REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
The meeting was called to order at 7:31 P.M. by Chairman Clark.
ROLL CALL: MEMBERS Bonaventura (Present), Capello (Present), Clark (Present), Hoadley (Present), Hodges (Present), Lorenzo (Present), Mutch (Present-arrived late), Taub (Present), Weddington (Present)
(9) Present (0) Absent
A quorum being present, the meeting was in session.
ALSO PRESENT: Brandon Rogers - Planning Consultant
Rod Arroyo - Traffic Consultant
Dennis Watson - Assistant City Attorney
James R. Wahl - Director of Planning
Sue Tepatti - Wetlands Consultant
Steven Cohen - Planning Clerk
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Planning Commission pledged Allegiance to the Flag.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mr. Wahl said if they have time, he would like to add under Matters for Discussion, Report Back from the Department Regarding the 95-96 Planning Commission Budget. Chairman Clark said he would add that as Item #1.
Member Hoadley asked to remove Cadillac Asphalt off the Consent Agenda and Chairman Clark said that item was removed.
Member Lorenzo said she would like to make a motion.
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Hoadley
That the Planning Commission remain in session until all Petitioner Business has been completed so they could adjourn no later than midnight.
(voice vote) (8) Yeas (1) Abstention-Taub
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Bonaventura
To approve the Agenda as amended.
(voice vote) Motion Carried Unanimously
Member Taub indicated he would have to abstain from the Cadillac Asphalt matter because he represented Cadillac Asphalt and he wanted to indicate that he could not participate in anything related and he would ask that the Minutes reflect that he did not vote on that placement of Cadillac Asphalt and he asked Mr. Watson if that would be appropriate and Mr. Watson replied it was appropriate.
Member Capello asked Mr. Watson if the appropriate way to do that was to have the Commission allow Member Taub not to vote or could he make that decision. Mr. Watson asked him to hold that question as there was a provision in their Rules to deal with that and he would find it for him shortly.
Member Taub stated he had two letters. He said the first letter was from Hefco Limited Partnership, c/o Howard Friedlaender, Trustee regarding the southeast corner of 12 Mile and Meadowbrook and the letter stated:
"Dear Mr. Cohen:
I am writing on behalf of the above-referenced entity, which owns approximately 20.5 acres adjacent to and south of the proposed rezoning site (parcel numbers 50-22-13-100-010/020/021).
We are in favor of the proposed rezoning from R-A to OS-1 or any other appropriate office use. Such a rezoning would be consistent with the Novi Master Plan and the development trend in this area.
Member Taub said there was a letter also from Councilman Rob Mitzel regarding Master Plan Multiples west of Novi Road, between 12 and 12 1/2 Mile Road and that letter stated:
I am writing on my own initiative as a private citizen and I am addressing this letter to you since you are the caretakers of the Master Plan for Land Use and responsible for updates and revisions. Seeing the land on the west side of Novi Road everyday during my commute, I wish to share a concern about the Master Plan Multiples, PD-1 and corresponding density, 14.0 units per acre for the area west of Novi Road and south of 12 1/2 Mile Road.
The Master Plan density Map shows that this area will be tied with Glen Oaks Apartments for the highest density in Novi. As master planned, the density will be higher than Saddle Creek, River Oaks West, Portsmouth Apartments and all the mobile home parks in town. The PD-1 Master Plan for this area is immediately adjacent to an R-1 master planned area and the Zoning Ordinance says that the PD-1 Option is designed to permit "mid-rise higher density multiple dwelling structures in a district otherwise restricted to low-rise, lower density residential use.
It goes on to state that the buildings must be between 3 and 5 stories and that certain commercial uses are permitted. I do not recall the Commission discussing the situation the last few years and given the development nature and the environmental features, rolling hills, thick woodlands and wetlands of the west side of Novi Road and the 12 1/2 Mile Corridor, I can't see how PD-1 Multiples fit this area. I would think that lower density, single family would be more appropriate.
As an example, single family R-A is along a five-lane road, and directly adjacent to office in Section 36. Thank you for considering this suggestion.
Member Taub asked Mr. Watson wasn't there some vote on PD-1 at the Council meeting, and Mr. Watson said he wasn't aware of what happened at Monday's Council meeting in that regard.
Mr. Rogers said there was a vote to have the Planning Commission review it and have a Public Hearing and recommend a course of action, yea or nay, back to the Council and he believed there was a date certain within 45 days if that was possible and they would be talking next week at their Special Meeting of some Ordinance Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and it might be timely to bring that subject up at that time.
Member Taub stated that completed the Correspondence received.
1. Approval of the May 3, 1995 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes.
2. Approval of the May 17, 1995 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes.
3. Andris/Romain, SP90-48C - Property Located at the Southeast Corner of Fourteen Mile Road and East Lake Drive for Possible One-Year Preliminary Site Plan Extension.
4. Cadillac Asphalt, SP95-26A - Property Located South of Grand River Avenue, West of Wixom Road for Possible Preliminary Site Plan Approval.
5. Estate Storage, SP94-37C - Property Located South of Nine Mile Road, East of Novi Road for Possible Final Site Plan Approval.
Member Hoadley requested that Cadillac Asphalt be removed from the Consent Agenda.
Member Mutch said she had minor corrections to both sets of Minutes and she requested those two items be removed from the Consent Agenda.
Chairman Clark said regarding the remaining items, he would entertain a motion to approve those items, those being Items #3, Andris/Romain and Item #5, Estate Storage.
It was then,
Moved by Member Mutch
Seconded by Member Weddington
To approve Items #3, Andris/Roman, SP90-48C and Item #5, Estate Storage, SP94-37C of the Consent Agenda.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes)
Motion Carried Unanimously.
Member Mutch then gave her corrections to the Minutes.
1. May 3, 1995 - Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes.
Member Mutch referred to Page 42, the first paragraph, eight lines down, where the sentence begins with speeches and the word, plodding, was not correct and should be deleted from that sentence.
2. May 17, 1995 - Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes.
Member Mutch referred to the May 17, 1995 Minutes, Page 9 under Special Presentation and she would request in the second, third, and fourth paragraph under Special Presentation, wherever David Chasco's name was mentioned, it should be Dr. David Chasco and the first reference to him where it says he was present should identify him as Dr. David Chasco, AIA, of the Lawrence Technological University, just so everyone would know who he was and where he was from.
Member Mutch said also on Page 9 the last paragraph, the fourth line down the word, Zuzuki Meyers Consulting Firm should be Suzuki Meyers Consulting Firm.
There were no further corrections and a motion was made.
Moved by Member Weddington
Seconded by Member Hoadley
To approve the Minutes of May 3, 1995 and May 17, 1995 as corrected.
(voice vote) Motion Carried Unanimously
4. Cadillac Asphalt, SP95-26A - Property Located
south of Grand River Avenue, West of Wixom Road for Possible Preliminary Site Plan Approval.
Member Hoadley said there was a comment made by Mr. Gary Streight on this project and he wanted a clarification on it and Mr. Streight had indicated that unrestricted storm water discharge was planned for this site and he would ask Ms. Tepatti as to whether or not there should be an oil and gas separator there and what do they mean by unrestricted storm water discharge.
Ms. Tepatti said she talked with both Mr. Bluhm and Mr. Streight about this development and they stated that the existing development has been there for several years and there actually was no storm water system/no underground storm on this site and that the actual addition which was proposed now was quite small in size and does not really involve any increase in impervious area, so they don't even have a structure to put an oil and gas separator in.
Ms. Tepatti stated that Mr. Streight had indicated that the undetained runoff was basically sheet runoff and that has been the way this site has been discharging and the rain basically runs off the parking lot down the slope and into the grass so that was how he had stated the storm water was currently handled.
Member Hoadley asked where does it go after it goes to the grass and Ms. Tepatti said there were some wetlands to the south and she believed there was also a ditch along Wixom Road and it may be enclosed now and possibly Mr. Arroyo knows and Mr. Arroyo replied he wasn't sure if it was closed or not.
Member Hoadley asked would this not give them an opportunity at this time to upgrade this property so that they don't have unrestrained storm water going into a wetland and Ms. Tepatti said she did ask Mr. Bluhm that question and he had said he thought the impact was small enough and that the project had been in existence long enough that he didn't feel he could require them to install a storm water system at this time.
Member Hoadley said so what she was saying was that for the total project as it exists now, there was no problem with unrestricted water going into the wetlands even though it was going over asphalt and she said correct.
Member Hoadley said he had a problem with that personally and that was his only comment. He said here was an opportunity to upgrade a situation that probably was done years ago when they didn't have any mitigation in regards to disturbing wetlands and there was nothing in this packet that speaks to that.
Mr. Arroyo added that he had a chance to talk with Mr. Bluhm about this particular item and another point that he mentioned that might supplement Ms. Tepatti's comments was the fact that they would be required to pay a tap fee into the storm water discharge regional retention basin system and they would be assessed because of the fact that they were not doing on-site detention and also that was another way the City could at least collect the fees to help go towards a more regional solution to the problem in that area.
Mr. Arroyo said he wasn't really concerned about the tap fee but he was concerned as to whether or not this would be an opportunity for the Planning Commission to upgrade a situation that may or may not be acceptable and he didn't know if it was acceptable or not and he didn't know if the runoff was damaging those wetlands, but this would give them an opportunity if it was to require some kind of a retention basin or some kind of a gas and oil separator.
Member Hoadley said that was his question to Ms. Tepatti the other day when he talked to her about it, but he didn't know if his question has been answered properly.
Ms. Tepatti said Mr. Bluhm's opinion on that matter was he didn't feel that he would be justified in asking them to install a complete storm sewer system at this time and that the situation has drained and has been allowed to drain in the sheet-flow way that it has for many years and that Mr. Bluhm didn't feel that the addition being proposed would have any impact on the drainage on the site. She said Mr. Bluhm had indicated that the condition was still the same, so he didn't feel that it was his position to ask them to install a complete storm system at this time.
Member Hoadley asked if the flow going into the wetlands was damaging them in any way and Ms. Tepatti replied she didn't believe so. She said the wetland was not real close and it was to the south, but it flows through some of the thick vegetation. She also didn't believe that it was all going to the south and she believed it was split and there was just a small portion in the southern part of the parking lot that goes that way.
Member Hoadley said hearing that information, he would withdraw his objection.
Member Lorenzo said she shared that same concern and she would like an interpretation from Mr. Watson in terms of whether or not the Planning Commission has any jurisdiction to require any sort of improvement such as a gas and oil separator location.
Mr. Watson said he couldn't answer that question without examining in detail the Design and Construction Standards with Mr. Bluhm. He said he could only assume that by Mr. Streight's letter, when they recommend unrestricted storm water discharge being continued, that they recommend it because they believe it complies with that Ordinance and the standards but without looking at those standards himself, he couldn't answer that question.
Member Lorenzo said it might be prudent of the Commission to postpone a decision on this. Mr. Watson said they could either postpone the decision or ask that it be returned for Final with that question being answered at that time.
Member Hoadley said he could make a motion to postpone it until the applicant comes back with an answer on that question or if the Commission feels it would be better to approve it with that answer coming back to them for Final, he would make a motion to that effect.
Moved by Member Hoadley
Seconded by Member Lorenzo
To postpone Cadillac Asphalt, SP95-26A to the next Regular Planning Commission meeting to obtain answers from JCK and Mr. Watson regarding the storm water disposal concerns.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Hodges said she would like clarification for addressing whether or not this complies with the Site Plan Ordinance and Member Lorenzo added whether or not they have any jurisdiction to require something like a gas and oil separator. She said at least if they were going to continue discharging water in this fashion, at least could they require some type of filtering system before it enters the wetland system.
Member Hodges asked if that was what the motion was for or was the motion to see if it applies to the Ordinance for their jurisdiction or for just design.
Mr. Watson said he interpreted all the questions about design and jurisdiction to be whether this was approvable under the Ordinance or not.
Member Mutch said maybe she misunderstood what Ms. Tepatti said, but did she understand her to say that in her conversation with Mr. Bluhm, was he indicating having oil and gas separators requires almost an over-kill situation in terms of construction improvements on site that really were not justified.
Ms. Tepatti said yes that was Mr. Bluhm's opinion that currently there was no underground piping in place and she did not personally review the plans for engineering but she assumed they would have to rip up portions of the existing parking lot to install a storm sewer system.
Ms. Tepatti said there may be the possibility that some type of other filtering system could be used or a swale or something along the edges of the site, but that was something they could review with Mr. Bluhm.
Member Mutch said if someone asks about having oil and gas separators, it wasn't just a simple thing of going out and sticking something in the ground, but it was actually part of a system that has to be built.
Ms. Tepatti explained usually with new sites, that system was being built and it was not a problem to install those or even if there was already a system in place, but in this project, they never had storm sewers apparently and it just runs right off of the parking lot.
Member Mutch then said from what Mr. Bluhm has indicated to her and what he wrote to the Commission, despite the fact that they haven't had that in place, there does not appear to have been a problem and Ms. Tepatti said that was correct.
Chairman Clark said they would take a vote on the motion to postpone to the next Regular Planning Commission meeting.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Capello (No), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (No), Taub (Abstain), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes)
(6) Yeas (2) Nays
1. Map Amendment No. 18.538 - Sinai Hospital of Detroit - Property located south of Twelve Mile Road, east of Meadowbrook Road for Possible Recommendation to City Council to rezone from (R-A) Residential Agricultural District to (OS-1) Office Service District or any other appropriate zoning district.
Mr. Jerome Hirsch, Counsel for the Sinai Health Care System, was present. He indicated they have petitioned the Planning Commission to request the rezoning of a site which was 39 acres in size. He indicated the purpose was to build a number of buildings and develop a health care facility campus located on this property, which was a medical center.
Mr. Hirsch said by way of background, the Sinai Health System operates its main Hospital campus located on Outer Drive in the City of Detroit and it provides comprehensive coordinated care for out-patient and in-patient facilities, which includes approximately 600 beds of hospital and offers primary care physicians and various specialists at that facility. He said in addition, they have locations in Wayne County, Macomb County, and Oakland County and this particular location was of unique importance to them as it was located at the expressway and the new M-5 Interchange, which was really ideally suited for this type of development in terms of access and availability to serve the City of Novi and its residents.
Mr. Hirsch said in keeping with the changing times, Sinai was constantly trying to expand its services to meet the needs of the various communities and as the population moves into the northwest area, the City of Novi represents that type of need for the Sinai Health Care System/System Facilities.
Mr. Hirsch said the new campus would provide primary care which would include an urgent care center, a woman's health center and general and special care for all patients in a modern beautiful campus setting which would be the latest and comprehensive coordinated care on a one-stop basis concept.
Mr. Hirsch said they expect to immediately apply for site plan approval so that they would be able to commence construction of the new campus facilities in approximately the Spring of 1996. He said they were initially intending to build two buildings totalling approximately 100,000 sq. ft., which would include primary care physicians, specialists, and a diagnostic and treatment center, all of which would be in a campus-like development including substantial open landscaped areas.
Mr. Hirsch then introduced Mr. Jim Schoeck and Mr. Richard Moed, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Sinai Hospital. He said they would all be happy to answer any questions. He said he appreciated their consideration of their request for this rezoning and hope the Commission would look favorably upon it.
Mr. Rogers said he has written a report on the merits of this case for an approximate 40 acre site at the southeast quadrant of Twelve Mile Road and Meadowbrook, which he pointed out to everyone.
Mr. Rogers said it was presently zoned R-A District with the exception of a one acre site that the Commission reviewed for a professional recruiting company that renovated a house about 2-3 years ago and that was what the blue area would be and that was already zoned OS-1.
Mr. Rogers said the Master Plan recommends this entire area for Office future land use. He said in the application by Sinai Hospital, the purpose was to permit the property to be used for Hospital and medical offices including laboratories and clinics and other personal services, related activities, and off-street parking.
Mr. Rogers said the zoning to OS-1 would permit upon special land use approval, a hospital and related ancillary facilities if it has a 20 acre site and this site was just under 40 acres. He said it also permits a building height in the OS-1 District of up to 5 stories if need be.
Mr. Rogers said he has felt that it would be far superior to have property along the Twelve Mile Road Corridor, with the blue being proposed office development, of a large parcel development with internal roads rather than strip office development or other types of commercial development along Meadowbrook and Twelve Mile Road.
Mr. Rogers said there was an opportunity here to develop a major quadrant of this intersection and it was his understanding that property to the east, the piece of property which was somewhat landlocked, was owned by MDOT and it was proposed for future use as office but it was not part of this petition.
Mr. Rogers said he wholeheartedly recommended the rezoning and it was consistent with the Master Plan and consistent with good future large parcel development and he felt it provides, if built, a service to the City.
A lady by the name of Sue Ann was present and she indicated she lived across the street from this parcel and she would contend that while Twelve Mile Road has been improved and while the Connector was open, Meadowbrook Road has not been appreciably improved and when there was the traffic flow for the rush hours, it was not a rush hour flow but it was a standstill.
Sue Ann said the road was not up to more traffic as it couldn't handle what it has right now and she was concerned about the zoning on their side of the street and whether their small farms zoning would be left alone or if the City would try and ram through something.
Sue Ann indicated she was not in favor of this and the City didn't want the parcel for Providence and she couldn't see that this was necessary either. She felt there were adequate Hospital facilities in Novi and they don't need this development.
There being no further Audience Participation, Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
Member Lorenzo said she would support the rezoning since it was consistent with the Master Plan, but she wanted to caution the Petitioner that as Mr. Rogers has pointed out, the use as a hospital and related facility was a special land use and would be looked at and scrutinized very carefully so that it was not a given that once the zoning for OS-1 was in place, that their project would automatically fit that zoning category and she just wanted to caution them about that.
Member Lorenzo said she would keep an open mind, but she would also be scrutinizing the project very carefully. She then said she would make a motion.
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Capello
To send a positive recommendation to City Council on Map Amendment No. 18.538, Sinai Hospital of Detroit, to rezone from R-A District to OS-1 District.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Hoadley asked if they could make this zoning conditional that this particular project be the only project considered for that rezoning. He said once they do an OS-1, anything could go in there and they could change their mind or sell the property, and he asked could they make this a conditional rezoning.
Mr. Watson said there were circumstances where conditions could be attached to a rezoning and it really boils down to whether those conditions were reasonable to protect the adjacent area. He said if it was simply a condition limited to that particular use, he felt they would have a problem, the main reason being because that use was a special land use and essentially they were saying that none of the principal uses permitted in that district were permitted on that property.
Mr. Watson said so really the limitation they were putting on any use of that property was extraordinary, so in this particular case, although there were circumstances in which conditions could be placed on a rezoning, in the past, they have made recommendations to that effect, and he didn't feel it would be appropriate under those circumstances.
Mr. Rogers said he had a point of clarification. He said upon visiting the Ordinance, it appears that a hospital, if in truth this was a hospital, would be a principal permitted use and if all they were going to do was to put in a medical office, a laboratory and a clinic, that was another line item as a principal permitted use and it would be subject to all the site plan review standards, but there wouldn't be a need for a subsequent special land use hearing.
Mr. Rogers said so if, as and when they bring in an acceptable site plan, the Commission would see it at the time of Preliminary site plan review and for all he knew, there may be some woodland permits or wetland permits involved also but he just didn't know.
Member Bonaventura asked a question of Mr. Arroyo and asked him to give a description of the improvements made to Twelve Mile Road from a Traffic Consultant's standpoint. Mr. Arroyo replied essentially what has happened was they have a boulevard section put in place there that has provided a substantial amount of excess capacity at this time based on his observations.
Member Bonaventura said he has also had a chance to have a brief discussion with the Traffic Consultant for Sinai Hospital, who was working on a traffic study that would be submitted when they come forward with the site plan. He said that information also indicated that there was a substantial amount of excess capacity on Twelve Mile Road given the improvements that have been made in that area.
Member Bonaventura said obviously at this time since they were just talking about a rezoning, they couldn't get into the specifics but he asked what about as far as a worse case scenario of OS-1 compared to R-A and the traffic generated from the two uses on that corner and which would place more of a burden on Twelve Mile Road.
Mr. Arroyo explained an OS use of most every instance that he could think of would, on a per acre basis, generate more traffic than a one acre lot residential development, but as he mentioned, he felt the question was could the roads handle it and certainly they have a situation where there was a lot of capacity right now and he didn't have any doubts that once this development was completed, based on what was the capacity right now, that there would be available capacity to handle that.
Member Bonaventura said his problem was that Novi Road used to have a lot of capacity and Grand River used to have a lot of capacity, and he often wondered why they go to the bother of improving roads when all they do was load them up again. He said that was exactly what they were doing here, and if they rezone this area, they would be putting OS-1 on that corner where right now, they have a less intense use and using the Master Plan as a guide, he didn't particularly follow that portion of the Master Plan.
Member Bonaventura said also considering to the northeast, they have a project of 300 acres and 1,100 bungalow units which would effectively increase their population 9.3% and he was curious about the effects that would have on Twelve Mile Road which now has excess capacity. He said at some point in time, it would not have excess capacity and he really felt they should proceed with caution in loading Twelve Mile Road up.
Member Bonaventura said as was his understanding, it was obviously planned to extend those improvements down Twelve Mile Road already down to Beck Road as was his understanding and he asked was that correct.
Mr. Arroyo indicated the next stage was to extend the boulevard section through Dixon Road, which was short of Beck Road but eventually he would anticipate that would tie in with Beck Road.
Member Bonaventura said his fear was if they keep on following this path, which has been a path that has been followed by many communities before them and followed for many years in the past since right after World War II, it just wouldn't work with him and he could not support the motion.
Member Hoadley said since this was a permitted use and not a special land use according to Mr. Rogers, he was wondering if Member Lorenzo would mind amending her motion to be specific that just Sinai Hospital could be developed, because as he stated earlier, once the Commission rezones it, anything could happen.
Member Taub said the Commission would have to ask the City Attorney for his advice on that issue and Member Hoadley said Mr. Watson had spoke about the special land use.
Mr. Watson said his particular concerns were within the special land use and he still had other problems with it. He said to give them an example of a particular Michigan Supreme Court Case that approved conditions on rezoning, it was for a particular need to protect an adjacent area and that case involved a condition on the rezoning to establish a buffer area next to where commercial property was going to be developed next to residential and the Court had stated that was an inappropriate condition to be put on the property because it related to the specific planning concerns.
Mr. Watson said when they talk about rezoning this to an office use and then saying it was for only Sinai Hospital, they were really calling to question the very nature of their OS District, and in effect, they were saying some of those uses were not appropriate from a planning standpoint within an office district or the remainder of those uses, and he felt the Commission would have problems with that.
Member Hoadley said he wanted to follow-up on what Member Bonaventura asked and he didn't have a problem with Twelve Mile Road as Member Bonaventura did, but a lady from the Audience just spoke regarding Meadowbrook Road and he would like to know what traffic would generate on Meadowbrook Road being a hospital and how would they accommodate it.
Mr. Arroyo said he would anticipate that based on the type of facility they were talking about, which was a medical facility, that it would draw from a fairly large area, and generally that means and he would anticipate that a substantial amount of traffic would come from roads such as Twelve Mile Road at M-5 for example, getting that freeway excess and having excess to the Twelve Mile Boulevard, which extends into the most heavily concentrated population area, which at this present time, would be to the east where they were picking up the Farmington Hills area, and certain areas of Novi, and certain areas of West Bloomfield and that was where most of their capacity was now.
Mr. Arroyo said obviously there would be traffic added to Meadowbrook Road, and most of the traffic that would come to and from this facility that would use Meadowbrook Road, would likely be coming from the south since that was where the logical connection would be made. He said, however, without having done a full traffic study and analyzing it, he couldn't give them final conclusions, but he would anticipate that it would be a much smaller percentage than what would be loaded onto Twelve Mile Road and that the majority would be loaded onto Twelve Mile Road.
Mr. Arroyo said in the event they were going to have access to Meadowbrook Road, which he assumed they would, he certainly would evaluate that to make sure all appropriate passing lanes and deceleration lanes were put in place so that if there was traffic turning in off of Meadowbrook Road, that the impact to the through traffic that was currently on Meadowbrook Road would be minimized by putting those improvements in place.
Member Mutch said what she heard described were medical laboratories, clinics, and offices and then there was also reference made to a Hospital, and she was just wondering was this a project that was envisioned as what they would recognize as a Hospital with additional uses or was it those additional uses and not a Hospital facility such as Sinai Hospital in Detroit and would it be comparable to what they have now with Providence Hospital.
Mr. Moed said what they were planning right now and what was before the Commission was the rezoning and what their plans call for was an out-patient facility and they were not building beds. He indicated they were building laboratories, physician offices, x-ray rooms and most definitely they would build a woman's center for mammography. He indicated in many ways, it was many of the things they would find in a hospital, but they were not building in-patient beds and what they were looking for right now was they were building an out-patient facility.
Mr. Moed said what they have throughout Oakland County were many small offices where they have a woman's center and care in one and internal medicine in another so that within one complex they would have all of those services.
Member Mutch said so it would be out-patient but not anything requiring extended care and Mr. Moed said that was correct. Member Mutch said from what she understood, labor/delivery type services were in and out now and that might also be something they would be doing because that no longer seems to take an extended period of time.
Mr. Moed said their planning has not gotten to that level of detail where they have actually thought about a birthing center, but they would definitely be doing pre-natal care and doing the traditional woman's health care such as mammography, etc.
Member Mutch said she was just trying to make the distinction between what they traditionally think of as a hospital facility and what was now evolving in that particular field. She said as was pointed out, some of the services that they would previously have had to go to a hospital for, because that was the only place they could find it, were now being set up in satellite centers and that was what this sounds like.
Mr. Moed said exactly and they were building the future because hospital care has changed from that traditional in-patient denominated care to a system where the majority of the activities were done on an out-patient basis.
Chairman Clark said to follow-up on what Member Mutch just asked in terms of whether or not the hospital was proposed or contemplated at this site, he assumed that at the present time, Sinai does not have an application pending with the State Department of Health for a Certificate of Need for a hospital and it was stated they do not.
Mr. Moed explained many years ago there was a Certificate of Need application filed jointly by Henry Ford and Sinai Hospital for a West Bloomfield Hospital and that Certificate of Need was in the Courts and has been in the Courts for many years so yes, there was a pending Certificate of Need, but it has nothing to do with this site and it was a joint venture with Henry Ford and they don't know the outcome and frankly don't know if it would be practical to build a hospital as a joint venture, but that was pending.
Member Weddington said she supported the Master Plan. She said this sounds like a nice proposal, but she shared every one of the concerns that have been voiced that evening. She said they were just loading up the whole City with high intensive uses and the people in this City don't have water and they were gridlocked in their homes and couldn't get in or out of their driveways and everyone that she has talked to just wants to put on the brakes, so she wasn't sure if she could support this proposal at this time and she was sitting on the fence.
Member Weddington said but as a warning, she felt the large scale projects were going to get very close scrutiny because they were just getting to a saturation point and she wasn't sure they could support this with the competition of the other existing facilities and she wasn't sure if it was actually needed in this area.
Chairman Clark said whatever action was taken that evening, it was simply going to constitute a recommendation to City Council and recommendation only that on this matter, they would have the final say and the Council would also have the advantage of the entire minutes and all of the discussion concerning this item.
Member Bonaventura said since they were talking about the hospital specifically, were there any medical facilities close by to that corner. Mr. Rogers said the nearest one would be the Woodlands Medical Clinic on the south side of Twelve Mile just west of Meadowbrook Road and then south on Haggerty Road at Ten Mile, the northwest corner, there was a ten acre parcel and it was his understanding that Providence Center was retaining that for an out- patient facility and then Providence has its campus over at Grand River and Beck Road.
Member Bonaventura said there were facilities close to this one then. He also said something Member Weddington brought up was that this would be another regional facility that the City of Novi would play host to and when having a regional facility, they all pay for it and there was no doubt about it and sometimes there were benefits. He said when Novi was a young community, he was sure everyone was very happy over the fact of having a regional mall and they have had a lot of benefits from that and they have had a lot on the downside too.
Member Bonaventura said his main concern would be that as soon as they make an improvement to a piece of their infrastructure, they find ways to degrade it and that bothers him greatly because it was a direction done by many other communities before.
Member Capello said he agreed with Member Weddington that they were getting some growth, however, if they want to maintain their quality of life and the additional services that this City wants, including the new parks and the improvements to those parklands, they need to invite projects of this sort into the City and it was projects of this sort that were bringing money into the community and bringing additional service into the community so they could maintain the type of living that they want and that the City of Novi wants.
Member Capello said Member Bonaventura was against growth and if they keep this as residential and develop it as residential, it was going to continue to put them in the hole economically, and they were not going to be able to support the additional residential growth unless they bring commercial development into the City also.
Member Capello said he agreed with Member Lorenzo and he would support a positive recommendation to City Council and he felt it would be a good project and he felt they need this type of project in the City.
Member Taub asked would this hospital be of a non-profit nature where it would be tax-exempt or would Sinai Hospital be paying taxes at this location.
Mr. Moed indicated that Sinai was a non-profit organization and Sinai in many of its ventures, depending on the structure and the financing, does pay property tax.
Member Taub asked with this special services project in place and without the beds that they have been describing, would that project be paying taxes. Mr. Moed said they anticipate that parts of this project and certain buildings would be. He said for example, if they lease space to physicians who were not employees of Sinai, then that was taxable.
Member Taub said overall of what was described, the mammography, etc., would that basically be taxable, and he didn't mean what he would be renting to a private physician, but the specialized services that they would be providing here in the state-of-the-art facility.
Mr. Moed said a lot has to do with ultimately the way it was financed and if it was financed in a certain way, then it would pay taxes and if they were able to float exempt bonds for particular buildings that have nothing but hospital owned and controlled services, then that building would not be taxable.
Member Taub said then there was a fair chance that much of what would be constructed would be essentially non-taxable and he asked would that be a fair statement. Mr. Moed said he wasn't sure that they could put, at this point in their planning, the percentage that would be taxable and the percentage that would not be taxable.
Member Taub said obviously this was a salutary use and it was a medical use and they were all familiar with Sinai Hospital, and it fits the Master Plan, but he did share the concerns that Novi was becoming largely and quickly in many respects, a weigh-station for commercial regional uses that would be of service to those individuals and families that would be living in Commerce Township, and living down U.S. 23, living down I-96 and on one level, there was nothing wrong with that, but if they live in Novi and they were suffering from water shortages and traffic, they have understandable concerns.
Member Taub said what the Commission was doing was positively or negatively making a recommendation to City Council and they were not making a decision such as they would in a special land use and he did have concerns. He said Member Capello brought up a good point that they always look at which was the taxable benefit, but he felt there was a big question mark here and they have to possibly to some extent put that aside and couldn't give it the same importance that they would give to a project that would be fully taxable, and they have no idea if it would be taxable at all based on what he has heard, but again he had concerns because they have Providence Hospital at Grand River and Beck Road that serves the community.
Member Taub said he was glad that it wasn't his ultimate decision to make but the City Council's decision. He said they were just loading up on commercial and not just for themselves and not just for a tax base, but they were loading up on commercial for outlying and areas to be established over the next five years elsewhere. He then said perhaps they should have more discussion before they make a recommendation because he had the same concerns as Member Bonaventura and Member Weddington.
Member Hodges said one of the things that she felt was also a concern here was the quality of life and it has been said that they were narrowing the facilities here. She said the corporation her husband works for reviews their medical plans every year and every year, she calls the insurance companies and she asks where were the facilities as she has an asthmatic son and under one company plan, she would have to drive him to Henry Ford Hospital downtown when he has an asthma attack.
Member Hodges said this was not a signalized condition and more and more of their medical plans were isolating the service facilities and their people have to have local choices and yes they have to bear the crux of the traffic, etc., but she was sure any of them in a medical emergency would not want to be told that they have to drive from Novi to Henry Ford Hospital to be cared for simply because their insurance would not pay for Providence and it happens everyday and this was a major corporation her husband works for.
Member Hodges felt when they look at the quality of life that they were giving up, yes they have to give up something and maybe they have to endure the traffic, but certainly when it comes to health, what was the trade-off and she welcomed this facility for that simple reason because there were people who do not have choices like her and her husband have and in a facility like this that would offer more choices for the population, the more they were welcome.
Member Mutch said that was what she was thinking. She said just because they have one grocery store or one dentist in town does not mean that the community was adequately serviced. She also shared the concerns that no one wants to see a building or a community that was over-built in one particular area where they may end up with vacant buildings that couldn't be reused because they were designed for a specific use.
Member Mutch said at this particular point, they have someone coming to them requesting a rezoning and it was at their expense, and the City just at this level has the opportunity to benefit by rezoning so that they have property that would now be zoned in accordance with the Master Plan.
Member Mutch said when the Master Plan was developed, people who were on the Planning Commission at that time knew that this particular zoning that was being requested could be office, could be medical facilities, and could be all the other permitted uses.
Member Mutch felt if they make a positive recommendation to Council and Sinai follows through on the request as they have said, they would bring their site plan back immediately, and the Commission knows they then have the opportunity to deal with a site plan, not a speculative notion of what they may or may not do and they would have something very specific.
Member Mutch felt because Sinai was saying to them that night that they were planning on coming back immediately, the Commission knows that they would most probably be dealing with the Sinai site plan and they were not dealing with resale of the property to someone else for some other use or even for the same use.
Member Mutch felt as far as their concerns about traffic and whether this was a regional facility or a local facility, those were things that they could more properly discuss when a site plan was presented to them. She felt they do have an opportunity now to get property rezoned at the applicant's expense to the benefit of the City.
Member Taub said he wanted to point out that he was certainly sympathetic to what Member Hodges brought up especially because it comes from her own personal family situation and she speaks with personal knowledge of the dilemma of needing a special service and needing it now and needing it nearby.
Member Taub pointed out in terms of planning, in any way the Commission wants to, they couldn't plan this type of Sinai proposed facility or anything else of a specialized nature to basically be on everyone's corner and they couldn't even do it in terms of having it in every City and every suburb in Oakland County.
Member Taub said he certainly felt from an overall planning prospective, there has to be an array or a menu of medical services that someone could get to in a quick fashion and it was just a question of whether Novi was necessarily going to be the respiratory for each and every medical service of every nature for its own citizens or even nearby citizens.
Member Hoadley said when he reviewed this earlier yesterday, he wrote a note that said no opinion on this at this time and he was waiting for testimony. He said one of the wonderful things about public hearings and listening to other Commissioners and the public at large was that it allows them to make better informed decisions. He said he was going to vote against this, but Member Hodges made a very powerful statement and argument in favor of it and he for one has changed his mind and would support it.
Member Lorenzo said the Master Plan was basically in their court or in their hands and if any Commissioner has any potential concerns or problems with areas of the Master Plan, it was not at the time when someone comes ahead with a rezoning proposal to air those concerns and get debate among the Commissioners.
Member Lorenzo said any one of them at any meeting could propose for future meeting discussions on the Master Plan, or the Master Plan and Zoning Committee could have discussions to meet to evaluate the situation. She said although Member Bonaventura and others have brought up some very good points, those were points that could have been and maybe should have been made at a previous meeting for discussion.
Member Lorenzo said they do have an opportunity onto this zoning classification or under this public hearing to recommend zoning of this property to any appropriate zoning district, and what was the appropriate zoning district and other than the one that was master planned OS-1, they don't have any background information. She said yes it was R-A at this point and was it realistic to think that they were going to get homes on one acre in that area at this time, considering the traffic and considering surrounding uses in that area and considering the boulevard, she didn't think so.
Member Lorenzo said could they get R-1 or R-2 and maybe they could, but she didn't know, and those discussions should be before a Petitioner comes before them with a rezoning to what they have it already master planned. She said she shared some of their concerns and possibly if she had additional information, she may even agree with another zoning for this area, but she didn't feel this was the time or place for it unfortunately, and she felt it was too late at this particular venture and point.
Chairman Clark said he could support this proposal and he may have concerns about the traffic, and he felt his concerns about traffic were well known in this community, however, the community, as has been pointed out, was growing and it has grown substantially since when he came to Novi in 1979. He said as the population grows, so grows the needs of the citizens.
Chairman Clark said the point that Member Hodges made was well taken that it adds to the quality of life when a resident of the City of Novi doesn't have to take a sick child and put them in a car and go all the way down to the main hospital in Detroit to Ford Hospital because their insurance plan gave them limited choices and that was where they have to go. He said they have Providence and they have Woodland, which was part of the Wayne State University Medical Complex and the addition of Sinai certainly would be an added benefit to the community.
Chairman Clark said when they look at the Novi-Grand River-Twelve Mile Road area, that one square mile, it has been stated before, that they have in a one square mile, the highest concentration of retail development in the State of Michigan and that was well-known, and he certainly saw nothing wrong with Novi also being known as a community that within a couple of square miles, has some of the finest medical facilities in the State and that could only be a plus for every member of this community and they should bear in mind that the population was aging and as the population ages, the need for medical care and medical care that was close and convenient becomes of paramount importance so he felt this could only be a plus for the City of Novi in the long run so he would be in support.
Member Bonaventura said the comment was directed specifically at him that he was against growth and he wasn't against growth, but he was for growth and he was for responsible growth, growth management, and he didn't want to put the brakes on development and he just wanted to let up off of the accelerator.
Member Bonaventura said as far as the Master Plan, which Member Lorenzo talked about, to the best of his knowledge, he was always told that the Master Plan was a guide and was not the Bible and it was something that they could use and that was the way he was using it that evening and maybe he has a misunderstanding, but if they were trying to make a point here that this Planning Commission has been consistent with the Master Plan, he could point out several instances where this Commission has gone against the Master Plan, but that didn't bother him because it was a guide.
Member Hoadley then called the question.
Chairman Clark said there was a motion brought before the Commission, a positive recommendation to City Council for rezoning with reference to Map Amendment No. 18.538 from R-A Residential Agriculture District to OS-1 Office Service District.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (No), Bonaventura (No), Capello (Yes)
(7) Yeas (2) Nays
2. Novi Place/Chili's Restaurant, SP94-30 A & B - Property Located West of Haggerty Road between Eight Mile Road and Nine Mile Road for Possible Special Land Use Approval, Preliminary Site Plan and Woodlands Permit Approval.
The Applicant was present and indicated he had been before the Commission in October of last year regarding the referenced project on Haggerty Road just north of Eight Mile Road. He said they had appeared and made a presentation and at that presentation they had discussed a variety of issues and Mr. Rogers and various other Consultants of the City made their reports and at that time, traffic had been the issue.
The Applicant felt that everyone had understood that the impending opening of M-5 was going to have an impact on traffic as Mr. Arroyo had indicated, and Mr. Arroyo had made a recommendation that any decision on the project be withheld pending study of the actual impact of the M-5.
The Applicant said in any event, the Commission had voted negatively and since that time, they have studied the impact and submitted the results to Mr. Arroyo and have spoken with the City and been invited back in a limited capacity of discussing the traffic issue.
The Applicant indicated he was there for that issue, but was open for any other questions that may be asked of him. He said Mr. Arroyo would probably go through this in some detail and he would like to, since it appears to be more of a question type of a situation, make a few comments and then be available to respond to comments and questions of the Consultants and Commission.
The Applicant said the major concern of the traffic situation was that the intersection of Eight Mile and Haggerty currently operates at a significant rate of failure on all the Levels of Service and the movements there.
The Applicant indicated he had proposed in his initial report that retail would be a better use in terms of the traffic generation as compared to that of Office. He said he also believed that M-5 would have a positive impact on the intersection.
The Applicant said he had felt the State had projected a 23% decrease when M-5 was completed and it was partially completed in November or December and opened part of the way that it was going to ultimately go. He said when they re-studied it, he found that it was actually a 16% reduction and he discussed further.
The Applicant said notwithstanding that, they have proposed certain other additions and enhancements to the intersection of Eight Mile and Haggerty in the belief that they wanted to enhance the intersection and eliminate any concerns as to what they could realistically address at the intersection.
The Applicant said in their recent report, they have proposed a right-hand through lane and an additional right-hand lane all the way from the entrance to the Novi Hilton down to Eight Mile Road, which would act as a through-lane/right-hand turn lane.
The Applicant said they have also suggested the addition of a left-hand turn lane from southbound Haggerty onto eastbound Eight Mile Road, because as they recall, there was a tremendous stacking problem which was causing difficulty at the intersection. He said there was currently a curb cut at the north side of Chili's, which he pointed out, which was by agreement with the property and the curb cut belongs to the property there.
The Applicant indicated they had proposed no new curb cuts as a matter of fact for the shopping center. He then pointed out where they have taken a curb cut and moved it out of the impact of the center turn lane area so that people coming out of the shopping center would not be going right in to where the high stacking problem was.
The Applicant said they also restricted the movements here and people coming out of the center would only be able to turn right and people heading north on Haggerty would not be allowed to make a left-hand turn into the shopping center. He said they would only be able to make a right-hand turn into the shopping center as they head south.
The Applicant said they had originally proposed that this Novi Hilton entrance be boulevarded and improved to accommodate the left-hand traffic into the center, which would then use the internal roadway to come into the shopping center. The Applicant indicated Mr. Arroyo in his report had raised some concern about that and they have been working with him to understand his concerns and see if they could address them.
The Applicant said his problem was that with the movements coming in and the traffic from the shopping center trying to make a left- hand turn out, that they would be increasing a conflict potentially there. He said in response to that, they have offered to make this a one-way into the shopping center so their traffic would not go back out and make a left hand turn and they would have to use Orchard Hill Place Road to go to the already existing intersections.
The Applicant said they had also discussed with Mr. Arroyo a concern that he had raised as to a potential conflict in movements between the shopping center and the child daycare center. He said regarding the child daycare center, after conversation with the owners as well as observation of the use of the facility, there was a curb cut here just on Orchard Hill Place Road where the children were dropped off and picked up and people come in and out to Orchard Hill Place.
The Applicant said this lot which was close to their means of ingress and egress, was an employee parking lot and in fact, the entrance to the building was on the front and it was very far and inconvenient and it was not the entrance which was used, so there were only eight parking spaces back there and the traffic would be minimal and he believed with that understanding, it was less of a concern to Mr. Arroyo.
The Applicant said further there was a historical tree that they wanted to save in their planning so they felt that the less amount of impervious materials the better for the tree and they left it there on the site.
The Applicant said they had also addressed a concern which Mr. Arroyo had raised in his report as to the enhancement of the Chili's access, and the concern of Mr. Arroyo was that the people who were trying to turn left into Chili's might conflict with people trying to turn left into Meijer's.
The Applicant said when Mr. Slaven of Reid Cool Associates had gone out there and relooked at it, he found that predominantly the traffic stacks eastbound and the traffic was mainly in the eastbound direction and flowing in the westbound direction and that people wanting to get into this entrance, which was not lining up with Orchard Hill Place Road, were not being allowed to cut in because they would need two lanes of traffic to stop and allow them to get across, which was not occurring and he pointed out where most people were making their left turns.
The Applicant said in addition to that, currently in the study six cars made the left-hand turn as they headed east and made the northward turn into the Chili's for Chili's and it was projected that 25 additional movements would come in there as a result of the shopping center. He said that was a minimal amount of 30 movements into the shopping center, but also he said everyone felt that people as they got comfortable with the shopping center would find easier alternative routes in, i.e., through Orchard Hill Place Road and through the other entrances.
The Applicant then said that was the basic summary of where they have moved since they had last spoken and at this point, he would like to turn the meeting over for questions and answers and discussion.
Mr. Rogers said his report of September 28th was the same as they had at the previous hearing and at that time, he recommended Special Land Use Review in an OSC District on two counts, the restaurant and the planned 3 store commercial center.
Mr. Rogers said he did allude on Page 2 to the need for Mr. Arroyo to comment on traffic and he would defer to him on that issue. He said the utility services were at the site and regarding the woodlands permit, there were letters in the file back in September from Mr. Pargoff and Ms. Lemke which requires some additional data before a permit would actually be issued.
Mr. Rogers said on the site plan application list, the buildings do meet the OSC zoning district setbacks and the second point was the amount of parking. He said the requirement and the formula he used from the Ordinance was for 862 parking spaces and that includes the new proposed restaurant and the Chili's Restaurant, which has been tied into the plan that he has reviewed.
Mr. Rogers said of those spaces, 730 were on the site delineated and 132 would be provided on adjacent property. He said there was a slight excess of parking at Crystal Glens which was immediately to the north and their traffic consultant/parking consultant has concluded because of the use of parking in this overall complex of Orchard Hill Place, that there could be legitimate shared parking.
Mr. Rogers said he has to distinguish this shared parking approach from that and the TC-1 District where they recently considered another type of formula for shared parking that this Commission reviewed and approved.
Mr. Rogers felt there should be further discussion that night on shared parking. He said the greenspace perimeter was in compliance and the second variance would be the amount of parking in the front yard facing Haggerty and he wouldn't go through the numbers, but the Haggerty Road frontage was in excess of what the Ordinance requires, which was a maximum of 50% of the land area could be used for parking between the 35 foot front yard greenspace setback and the building facades.
Mr. Rogers said the loading on the plans would face west on Orchard Hill Place Drive and would be as was shown schematically on the plan and then further reviewed at Final site plan review for proper screening. He said that loading area and the building set down considerably if they look at the topo from Orchard Hill Place Drive. Mr. Rogers felt there was a real opportunity to screen that at this point. He then talked briefly about the facade materials and the signage.
Mr. Rogers said regarding the sidewalks, they would be 6 feet wide concrete and they were proposed along Haggerty Road and Orchard Hill Place Drive along the north side of the property and entrance drive and access to Crystal Glens, and there were a number of sidewalks knitting this project together, which was a requirement for retail in an OSC District.
Mr. Rogers said he recommended (1) special land use approval; (2) ZBA review of shared parking; (3) ZBA review of the parking in the front yard; and (4) obtaining ultimately a woodlands permit.
Mr. Arroyo said he would be doing two things that evening and he would start off by going over Mr. Bluhm's review which was actually written by Mr. Belschner of JCK and he would briefly highlight that letter on behalf of him.
Mr. Arroyo said in terms of providing water and sanitary sewer, water was available and there was a water main on Haggerty Road at the northeast corner and there was also one at the southeast corner and by connecting those two, it would provide a loop system within the Orchard Hill Place development and that was available and they would require that connection.
Mr. Arroyo said in terms of sanitary sewer, once again that was existing along the southern portion of the site and that would be extended up to serve this development. He said also regarding storm sewer, when the Orchard Hill Place project originally came in, there was a master plan for storm water detention that was prepared and there were two existing basins, one of which was located in front of the Hilton and the other was on the east side of Haggerty and this project would discharge into those basins.
Mr. Arroyo indicated there was adequate capacity to handle the runoff from this project because it was originally factored into the overall engineering study that was done as part of this.
Mr. Arroyo said so JCK and Associates was recommending approval and they find on a preliminary basis, this plan does demonstrate engineering feasibility.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding the traffic, there was a revised traffic impact analysis prepared by Reid, Kool and Michalski and the primary purpose of this analysis was to document at least on a preliminary basis, what impacts the M-5 Interchange at 12 Mile Road has had on Haggerty Road and specifically on the Haggerty Road/Eight Mile Road intersection.
Mr. Arroyo said as has been mentioned, this project does have five points of access serving it, two of which come off of Haggerty, and neither of which were new to the system, and one would be a relocated Chili's Drive and the other would be the access coming from the Hilton and they have the existing drive on Eight Mile Road serving Chili's and then they have the two access points to Orchard Hill Place Drive, one of which was actually shared with Crystal Glens.
Mr. Arroyo said as he noted in his letter, a shopping center was a special approval use within the OSC District and the underlying principal permitted use within this district was office and so the focus of the traffic impact analysis has been comparing this use which was a special approval use with the underlying principal permitted use which was office.
Mr. Arroyo said on Page 2 of his report, he provided a trip generation comparison of the two particular developments as were theoretically proposed, one being a 236,000 sq. ft. office building and the other being a shopping center of the size that was included in the site plan.
Mr. Arroyo said they could see on a weekday AM peak hour, the office would actually generate more traffic than the proposed shopping center with 372 total trips versus 186 for the shopping center and during the PM peak hour, the opposite situation occurs where the shopping center would generate more traffic than the office would with 760 total trips versus 349.
Mr. Arroyo said one thing he has pointed out in his report which was important to consider was that some of the traffic that was generated by a shopping center was already on the road network and the shopping center captures it from the existing stream. He said for example, a person would leave work, stop at a shopping center on the way home from work and then continuing home. He said that traffic was not new to the road network and rather it was being captured temporarily and then returned on the primary route to the primary destination.
Mr. Arroyo said Table 2 in his report does provide a comparison between the PM peak hour new trips to the road network and it compares office with retail and they could see that the retail trips, those being new to the network, were forecast a total of 444 during the PM peak hour versus 349 for office, because virtually all of the office trips were in fact new to the road network so that provides them with a comparison.
Mr. Arroyo said of course one of the things that comes into play here was not just a comparison of trip generation, but rather what impact were those trips going to have on the road network itself and that was where the full-blown traffic impact study provides them with that information by comparing levels of service.
Mr. Arroyo said as they have mentioned, this traffic study has been revised and there were counts that were taken in January and March of 1995, which were factored into this analysis and those were roughly 2-3 months after M-5 has opened.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding the reductions, there have in fact been reductions and he could give them some detail on the specifics. He said for Haggerty Road itself, north of 8 Mile Road, the volumes have declined 12% during the morning peak hour and 16% during the PM peak hour since July of 1993.
Mr. Arroyo said since July of 1993, there has been other development that has occurred in the area that has increased volumes so if there hasn't been any additional development, those reductions and those percentages would probably actually be higher, but there was a reduction of 12% and 16% from the 1993 volumes, so they have seen some benefits from M-5 as was forecast.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding specific movements, in some instances they have had some rather substantial reductions and the most substantial has been the westbound right turn going from westbound on Eight Mile to go northbound on Haggerty and during the morning peak hour, that has dropped by 21% and has dropped by 30% during the PM peak hours, so there has been some substantial changes and obviously there were quite a few motorists that instead of getting off at I-275 and 8 Mile, were going up to M-5 and not traveling up northbound Haggerty Road, so there were some definite benefits being realized.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding the southbound left turn movement which was another critical movement in this area, during the morning peak hour, that southbound left turn has declined by approximately 19% from the July, 1993 levels and by approximately 10 1/2%, during the PM peak hour from the July 1993 levels, so they were also seeing reductions in that critical movement.
Mr. Arroyo said as was previously indicated, the Michigan Department of Transportation, when they originally did their study of M-5, had forecasted a drop on Haggerty Road of about 23% and at this point, the levels were somewhat closer to half or even a little better than half of that, but once again the full interchange was not there and all of M-5 was not complete and there was a potential that some additional reduction could take place, but the key issue here was they know at least preliminarily, what was happening and they could now evaluate this project against the benefits that could be documented in the field today.
Mr. Arroyo said as has been previously indicated, the intersection of Eight Mile and Haggerty was operating at a rather poor level of service and during the morning peak hour, it was an E and during the evening peak hour, it was an F and an F was the worst that it could be and it does range from A to F.
Mr. Arroyo said Level of Service F indicates average vehicular delay of 60 seconds or more so the average person/motorists traveling through that, was being delayed by at least a minute as they travel through that intersection today.
Mr. Arroyo said the Petitioner has committed to making some improvements to the road network and the most significant was the addition of a southbound through right combination lane along the west side of Haggerty Road extending from the Hilton driveway down to Eight Mile Road and right now that was a four-lane section with two northbound lanes, a center turn lane and one southbound lane, so they would add an additional southbound lane, which would be a combination they could either go through or they could turn right from that lane.
Mr. Arroyo said in addition, they have committed to improve the signal system at Eight Mile Road and Haggerty to make it fully actuated so that it responds to the actual demands, so at certain times of the day if one movement was heavier than the other, the system could actually be modified to adjust to that.
Mr. Arroyo said whether or not that becomes something where they have detectors in the pavement to do that or if they end up going to the auto scope system, that would be probably the likely way that it would go and they would have the video camera detectors placed at the intersection of the four approaches to evaluate the ques and then it would modify the signal timing and the signal phasing based on the demand, but that was another improvement that they have made a commitment to do.
Mr. Arroyo explained what happens was when they add on the shopping center traffic as proposed and they add on background traffic from other developments that were proposed in this general vicinity to existing volumes and then they factor in those improvements, the level of service at the intersection actually improves and during the morning peak hour, it improves from level of service E to level of service D and during the PM peak hour, it improves from level of service F to level of service E.
Mr. Arroyo said a comparison was made with offices and not only was there a trip generation comparison, but they have assigned the trips to the road network and looked at the Haggerty/Eight Mile intersection to see how that would operate. He said during the PM peak hour, it would operate at level of service F with office development and during the AM peak hour, it would operate at level of service E and those were essentially the existing conditions, so there would not be any improvements.
Mr. Arroyo said they point out that because office was a principal permitted use and it would be very unlikely that they would be proposing any improvements and it would be more difficult for the City to require them and that was the basis for the conclusion and that comparison was provided in their report.
Mr. Arroyo said there has also been an evaluation of other intersections and he wouldn't go into those in detail, but he felt that information was essentially the same as before.
Mr. Arroyo said the one issue that was raised by the Planning Commission and something they have evaluated in detail has been the impact of this project on the Hilton Driveway at Haggerty. He said the concern that the Applicant has and he has talked to them about it, was their proposal to make that access an in-bound only access, which he felt makes sense and would have a substantial benefit to the Hilton driveway over what was previously proposed. He said he would recommend that that be a condition if the Commission chooses to approve this project.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding the site plan, they have identified a number of issues and he felt they have all been discussed or most of them have been discussed in some detail and they were in the process of trying to resolve some of those, and he felt they have resolved the one to his satisfaction at the Hilton Drive. He said the issue of the location to Orchard Hill Place Drive just north of the daycare center, he was substantially satisfied with and he would like to evaluate it in more detail prior to Final but he felt it would suffice in its current condition.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding the access from the Chili's Drive to Eight Mile Road, he still wanted to see that evaluated in more detail and he has asked that they contact Wayne County since Wayne County has jurisdiction over Eight Mile Road in this area to determine whether or not it would be possible to have any directional signage at the intersection of Orchard Hill Place Drive and Eight Mile Road, indicating that there was a shopping center and to turn left at the signalized intersection onto Orchard Hill Place Drive from Eight Mile Road. He said he would be following up on that matter and he looked forward to that response.
Mr. Arroyo said there were some internal issues that they feel were minor but need to be modified and they were suggesting that those be addressed in the Final site plan.
Mr. Arroyo said his recommendation deals with the reference to a few standards in the Ordinance and he has compared this proposal to the underlying principal permitted use based on the new information that has been provided and they were of the opinion that this proposal does compare favorably with the impacts that would be created by an office development and in fact, they would have an improved level of service with this development over which they would have with office under an existing situation.
Mr. Arroyo said they also feel that some of the other improvements that were being made would help this project work the best that it could in this situation and they all know that traffic levels were heavy in this area. He said however, the improvements that were being made they feel would make it such that this area and particularly the Eight Mile/Haggerty Intersection would operate at a level that was better than its current condition with this development during the PM peak hour and during the AM peak hour, which were the two highest volume hours of the day.
Mr. Arroyo said therefore he was recommending approval of the revised Traffic Study and the site plan subject to the conditions that he has stated in his letter and as he noted in the supplement that was passed out in the packets, under Item #11, the first item should read an additional southbound through-right turn lane and it had indicated a left turn lane in his report so that was a typo.
Chairman Clark said back on September 16, 1994, there was a report from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the Novi Fire Department, indicating that the above plan has been reviewed and approval was recommended.
The Applicant requested to speak once again briefly. He said that Mr. Arroyo had indicated that the traffic, with the addition of the completed shopping center, was actually better with the center up than it was today as vacant ground and certainly better than if office were added on. He said because they were doing the improvements as Mr. Arroyo had indicated, improvements that an office development which would otherwise be permitted on the property, by right could not be asked to do any of this. The Applicant said he has offered those things and felt that not only does it achieve this, but it benefits the entire community at large.
There was no Audience Participation and Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
Member Hoadley indicated he supported this project originally with some concerns about the left-hand turn going into the Hilton Drive and actually at that time, they had left turns going into the relocated Chili's and they have eliminated those concerns.
Member Hoadley said he still had a concern in regards to the left-hand turns into the Chili's entrance on Eight Mile Road and he spoke with the Petitioner this week about that and the Petitioner at that time, indicated he would look into that matter although he has not testified in any way on that matter, so he had a question for him now.
Member Hoadley asked the Applicant if he was willing to eliminate the left hand turn exiting on that Chili's Drive and have it go on out to Orchard Road. He said right now on the site plan, they show a left-hand turn onto Eight Mile Road out of the Chili's Drive on Eight Mile Road and they discussed this and the Applicant had indicated that they would look into eliminating that because they still get a criss-cross traffic hazard there and it would create accidents.
Member Hoadley said he had asked the Applicant if he would not be able to direct the traffic that would normally go out that drive and turn left onto Eight Mile Road, over to Orchard Lake where they have a traffic light and then they would make their left turn.
The Applicant replied he had addressed that issue with Mr. Arroyo. He explained there were currently left-hand turn movements that were allowed out of Chili's and the major point of impact and concern, was the entry into Meijers conflicting with the entry into the shopping center. He said in reviewing the studies, it was projected that there would be 30 left hand turns into the shopping center, where there could be that criss-cross mitigated by the fact that they believe as people become comfortable with the shopping center, they would use the easier means of ingress and egress which would be Orchard Hill Place Road.
The Applicant said they had also discussed and Mr. Arroyo had said it in a more general sense, if Wayne County would permit it and if the municipality would permit it, they would place a road sign indicating a generic shopping center entrance at the Orchard Hill Place Intersection so that people would be generally guided as they would be to a rest area in a park facility and it would be like a generic type of a state roadside.
Member Hoadley said personally he would like to see one of the left-hand turns eliminated, either the one coming in there off of Eight Mile Road or the one going out. He said it was going to create a traffic hazard and he knows it was already creating a traffic hazard with Chili's, but he asked why couldn't they direct the Chili's traffic that was already on the premise out to Orchard Lake Road.
Member Hoadley asked why couldn't the traffic that was currently making left-hand turns onto Eight Mile Road be directed out to the exit off of Orchard Hill Road and that would eliminate the second left-hand ingress/egress where they have a crossing pattern. He said those cause accidents.
The Applicant then referred to Mr. Slaven with Reid Kool who would address that question. Mr. Slaven explained what would actually in effect happen was that it has been agreed that they could internally place signage that would direct traffic from the site to exit at Orchard Hill Place. He said the Chili's traffic was already making that maneuver but in essence what would happen was once the connection was made between the Chili's drive and the new site, that people exiting Chili's, if it was difficult to make that maneuver, would see that and they would have another option now to go out to Orchard Hill or even out the front of the site if they were just interested in going south or even east on Eight Mile Road, and they could go out and make a right turn out of the site onto Haggerty Road and then make their maneuver.
Member Hoadley asked why couldn't they do the same thing that they were willing to do up at the Hilton and make that one-way coming in, but not going out off of their project and let the Chili's traffic continue to go out, but make it one way as far as where it actually connects with their project and that would force the traffic onto Old Orchard Drive.
The Applicant agreed that it would force the traffic and that was specifically discussed with Mr. Arroyo as a possibility to sign that from their side to force people wanting to make an eastbound movement to go up to Orchard Hill Place and out.
Member Hoadley asked if he would be willing to make that one-way then and the Applicant said what he wanted to propose was that they were only talking Preliminary site plan approval right now and the special use approval and they have indicated that they were willing to sit down with Wayne County and the City to reach an acceptable resolution on that issue and that was certainly on the table as one of the ways which that could be achieved.
Member Hoadley said the other thing that they discussed was a one acre mitigation for wetlands, and he noticed that Ms. Tepatti did not testify on that matter that evening, but it was a requirement and he asked what would be done about that.
The Applicant said the current owner of the property has committed to resolve the wetland issue off of this site and Member Hoadley asked wouldn't they have to have that as a condition.
Mr. Watson said as a matter of fact at their October, 1994 meeting, that issue was discussed and he had recommended to the Commission that if this project was approved, a condition of their approval was that the wetland mitigation issue be resolved prior to Final site plan approval.
Mr. Norman Hyman, who was representing the Petitioner was present and he wanted to echo what Mr. Watson said and this was discussed in October and at that point, they reported to them that the owner of the property had made a commitment that the wetlands mitigation would occur on land other than this parcel and they agreed that that could be made a condition and that mitigation would be required as a condition of approval, but on land other than this specific piece.
Member Hoadley asked if they were willing to put up a traffic light up at 8 1/2 Mile Road and would they be willing to put a traffic light in at the Hilton entrance and the Applicant said he didn't think they would receive any benefit with a light to the north.
Member Hoadley asked Mr. Arroyo would there be a benefit to adding a traffic light at what would be 8 1/2 Mile Road and Mr. Arroyo felt eventually there would be one there and he felt the thing that was keeping it from happening right now as he understood it, was the Road Commission was very concerned about the hill that was just north of that and the downslope, so if people were coming to a stop at that traffic signal during the wintertime, the ability to come to a stop might be compromised.
Member Hoadley said the solution he felt to this situation was that the City has been working with Farmington Hills to attempt to secure funding to widen Haggerty Road to five lanes between Eight Mile and Ten Mile Road. He said this year as he understood it, it did not get on the Oakland County Committee recommendation but it would likely be resubmitted.
Mr. Arroyo said when that happens, then there would be the ability to take that hill out of Haggerty Road and smooth that out to some extent so they would take away that concern and he felt eventually they would definitely see a traffic signal at Orchard Hill Place Drive and Eight Mile Road. He felt this project could receive some benefit.
Mr. Arroyo said once that was there, the project traffic that was desiring to go north could go out to Orchard Hill Place Drive and go north and then make a left-hand turn with the benefit of the signals.
Member Hoadley asked the Applicant if he would be willing to put up some kind of a bond to help pay for that additional traffic light and the Applicant replied if the light went up at that corner, that would have a substantial benefit to many other people besides him so they were already placing a significant amount of money to benefit the entire community in terms of signalization, through-lanes, left-hand turn lanes, etc. He felt it would be highly unfair to impose yet another condition upon them, but he would share it proportionately in terms of all the people benefited by it and the cost of the light itself.
Member Hoadley said those traffic lights generally cost about $60,000 and Oakland County has been paying for part of them and his thinking would be somewhere around 10-15%.
The Applicant said he would share in that with the other property owners and he didn't know the exact means of doing it, whether it was by assessment or what, but he would pay for his equal benefit as opposed to it being 100%.
Chairman Clark then said there has been an oversight and Ms. Tepatti did have a report for the Commission and he asked her to review her letter. Ms. Tepatti indicated her letter was from September of 1994 which regarded the Novi Place development and this development does have history to the parcel and there currently were no wetlands on the property, however, many years ago, she believed in 1987, there was a permit issued for the construction of what was known as the 200 Building under the management of another company and a wetland permit was issued in 1987 which permitted the filling of a small wetland along Haggerty Road.
Ms. Tepatti said one condition of that permit, as well as a mining and filling permit that was held, was that the Applicant would construct a one acre wetland off of this particular site within the next five years and the City does hold the bonding money in place for that construction. However, she said that wetland has not been constructed and in discussions with Mr. Watson, he had stated the Novi Place development was now responsible for fulfilling the obligation of the wetland construction.
Chairman Clark asked Mr. Watson if he had anything further to add and Mr. Watson said nothing other than what he had indicated earlier which was he would recommend the resolution of that mitigation issue be a condition upon any approval, if there was an approval to be granted.
Member Lorenzo indicated she had a question for Mr. Arroyo. She said she has had discussions regarding this issue and has discussed it with Mr. Watson as well and for the benefit and edification of the entire Commission and the public, she would like to go over the comparisons between the improvements that the Petitioner was proposing versus what could be required under the principal use of office.
Member Lorenzo said as Mr. Arroyo pointed out in his review letter, under Section 2516,2B, particularly 2, one of their findings was whether traffic access to the site was such that vehicular congestion or other impairment of traffic may result from access to and from the site.
Member Lorenzo said her interpretation seems to differ from both his and Mr. Watson's in terms of the way the word access was used and the interpretation of access.
Member Lorenzo said if they were to say that an office use was going to exacerbate the current levels of service and problems in that area, she would look at this and say if that were the case and access to and from the site in her mind, interpreting this was via Haggerty Road from Eight Mile to Nine Mile, she would ask why would they not be able to require the same type of signalization and right-through lanes as they were proposing for the retail center.
Mr. Arroyo felt she was asking a legal question and he would have to defer to Mr. Watson.
Mr. Watson said the legal question pertains to a traffic issue and that was whether the vehicular congestion problem was access to and from the site or whether it was primarily a level of service on an existing road and as Mr. Arroyo has described to him, a particular problem was level of service of the existing road.
Mr. Watson said essentially when they talk about Item #2, traffic access to the site, they were essentially requiring an Applicant using property for a zoned use to provide the access in a safe manner, or at least as safe a manner as was possible and that was essentially what they would be requiring for the office development.
Mr. Watson said as Mr. Arroyo has described to him, the types of things that they would require would be accel lanes, decel lanes, etc., and this was not calling for off-site improvements to existing roads and to add an additional lane to a public road or a substantial improvement to an off-site traffic signal to remedy the existing traffic problems.
Member Lorenzo said so in other words when they use the word access, it pertains only to the driveways that would access directly to and from the site and Mr. Watson said yes and Member Lorenzo asked if access would mean the driveways that they would be putting in directly to their site.
Mr. Watson said they were not talking about the road infrastructure and Member Lorenzo then said they were talking about only the specific access points directly into and out of the site, and Mr. Watson replied yes and also the necessary improvements to make that driveway access safe, which may be the accel and decel lane, etc.
Member Lorenzo said an accel lane and decel lane but not a through-lane because that was too far from the direct access, and Mr. Watson stated it was an improvement to the infrastructure itself, just as the traffic light was.
Member Lorenzo said regarding the interpretation of the word, in her mind, she was thinking how do they access the site and the way they would get to that site was via Haggerty Road, and she felt that was her interpretation, and she wanted to make sure that the Commission and the public understands their limitations in terms of a principal use and they could not require those types of improvements to occur.
Mr. Watson said to give the Commission an example of a real case he was involved with, there was a project in Wayne County that was located on a dirt road and the County attempted to require that project, which was about a mile from the nearest paved road, to pave that existing public dirt road all the way to the nearest paved road and then the courts said that was not the kind of thing they could require.
Mr. Watson said the difference with a project like this was it was a special land use and one of the things that they were looking for was whether compared to other feasible uses, there was going to be a detrimental impact on overall volumes on capacity, safety travel times, thoroughfare level of service, and special land uses.
Mr. Watson said because of that special land use condition, they have proposed those types of infrastructure improvements that a principal use normally wouldn't do in order to make it acceptable for a special land use.
Member Lorenzo said this has a lot of bearing on her position of this because quite frankly, she was very ambivalent about this type of intense use at that location.
Member Lorenzo said she was wearing different hats in her interpretations and as a consumer, she would look forward to having those types of retail outlets close to home and as a resident who drives through town, she wasn't so sure she would enjoy it and as a planner, she didn't have great feelings about it because of the overall volumes of traffic that it was bringing to this area.
Member Lorenzo said when they compare on a 24 hour time slot, they were looking at probably double the volume of traffic in thousands and it was probably over 2600 more cars that they would see in that area.
Member Lorenzo said on the weekends, it was probably 10,000 more cars than they would see in that area and that concerns her a great deal, but she also applauded them and commended them for all of the improvements that they were proposing and it does appear that they were going to improve an intolerable situation and she did recognize that.
Member Lorenzo said so ultimately she would support the project and she also applauded Member Hoadley for making sure they get the most they could possibly get in terms of road improvements out of this project because she felt it was a give and take situation and they were giving them the opportunity to provide them with tens of thousands more cars in that particular area and they hope to gain the most possible alleviation of their traffic concerns so she felt it was a give and take situation.
Member Lorenzo said she would have no problem saying that and she would like to follow up with Mr. Hoadley's request and not make them requests but conditions in terms of all of the things that they mentioned that would benefit them, and she had no qualms about doing that considering what they were allowing them to do in that area. She felt it was a real give and take situation and she felt they were taking and giving on a lot of things.
Member Lorenzo said regarding the special land use, she would make a motion.
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Hoadley
To grant Special Land Use Approval to Chili's Restaurant, SP94-30 A & B, per all of the Consultants' letters, particularly, Ms. Tepatti's letter that the wetland issue be resolved and that a site specific be given to them and finalized prior to Final.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Lorenzo said she would then defer to some of the other conditions that Mr. Hoadley referred to in terms of the specifics of additional traffic improvements that would benefit this area.
Member Hoadley said there were several. He said the plan that was submitted does not show that right-hand lane extending all the way to the Hilton and it only shows it up to the removed Chili's drive, so he would add that as a condition as per Mr. Arroyo in his testimony that night, that they would extend that drive and they would have to move that separated right-hand access at the new Chili's drive back to accommodate because where they have it shown, it was sticking out into the right lane and they would have to move it back so they would have a true right lane.
Member Hoadley said in addition, he would like to see them post a bond of at least 20% for the cost of a traffic light that would improve the traffic conditions at Haggerty and Orchard Hill Drive. He said they should post a bond for the minimum of 20% per traffic "Scat System," the traffic light at Haggerty and Eight Mile Road, and right now, the County was paying 80%, and the City of Novi has to pay 20% and he would like them to pay the 20%.
Mr. Arroyo indicated the developer was paying 100% and Member Hoadley said he would make that a condition then of 100% and then make the small access road off of the Hilton Drive one-way as they testified they would do and eliminate one of the left-hand turn lanes on the access road coming into Chili's, by making it one-way off of Eight Mile Road, so they do not have an X crossing.
Member Hoadley suggested they have it done internally and that they allow the left-hand turns coming in but none going out and that all of the Chili's traffic and all of the traffic from the project be directed out to either one of those two exits on Old Orchard Hill Road. He said those were the conditions that he would add.
Chairman Clark asked Mr. Watson if he had any comments. Mr. Watson said there was a provision in the Ordinance for attaching conditions to those types of approvals indicating that they do so when the conditions were necessary to ensure that public services and facilities effected would be capable of accommodating the increased service.
Mr. Watson said one of the conditions indicated posting a bond for a portion of the traffic light, and if he understood what Mr. Arroyo said earlier, the current situation was such that with a hill, they would not put a light there and he had some concerns about attaching that as a condition.
Mr. Watson said there might be participation by various property owners to someday install a light there when the road was improved, but it sounds like imposing it as a condition now, wouldn't be under the current conditions designed to protect the health, safety and welfare, including the traffic safety that might be contrary to that.
Member Hoadley asked couldn't they put a limitation at the bottom such as they return if no traffic light was installed within five years. Mr. Watson said the problem was that they were imposing a condition at a time when putting in that improvement would not be advancing the types of conditions and concerns that were listed within their Ordinance.
Member Hoadley said hearing Mr. Watson's comments, he would refer to his comments and remove that extra light, but that the Haggerty Eight Mile light would still stay in.
Chairman Clark asked Member Lorenzo if she had any problems with the additional conditions and she replied none and that she was amenable to the conditions that Member Hoadley has made.
Member Lorenzo also added that if the legal opinion that they had received was such that they had legal jurisdiction to require those types of improvements of office, she would not have supported this project, so she was doing so reluctantly.
Chairman Clark said as to the motion for special land use, he asked if there was any further discussion.
Member Bonaventura stated that most of the time, they only have a few key Commissioners that have opinions on things, and this was a big decision. He said those numbers were unbelievable especially on the weekend and 10,561 were retail trips without Chili's compared to 559 office trips on Saturday's. He said it was a big difference.
Member Bonaventura said 41% of the 10,561 trips was going to be existing traffic on the road and was that correct and Mr. Arroyo said no, and he indicated the 41% applies to the PM peak hour only and Member Bonaventura asked if it applies to the weekend and Mr. Arroyo said there was a number that would apply, but there have not been enough studies done where he could give them a number he would feel confident supporting, so the focus of most studies regarding pass-by trip traffic was during the highest hour of the day, which was the PM peak hour.
Member Bonaventura said it wouldn't be as much as 41% then or would it be more or less and Mr. Arroyo indicated he couldn't say at this point, but it would depend upon the type of traffic that was on the adjacent road and if there was a similar amount of traffic on the adjacent road of a similar nature during the peak day, it could be similar.
Member Bonaventura felt this was going to take more than a traffic light and take more than a few road improvements to help this corner out and it was going to take a miracle and this was not helping and they have a decision that night to grant special land use on this or leave it as it was and wait for a developer who would like to develop an office building which has much lower numbers.
Member Bonaventura said Best Buy in particular bothers him, and it was a magnet and it was extremely popular and they shouldn't be overloading this corner. He said he wouldn't mind having a Best Buy in Novi, but this was in the wrong place and it really bothers him greatly and that was about as far as he would go on this.
Member Bonaventura said he would not be voting to approve special land use and he would prefer the underlying use of office.
Member Weddington asked Mr. Arroyo if there has been any consideration given to the impact that this may have on the traffic exiting from I-275 as both of those exits still even now with M-5, gridlock at rush hour.
Member Weddington said the people who live and travel Haggerty Road and get on and off I-275 at Eight Mile Road have not perceived this reduction in traffic since M-5 opened and she has talked to a number of people and they just laugh. She said she had to agree with Member Bonaventura's comments that they were magnet stores and people would be coming from all over to go to them and she has gone to the Best Buy and the Office Max down by Westland and Southfield and they were fine stores, but they were not the type of stores that a person would stop at on the way home from work. She said this wasn't a 7-Eleven and a person wouldn't stop by and buy a VCR or even a CD everyday as it just wasn't that type of use.
Member Weddington said she didn't see how those were related to the office use and the Ordinance requires that this commercial in an OSC District be related to the office and in this case, only the Office Max could be argued to be related to the Office. She said they still have not addressed the woodlands issue and the historic tree and she would like to know how that would be protected. She said she would like some exploration of the impact on Eight Mile and she realized that was out of their jurisdiction, but as traffic backs up there, she felt there would be a worse condition created by those types of stores and drawing people from other areas.
Mr. Arroyo said as he understood it, their concern was the traffic that was coming from I-275 getting off of Eight Mile and heading west. He said one of the statistics that has come out of those more recent turning movement counts during the peak hours was that westbound movements on Eight Mile that turn right and goes north on Haggerty, has seen the greatest reduction of all the movements that would have been evaluated.
Mr. Arroyo said during the afternoon peak hour was probably the peak time when this shopping center would be generating traffic, because obviously in the morning most of those stores were not open between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM. He said there has been a 30% reduction in that right turn movement during the PM peak hour due to M-5 and that was a potential movement for traffic on Eight Mile to make if they were going to this center, because that would be a likely thing to do, to turn right on Haggerty Road and then turn left up at the Hilton and then go into this project.
Mr. Arroyo said another alternative would be to stay on Eight Mile and turn right at Orchard Hill Place Drive or turn right at Chili's and there were a number of ways, in but he felt the fact that there has been that reduction was encouraging because that means it has freed up some of the capacity.
Mr. Arroyo said another issue that this raises was Eight Mile Road and Eight Mile Road, since it has been widened to five lanes, has seen an increase in volume and he felt that was the logical thing that they would expect and it has been documented. He said another factor that encourages him here was the signal improvements that were proposed because one of the key components about traffic was that it changes hour-by-hour and even on a 15 minute increment basis, signal timing was quite often a pre-time situation where they time it for the worse 15 minutes of the day and then the rest of the time it was trying to use that to handle all of the other traffic.
Mr. Arroyo said with the improvements to the signal system here, he felt they would find that if there becomes a heavier demand on Eight Mile and a lot of people were using that to get to this particular development, the signal could react to that and change the signal timing and modify it so it increases the effect of capacity of the lanes that were already there and to him that was one of the key components of the improvement package.
Mr. Arroyo said the applicant was going to make this type of improvement to that signalization system so that when they have modifications in flow and changes on an hourly by hourly basis, the system could react to that. He said so while it was not going to be perfect and certainly it was a congested area, he couldn't say that it wouldn't be congested, but it should improve over its current condition.
Member Weddington then asked if they skipped over the woodlands and Chairman Clark said they were only dealing with the special land use and Member Lorenzo added her motion was just for special land use.
Member Taub said initially when this project was brought before them, he was opposed to it and had concerns. He said at this juncture looking at focusing on their own Consultant, he was basically telling them that while it may be congested with this project, it was congested without it and that based on signalization and the addition of the southbound lane, actually it could be better.
Member Taub said what troubles him in terms of trying to oppose this was they have nothing on the record that really gives them a basis other than their own feeling or hunch of driving around and saying it was congested and that it would only get worse. He said from what he could tell, if they build an office building there, there would be an impact on traffic that would be cumulative with other present office traffic, in other words, they were going to get the 7:00-9:00 AM traffic and get the 4:00-7:00 PM traffic that would go along with some of the other office buildings that were on both sides of Haggerty.
Member Taub said the one advantage that he saw of this shopping center was they were likely to get traffic added on the weekends when people would go to Best Buy and at night, but he didn't feel they would get the traffic going to work and leaving work, which was going to add to admittedly a congested situation.
Member Taub said there was nothing else on the record to actually document why this alternative from this developer would be worse than putting up an office building because after all, they just couldn't keep it vacant unless the City wants to buy it and if the City wants to buy the property, obviously they could guarantee that it was not going to get really any worse due to construction or due to development than it was. He said but the reality was they would either get an office building at some point in time or get this or something similar. He said they just couldn't shut down altogether the projects unless they were going to ask or recommend to City Council that the City buys the property.
Member Taub indicated he talked to Mr. Arroyo himself prior to that night's meeting and basically asked him, if not begged him, to give him a reason to continue to oppose the project and since Mr. Arroyo at the present time was their Consultant and he could not give them a basis, really the way he perceived it was the only other way to oppose this project, given what they have in front of them, including the updated traffic study, was to just go basically on a gut reaction.
Member Taub said he would admit that his gut reaction going westbound on Eight Mile was that it was congested and obviously his fear along with everyone else's was the unknown and could it get worse. He said he didn't see, however, how they could reject the project based on the developer's willingness to objectively provide as has been described, attempts to mitigate the potential problem, otherwise they were almost engaging in mysticism and saying there was really nothing on the record that proves it was going to get worse or suggest it, but that they just know it.
Member Taub said currently he understood that there was litigation and he was not afraid of litigation because he has been seeing it for three years, but he felt litigation focuses them on the need to develop something on the record, and he would suggest in their discussion that night, if there was an objective basis, other than a hunch to oppose this project, they should generate it from their Consultants or from themselves so that there be a basis to reject it, and if not, he didn't see, based on that night's record, how they could.
Member Capello said he applauded the developer in all the efforts they have made to bring this back in front of the Commission, and he felt he would be voting consistent with Member Bonaventura. He said Member Weddington had a good point and that was the problem he had and they have a very nice office complex there and the Novi Hilton was the most prestigious hotel they have in Novi.
Member Capello felt in that area, they were asking the Commission to give them special land use to put a Big Box use in there and granted Office Max was somewhat consistent with an office use, but it was not the kind of use that they would find in an office complex, and usually if they have an office store, it was a smaller location within one of the office buildings and it was a convenience to the office building.
Member Capello said they were asking the Commission to put a Big Box in an office complex and he didn't see how that fits. He said he goes to the Best Buy in Southfield all the time and he would like to see one here in Novi but not in that location.
Chairman Clark said he would join with the comments of Member Capello and Weddington and Bonaventura, and he certainly didn't have any problem with Office Max or with Best Buy as he has shopped at both of them and probably so has the majority of them so it was not an issue of not wanting those particular business uses in a community as they would certainly be welcome.
Chairman Clark felt Member Capello was correct that the Novi Hilton was a prestigious facility and it was a prime piece of property and he was on the Commission initially several years back when that was initially developed and Mr. Gerak was one of the developers and this was presented to the City with the idea and concept that this would be a premier hotel/office location and it has begun that way and has continued to progress that way, but perhaps slower then many of them in the community might like, but nonetheless up to this point, he felt it was progressing in the right direction.
Chairman Clark said the particular tenant that was proposed would be more than welcome in the community and he just felt that this was not the appropriate location, and he didn't think that would constitute the highest and best use certainly of that land as proposed. He said he was well aware of the comments that have been made relative to traffic and the lessening of traffic, but he had to tell them from his own experience, even with the opening of M-5, that he has yet to see the benefit.
Chairman Clark said he has lived in Novi now for almost 16 years and he has always gotten off of I-96 to I-275 to Eight Mile, but now he gets off on Seven Mile and goes through downtown Northville where he could get home quicker.
Chairman Clark said the reason he does that was he loses 15-20 minutes often times, and in the winter months and in bad weather, he could be piled up on the Eight Mile exit or under the viaduct going over the expressway for as much as a half hour, trying to get home and it was not worth it anymore so he was exiting at Seven Mile and going through Northville getting home quicker.
Chairman Clark said he has yet to see the benefit with the traffic and if they put those uses in there, any benefit that has been suggested to be gained by M-5 was going to be lost and they would be right back where they started from, so for those reasons, he could not support the request for special land use.
Member Bonaventura said he has talked to the traffic consultant about it and basically what he saw was calculated guessing and that was exactly what this was and those numbers were too close to approve this based on calculated guessing. He said this corner could not handle the traffic and there were people getting hurt out there everyday and he did not see how they could put such an intense project on this corner. He said they were not denying any one the use of their land and they weigh the factors and he could not weigh the factors on calculated guesses.
Member Bonaventura said they have had traffic consultants for possibly 20 years in this town and sometimes they could be wrong and this was very upsetting to him.
Member Taub said he certainly shared all the concerns and this was definitely a tough one, and he wanted to indicate that Member Capello mentioned the Best Buy by the Oakland County Court Complex and he goes by that Best Buy and Office Max complex all the time when he was going to court and to be honest, as he reflected that night, he couldn't say in his mind that he saw an extraordinary amount of additional traffic necessarily flocking to Best Buy, at least during the business hours when he was going to and from the Oakland County Circuit Court on Telegraph and Pontiac by Waterford.
Member Taub said he was addressing the traffic issue and not what would be the highest and best use, which he didn't feel was the issue here. He felt most people shopping at a Best Buy would shop in the evening he would suppose and on the weekends. He said he perceived the problem would be the office traffic and the going to work traffic and he didn't see the going-to-work traffic going to Best buy except for the people who work there.
Member Taub said a part of him would like to vote against it but he didn't think that was necessarily what they have to do when a developer has gone and shown specific improvements to the project, otherwise what they were doing was just not really creating and evaluating a record. He felt if their traffic consultant wants to pose an alternative picture, then he would reconsider his vote, but otherwise he would have to vote yes, but if Mr. Arroyo could provide an alternative theory that would support a no vote, he may be swayed.
Member Hoadley said that this was a substantial improvement over the first presentation and he had concerns originally as he has already stated, but the developer has eliminated his concerns in regard to access to the property and egressing from it.
Member Hoadley said to him, it was far better to have a project in there that was going to spread traffic out over 12-14 hours a day rather than have it highly impacted in four hours a day.
Member Hoadley said the weekend traffic was certainly going to be more than if it was an office, but people were out and about weekends anyway and they wouldn't necessarily be going there and he didn't know anything about Best Buy but he does go to Office Max over in West Bloomfield and they only have 20 spaces and he has never yet found a problem parking at Office Max and they were not a high traffic generator, nor a high parking problem.
Member Hoadley said he couldn't comment on the Linens and Things store and to him the traffic generator was not any of those above items and it was going to be the restaurant if it was a good one and he couldn't see where the others would impact significantly so he would support this project.
Member Mutch commented that a statement was made earlier that this was a significant important decision that they had to make and at least in one person's opinion, there was not a significant amount of discussion that one would expect for a decision of importance.
Member Mutch said when they began the meeting, she thought they were determined to get through as much as they could by a specific time and so she has been using a lot of restraint that evening in terms of limiting her comments and she didn't want to speak and repeat the same things.
Member Mutch felt they should all remind themselves, as well as anyone who might be watching this, that the amount of discussion and the decibel level, should not be taken as any measure of the amount of consideration that has gone into the thinking that leads to the decisions that the Commissioners make individually or as a group.
Member Mutch said her second comment was with regard to traffic consultants in particular or any other consultants that they might happen to call in, and she felt if they were going to say at any point that it was all guesswork and therefore figures were unreliable, then they ought to be prepared to take that same position everytime and in fact, save the City a lot of money by not using those people at all and not just use them when it was convenient to bolster the positions that they choose on any particular issue.
Member Mutch said the question she had was the signalization at Eight Mile and Haggerty and at that particular intersection, Novi was but a part of that area and it has occurred to her listening to everyone else, to ask herself how was it that they as a single community could make those kinds of decisions and impose them on that intersection, which effects other communities, particularly a quadrant like that where they have the three other communities.
Member Mutch asked if they have had any input from those other communities and has any of them come to Novi and said they feel this project was awful and would have a terrible impact on them. She asked if they have had any input from those other communities with regard to the changes that they would like to suggest, either a signalization or the additional traffic lane.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding the signal, that particular signal was generally under the jurisdiction of Wayne County and since there was a Haggerty Road leg there, Oakland County would probably also participate as well, but because Eight Mile was on the border between Oakland and Wayne County, they split it and everything between Taft and Haggerty goes under Wayne County's jurisdiction and everything from Taft west over to Napier goes under Oakland County's jurisdiction and that way, they were not trying to take care of half a roadway and it was possible and likely that both agencies would have to sign off on that.
Mr. Arroyo said they were at a Preliminary site plan here and he has indicated to the Applicant that in the event that they do get a favorable action, that they need before Final to take all of those possible improvements that involve those County roads and take those to the County and make sure that they were not going to have a problem at that level since they were going to have to approve them and that information he would expect would be provided prior to Final action on this and if there was something that could not be done, then obviously the situation would have to be re-evaluated.
Member Mutch said with regard to the other part of that question, do they get input. She said this particular body has certainly offered its opinion on things that were proposed in Commerce Township and although she wasn't there when Meijers was proposed and then built in Northville, she thought there had been comments from Novi at that time. She was wondering if they have had any input on this, negative or positive, or any other kind.
Mr. Wahl replied they haven't received any comments. Mr. Rogers said that Northville Township has gone ahead and built quite a complex to the south and then there was the Office Park in Livonia, an executive hotel, and then there wasn't much over in the Farmington Hills quadrant. He said of course, Haggerty Road comes south to Eight Mile, and bends and the frontage on both sides was in the City of Novi and then when they go south of Eight Mile, the leg weaves back to the alignment of old Haggerty and both sides of Haggerty for a quarter of a mile he would say were in Northville Township.
Member Mutch said it did occur to her that on the one hand, they might not be in a position to complain having done what they have done as far as development, but on the other hand, because theirs was already in place, they might in fact be quick to point out that whatever they might do was only to add to the existing situation if they saw it to be negative and she was wondering if they have heard that.
Mr. Wahl said he felt a number of Commissioners were aware that none of their neighbors have been very shy or hesitant to provide thoughts and recommendations to this Board over the years and in fact, further on down Eight Mile, the Yerkes Subdivision and the Chase Farms Subdivision, had quite a parade to the microphone for those projects but they have heard absolutely nothing either from officials or residents with respect to this development.
Member Mutch said as far as residents for this public hearing then, they didn't have anything previously that wasn't heard that night and it was stated no.
Mr. Cohen commented that with the public hearing, the three other communities were notified twice for the two different public hearings, and also Farmington Hills and Northville Township receive their Agendas.
Member Hoadley then called the question.
Chairman Clark indicated the motion was:
To grant possible Special Land Use Approval to Novi Place/Chili's Restaurant, SP94-30 A & B.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Absent For Vote), Weddington (No), Bonaventura (No), Capello (No), Clark (No)
4-4 TIE VOTE.
Member Taub then returned to the meeting and Chairman Clark asked for his vote on the motion to grant Special Land Use Approval to Novi Place/Chili's Restaurant and Member Taub indicated he would vote Yes and the vote was:
(5) Yeas (4) Nays
Chairman Clark then noted there were two remaining items to deal with and one was Preliminary Site Plan and the other was the request for a Woodlands Permit and so that Mr. Pargoff doesn't have to be here until the late hours, he would ask him to give his report first and then they would return to the Commission for consideration of the two items.
Chairman Clark also reminded the Commission to try and be as brief as possible with their comments.
Member Bonaventura asked if this was for the Woodlands Permit and Chairman Clark replied Mr. Pargoff has a brief report to make with reference to that, but they still have to deal with the request for approval of the Preliminary Site Plan and a Woodlands Permit.
It was then,
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Hodges
To approve the Preliminary Site Plan for Novi Place/Chili's Restaurant, SP94-30-A & B subject to the Consultants' recommendations.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Hoadley asked if the motion could also be subject to the comments that Member Lorenzo asked him to make in regards to the access/egress and Member Lorenzo stated the motion should also be:
Subject to all of the conditions that were placed with the Special land Use.
Member Bonaventura accepted the amendment and Member Capello seconded it.
Chairman Clark then said the motion was for Preliminary Site Plan Approval and Member Lorenzo said it has to come back for Final and Member Bonaventura accepted that amendment also so the motion should also include:
To come back to the Planning Commission for Final approval.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (No), Bonaventura (No), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes)
(7) Yeas (2) Nays
Mr. Pargoff then indicated his evaluation of the project has not changed substantially since their letter of last Fall, primarily that the site was going to be almost totally cleared except for the historic tree, the Walnut, at the westerly border of the property as it adjoins Orchard Place Drive.
Mr. Pargoff said they made the recommendation to the Petitioner that the tree be fed so that it could withstand any construction and this has not taken place at this time and he was concerned especially with the current conditions that they were experiencing with the drought at this point in time.
Mr. Pargoff said, however, the critical aspect that he would like to see was the plan for the preservation of the tree and they need to have more of a diagram and an outline of what steps the Petitioner plans to take and this would be a part of something that he would like to request of the Commission in the Woodlands Permit.
Mr. Pargoff said also he needs the delineation of which landscape trees were going to be woodland replacements and which ones were going to fulfill the requirements of the Landscape Ordinance so those were the conditions that he would like to request.
Chairman Clark said just for a point of general information, he asked Mr. Pargoff was he saying all the trees except the historic tree would be removed from the site and Mr. Pargoff indicated there were several other trees in the general area of the historic tree that also were not going to be preserved just because of the location adjacent to the historic tree.
Member Capello then said he would make a motion concerning the Woodlands Permit.
Moved by Member Capello
Seconded by Member Hodges
To grant Woodlands Permit Approval subject to the Consultants' recommendations and the recommendations that Mr. Pargoff made on the record that evening.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
ROLL CALL VOTE: Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (No), Bonaventura (No), Capello (Yes), Clark (No), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes)
(6) Yeas (3) Nays
AT THIS POINT, THE PLANNING COMMISSION TOOK A TEN MINUTE BREAK.
3. McDonald's Playplace and Cash Booth Addition, SP95-29 - Property Located south of Twelve Mile Road, East of Novi Road for Possible PD-3 Option and Preliminary Site Plan Recommendation to City Council.
Mr. Tom Racklefyt of 24997 Newberry Drive in Novi was present. He indicated he was a real estate representative from the McDonald's Corporation and as was mentioned, they were there that night seeking approval of the PD-3 Plan and Preliminary Site Plan, and they were requesting approval of what they term a cash booth and this would be for their facility located on 12 Mile Road just east of Novi on the pad of 12 Oaks Mall.
Mr. Racklefyt said the improvement that they were speaking of in the cash booth was located at the back of the building and it facilitates service, and that was the design of it and basically that was the location after placing the order where they would pay and then proceed to actually pick up their food.
Mr. Racklefyt said most of their restaurants today have that feature and in fact, if his recollection was correct, the previous franchisee was before them several years ago and actually had approval for that cash booth at that time. He said the second addition and the most exciting addition was the playland that they propose adding in the front and it was just over 1,100 sq. ft. and the idea of the playplace obviously was to provide an opportunity for kids to play inside and not just in a single story type playland but in an area where they could climb and burn off some energy.
Mr. Racklefyt said before they get into the features on the playland, he would just like to cover several of the comments in the review letter by Mr. Rogers in terms of what they plan to do in addressing those items. He said regarding the indications as far as sidwell numbers, location map, and so forth, they would add those to the plan and they were willing to do a topo, although he would like a clarification as to the need and obviously they were just adding the addition and was that a recommendation just for that particular area or the whole site.
Mr. Racklefyt said it would be the same thing with the soil characteristics, and he assumed it was just to ensure that the building could be built on that structure and they were more than willing to do that.
Mr. Racklefyt said the bike path addition along the north side of the property line that fronts 12 Mile Road, just for point of clarification in terms of putting that in and being a Novi resident, he was a bit familiar with what was going on in the community and he was just questioning whether a bike path addition with future widening in the next few years would make sense or not at this point in time, but he would be willing to do it.
Mr. Racklefyt said obviously showing the future right-of-way plan, that note on the plan, they don't have a problem with, and they would be doing that. He said finally regarding the landscape concerns addressed by Mr. Rogers, they were more than willing to take and add the landscaping to that area.
Mr. Racklefyt said finally the last point was the loading area, which was located in the back of the building and they do have several employee parking spaces here and the handicapped parking, and one of the unique features with McDonald's was they could control their deliveries and have for years and they have been here since 1978 and they haven't seen that as posing a problem with their delivery trucks and parking, and they feel they could control their deliveries to schedule them in the off-peak hours so that hasn't posed a problem in the past and they don't anticipate one in the future.
Mr. Racklefyt said what he would like to do now was to have the architect that drew up the plan, Mr. Frank Martin, come forward and discuss the playland.
Mr. Frank Martin from Dorchen Martin Associates, 29895 Greenfield, Southfield, MI was present. He said he would like to put up a rendering here and their office has been involved with McDonald's in providing playplace designs over the past 6-8 months and they have literally been involved with 20-25 of them.
Mr. Martin said when they were initially contacted to work on this particular facility, they did have some preliminary meetings with Mr. Rogers regarding the plan and method for looking for approval and the concerns that Mr. Rogers has given them relative to appearance and so forth within the complex. He said they have also been working with the Taubman Company and have been given an approval of this particular plan and elevation with proviso of having their approval, of course, and also coordinating some of the colors.
Mr. Martin said they have probably seen playplaces around having flat roofs and glass structures in front and in this particular case, they took into account the existing building and horizontal lines on the building, mullions, trim and have incorporated a sloped hip roof with the possibility of that roof structure utilizing a product which was a translucent material and it was not glass and it was a plastic insulated panel that they use in schools and art museums that lets in light but not direct sunlight.
Mr. Martin said with him that night was an operator of the particular store and if there were any operational questions, he would be able to answer them, but the theme of this particular playspace and the interior design, which was being done by a design firm in Chicago, was an ecology theme and the particular playspace in the interior would deal in ecology and rain forest and have sounds of birds and animals and so forth within this particular space. He said also the thought of having some natural light lighting up the playspace was one of the features he was looking for.
Mr. Martin said they have attempted to provide a design that would be compatible not only with the building, but with other buildings they have seen in the area and he felt the community would be very proud to have this in their area. He then said he would be happy to answer any questions.
Member Capello said all of the Commissioners have read the recommendations and letters from the Consultants so he asked could they move right into a motion. Chairman Clark said they could make a motion and then if the other members of the Commission were amenable, that would be fine.
Moved by Member Capello
Seconded by Member Bonaventura
To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Possible PD-3 Option and Preliminary Site Plan Approval for McDonald's Playspace and Cash Booth Addition, SP95-29.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Mr. Watson said this was a PD-3 option and as a part of that, it said on their Agenda for a Public Hearing so they should conduct the Public Hearing.
There was no Audience Participation and Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
Member Bonaventura commented that McDonald's was great and this was definitely an improvement and he was sure all the parents that were trying to get home after shopping at the mall for a few hours, would be having their kids screaming to go visit this wonderful place and he was sure all the parents would appreciate that.
Member Bonaventura also asked the architect if he has ever heard of a program of crime prevention through environmental design and Mr. Dorchen said he hadn't heard of it.
Member Bonaventura said it was a seminar that he attended and the reason he brought it up was because there has been some incidents
at this McDonald's and the idea behind this program was to have design concepts work with urban areas, which this might be considered.
Member Bonaventura said not only through the design of the landscaping, but also the building design to lower their rates or incidents of crime, and he asked if there have been any improvements in any of the building's features since they have had some incidents.
Mr. Racklefyt said he would address that by saying that McDonald's has changed since November and it was a big improvement and he felt there was a noticeable change.
Member Bonaventura said he also wanted to talk about this when they talk about their trip to Toronto, which was one of the things he wanted to discuss.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes)
Motion Carried Unanimously.
4. Wix-River Plaza, SP95-23A - Property Located South of Grand River Avenue, East of Wixom Road for Possible Preliminary Site Plan and Wetland Permit Approval.
Mr. David Haywood, representing the developer of this proposed site, Landon Management Company, was present. He said they have dealt with this particular site for a long period of time since 1987 and this was a portion of the site.
Mr. David Haywood said there were a number of things about the history that may be of some interest to the Commission to the extent that there have been plans and re-plans and some of the plans have been submitted and altered and modified and revised to satisfy various interests that have been expressed to the extent that the features or the concepts that were brought forth by the developers back in the late 80's do not exist. He said because of the passage of time and the development that has occurred in this general area, some of the things that were thought to be desirable some 7-8 years ago, were no longer what the developer feels would be desirable for this property today.
Mr. Haywood said there were some things about the property that were pointed out in reports that have been presented to the Commission, and he believed he has been provided with copies of them. He said it appears at this point in time that there was some confusion with regard to ownership, history and with regards to what was and was not proposed on this site.
Mr. Haywood said at the present time, the proposal was for two structures on a small parcel of the original parcel of land which was sold off approximately two years ago, that being one of the things that he felt was confusing to some, to the extent that the parcel was presently owned by Pomeroy Investments, a corporation that was totally separate and distinct with no common ownership, nothing common whatsoever with the ownership of the original parcel.
Mr. Haywood said Landon Management has been the proposed developer of both the original large parcel and was now under contract with Pomeroy Investments to develop this small site. He said the site was characterized with wetlands and they were wetlands that were regulated only under the City Ordinance and were not regulated by the State of Michigan and they were wetlands that were not necessarily a natural wetland and they were created a number of years ago as a result of changes in drainage with the widening and development of Grand River Avenue. He said the parcel originally was proposed to be a business park, Novi Business Park to be exact and that was a proposed platted development and in fact, there was a preliminary approval of that plat about three years ago and that approval was for a year and it did expire.
Mr. Haywood said as part of that approval, there was a boulevard proposed in the general location and that was a location that was immediately east of the Ford/Mercury dealership that was at the corner of Wixom and Grand River. He said a portion of that boulevard was subsequently permitted as part of the Ford site development and that site was sold off from the large parcel as well.
Mr. Haywood said at the present time, the Novi Business Park was probably not a viable proposal and would probably not come before them again as a platted business park such as they have seen before. He said this particular parcel was separate and distinct and it was originally separated out from Novi Business Park at the request of certain representatives of the City, at which time they had advised the developer that they would like to retain the frontage as commercial frontage and the parcel was taken out of the proposed Novi Business Park and it was subsequently sold and at this time point in time, was owned by Pomeroy Investments with Landon being the contracted developer.
Mr. Haywood indicated that Landon Development does not own any of the property and it was owned by a separate and again distinct ownership and it was the ownership that was the original ownership when all of the proposals for development were brought forward.
Mr. Haywood said at this point in time, the proposal was for a restaurant which would likely be a fast-food restaurant and a very small strip development. He said the proposal was one which would propose the filling of the so-called City regulated wetlands and some of those wetlands have been permitted to be filled in past permits and applications and this proposal would require and was before them that evening for Preliminary site plan approval and for approval of wetland permit.
Mr. Haywood said it would appear from what they had received in the way of copies of reports, that the only substantive objection was that of JCK with regard to the wetlands. He said it appears that all of the other reports would indicate an acceptable plan or design and/or represent a recommended approval of the site plan.
Mr. Haywood then indicated that the architect was present, Mr. Scott Monchnik, who could answer any technical questions. Mr. Haywood then stated they were there for purposes of a Preliminary site plan approval and a wetlands permit approval.
Mr. Rogers reviewed his letter and indicated this may be a fast-food restaurant but it has 300 seats in it, 8,000 sq. ft. and the small shopping center, the strip mall of 10,800 has three stores in it so it qualifies as a planned commercial center. He said all application data was provided and the buildings meet B-3 standards. He said he called out that the right-of-way master planned by the County and the City for Grand River was 120 feet and they show 50 feet from centerline, but have increased the front yard greenspace from 10 feet required to 20 feet required and that compensates for that 10 feet for the time being and the parking was there.
Mr. Rogers said there would have to be some coordination of the 5 foot concrete sidewalk that they propose with that of Varsity Lincoln Mercury. He said the driveway serving the car dealership was part of the site and there would have to be a cross easement granted for the use of that property by the dealership in the future but Mr. Arroyo could discuss that.
Mr. Rogers said regarding the off-street parking, they comply with the handicapped parking, and he recommended that some additional spaces be at the retail center convenient to the front door and they allocated 2 HP's over there and they need 4 HP's.
Mr. Rogers noted the restaurant would be an all-brick split face block wood siding building and he wouldn't be doing a detail review at this time, but he would caution that the Applicant should read Section 2520 of the Ordinance and compute and demonstrate calculations for each side of each building percentages and square footages, at the time of Final site plan approval, so he recommended Preliminary site plan approval subject to the resolvement of the sidewalk location, provision of the cross easement to the dealership and adjustment of the handicapped parking spaces.
Mr. Arroyo began by discussing JCK's letter of June 6, 1995 regarding the engineering details and they have indicated in their letter that waste water disposal and water main extensions were available. He said there was an 8" water main extension proposed from an existing 12" main along the west side of what would be Northfield Blvd. which was the small north/south stub along the east side of the Varsity dealership.
Mr. Arroyo said in terms of disposal of sanitary, there were two building leads that would come from an existing sanitary sewer that runs across the south side of Grand River.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding storm water, they were proposing to detain their storm water within the parking lot and it would then discharge under a culvert under Grand River which at the current time, was flowing in the wrong direction. He said they were recommending that that be reconstructed so that it does flow in the proper direction so that the water would then go along 12 Mile Road where there was an existing ditch.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding Northfield Blvd., they have made the same comment that he has made in his letter that it was originally proposed as a boulevard section and the Planning Commission should address that to determine if they feel it was appropriate to go to a boulevard section at this time or if the single undivided approach was acceptable and he would get into that in more detail when he reviews his letter.
Mr. Arroyo said outside of that, it was indicated that the plans demonstrate engineering feasibility and JCK was recommending approval.
Mr. Arroyo said regarding traffic review of this proposed development, there was an abbreviated traffic study submitted for this plan proposal, which was required and he has provided some information on the second page of his report regarding trip generation. He said this project was forecast to generate approximately 182 peak hour trips, using the general merchandise category for the retail component, and he noted here that there could be some variation with a center of this size being so small and depending upon the type of user, it could definitely impact the trip generation rates and if they get a higher generator with a project this small, it could vary and so they have given them a range of anywhere of 182 PM peak hour trips and 288 PM peak hour trips.
Mr. Arroyo said they were proposing to extend an existing center left turn lane that ends right about at Varsity Lincoln Mercury and bringing that across the site to serve the access point that they were proposing to Grand River, and that would provide for a center turn lane there and satisfy the warrant requirements for that. He said they were also proposing a deceleration taper from Grand River where they would extend the one that currently exists for the eastern entrance into Varsity and bring it across their site to their proposed access point, their single access point, that was not shared and then that would be tapered back going east on Grand River.
Mr. Arroyo said he mentioned once again in his letter as JCK did, about the issue of whether or not the driveway should be reconstructed as a boulevard or not and that was something up to the Planning Commission in terms of its function. He said it would function properly if it was developed as a boulevard, so it was something they could discuss in more detail under discussion and from his prospective it could go either way and it would work regardless of how this would be constructed at this point so he was recommending approval of the Preliminary site plan.
Chairman Clark indicated there was a letter from Daniel W. Roy Captain indicating the plan has been reviewed and approval was recommended.
Ms. Tepatti began by referring to the Applicant's wetland plan that was submitted for the site, which shows the existence of the large wetland within the parcel. She said this 4.4 acre site contains a 3.1 acre wetland and this was shown on the City's Official Wetland Map and includes three ponded areas, at least one of which has permanent deep-standing water.
Ms. Tepatti said the existence of the wetlands has been in effect for quite some time unlike the Applicant who states that they were created wetlands, and she noted they were at least shown on the 1980 aerial photographs and prior to that.
Ms. Tepatti said the current proposal was to fill the entire acreage to allow for the construction of a restaurant and retail center. She indicated that no mitigation has been proposed or has been mentioned and no alternatives avoiding impacts to the wetlands have been offered.
Ms. Tepatti said she had two review letters in the packet, one which addresses the wetlands specifically and in a shorter form than the other one, which expands on the history that involved the site. She said she would only briefly discuss the history of which there were violations which occurred last summer and two portions of this 3 acre wetland were filled in violation of the Ordinance and in violation of a permit that had been issued but which required restoration.
Ms. Tepatti said that fill was currently in place and its removal was pending the outcome of the approval or denial of the site plan. She said again, unlike the Applicant has stated, there were no permits issued by the City of Novi involving this wetland for permanent fill in the wetland that was involved in this proposal. She indicated one permit was issued for temporary construction for a sanitary sewer along Grand River, but again that fill was to be removed and the area restored to original grade.
Ms. Tepatti said the current proposal was to fill and eliminate the 3.1 acre wetland under the City's jurisdiction and this wetland, as the map shows, lies just south of Grand River and east of the Ford dealership and it extends to the south for some distance where the topography rises into an upland field and this wetland lies just about entirely within the Wixom River Plaza.
Ms. Tepatti then presented some photographs which showed a little more than the site plan of the current existing conditions of the wetland. She said there was a large pond several feet in depth which lies in the eastern third of the site and this site and its associated wetland, provides habitat for a variety of wildlife observed during their inspection and those include heavy use by water fowls, amphibians, song birds, insects, small fish, reptiles, deer, mammals, etc. She said as they walk west through this wetland, they would encounter some more emergent vegetation and the water depth gets a little less. She indicated there was just a few inches of standing water.
Ms. Tepatti said even at this time when they have had such severe hot weather and no rain, there was still quite a significant amount of standing water.
Ms. Tepatti said within the wetland beyond the pond, were several pockets of deeper standing water greater than approximately 1 foot in depth through which there were a variety of wildlife corridors and nesting observed.
Ms. Tepatti said there was one other interesting aspect of this wetland, which was there was an area that also shows heavy groundwater discharge and this was usually evidenced by an oily type sheen which was natural on the water surface and a rust colored filmy discharge that coats the ground. She said on the soils also when a person walks through there, it exudes a rotten egg smell and this usually occurs only in wetlands that were almost continually water-logged and it was the iron and the different elements in the soils being reduced to the most reduced conditions they could get, so it doesn't really get too much water than this.
Ms. Tepatti said this wetland was regulated by the City Ordinance and as such, they evaluated that against the different criteria in the Ordinance and this proposal did not comply with several of the review standards and those were mentioned in her letter of May 30th which included the review for less harmful feasible and prudent alternatives of which they have seen none presented. She stated the application must also not interfere with the natural functions of wetlands, unnecessarily altering natural grades or soils and shall not result in the destruction of wildlife habitat and water fowl and also must be in compliance with other statutes and ordinances of which this site was currently not.
Ms. Tepatti said the City's policy has also been not to allow fill to gain buildable area and this was a policy that the City has followed in administering their Ordinance in the past and this was primarily to avoid impacts and especially such large scale impacts to wetland areas which have been deemed under the Ordinance to be in the interest of the public health and welfare.
Ms. Tepatti said the question of mitigation has been raised to her, not by the applicant, but by Member Hoadley and a few others and she has looked into this because it was possible to recreate some wetlands, however, in looking at this area, they have a great concern with this because if they do create wetlands, there was a certain lag time before that wetland catches up to the natural system and as they could see from the pictures, there was quite a bit of organic matter in that area and quite a bit of wildlife and standing water, which was difficult to duplicate and takes quite a long time.
Ms. Tepatti said in such situations as this, the procedure they have seen followed before and that the DNR has taken, was that if mitigation were even allowed at all, that it be at a higher ratio such as a 2-1 ratio and that that mitigation be bonded for and would occur prior to any filling of the wetland. However, she said this was not something that their office recommends and she recommends the avoidance of the impact in the first place.
Ms. Tepatti said this wetland may have the potential to be utilized by the applicant or someone else in development of this southern parcel and the previous Novi Business Center which has never been resubmitted, assured her when this violation first came in a year ago, that they had proposed fill for the boulevard but also needed some place for storm water detention and had proposed a basin adjacent to this wetland.
Ms. Tepatti said so there was a potential that some of this wetland could be used, not necessarily for detention but the storm water would have to be routed through this area to go to the north as the current proposal has to do. She said it was possible that some aspect of the detention could be incorporated into a water quality basin or something adjacent to this wetland, and then tied in with that was also if access were needed to the south for a future development, whatever that might be, the fill for the boulevard has never been permitted and that would normally be mitigated by whoever does it under Novi's Ordinance and the first choice for that mitigation was on this wetland since this was the wetland that would be impacted.
Ms. Tepatti said finally, again no alternative has been presented for review to their office which incorporates the large parcel to the south and there was some confusion about the ownership and according to the City Assessor about a month or so ago, this parcel has never been split so she wasn't sure who really owns it.
Ms. Tepatti said she believed the owner of the southern parcel signed the wetland permit in November of 1993 for the temporary fill that was associated with this parcel along Grand River and that was why they had asked originally when the violation occurred, for the Business Center Plan to be resubmitted, as she was assured it would be with the proposal for the restaurant and again this has not been done.
Ms. Tepatti then said in summary, based on the review standards in the Ordinance and the impacts associated with this wetland being eliminated, she was not recommending approval of the plan.
There was no Audience Participation and Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
Member Mutch said it sounds as if there was some confusion over whether the property was ever split, so whatever decision they make would that be effected by that and were they just talking about this part regardless of whether it has ever been split.
Mr. Watson explained it was pertinent to Ms. Tepatti's concern that there were other ways to use the property, particularly by doing development to the south so he felt it does effect the decision.
Member Mutch asked how would they clarify that matter and Mr. Watson said they should request additional information on that issue.
Member Hoadley asked the Petitioner about this plan showing no mitigation. He said the Petitioner has heard the testimony of Ms. Tepatti and he asked the Petitioner if the Commission were to grant this, what would be his proposal to mitigate that 3.1 acres on a 2-1 basis and where would he do it.
Mr. Haywood said he didn't know the answer to that question, but the normal route for those kinds of things was if they couldn't acquire approval, they don't need to reach mitigation so if mitigation were required, then they would have to address it and he didn't know the answer as to where. He said there was a possibility that some additional land to the far south of the original parcel could be used for mitigation and whether that parcel or that land would be available to Pomeroy Investments, he didn't know, but there was no potential for mitigation on this particular site.
Member Hoadley asked him if he was testifying that he did not own any of the adjacent lands, and Mr. Haywood said that was correct and Pomeroy Investments does not own any of the adjacent land. He said he could probably clear up the split question and he has before him, a document which was a notice of a tax bill and he didn't know why Ms. Tepatti couldn't determine this from the Assessor's Office, but it certainly was assessed to Promeroy investments Corporation and it shows their name and address on the assessment role so it certainly was a matter of record within the City as to who the owner was.
Mr. Haywood pointed out also that the City considers the 1995 state equalized value to be $492,950 and that was 50%, so if this was a site that was totally wetlands and not developable, somewhere along the line they were a little askew with their assessment, but certainly the City considers this to be a very valuable developable piece of property.
Member Hoadley said under comments by JCK, Item #2, there was no apparent proposal for disposal of storm water runoff from the site and how would he address that concern and it was not on their site plan.
It was stated the storm water was going to be detained on site and there were provisions made to have it run to the culvert underneath Grand River. Member Hoadley said it was not shown on their site plan and it was noted on the Preliminary engineering plan, that there was a proposed storm sewer going from what would be the southwest corner where there was going to be one detention area and that would be leading up to the area where there would be a drive coming off of Grand River and the same thing was true for the other detention area, which would be the area in front of the retail area, which was also leading to the drive and all flowing through the culvert underneath Grand River.
Member Hoadley said he would have a very difficult time supporting this and their Ordinances on wetland mitigation were clear and this almost looks like it was undevelopable property and this was a quality wetland but that was not what they were saying at all and he for one would not be able to support this project unless there was substantial mitigation ahead of time. He said if there was, then he may be persuaded to change his opinion, but there was no proposal made about mitigation and they have obviously read or been apprised of their Wetlands Ordinance and he felt the Applicant was making it very difficult for the Commission.
Member Lorenzo said she would echo Member Hoadley's comments and she felt this was a totally unacceptable and unapprovable plan. She also stated it has been Ms. Tepatti's practice consistently not to allow wetland fill to gain buildable area, and she felt to allow such a fill, particularly in a high quality wetland system, would be not only environmentally unsound, but would set bad precedent and would be unfair to other developers who have developed in this community and who have had to live up to the City's high standards. She then said she would make a motion.
Moved by Member Lorenzo
Seconded by Member Weddington
To deny Preliminary Site Plan Approval and Wetlands Permit Approval for Wix-River Plaza, SP95-23A per Ms. Tepatti's letters and recommendations.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
ROLL CALL VOTE: Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes)
Motion Carried Unanimously.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. Main Street Village, SP95-09A - Property Located South of Grand River Avenue, Between Meadowbrook Road and Novi Road for a Possible Section 2520.4 Facade Waiver Approval.
Mr. Mike Kahm was present. He stated on May 17, 1995 they appeared before the Commission on a variety of things and one was a facade waiver for their Main Street Village TC-1 Development. He said at that time, the Commission recommended they appear back before them at this meeting and take into consideration those comments that were received by Mr. Necci of JCK relative to the elevations that were presented with that package. He said they have met with Mr. Necci and have gone over in detail his recommendations for some amendments to the elevations that were presented to them at that meeting and the ones that they have in their packet were amendment revisions to those elevations.
Mr. Kahm explained what they have done was taken the liberty to have renderings prepared for each one of the elevations to try and give them a little bit better three dimensional understanding of what their proposal entails and why they believe their proposed facades not only create the urban residential character that has been the goal of this development all along and to fit within the framework of the entire Main Street Development and be a complement to the proposed Main Street commercial portion of the development, but to also meet in with the requirements of the Ordinance.
Mr. Kahm said what he would like to do was just take a moment to have Mr. Mark Abanatha from Alexander Bogaerts and Associates, the project architect, give everyone a brief explanation of what each of the building styles entails and the reason for the selection of the architectural design that they were presenting to them, as well as the materials that were on each one of the elevations.
Mr. Abanatha of Alexander Bogaerts was present. He said he would give them a broad scope on the design intent and where they came from on the project. He explained basically what they were trying to do was to create an urban residential environment that was going to tie into Main Street. He said they feel this ties aesthetically with the residential to the south and to the east as well as tieing in harmoniously with the proposed Main Street Development and the existing commercial that was across the street so there were a number of dynamics that were going on there that this was relating to.
Mr. Abanatha said in order to accomplish this, what they have done was created four different building styles and they were talking about a building type 400 and they have a main focal point for being the center of the project, which was the clubhouse. He said there was the 100 type building and they have the 200 style building and then the 300 style building. He said those were a combination of townhouses with a garage under, a straight typical townhouse with living on the first floor and bedrooms on the second floor.
Mr. Abanatha said then there was the stacked flats where there were units on top of one another and then the integral townhouse where there were two townhouses stacked on top of one another interfaced at different levels, which was quite a dynamic new product that they were working on.
Mr. Abanatha said along with this building type, they go to the 400 type building, which was another stacked type of product and then the clubhouse. He said in using all of those different styles, they feel not only in terms of varying the materials, but varying the styles, they were really creating diversity and interest in the project, as well as creating a lot of transition between the existing zoning and the zoning that was being proposed.
Mr. Abanatha said they were looking at a variety of materials and obviously the main issue they were dealing with that evening was brick, and brick in relationship to the facades. He said brick was the main material that was being proposed on the buildings and they could see in the building type 300, that variation moves itself as it goes across in terms of vertical as well as horizontal.
Mr. Abanatha said the same type of things take place on those others and what they have also done was introduce limestone as the complimentary material in terms of keystones, but as well as introducing horizontal siding. He said they feel that material combination was not only historically correct, but aesthetically correct and if they really think about the transitional type of zoning that this was between the zoning to the south, to the east, as well as what was going to transition into in Main Street and the commercial across the street, it fits quite well with that type of zoning.
Mr. Abanatha said if they were to look at high profile housing where they could afford brick on all facades, they would see that a lot of housing would put complementary materials in when they use stone or when they use siding, which was why they were proposing this type of product.
Mr. Abanatha said one of the other things that happens when they were dealing with architecture like this and creating interest, was on the townhouse unit as they progress across, they varied the materials to create interest, but there was also boxed out details in windows, bays, and cantilevers at second and third floor stories to try and structurally support brick or some type of heavy material, which doesn't make sense.
Mr. Abanatha said to let a material dictate the architecture was not something that was typically done and if they take it and go from the 300 building on over to the 400 building, they could see the same type of thing where they have elements and in this instance, a unit sitting up above a garage where they were not going to carry the brick up into that detail.
Mr. Abanatha then said he would wrap up what they were proposing here. He said he was proposing to focus back on what they were trying to do which was relate this project to Main Street and relate it to what was going on around it, and one of the main concerns was that when they design a project like this, they could see they varied the materials, and they varied even within the brick, the brick pallet to try and create some interest. He said when looking at an urban project, they have got a lot of different flavor going on from the standpoint of street trees, street lighting, architecture materials, and what they don't want to have happened was to have it get to a point where because the Ordinance was dictating 100% brick on a front facade, that starts dictating architectural material or architecture.
Mr. Abanatha said what they want to try and do was create as much interest as possible and not get themselves into an institutional type of a look or a very commercial type of a look, but rather create the residential atmosphere that this was going to have and let it relate to what was going on around it.
Mr. Abanatha said they feel that a waiver at this point in time to allow those different material types be used, was appropriate for this site and he would ask the Commission's action on it.
Chairman Clark asked if Mr. Rogers had any comment with reference to Mr. Necci's report and Mr. Rogers said no as this issue was strictly a Section 4 waiver of facades and he felt Mr. Necci perhaps should comment on the matter.
Mr. Necci indicated he did a preliminary as well as a follow-up review of this application for the Facade Ordinance. He said essentially under this zoning district, the Facade Ordinance prescribes a maximum of 25% of wood siding and a maximum of 100% of brick. He said there was also a footnote which applies to the Zoning Ordinance which kicks in another paragraph which in addition, requires that the materials be harmonious and consistent with the design of the building, not only with respect to the design of the individual building, but also with respect to future buildings and other buildings in the Town Center District.
Mr. Necci said there was wordage in that reference paragraph relating to the requirement for stone and brick and it was his opinion in reviewing this particular design that he could visualize that a building of a residential nature being designed of entirely stone and brick might be a little bit inconsistent with the concept of a residential building. He felt that the overall design concept presented here was very much consistent and in fact, very well done and it was very much consistent with residential architecture and during their initial submittal, there were a few facades which had a very high percentage of wood siding.
Mr. Necci said for example, one building had 88% wood siding on one of the facades and it was actually a rear facade rather than the front, but that seemed like it was a bit excessive and there was an average struck amongst all of his other facades and he didn't think there was any other one that was more than 60%, so it seemed like there was a few that were a bit inconsistent with other elevations, so they had a meeting and they discussed possibly bringing them all into a little greater consistency and in response to that, they have reduced the amount of wood siding substantially so that in no case, does it exceed 60%.
Mr. Necci said in his letter, he gave a detailed breakdown of all the percentages, but they would see that they have substantially reduced the amount of wood siding, so in essence his recommendation was that the use of materials was consistent with the residential architecture and he recommended approval.
Member Bonaventura said they have a Master Plan that he uses as a guide sometimes and under Architecture in the Master Plan, it says "The stability of a community can be reflected in the structure of its buildings and this is why we encourage design and building materials creating an aura of permanence. We appreciate the lasting qualities of brick and stone and we are comforted by the warmth of the colors and the textures of the earth and the natural materials."
Member Bonaventura said he agreed with that portion of the Master Plan and he liked brick and stone. He said it has been commented by people from out of town to him that they were amazed by the Town Center which was an extremely nice strip mall and they ask him how did they get it to be all brick like that and then to also have the buildings that were not even connected to it, all brick and it was very appealing to the eye.
Member Bonaventura said they have an Ordinance in place and he felt they should hold to it. He said Mr. Necci says that there has been extensive negotiations and the developer has moved along to try and meet their Ordinance and he was real close and it wouldn't take much more to move into compliance with their Ordinance.
Member Bonaventura said to Mr. Rogers that it was his understanding that if they had 75% brick on this building and then 25% wood siding they would meet the Ordinance.
Mr. Rogers said Mr. Necci called out Section 2520, the Schedule, and he also called out the Footnote which was a small "e" and if they go back to the reference of that Footnote, the Zoning Ordinance Update would properly relate to the Footnote. He said if they look at Footnote e on Page 3296 and then see the cross reference back to the Town Center District, which was Sec. 1602.9, there was a section that applies to the TC and TC-1 Districts entitled Facades.
Mr. Rogers said it was an overlay on Section 2520 and Mr. Necci properly called out that it says exterior building facades in those districts shall be primarily brick or stone, which may be augmented by materials complementary to brick and stone.
Mr. Rogers felt the conditions in granting a Section 4 Waiver or any action the Commission would take, were spelled out in the Zoning Ordinance at Subsection 9 on Page 3214 and it was 9a, b, c, and d and he believed Mr. Necci's report attempted to touch on those points and Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers if his report was accurate and Mr. Rogers said he couldn't comment on that as he didn't see it until just that night.
Member Bonaventura then asked wasn't it not true that the Ordinance maximum was 100% brick, and Mr. Rogers commented it would be difficult to have more than 100%. Member Bonaventura asked if the maximum of wood was 25% and Mr. Rogers said under Section 2520, yes. Member Bonaventura said but there was something more to this that he didn't know about or he hasn't been educated about by reading this report, and Mr. Rogers replied no and said that Member Bonaventura had called out the percentages under the TC of 25% and then there were some other types of materials that were limited to 25%, but he submitted that they have to also go back to the Town Center District classification and read both sections in tandem.
Mr. Rogers felt that Mr. Necci concludes that this was compatible for residential architecture, and he felt some of the concerns that the Commission had awhile back have been answered and apparently the developer/architect has met with Mr. Necci.
Member Bonaventura said Mr. Necci gives a chart in his letter dated June 15, 1995 and indicates that the numbers in bold were the numbers where they exceed percentages. He then referred to Building Type 100, front facade 53% wood and 47% brick and the 53% indicates that they exceed the maximum, which was 25%.
Mr. Rogers said he looked at this chart and they have to look at it very carefully. He said right above it, the last sentence of the second paragraph, it says percentages which have changed by more than 5% from the original submittal are shown in italic and for Building 100, those first three columns were in italics, but the fourth column and fifth column, Rear Facade and Ordinance Maximum, were not in italics. He said then they go down to Building 200 and the first four columns were all in italics and the fifth column was not.
Member Bonaventura said he noticed that, but it was barely noticeable. He said the 53% which Mr. Rogers was telling him was in italics, Mr. Necci states that this percentage has been changed by more than 5% from the original submittal. Mr. Rogers replied he didn't know what the original was and it may have been 88% and perhaps Mr. Necci would recall and Mr. Necci said he could review those numbers.
Member Bonaventura said but what difference would that make, and he was assuming those new numbers were on the downsize and they have lessened their amount of wood and Mr. Necci said that was correct.
Member Bonaventura then asked Mr. Rogers what was the problem and Mr. Rogers explained this was what the latest plan that was submitted calls out for the Front Facade of a Building Type 100 and it was 53% lap siding. Member Bonaventura said they were only allowed 25% and he was assuming they were 5% greater than that before which he particularly didn't care about.
Mr. Rogers stated this was what the current plans that they have, call out.
Member Bonaventura said it was 53% and the Ordinance maximum was 25% and they exceed that and Mr. Rogers said that was correct.
Member Bonaventura said there was something wrong with this report, and he didn't have the time that night to find out what was wrong with it so he would like to postpone this matter to the next regularly scheduled meeting.
It was then,
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Hoadley
To postpone Main Street Village, SP95-09A to the Planning Commission's next regularly scheduled meeting, which would be July 5, 1995.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Mutch said it was asked to have this postponed because there was something wrong so if indeed this matter was postponed, which she would not support doing, what was going to happen between now and then that they would be in a better position to make a decision than they were now.
Member Bonaventura said he was not trying to be difficult, but what he would like was he would like to question the Planning Consultant and get some straight answers about a report that seemed cut and dry and was only one page long but he was being referred to several other pages and he has been given answers and this was pretty simple, and there was no problem with this, but he gets the impression from Mr. Rogers that there was something up here and if they want to discuss it that night, he would stick around all night to discuss it.
Member Mutch said if they were going to postpone it, she wanted to know what was going to be different and were they going to direct someone to do something differently so it was more understandable. Member Bonaventura said he would like a report from Mr. Rogers actually and Member Mutch said they have a report from him.
Chairman Clark then said as a point of order, a motion was made at the beginning of the evening to bring down the gavel precisely at midnight and they were about two minutes away, so he didn't feel they were going to accomplish much.
Member Hoadley said he supported the motion because they don't have enough time to explore it and he also had quite a few questions on this matter with the Petitioner and Mr. Necci.
Member Taub then called the question and a vote was taken.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Weddington (No), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (No), Clark (No), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (No), Lorenzo (No), Mutch (No), Taub (No)
(7) Nays (2) Yeas
Moved by Member Taub
Seconded by Member Mutch
To approve Main Street Village, SP95-09A for a Section 4 Waiver.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Taub called the question.
Member Bonaventura said they need a vote to call the question and he stated he had a point of order. Chairman Clark asked what was his point of order. He said also his motion was denied and now they have a motion to approve and Member Bonaventura said someone had called the question, and Mr. Watson said there was a request to call the question and that hasn't been done so the Commission could proceed with discussion.
Member Bonaventura said he wished to make a comment on this as far as this was definitely architecturally a project that the City Council likes and what he would like to do was have the best project possible and he sincerely believed that having what the Ordinance states as far as the proper amounts of brick and other materials, would not compromise the designs of this and in fact more than likely, it would probably make a better project.
Member Bonaventura said architects were skilled people and he gets the impression this was being done on the cheap and he didn't mean that as an insult, and obviously they were spending millions of dollars on this project, but he was looking for the best project possible.
Member Bonaventura said also the comparison of this project to the surrounding residential in his mind, they all know what this project was suppose to complement and it was not suppose to complement Meadowbrook Glens and not suppose to complement the apartments next door and it was suppose to complement this, which was a picture that he brought of Main Street which was 100% brick.
Member Bonaventura said he didn't see a single piece of wood on it, which doesn't mean that this has to be 100% and their Ordinance doesn't state that, but he felt he meets the Ordinance and there should not be a section waiver on this because people do notice quality and that was the way he felt about it.
Member Hoadley said he agreed with Member Bonaventura 100% and there were a lot of questions he would like to ask but they would have to go past midnight, so they would need to have some kind of a new vote because it was after midnight now, but if they were going to have a vote on this now, then he would ask some questions.
Mr. Watson said he thought their previous motion was that they were waiving their rule that requires them to continue past their concluding time, and he didn't hear the part of the motion that was to cut off consideration of an item in the middle of consideration of the item because midnight arrived, but maybe he heard wrong. He said he interpreted the motion that they would continue with whatever item they were on.
Chairman Clark said this item was still before the Commission for discussion on a proposed motion to approve, which was seconded.
Member Hoadley said he had a question for Mr. Necci and he still had the floor. He asked Mr. Necci would he get the same visual effect as there was now, if they changed the shades of brick where they were now putting wood, and they have a shade of brick that would be the same color as the wood, and would they not have the same architectural integrity and the look that they have now.
Mr. Necci said he didn't see that as an option frankly and the use of two different color bricks would be somewhat uncommon. Member Hoadley said to Mr. Necci how could he defend this in light of what Member Bonaventura has said and this was suppose to complement Main Street.
Mr. Necci said he probably neglected to state the one key thought that he has had here in doing this review, which was while he hasn't met the numerical percentages prescribed by the Ordinance, it was his judgement as an architect, that to do so, would not appreciably change the architectural and aesthetic quality of this building and they were talking about another 25% worth of wood.
Member Hoadley said he hated to say this but he would reiterate what one of the other Councilmembers said Monday night, that it looks like barracks, and to him, that was not even architecturally interesting and some of those others were, but that was not. He asked if Mr. Necci had any recommendations for that elevation, which was then shown to everyone and Mr. Necci said that was probably his least favorite one also.
Mr. Neeci then further explained he didn't see the renderings and the drawings he looked at were blueprints and he was looking at numbers and percentages of materials and he did more of an analytical judgement than an aesthetic one and that building was lacking the articulation that the others have, and he didn't see it so much as a result of the choice in materials as it was the lack of three-dimensional delineation of the facade, especially when compared to another one which had elaborate articulation. He added that was another topic not covered by the Facade Ordinance unfortunately.
Member Hoadley said he had a problem with that and he really agreed with Member Bonaventura and he felt he makes a very strong point. He asked why was it that they could go almost 100% brick on this rendering of the clubhouse and have that conform and not do the same thing on the others.
Mr. Necci said one of the comments that the architect had mentioned to him was the difficulty in suspending brick from a cantilever bay and that was a valid point and it was a technical point and it was not within his authority or area of concern in doing a facade review, but it was worth mentioning that there was difficulty in suspending brick from a cantilevered portion. He said it was wood framing which could hold just so much weight and they would have to use thin brick or panel brick, which would be the only option and again in his judgement, would it really appreciably improve the appearance of the building and that was his question.
Member Lorenzo said she has given this a lot of thought and the one question she had which she called Mr. Rogers on today, was whether or not there have been any other waivers granted in the Town Center District and he could not recall any and that was a big concern of hers, that they were not starting to set a precedent here and they have held very high standards in the Town Center and from her experience on the Commission, restaurants such as TGI Friday's, Boston Chicken, and others have gone through hoops to go above and beyond what they normally do architecturally.
Member Lorenzo said she was concerned that Main Street was just a concept right now, and if they start with the relationship that this has with Main Street and with Vic's and the Retail Center, and if they get this off on the wrong foot in terms of architecture and waivers, what does that say for the rest of it. She said this was going to partially, as Vic's did, set a tone and she was concerned that with setting a tone like this, they don't go backwards but they go forward, so she didn't think that she could support a waiver for this project. She then said she would make a motion and Chairman Clark indicated there was a motion for approval and it was seconded and this was now discussion.
Member Lorenzo then said this shows them how beauty was in the eye of the beholder. She said in terms of this particular development, she preferred Building 300 because to her, that equates to more of an urban setting than all of the others and while all the others were attractive, to her all of the other styles were more of a typical suburban apartment complex.
Member Lorenzo felt they were looking for more atypical and urban and Building 300 to her gives them more of an urban character, but she didn't feel they were here that night to judge the actual architectural features and they were there to discuss a facade waiver and so because it would set a precedent and because they have not given facade waivers in the past and have stayed with high standards, she couldn't support this.
Member Capello said they have not given any facade waivers in the Town Center area, but everything they have looked at so far was in commercial properties. He felt if they stick to all brick in those particular buildings, it would look too industrial and they want this to look residential. He said they should all go through their own neighborhoods and look at the homes and see if they were all brick but they were not and would be just like these, brick and siding and that breaks up the house so they have some dimension to it and it makes it three-dimensional.
Member Capello said maybe not the 300 style, but if they pick any of the other styles, if it was all brick, they wouldn't be able to see the dimension and the dimensions in the buildings would melt into each other and they were not going to see the architecture that was there unless they walk right up to the building.
Member Capello said in his house, he was a little dissatisfied because he did have certain areas in brick, and they couldn't see the dimensions in the brick until they get right up to it, and a person driving by would never notice if there was a one foot setback. He also said he didn't feel that this was a cheap product and he didn't feel Singh makes a cheap product, and he felt they were putting a lot of money into this product and they were putting brick pavers in, putting lighting in, and putting in a lot of extra trees along the roads and they were keeping the properties and they were renting them out as opposed to selling them.
Member Capello felt if they were going to build a cheap product, they would have a lot of maintenance down the road, and they were going to have additional maintenance on the siding aspects of this for continued staining as opposed to brick. He said if they put it as all brick, in the long run it would probably be cheaper, but he didn't think that they were using the siding and the stain because it was cheaper than brick, and he felt they were doing it for the architecture of it, as Mr. Necci has stated.
Member Capello said as Member Lorenzo has indicated, he could pick this apart but he wasn't there to do that and he was just there to say as a whole, does it meet the Town Center standards and was it something that they were looking for and was it a high quality product and he would have to say and just because it was not 100% brick, he was not going to vote against the facade waiver.
Member Bonaventura commented it doesn't have to be 100%. He said if it met the Town Center standards, they wouldn't need a Section 4 waiver. He said going back to his neighborhood and as far as whether they were all brick or not, he lived in a subdivision, but this was being sold as an urban center and brick was what they were looking for and it was what the Ordinance was looking for, and then it was to also complement Main Street, which in his opinion, would help this greatly by increasing by a small percentage, the brick and then not setting any precedent by giving Section 4 Waivers in the Town Center.
Member Mutch said she would like to follow up on Member Capello's comments about the disadvantage as far as requiring 100% brick or having 100% brick. She said on the first style, for example, the comment was made that it looks very much like barracks. She felt the only thing that keeps it from looking institutional and industrial in terms of an urban look was the fact that it was not all brick. She said there was also the fact that they do break it up and they have a sense of different units there and that it was not just a single building that they would find in an urban area where it has been a reclaimed industrial building that has been turned into apartments where it would be all brick.
Member Mutch felt the use of different materials gives it a residential look and she felt it was the proximity and the screetscape, etc., that gives it the Main Street look or the Town Center look.
Member Mutch felt when they say they want an urban look, they were hopefully looking for what was good and what the better qualities were of an urban environment and they don't want to import everything from one of their reclaimed neighborhoods in an inner-City area and they want what was good about it. She felt what was good about it was the walking distances were short, the proximity of the commercial and all the amenities of what they consider a quality lifestyle being close at hand.
Member Mutch said this provides some variety and she would be really concerned if they had any of those buildings facing another building that was all siding or that the back of it was all sided and not brick and that would be a problem for her, but this particular mix was better in her view than if they did conform to the Ordinance.
Member Mutch felt the fact was they see Mr. Necci for waivers and they only see the people that have his support, and they rarely see anything that he recommends against because she felt people get the message before they get to the Commission.
Member Hoadley felt there was a misconception here and the Ordinance says that they could go 100% and it doesn't require 100% and it requires 75% and they could go 25% wood or other materials. He said all he was saying along with Members Bonaventura and Lorenzo was that they could make that architecturally interesting with the existing Ordinance and they don't have to grant a waiver and there was still 25% of those buildings that could be put in other materials besides brick and that was why he feels strongly that they should not grant a waiver.
Member Taub called the question and asked that the motion be restated and Chairman Clark restated the motion:
To approve the request for a Section 2520.4 Facade Waiver for Main Street Village, SP95-09A.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Bonaventura (No), Capello (Yes), Clark (No), Hoadley (No), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (No), Mutch (Yes), Taub (No), Weddington (No)
(6) Nays (3) Yeas
Chairman Clark stated that Main Street Village, SP95-09A was denied.
There being no further business before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 12:20 A.M.
Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian
July 20, 1995