REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, JULY 5, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Clark at 7:30 P.M.
ROLL CALL: MEMBERS Bonaventura (Present), Capello (Present-arrived late), Clark (Present), Hoadley (Present), Hodges (Present), Lorenzo (Present), Mutch (Present), Taub (Present-Arrived late), Weddington (Present)
(8) Present (1) Absent-Taub
A quorum being present, the meeting was in session.
ALSO PRESENT: Brandon Rogers Planning Consultant
David Bluhm Engineering Consultant
Rod Arroyo Traffic Consultant
Greg Capote Staff Planner
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Planning Commission pledged allegiance to the Flag.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Bonaventura asked to add under Matters for Discussion, Discussion on Possible Agenda Items for Future Council and Planning Commission Joint Meetings and Chairman Clark said that would be Item #2 under Matters for Discussion.
Member Hodges said she would like to add under Matters for Discussion, a Draft Write-Up on the Minutes and Chairman Clark said that would be Item #3 under Matters for Discussion.
It was then,
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Hodges
To approve the Agenda as amended.
(voice vote) Motion Carried Unanimously
There was no Audience Participation.
There was no Correspondence received.
1. Approval of the June 7, 1995 - Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes.
Member Mutch referred to Page 35, the middle paragraph on the second line about the middle of the sentence where it says, "and it was how some of those studies have been funded before." She said instead of saying, "how some of those studies have been funded before," she would like to see it changed to "and the concern was that some of those studies....."
Member Mutch also said two lines down it says, "but they did not get completed the way they," and she would like "they" removed and replaced with "the Commission."
It was then,
Moved by Member Mutch
Seconded by Member Weddington
To approve the Minutes of June 7, 1995 as corrected.
(voice vote) Motion Carried Unanimously
1. McDonald's Restaurant, SP95-13 - Property Located North of Ten Mile Road, East of Novi Road for Possible Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan Approval.
Mr. Tom Racklefyt was present. He indicated he was before the Commission about a month ago and he believed the overwhelming concern was one of traffic and he felt it was one of clarification in terms of the studies that were done and providing Mr. Arroyo with additional information, which they have done.
Mr. Racklefyt said they would find in their packets Mr. Arroyo's comments based on the information that he has provided. He said in addition, actually late this afternoon, they did get the final information they needed pertaining to the accident reports out at that particular intersection, and he would be happy to pass those around in a few minutes.
Mr. Racklefyt indicated the site was located on Novi Road with what they call a wrap to Ten Mile Road, and it was on the northeast quadrant and the Speedway Station sits there and the actual frontage for the proposed McDonald's would be on Novi Road, located in front of the building facing Novi Road, and then also access to Ten Mile, giving them multiple access points in this particular site plan.
Mr. Racklefyt said it was the McDonald's standard site plan in terms of the horseshoe shape. He then said a couple of points worth discussing was this particular curb cut would be a proposed shared curb cut with the Speedway Station with access to the McDonald's and then also access to the Speedway Station.
Mr. Racklefyt said one of the concerns was the configuration of this particular curb cut and it was a concern that they feel could be addressed in preparation of the Final site plan and what they would propose was to sit down with Mr. Arroyo and the architect and Traffic Consultant, if necessary, and look at a smoother pattern in that particular area right there.
Mr. Racklefyt said the restaurant was proposed to have 93 seats and provide parking for about 80 customers overall. He mentioned the real concern was the traffic report and the accident statistics and he passed around the accident data to everyone.
Mr. Racklefyt felt there was one real key factor and it seemed to be a concern by this Commission the last time he was before them. He said that concern was obviously the turning movements through the various curb cuts onto Ten Mile and onto Novi Road and also given the concerns about the traffic in that particular area.
Mr. Racklefyt felt the key point was in the accident report and the rate of accidents for the curb cuts. He said in other words, curb cut related accidents were no more than one per driveway related on any side on an average per year, so the actual curb cuts really were not posing the problem and they may want to consider that at the intersection and it was related to basically some single timing and there were some recommendations made in that particular report.
Mr. Racklefyt said as far as the actual traffic comparison, he felt the key part was there was really not much difference between a McDonald's use for an office which was permitted in this particular zoning, the light industrial zoning. He said there was a comparison that was presented to Mr. Arroyo comparing that and actually the PM peak time on the road and their traffic would be less than what an office building would be, which he felt was significant, not to mention that their Consultant has made recommendations for road improvements, which they were more than willing to do both on Ten Mile and on Novi Road.
Mr. Racklefyt said their Traffic Consultant couldn't be there that night but he would be happy to answer any of the questions or maybe refer them to Mr. Arroyo who has seen all the studies and actually had conversations with their Traffic Consultant.
Mr. Racklefyt then said he would like to address a couple of other issues and they were mainly related to the use in that particular district and he would refer everyone to Mr. Rogers' letter that they received in February that deals with some of the deficiencies as it pertains to a special use. He said probably the two major areas as they see them were one, the fact that it was not at the intersection of two major streets. He said actually it was just off the corner and the Ordinance does require access to two streets and it doesn't talk about two major streets, but however, they do have that luxury both with Ten Mile and Novi Road.
Mr. Racklefyt said the other issue addresses frontage and the Ordinance calls for 200 feet of frontage and they have approximately 161 feet on Novi Road and 165 feet on Ten Mile Road. He felt a person could look at the intent of the Ordinance in both situations and look at the fact that the design and permitting uses such as were in those Districts were to (1) put them on the periphery to actually provide a service to the industrial, without disrupting both the industrial zoning as well as providing for adequate property frontage; and (2) as he would see it, multiple access points via a major road, as well as secondary road or two major outlets, which would enhance traffic overall.
Mr. Racklefyt said the third issue pertains to the seats and he would submit to them that they were showing 93 seats and they could get to 100 and there were some issues that have been enacted since the Ordinance was really put into effect, meaning barrier-free restrooms and sizes of restrooms, so when they cross the threshold of 100, their building gets larger because of the restroom requirements.
Mr. Racklefyt said they could put 100 seats in there, but it was not their preference, not to mention that they don't feel that they need it, and they even feel that 93 in their present configuration was quite large, and reducing the number of seats amongst other things, would reduce the number of parking stalls and really add to the green area, which they would be willing to do.
Mr. Racklefyt said it was brought up at the meeting about the surrounding McDonald's and there was one at Twelve Oaks and one at Eight Mile and Haggerty and then one over in Wixom on Grand River and Wixom Road.
Mr. Racklefyt said what he would suggest to them was they were a convenience-oriented business, and he felt from a traffic standpoint when they think of the distances that people have to travel to those McDonald's and be on the road and the concern being safety, he couldn't think of a better situation than having it convenient to their houses and places where they live or commuting by. He said he would suggest to them that although it wasn't quantifiable by any means, that they could actually see basically improvements in traffic and other situations, very small he was sure, but one should consider that when considering this project.
Mr. Rogers said his report of February 28th really remains the same and he did draw attention to the need under Special Land Use Approval for the City's Traffic Consultant to review the circulation plan, which he has done.
Mr. Rogers said the issue of location of the site, the 200 foot frontage and the size of the restaurant, were dimensional in use standards in the Ordinance that would require Zoning Board of Appeals Review and which were issues that they would have to present to the Board, however, prior to that time, there has to be a decision on the special land use and he felt the principal issue was one of traffic and he could not find that this use was at the intersection of two major thoroughfares.
Mr. Rogers said he did investigate at one time and he may have talked to Mr. Racklefyt about a joint use with the Speedway Station, possibly a gas station/restaurant combo, but he saw nothing in the file that it was going to be a joint use and they have talked about renovating the Speedway Station but plans have not been submitted formally for that review.
Mr. Rogers said what they have before them was an inverted L shaped property and sharing the driveway on the north side of the gas station as shown would require consent of the station and a cross easement. He then said he would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. Bluhm indicated he has also reviewed the project in their March 8th report, and water and sewer services were from existing facilities on site and enclosed storm sewers pick up storm water drainage and was detained at the southern end along the Ten Mile Road frontage. He said the water was then outletted at a restricted rate into the ditch that exists on the north side of Ten Mile.
Mr. Bluhm said he had some other minor comments which were in his report and beyond that, the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility.
Mr. Arroyo said he has also reviewed the application for special land use approval along with reviewing the site plan and the traffic study. He said since the last time this was before them, there has been a submittal of additional traffic study data that they have reviewed and that they had requested and based on that review, he has prepared this letter that was dated June 27, 1995.
Mr. Arroyo referred to his comment #3 and most of them were probably aware about the possible widening of the roadways adjacent to this project, a five-lane proposal on both Ten Mile and on Novi Road, however, as has been pointed out in the past, those were not guaranteed and that they were not committed to, and in particular the Ten Mile Road widening was under additional review by the City Council before that moves forward. He said the Novi Road widening was moving along and it was actually a year ahead of schedule in terms of the design and he believed that was being designed at the County by the Road Commission.
Mr. Arroyo said but neither of those problems have gone through the right-of-way acquisition phase or has gotten into the construction phase obviously but they were both in design and study.
Mr. Arroyo said the next major issue he would like to address was trip generation and he has provided a table under Item #5 in his report that gives them a comparison of different uses that might be permitted on this particular piece of property to see how they compare. He said what they have done was they have compared the proposed McDonald's use to other uses permitted in the District and bank and office both were principal permitted uses and then manufacturing and light industrial, which could be permitted depending upon their location.
Mr. Arroyo said if they go across the different columns, they have a comparison of AM peak hour trips, noon hour trips, PM peak hour trips, and daily trips and in some instances, noon hour trip information was not available through the major sources that they use and he has indicated that by the NA, meaning not available.
Mr. Arroyo said if they look at the AM peak hour, they see that the McDonald's was broken down further into total trips and then new trips to the road network and they have talked in the past about how many of the trips to certain uses particularly retail/restaurant and the like, could be pass-by trips, which means they were already on the road network.
Mr. Arroyo said he has indicated how those numbers compare to the total trips and they could see when comparing to a bank, the McDonald's would generate substantially more traffic than a bank or a manufacturing or a light industrial use, however, when compared to an office, the new trips comparison during the morning peak hour was 111 new versus 83 new.
Mr. Arroyo said if they look at the noon hour trips, the only two uses they have information on were the McDonald's and the bank. He said in terms of new trips to the road network, the bank actually generates more traffic than the McDonald's during the noon hour and if they look at total trips, the McDonald's generates approximately 61 trips more than the bank.
Mr. Arroyo said when they look at a PM peak hour, they could see that McDonald's generates less traffic than a bank both in terms of new trips and total trips and in terms of new trips, it generates less than an office use but more total trips and then also if they compare it to manufacturing and light industrial, the McDonald's generates more.
Mr. Arroyo said then on a daily basis, they have the comparisons there once again and McDonald's generates more traffic on a total daily basis and also the new trips were more, however, the gap was closed somewhat with the bank use where they have 1265 for the McDonald's versus 878 new for the bank and some of those were rather rough estimates.
Mr. Arroyo said for example on banks, there wasn't a substantial number of studies on pass-by trips and the data was rather limited and they have noted it in their review, but all in all, they find that the trip generation comparisons between the McDonald's and the bank and the office use in particular, were favorable. He said the comparisons were similar and in some instances, the underlying permitted uses actually generate more traffic, particularly during the highest volume hour of the day which was the PM peak hour which was the volume time of the day that they were usually most concerned with because that was when the road volumes were at their highest. He said, therefore, when making a comparison, they always look to that PM hour as being the key component to see how a proposed development would compare with, for example, a principal permitted use since McDonald's was a special land use.
Mr. Arroyo said in terms of improvements, the Applicant was proposing to construct a full deceleration lane across its Novi Road frontage which was warranted and there was a center turn lane already in place on Novi Road so that would not need to be provided, however, on Ten Mile Road, there was not a center turn lane and that needs to be extended from the intersection across the site and the Applicant has indicated that they were willing to do that if the Ten Mile Road widening either (1) does not go forward or (2) has not been constructed by the time this project moves forward, if it does move forwarded.
Mr. Arroyo said they have noticed internal sight issues which he had in his previous letters and he wouldn't go into them in detail, but he believed they could be resolved at the time of Final site plan. He said going a little further into the traffic study, there has been a comparison of the McDonald's versus office in terms of level of service at the Ten Mile Novi Road intersection.
Mr. Arroyo said they have indicated that although the study was based on a larger McDonald's than what was currently proposed, it becomes somewhat a more conservative analysis or a worse case analysis and even with that, the level of service does not change during any of the three peak hours that were analyzed when the McDonald's traffic was added to the road network and some additional signal timing modifications were made to the intersection.
Mr. Arroyo said finally, there was some additional accident information that was requested by the Planning Commission at the last meeting and that has been provided and they received a copy of that this afternoon and had a chance to look at it and they were somewhat surprised that there were not that many accidents occurring at the driveways away from the intersections and most of the accidents were in fact taking place right at the intersection of Novi and Ten Mile and then further to the south.
Mr. Arroyo said the Speedway Driveway on Novi Road has a relatively low accident frequency and he knows the driveway intersections with Novi Road were of particular concern and they have reviewed that and based on their review of that information and review of the traffic study as revised and also the site plan, they were recommending approval subject to the items that they noted in their letter.
Chairman Clark said there was a letter from the City of Novi Fire Department under the signature of Daniel W. Roy, Captain, indicating that he has reviewed this plan and that approval was recommended with the following additional condition, that a fire hydrant be added at the Ten Mile entrance drive.
Mr. Jim Utley of 25614 Gina Court was present. He said he has discussed this matter before when they were proposing a McDonald's with Michigan National Bank a few years ago. He said at that time, they tried to build a McDonald's at that site and they were going to tear down the Michigan National Bank.
Mr. Utley felt the whole issue at that time and at this time was quality of life which includes traffic. He said there were some things in this report that were not mentioned that night and he would bring them up and it was a quality of life issue and a common sense issue and anyone who drives out on Novi Road or Ten Mile would tell them that there was a lot of traffic. He said that was one of the busiest intersections in the City and it might even be busier than Grand River.
Mr. Utley said it was a wonder that people coming out of those driveways haven't been hit more because it was very difficult coming out of that donut shop and tough coming out of that Speedway Station and people were lucky if they don't get hit.
Mr. Utley said he knows the statistics say that the traffic accidents happen at the intersection, but he felt a lot of it was caused by the access out onto Ten Mile Road.
Mr. Utley said a few things he would like to talk about here would be curb cuts and he understood that McDonald's wants to share a curb cut with Speedway coming out onto Novi Road and this would create a lot more congestion in the area. He said if they have ever been to a McDonald's and have been near a Speedway or a service station, they could see the flow of traffic and it was tremendous and it was tremendous all the time. He said it just wasn't in the morning and at night and it was continuous and people snack at 10:00 AM or 1:00 PM or late at night and there would be noise and traffic.
Mr. Utley said another issue was the frontage and 200 feet was the Ordinance and he felt they should stick with the Ordinance and to build a McDonald's at an intersection where they have better access to the roads.
Mr. Utley said one thing that Mr. Arroyo didn't point out here was that this was based on the Oakland County count taken in 1991 and shows a volume of 18,823 vehicles a day on Ten Mile Road at the intersection with Novi Road. He said Novi Road volumes from this same count showed 19,609 vehicles per day on Novi Road at Ten Mile Road and this was in 1991 and now they have all those subdivisions west of them.
Mr. Utley referred to the chart, which listed McDonald's versus the Bank, Office, Manufacturing and Light Industrial. He said one thing that Mr. Arroyo did not point out was that when at an Office or Manufacturing or Light Industrial use, a person would park their car in the morning and come out at night. He said they were parked in the morning and parked at night and there were two times and there was 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning and 5:00 in the afternoon and that wasn't pointed out and the discrepancy here was tremendous. He said on the chart was listed 202 AM peak trips for McDonald's. He said for the Light Industrial there would be 27 new trips, for Manufacturing there would be 22 new trips, for a Bank there would be 36 new trips, and for the Office, there would be 83 new trips.
Mr. Utley felt an Office, Manufacturing use or Light Industrial use was a much better use for this land, especially since there was industrial further down from there. He said those were things that were not pointed out and traffic sits there in the Office and Industrial.
Mr. Utley said that was basically what he wanted to say and it was really a quality of life issue and they have a lot of commercial in this City and they have three other McDonald's and he felt a person could drive 3 miles to another McDonald's. He said there was one on Twelve Mile, one on Haggerty Road, one on Ten Mile in Farmington Hills and one in Wixom, so he didn't feel they need another one.
Mr. Utley said he enjoyed fast-food and he wasn't getting down on McDonald's as he goes there a lot because he was on the road, and as a restaurant it was a very good restaurant, but he felt it brings too much traffic and too much intensity to this area.
Mr. Robert Nagar, of 25881 Petrose Blvd. was present. He commented he saw the small notice that was put in the paper about this meeting and it has been his understanding that this issue has been defeated before because the homeowners did not want it but he just would have to re-emphasize what he says, and he didn't know where the traffic surveys come from, but he drives the road and it was terrible and he could just see where they would have problems if it goes in.
Mr. Robert Nagar felt they have enough McDonald's and he had nothing against the restaurant, but there were enough restaurants in Novi in general so they should look for something else to generate tax revenue besides a fast-food place where traffic was going to be running in and out because once it was there, the accidents were there or the problems were there, and there was nothing they could do, so let's stop it now while they have their chance.
There being no further Audience Participation, Chairman Clark closed the Public Hearing.
Member Hoadley asked for a restaurant of this size in this area, how many sales a day would he make Monday through Friday and what would his sales be on Saturday and Sunday per day, and he didn't mean in dollars, but in number of sales.
Mr. Racklefyt said candidly, he would have to work it out and he couldn't tell him off the top of his head. He said one thing he pointed out in his traffic study and which was done in conjunction with the traffic report, was there was a survey done at their 8 Mile and Haggerty store regarding the transactions there and stacking and so forth and this restaurant actually would be equal or slightly less than what was generated over at the 8 Mile and Haggerty restaurant.
Member Hoadley asked how many transactions do they have there and Mr. Racklefyt replied about 1500 transactions and that would be customers.
Member Hoadley asked would he agree that a transaction would represent a car and Mr. Racklefyt said based on their studies, he would say no.
Member Hoadley asked what criteria would they use and Mr. Racklefyt said basically to tell him the truth, he would have to look at the traffic, using ITE, plus other studies that they do, and the reason that a transaction wouldn't necessarily represent a car was that people come together and they go back and that was all in the transaction count.
Member Hoadley said he understood that, but when a car comes through the drive-in, wasn't that generally one transaction, and they wouldn't issue 2-3 bills just because there were a lot of people in the car and wouldn't they generally order for the entire car.
Mr. Racklefyt said possibly Member Hoadley's assumption in the drive-through was fairly close to that, however when they take the inside of the restaurant, that was not always the case especially in the noon hours when people come together and they buy for other office members, that type of thing.
Mr. Racklefyt said right now in their business and what he would estimate would be that in this particular location, maybe 54% would be drive-through so they would have a significant portion of the business coming inside to the restaurant.
Member Hoadley asked what would be a fair estimate then of the number of cars that each transaction would generate and Mr. Racklefyt replied with all due respect, he was not prepared to talk off the cuff about that and give him an answer.
Member Hoadley said he would need that information before he could make a final judgement.
Member Hoadley then said to Mr. Arroyo that he agreed with some of the folks in the Audience that this was going to generate a tremendous amount of left-hand turns, criss-cross turns, right hand turns and even with their own figures of 2,300 trips per day versus 3,000, which he felt was more accurate, those trips per day were making turns into the restaurant and was that not correct.
Mr. Arroyo said that would be correct. Member Hoadley felt there was a problem here with his trip generation under Paragraph #5 and he indicates 282 AM peak trips from McDonald's and then on the chart it was reduced now to 202 and why was there a discrepancy.
Mr. Arroyo said the reason for that was the traffic study that was submitted was based on a 4,700 square foot McDonald's which may have been what they were proposing at one time, and that was the number that was used and this proposed site as shown on their site plan, actually has 3,640 sq. ft., therefore, the numbers were adjusted to reflect the actual size of the McDonald's that was proposed and that was where the difference in the numbers comes from.
Member Hoadley asked if he factored in his 54% or 57% that would be drive-through because that wouldn't change no matter what size the restaurant would be would it and Mr. Arroyo said that was correct and the trip generation numbers would include that and he factored that into his figures.
Member Hoadley asked how many trips per day were now on Novi Road at that intersection, in 1995 figures, and Mr. Arroyo replied in terms of 1995 numbers he did not have that, and he had 1995 peak hour numbers which was the basis for the counts and that was how the level of service was determined and it was based on 1995 peak hour data, but the 24 hour data he did not have for 1995. Member Hoadley said he wasn't seeing the peak hour data and Mr. Arroyo replied it wasn't listed, but he could get it for him and it was in the traffic study.
Member Hoadley asked if he would agree that if they increase the number of left-hand turns, criss-cross turns, into the same location and that was what they were doing with a shared driveway, that would not increase percentage-wise, the number of accidents that would occur, and Mr. Arroyo said it would depend and he asked increasing it over what and Member Hoadley replied over what it was presently and they were increasing at least 202 trips going in and out and Mr. Arroyo said some of those would be in and some of those would be out and over not developing the site yes, there would probably be some increase in traffic accidents caused by the turning movements over not doing anything.
Member Hoadley asked if it would be in direct proportion with the number of cars going in and out as opposed to what the cars were going in and out of the Speedway Station and Mr. Arroyo said he couldn't say and he didn't think there was enough statistics to be able to back up whether it would be exactly a direct proportion or not and it would depend upon the situation.
Member Hoadley said it was very difficult for him since his background was traffic investigation of accidents with 38 years experience, to be able to support this at this time. He said he just didn't buy it and he had a real problem and he knows there was going to be additional accidents and there was going to be some severe ones and it was hard for him to believe that there wasn't another location that would meet their Ordinances and be on a through street that McDonald's couldn't acquire.
Member Hoadley said with this site plan, they were not even having a segregated entry on Novi Road, not even one with an island under the plans that he has read and was that correct.
Mr. Arroyo said they were combining a drive so that they were not getting any new driveways. Member Hoadley said but they don't have an island between a right-hand turn and a left-hand turn and Mr. Arroyo said that was true, but he didn't know if it would make any substantial difference, and he would think if it was something they felt was important, that was something they could explore, but he didn't know that having a divided drive would make a significant difference in the function of that particular intersection.
Member Hoadley said one of the things they as a Planning Commission review for special use was to take the traffic and any increase in accidents into consideration and his intuition and past experience tells him that there would be an increase in accidents here because of this traffic, as opposed to office which generates quite a few less trips. He said manufacturing would be less and light industrial less and even the banks would be less. He said they were talking about 2,300 trips per day on the chart and it was probably more than that, but he would buy that as opposed to the highest for office of 1,000. He felt they have a potential left-hand turn coming out and they would have that with the McDonald's situation and people were coming and going.
Member Hoadley said as one comes in, one goes out, so they were going to have a constant left-hand turn out, left-hand turn in, and they would have southbound traffic on Novi Road turning in left and traffic trying to continue on south out of McDonald's, so they would have a criss-cross left turn versus a left turn and wasn't that correct.
Mr. Arroyo replied although he would venture that probably the majority of the traffic in and out would be right turns, if they would notice, they talk about approximately 45% being pass-by traffic and pass-by traffic was that which was already on the roads, so say a person was northbound on Novi Road and they want to go to this McDonald's, they would likely turn right off of Novi Road and go into the McDonald's and then right and continue northbound in the direction they were going, so they expect there would be a lot of right turns.
Member Hoadley said he would agree that any traffic that turned in right going north would probably continue on, but he was talking about the left-hand turn traffic that comes in going south was going to come out and continue left he would think, in other words, they were southbound to start with and either they would do that or they were going to turn left at that intersection.
Mr. Arroyo said or they could go out to Ten Mile and turn right and then turn left at the intersection.
Member Hoadley asked wouldn't they have a severe stacking problem when they turn left out onto that intersection, trying to make another left hand turn onto Ten Mile.
Mr. Arroyo asked what left-hand turn was he referring to and Member Hoadley said he was referring to coming out of McDonald's on Novi and making a left hand turn onto Novi Road and then trying to make another left-hand turn on Ten Mile. Mr. Arroyo said the outbound left turns was an area of concern and they have indicated that there needs to be some modification to the site plan to provide additional stacking and once that was done, then they would be satisfied that they have addressed that, but as of right now that was a change that needs to be made to the site plan.
Member Hoadley asked what was the distance from the north curb of Ten Mile and this driveway and Mr. Arroyo believed it was in the neighborhood of about 240 feet to 250 feet, but he would have to check it to be exact, but it was roughly that distance and possibly 260 feet.
Member Hoadley asked how bad does that traffic stack up now, trying to make left-hand turns onto Ten Mile, and Mr. Arroyo said he didn't have that information for him that evening.
Member Hoadley said those were all pieces of information he needed in order to support this project and since there was not adequate information, he was not willing to support the special land use at this time.
Member Bonaventura said to Mr. Arroyo that for his calculations for the bank, they used a by-pass factor of 16% and Mr. Arroyo said yes about 15% to 16%. Member Bonaventura said he noticed it was 15% under AM peak hours and then the rest was 16% and Mr. Arroyo said yes probably due to rounding and it was approximately 15%.
Member Bonaventura asked why was a bank considered a lower pass-by factor than McDonald's, which they have there was 45%.
Mr. Arroyo said that was what the data has indicated based on the national studies that have been done and the reason for that was he would have to speculate, but he felt generally people, when it comes to food and particularly fast-food, they were grabbing it as a convenience. He said to stop on the way to another location like going from home to work and stopping off and getting that food for example makes a lot of sense because it was a convenience item.
Mr. Arroyo said for a bank it may be that was something that was more of a destination, where they were going there and trying to do that as a special purpose trip and a person needs to go to the bank, rather than stopping at the bank on the way home because for example, a lot of banks were not open at 5:00 or 6:00 and it depends upon the bank they use obviously, but they don't have the same convenience hours that a convenience restaurant does, where they were tending to serve the pass-by traffic.
Member Bonaventura said and that 45% goes with national studies too and Mr. Arroyo said that was correct.
Member Bonaventura said when they have turning movements, the thing that bothers him was would the 45% be plus or minus 5%, 10%, 20% and Mr. Arroyo replied he would say plus or minus 5%. He said one of the factors that come into play was the volume of traffic on the adjacent street and if they have a fast-food restaurant on an adjacent street that had only 7,000 cars per day, they would probably expect a lower pass-by percentage and statistics show that they would have a lower pass-by percentage.
Mr. Arroyo said whereas if it was located on a busy road, they were likely to have more pass-by traffic because there was already more traffic on the road adjacent to the restaurant so given the volumes located here, he didn't have a reason to believe that it would be much different than the national average.
Member Bonaventura said basically they were saying if they had gridlock, that was the place to put a McDonald's and Mr. Arroyo said no he didn't mean that. He said he felt a high volume roadway would be a good location from a business standpoint to put a McDonald's if he were to locate one, but if there was gridlock, that may not necessarily be a good situation because they reach a point where people then would not want to stop because of the gridlock or they would avoid the intersection.
Mr. Arroyo said he felt a high volume roadway, if they were trying to attract that traffic, would probably be a good location to put a convenience-oriented business.
Member Bonaventura said when they compare from an office to McDonald's in the next paragraph down, it was indicated the proposed McDonald's compares favorably to an office use and the office use was an underlying use and was that correct and Mr. Rogers said actually either an office or a bank would be permitted as a principal permitted use.
Member Bonaventura said so they were comparing those obviously and Mr. Arroyo said yes and they go from the AM 202 and then they go to 111, which was minus the 45%, and Mr. Arroyo replied yes and Member Bonaventura said they then get the 83 new.
Member Bonaventura then asked when they have turning movements once they make the turn in, don't they count all of the trips, in other words, wouldn't that be 202 turning movements, and Mr. Arroyo replied no that was not all in-bound and it was in and out together and Member Bonaventura said they could use the 202 number and was that correct and Mr. Arroyo said the 202 was the total in and outbound trips during the AM peak hour.
Member Bonaventura said it would be a turn in and a turn out and Mr. Arroyo said they may have 105 of those that were in and then the balance would be out, and Member Bonaventura said if they go in, they come out and Mr. Arroyo said yes, but not necessarily during the same one hour period.
Member Bonaventura said what he was getting at was when they compare the new trips to an office for instance at the PM peak hour, when they were comparing 73 to 84 new for office, in actuality the turning movements would be 133 compared to 84 and was that correct.
Mr. Arroyo said the total turning movements in and out would be 133 and that was correct compared to 84, whereas in 45% of those, 133 would have already been on the road, but he was correct and turning movements were represented by the 133.
Member Bonaventura said he was not worried about them being on the road and he was talking about total turning movements in and out. He said what he was trying to do under Special Land Use was he has to compare it to the underlying use and he has to find out which was less of a burden on their commuity and even though they make a positive recommendation for this, it was common sense and using an example of a few weeks ago at Haggerty and 8 Mile, they were told that adding a Best Buy, adding an Office Max, because of the improvements they were going to make to the intersection, they were better off with the Best Buy and the Office Max at 8 Mile and Haggerty, in comparison to an office that wouldn't make the improvements and Mr. Arroyo said that was correct.
Member Bonaventura said he didn't buy that and he didn't buy this because common sense tells him that it doesn't make any sense. He knows Mr. Arroyo has a problem dealing with that because he was a very precise individual and they crunch the numbers and they do a very good job at it, but a lot of this drives him nuts as far as making a recommendation on something that was definitely going to place a bigger burden on a community compared to the underlying use.
Member Bonaventura then said he wouldn't be able to support the Special Land Use and he would make a motion.
Moved by Member Bonaventura
Seconded by Member Hodges
To deny the Special Land Use for McDonald's Restaurant, SP95-13.
Member Weddington wanted to point out a few other items and she agreed with Member Bonaventura's comments and Member Hoadley's comments, as well as those from the Audience. She said this plan would also have an additional curb cut on Ten Mile in very close proximity to two others at Speedway and opposite two others for the Erwin Farms complex.
Member Weddington said the Applicant's own Traffic Consultant said that most of the accidents in this vicinity were congestion related and by her gross estimates here, the addition of a fast-food restaurant would add to that congestion a minimum of at least 50% more traffic, all the way up to 110% or so depending upon which comparisons they make.
Member Weddington said if the road were to be widened and they don't know when or if that would happen, the congestion wasn't going to go away and experience shows them that widening this road brings more traffic, so they were just going to make this problem worse.
Member Weddington said even if there was one more accident, that was one too many. She said members of her family were in an injury accident just in the last month on Ten Mile and one was too many.
Member Weddington said this property was zoned Light Industrial and it could be developed as Light Industrial, and she felt the relevant traffic comparisons were to industrial, rather than to office, and even though office was a permitted use, there were other uses for this parcel of property, therefore, she would support the motion to deny this Special Land Use request.
Member Mutch said she had three questions that don't really speak to supporting or opposing the motion that has been made, but she would like to ask her questions.
Member Mutch said to Mr. Rogers that the Ordinance calls for the property that the restaurant was on to be located at the intersection and was that correct. She also added in other words, the building itself, if they owned the whole corner, might be in the same location and the access points might be in the same location, but they need to own that corner as well according to the Ordinance.
Mr. Rogers said the Ordinance states at the intersection of either two major thoroughfares, which was the case here, or one major thoroughfare and an industrial street serving the district. Member Mutch said her point was that the deficiency in this particular case that they address in their number one comment under the summary, was the fact that they don't own the property right at the corner, and if they did, that would not be an objection and was that correct, and Mr. Rogers said if they owned the property at the corner.
Member Mutch said the corner of their property has to be the same as at the intersection and what she was getting at was that it was not the location of the building or the access points.
Mr. Rogers said possibly Mr. Racklefyt could expand on that issue further about any overtures with Speedway, but he has seen no definitive acceptance of that corner.
Member Mutch said the only thing she was interested in was whether he owned the corner or not which was irrelevant to building location or access for the site.
Mr. Rogers said that was right and if they own the corner which was an acre or so, and left it as grass, they could build this plant.
Member Mutch said the other question she had was that some comments have been made on this particular project, but it comes up in other situations, and the suggestion was that there might be a shared use of an access to the site and in this case, with the gas station. She felt an example that has been given before was the fast-food restaurant driveway that was shared with the gas station on Haggerty and Mr. Rogers said that was correct.
Member Mutch asked if that was really preferable to a separation of an access and Mr. Rogers said he would defer to Mr. Arroyo on that matter and it was a traffic issue, but reducing curb cuts for example, was an objective in the Town Center District when Trammell Crow came in and half of the curb cuts were eliminated and the Ordinance required that percentage.
Member Mutch felt there was a difference between the benefit of having fewer curb cuts. She said what she was asking might be the negative effect of having a shared use because what she has seen herself on Haggerty Road where there was a shared use was people instead of coming in and out in a more controlled way from a single site, were cutting across the parking area and accessing another site to use that other exit, so she asked if Mr. Arroyo had any further comments on that matter.
Mr. Arroyo said he felt in general, particularly when they were looking at a site that was near an intersection, if they could combine the driveways and have the driveway, for example, further away from an intersection or minimize the number of driveways near an intersection, they would reduce the potential turning movement points. He said so where the traffic was going to be turning, they would make that intersection, where if they were driving through it, there would be less driveway access points that they have to be aware of and they could then concentrate on just a handful rather than concentrating on many. He said therefore, they would only have left turns coming out of one or two or three points, rather than 5, 6, or 7.
Mr. Arroyo felt it was a benefit but internally it has to be designed so that they were not having a lot of conflict problems internally and that was why they have indicated that they think in terms of their outbound flow, that they need to make some minor modifications to try and make that flow a little better so they don't have that type of confusion.
Mr. Arroyo said one of the things they have talked about at least preliminarily, was that they might have their drive coming in with McDonald's and the Speedway traffic, potentially stopping before turning into the access point that goes to Novi with some type of reasonable control on site to make the flow better and then they could take it to the other extreme.
Mr. Arroyo said what if they had every business along Novi Road on the east side between Grand River and Ten Mile with one driveway, and he felt that wouldn't be a good idea either because they have then overloaded the area so they could take it to an extreme either way, but in this case combining the driveway with Speedway makes sense because they were not adding a new driveway to Novi Road and they were not adding one near the intersection, which could cause potential conflict.
Member Mutch said she could see if they had some adjoining properties that were served by a single access point, they almost have to construct a road or a driveway or a service drive parallel to the main road.
Mr. Arroyo said that was correct and in fact, the Thoroughfare Plan calls for that in some locations, where they would have the parallel roadway because they have to provide for access and about the only way to do that was constructing a road that runs parallel to the main road.
Member Mutch said to Mr. Rogers when there was a situation where the Ordinance calls for a certain number of parking spaces and experience in other similar situations tells them that a lot of those spaces were going to be unused, if that should be true of this particular type of business and they had a lot of unused spaces because they were able to meet the Ordinance, did he think that would encourage people, particularly people who had nowhere else to go, to "hang out."
Member Mutch further said instead of the parking being at a premium where they come in and get their spot, they go to whatever they were there to do and they leave because there was pressure to move on, and if there was a lot of extra parking, would that encourage people to just use the driveways, the parking areas, as a place to stay when they were done or before they go in.
Mr. Rogers said he didn't know if there was a loitering problem at the McDonald's and he merely followed what the Ordinance calls out and came up with the required number of parking spaces. He said he used the 93 seats, the 12 employees, the fast-food/carry-out standards, and he couldn't say whether there would be an excess of parking or not at this site. He said he was sure they have done parking studies at many other McDonald's and they know for a building of 3,640 sq. ft. and seating 93 people having a playspace, within 10%, how much parking they need. he said but in some areas at McDonald's, there was a lot of walk-in traffic and most people coming to this location would have to drive and there was no proximate residential area at this site.
Mr. Rogers said so if there was loitering or cruising, it would be a police issue, but he felt McDonald's would police a site, picking up paper and preventing gang-related areas.
Member Mutch said the flow of traffic was fairly continuous and they may find because of its location and because of the high volume of traffic on both Novi Road and Ten Mile, that there would be similar sorts of uses and not necessarily fast-food that would like to locate there and so she was trying to get to the underlying problems that they may see again and again and not get too stuck on the idea of fast-food or this particular chain.
Mr. Rogers said for McDonald's in his report, he called out they were providing 84 spaces including four handicapped and he computed a need for only 66 spaces and they perhaps foresee a need for that amount of parking space because of the drive-in nature of the facility and the sit-down nature of the facility.
Member Mutch said at the same time, they were saying they were deficient in number of seats so they want them to build more seats so wouldn't they then want them to have more parking.
Mr. Rogers explained if they build more seats, it would increase, and if they added 7 seats, they would add 4 more parking spaces or a total of 70 parking spaces including handicapped, and they have 84 spaces so if they added more seats, they were still within the ballpark on the parking requirement.
Member Capello said he agreed with Member Mutch and he felt this piece of land being contiguous and having access to two major thoroughfares meets the intersection requirement of the Ordinance, but he had some questions either for Mr. Watson or Mr. Rogers, in regard to the 200 foot frontage requirement.
Member Capello asked if it has to be contiguous land, does it have to be 200 feet on one of the two thoroughfares or 200 feet on each thoroughfare and if it were right on the intersection, could they have 100 foot frontage on one thoroughfare and another 100 feet frontage, 90 degree angle, on another thoroughfare and meet the 200 foot requirement.
Mr. Watson said he read the Ordinance to require 200 feet on a major thoroughfare, meaning on the same thoroughfare and Mr. Rogers said he would also agree and it says a major thoroughfare.
Member Capello said so it has to be contiguous on the same thoroughfare then and Mr. Watson said yes. Member Capello asked if there was any room for a different reading in the Ordinance or was that clear and Mr. Watson felt it was clear on that issue and if the Commission felt that it was otherwise an approvable use, they could approve it subject to getting a variance from the ZBA on those two issues, but he didn't feel there was a question about the interpretation of it.
Member Capello said so the Commission couldn't approve it on their own anyway without going to the ZBA and Mr. Watson said that was correct.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Arroyo on Item #11 of his report, it was indicated modifications to the signal timing at the intersection, and was that being proposed at this time, and Mr. Arroyo indicated the applicant's traffic consultant has indicated that those modifications would improve the operation of the intersection and it would be up to the Road Commission as to whether or not those changes would be made. Mr. Arroyo said this information could be forwarded to them and they could make those changes and it was a matter of just adjusting the signal timing, but that was something that was a recommendation based on studying this intersection.
Member Lorenzo said so it was not something that was being proposed at this time, not specifically, and it was being proposed by the applicant's traffic consultant as a way to address the problem but it was not in place and it would involve the Road Commission making that modification and Mr. Arroyo said that was correct.
Member Lorenzo then said what would the level of service be without that modification to the signal timing and Mr. Arroyo said he didn't know if that was specifically provided in the analysis and the analysis assumed that the signal timing change would be made and he could look quickly and see if that was in there, but he didn't recall that they did a separate analysis, but if the Commission would give him a few minutes, he would answer her question.
Member Lorenzo said in any event, Mr. Arroyo has indicated that even with those modifications to the signal timing, the level of service at best, would remain the same for all three peak hours as it was today. She said in addition to that, she felt that Member Mutch alluded to it briefly in one sense, but she felt there was another issue here that this location was going to probably be very attractive to the young people in the area and young people were generally inexperienced drivers, and she felt there were statistics that indicate inexperienced drivers tend to have more accidents and she felt those young people might not be turning left at that intersection if it was not a fast-food restaurant, particularly with the location of the high school right down the road.
Member Lorenzo said in addition, one of their focuses was relative to other uses and to look at the impact on police and fire and she felt the nature of it being a fast-food restaurant, there may be additional need for police and fire at that location, whether it be for a kitchen fire or whether it be for some type of theft or crime being committed at a fast-food restaurant, which unfortunately was not unheard of, and she didn't think there would be the same issues from an office complex or even an industrial park.
Member Lorenzo felt those were also major concerns in addition to the traffic issues that have been raised, so she would support the motion, but she would like to amend the motion as follows:
To include, in addition to the reasons that Mr. Rogers expressed in his letter of denial, that the substantial overall volumes of traffic which would be between 387 and 1264 new trips that would be added, that additionally at best, the level of service would remain the same for all three peak hours with modifications to the signal timing, however, there would be no improvement to the levels of service and that relative to other uses, there would be no detrimental impact on the capabilities of the police and fire by virtue of the nature of a fast-food restaurant.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Bonaventura said those were reasons for denying this special land use and the way he saw it, they were on the record currently. He said they could make a motion and they could vote on it, but he felt it was lengthy and it was obvious that what they said was true and it was on the record.
Chairman Clark said her comments would be a part of the record and Member Lorenzo said she was making a motion to amend the main motion basically.
Member Taub said he didn't see the difference unless he was missing something and Chairman Clark asked if Member Bonaventura, maker of the motion, was accepting the amendment and Member Bonaventura said no he was not.
Member Lorenzo then said she just felt it would be helpful in their motion to include the reasons for denial and Member Taub said they always give reasons on the record and Chairman Clark said they would be part of the official minutes. Member Lorenzo then asked Mr. Watson if he felt it would make any difference.
Mr. Watson said normally he would like them to have all the reasons that they have for a decision either way to be on the record and if that was expressed in the motion, that was fine. He felt in light of the comments here, and the reasons that were on the record and the reasons for which Member Bonaventura made the motion, he didn't think it had to be more specific given that.
Member Taub then said in this situation, they have numerous non-compliance issues with the Ordinance, which he felt make it easy to then look at more what people have talked about as common sense or gut feelings or other issues.
Member Taub said they have had other McDonald's restaurants in front of them and they have been fairly controversial in the community. He said one of their public participants pointed out the fact that there were numerous McDonald's in the area that people would have access to from a practical standpoint and he would point out that the high school was located somewhat in proximity to this proposed site.
Member Taub said he wouldn't make the argument that teenagers were bad drivers, but his point was they may have secondary problems as far as the location of the high school and people going to and from, etc., and maybe that was one reason McDonald's wants to be located there on Novi Road.
Member Taub felt in order to support this, it would require a Commissioner to overlook the Ordinance for no good reason and he didn't think it was a close enough call to basically make an ad-hoc vote, so he would go along with the motion and be opposed to this.
Chairman Clark said he could not support this request for special land use either. He said during the years he has been on the Commission, safety and traffic has always been a major concern and over and over again, there has been the requirement, and it has been raised time and time again, for a project such as this they have to have 200 feet of frontage on a main thoroughfare and the reason being the 200 feet of frontage reduces the number of curb cuts. He said study after study has shown as curb cuts decrease, accidents decrease, and as curb cuts increase, accidents increase.
Chairman Clark said he had a problem with the comparison between banks and McDonald's at the noon hour, because he has certainly been to the bank at Ten and Meadowbrook, First of America, on numerous occasions during the lunch hour over the years and on a couple of occasions, has taken care of business and was there for awhile and he has never seen the amount of traffic coming in and out of the bank that he sees coming out of a typical McDonald's at the noon hour and it just defies comprehension in terms of comparison.
Chairman Clark said the last traffic figures they have go back to was 1991 and it was now 1995 and it has been pointed out by members of the audience that night and it was well known to all of them as well, that there has been a tremendous increase in community growth and new homes since 1991 with an increase in traffic on both Novi Road and Ten Mile Road.
Chairman Clark said traffic and safety were always quality of life issues and it has been pointed out that most of the business that would be generated at this location of necessity would be arriving by automobile. He said there was also a comment made that if McDonald's really wanted to be in the community, they would find another location within the City, which certainly he was sure they could.
Chairman Clark said he would note with interest, that in the immediate vicinity within a few miles of each other, they have one Hardees, one Fuddruckers, one Burger King, one KFC, several independent pizza chains, and four McDonald's. He said obviously it was clear why this location was so attractive as it was around the corner from the high school, and that was the exact reason that McDonald's wanted the opposite corner a year or so ago.
Chairman Clark felt that there would be a tremendous increase in the traffic and there would be a result in increase in the number of accidents at that location, so for all of those reasons, he could not support the special land use.
Member Mutch said one of the reasons why she felt it was important that they try to get away from discussing the underlying problems was because tieing it so much to the repeated use of the McDonald's would bring other restaurants coming back saying they were not McDonald's. She said that doesn't matter and some of the focus has been on McDonald's as a fast food restaurant and as a place that was attractive to young people because it was near the high school.
Member Mutch said that was true but it would be equally true for just about any similar sort of thing that comes in, restaurant or otherwise and she didn't want to sit through the same discussions over and over again when they could maybe dispense with it very clearly the first time around.
Member Mutch said secondly, with Member Lorenzo's efforts, she appreciated what she was trying to do and she felt it was a responsibility that they have to the Petitioner, as well as to the City, to itemize the reasons for their vote, however, they run the risk of making the motion so specific with the reasons listed, that they may lose some support for the motion.
Member Mutch said some of the statements that were made that night for example, she felt Member Taub did characterize some of them correctly by saying they were more subjective perhaps than addressing the Ordinance.
Member Mutch said she felt what Member Lorenzo was trying to do was to get them back to identifying where this was deficient with regard to the Ordinance as opposed to their instincts or preferences. She said the problem with the effort that she made was that if all of them start putting things into the motion, they were going to be in a situation where they may not vote for it because it doesn't correctly characterize the reasons why they would vote with the rest of the Commissioners.
Member Mutch said in this particular case, she was prepared to support the motion, but because the Ordinance clearly calls for the 200 feet of frontage, which they do not have, if it came back with some of the other things, she might not have as much difficulty with this as other people. She said some of the problems that have been raised were indeed problems and because it was a special land use situation, they have the opportunity to deny it and comment on those other things, but those things would be there wherever a restaurant was proposed in the City.
Member Mutch said it has to be at an intersection and they would be having traffic at every intersection and they were going to have left turns and have all of that no matter where it was, so when a restaurant was proposed somewhere in the future on a location that does meet the requirements of the Ordinance, where would they then be in terms of special land use and where were their arguments then.
Member Mutch said she had no problem supporting the motion because that project was clearly deficient with regard to the requirements and a vote was then taken.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes)
Chairman Clark indicated that McDonald's Restaurant SP95-13 was denied.
Chairman Clark then said the Commission would take a break at this time but first the applicant asked about the site plan.
Mr. Watson explained the site plan couldn't be approved without the special land use approval.
THE PLANNING COMMISSION THEN TOOK A TEN MINUTE BREAK.
Councilman Mitzel was in the audience and said he heard that the Commission may be examining the Facade Ordinance and he wanted to share some photos of some interesting architecture in the Grand Rapids area for their consideration and how they fit in with the Facade Ordinance. He said one of them was the Steelcase Pyramid which was the engineering center in Gains Township and the other one happens to be a McDonald's in the City of Kentwood so he would pass those to the Commission.
Councilman Mitzel also wished to take this opportunity as a resident of Novi to publicly thank Chairman Clark for his service on the Planning Commission and the fine job he has done as Chairman and that they have appreciated his work.
Mr. Utley said he was wondering if they might take a look at their planning process because he felt it might be important for future endeavors like this. He said he has often wondered why the Consultants approve or disapprove of a project. He said the Commissioners were there to make a decision and they really don't need an approval or disapproval from a Consultant and if there was a point of contention or something like that, yes he could see the Consultants getting involved and giving technical information like they were suppose to do.
Mr. Utley said he has always felt that they should go out on bids for Consultant activity, and he also maintained that Consultants shouldn't approve or deny a project and that should be the Commission's responsibility and they should give the facts and the Commission should decide on it.
Mr. Utley said he believed this and he would hope they would look at their planning process and work this in somehow so that they could have a Consultant that was not biased in those decisions.
Mr. Utley felt the Traffic Consultant was way out of line in approving this project and as a resident of Novi Road/Ten Mile Road, it was blatantly incorrect that he approved this project and he was very upset about it, and he felt the residents of Novi should be upset about it.
Mr. Utley felt they should also look to go out for bids on Consultant activity and he was talking about JCK, and Mr. Rogers and Mr. Arroyo, and he brought this up before and he has never gotten satisfaction from the City Council on this. He said he wished they would look at this because a lot of the cities in Michigan do go out for bids for their Consultant activity.
Mr. Utley said he was saying that the quality of their consulting was good and he had no problems with that, but he felt they should maybe look around because some of the ideas he has heard that night just do not make it in Novi anymore, and he felt they have a problem here and they should deal with it.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. Cadillac Asphalt, SP95-26A - Property Located south of Grand River Avenue, west of Wixom Road For Possible Preliminary Site Plan Approval.
Member Capello felt the letters in their packets from Mr. Watson and Mr. Bluhm answer the questions they had at the previous meeting and based on the contents of those letters, he would make a motion.
Moved by Member Capello
Seconded by Member Hoadley
To grant Preliminary Site Plan Approval to Cadillac Asphalt, SP95-26A, including Mr. Rogers' report dated June 6, 1995.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Capello (Yes), Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Abstained), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Absent for Vote)
Mr. Watson then explained that Member Taub asked permission at the last meeting to abstain because of the fact that in his law practice he represents this entity and that had been granted.
2. Metro Rehab, SP95-11A - Property Located North of 12 Mile Road, between Novi Road and Meadowbrook Road for Possible Preliminary Site Plan Approval.
Mr. Bob Stein, architect for the project, was present. He said from the letters that they have received, they apparently have had suggested approval with some exceptions on landscaping, which they have turned back over to their landscape personnel to make the necessary adjustments.
Mr. Stein said in Mr. Rogers' letter, he also makes mention about a dumpster not shown and he discussed further. He said in the future if it was necessary, then he would provide the necessary screening since they do have additional parking spaces.
Mr. Stein said also it was noted in the letter that existing and proposed grades were not shown, but they were shown on their site plan and not on the landscape plan.
Mr. Stein said they also made mention of a loading zone, which he understood was a requirement and for this type of an operation as a physical therapy, they do not get deliveries as such and in the other areas, they have not provided it since they would then have additional parking spaces and he would be glad to show that on their site plan for final approval.
Mr. Rogers said he was recommending Preliminary site plan approval and Final site plan approval, which has been submitted concurrently with the Preliminary and would be reviewed and could be reviewed administratively if they so wish.
Mr. Rogers said this was the second submittal. He indicated he met with Mr. Stein and he has made many of the earlier changes that were desirable and they do have an excess of parking beyond the requirements of the Ordinance, 62 versus 51.
Mr. Rogers said the matter of off-street loading and unloading could easily be resolved by eliminating one or two parking spaces near a rear entrance for example. He said they were proposing to recognize the future Master Plan right-of-way line for the Twelve Mile Road boulevard by indicating a future planned right-of-way of 30 feet beyond the present 60 foot from centerline. He indicated the parking and the buildings were set back respecting that setback.
Mr. Rogers said they show the sidewalk. He said since this was submitted both for preliminary and final, they have included landscape suggestions and he would like to make one clarification on Page 2, and the questions that they have raised about the landscape planting plan requirements listed here and then going on to Page 4 might be simpler to look at and those were items that they need to have revisions made or information provided and so where he indicated in summary he did not recommend approval of the landscape plan because of the following, those were missing items
and does not and should not be construed to be items that have been indeed provided and he felt Mr. Stein was aware of that, but he wanted to clarify the record on that point.
Mr. Rogers said there was an adjustment for a portion of the east side greenspace, so in consideration of alternate interior greenspace, if the Commission does approve the Preliminary site plan, there would be a need to waive a portion of the east side greenspace for this rather narrow lot and that was a condition he has at the bottom of Page 4.
Mr. Rogers said with that, he stated he recommended Preliminary site plan approval subject to those three conditions at the bottom of Page 4.
Mr. Bluhm said he has also reviewed the Preliminary site plan. He said the plan proposes water and sewer extensions from existing utilities on Twelve Mile Road to service the building and an enclosed storm sewer would direct the storm water to the south and it would be detained in a combination of the parking areas at the southern end of the site and a large storm sewer, a 96" storm sewer, which would detain a good portion of this site.
Mr. Bluhm said the storm water would be detained to about one foot of depth in the two locations of the parking area on the south side and it would then be outletted to the ditch on the north side of Twelve Mile Road at a restricted rate.
Mr. Bluhm said the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility and he was recommending approval.
Mr. Arroyo said he has also reviewed the Preliminary and Final site plan and he was recommending approval subject to the deletion of one parking space at the south end and the northeast bay which has poor accessibility.
Chairman Clark indicated they have a letter from the City of Novi Fire Department under the signature of Daniel W. Roy, Captain, who indicates from the prospective of the Fire Department, that this plan has been reviewed and approval was recommended.
Member Hoadley asked Mr. Bluhm how does one retain water on a parking lot that was being used to park cars and Mr. Bluhm said it was an allowable practice when there was not the ability to provide an off-site or a grassed area detention pond.
Member Hoadley said the Ordinance requires them not to store to more than a foot, but it was basically done by restrictors in the pipes which allow the water to back up and surcharge out at the top of the catch basins, and it was controlled based on the formulas for detentions as to the elevation above the catch basin that it could detain to.
Member Hoadley asked but wasn't Mr. Bluhm saying they were going to retain it to a one foot depth and how does one do that and have cars parked there and Mr. Bluhm said the intent was to try and keep it out of the parking areas as much as possible and that was why they look at the areas that they were going to be detaining, trying to minimize the impacts of the people that were parking there and that type of thing, and it was not the most desirable method of detention, but it was acceptable in accordance with the Ordinances.
Member Hoadley asked if they were going to provide some type of a barricade to where they were going to retain this water so that no cars could park there and Mr. Bluhm said typically that was not done and he didn't know how they would do it in a periodic storm event type situation.
Member Hoadley said it seems to him if they had a heavy rain and it could back up to a foot, they would have a very difficult problem with people walking back to their cars and the fact that the cars might flood out. Mr. Bluhm said that was a real concern and that was a possibility.
Member Hoadley asked if there was another way to do this and how about underground retention and Mr. Bluhm said that was what they were doing and about 2/3 of the detention they were proposing was by underground storage now. He said what they could look at was possibly expanding that to get more of the storage underground and possibly moving the parking areas that they were storing water to keep them out of the parking locations. He said the site was tight but those were two options that they could look into.
Member Hoadley asked what about an old-fashioned retention pond out of the parking area and Mr. Bluhm indicated there was no room on the site the way they have it configured to provide an off-pavement detention pond and they would have to reconfigure the
Member Hoadley asked if they have an excess of parking spaces and Mr. Rogers said yes they did and Member Hoadley asked why couldn't those excess spaces be eliminated then and make a retention pond out of it and Mr. Bluhm said that was a possibility and it depends upon how much overage they have on the parking.
Mr. Rogers said they were, counting the handicapped, providing 62 spaces and that includes 3 handicapped and they need 54 spaces including 3 handicapped, so they have 8 spaces in excess and Member Hoadley asked how many square feet would 8 spaces be, and Mr. Rogers said about 300 sq. ft. of space.
Member Hoadley said so with 2,400 sq. ft., would that be enough for a retention pond and Mr. Bluhm said not for a total retention situation and what it may help do was they could eliminate those spaces as parking and keep it as pavement and continue to detain in those areas, but basically not consider them parking.
Member Hoadley asked why pave it if they could make a deep retention pond and Mr. Bluhm said he didn't think they could get total storage in an area that small. He said they would get minimal storage but he doubted that they would get the kind of storage they would need to eliminate the other components of the other storage.
Member Hoadley said after what he has just stated, would Mr. Bluhm still say that this demonstrates engineering feasibility and Mr. Bluhm said in accordance with the Ordinances yes. Member Hoadley said but in his testimony, he was saying that there was a real problem.
Mr. Bluhm said no he wasn't saying that and he was saying that was a problem for storage, but it was allowed under the current Ordinances for detention.
Member Hoadley said it doesn't make common sense to him that they would allow a potential flooding of an area that could jeopardize the health and safety of people that were coming into this for health purposes in the first place and the possibility that they were flooding their cars out, and that doesn't seem to him that it was demonstrating engineering feasibility in his opinion.
Member Mutch said to Mr. Rogers that there were things that he had mentioned that were addressed by the architect, which were the loading area that he had said was unnecessary and the dumpster. She asked if that was something they were required to show or something they were required to do.
Mr. Rogers explained there was no need to have a dumpster and he has often recommended to a developer that an office, particularly a medical office building, has its own disposal requirements and has compactors in the building to bring it out on pick-up day. He said they were unsightly and the lid never stays closed and if they do have a dumpster it has to be screened per Ordinance.
Mr. Rogers said regarding the loading area, there would be office supplies and there would be therapeutic supplies, and they were only talking 300 sq. ft. and it was a small area and it could be at a curb with a widened driveway, and he would recommend some area that was not going to be pre-empted by parking.
Mr. Rogers said if they were very busy and all the parking spaces were taken, a small truck could come in, in half an hour in the building and he could block access out of the parking lot, but he thought he heard them say they were going to take a space and a half someplace, but he would recommend no dumpster as it would take up a full parking space to put one in.
Member Mutch said regarding the loading area and speaking more generally, when they have something like that and they have a building and they were saying there should be a loading area and the proposed use does not envision requiring that, does the Commission insist on it because they may not always be the user and it was not something they could put in later, and Mr. Rogers said the Ordinance requires off-street loading for office uses.
Member Mutch said so the Ordinance calls for it whether the user was actually going to need it or not. Mr. Rogers said if a good architect sees no good purpose for it, they would have to get a variance technically from the ZBA not to provide a loading area. Member Mutch said but they would like to see it, not only because the Ordinance requires it, but because they may not always be the user.
Mr. Rogers said the Ordinance says at Sec. 2507.1, within the OSC Districts, that there would be loading areas at the ratio of 5 sq. ft. per front foot of building up to a total of 360 sq. ft., and that was where he got the 300 sq. ft. from.
Member Capello said regarding the drainage situation, let's say they did get the water up to a foot and it stopped raining, how long would it take for that water to drain, and Mr. Bluhm said up to a ten year event, which was what they would have to have for it to store up into the parking areas, it may take probably not more than a half hour or maybe 45 minutes because that was the upper end of the storage component. He said it was the last 15 minutes of the storm that was going to be detained, so it was the first 15 minutes or so that was going to discharge through the restrictor, so about a half an hour was probably not an unrealistic amount of time and Member Capello asked for the whole foot to drain and Mr. Bluhm said yes to totally eliminate the parking storage component.
Member Capello said they could be down to possibly 2-3 inches in 20 minutes and Mr. Bluhm said yes that was possible. Member Capello asked him what he meant about a ten-year event and Mr. Bluhm explained the system was designed to hold a ten year storm and anything less than a ten year storm, in this case, wouldn't even surcharge above the catch basin structures, and it would take a full-ten year event for the storm water to store into that area.
Member Capello then said this wasn't a natural ongoing thing every time it rains and it would be a once every ten years type situation and Mr. Bluhm said that was correct for that component of the storage and most of it was going to be in the tank that was proposed underground. Member Capello said even in the ten year, it was only going to last for about 20 minutes, and Mr. Bluhm said that was a rough estimate but it was going to be in that range somewhere.
Member Lorenzo said she shared Member Hoadley's concerns which she has raised in the past about this practice and procedure of allowing storm water in parking lots up to one foot. She said particularly in this case, this was a rehabilitation center and some of the people that may be using this area, may not be readily able to access it in this type of a situation and that concerns her.
Member Lorenzo also said she had a question for Mr. Bluhm and what happens beyond the ten-year storm, and what happens in storms of greater events.
Mr. Bluhm said as was typical beyond that, the water essentially travels by surface flow and follows the general drainage pattern that was provided through the parking areas and that would be typical in all developments.
Member Lorenzo asked how much water could they expect from that then, and Mr. Bluhm replied in a 100 year event, that would be a substantial amount, but it would also dissipate very rapidly.
Member Lorenzo said conceivably, for at least a half hour, how much water could they have in this parking lot in greater event storms, and Mr. Bluhm said it would depend on the final design of it, and he asked was she referring to volume-wise or the surface area that it would encompass and Member Lorenzo said 1 feet, 2 feet, 3 feet and how much water could be flowing through that area.
Mr. Bluhm said they could only go to a foot because once they get to a foot of storage, surface flow was required to be provided so there was no point in the storage or in any of the parking areas where the water could pond up more than a foot.
Member Lorenzo asked where was the surface flow on this site plan and Mr. Bluhm said it hasn't been totally developed and it was a function of the Final site plan, but it would be to the south as the natural grade follows from the north to the south.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Rogers where exactly was the deficiency in the greenspace located on the plan and Mr. Rogers referred to Sheet No. 1 and said looking at the building, there was a dimension there that says up at the top, 15 foot setback for the building and that was fine, and they need a 10 foot greenspace, but if they look at the parking lot to the north of it and the parking lot to the south of it, it was probably 5-6 feet and it should be 10 feet, and then when they get up to the far northeast corner, it was probably 25 feet or more.
Member Lorenzo asked what was the property to the north of this and Mr. Rogers said that works into the cemetery property.
Member Lorenzo said she had some concerns regarding the storm water in this case, but she could support it and have it come back for Final to see some remedies regarding the storm water, but she would like to know how the rest of the Commission feels.
Member Capello then said he would make a motion.
Moved by Member Capello
Seconded by Member Taub
To grant Preliminary Site Plan Approval to Metro Rehab, SP95-11A subject to this coming back to the Planning Commission for Final site plan approval.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Hoadley asked if Member Capello would be willing to add to that motion that this water retention be specifically addressed to the concerns that both he and Member Lorenzo brought up and he really wanted to be assured that this was not going to pose a health and safety problem, and right now he wasn't assured of that at all. He said he was willing to support the motion and it should come back for Final, but before he could ever support a Final, he would have to be convinced that the water retention was not a problem and he was not convinced of that right now.
Member Capello said he didn't have a problem doing that and he understood their concerns but he didn't know how they would incorporate that in the motion though, other than to say it complies with the Ordinance and Mr. Bluhm has also indicated that it does.
Member Hoadley said but obviously two of them disagree with his conclusions.
Member Capello indicated he didn't have a problem, but he just didn't know what wording Member Hoadley wanted to use and could he propose some wording for it and Member Hoadley said maybe they could let it go then as long as it comes back for Final and that would be one of his concerns when it comes back for Final.
Chairman Clark added that issue would be one of the things they would be looking at when it comes back.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Clark (Yes), Hoadley (Yes), Hodges (Yes), Lorenzo (Yes), Mutch (Yes), Taub (Yes), Weddington (Yes), Bonaventura (Yes), Capello (Yes)
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Member Capello asked if they need to address the waiver, the 5 feet at this time, or was that included in approving the Preliminary site plan and Chairman Clark indicated that was included in the site plan.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. American Planning Association Conference - Verbal Report from Greg Capote, Staff Planner, and the Planning Commissioners who attended the Planning Conference in Toronto, Canada.
Mr. Capote said he had the privilege of attending the National Conference of the American Planning Association in Toronto and he found it a very enjoyable experience. He said he had the opportunity to review some of the topics that they review here with Members Taub and Bonaventura.
Mr. Capote said more specifically, they visited ethics in planning and the role that the planners have as planners and their role in community development. He said it was interesting, given some of the more recent proposals and as in some states, they do require licensure to work as a planner. He said that issue was tossed to and fro for an entire morning, but some good issues were brought up in his opinion.
Mr. Capote said a planner looks at a lot of technical information and the other side has brought something that was creative to the table and tries to design something within the confines of the zoning regulations. He said often when working in the Department of Community Development and Planning, sometimes they walk a fine line with such projects as Main Street and Maples of Novi and the Vistas of Novi.
Mr. Capote said often they get close to those lines and they have to be very careful, and things were done well, but it does raise some good issues about the role their department plays in making certain recommendations. He said in the past and very recently there have been some projects that have been before them and they haven't met the requirements or the specifics in the Ordinance, however, he and the Department Head remain positive about the plan and that it achieves the wishes of the Master Plan and that it was the goal of this Commission to achieve those plans and to see some instituted.
Mr. Capote said it was hard sometimes when they have zoning regulations that make it a bit difficult, so they have that creative side that conflicts with the technical aspects of the profession.
Mr. Capote said also outlined were some of the requirements for the AICP designation and the licensure and that went on for quite some time. He said he also had the opportunity to go on some field trips and one of the field trips was an area north of Toronto and it was an area that was very important for water recharge zones, wildlife, wetlands, and woodlands.
Mr. Capote said he had the opportunity to review some zoning relative to the protection of those kinds of lands and some of the issues that this department has brought up in the past regarding the quality of lake water such as Shawood Lake and Walled Lake. He said they have tried to suggest or implement studies that may help
write some regulations into the books to protect those areas. He said there were some samples of that kind of thing happening there and he found that to be interesting.
Mr. Capote said he thanked the Commission for allowing him to go and enjoy the experience. He also said while he was there, it was important to note that given there were so many planners there in one spot, he specifically tried to find some sample language or assistance on the issue of 24 Hour Operation. He indicated he discussed that issue with representatives from the Planning Advisory Service in Chicago and they have some of those topics in a database now, so they could access them more quickly than that of a filing cabinet.
Mr. Capote said so things were moving along as far as filing things electronically and being able to access this information more quickly. He said relative to the NCC Ordinance restrictions, he tried to look for some information there such as sign issues, enforcement issues, and it was a good opportunity to try and gather some information, however, for some topics he wasn't able to find any.
Mr. Capote then said that concluded his comments and he would be happy to answer any questions.
Member Taub said he also enjoyed the experience, the education and the camaraderie of the other planners. He indicated he attended two particular mobile workshops and one dealt with the support of the artist in Toronto. He indicated there were certain parts of Toronto that were at one time industrial enclaves during World War II and thereafter, which because of changes in the economy, left available warehouse or other manufacturing space for use.
Member Taub stated in Toronto, the Toronto City Planners, together with the other governments, provincial and national, have subsidized or facilitated the use of previous industrial facilities for use by artists as creative workshop areas such as lofts and mixed living and work spaces and they took a tour of some of those spaces.
Member Taub said it was interesting to note that when they discussed that there was a flow depending upon the economy with an expansion in the economy, a lot of industrial space takes out a heightened value and goes back to industrial use, whereas in a down economy and right now in Canada it was his understanding that it was a down economy, there was available industrial manufacturing space that has been taken over for purposes of the arts.
Member Taub said what he found interesting was that Canada was a very liberal country and there was a lot of taxation and a lot of government involvement and that obviously shows itself in planning and they have very aggressive active planning functions.
Member Taub said they went to the so-called Little Italy area where they were trying to develop Toronto into more of a tourist spot and they were putting in a parking structure and that was through a City subsidiary and they were trying to develop what was an Italian neighborhood into more of a tourist spot, and of course, unlike Novi or even unlike Detroit, Toronto was more of a tourist destination for a lot of people and they see planning focusing around tourism and tourists.
Member Taub said he also attended a mobile workshop in the waterfront area in the downtown area and there were various tourists developments that were again taking place in what were once industrial areas and there were some islands off of main Toronto in the waterfront area that were undergoing various changes that have been residential that have banned vehicular motors and vehicular traffic.
Member Taub said he felt if they look at a place like Toronto, it was similar to San Francisco, which he visited as part of this program last year and that was probably why it was picked as the APA National Convention site, and it shows a very aggressive pro-active planning sector, in which planners not only have ideas, but have money to spend so they could put those ideas ahead.
Member Bonaventura next discussed the Conference and indicated he attended a workshop called Crime Prevention through Environmental Design and basically what they were doing was using a program that was started in the United States a few years back, and he believed it was in South Carolina where they actually have, similar to where Novi has a Fire Department do a review on a site plan, they have a Police Department do a review and what the Police Department would be looking for would be for sight lines and any design features that could be added to cut down on crime.
Member Bonaventura said it works very well for urban areas. He said he toured a public housing project and it was his understanding that the City of Novi was considering a public housing project. He said some of the ideas that they used could be considered as far as their senior citizen housing. He said as they get more into an urban environment, those were things to consider and he had a brochure for everyone to review.
Member Bonaventura said it was very interesting and they had a tour by Constable Tom and he was very helpful and very into this program and he helped everyone out as far as seeing details that they might not consider when looking at a site plan as far as possible crime.
Member Bonaventura said one of the things that was very interesting was the idea of alleys and they realize that Neo-traditional was real big in Canada and it was being pushed as a big item in Canada and one of the things that this crime prevention was going against on that concept would be the alleyways and they seem to have big problems with the concept.
Member Bonaventura said from there, his next favorite thing that he went to was a five-hour debate on the pros and cons of Neo-traditional planning. He said there was this group called Clayton Research and as they know, Canadian government was very big in socialism and Canada was based on a regional system of government where they control large areas, unlike the way they run their operation and they were all individual communities and for the betterment of the region, Canada was pushing Neo-traditional.
Member Bonaventura said this debate was great because Clayton Research was basically cutting through all the hype that the Neo-traditionalists were pushing and for five hours, it was very enjoyable and there was a large crowd for that seminar.
Member Bonaventura said he was also able to tour a community called Ajax, which was right out of his worst nightmare as far as planning and it was a community that had absolutely no diversity in housing and it was geared towards what he would call an older style of Neo-traditional, but obviously they were with open arms planning a new Neo-traditional but it was very interesting and he also got to meet the Mayor.
Member Bonaventura said they also have a nuclear power plant right in their community and right on the lake. He said one thing he was impressed with was the regional transportation system which was absolutely amazing and they have something called the Go-Train, which ties in all the suburban areas into Downtown Toronto and he was impressed because it seemed to work very well. He said they have a City that was very alive and thriving as opposed to what they have there and it works very, very well.
2. Draft Proposal Regarding Planning Commission Minutes - Hodges.
Member Hodges said she gave some thought to what the Commissioners had discussed last week concerning the Planning Commission Minutes. She said she took the privilege of drawing up a draft and basically what she tried to do was to follow the requirements of the Ordinance in this draft by the information that had to be presented. She then discussed the draft briefly and said it met all the requirements of the Ordinance.
Member Hodges felt this was a starting place and it would allow them to make clear and concise motions and they could use this as a work sheet and that was pretty much what the second page would be. She said it could be presented to the Commission for each item and as they go through their meeting, they could develop the motions accordingly. She indicated they would also have a Roll Call and the Commission and the Clerk could use this as a method of keeping the Roll Call and this then in turn, could be given to the Staff and they would simply type it up as it was presented to them.
Member Hodges said also under the points of concern, as Member Lorenzo was trying to get her points across, she felt this would allow for those points to be made and they then become part of the record. She said also if they take it a step further, she was thinking about when Mr. Capote made his comments about allowing for a little creativity and someday they could use those points of concerns to interject some creativity from the Planning Commission into the Design Standards as allowed by Ordinance.
Member Hodges indicated the minuses of this was that they could go on forever with points of concern, but hopefully that too could be fine-tuned as they begin to work with this type of format and the most wonderful thing that makes it difficult to use something like that of course was that change was difficult for most at best.
Chairman Clark felt this draft had some very good ideas.
Member Mutch said she noticed on the second page, which provides a road map for discussion, that under the motion they might even further provide the possible decisions that could be made. She said in other words, some of the Commissioners forget whether they were making a recommendation or they actually have the power to approve, and so if their basic choices were there in terms of what their actions could be, then they could also fill that in as they go and also the actual wording on the motion, if it was more limited than what the generic motion was, that could be further detailed too.
Member Weddington said she appreciated Member Hodges taking the time to do this. She said following up on the points of concern, possibly they could clarify the reasons for the decision, the rationale and maybe that was what they were getting at, but she felt that would help clarify and support their decisions if they clearly articulate the health, safety and welfare reasons for approval, denial or whatever it would be.
Mr. Capote said he knows the Commission has already made a decision as far as the Minutes were concerned, but given this recommendation from Member Hodges, would the Commission be desirous of the Staff exploring this topic further using this as a format for a new idea and maybe put it in as a communication to the Commission in a future packet. He asked what would be the Commission's feeling and the Commission stated yes.
Mr. Capote then said would the Commission want to make that in the form of a motion and Member Hodges said she would make a motion.
It was then,
Moved by Member Hodges
Seconded by Member Mutch
That the Planning & Community Development Department investigate and report back on a possible new format of recording the Planning Commission Minutes.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Member Mutch said it would be possible and very helpful if for the next set of Minutes that were being prepared under the usual format, that they continue to do that for the time being. She said this proposal was so simple in format that it might be good to take that set of Minutes and prepare them both ways and she didn't think it would be a lot of work.
Member Mutch said it was more than a summary, but less than what they would have to do otherwise and then they would have the comparison which would be useful.
Member Capello asked Mr. Watson if any of the issues would go up on an appeal such as a special land use, would they just go back then and copy the actual transcript from the tapes or would they rely on the Minutes, and Mr. Watson said whatever Minutes the Commission approves would be their official record of what happened and of what decision was made, so he didn't think that they would go back.
Member Capello asked in certain issues as in an approval or denial of the special land use, where they have to have a factual basis for it, then they would have to do something different than the Minutes and Mr. Watson replied yes, and Member Capello said they would leave it up to Mr. Watson then if the Commission had to fill in with more factual detailed information, etc. and Mr. Watson said yes.
Member Lorenzo said that was a concern of hers that they wouldn't have enough specific information on the record concerning the approval or denial of any particular subject matter. She said she appreciated Member Hodges' efforts, but she found the verbatim Minutes invaluable as Councilman Tim Pope had reflected in the Council Minutes given to the Commission in the last packet. She said she understood the concerns in terms of time for the staff, but she preferred to leave matters as they were.
Member Taub felt the pressing need for their detailed Minutes that they have had were in litigation situations and particularly that echoes with what Member Capello was probably getting it when they need to know the pros and cons and the arguments, etc. He said then also City Council takes their Minutes and they look at the Minutes for the Consultants' recommendations, comments and questions, and he felt those two areas make it incumbent to have detailed Minutes.
Member Taub said it seems to him that unless there was a pressing financial problem, which was the Council's concern more than the Commission's and assuming they have the manpower to do the transcription, he felt it was better in today's era where they see so many lawyers with court stenographers sitting out there on particular cases, that they continue with their traditional mode otherwise they would be scrambling to re-create minutes when they get sued which happens every so often.
Member Hoadley said he was absolutely in favor of this draft that Member Hodges has brought forth and he commended her for it and as far as he was concerned, it could work very well and they wouldn't destroy the tapes and they would keep the tapes in storage so that if they do have litigation or they do have someone wanting the exact verbiage, it could always be transcribed from that point in time. He said this works for him and he agreed they should try it both ways before they make any pre-determined judgements. He indicated he would support this proposal.
Member Hodges said it was only fair to say that this does not exempt the fact that they couldn't have a full record somewhere, and she was talking about what would be approved which would have the actual facts, and the verbatim could be something the Staff could work on as far as how would they maintain that verbatim record, and whether it was through tapes, microfiche, or printed as they do now, but instead of worrying about handing out however many copies of that verbatim record, this was the record that would be handed out, so that verbatim record would also be available somewhere.
Member Hodges agreed that it was valuable in those necessary occasions and sometimes it was necessary for them to feel that their platform was presented well and for no other reason than that, it has its validity, but she felt they could work with the two and she felt the staff could check out different ways that they could incorporate both, but a smaller draft would definitely be the record of record.
Member Capello said if he understood Mr. Watson accurately he felt what he has stated was once the Minutes were transcribed, they were the record and they couldn't go back to the tape if they end up in litigation and create a more detailed record and was that correct and Mr. Watson said yes.
Member Capello felt what they could do if they agree, was to utilize this and then at a point when Mr. Watson says they need factual detail on the record to support their conclusions, they could then tell the Staff that they need more detailed records for this motion, but otherwise they should use this.
Member Hodges said also she has been in planning situations and true it was a different community and different Ordinances applied, but when it came to an item that had to deal with litigation, specifically at a public hearing or something like that, then the City itself hired a Court Reporter to take care of those types of transcripts that they felt might be volatile. She said she didn't know how that fits in with public record, but she felt there were a lot of avenues and she felt that sometimes too much was their problem and they get themselves hung up on things.
Member Mutch said they keep referring to the way they do it now as being verbatim or being a transcript and she felt it was neither and that for her was part of the problem with the way they do it now. She said the length was one thing, but part of the confusion and part of the disservice so to speak to themselves and the public was that when they go back, the person who was transcribing those tapes was not at the meeting and was getting this all from an audio tape and they were not picking up on certain things, so sometimes it was misleading the way it was done through no fault of the staff person who was transcribing, so what Member Hodges has presented, especially the second page, was a good tool to have on hand.
Member Mutch said she felt it would help focus the discussion and would show them for instance that Consultant recommendations were Consultant recommendations, whether they were to approve or deny and all they were doing was offering professional advice, and they were certainly free to ignore them and they often do.
Member Mutch said their decisions were often recommendations and they don't always have the last word, so this was a good reminder to them and it was certainly more clear to the public than if they have to go through pages and pages of transcript.
Chairman Clark then said there was a motion before the Commissioners to have the Planning Staff take this and at least for the next couple of meetings, put this together, in addition to the regular meeting so they get an idea of how it might work and a vote was taken.
(voice vote) (6) Yeas (3) Nays - Lorenzo, Taub and
3. Possible Agenda Items for the Commission/Council Meeting to be Scheduled in the Future - Bonaventura.
Member Bonaventura said there was a possibility of having a Joint Meeting with Council, and he would like to mention some items that he would like to have as Agenda items.
Member Bonaventura said the items would be The Widening of Ten Mile; Main Street Parking; and the Twelve Mile and Beck Road Intersection; and the Northeast Corner of Grand River and Novi Road. He said at the northeast corner of Grand River and Novi Road there was a piece of property that he believed they have an option to buy, which was the old Amoco site. He said there had been discussion at a Council meeting a few months back about possible uses for that site, and he thought the Planning Commission could have some input.
Member Bonaventura said he also wanted to discuss Cluster Options in relationship to the possibility of removing R-A from the Cluster Option and it was stated it has been removed from R-A and Member Bonaventura explained what he wanted to do was to remove the R-1 from the Cluster Option.
Member Bonaventura then also asked about The Appeal Process/Special Land Use, and he explained he meant besides the Circuit Court as far as asking for a special land use, and was he correct that they don't have any sort of an appeal process.
Mr. Rogers said Mr. Watson has written a report on that issue and Member Bonaventura asked if there could be an appeal as far as special land use.
Mr. Watson said the reason it was to Circuit Court was because there was no provision in the Ordinance for an appeal of that to the Zoning Board of Appeals or to the City Council, and Member Bonaventura asked if they could have such a provision, and Mr. Watson said yes and Member Bonaventura said that was what he wanted to discuss. He also indicated he wasn't only talking residents, but he was talking business people at least having some form of appeal, rather than having to go to court.
Member Mutch asked what was Member Bonaventura saying and Chairman Clark explained what he was saying was rather than have only one step if the Commission denies a special land use for the Petitioner to take the City to Circuit Court, that there would be some intervening steps that they could use short of going to court as the next available alternative.
Member Mutch said she understood that, but she was asking if Member Bonaventura meant across the board, so that if the Commission approves something, then someone other than a Petitioner would have the right to appeal that and Member Bonaventura replied absolutely.
Member Bonaventura said right now the Planning Commission was being sued by residents over a special land use and in his opinion, they need some sort of an appeal process.
Member Bonaventura said whether it was McDonald's or their next door neighbor, he sincerely believed that after the Planning Commission makes a decision, if all parties were not happy, there should be some sort of an appeal.
Member Bonaventura then indicated another item would be Subdivision Street Layout to discourage speeding and that falls within their Traffic Consultant. He said they could focus in on that as far as what to look out for and what to discourage because in his opinion, in a lot of the subdivisions, there were certain layouts that encourage speeding and certain layouts that discourage speeding.
Member Hoadley said in addition, he would like to address a new concept that he attended recently, which was a seminar at Washtenaw College University called Open Space Planning, which in addition to wetland and woodland preservation, it preserves meadowland and it was primarily addressed to the large lot zoning. He said it does reduce, in addition, density and preserves a great deal more land than they were presently preserving under their current ordinances.
Member Hoadley said he has asked Mr. Capote to do some research on that with the presenter of the seminar that he attended and he did believe that he had some information on that issue so he would like to see that as a discussion item and discuss it with the Council.
Member Mutch said she had an item which was regarding something she talked about when she returned from a conference in Boston in October, which was having a Master Plan for Historic Preservation that was a part of the City's Master Plan adopted by the local government body, in this case, the City Council.
Member Mutch said she felt it would be more timely by the time they would get to it because the Historic District Study Committee was entering the phase where they would be holding public hearings on a proposed Ordinance and once that gets through that process, then they would have an Ordinance presumedly dealing with historic preservation, but their Master Plan presently only deals with it in a way that actually conflicts with what was being proposed.
Member Bonaventura said he wanted to also discuss another item which was right now they require Sidewalks in R-A and he wanted to discuss possibly making that an option and possibly an option that would either require that sidewalks be installed or a fund being set up similar to what they do with their tree planting fund, as far as whatever the amount that it would cost to put the sidewalk in, and that amount would go to a sidewalk fund.
Member Bonaventura sincerely believed that there might be some developers out there or some property owners out there who would want to develop an R-A Subdivision and feel strongly enough not to have the sidewalks and to pay for them and that could go into a City Fund rather than having them in a development. He said there may be some developers in this community who feel it was a mistake to have them.
Member Bonaventura then said this list could be cut down very easily and Chairman Clark felt it was a good place to start.
Member Taub said on behalf of himself and the other Commissioners, he wanted to thank Chairman Clark who has been an even-hand at the helm and who has given each of the Commissioners probably more time than they deserve to speak on issues and he just wanted to thank him and everyone gave him a round of applause.
There being no further business before the Planning Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 P.M.
Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian
August 2, 1995