a through, but he did and he lived there, and they were not coming to his house or their neighbors but they were going to the other subdivision.
Mr. Waack said he felt the north and south ends of this new subdivision need their own streets to enter so in the future, when more homes were entered to the west, there was enough main road entrances to handle this additional traffic. He said they know there was going to be something to the west of them someday, but they just don't know when.
Mr. Waack said he felt currently Joseph Drive and Brenda need to be treated as special streets, maybe similar to being handicapped and maybe that was a bad way to put it, but that was the truth of the situation. He said they were not able to function at the same level as those new streets and it just wasn't able to be done.
Mr. Waack said they should please remember some of their Goals as written in their Master Plan pamphlet and he would highlight what he felt they were trying to say. He said one goal was, "The City should provide for a road system based upon a functional hierarchy of roadways and separation of through from local traffic so as to permit efficient, safe traffic flow. Non-motorists safety paths and sidewalks should interconnect neighborhoods and commercial office areas." He didn't think any of those things really apply this time.
Mr. Waack said another goal was, "Novi should continue to encourage a self-supporting basis for generating infrastructure through long range land use planning, capital improvements programming and developer participation."
Mr. Waack said he read into that, that they need to know what was going to happen to the west because that was a long range plan and without knowing that, he didn't know how they could set up the entrances and exits that they were really setting up on this subdivision.
Mr. Waack said in conclusion, those were the concerns that they really have in their own neighborhood and there were also concerns at the Ten Mile intersection area where it enters and where it exits to the south and there has been plenty of comment on them but he really felt that there was a lot of traffic on Ten Mile and that really needs to be looked at. He said using the other subdivision road that was being used, was really a disservice to those people and Border Hill.
Mr. Waack said the other item that seems to be a concern and if he was the City, he would be concerned of this also, was the drainage for the water. He said there were enough water problems around and with Border Hill and the stream right there on Ten Mile, he didn't know if they would be able to maintain the drainage properly at that end. He then thanked everyone for their time and he hoped everyone makes the right decision.
Mr. Roger Bowman of 40620 Brenda Lane, Leslie Subdivision, was present. He said he would like to reiterate the safety issue involved for Leslie Park and the direction that the Planning Commission has taken. He said the Leslie Park Subdivision used to be a closed subdivision with very minimal traffic and given the conditions of that dirt street, with no sidewalks and with minimal traffic, it was still a relatively safe environment for the children.
Mr. Bowman said the Planning Commission has chosen to open that up to Cambourne and out of Willowbrook Phase One, and potentially in the future, Willowbrook Phase Two, Three, Four, whatever the development would be, would continue that increase of traffic into Brenda and Joseph Drive, where there was no infrastructure to support that and there was no paved street, and regardless whether it was a dirt or paved street doesn't matter, but the safety factor was that there were no sidewalks for the children.
Mr. Bowman said the children have no other way to traverse from home to home other than to go out into the street. He said as bad as it is now, with the deteriorating road conditions, it increases the safety risk and especially in the wintertime when they plow the road, the road was even narrower, and the street was their only passage to go from home to home.
Mr. Bowman felt consideration needs to be given and he felt it was good that the Commission was making it incumbent upon the new subdivisions to go in with paved streets and sidewalks and make a safe environment, and he felt consideration needs to be given to the older established subdivisions and the older established residents of Novi and give them the same consideration for safety.
Mr. Gerald Miller, a resident of 24750 Joseph Drive was present. He stated he has lived there for 19 years and when he moved there, Joseph Drive was adequate and it was country out there at that time and Joseph Drive was a country road.
Mr. Miller said Joseph Drive has not been improved in any way since the time he has moved there and it was still a country road and now it was proposed to become an access for three subdivisions. He said it just wouldn't handle that kind of traffic and it was only 20 feet wide and if there was a car parked on the road, two cars couldn't pass as it was very small.
Mr. Miller said they have their entrance and exit onto Grand River, and Applegate has theirs and Old Orchard has theirs, so why couldn't this new subdivision, Willowbrook Farms, have their entrance and exit onto Grand River, which would become a very important entrance and exit.
Ms. Ruth Ann Jirasek of the Willowbrook Community Association was present. She said Singh Development approached the Willowbrook Community Association in August of 1994 regarding the development of this property. She said many discussions with the developer and the residents have been held and during those discussions, many issues were raised.
Ms. Jirasek said while some of those issues have been resolved, a major issue remains. She said the proposed entrance to the new development would rid Willowbrook Community Association of its most scenic entrance, Border Hill. She said the Border Hill entrance has been in existence since 1955, when Willowbrook was establishing what was now a 450 home subdivision. She indicated Paul LeBost did not develop their subdivision by imposing on others.
Ms. Jirasek said for 1995, was this the new standard that would be established. She said if the entrance was allowed to proceed as presented, the only entity to gain from this proposal was the developer and maybe future homeowners, at the expense of the present homeowners.
Ms. Jirasek said the proposed entrance was enticing on two counts, and it was conducive to facilitating the marketing of lots that would be available and timely sales of new homes.
Ms. Jirasek then asked for a clarification and she asked if the proposed turning radius was granted, they were then receiving a variance or do they have to go to a further Board or Commission to receive that variance.
Mr. Watson replied they would go to a further Board, which would be the City Council.
Ms. Jirasek asked if the Commission grants approval of this plan, does that mean that the developer has permission from them that night to use an existing City street.
Mr. Watson explained what was being done that night, was a recommendation on the Tentative Preliminary Plat to the City Council and the City Council would grant that approval.
Ms. Ann Marie Jocz was present. She indicated she lived along Ten Mile and she was there that evening in representation of several other residents who couldn't make it that night. She said this Border Hill entrance point was right in front of their home and the passing lane was directly in front of their driveway and their 340 foot wood fence and 30 year old tree and shrubbery privacy hedge would be all either removed or displaced for this passing lane.
Ms. Jocz said the concerns she would bring before them were those of safety. She said they have 47 access points along Ten Mile Road between Meadowbrook and Haggerty and they were a residential road and although this proposal was not adding another access point, it was bringing along the traffic and congestion that they couldn't handle.
Ms. Jocz said the residents were trying to enter and exit those driveways in subdivisions at low speed and this passing lane was helping to increase the speed. She said she was personally not fighting against the subdivision or Singh Development for developing their land, but they were there that night to help plan this subdivision safely and correctly the first time.
Ms. Jocz said Ten Mile Road should not be an access point and Grand River and Meadowbrook were better choices.
Ms. Jocz said her last concern was in regard to Bishop Creek and the drainage from the Subdivision was still emptying into Bishop Creek at Ten Mile which was essentially where she lived. She said they have ducks that were nesting along the creek and they have muskrats and fish and woodchucks and birds and they enjoy this wood life and they do not want it to be destroyed. She said Bishop Creek could not handle any more water and they have had flooding problems in the past as well as further south down the creek.
Ms. Jocz said the subdivision needs careful planning for the safety of all the residents.
Mr. Gary Watkins of 24455 Mill Stream was present. He said he was there for the last meeting and it seems the proposal was the same as they saw last time. He said there have been no new answers and they were still going to try to branch into their street and again if they try and put a boulevard in there, there was only so much room between the Spirit of Christ Church and the Creek itself. He said his kids ride their bikes in the street and they could get hit by cars.
Mr. Watkins said as it has been stated about the flooding problem, that water was still coming in north of Ten Mile Road and he has lived there 14 years and the original bridge was washed away and a new one was built and if they would go and check that, they would find a 10 x 10 patch and the best thing about that patch was to look on the center turn lane and they would see a hole that they could drop a softball down through and having more water going through there was just going to erode the road even worse. He then stated the City has to protect the residents from this type of development.
Mr. Chase C. Levy of 24520 Border Hill was present. He said he still had a couple of concerns that were brought up at the last meeting that still haven't been addressed and they were also concerns of most of the neighbors.
Mr. Levy said he has worked in industries where there has been a lot of new construction and seeing this kind of development, this was a project again, that was not going to be built in a month's time and be over and done with, and it was going to take a span of a couple of years to put together.
Mr. Levy said there was a tremendous amount of dirt and debris that was going to come off of this kind of project. He said he hasn't heard anything about how their subdivision was going to be and any kind of remedies or things that would be done to alleviate some of the problems.
Mr. Levy said regarding the washing of streets, was that something that was going to be done and would there be a cleaning crew, and what was going to happen as all this construction happens and the wind shifts and it starts blowing the entire field of construction and dust that has been there and has settled. He said it has been controlled right now with a corn field and what was going to happen to the people who live there and were directly affected and it was a safety issue to because his two kids would be playing in the back of his house.
Mr. Levy said right now there was a berm and the elevation of this property was probably about 2 feet higher and he had a big concern about where that water was going to be going and there was a big concern because at this point, there has been some erosion on a berm that goes from the back of their homes that were right next to this proposed property. He said he and his neighbors have a big concern and it was brought up the last time and here they all were beating their heads against the ground listening to the issues that were important to Singh but were not important to the people who were directly affected there.
Mr. Levy said another issue that hasn't been brought up was that it was a very recommendable idea of Singh to build a children's playground, but they would be putting this playground right in the middle of the highest density of the intersection and that was a big concern to the neighbors who were parents of younger kids.
Mr. Levy said those were the three very important issues that they have been thinking about and haven't gotten any answers and they would appreciate some type of plan or insight to what the new developer was going to be doing in this area.
Mr. Dennis Suenkonis of 40890 Ten Mile Road was present. He indicated his property was right next to Border Hill and the Creek on Ten Mile Road. He said that property was flooded a few years ago and the water level was constantly always up and they get drainage off of Ten Mile Road itself and it comes and that road was banked and they get the water coming toward the sidewalk onto their property.
Mr. Suenkonis said bringing the road closer to the sidewalks of his property would also bring debris off that road, and it comes flying off of that road, across the sidewalk and into his yard.
Mr. Suenkonis said safety was a big issue and he just couldn't see having all that traffic going out there when they have so many entrances and exits off of Ten Mile. He said his driveway was 100 feet where this boulevard was proposed and they have a tough time now just getting in or out, let alone putting a boulevard there where they were going to have x amount of cars.
Mr. Suenkonis said he wasn't an engineer so he really didn't know what the flooding with this retention basin would do but he just knows what has happened in the past and what was happening day to day. He said he hears traffic going up and down Ten Mile Road with screeching cars in the area that was repaired somewhat and that was right at Border Hill where there were always sudden stops and cars zooming around each other to avoid hitting each other because of the high speeds. He said he couldn't see where that would stop when they put a turn lane in and they would be just zooming around a lot faster and they would have a place to go instead of stopping.
Mr. Suenkonis said someone mentioned about drawing the line earlier on decisions made by the Planning Commission, and maybe this was a place where they could also draw the line for the safety of the Novi residents.
Ms. Vicky Watkins of 24455 Mill Stream was present and she indicated she had a few comments. She said she wasn't present at the last meeting and her husband had represented her. She said she would like to know who this was really benefiting, and it was not benefiting the current residents on Mill Stream or on Border Hill. She said right now, talking about the drainage, they want to bring it into Bishop Creek and in 1989, about 15 feet deep and 65 feet wide of her backyard was washed away into Bishop Creek due to flooding.
Ms. Watkins said the development was just going to bring in more flooding and she wouldn't have a back yard and she would walk out her back door right into the creek. She said regarding the boulevard approach that they were talking about, right now in the morning when she leaves for work, it takes her anywhere from 3-5 minutes to get onto Ten Mile safely. She said adding to the residents that were going to be moving into the new subdivision, she could probably count on an extra 5-10 minutes just to get out onto Ten Mile Road and they don't need that kind of traffic, and Border Hill couldn't support that kind of traffic.
Ms. Watkins indicated her daughter was hit by a car last year on Ten Mile and Border Hill and she doesn't need to get hit, and no more kids needs to get hit up there on Ten Mile and it was already busy enough and they don't need any more cars coming out of there, and her daughter wasn't badly hurt, but the next kid could be.
Ms. Watkins said they just put in new sidewalks up there, and their children don't have sidewalks and she has a one year old in her house and a teenage daughter that walks down that street every day and they have no sidewalks and they have to ride in the road, so when they were going up to the store or going up to the school bus, they were walking in the street.
Ms. Watkins said if they add another subdivision in there entering onto Border Hill, those kids were going to be hurt and there was no place for them to be.
Ms. Watkins said there were not a lot of residents on Mill Stream or Border HIll but they could see by the amount of people that they have there that night, that there was a strong opposition to this and they don't want them to stop their development and all they ask of them was that they find their own entrances and why should they use their existing streets and put their families in jeopardy and the residents have been there a long time and the developer was new.
Ms. Watkins said all they have to do was spend a bit more of their money and find their own entrances and exits.
Ms. Watkins said the last comment was they have a nursery school sitting right there with a small fenced in lot and she asked has anyone thought about those children who play out there in that nursery school.
There was no further Audience Participation and Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
THE PLANNING COMMISSION TOOK A FIVE MINUTE BREAK AT THIS POINT.
WILLOWBROOK FARMS SUBDIVISION - CONTINUED.
Member Hoadley said he had an occasion to really do some homework on this subdivision and he had some conversations with the Fire Department today, Mr. Arroyo today and Mr. Rogers today on two different concerns. He said he certainly was hearing what the public has to say and he was just as concerned as some of the residents were in regards to invading the dirt road.
Member Hoadley said the problem was that their Ordinances require the Petitioner to stub in there because they were public roads. He said he checked with the Fire Department to see if they could put up a temporary fence, a break-away fence. because really the reason for that Ordinance the way it was written was to provide secondary access for emergency vehicles and the Fire Department would not allow that.
Member Hoadley said the other issue that they discussed was possibly making Brenda one way and coming into the subdivision rather than two-way, and this would allow the residents next to the subdivision access to Ten Mile Road, which would be a benefit to them, but would disallow the residents in Willowbrook Farm to use that road, Joseph Road, out to Grand River.
Member Hoadley felt there was some benefit and it might be a compromise that would address all of the concerns. He said he realized that the Petitioner's Traffic Consultant doesn't think that was the most desirable thing, but if they could make those subdivisions better to address the concerns of their neighbors, they should try to do that if there was a compromise available.
Member Hoadley said second of all, he had to take exception to one of the residents saying that those were Planning Commission initiated ideas and they were not. He said they have no control as to what comes before them and to try to say that the Commission has any say in the matter, they do not and they have to follow the Ordinances and they certainly didn't bring this Petitioner before them but it was before the Commission and the developers do have a legal right to develop their property and their job was to try and make it the best possible development that they could.
Member Hoadley said in his opinion, the developer has gone a long way to address a lot of the concerns and they certainly, in his opinion, have addressed the water concerns with the addition of the catch basins and the addition of gas and oil separators.
Member Hoadley indicated his other concern was this problem that Mr. Arroyo had with the Fire Department and he suggested an alternate plan to them today that they have before them and in discussing it with Mr. Rogers and Mr. Arroyo, they feel that this would meet their concerns and he has discussed it with the Fire Department and it certainly would meet their concerns about having a turnaround for emergency vehicles. He said it would also give the proper radius and the developer would squeeze his lots down to the right and lose a little bit of Lot 7 to do it, but from what he understood, it works.
Member Hoadley said another alternate plan was faxed this afternoon and he asked Mr. Crane whether they would be agreeable to that.
Mr. Crane said they have looked at the alternative design this afternoon, and they do not believe it was the best design. He said Mr. Arroyo had made mention of it being a main street through the subdivision, and that was exactly what they were trying to get away from so they would rather not do that. He said they would rather get away from the 230 foot radius and run it at about a 60 foot radius and have an intersection.
Member Hoadley indicated that was contrary to their Consultants and contrary to what the Fire Department would agree to and they want a turnaround and he agreed they should have a turnaround. Mr. Crane said they would provide the turnaround absolutely, but they would rather keep it off as a separate street rather than have the continuous curvelinear 230 foot radius.
Member Hoadley said they don't have a separate street and Mr. Crane said they would have a separate street going off to the west as proposed in the plan with the turnaround. Member Hoadley asked him to show him, which Mr. Crane did.
Member Hoadley said that was exactly what he was talking about and Mr. Crane said that was exactly what they would like to do. Member Hoadley then said this was a revised plan that was faxed to the Commission today and Mr. Crane indicated that was done by Seiber Keast and he didn't do that plan.
Member Hoadley said this alternate plan addresses both Mr. Arroyo's concern and the Fire Department's concern.
Mr. Crane said that was correct and it does address Mr. Arroyo's concern about the 230 foot radius and it does maintain the turnaround as requested by the Fire Department.
Mr. Crane indicated what his concern was and his concern as a traffic engineer was when they get the large radius continuously winding for a half mile or more, they would have a higher speed and more of a Grand Prix type curvelinear operation rather than having a stub street, a traffic control, and a turn.
Member Hoadley said they would still have a stub street and Mr. Crane said yes a connection.
Member Hoadley then addressed his next question to Mr. Arroyo and asked does this alternative plan work for him and Mr. Arroyo replied the plan he was referring to, which has a 230 foot radius, meets the Ordinance requirements. Member Hoadley asked Mr. Arroyo if he would address Mr. Crane's comments.
Mr. Arroyo said he and Mr. Crane differ in terms of how that area was going to work and when he reviews the plans, it was his goal to look at their Ordinance and determine whether or not the plans before the Commission meets the Ordinances and the plan that they were showing does not meet their Design and Construction Standards, therefore, he didn't feel it was appropriate for him to recommend approval of it.
Mr. Arroyo said the alternate plan that was before them that was faxed over does, in fact, meet their Design and Construction Standards, so he could recommend that plan.
Member Hoadley then asked the Petitioner was he indicating that he would not consider that plan then and Mr. Crane said they did consider it and they did look at it, but they prefer the design that was laid out.
Member Hoadley asked Mr. Crane was he saying they wouldn't do that then and Mr. Crane said he would have his client speak, but they prefer the design that was laid out.
Mr. Jetke said the point Mr. Crane was trying to make was from their standpoint or the developer's standpoint, they feel from a public safety point of view, making the traffic stop and then continuing on, was a better design.
Mr. Jetke said they would still like to consider the City Council waiver of the 230 foot radius because from their point of view continuing that radius through, they feel that the traffic speed would be increased. He said that issue arose at the last Planning Commission meeting and it was because it was mentioned that someone had one of those lots and with the people coming around the corner, the speed of the traffic was a concern. He indicated they felt that this design would slow the traffic down and it addresses the issue that was raised.
Member Hoadley said except it doesn't meet the Ordinances and Mr. Jetke said that was why they would like to go for a variance.
Member Hoadley said their Ordinances were there for a reason. Mr. Crane replied a reasonable reason, that was correct, and they would like to request a waiver of it.
Member Hoadley asked what was the matter with putting a stop sign there if they ever connect and they were talking about something that may never happen.
Mr. Crane replied what they would be asking him to do if they put the 230 foot radius and then put a stop sign, was they would have a mid-block stop sign and they don't do that. He indicated they do traffic controls at an intersection and that was what they were having there and he would recommend a yield sign based on the sight lines and so on.
Mr. Crane said going back down to this intersection, they heard the resident's concerns that if and when something develops in this area and it was a "main street" and then with the curvelinear stub-off, there would be more volume there. He said if they had this as a stub and then another "main street" coming somewhere else, there would be less of an inclination for that action.
Member Hoadley said he was trying to resolve a problem where they have two of their Consultants that were at cross-purposes and one would not approve it one way and the other one would not approve it the other way and then this alternate plan, gets them both to approve it.
Mr. Crane said the design that they have was the best design and safest design and they would like to proceed to the Council and ask for the waiver and if they don't get the waiver, then they would address it at that level.
Member Hoadley asked about the idea of making Brenda one way or were they opposed to that also and Mr. Crane said possibly on a temporary basis until the other streets were paved or they get some type of an assessment or something, but yes that would be a consideration.
Member Hoadley said that was what he was thinking about because there was no question about dirt roads and he drives on them every day and he used to live on one and he knows how badly they washboard if any extra traffic was put on them and it was terrible.
Member Hoadley asked would they also be willing not to use that dirt road access for any of their construction. Mr. Crane said absolutely yes they would commit to that.
Member Hoadley said the Fire Department has indicated to him that he would be more than happy to see that a one-way coming in because all they were looking for was another access into the subdivision and so they would be happy to see Brenda one-way and if they develop the subdivision to the west, Brenda would become a moot point and they wouldn't be using it anyway because who would use a dirt road if there was a paved road, but until that happens, he would think that might be a good alternative to address the concerns of the people on the east side of the subdivision.
Mr. Crane said that might be a concern and he would remind them if they keep it a one-way in, it would change the morning traffic and certainly they were not going to go out to Grand River, but then coming home in the afternoon, that would be an opportunity, but it would be a solution to reduce and he did share the concerns for traffic volumes on dirt roads. He added the real correct solution would be a special assessment and to pave the roads, but as a temporary or interim repair, that might be a solution.
Member Hoadley said they couldn't force the residents to have a SAD and they probably don't want the roads paved and they like the rural scenario, but he didn't blame them for not wanting to have the extra traffic.
Member Hoadley asked if he explored the idea of purchasing some land off of Cambourne Street, and Mr. Jetke said they pursued purchasing the land in both directions and have had discussions with both property owners, but it was just discussions.
Mr. Jetke said in this particular plan, they own both of the properties and have assembled here and that was why they proceeded with this plan.
Member Hoadley asked if they owned the property to the west and Mr. Jetke said no, but he has had discussions with the property owner. He then pointed out the property he owns and said that was why they were presenting this plan. He added they were in a situation where they have to go forward with his development.
Member Hoadley said he was ready to support approval of this project with certain modifications and one modification would be one-way on Brenda and the other one would be the alternate compromise on that turnaround radius and they have to address the Fire Department's concern about a turnaround as that emergency vehicle has to be able to turn around and the way it was now, they can't.
Mr. Crane said but in this design they could, and Member Hoadley said but that plan does not conform and Mr. Crane said that was correct, but it was the one they would like to ask a waiver on. He said as far as the one-way, they have no strong feelings one way or the other and if that was a City recommendation, that would be fine.
Member Hoadley said they have done a nice job in improving the access on Ten Mile Road and have done a nice job in regards to the water problems, but he was still uncomfortable with running any traffic through at that subdivision to the east. Mr. Crane said he shared those concerns and he thanked Member Hoadley.
Member Bonaventura said to Mr. Wahl that this was before the Commission on February 15th and he was wondering since it was a negative recommendation sent to City Council, why did the applicant reapply.
Mr. Wahl said it was his understanding that they were going to take a look at it and make some revisions and Mr. Rogers said that was his understanding also.
Member Bonaventura said he was probably missing something, but he asked what were the revisions.
Mr. Rogers said the gross area of the site was reduced by some calculation of which he wasn't certain. He said the lots still meet the minimum requirements of the R-4 District, but some of them were larger and some of them were smaller and they subsequently attached an alternate plan for the alignment of the road at the north end and Member Bonaventura said he saw that but they were not proposing that.
Mr. Rogers said no and what they want was the same as they had before.
Mr. Rogers also indicated there was some adjustment of tree replacement down at Border Hill and it was in the letter from Singh and they added a sidewalk on both sides of the north-south road to connect up with the sidewalk on Ten Mile.
Mr. Rogers said they still have the lot split situation with the Church and they still have 31 lots and then there was also some written information on drainage which he didn't review.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Wahl if all fees had been paid for this new presentation and Mr. Wahl said he would have to check on that issue as he didn't have that information with him that evening.
Member Bonaventura said in his mind, they have a lot of projects that come up in front of them and a lot of behind-the-scenes properties were assembled to a point where it was a workable project. He said but what he saw here that night to him looks like it was premature.
Member Bonaventura said he was not impressed with the Ten Mile situation with the boulevard and he felt that this project was premature also to the existing infrastructure and not only Ten Mile Road, but the dirt roads. He said this has to do with a form of growth management as far as not telling the developer or the property owner that they couldn't develop their property and it all has to do with timing.
Member Bonaventura then indicated he would support a negative recommendation to City Council for Willowbrook Farms Subdivision.
Member Taub indicated he had two points to discuss. He said he felt there has been a thorough discussion and again the project was back with really significant differences.
Member Taub said first of all, he didn't think at this point in time, Ten Mile could handle the increase in traffic and they couldn't get away from that. He said they have to look at it now and not perhaps what Ten Mile may be in ten years.
Member Taub said he felt they would exacerbate a problem they already have which was fast-growth with an infrastructure that was not quite keeping up so he felt the Ten Mile problem was hard to get around. He said also regarding Bishop Creek, they visited on numerous occasions, the water problems in Novi and a citizen lady spoke about her concerns about Bishop Creek basically expanding into her backyard.
Member Taub felt Bishop Creek was another problem that they were just closing their eyes about. He said he saw those as two problems that go right to their function which was to protect the public from a project that was not really darting the existing neighborhoods and existing residents.
Member Taub said he also acknowledged the fact that there was a disturbance of the adjacent neighborhood that was a quiet one and that was a tougher problem because that one goes to whether people have a right to stop progress, etc.
Member Taub felt for Ten Mile Road and the Creek, there was no way around those two things, and he couldn't support this project at this time given the fact that there has been nothing presented to him that deals with those two issues that he mentioned.
Member Weddington said in her mind, there was still a serious public safety issue that has not been addressed and this was an unusual parcel, but she felt the access to Ten Mile to a major road was inadequate and until better access could be acquired to Ten Mile and/or Grand River, she agreed that maybe this was just not the right time.
Member Weddington said to endanger the children and the pedestrians and the other residents on adjacent subdivisions was too much to ask and for that reason, she would not support the recommendations on this subdivision at this time.
Member Capello said to Mr. Bluhm that there has been some concern whether this new development was going to cause flooding of Bishop Creek and the properties down-creek of the development. He asked Mr. Bluhm what was his opinion.
Mr. Bluhm replied since the developers were proposing detention on site, there would be no additional flows introduced into the creek than what currently goes there now so there would be no increase in the flows into the creek areas. He would say that it was a false impression that there was going to be increased flooding just due to the fact that they were detaining on site.
Member Capello said to Mr. Arroyo, the plan that was in front of the Commission that night to be reviewed shows a passing lane on the south side of Ten Mile and was that correct and Mr. Arroyo said yes.
Member Capello said if they put the center left turn lane in, what effect was that going to have on the residents on the south side of Ten Mile.
Mr. Arroyo said if the center turn lane goes in as he has recommended, it would make the road have less of an impact on the residents on the south side because when they construct a passing lane, they add 12 feet of pavement on the south side of the road in this instance and that was what they would be doing. He said if they construct a center left turn lane, they were adding 6 feet of pavement on the south side and 6 feet on the north side to create a center left turn lane that was 12 feet wide.
Mr. Arroyo said consequently if a person happens to live across the street from this project on the south side of Ten Mile, a center turn lane would be preferential because it would place the road further from their home whereas a passing lane would place the home closer to their home.
Member Capello said it would be 6 feet less then and Mr. Arroyo said there would be a 6 foot difference.
Member Capello said to take Border Hill Road and leave it in its current location, which was west of the proposed new intersection, would that be feasible.
Mr. Arroyo asked to have two access points coming down and Member Capello said it would be the same access point but to shift the whole new road down so that Border Hill Road would be the westerly outbound lane of the new intersection.
Mr. Arroyo said he didn't know how that would work and he didn't think that has been proposed and the problem they would have was that if they tried to incorporate Border Hill as part of the boulevard, then they would have two roads basically coming together, which wouldn't meet the standards and would cause a conflict right at Ten Mile Road, whereas by bringing the Border Hill intersection up away from Ten Mile, they were getting it away from Ten Mile and having that intersection not conflict with the Ten Mile intersection that was going to be created.
Mr. Arroyo said the way Member Capello was suggesting would place a lot of additional conflict right at the Ten Mile Road intersection because they wouldn't be able to properly "t" one way into the other in advance of the major intersection with Ten Mile Road.
Member Capello asked which road would actually intersect with Ten Mile Road, and would it be Border Hill or Brookside and Mr. Arroyo replied under this proposal it would be Brookside, and that would be the road that intersects with Ten Mile Road and then Border Hill would intersect with Brookside.
Member Capello said then Border Hill would totally lose its identity and access to Ten Mile and Mr. Arroyo replied that was correct and from Ten Mile Road, it would not have an intersection with Ten Mile Road.
Member Capello said as Member Hoadley has stated, the Commission could only review plans that were brought to them. He said a lot of residents have been there that night and have stated don't send the residents from the new development down Joseph Street, which means they need to send them out to Ten Mile Road or Border Hill or down Brenda. He said then they have residents that say don't send the new residents down Brenda Street, which means they have to send them down Joseph or Border Hill or Ten Mile Road, and then the people on Border Hill and Ten Mile Road have said don't send the residents out to Ten Mile Road. He said but no one has told them what to do with the residents of the subdivision.
Member Capello said the Commission could not tell a developer that he could not develop his land even though in theory, he felt Member Bonaventura and Member Weddington would like to see this as a bigger development and have other access. He said they couldn't tell him that he could not develop his land and they have to wait until they acquire more property. He said the Commission just doesn't have the ability or authority to do that.
Member Capello said so what the Commission has to do was work with what was in front of them and the main problem that he has with this and also one of the residents brought this up, was that Willowbrook Subdivision was a very old subdivision and by this reconfiguration of the road, Border Hill and the subdivision would totally lose its identity and he didn't feel that was fair to them.
Member Capello felt there was some way the road could be configured taking into account Mr. Arroyo's comments and having Border Hill still access onto Ten Mile, at least in namesake and have it reconfigured. He said he agreed for safety features that it should have a median and he would like to see a five-lane highway at least that would not encroach as much on the residents on the south side of the road by saving them 6 feet if nothing else.
Member Capello said he just had a problem, not with the theory of how the roads merge, but with the reconfiguration and the loss of identity of Willowbrook and Border Hill. He said if that could be resolved, he would vote in favor of it, but he didn't know what would happen that night.
Member Mutch commented on the entrance. She indicated the discussion on the entrance and the comments of the residents have been along the lines of being concerned about the identity of that Willowbrook entrance being lost, particularly since it was almost like a small country lane in itself, and as a person enters into that part of the Willowbrook Subdivision, they do get that rural feeling, especially with the wider lots, etc.
Member Mutch said even though they have a roadway that was boulevarded, there were no homes where this road intersects with Ten Mile Road and there were no homes that front on Border Hill or the proposed road by that boulevard. She said there were subdivisions that have boulevarded entrances and in fact, her subdivision was one of them where there were homes that face that boulevard island.
Member Mutch indicated there was also the fact that there were no homes right there, and she wondered if it was possible on either side of that boulevarded entrance, that it could still have that rural look. She said obviously it was bigger and it was a wider entrance and it was boulevarded, but it could preserve some of that look that it has now and not scream out at people driving by that this was a new subdivision.
Member Mutch said there were two ways to do that and one was with landscaping and the second, which she felt was also possible, was that the entrance sign that the developer would propose to put up for their subdivision, could actually be set back. She said she knows that some of the residents have expressed the idea that the reason for a boulevarded entrance, from the developer's point of view, was that they could have their sign there and it attracts sales and traffic and they want that high visibility on Ten Mile Road.
Member Mutch said however, every subdivision she has ever seen promoted, comes complete with a map in the ads and if the map says where the entrance was and a person just veers off to the right as they go north off of Ten Mile Road, they would find the sales office.
Member Mutch said so if there was the sign, she would suggest that they not have it sitting on Ten Mile and in effect claiming that access as their entrance and then relegating the Willowbrook residents to being the "stepchild" of the new road. She felt they could have what would still be a more rural looking entrance off of Ten Mile and there would be the safety of the boulevarded entrance. She indicated the entrance sign could be set back beyond that boulevarded area possibly where that proposed park area was and not be so offensive to the existing neighborhood.
Member Mutch said it was not what everyone wants, but it seems to her it would be a workable compromise that would meet most of the concerns expressed with regard to the entrance problems.
Member Mutch said she appreciated Mr. Bluhm's comments with regard to drainage because they all heard a lot about that, but what she hoped the people heard was Mr. Bluhm saying if they have problems now and they think that this was going to have an impact, this would, in fact, be an opportunity to correct some of the problems that may exist, as opposed to just preventing problems that might occur in the future.
Member Mutch said the other comments made were regarding secondary access, and she agreed that Brenda and Joseph Roads were not built and not in a condition to support traffic from anything other than the subdivisions that connect to them right now. She said however, they were stuck with an Ordinance that requires two accesses and the property was large enough to be subdivided and developed by its owner, and the Commission couldn't say to the owner that he has to buy the acreage to the west when it may not even be for sale and available to them.
Member Mutch said for example, if a person owned property and their local government came to that person and indicated he would have to buy the property next door because the government wants their driveway to go out to the west instead of out to the front, she didn't feel that person would like it any better than the developer would and it just wouldn't be legal.
Member Mutch said so as much as they wouldn't like that, the end result, even if they did acquire that property and develop it, was one, there would be that many more homes in the area, and two, probably more would be using the Ten Mile Road access as well as the Meadowbrook Road access. She felt it would be split because the figures they usually hear tend to divide between Grand River and Ten Mile and divide the same way between Ten Mile and Meadowbrook.
Member Mutch said so in this particular case, she felt they should go for the most that they could get out of it and unlike some of the others who have said they would not support this, she would be willing to support a recommendation to approve subject to the modifications that have been discussed, which were what she stated about the landscaping, the entry sign placement, and meeting the requirements of the Ordinance in terms of the Brookside Drive turn.
Member Mutch said she did understand what was said about the slow curve, but a gentle curve would certainly lead to higher speeds, and people do not slow down if they could just take that curve as opposed to having to at least slow down to take more of a 90 degree turn, but she still felt they were restricted by the Ordinances in this matter too.
Member Mutch said and the Fire Department recommends that they keep to the Ordinance and the developer certainly has the right to appeal that to the City Council, if it was approved at this level.
Member Lorenzo said she very much appreciated Member Mutch's comments and particularly her suggestion with the entranceway signage and possible landscaping improvements.
Member Lorenzo said the only issue she would disagree with in terms of the curvature of the road was that she lived on a curvelinear street and in front of her home it was a straight-away and people speed and when they get to the curve, she sees the brake lines go on. She said it would not stop it, but it was going to have to slow it down unless someone wants to totally lose it and totally wants to wreck.
Member Lorenzo said so she felt it would help to slow it down and she saw that as the "hybrid alternative" as Mr. Arroyo named it, as the best solution to slow the traffic down in that area and to also meet their Ordinance requirements. She then said at this point, she was ready to make a motion.
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Hoadley
To send a positive Tentative Preliminary Plat recommendation to City Council for Willowbrook Farms Subdivision, SP95-02A subject to all of the Consultants' recommendations; with the conditions of Brenda Lane being a one-way street with right-of-way and funding provisions for possible expansion in the future; the hybrid alternative turning radius for the curve at the north end; subject to the Fire Department's formal approval; and the modifications of positioning of entranceway signage and landscaping to preserve to the extent possible the existing Willowbrook entranceway.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Capello (No), Clark (No), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (No), Weddington (No), Bonaventura (No)
(5) Nays (4) Yeas
It was then,
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Taub
To send a negative recommendation to City Council regarding Willowbrook Farms Subdivision, SP95-02A.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Taub called the question and Member Capello indicated he had a brief comment and Member Taub withdrew his calling the question.
Member Capello then indicated his hesitation was that he was not present the first time this project came around and before he would make any recommendation to City Council, he would like to see a reconfiguring of the entranceway to be assured of what he was recommending to City Council, and he wanted to see that the Willowbrook identity was not lost and he would like to see it in a blueprint in a plan. He said that was his problem in his previous vote and the same problem he has now.
Member Capello asked the developer if the concerns that the residents expressed and the Commission has expressed that night, were things he could deal with and feel comfortable dealing with in two weeks or were they set on this plan and what they wish to send on to City Council.
Mr. Jetke said they wish to move the project ahead. He indicated there were certain issues that he has addressed and addressed them in the letter and also met with the residents who expressed their concerns, but they need to move the project ahead.
Member Capello said he wouldn't make a motion to postpone then.
Member Taub called the question and asked for the motion to be restated and Member Bonaventura restated the motion:
To send a negative recommendation to City Council regarding Willowbrook Farms Subdivision, SP95-02A.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Clark (Yes), Hoadley (No), Hodges (No), Lorenzo (No), Mutch (No), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (No)
(5) Nays (4) Yeas
Chairman Clark then indicated there has been no recommendation made.
Mr. Watson then explained as of now, the Commission has had two motions that have failed and the Commission has not taken action on this. He said if there was not a motion that could garner a support of the full Commission and if it takes additional information from either the Consultants or the Applicant to get them to a point where they were ready to make a motion that could garner the support of the majority of the Commission, then it should be tabled or postponed to do that.
Member Taub said to Chairman Clark that he had a few comments. He said he wasn't the City Attorney, but it seems to him for the past three years, the Commission has been constantly in situations where they were voting yea or nay and the fact that the Commission votes something down, he didn't see how that legally would compel them to come up with something they could support.
Member Taub said after all, the Commission voted it down and they have an Applicant who sought a recommendation and they voted it down.
Member Taub said there was the fact that the Commission couldn't muster enough votes for an alternative, so he didn't see essentially forcing the Commission into a position to come up with something. He said they were there to approve or disapprove and the Commission did not approve what was proposed to them to recommend to City Council.
Member Taub said he felt Member Bonaventura in his motion was trying to emphasize by an affirmative motion for a negative recommendation and the fact that that failed, he didn't see how that puts them in limbo. He said he would respectfully disagree.
Mr. Watson said he understood what Member Taub was saying but the simple fact was the Commission was there to make a recommendation to the Council and they haven't made a recommendation yet. He said they have had two motions that have not been adopted so the Commission has not yet taken action.
Member Taub asked what if theoretically the Commission could not agree on a plan. He said typically, their discussion involves certain Commissioners who were more aggressive in attempting to fine-tune or offer particular guidance on certain issues and the fact that they could not come up with their own plan as it were, why should that gridlock the Commission. He said they basically did not approve what the Applicant proposed and he felt that was significant.
Member Taub said the fact that he could not come up with something that he could get four other Commissioners to agree with him on, shouldn't defeat the basic notion that the Commission did not approve this project. He said maybe he was wrong and he would defer to the City Attorney, but he didn't think he has ever in any way had any question regarding his advice.
Mr. Watson said he would read what the Ordinance states on what the Planning Commission's role was in the Tentative Preliminary Plat stage. He indicated the Commission was to review it, determine if it complies with the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, the Master Plan, and any other Ordinances and Resolutions. He said then upon completion of that review, they were to make one of the following recommendations: tentative approval of the Preliminary Plat, disapproval of the Preliminary Plat with the reasons for the disapproval recorded in the Minutes, a copy of the unofficial Minutes to be sent to the subdivider immediately, and a copy of the Minutes after approval by the Board. He said the third alternative was provisional approval conditioned upon specified conditions which shall also be recorded in the Minutes of the meeting. He said if provisional approval was given, the subdivider shall submit amended plans containing the revisions within ten days of the approval. He then it then goes on to City Council.
Mr. Watson indicated the Commission hasn't done any of those as yet.
Member Taub felt they have complied by voting it down.
Mr. Watson said not to belabor the discussion, but the Commission hasn't adopted a motion doing any of those things.
Member Taub said he would respectfully disagree based on what Mr. Watson read.
Member Hoadley said he would make a strong suggestion that Member Capello make a motion that perhaps five of them could support since he was apparently the swing vote.
It was then,
Moved by Member Capello
Seconded by Member Hodges
To send a positive recommendation to City Council on the Revised Preliminary Plat as follows: with a temporary one-way sign on Brenda Lane; the reconfiguration of the intersection at Ten Mile Road where there would be a turning lane with an encroachment on the southern part of Ten Mile no greater than 6 feet; that at that intersection Border Hill maintain its name and its identity and be tied into Brookside but not to be reconfigured in the fashion that it was in the Preliminary Plat that was before the Commission; and subject to the waiver of City Council of the 230 foot radius on the stub street on the north end of the property.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Bonaventura said he would like to comment to the Audience that this was a recommendation to City Council and if this motion passes, he strongly suggested that they petition City Council and they would have to go through the same process that they went through here. He said that was basically what the residents would have to do and he would suggest they get a few of their neighbors to go along with them.
Member Hodges wanted to comment to the Applicant and thank them for trying to come up with an alternative plan to control the speed on that one curve and in fact when this subdivision was built out to Grand River, it would turn into a hindsight situation, but of course their Ordinances must prevail, but she did want to thank them for taking this into consideration.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (No), Weddington (No), Bonaventura (No), Capello (Yes), Clark (No)
(5) Yeas (4) Nays
Mr. Jetke thanked everyone for their consideration.
MATTERS FOR CONSDIERATION
1. Providence Medical Center - Phase 1C, SP95-18 - Property Located at the Southwest Corner of Grand River Avenue and Beck Road for Possible Preliminary Site Plan Approval.
Mr. Kurt Burwinkle of Albert Kahn Associates was present. He said also with him was Mr. Mike Cervenak from the Providence Medical Center. He indicated they were present that night to seek Preliminary site plan approval of Phase 1C expansion to the Providence Medical Center.
Mr. Burwinkle said the Phase 1C project consists of a two-story expansion of the existing facility as shown in the dark orange area on the drawing. He indicated the first floor consists of 13,000 sq. ft., which would be an expansion of the existing Radiology Department and a new Rehabilitation Department.
Mr. Burwinkle said the second floor consists of 9,400 sq. ft. which would house an expansion of the Surgery Department and a new Sleep-Disorder Clinic and also there would be a 7,900 sq. ft. basement which would house medical records and x-ray film storage.
Mr. Burwinkle said for the exterior, they propose to continue with the same architectural theme of masonry, limestone and a sheet metal steel roofline and they want to use the exact same materials so they were just extending the look of the building. He referred to the photographs which show the existing facility and those lines would be carried on the new expansion.
Mr. Burwinkle said presently, they have adequate parking but the northwest parking lot would be configured to accommodate a new entrance into the Phase 1C and they would be accommodating handicapped parking for wheelchairs, walkers and crutch type access into that portion, which would be where the Rehabilitation Department would be.
Mr. Burwinkle said as far as the letters received from the Consultants, upon approval of the Providence Medical Center, they would be adding a northbound passing lane at the Beck Road entrance and that would be shown on their Final site plan documents. He said he would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. Rogers indicated he recommended approval of this Preliminary site plan. He stated there were a couple of small items on the application data list which he would expect to see on the Final site plan. He said they have adequate parking and they were over-parked before but the design of the parking lot still works the way it was and as they extend the building, it may be, in the future, further to the west that there would be possibly intrusion into the parking and also the golf course.
Mr. Rogers said architecturally, it complies with Section 2520 of the Zoning Ordinance, and the landscape plan with the replacement of certain plant materials would be reviewed at the time of Final site plan submittal. He said he recommended Preliminary site plan approval.
Mr. Bluhm indicated he has also reviewed the Preliminary site plan and the addition was currently served by utilities and extensions would be provided. He said the Applicant was proposing an extension or reconstruction of some of the water main on site to make that work properly and although the Applicant has not shown storm sewer, an underground storm sewer wouldn't be required, but they would like them to provide full detailed retention calculations to verify the capacity of the water that would be generated from the footprint of the building itself although that should be minimal.
Mr. Bluhm said they have no problems with the plan at this time and he was recommending approval.
Mr. Arroyo said he has also reviewed the plan and access was as it was today, with one point of access to Grand River and one to Beck. He said he has recommended that a passing lane be installed at the Beck Road entrance. He said he understood the Applicant was recognizing that and would be providing that as part of the Final site plan and the details would be reviewed and that should be a welcomed addition to that access point.
Mr. Arroyo said in terms of traffic, they have done a forecast of the change in traffic that they would anticipate from this project and they anticipate that it would add approximately 620 daily trips PM, and peak hour trips right now were approximately 285 and he would expect them to increase to about 317 so it was a fairly modest increase in traffic from this proposed development.
Mr. Arroyo said as the Applicant mentioned, there were no significant changes to the internal circulation proposed and just some minor parking modifications on which they have no objection to, so they were recommending approval.
Chairman Clark said the record should reflect that 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.
Member Capello indicated he would make a motion.
Moved by member Capello
Seconded by Member Bonaventura
To grant Preliminary Site Plan Approval to Providence Medical Center, Phase 1C, SP95-19 subject to the Consultants' recommendations.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes)
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
2. Aspen Woods, SP94-36B - Property Located South of Eleven Mile Road, Easterly of Beck Road for Possible Motion to Rescind the March 15, 1995 Planning Commission Decision.
Member Lorenzo said she would begin by setting the record straight. She said firstly, she did not make the motion to eliminate units 19-22 for Aspen Woods since she chaired the March 15, 1995 meeting. She said she did not make any motions that evening.
Member Lorenzo indicated secondly, her motion to rescind and possibly reconsider that previous motion came from the developer's willingness to address her concerns about some of those units and not because of any threat of any legal challenge. She said she was not intimidated by the threat of legal challenges nor was she intimidated by those making the legal challenges. She said that was not her style.
Member Lorenzo said she did not appreciate and was offended by the tone and the insinuations of the Commissioner who objected to this, and also she would like to say in defense of Mr. Cousineau and to his credit, that when he called and spoke to her about this matter, he was polite and respectful and he was almost apologetic about having to file the complaint within the 21 day period. She said she did not at any time interpret his intentions as threatening or intimidating. She said so having said that, she would make a motion.
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Hodges
To rescind the March 15, 1995 decision on Aspen Woods, SP94-36B.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Hodges said she seconded the motion for discussion purposes. She asked were they making a motion to rescind the decision or the motion.
Mr. Watson said it was rescinding the decision, in other words the motion that was acted upon.
Member Capello asked Mr. Watson if there was a provision to allow a Petitioner to make a motion to rescind or for reconsideration and Mr. Watson said no. Member Capello said so the only way if they wanted to have the matter reconsidered without having to refile, was to approach a Commissioner and ask if they would make the motion to reconsider.
Mr. Watson said he supposed they could approach a Commissioner or they could come to Audience Participation at one of their meetings and suggest it to the Commission as a whole, or as Member Capello pointed out, they could refile.
Member Capello indicated he did not support Member Lorenzo but he didn't feel what she did was wrong, but he didn't know if he agreed with her yet. He felt they have a Petitioner that does a lot of work in Novi and one who has never mislead them or lied to them about projects that were before them and has always been straight-forward and willing to work with the Commission. He said Mr. Cousineau has come to Member Lorenzo and has asked her if she would ask the Commission to reconsider and that was all that was done and he didn't feel there was anything improper about that.
Member Capello said he had brought up the last time to Mr. Kohls about why they should reconsider the motion and he asked Mr. Kohls if he had an answer for that now and was there any new information or material or possibly something Mr. Cousineau forgot to tell the Commission at the last meeting.
Mr. Cousineau said he would speak first as he had a few brief comments. He said he has worked in this community for over 20 years and he was a resident of this community and Novi means a great deal to him personally and from a business standpoint.
Mr. Cousineau said given those two factors, he wasn't their typical developer in this community and he always liked to think that what he has done in this community was to provide a high quality product, keeping in mind a community that he lived in and that he intended to continue to live in and work in.
Mr. Cousineau said his rapport with groups such as the Commission was very important to him, including the Council and City Staff and Administration. He said he tries and sometimes fails, but he tries to communicate and a lot of times he may bring issues or information to them that they may not like or may not agree with, but it was part of his job to tell his story and then the Commission could make whatever decisions they want with it.
Mr. Cousineau said but he has also tried to treat everyone and everyone in the City with the utmost respect for their opinions and he guessed in turn, he would like to be treated the same, and that was not to say that he hasn't been.
Mr. Cousineau said he has known Member Lorenzo for a long time and he didn't necessarily agree with her a majority of the time and probably he agreed with her very little of the time in terms of her opinions, but he has known her and respected her opinions and her willingness to communicate and talk and exchange ideas. He said he felt there was nothing wrong with him calling her and asking her if she would consider bringing this matter back before the Commission, which was all he was asking to do right now.
Mr. Cousineau said he didn't care what decision the Commission makes or if they make any decision that evening, it was just an opportunity that they have collectively to re-evaluate this site plan and perhaps resolve any conflicts or dilemmas that they may have regarding this particular site plan.
Mr. Cousineau said he didn't come here to threaten with the impending litigation as that was not his style, and if they know him and how he operates, that was not how he worked. He said he was forced to do what he did legally to protect his legal rights, and he had a 21 day envelope in which to take an action to protect his rights as property owners and he was forced to do that.
Mr. Cousineau said he hasn't pursued it and he was trying to resolve a conflict at this point and try to resolve it through dialogue.
Mr. Cousineau said regarding Member Capello's question, yes he did have something different to offer.
Mr. Cousineau went to the board and said the site plan that was approved by the Planning Commission on March 15th and eliminated four units and he had proposed 33 units and they eliminated 4 and he pointed out the 4 that were eliminated.
Mr. Cousineau said if he recalled the discussion, there was a concern about the encroachment of the units into the wetland buffer area in those particular locations. He said all he has done was simply offer a compromise.
Mr. Cousineau said they have proposed adding back in 2 units from the 29 that were approved to 31. He pointed out the location where he was adding a unit. He indicated they were reconfiguring the clustering of the 3 units that were left and that for the 3 that were approved, they were adding one back in, but reconfiguring it slightly so that it wraps around the cul-de-sac. He said then he was simply adding in a single unit where there were 2 units and he pointed that out also.
Mr. Cousineau said the proposal that he has before them that evening removes all the units from the wetland buffer area and that simply represents a compromise.
Member Capello said that partially answered his question, but he wasn't there after the Commission took their action and he asked Mr. Cousineau if he had any opportunity to explain any dissatisfaction with the Commission's decision and Mr. Cousineau replied no and that was one of the concerns. He stated at the March 15th meeting, he was allowed to make a brief presentation at the beginning of the Agenda item and after that, the discussion was taken up by the Planning Commission and there was a motion put on the floor to approve 29 units and he was not allowed the opportunity to rebut or discuss that motion at all.
Member Capello asked why were the 2 lots that important to him and did it effect the economics of this project that much. Mr. Cousineau explained 33 units was really his mark. He indicated he has come a long way on this particular project. He indicated he started out in excess of 40 units at one time and had started out with over 30 single family homes, but that essentially ignored the sensitive lands.
Mr. Cousineau indicated even though the plan they see before them that evening appears to them to be somewhat inflexible, he has come a long way to develop this particular plan.
Mr. Cousineau said to answer his question about 2 units or 4 units making a difference between a successful project and not a successful project, no, that was not the case. He said they felt the 33 unit plan had been approvable quite frankly, and the 29 units they had felt were not justified in terms of the elimination of 4 units.
Mr. Cousineau indicated they felt that quite simply the 31 unit plan as they were proposing it, meets the conditions of the Ordinance and it removes all the buildings from the wetland buffer area which was a concern. He stated it was simply a plan they would like to have approved.
Mr. Cousineau said but to say that 2 units makes a difference between financial success and failure, no.
Member Capello asked if he had already acquired the property and Mr. Cousineau said yes and Member Capello asked him if he knew it was a difficult property when he acquired it and Mr. Cousineau said yes he did.
Mr. Cousineau also indicated that Member Bonaventura had stated that in his initial presentation, he want through the economics and Mr. Cousineau indicated that was just something he did and he didn't have to do it, but he did to show the Commission the part of the process that he goes through when evaluating a project and how he came up with the numbers. He said it was just an exchange of information.
Mr. Cousineau said Member Bonaventura had said maybe he paid too much for the property and maybe he did, and in retrospect he probably did, but it was a price that was fixed now and he couldn't do anything with it, so it becomes part of his problem, not necessarily the Commission's problem, but it does become part of the equation.
Member Mutch said she would agree with the comments that were made. She also agreed with Member Lorenzo's comments that she made on her own behalf in terms of the appropriateness of what she did in bringing this to the Commission's attention.
Member Mutch said she would like to add that whether someone was a developer or a banker or an attorney, or unemployed person in this community, when they own property and they come before this Commission asking to do something with it, she felt they have the right to have the Commission's attention and if the decision doesn't go their way, there were certain options open to them.
Member Mutch said those people may not be as politically sensitive to what the options that they should follow were, anymore than the Commission was. She said people call the Commissioners all the time and if those people were not developers and if they happen to be the guy down the street or the person that sits across from them in the office, and they call the Commission up and say they really wish the Planning Commission would reconsider a certain decision or they really wish the Planning Commission would bring a certain point up, she didn't feel there was anyone here who would hesitate to do that on behalf of a resident. She said Mr. Cousineau has also indicated he was a resident.
Member Mutch felt but to say that the Commission would do this for other people but they wouldn't do it for property owners who have the burden of being labeled "developers," was unreasonable and unfair. She felt they were business people in their community and whether they happen to be residents or not, she didn't see anything wrong with listening to them.
Member Mutch said she agreed with Member Lorenzo that it takes an awful lot more than the mention or let alone the threat of a lawsuit. She indicated she was not at all intimidated when they have people sitting there typing away while they were speaking. She said she wasn't at all intimidated by the mention of a lawsuit so she felt that was a totally inappropriate comment to ever have been made with reference to Member Lorenzo's actions.
Member Mutch said if for some reason, they have chosen the wrong way to bring it to the table, then she was counting on Mr. Watson and Chairman Clark to inform them and say perhaps in this case, maybe the correct route would have been a resubmission by the applicant, and if so then say so, and it doesn't need to generate into accusations of unethical behavior and name calling, etc.
Member Mutch said with regard to the actual project, when it was before the Commission on March 15th, a motion was made to approve it and she had said she would support it, but then it was amended before they voted on it, and she did not agree with the amendment to limit the lots, to remove 4 lots, because she felt that was excessive, but in all of the discussion they had, it seemed to indicate that there were 2 lots that were of particular concern.
Member Mutch said when the motion was made to eliminate 4 lots, she was somewhat surprised, however, Member Bonaventura did make that motion to amend and that motion did pass. She said because the motion was amended in that way, she could no longer support the main motion, so she voted against it.
Member Mutch then said if this had been proposed that night, the 31 lots in this particular configuration, she would have voted for it then and she was prepared to vote for it now.
Member Hoadley said when Member Lorenzo made her motion, he supported it, but he was going to vote against it frankly. He said he supported it because he felt she had every right to bring forth that motion and he absolutely did not question her integrity. He said on the other hand, he had agreed with Member Bonaventura that night that this should have been brought back as a revised site plan, through the front door, and he still would hold to that.
Member Hoadley said that night he had voted two different ways, and he had voted initially to reduce it by 2 lots and that did not pass and he had felt that the Petitioner should come away with something that night, so he did support the second motion to bring it down to 29 units. He said he was very comfortable with supporting a 31 lot configuration, but he was not comfortable doing it this way. He said he would much prefer to see the Petitioner come back with his revised site plan, rather than the way it was being done.
Member Hoadley said, however, they were just belaboring a point and he just wanted to make his feelings known, and he would support a motion that night for a 31 unit lot, although he did disapprove of the way it was being done. He felt Mr. Cousineau should have brought it forward the other way, but they need to get it behind them.
Member Bonaventura said first he would like to comment on what Member Mutch said about the last meeting. He said he reviewed the Minutes very closely as far as there being any accusations or insinuations made and obviously he didn't agreed with Member Lorenzo, but he was very cautious of what he said, how he said it, and the way he said it, and he would be happy to go over the Minutes with anyone. He said there was a newspaper article after their meeting that might have tainted people's memory as far as the way he approached it.
Member Bonaventura said he respected Member Lorenzo very much and they have had disagreements before and if he had offended her he was sorry, but that was not his intent and he was very cautious not to offend her.
Member Bonaventura said he felt strongly about this and about the procedure as Member Hoadley has commented on. He said regarding the motion to rescind, the way he saw it was they have an approved plan that was approved by the Planning Commission and then they have the old proposed plan and in his mind, he felt he had to look at the old proposed plan and what they approved and decide which was a better plan. He thought that was what was up in front of them that night. He said if they took into consideration a new proposed plan, then he would have to compare that also to the plan that was approved by the Planning Commission to see if that was a better plan.
Member Bonaventura said the way he saw it, the plan that was approved by the majority of the Planning Commission would be compared to this plan that night, but the problem he had with this being up there was that he has no information from the Consultants and it hasn't been reviewed and that was his problem.
Member Bonaventura said but he did have a plan they did not approve that he did have information on, so looking at this, he had trouble. He said going back to rescinding, now he was back to the plan that was presented to the Commission and the plan that they approved, and he felt that was what they should be looking at that night and which was the better plan and whether they should rescind the old plan in order to move forward and he felt that was what was before the Commission.
Member Bonaventura said that was basically the way he saw it and the Commission has to look at the plan that they approved and the plan that was submitted unless the Commissioners have comments.
Member Taub said Mr. Cousineau has stated that his particular focus wasn't necessarily wrapping it all up that night and what they could accomplish that night was to rescind the earlier motion/decision that locked them into minusing out 4 lots and if they could do that this evening, he felt they could accommodate what were valid considerations that he knows Commissioners have, including himself and that they have some factual basis, and that they fully understand what was proposed as far as 2 lots as opposed to 4 lots.
Member Taub said he would comment that it appears to him that this was a particularly difficult piece of property and they have a developer who has been around with Walden I and II and has a real track record and the Planning Commissioners more than anyone else, has to be aware that Mr. Cousineau was not a fly-by-night operator in Novi and they have to give him the respect. He said he for one on many occasions, has opposed the plans of developers and voted against them, but he didn't think it was his role or anyone else's up here to micro-manage.
Member Taub said he was a lawyer and has no experience as a developer and he couldn't tell Mr. Cousineau who was one of the top developers in Southeastern Michigan how to fine-tune a lot and he wouldn't go one-to-one with Mr. Cousineau or any developer when it gets down to 1 lot or 2 lots.
Member Taub said he reviews in terms of consideration for the community issues such as parking, traffic, water problems, but when it comes down to 1 lot or 2 lots, he wasn't into playing poker with the developer.
Member Taub said he would ask to call the question and Member Lorenzo said she had a few additional comments.
Member Lorenzo said she did have the opportunity today to speak to Ms. Lemke and maybe it seems over-simplified in her mind, but in terms of the cul-de-sac between the one lot or the two lots, Ms. Lemke did indicate to her that it was the westerly part of that area that has the more quality woodlands on them, so in other words, if they were removing unit 20, they were getting some preservation benefits out of that because that was actually where the more quality woodlands were.
Member Lorenzo said as they move east on the property, that is, towards unit 18 and 19, it starts to get of a lesser quality, so Ms. Lemke did indicate to her today that yes the removal of unit 20 would benefit.
Member Lorenzo said now obviously if they remove units 19 and 20, there was an additional benefit in terms of woodlands preservation and that was the cul-de-sac issue, but they were gaining something from the removal of unit 20 and they were gaining some additional woodlands, and they were gaining more if two units were removed but they were gaining some benefit from removal of unit 20.
Member Lorenzo said regarding the issue of units 21 and 22, her main concern was that they were not meeting the wetland setback. She said she talked to Ms. Tepatti today who said initially that it did seem that they met the setback now.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Bluhm if he had any additional information and does it appear that they do meet that setback requirement with one unit there.
Mr. Bluhm indicated he spoke with Ms. Tepatti and she looked at it more closely and it did appear that with that one unit, they were removing that unit entirely from the buffer area where it intruded with two units previously. He said there was certainly a benefit to that, although it was still very close and Ms. Tepatti did have some concerns that construction around the homes might effect the buffer areas, but those could be restored after construction.
Mr. Bluhm said one of the other benefits they might see, which they would look at more closely at Final, was to center that unit more in the pocket of the non-wetland area and they may be able to elevate the rear of it slightly to afford more separation between the water surface elevation and thus eliminate some of the concerns with the ponding of water in the wetland.
Member Lorenzo said that was her main concern. She said when she looks at this, she looks at where they were originally and originally when they looked at this plan, they were asking Mr. Cousineau to remove 6 units and Mr. Cousineau removed 1 unit and their motion removed a total of 5 units and now Mr. Cousineau was removing 2 additional units for a total of 3. Mr. Cousineau has now met the Commission halfway with 3 units and he has also with the removal of unit 20, given them more woodlands benefit and he was addressing the concern she had with the buffer setback requirement.
Member Lorenzo said that was why she could support this. She said now in terms of a total benefit, if they kept the 4 units out, they would get 2 units less density and they would get a little bit more woodlands, but in terms of the benefit to the City of moving forward possibly with litigation, the best case scenario was they gain 2 units and a small amount of woodlands.
Member Lorenzo said she didn't feel it was necessarily worth the time, the money, and the effort to defend something, even if they win it, for 2 units and a small amount of woodlands. She said she saw it that the developer has met the Commission halfway and he has addressed her concerns and she could support this.
Chairman Clark said the question was called and Member Bonaventura said no one seconded it and it wasn't voted on and Member Hodges also said she had some questions.
Member Hodges said after the motion to rescind, what would be the legalities of taking action on this, and how does their Ordinance read in regards to the Commission first of all receiving the proper information from their Consultants.
Mr. Watson explained assuming the Commission adopts the motion to rescind, then the matter was back before the Commission just as though it was March 15th and they hadn't made that motion yet and then at that point, as with any project, it was within the Commission's discretion to either approve the project with conditions they may impose, if they were comfortable and have enough information, of if they were not satisfied that they have enough information to take action, to request whatever additional information they feel they need.
Member Hodges indicated she had one response to something that Mr. Cousineau said in response to Member Capello questioning him about reactions that happened on March 15th. She said Mr. Cousineau had stated he had no chance to rebut the Commission's decision and she indicated she didn't know of anyone who could rebut the Commission's decision once a decision was made.
Member Hodges said they could reapply or they could be on the next Agenda, but to sit back and rebut the decision was not one of the purposes of the Commission so Mr. Cousineau shouldn't feel slighted he didn't have a chance to rebut because no one else has either.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Cousineau if he remembered when he had 34 lots, what area that one lot was removed from and Mr. Cousineau pointed out the location to him.
Member Bonaventura said there were concerns about that area if he remembered correctly, and now they were taking unit 18 and swinging it down into that area and was he correct.
Mr. Cousineau felt the concerns were focused primarily around unit 20 because of the impact to the higher quality woods and also because it was going into the wetland buffer area or close to the buffer area. He explained one configuration and referred to the plan and pointed out how he ended up with a 1-unit cluster, which would require a variance and then in another configuration, he explained rather than leave the 3 units and add another unit, which would require another variance, he was trying to wrap the 3 or 4 in together for a 4-unit cluster.
Member Bonaventura said as far as comparing the old plan to the one plan that was approved, he saw a direct benefit eliminating the 4 units and he supported it then and he supported it now. He said he didn't support rescinding that decision because he really felt this sets a terrible precedent for the future and for whatever the cost to file a lawsuit, $72.00 and a couple of dimes for a phone call, the applicant could move forward with their project without reapplying and skip the process and that was what he had a big problem with.
Member Bonaventura then said listening to Member Lorenzo, he agreed with her right up to the point until she mentioned the word litigation and that contradicted what was previously said at least to him as far as litigation having nothing to do with it and in his mind, it has nothing to do with it and he saw a better plan without lots 19, 20, 21 and 22.
It was then,
Moved by Member Hoadley
Seconded by Member Taub
To call the question.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Mr. Watson explained there was a motion to call the question and cut off debate and the Commission could take a vote on that motion and if that passes by a two-thirds vote, discussion would be cut off.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (No-because she thought she was recognized to speak), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (No), Capello (No), Clark (No), Hoadley (No), Hodges (No)
(6) Nays (3) Yeas
Member Mutch stated the comment that Member Bonaventura made in terms of this plan being a different configuration, therefore, it was subject to Consultant Review etc., and comparison to the previously approved plan, she agreed with and that was a point that had not been made in the discussion and therefore it has merit. She said it was not simply a matter of putting back into the plan the two lots that she thought were excessive in their removal, so she did see merit in that particular line of reasoning.
Member Mutch said she would also like to say that she has reviewed the discussion as recorded in the Minutes that they had from the last meeting, and Member Bonaventura was correct that he was extremely careful in what he had to say, however, the inference could be made from the sequence of comments, but she would apologize if he felt she was out of line in attributing anything to him as statements made at this table, when in fact, they may have been quotes given to the newspaper reporters.
Mr. Watson then commented there has been references during the discussion that evening to litigation and he just wanted to repeat what he told the Commission the last time which was they should be making their decision based on the merits of the proposed development as considered under their Ordinances. He stated the fact that there may have been a lawsuit filed should not enter into that consideration at all.
Chairman Clark also said irrespective of what the vote may be on the motion itself, if some Commissioners should feel the need for more information, certainly a motion to then table the item for two weeks might well be in order, but that was just an idea for consideration.
Chairman Clark said the question has been called to rescind.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (No), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (No), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes)
(7) Yeas (2) Nays
It was then,
Moved by Member Hodges
That the Planning Commission table any further actions until applicant submits the necessary information to the Planning Department and that information be forwarded on to the Planning Commission for the next Agenda.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Bonaventura asked Member Hodges if she meant that the applicant resubmit the plans to Community Development and Member Hodges replied yes and he asked would that mean all fees to be paid and Member Hodges said yes, as according to their Ordinances.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Watson if all fees have to be paid before anything was brought up before the Planning Commission.
Mr. Watson said he didn't know what he meant by all fees being paid, but if that means fees as though it was an original submittal, he didn't think that would be correct because based on what they have done, they don't have an original submittal before them. He said if what they were suggesting was that they pay whatever fees were appropriate to a revised site plan, then that was probably correct.
Member Bonaventura said to Member Hodges that was what she meant and she said yes.
Member Bonaventura seconded the motion.
Member Hoadley asked if tabling was correct and he thought they could only table to the end of the meeting and he asked would postpone be more proper.
Mr. Watson said it would be more appropriate to make a motion to postpone and he would also suggest something in addition. He asked Member Hodges when she said submitted to the Department, she meant with the appropriate submittal to the Consultants and she said yes.
Chairman Clark asked Member Hodges if she was amenable to the change in the terminology to postpone as opposed to table and she said she had meant to postpone.
Chairman Clark said the motion was made to postpone Aspen Woods until the next meeting of the Planning Commission to allow the Petitioner time to present appropriate documentation with reference to a revised site plan.
Member Hoadley requested that be Item #1 on the Agenda under Matters for Consideration.
Member Bonaventura asked if their first proposal was a Public Hearing and it was stated yes. He asked then since this came in under a Public Hearing and their action on it has been rescinded, shouldn't this action or this rescinding, have been a Public Hearing and it was stated no. Member Bonaventura said then obviously they don't have to come back as a Public Hearing next time and Mr. Watson said correct.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Taub (Absent for Vote), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes)
(8) Yeas (1) Absent for Vote-Taub
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Main Street Parking Provisions - Discussion Involving Evergreen III, Parking Consultant, Rich and Associates, Traffic Consultant, Rod Arroyo, Planning Consultant, Brandon Rogers and the Planning Commission...as requested by the Town Center Steering Committee.
Mr. Wahl said obviously the Main Street project was very unique and in fact, there was really no other project in the community like it, however, they had started some years ago actually to look at some of the parking questions that might come up for this project and/or similar type projects.
Mr. Wahl said the planning practice out in the community so to speak of professionals, was beginning to focus on the idea that suburban communities were devoting large expanses of their non-residential areas to large surface parking and what could be done to make a more pleasant and practical utilization of this type of property, which was quite often highly valuable.
Mr. Wahl said so they undertook a study of this question through the Planning Commission's Planning Study Budget and Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Rogers worked on a report and they all should have a copy called, Shared Parking Report, in the packet.
Mr. Wahl said this was the first project where they have gotten into a comparing theory and reality so to speak.
Mr. Wahl said what they were attempting to do here was to make what they have considered to be a very unique and special community development project for Novi not only attractive, but practical. He said in other words, it would function effectively in terms of traffic circulation and parking and other aspects that effect not only the project but the larger area of the Town Center, the Ring Road System, etc.
Mr. Wahl said so they have been working with the developer, who has retained a Parking Consultant, which they feel has been very valuable to this process and they also have been before the Town Center Steering Committee on several occasions. He felt they have made some progress and because this was so important to the overall project, the developer and the Administration have requested this time on the Agenda to bring the Commission up-to-date on this particular aspect of project planning and the overall project. He then said he would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. Wahl said he would add one more point, which was he was trying to make arrangements at the request of the Steering Committee to have a walk-through workshop, such as they had about a year ago up in the Department. He said this walk-through workshop would be at Vic's Market next Wednesday at 6:30 PM. He indicated all the renderings and designs such as the streetscape, roadway, and other aspects of the entire project would be on display and it would also be an opportunity to perhaps go out and look at some of the on-site issues that they were dealing with in terms of the Main Street project.
Mr. Wahl said Planning Commission Members, City Council Members and the Department Staff were all invited. He indicated the Planning Clerk was making those arrangements. He then turned the discussion over to Mr. Chen.
Mr. Chen was present of Evergreen III. He indicated it has been almost a year and a half ago that he started this project with Phase I-Vic's Market, which was now open for business. He said he was moving ahead now with what they call Phase II, which was the key of the entire project, to develop the Main Street itself.
Mr. Chen said right now, they have a SAD which was under consideration of the Council and hopefully they could get everything in order in the near future to start construction of the Main Street.
Mr. Chen said in the meantime, there was another task which was much more urgent which was the parking requirement. He said according to the TC-1 Zoning, the parking requirement was not specifically spelled out. He also stated that final decision was at the sole discretion of the Commission.
Mr. Chen said so before they could proceed with a site plan for the Main Street, they need to work out what the parking requirement has to be, so they retained a Parking Consultant, Rich Associates, and have been working with them for a couple of months. He indicated Rich Associates was the Royal Oak Parking Consultant and they were doing a study and recommendation for the City of Royal Oak. He said they were also very well known throughout the country and they were doing the parking study for a number of cities through the United States.
Mr. Chen said so they were working with the Consultants as a team and working out some of the considerations and that was where they were at, at this time. He said so if the numbers could be agreed upon, they could move forward and then the site plan would be developed according to that standard and then submitted.
Mr. Chen said he would now turn the discussion over to his Consultant, Mr. Rich.
Mr. Rick Rich, Vice-President of Rich & Associates and Director of Planning, was present. He said they undertook a study for the parking needs for this project, which was unique because it was the construction of a downtown business area in what was a suburban setting.
Mr. Rich said they based their study on surveys at four restaurants in the Town Center because that was the biggest component of the demand in this proposed project, and then he also utilized data from their data base and their experience the past four months in downtown Royal Oak.
Mr. Rich said they prepared actually two projects and he would discuss those. He said they basically did a study on the four restaurants, and they found that a peak occupancy occurred about 7:00 PM. He said this was probably pretty standard to what they would normally see. He said they also presented example parking generation characteristics and those were just from other cities that they worked at in the past.
Mr. Rich said the proposed land use for the Novi Main Street was as follows. He said about 29% of it has office space, about 45% retail, about 14% restaurant, and about 13% for Vic's, for a total of $606,910 gross square feet. He said initially based on their experience and parking generation characteristics from a guide that was put out by the Institute of Traffic Engineers, they developed a parking projection. He said he showed this because that was where they started.
Mr. Rich said they then had review meetings with the City's Consultants and increased the characteristics for the parking and by that he meant basically the number of spaces per 1,000 sq. ft., which would be required.
Mr. Rich said Figure 5 in their handout shows the characteristics and the parking demand based upon land use breakdown that they showed. He said without taking shared use into effect, there was a total of 2,449 spaces needed on the site.
Mr. Rich said they have a caveat to that, which was they have assumed linked trips and in a downtown setting, they have a number of linked trips. He said when an individual comes down to eat, they may go to two or three shops in Royal Oak as an example. He said the parking demand characteristics don't necessarily take that into effect. He said they have agreed on a 10% linked trip factor, and he felt they have agreed that after the first phase of the project was in place, they would go back and review to see if that was what was actually occurring there.
Mr. Rich stated the shared use now reduces the parking demand on a particular project that was a mixed use and that was because as the report states on shared use, different land uses have different peaks. He said so even though they showed a total need of 2,449 by a shared use, that actually got reduced to 2,051 spaces. He said that was because the office use was at 90% and the retail at 100% and the restaurant at 70% and Vic's was at 100%, and that was at 1:00 PM. He indicated at 7:00 PM, the factors were different and the parking demands were therefore different.
Mr. Rich said they ran a parking accumulation chart very similar to what they have in their Shared Use Report which just bore out the parking requirements both for the weekday and the weekend.
Mr. Rich said they could talk about the various percentages that occur at the various hours, and he felt it was important to note that they need to plan for the peaked need at 1:00 PM. He said so if there was a discussion that the office space on a weekend possibly shouldn't be at 100%, that was fine, but during the weekend they were below the peak number.
Mr. Rich said he believed that they have concurrence with the City Consultants and they helped them develop this last chart and the characteristics. He then asked if there was any questions on the report.
Member Hoadley asked when he talked about Vic's and a restaurant, Vic's has a restaurant in it and was that the restaurant he was talking about or was he talking an additional restaurant.
Mr. Rich indicated that land use showed just restaurant space, not including Vic's. He said the restaurant space in Vic's was going to have a high linked use component that was put in the retail so that was represented in Vic's.
Member Hoadley asked if he was taking into consideration that the Vic's Restaurant was full to capacity. He said in his figures, that restaurant at 1:00 PM was operating at full capacity, plus they were going to add another restaurant.
Mr. Rich said they utilized a higher occupancy rate for Vic's than the standard retail and the current Vic's was about 60% efficient and that was in their first calculations. He said they were advised in working with the City Consultants, that they reduced the deduction and therefore, increased the parking demand to take that into account.
Member Hoadley asked if Vic's didn't have a restaurant, how much would that reduce their parking.
Mr. Rich said he would say they would be back discussing something like the 60% factor here but using the rate of 4.7.
Member Hoadley asked what was the seating capacity of Vic's Restaurant, and Mr. Rich said he did not know. Mr. Chen stated it was about 160-170. Member Hoadley asked what was the capacity of the restaurant they were proposing.
Mr. Chen indicated there was the Sports Bar which was about 10,000 sq. ft. and there was another restaurant along the Main Street which would only be 2,000-3,000 sq. ft., which was typically like a small mom and pop restaurant, so those were the restaurants they were talking about in that area and the seating could be different.
Member Hoadley said all he knows was that Vic's was maxing out right now and they were at 100% seating capacity for their restaurant, so he was not certain in his own mind that if the other restaurants max out, would he be providing enough parking, even with shared parking on certain days.
Mr. Chen said Vic's Market was a bit different. He indicated for Vic's in the morning, they don't do business as they don't open until 11:00. Member Hoadley said he was talking about 1:00 PM which was the peak because all the other restaurants would probably peak at the same time.
Mr. Chen felt they would all peak at a different time, however, at 1:00 PM the office was at a peak so he felt it all peaks at different times. He said but for Vic's Market, their main business was not a restaurant but a produce and fruit market, so there were a lot of link trips in there. He said in other words, for example, he goes there almost everyday and he stopped by to have a bowl of soup so he was considered as a restaurant customer, but at the same time he also purchased some other produce. He then said he would have his Consultant answer that question.
Member Hoadley said he had no problem with weekends at all, but he had a concern about the peak times, knowing that the restaurant and Vic's, was doing very well and they were maxing out and it appears to him that this would be a wonderful project but he felt it was going to be maximized.
Member Hoadley said their problem in the past on some commercial developments was whether there was enough parking and they don't want to repeat those mistakes that they have had in the past, and he was thinking primarily of the Expo Center and there was another one recently where he had a concern about the parking.
Member Hoadley said he would be one Commissioner who would really look into this and he wanted to be assured in his own mind that this has enough parking.
Member Hoadley said the 2400 he didn't see a problem with but they were not intending to provide 2400 and they were intending to provide a shared parking of around 2100.
Mr. Rich said before the new Vic's opened up, they studied the old Vic's, which does not have a restaurant, and they found that at peak, there were 3.47 spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. that were actually being used. He said that was this first characteristic listed and was in Figure 4 of the handout.
Mr. Rich said the next factor that they took into account the first go-around, was that there was only about 60% of the total square footage available for a sales area and that was the first go-around.
Mr. Rich said on the second go-around on Figure 5, that factor of 3.47 increased to 4.7 per 1,000 sq. ft. He said instead of taking 60% of the gross area and applying that factor to that, they were actually taking 80%, 90%, and 90% which was greater than 60%, so in effect based upon on what existed at a current Vic's, they have increased the factor and they have increased the net square footage that the factor was applied to.
Mr. Rich said they understand that there was a particular problem with restaurants and they actually studied the four in the Town Center and found out that one of them had a real problem.
Member Hoadley commented they all have problems and Mr. Rich said there was one in particular that they studied.
Mr. Rich said as Mr. Wahl indicated, this was a unique situation for a restaurant and the restaurant itself may not be the destination. He said even if it was the destination, there was a linked trip factor because people may also be stopping to shop.
Mr. Rich said the key time for the restaurant just so they were real clear was not during the day because that was at 70%, but it was at nighttime, so in effect if they assumed that the restaurant at Vic's was at 100% at night, the retail component was only at 89%, so in effect, that was taken into account.
Member Hoadley said he would buy everything except Vic's and the restaurant, and he seriously doubted that they have provided enough spaces at Vic's at 1:00 PM. He said he has been in there a few times and the restaurant was full. He felt with about 170 seating capacity plus the market, they were talking about 163 spaces and he felt that would be inadequate.
Mr. Rich said for a point of clarification, it was 239 spaces and they need to look at Figure 5. Member Hoadley then said there were 2449 spaces shown on Figure 5 and he would buy that. Mr. Rich indicated they were showing 100% of the Vic's spaces required at 1:00 PM.
Mr. Chen said he would add a footnote and he explained the reason that Vic's Market restaurant was full at 1:00 PM was because according to the study, Vic's Market was 100% full at 1:00 PM, so by considering the linked trips and everything else, the restaurant was full and that was understandable.
Mr. Chen said but according to the other restaurants in the area which they did a study on, 1:00 PM was not their peak hour and their peak hour would be at night at about 7:00 PM. He said so it would vary and that was why they tried to show the restaurant in Vic's, which would peak out at 1:00 PM, but it was not all the restaurants that would peak out.
Member Hoadley said the problem was Mr. Rich couldn't predict what type of restaurants were going to go in and they may peak at 1:00 PM too. He said he didn't have a problem with the 964 spaces for their restaurants with 83,000 sq. ft., but he still had a problem with 239 for Vic's and the size of that building and market was being well received, which he thought was great, but he had a real concern about 239 spaces being adequate.
Chairman Clark asked Mr. Arroyo if he had any comments and Mr. Arroyo said yes, he would like to go over with the Planning Commission a bit of history concerning this matter and then make a brief comment on the numbers.
Mr. Arroyo indicated the report that they received that night called Shared Parking that was prepared by their firm and Brandon Rogers, gives the Commission a good overview of what shared parking was all about. He said this was the first time this has really come before the Commission in detail for a project where they were going to be asked to make a decision on.
Mr. Arroyo said he would highly recommend to take the chance prior to the next meeting to read through the reports so they could understand what goes into shared parking because it talks about how different uses have different variations and peak parking depends upon the time of the year, the month, the day of the week, and even the hours within the day.
Mr. Arroyo said the key point was if they took all of those land uses, office, retail, restaurant, etc., and they look at the parking standard and they added it all up, they would end up with way more parking than they would ever need on the site.
Mr. Arroyo said the reason for that was because different uses peak at different times and the goal for this entire study was to determine when this development would peak and not when individual land uses would peak and it recognizes there was a variety of land uses that would occur and there was a variety of restaurants and a variety of retail and some would require more than others.
Mr. Arroyo said one of the things they would notice was there has been some comparison to other downtowns in the area such as Birmingham and Royal Oak. He said chances are this was going to operate a lot like they would, but he felt this would have a slightly higher parking demand than Birmingham and Royal Oak because it was still somewhat of a hybrid.
Mr. Arroyo indicated the numbers that they have agreed to, which were the numbers that they see on Figure 5, represents a higher parking demand than they would find for example in Birmingham or Royal Oak and they feel that they were being conservative and they want to wait and see how this operates and that was why when more phases come on line, there would be an opportunity to revisit it and see if in fact, they could maybe reduce their parking even further, but they feel it was important.
Mr. Arroyo indicated he and Mr. Rogers have looked at this and they want to make sure that there was enough parking. He said they also recognize that they don't want to have a sea of asphalt out there not being used. He said this was a unique project and it was being treated differently.
Mr. Arroyo said he and Mr. Rich have discussed the numbers and have discussed how the various standards apply and they have looked at the national studies and they have reached a consensus that those numbers they feel were appropriate to apply in this particular situation.
Mr. Arroyo said one of the things that their study did was to establish what that formula should be and the process someone should follow and they have now followed that process and that was to give the developer guidance as to what the City was looking for.
Mr. Arroyo said they have sat down and talked to them about their assumptions and they have crunched through the numbers and they have a total of 2,050 spaces that they were looking at for the peak of the development.
Mr. Arroyo said they feel pretty comfortable and they have talked over a wide variety of possibilities and they think that this was something they could support and that was why they were coming to the Commission along with them to present this.
Mr. Arroyo hoped they have an opportunity to read through the main report that he and Mr. Rogers prepared so that they could understand the process and then look at the report that they have received from the applicant's consultant and hopefully it would help them understand that and help them in reaching a final decision on this when the time comes.
Chairman Clark asked Mr. Rogers if he had any comments and Mr. Rogers said he would defer to Mr. Arroyo, but he would add that from their meetings, it was his understanding that each of those buildings along Main Street may have underground parking and they were not talking about a parking deck yet, but they would not have extraordinary large blacktop parking lots. He said they should keep in mind that under the TC-1 Ordinance, there were certain places where they have parking and certain places where they don't, so from a matter of design, he agreed that they don't want unused blacktop parking lots.
Mr. Rogers said he hoped Vic's continues successfully but the newness may wear off. He said neither he nor Mr. Arroyo have seen this report in the form it was in until that evening, so it was just a cursory once-over.
Member Hoadley had one last question and he asked from a practical standpoint, has anyone gone down and done a car count for Vic's because that was his only concern, and he would like to know how many cars were actually there. He said they were talking about theory now and all they have to do was to go down and do a car count and then they would know.
Mr. Arroyo said one of the reasons why that has not been done was because they were treating this as a unit which was a large development with a variety of uses and there would be some users like Vic's that were going to have a higher parking demand and there would be others, such as small boutiques, etc., that would have a much smaller demand. He said that was why it was treated as one unit and it was just like any other shopping center. He said there were some stores that do great and then there were others which wouldn't have that high a demand.
Mr. Arroyo said they feel that by applying a standard to the entire development, that it was defensible that they would balance between those users that were on the high end and those that were on the low end, and he agreed with him that Vic's was probably something that was more on the high end, but there would be other uses within this development that would be on the lower end.
Mr. Arroyo felt by using a figure that has been documented in the research, they would get that balancing effect between the two of them.
Member Hoadley said but they were still allocating so many spots, peak-wise for Vic's and he would like to know a car count.
Mr. Arroyo indicated they have called it out separately, but if they look at the numbers on Figure 5, really it was being treated just like the rest of the retail, and it has the 4.7 spaces per thousand and they could effectively just take all that space and put it under the retail and lump it together and it was really being treated the same. He said they have called it out separately just because it happens to be something that was existing, but for all practical purposes, it was being lumped together.
Member Hoadley said again it depends upon where the shared parking was and if their office was next to Vic's, then they may have a point, but they also have convenience of people having to park that want to go to Vic's and Vic's was overflowed so they have to go clear-down to the other end to park and that was not proper.
Mr. Arroyo said they would be looking at that as well, however, they were also going to recognize that people would tolerate a longer walking distance in a setting like this. He said when people were in a downtown, they were usually in a situation where they don't get in their car and go from one part to another and they tend to tolerate a longer walk because they have the amenities there, such as wide sidewalks, the windows and the atmosphere which encourages a person to walk.
Mr. Arroyo said they would definitely be looking at where the parking spaces were in relationship to the anchors to make sure that they don't have unreasonable distances and he felt that was a good point.
Chairman Clark said to bear in mind that for most of the Commissioners, they were seeing this for the first time that night and in fairness, they should spend some time and digest all of this material because it would be back before them again.
Mr. Wahl said he wanted to sum up by going back to the point that he began with. He stated although this was certainly not a unanimous opinion even among planners over the years, there has been a tendency to plan projects for the day after Thanksgiving or the ultimate, ultimate peak hour in terms of providing parking or for reasons such as citizens who remember that they got stuck on the Ring Road in 1977 or they ran out of gas on Novi Road the day after I-96 opened up and there was a rush to the Mall.
Mr. Wahl said so there was a tendency to think that the project was not working because of that one experience, but he felt they have learned that to design projects because of those kinds of anomalies, was an equal or worse mistake as time would go by.
Mr. Wahl indicated they were trying as a profession to reach some accommodation between providing the ultimate convenience and providing a project that not only works, but was also attractive and was a good use of the land. He felt professional planners have been trying to reach that kind of compromise and it wasn't always comfortable for everyone because they all have different views of what good planning was.
Mr. Wahl said they have been trying to reach that kind of middle ground with this project and it was an innovative approach to this type of need.
Chairman Clark said again, this would be brought up and brought back before the Commission shortly and in the interim, they could review this material that they have received that night.
2. Joint Meeting with City Council - Discussion of Possible Joint Meeting of the Planning Commission and City Council.
Chairman Clark then stated there was another item left on the Agenda that evening, Item No. 2, Joint Meeting with City Council, and Member Bonaventura said he would like to pass on that item.
Chairman Clark said there was a memo in the packet that they received that night at the table indicating that the Council would not be available until after July 1, 1995.
Member Bonaventura said yes there was a memo from Mayor McLallen to Mr. Wahl and that was exactly what he was talking about and was he aware that the Council was going through the Budget Session, and he was thinking also of July or August for the meeting.
Member Bonaventura then indicated he would like to put on the next Agenda under Matters for Discussion, Report from the American Planning Association Conference, which he attended last week.
There being no further business before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 11:52 P.M.
Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian
May 3, 1995