SPECIAL MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.

COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. Ten Mile Road

(810) 347-0475

 

Meeting called to order at 7:30 P.M. by Chairperson Lorenzo.

 

PRESENT: Member Bonaventura, Member Hoadley (arrived late), Member Hodges, Chairperson Lorenzo, Member Mutch, Member Weddington

 

ABSENT-EXCUSED: Member Capello, Member Taub, Member Vrettas

 

ALSO PRESENT: Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Wetlands Consultant Susan Tepatti, Woodlands Consultant Linda Lemke, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Director of Planning James Wahl, Staff Planner Greg Capote, Planning Aide Steven Cohen

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

PM-08-001-95 APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion by Weddington, Seconded by Hodges, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as submitted.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Mike Condon, 1321 South Lake Drive, Vice-President of the LARA Association, requested to speak on the Lakewoods Preserve. He said it was their understanding that there have been some recent changes in the Lakewoods Preserve Conceptual Plan, and he felt the reason the Audience is confused is because everyone thought they were going to be brought up-to-date on some of the new changes before going on.

Mr. Condon said he has taken a look at the Lakewoods Preserve and supported the development being built, however, the major concern seems to come into play with the 232 Homeowners Association owning a community park that abuts very, very sensitive wetlands. He said several people have looked at the wetlands and rather than delaying the possible development of this lake frontage and the wetlands, they think it is best at this time, to get in the agreement that they will not be developed or if they are ever going to be developed, to find out at this time, what the plans are. He said if that means getting the DNR involved, EPA, etc., it would be in everyoneís best interest to find out right now. He said while they support the development homes, they ask to stay within the present Novi code and ordinances to limit the development of the lake frontage because that is very sensitive woodlands and wetlands.

 

Ernie Schlager of 1419 West Lake Drive echoed the same comments of Mr. Condon and in the past, Walled Lake has been overused, abused and died, but it came back and he asked please donít do it again, donít over-develop the lake.

 

Pete Gilliam of 1695 Harbor Cove Walled Lake indicated there is already 350 boats on the lake and on any given Sunday, there are up to 25 jet skis and there is no more peace and quiet on Walled Lake. He felt most people have already had enough and to have another 200 odd houses in there with possibly another 50-100 of those types of vehicles, is unacceptable.

 

Jim Korte said he was aware of all the changes and his base reaction was they are passing the buck and they are passing the buck upon the homeowner-to-be. He said the situation is that they have to have complete disclosure to the new residents. He said at this point in time, they are doing nothing with the lake and that sounds great, but there will be heavy stipulations and regulations and they all should be aware of them.

Mr. Korte said it is his opinion that the one reason they are not doing all of that as was earlier presented to all of them is they donít want to fight with the residents and they find it easier to pass the buck to the new homeowners, but at some point there will be a tug of war between the taxpayers and the residents and passing the buck is not acceptable.

 

Harry Avagian President of LARA said he appreciated the opportunity to have some public dialogue concerning Lakewoods Preserve. He said the residents were here with a positive approach and they want to make a statement of their position and they hope the Commission will take into account the remarks by area citizens, residents, and whomever may express themselves that evening, because government works best when it is representative and democracy works best when people are involved. He thanked the Commission for having set aside a time for this type of discussion.

Mr. Avagian said they have had two LARA meetings, one on July 25th and the other August 22nd and they were attended by large numbers of people from the Association who have diligently tried to arrive at a position based on fact and intellect and not emotion. He said they all have feelings about what the lake should be like, and protecting the environment and in July, they had an extensive discussion about the Lakewoods Preserve with their membership. He said their Bylaws required at that point in time, that they could not make a proposal/a motion without advertising it in their publication and having a meeting the month following.

Mr. Avagian said they had that meeting last night and he has been asked by the Association to read to the Commission the motion that was made and seconded and unanimously passed by all of the members present. He then stated the motion, "The Lakes Area Residents Association hereby recommends to the City of Novi that the proposed development known as Lakewoods Preserve located on all three corners of South Lake Drive and West Road, be allowed to build single family housing units on the property noted. Furthermore, we recommend that as part of the Master Deed and Bylaws of the above noted subdivision, that no disturbance take place to the lake in order to protect the current wetlands. The development be allowed no boat launching, mooring, docking and no beach access to the lake. Also that the proposed Lakeshore Park park and pool be deeded per current City Ordinances to no more than 49 single family units." He said this was the recommendation from their Association passed unanimously by the membership for their consideration.

 

Stan Zepka of 1515 E. Lake Drive said his family has been on the lake for 50 years and he has seen bad times and good times on the lake. He said with this subdivision, there would be overcrowding again like when the park was there and they had a boat launching on three places on the lake and on a Sunday you couldnít even get on the lake. He said with all the extra boats coming in here, the water will get rough.

Mr. Zepka said the corner they are talking about, he has walked through and it is a wetland and the whole front is a marsh and no boat can get out of there and there is no way you can launch a board there and the only way is by dredging the lake or changing the contour of the lake which is against the law.

 

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION

1. OS-3 Ordinance - Planning Commission to schedule a public hearing to create a new zoning district and rescind the PD-4 Option from the Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan for Land Use - APPROVED.

Mr. Capote indicated the Implementation Committee has come up with the language that was before the Commission now. He explained the purposes of developing this OS-3 language is because the current difficulties with the planned development options relative to a developer requiring both an application for rezoning and a site plan to be submitted simultaneously and presented to the Commission and then for the Commission to make a recommendation to City Council, was a cumbersome, lengthy and expensive process.

Mr. Capote said in response to this from the private sector, the Implementation Committee has put together a new zoning district that would eliminate the planned development option portion of the ordinance, however, it would maintain most of the language within the PD-4 option itself as far as uses are concerned. He said the only use difference would be adding hotels and business-motels.

Mr. Capote said it was discussed to revise the definitions of motels under the ordinance where all the entrances to each individual room would have to come through a common entrance. He said it was also discussed to take the word, "motel," entirely from the ordinance, but after discussions with Mr. Rogers and Mr. Arroyo, they were both recommending that they leave the word "motel" in the ordinance and that the description of permitted uses or additional uses within this district be hotel and business motels and so in his memo to everyone, the sample where he has the insert with a definition, that should be a business motel definition and in Item #1 where he describes the change in permitted uses, it will read hotels and business motels.

Mr. Capote said in an effort to encourage research and development within the city, hopefully this would attract likeable uses to the city increasing their tax base. Also it would be an ordinance that is usable and also will protect the residential areas of the City where it would not be permitted next to any land that is zoned residential.

Mr. Capote said the second change would be the use of office within the development, and where it used to be 50%, they are now reducing it to 25% and the provisions for landbanking for parking calls out that you landbank for a 100% of the buildable floor area, but if you are going to have a lavatory and office use, you would only have to landbank up to 50% for that building floor area.

Mr. Capote said those are the biggest changes within the ordinance and the PD-4 language is almost verbatim from the book and the planned development option for the PD-1, PD-2 and PD-3 would still stay in effect. He then requested the Commissionís recommendation to move ahead and they will have counsel review the ordinance and then set a public hearing date and then make a recommendation to City Council.

Member Weddington asked Mr. Arroyo about the motel issue and why did he think they should include motels in there, as she had difficulty making a distinction between business motels and other motels.

Mr. Arroyo replied the primary distinction is that in this particular district it is proposed that only business motels would be allowed and those are the ones that primarily have access through a common corridor and they were not the kind you would drive up to and walk in your own entrance from a parking lot as you normally think of a motel. He said the reason for that is the committee felt that having that type of motel in a district such as this, would not be appropriate because that is generally not the type of motel you would find that is geared towards business travelers and from an appearance standpoint, it didnít seem like the type of use that would be permitted. He said however there are other parts of the city where you might have a motel but is not a business motel and it would be permitted in another district, but not in this particular district.

Member Weddington asked doesnít the existing definition of hotel and motel address just that issue and that is why they wanted to excluded motels entirely, and Mr. Arroyo said it was felt that upon looking at the definition of a motel, that motel was essentially defined as being somewhat more stripped down in terms of amenities and it doesnít necessarily have the conference facilities and doesnít necessarily have to have a restaurant and the other thing that distinguishes it from a hotel often is the fact that it doesnít have that common corridor access, but there could be uses that are more like a motel that do have the design that allows for that common corridor access.

Member Weddington said those other amenities though were important to the business traveler and any lodging facilities in this district would complement the businesses in that area and that is why they wanted to go with the definition of hotel because it encompassed those other amenities and services.

Mr. Arroyo said it was his understanding that there wasnít necessarily an objection to motel, but to the type of motel and although it was nice to have those extra amenities, there are other conference facilities in Novi that someone might want to take advantage of and they may have a more stripped down business motel that gears more towards providing the lodging and not all the other amenities and that is why it was proposed to be included that way.

Member Mutch stated in this language, business motel is in effect being defined as being different from motels in general because of the requirement that it have a certain percentage of common access and Mr. Capote said correct.

Member Mutch said at a committee level, she agreed with Member Weddington and they didnít want a typical roadside type motel, but it was possible you could have a stripped down motel in a business park or industrial park that would be sufficient for the needs because the conference facilities may be part of a business located in that area that only needs the sleeping space.

Member Mutch said the only thing that is different here than what the committee discussed is by creating a new definition of a business motel, that distinction is clearly made and Mr. Capote said that was correct.

Member Mutch said Mr. Capote indicated the residents would be protected because this would not be allowed next to or abutting areas that are zoned residential and she thought it was areas that were master planned residential and not necessarily currently zoned residential but it was regardless of current zoning, if it was master planned residential, it would not be and Mr. Capote said that was correct and he had misspoke earlier.

Member Bonaventura asked about the definition of business motel, which he read, "a building or part of a building to which the primary form of access to at least 75% of individual rooms is through a common entrance or entrances and in which there are a series of attached, semi-detached rental units containing a bedroom/bathroom closet space. The unit should provide for overnight lodging and they are offered to the public for compensation and shall cater primarily to the public traveling by motor vehicle." He said the part that says semi-detached and detached rental units, if they are detached from the main building with the main entrance, you are saying that 75% of the rooms have to be entered upon through this main entrance and then you are allowed detached buildings and Mr. Capote replied yes.

Member Bonaventura said he was the person who brought this up on the Implementation Committee and this turned out to be almost a compromise because he didnít think there was a necessity for hotels at all in front of an industrial complex and not because there wasnít a need but because the type of uses they are talking about which is "high-tech, laboratory use, data processing, computer centers, etc.," attract people from out of town.

Member Bonaventura said he was concerned it being an industrial park and concerned about having the word "motel" having a lower standard of hotel because it was in front of industrial, and in the Town Center area, they have three major hotels and they have conference rooms, restaurants, and shopping, and he felt rather than undercutting their current businesses as far as the hotel businesses, he would think it would be simple to eliminate and not even allow hotels and motels fronting a major road in this new district.

Member Bonaventura said he would hate to have a person come into town and be shuttled to an industrial park and then leave and he would prefer to have them come in through one of Noviís major hotels.

Member Bonaventura also didnít agree with the business/motel concept. He referred to Page 2, Letter c, under Section 2301a. under principal uses where they talk about laboratory uses giving definition and where research, design testing, demonstration and display is listed, they also have manufacturing and usually for manufacturing there is a quality control process and he would request that they include the word, "inspection" in between testing and demonstration and display.

Member Bonaventura said as far as uses specified shall not be located on a building site adjacent to sharing a common boundary with R-A, R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4, R-T, M-H, RM-1, RM-2 Districts, unless the Master Plan for Land Use recommends a use other than residential, it actually could be zoned that, but if it was suggested on the Master Plan something else, then this could go in and he had a problem with that. He said that was a major item that this committee worked on as far as making sure that they were going to be protecting residential areas from this type of district and the problem he had with that is the Master Plan is a guide and although some people hold it up as if it is the Bible, it is not, and there have been several occasions where in the past, and recently, this Planning Commission hasnít followed the Master Plan.

Member Bonaventura felt it should not be allowed against any of these districts period no matter what the Master Plan says.

Member Hodges asked Mr. Capote if they were to insert business motels wherever it says motel, and Mr. Capote replied yes. She asked if they have any such facilities in Novi now and Mr. Capote said not that he was aware of. She said her nearest conception would be the Embassy Suites and Mr. Capote said it could be, and he thought the Courtyard by Mariott would be a good example too.

Member Hodges said she was hesitant to think that they even need this motel classification, but to draw that type of development, she could see that this would enhance that type of development.

Member Hodges asked about inserting inspections and Member Bonaventura said when you have a manufacturing process, there is usually a form of quality control where certain parts over certain periods of time are polled and inspected as far as size and configuration and this way you run a statistical control chart which tells you how the production is going.

Member Hodges asked if that was any different than the actual testing process and Member Bonaventura said it was different than testing and it should be inserted because of the manufacturing process.

Member Weddington said her initial reaction was that they should not have any lodging facilities in this district at all so she would like a consensus from the other Commissioners, and the other issue was about this use being prohibited wherever it is adjacent to any zoned or master planned residential district and she would like to know the feeling of the other Commissioners and whether they should state this in terms of a restriction for zoned or master planned or both.

Member Hoadley said he could see a need for a business motel in that type of an area and he would support the concept and as far as putting it up against residential, he agreed with the Implementation Committee and he wouldnít want to pull that out.

Member Hodges said she also agreed with Member Hoadley and she saw that this could work and she would be leaning more towards the comment Member Bonaventura made that instead of saying it is master planned, that it should be zoned, and she would prefer the way it was zoned in there and she felt she liked to see those types of complexes close to the light manufacturing research type of thing.

Member Mutch said she didnít have any problem with motels in general and she felt the business motel definition addresses the concern they had in Implementation Committee about the type of facility that would be there.

 

Motion by Weddington, Seconded by Bonaventura: To schedule a public hearing for the proposed OS-3 Ordinance as presented subject to the following amendments: (1) Section 2301A.4.c adding "inspections" to text and (2) Section 2302A.8 adding "zoned for any residential use." - MOTION DIED - TIE VOTE.

DISCUSSION

Member Mutch commented it was discussed in Implementation whether it should be restricted from being placed next to property that was currently zoned residential and it may be residential or it may be vacant and then to restrict it so that it couldnít be placed next to properties that are master planned residential regardless of what the current use is.

Member Mutch stated Novi was in transition and there are going to be people who have sizeable pieces of property that are currently zoned residential and it was vacant land that they prefer to keep residential zoning for until such time as they divest themselves from the property. She felt for them to do this at the same time they were trying to move toward getting the zoning to conform to the master plan, seems as if it is a step backward to restrict it, so while she supported moving this to a public hearing, she would not vote for the motion because of that particular restriction, but she would otherwise.

Mr. Wahl felt this item about zoned residential is a critical situation. He felt when you are dealing with that type of ordinance, you are dealing with it on two levels, dealing with it theoretically in terms of ordinance provisions but then you have to look at the reality of the city and what is out there and particularly what the Master Plan calls for and what could or is likely to happen. He felt what could happen is you are going to find parcels of land that are master planned for office that are zoned R-A and when you look at the map, it was the 12 Mile Corridor and that was clearly intended to be a non-residential corridor and has been planned that way for many years.

Mr. Wahl felt it would be extremely unlikely that a single developer is going to come in and assemble an entire quadrant and do an area wide rezoning, so you would have a 20 acre or a 40 acre rezoning request from the property owner from the developer to do this type of project, surrounded by zoned residential.

Mr. Wahl felt they would be creating an ordinance that would be virtually unworkable. He hoped they would keep in mind the idea that one of their responsibilities in the city is to create ordinances that truly reflect some practicality of use and function and reasonableness because he felt if they pursue this particular language, possibly there is some compromise they donít know about that they could make people more comfortable with the existing residents that are out there, but he felt they would be creating an OS-3 District that unless someone can come in and assemble 100 acres, would be an unusable ordinance.

Chairperson Lorenzo agreed and said this issue was debated and struggled with because they were in a Catch 22 position and it was a sensitive issue to the existing landowner whose property is zoned residential, who does not wish to pay and be burdened with higher taxes on an industrial level, but on the other hand, they want to protect residential districts from non-residential districts.

Chairperson Lorenzo said the master plan in her mind was not just a black and white document and it has viability in her mind so she could not support the motion because of that because she felt it would make the ordinance unworkable and too inflexible and she supported the ordinance as drafted, and she also supported the business motel because she understood that there may be a need for this type of motel within a development.

Chairperson Lorenzo said she could support the document as it is without the particular amendment because she felt it was too restrictive and would make this document totally unworkable.

Member Hoadley said he supported Mr. Wahlís and Chairperson Lorenzoís position, and he would not support the motion.

Member Bonaventura said the problem he has with this is that after Member Weddington made her motion, he decided to go with it and forget about the hotel/motel business as a concession because he felt the other issue was more important. He said the whole purpose of this ordinance is to be more flexible and they are eliminating, through the manipulation of this ordinance and through the changes, public hearings which clean up the process for anyone who wants to do a development like this and it makes it easier for the brokers to sell the property and that is all well and fine because he didnít have any problems with this type of development in Novi as long as the residents of this community are protected from the use that is not compatible. He said he didnít want any surprises for residential areas, and he felt Member Weddingtonís proposal eliminates any surprises for residential areas.

Chairperson Lorenzo pointed out they do have in terms of protection, berming, and setbacks and the like and she would think with this ordinance they could even beef up the landscaping and berming if the Commission thought that may address the situation further.

Mr. Arroyo pointed out that the screening provisions that were in this draft are the stringent screening provisions similar to what they have when you are adjacent to light industrial for any truck wells, loading and unloading areas, and it requires the 6-10 foot high berm with the plantings on top of it, so it is already built into this ordinance if it is adjacent to residential.

Chairperson Lorenzo thought the last time they discussed this, Mr. Watson had pointed out that although it is stringent when you talk in terms of opacity, it doesnít have to be totally shielded, and Mr. Arroyo said it would be totally shielded to a point of 6-10 feet and that from that point up there could be potentially breaks.

Chairperson Lorenzo said perhaps those members of the Commission that feel they could not support it at this time, would be able to support it if they had even more stringent restrictions with this next to residential, in terms of that opacity.

Member Hoadley felt that was the way to go.

Member Hodges was still in favor of the of the words "zoned residential" even though she realized it was putting a restriction on it but if there was a hardship, it would come back before them.

Member Hoadley called the question.

 

VOTE ON MOTION:

Yes: Hodges, Weddington, Bonaventura

No: Hoadley, Lorenzo, Mutch

 

MOTION DIED - TIE VOTE

PM-08-002-95 Motion by Mutch, Seconded by Hoadley, MOTION CARRIED: To schedule a public hearing for the OS-3 Ordinance subject to the following amendments: (1) Section 2301A.4.c (adding inspections to text) and (2) Section 2301A.5 (insertion of "business" motels to text)

DISCUSSION

Member Hoadley said he seconded the motion but asked if they would consider an amendment that they take into consideration Chairperson Lorenzoís comments in regards to additional setback requirements and consider them and some higher berming and perhaps non-deciduous trees and also in regards to 24-hour lighting, that it be reflected away from any potential residential zoning.

Member Mutch felt all of those were issues that would come up in the public hearing if they indeed move this to a public hearing, which she hoped they would do.

Member Mutch also said although she didnít think it should be as restrictive as was first offered, she didnít think at this time, in the sprit of compromise that she would be opposed to the idea of having this restricted perhaps as a result of the public hearing discussion to those areas that are currently in use as residential, but not everything that is zoned residential because they have a lot of vacant land that is zoned residential. Member Hoadley then agreed and a vote was taken.

 

VOTE ON MOTION PM-08-002-95:

Yes: Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Mutch, Weddington,

No: Bonaventura

MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

1. Lakewoods Preserve, SP95-17 - Presentation by applicant describing the Lakewoods Preserve development proposed on both sides West Road between Pontiac Trail and South Lake Drive.

Mr. Serlin began by introducing members of the Novi Group, Mr. Jeff Parsegian, Mr. Norm Cohen, and Mr. Ted Jacobson. He then introduced Mr. Bob Gibbs, land planner, who would explain his concept for Lakewoods Preserve.

Mr. Gibbs said they have been planning this project for almost a year now and are familiar with the property and have gone through a number of constructive reviews. He explained the site was 206 acres and their proposal is for 231 single family homes of which 213 will be developed as R-2 lots using the Preservation Option and 18 are to be developed as R-4 lots not using the Preservation Option as that doesnít apply to R-4 lots, giving them a density of 1.1 house per acre.

Mr. Gibbs said the site has about 44 acres of wetlands and about 40 acres of valuable woodlands and his plan calls for approximately 85 acres of open space. He said one of the siteís significant natural features is the lake edge and there was almost a quarter mile of lake frontage on Walled Lake.

Mr. Gibbs said the planning team includes the following: Barton-Aschman, traffic engineer, Robert Leighton & Associates, woodlands consultant, Zeimat Wozniak, engineering and storm water management consultant and Resource Management Group, wetlands consultant and biologist for the project.

Mr. Gibbs discussed the location and pointed out various roads. He also discussed the concept plan and pointed out the natural features. He indicated a number of wetlands were scattered throughout the property. He said there was a zoning boundary through the property and it was zoned R-4 to the east of the boundary line and R-2 to the west.

Mr. Gibbs said they first want to preserve the woodlands and save the hedgerows as much as possible. He also indicated there were no curb cuts to the north on South Lake Drive and they only have two curb cuts on the new South Lake Drive and there are no houses fronting directly on South Lake Drive but there are four houses that site on it though. He said he has taken a lot of care to limit the number of houses that back directly onto West Road and in most cases, there are parks or open spaces between the houses and West Road.

Mr. Gibbs said there was one outstanding issue regarding the southeast corner of West and South Lake Drive and they are proposing 14 lots in there and the developer does not own a strip of land that runs through the middle of that and there is a 66 foot right of way that runs through the middle of that and when they started planning this, it was the preferred option for the Taft Road extension to abandon this right of way and to have Taft Road built through there. He said they are going to be asking that if the Commission approves this, that this be a conditional approval subject to a reasonable amount of time to decide what is going to happen to the Taft Road extension.

Mr. Gibbs said they have some alternatives of how this area can be developed if the Commission elects not to do that and in the package when they submit, they will actually show alternatives and one is to have a cul de sac which technically works so there would be alternatives to consider but they donít want to hold up the whole project just for this area..

Mr. Gibbs said during the planning process they have made four submissions to the City and have agreed to a number of significant compromises. He then discussed some of the compromises.

Mr. Gibbs indicated there would also be an open space recreational pavilion located at the top of the hill and this will offer an outdoor covered type of pavilion with tennis courts, and a pool area for the use of the homeowners there.

Mr. Gibbs said the property was surrounded by the following districts, R-4 to the east, RM-1 to the north which is developed, and there are actually apartment buildings fairly close to this property line and some of the homes will actually look into the apartment buildings. He said the entire west boundary is zoned for Light Industrial and the south is zoned R-2 and R-A and a little bit of R-A in the corner.

Mr. Gibbs said they were somewhat protected from the visibility of the industrial by the woodlands although there would be in some cases houses fairly close to that. He said they were not proposing at this time boat slips or proposing cutting down the wetlands or dredging out the lake but he was asking to reserve the rights to do that for the homeowners.

Mr. Gibbs said there have been about seven meetings with LARA starting in early April and one meeting with the Shawood Lake homeowners.

Mr. Gibbs said one of the reasons they wanted a special meeting was to show the Commission the plans and have at least a conceptual discussion. He was hoping to be on the September 20th Agenda for action.

THE COMMISSION TOOK A BREAK.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Martha Hoyer of 203 Bernstadt indicated this is the most environmentally sensitive area of the lake and it must be addressed in conjunction with the total development. When Mr. Gibbs was asked publicly if the building of this subdivision was contingent upon approval of the use of the lake frontage, his response was that was their marketing feature. She said how can they doubt that the marketing will be for lake access lots which are allowed under the ordinances unless the DNR refuses the permits. She said the DNR and the local officials upon completion of this development will be dealing with irate residents who have great expectations of lake usage, and the burden of permits, approvals and construction should not be deferred to future residents, but the issue should be dealt with by the developer during the planning process. She said with the various plat approvals and all other site plan approvals, which is an 18-24 month process, having those approvals run in conjunction with, will certainly not hinder his commencement of construction.

Ms. Hoyer addressed traffic concerns and said South Lake traffic was a rapidly growing problem and they have 7500 cars a day on a residential street with homes and beach lots divided by the roadway. She said 231 new homes times 8 trips a day would be 1848 more cars. She would request if possible that this be controlled through the subdivision street outlets possibly being directed to West Road instead of South Lake Drive. She said they know the developer was not responsible for streets outside his subdivision, but she felt direction of traffic within the subdivision can affect the adjacent streets.

 

Sarah Gray of 133 Maudlin said she would first speak as Secretary/Treasurer of the Southeast Shawood Homeowners Association who have two major concerns based on the prior plan which they saw at their July meeting. She said their primary concerns were (1) A subdivision bisected by a class A road, and to their knowledge this has never been done in the City of Novi before. (2) That their proposal at that time proposed their boat launch to be outside the perimeter of their property using South Lake Court and she understood this has all changed.

Ms. Gray discussed disclosure and said they have several areas in the city that were residentially developed with private lakefront parks developed under the ordinance and the first one was Windward Bay at Pontiac Trail and West Road and they have a lakefront park but do not have a boat launch. She said the developer at the time he built, did defer plans for the future, and that he would reapply to the Commission and Council for this development of the lake front area and two or three developers down the line, it finally came back and Ms. Hoer was on Council and does recall the circumstances and they received a variance became they lacked the linear footage and square footage requirement in the ordinance. She said they got their lake front park, but did not have a boat launch in it.

Ms. Gray said the site was atrocious because JCK could not enforce destruction of the wetlands of the shoreline because they did not have before pictures and the residents have to rely on the city to enforce the ordinances and they do support the houses that were proposed and the houses will sell.

 

Harry Avagian discussed the Agenda. He felt the Commission owes an apology to the people who came for this item and had to wait until after the Commission discussed the OS-3 Ordinance which could have been scheduled last.

Chairperson Lorenzo explained this meeting was not scheduled to be any type of a public hearing or for public input but the meeting was scheduled primarily for the applicants to present the project in a general form to the Commission for the Commissionís reaction.

 

Mike Condon of 1321 South Lake Drive shared some of Mr. Avagianís concerns about waiting until after the first itemís discussion. He would add he understood the Commissioners were volunteers but when planning the Agendas in the future, possibly they could keep in mind that if they want to encourage the public to be involved, to schedule the Agenda appropriately so the public doesnít stand outside.

Mr. Condon said in addition to traffic concerns he would ask that they look at the road to the west of West Lake Drive which encourages people to use South Lake Drive and was a major traffic problem already and he would ask that they look at alternatives that would encourage people to use the new proposed Taft Road extension when that is in and also possibly even re-routing South Lake Drive to hook down there to discourage people from using that.

Mr. Condon said looking at the subdivision and the use on the waterfront, it was his understanding that the entire waterfront is wetlands and while they say it will not be developed at this time and they reserve the right to let it be dealt with later, he didnít think they want to encourage and allow a development to happen that puts the city in a position that all they have to do is totally police the development, and the lake usage, and where the DNR cannot do their job and Oakland County Sheriff cannot do their job and the City needs to plan it so they can do their jobs.

Mr. Condon said in yearís past, Walled Lake hasnít been overly utilized and the comment from the Sheriff who patrols the lake is up until this year it was not over utilized, but this year the lake is clearly over-utilized so for that reason, please do not allow any more traffic on the lake.

 

Sue Soborowski of 1407 E. Lake Drive said she would address some problems they have today in their area and look at those and look at the plans and see where there may be more problems coming. She referred to the Wexford Condos, Hickory Woods Elementary School and Woods of Novi and they were beautiful areas but the one problem they have is drainage and it just isnít water drainage and the runoff goes directly into the lake. She referred to Maples of Novi and said she had pictures showing a huge brown line going halfway across the lake after a rainfall out of a culvert at 1354 East Lake Drive and Maples or Classic Construction got a slap on the wrist in response to this.

Ms. Soborowski said she needed to know what will happen here and two weeks ago there was quite a bit of rain and there was about half of a city block where something green was floating along in front of again 1354 East Lake Drive and what measures do the residents have to protect the lake and the environment.

 

Leanne Link of 210 Bernstadt said she uses the lake a lot and was concerned about the environmental impacts that the uncertainties of this plan represents.

 

Steve Loe of 1507 West Lake felt the wetlands of Walled Lake was the issue. He said that corner of the lake was the last area of the lake that was habitable for wildlife, etc. He would ask the Commission that they simply enforce the ordinances in place and would hope the DNR does the same.

 

Ruth Hamilton of 1245 East Lake Drive asked about the developer deciding not to develop the lake shore recreational park and her concern was he would be turning that over to the homeowners. She said there are specific ordinances on the records that specifically restricts any access except under guidelines. She indicated she is on the Taft Road Committee and per their traffic counts, she would ask that all ingress and egress be off of West Road in an effort to not add any additional traffic to South Lake.

Ms. Hamilton hated to think what would happen when the developer turns this property over for the homeowners to pursue and what would happen to the environment, to the quality of the lake and to the property values of homes when 231 new homeowners turn up in this city in about 3 years and the City allows them to be pitted against each other. She said all of this should be decided and put in the records now so that people were aware of it when they are sold homes. She would also ask when a public hearing is held, that the City invite Walled Lake homeowners to that meeting.

 

Patricia Hughes of 1241 East Lake Drive said she feels the developer has the right to develop providing they donít go against the present restrictions that are there and that there be no changing in any present ordinances and that it be a matter of permanent record for a deed restriction at this time. She said they need and love their wildlife.

 

S. Volker of Walled Lake said she noticed the words, hedgerows, woodlands, wetlands, etc. and hoped those are not concessions to the DNR. She also wondered if this meeting should have been held and was this even ready. She was concerned that this is like an open deed to the homeowners after they buy and what they would want to do with the lake front.

Ms. Volker said there was a mishap over by Windward Bay awhile ago and most of the lillypads are gone, and the cattails are gone, and the fish beds are gone, and there are dead swans on top of the water. She said there is a battle going on now trying to save any remaining animals left there.

Ms. Volker said JCK didnít see any problem and someone asked them why something was never replanted and their remark was they didnít know what was there before and she was assured there were pictures given to them as to what was there before. She felt they all need to work together now.

A gentleman of 1515 E. Lake Drive said Walled Lake is not a man-made lake and was formed for the wildlife and for the people to enjoy and this developer wants to come in and make extra dollars by putting in a park, boat slips, etc. He asked who would control this park and what security would there be.

 

Jim Korte of 2026 Austin said the city has to get this right the first time. He said when that environment begins to fall, the whole base of everything is shifted. He said this would not affect most of Novi, but would effect the lake users and the lake lookers and the residents here that night and it was their way of life.

A gentleman from Walled Lake and President of Windward Condominiums, said he has lived in Novi for 15 years and in a meeting with the Association, they are in full support of LARA and all the commitments that they are trying to make for the no wetland destruction or the boat slips. He explained they are about a half a mile away from the lake itself and on a Saturday or a Sunday it sounds like a buzz-saw with noise from boats now and he was concerned about putting another 49-50 boats on the lake and it was not policed now. He didnít know how they could stop 241 people from having their boats when they are living in the same subdivision. He indicated he is against this and will ask the other Condo Associations in the area to join him in whatever they could do to stop it.

Mr. Serlin then spoke again and addressed some of the comments made. He said the fact that Walled Lake suddenly has more boats on it than it could support, is not his fault and he has the right to develop his land. He said they are asking for the Preservation Option as a concept for their planning and this is really the lynchpin for their proposal that night and he would entertain any questions about planning and traffic. He said they didnít create the South Lake problem and they understand it and know it will not be easy if the Taft Road solution isnít found. He indicated they have made provisions for the Taft Road extension through their property in one of two places and they are prepared to satisfy whatever the solution may be for Taft Road as it relates to their property.

Mr. Serlin said they meet all the criteria and the staff and consultants have reviewed this several times and this plan is where they are at today.

Mr. Serlin said if there is a concern about the future of the development of the lake front as a private park for boat slips, for swimming, and concerns about 231 homes in mass coming in and saying they want their boats, what he is prepared to do tonight is to place in the deed restrictions for themselves and their successors, the Homeowner Association, a limitation of 49 boat slips and a limitation of 49 families that can technically use the lake front park if it is ever developed and it is not our intention to develop it.

Mr. Serlin said if anyone does anything with regard to improving the lake for swimming or the depth of the lake for boats, it would have to be done according to ordinances. He said whatever they were allowed to do, whether it was under Ordinances, under DNR restrictions, whatever permits are required, he would abide by that and any successor will have to abide by that.

Mr. Serlin said he didnít see the impact on the lake of more than 49 families using a beach. He said in their experience with large community developments, a very small percentage, 5% or so, of the entire community would ever use a pool, so he didnít think even if 200 were permitted to use the lake front, that they would ever get 200 families.

Mr. Serlin said their intention is to develop the park, the pavilion, the swimming pool, but not as a lake front park and also the boardwalk shown on the plan would be removed.

Chairperson Lorenzo appreciated his voluntary offer.

Ms. Hamilton asked to clarify something and she didnít feel Mr. Serlin understood what 49 families or the approximately 3-4 swimming in that waterís edge would do to that lake. She said there were swans there and when people go near swans, they run and would get hit by the boats and there were blue herrings there and they all are afraid of people. She said Novi was not going to sit there and let them throw away their natural resources.

Another gentleman spoke again and said he appreciated Mr. Serlinís comments about what he is willing to do, but he is wondering if he is in such a generous mood, if he would agree not to apply for any variances from the city.

Chairperson Lorenzo said if she understood Mr. Serlin correctly, he was willing to develop the project now and in the future under all the existing ordinances.

The gentleman felt the point that needs to be clarified was who was going to police this and Oakland County could not police Walled Lake now.

Mr. Ted Jacobson said he has not made any commitment not to ask for any waivers, but it was inherent in their proposal there would be no waivers on this site plan and the plat abides 100% with all the ordinances and he believed all the City departments have surveyed every facet of it. He said as far as the water was concerned, Mr. Serlinís comments are completely accurate and they would restrict it to the 49 sites that are available to them under the terms of the ordinance if and when they may be developed.

Mr. Jacobson said if their successors and interests, the subdivision association, should elect to use that beach or the boat sites, they have to come back to the Council, DNR and any other party and interest to get approval.

 

Marianne Sark of 130 Rexton indicated she was the treasurer of LARA. She wanted to clarify that the 49 restrictions in following the ordinance was referring to strictly the park, and LARA wants zero tolerance on the lake itself, no dredging, no boat docks, no boat slips - they donít want the water touched at all.

Mr. Parsegian said in any community, there has to be a Homeowners Association, and as developers they use the term "parks" very loosely and any property not a deeded plat is a park.

Mr. Parsegian said they are saying so that there is no misunderstanding, Novi Group is not going to develop anything in this park, not going to build the boardwalk or the docks, and they donít want to be obligated to do any of those items. He said when this property is deeded to someone, it is going to be deeded to the Lakewoods Preserve Homeowners Association and with that, they will have the rights for whatever they are entitled to, and if it is 49 boat slips, or 49 people to use the boats on the lake, whatever the ordinance says, that will become the Homeowners Association and they can figure out if they want to use those.

A lady in the audience asked the Commission before they make a decision, to go out to that area and walk it and they will find it is wild land that has never been touched.

Chairperson Lorenzo explained the Commission was restricted by ordinances and they cannot require things that go beyond the scope of their ordinances, whether they agree with the residents or not, and if the ordinance does not require it, their hands are tied.

Ms. Gray said the residents appreciate the developerís comments but their primary concern is per the Ordinance, the Lake front Use Standard, Section 3662, they have to designate who is going to have access to the lake. She said this is not going to be a lottery that they are going to have on a revolving basis every day so someone has to submit to the city who is entitled to be on the lake that year. She said it seems the fair way is if there are 49 homes to the east of West Road between West Road and the lake, those are the 49 who have lake access. She said they have to be assured of that, otherwise it is a giant keyholing nightmare. She said they expect the Commission to uphold them to the standards of the ordinance.

 

Deb Bundoff of 12 Mile Road said she understood they were utilizing the preservation part of the ordinance to get their densities and is that correct. Chairperson Lorenzo said the consultant would answer that question when they get to it.

Ms. Bundoff said if the preservation is being utilized to get his densities in to make this development feasible cost-wise, then she is hoping there is something in the ordinances that state that the land has to be preserved in its natural state, which means they donít dig it up or make it a park. She said they do nothing and they leave it in its natural state and that would include the lake frontage. She said there are woodlands and wetlands ordinances which would allow not touching them and she believed the DNR has a certain amount of acreage that constitutes their overseeing of the wetlands.

Ms. Bundoff said she would like to see the proposal that would show a normal subdivision without the preservation and what the difference is in having this preservation and she would be interested in seeing that in a public hearing and it may make a big difference and she would like to see how many units they would be allowed under a normal subdivision in buildable lots.

Ms. Bundoff also asked about a previous matter that was before the Commission on the OS-3 and PD-4 Option and it is her understanding that there are basically three locations in the city that have the PD-4 option on them and if you look at those, there is only one location in the city that does not abut residential. She said if the PD-4 option became the OS-3, there is only one buildable site in this city under the master plan that would be allowed the discussions you had on the business hotel and things of that nature. Chairperson Lorenzo asked a staff person to discuss that issue with Ms. Bundoff after the meeting.

 

Robin Reeves of 903 Lemay asked would ask the developer if he could have the DNR come in and assess if the lake front water is even useable and share the results with the city and also she would like to request that they provide an environmental impact study.

 

John Bolton of 1413 East Lake Drive said he understood these gentleman are not going to develop the lake front as of yet and his question is if the lake front is deemed wetlands, his understanding is they could not cross it and could not have a beach and even by the amount of footage that they have on Walled Lake, they are entitled to 49 boats, but if it is deemed wetlands, they are not entitled to any. Please take that under advisement.

 

Don Vought of 1651 West Lake Road said he liked the plans, but what is to quarantine all of those residents from going outside the border areas and trampling every bid of environment that is suppose to be fragile.

 

Mr. Avagian said that night they have found out exactly what the strategy is and what is being said is indeed the lake, the docks, the activity on the lake, the beach and everything else that comes with it, is off the table right now and that there is not an agreement nor a willingness to declare it off the table permanently.

Mr. Gibbs spoke again and indicated he had a concept plan or a bonafide plan, and that plan represents the site being developed exactly as the zoning code allows, not using the preservation option. He said this plan has been extremely criticized and scrutinized by the consultants and they are told it is squeaky clean and that they are entitled to four more lots.

Mr. Gibbs said they are asking for the Preservation Option because they are going to preserve the trees and it allows them to reduce the lot sizes by up to 20% and they will be asking for 19% which means the lots will be reduced from 110 feet wide to 90 feet wide by 160 feet deep. He said they feel the Preservation Option is the best option for this site and that is why they are there to have a favorable recommendation from the Commission to the City Council to let them do it. He said if the Commission or City Council are so inclined not to use the Preservation Option, then they are told and believe they are entitled to develop the property with 234 lots, R-2 and R-4 and that is exactly the plan that has been reviewed. He said that plan cuts down many more trees and is much less desirable.

Mr. Gibbs said also speaking for himself and the developers, he took exception to Mr. Avagianís comments. He said they have been extremely straight forward with everyone and he didnít think they have been plotting.

Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Audience Participation.

 

COMMISSION DISCUSSION

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Watson about the issues that have been raised regarding Section 3662 of designating access to the lake and is the petitioner required to designate specific access at this point in time. Mr. Watson said no he was not required and if he wants to make access available to the lake to any of the lots within this development, he would do it now, but he was not required to do it now. He explained what that lake front provision provides is that if a development is going to provide access to the lake, they have to do it via a non-public lake front recreation park and it limits the manner in which he could do that and they have to limit it to no more than one unit for every 25 feet of lake frontage that they have.

Mr. Watson said in addition to that, you are suppose to depict by covenant which ones they are going to be and it doesnít mean that someone has to provide lake access and you can come in with a development and not provide lake access and they are free to do that and assuming they have deeded all those commons areas over to an association, the association would always be free to come back if they were able to do that in a unified manner and come back with a revised plan if sometime in the future they wanted to provide access.

Mr. Watson said if they did that, they would still have to get the approval of the Commission and they would still be bound by whatever the ordinance requires, so if they were going to provide access, they have to go through that process and if they are not going to provide access, then it is a moot point.

Chairperson Lorenzo said it has been determined that they are allowed 49 families and Mr. Watson said he didnít know if it has been determined or not, but the consultants have reviewed the plans and it was probably a correct number since that is the number everyone is using.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked in terms of disclosure, does the applicant have any requirements under City of Novi ordinances to disclose to the future homeowners association the restrictions of the lake front protection ordinance or any other ordinances that they have. Mr. Watson said if he is going to provide access, he has to disclose in the covenants which of the lots are going to be provided that access, so it would have to be in the covenants and restrictions and if he is not going to do it under the Preservation Option itself, he has to provide information for the covenants and restrictions as to how the common areas, the areas to be preserved, are going to be held, so presumedly if they have submitted information on that, it would indicate whether they were going to be preserved, how they are going to be used and what kind of restrictions are going to be placed on this.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if they have to disclose specifically the restrictions of use in terms of boat launches, docking, beaches, etc., in their deed restrictions. Mr. Watson said not necessarily. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if they do decide to have access and deed it to the 49 families, do they have to disclose to those 49 users that if the users wanted a boat launch, a dock, a beach, etc., that there would be an ordinance that they would need variances from.

Mr. Watson said it was not the Ordinance they would need variances from and it would be an ordinance they would have to apply to and they would have in the covenants provision indicating these are the lots that are allowed access so in that sense it would be disclosed.

Chairperson Lorenzo said but the restrictions within our ordinance would not be and Mr. Watson said not necessarily, and it would indicate they had access pursuant to that ordinance. Chairperson Lorenzo said they cannot require that information to be disclosed and Mr. Watson said they review the covenants when they come in and they ask them to put whatever in there they deem appropriate to provide that information. Mr. Watson said if she was asking him whether A, B, C, D, E and F are going to be in there, he is going to tell her this is not the time to answer that question and he could answer that question when he gets the covenants and when he knows exactly what is being proposed.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked can they require the specific restrictions that are in the lake front protection ordinance or any of our other ordinances to be disclosed within the deed restrictions, and Mr. Watson felt they would but you have one problem and that is it is going to be subject to however that ordinance may change over time, so he didnít know if they would spell out verbatim the particular provisions of the ordinance but there would be information to that effect.

Chairperson Lorenzo said but the future homeowners would have knowledge of the fact that in terms of a boat launch, docking, etc., that there is an ordinance that restricts the uses of those and Mr. Watson said yes that would be in their covenants and restrictions.

Chairperson Lorenzo then asked Mr. Arroyo to answer the questions about the PCP credits and whether or not the lake front frontage was included in the PCP credits. Mr. Arroyo first gave a brief explanation of what the Preservation Option is. He explained the Cityís Zoning Ordinance provides for the possibility of someone applying for a preservation option, whereby a concept plan is presented, which is what is before the Planning Commission in a formal stage. He then read one paragraph from the Ordinance which describes what the intent of the Preservation Option is.

Mr. Arroyo indicated the Intent is to provide flexibility in development to encourage and facilitate the substantial preservation of locally regulated woodlands as a functioning ecosystem with minimal intrusion to provide an incentive to preserve locally important plant and/or animal habitats as part of the overall ecosystem in areas of development.

Mr. Arroyo said what the option allows was for an applicant, if they are successful in getting the preservation option approved, to reduce the minimum lot size in the specific zoning ordinance districts from what would otherwise be required. He said in this particular instance, most of the lots in this proposed development fall within R-2 and normally you would have to have a minimum lot size of 18,000 square feet. He said in this instance, they are allowed potentially to go down to a reduction of 20% from that 18,000 which would get them down to 14,400 square feet instead of 18,000 square feet. He said they were also allowed potentially to reduce the minimum lot width from 110 feet to 90 feet and what guides that is how much of the types of features that the city wants to see preserved are in fact being preserved. He said the intent of this option is to preserve locally regulated woodlands and also animal habitats and wetland buffer areas can count as a credit and also quality wetlands that are less than 2 acres.

Mr. Arroyo said wetlands in and of themselves cannot be used for the preservation credit percentage so they donít get any type of bonus in terms of lot size based on the wetlands that are provided and it only applies to regulated woodlands in those other areas that he mentioned. So in this particular instance, it is hard to get into a lot of specifics because this plan is still in the process of being developed and there has not been a final review to bring forward.

Mr. Arroyo felt it was important for the audience to know that the Planning Commission will be holding a hearing and making a recommendation to the City Council and the City Council will have the final say on the Preservation Option and whether or not it is granted.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the lake front has been included in the PCP credits and Mr. Arroyo said anything in the lake front that is a wetland would not be credited. She asked what if it was technically not a wetland and if it was just part of a lake and would that be then and Mr. Arroyo suggested Ms. Lemke discussing that issue.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked about the Class A Road, West Road, and the development being on both sides of that road, and Mr. Arroyo didnít think that was the only instance, and he believed the Willowbrook Subdivision was on both sides of Ten Mile Road. She asked if that was acceptable and Mr. Arroyo said there was nothing in the City Ordinances that prohibit a subdivision from being on two sides of a roadway.

Chairperson Lorenzo said in terms of designing the project to use primarily the Taft Road extension and rerouting South Lake Drive, has that been looked at, and Mr. Arroyo said the issue of the Taft Road extension has played a major role in the review of this plan to date, and there is some right-of-way that cuts through this property which is owned by the city and that issue needs to be addressed as part of this plan going through the process. He said effectively what is going to have to happen is the City Council will ultimately have to make a decision on whether or not they want to retain that right-of-way or if they feel that one of the other options for the Taft Road extension that doesnít involve this right-of-way, is more desirable and at that time, then potentially the process of vacating that right-of-way could be started.

Chairperson Lorenzo said in terms of rerouting South Lake or not having access to South Lake, is that an option and Mr. Arroyo said they donít find that modification to South Lake Drive such as rerouting it to the south would have any significant impact on the volumes of South Lake Drive. He said he believed that the extension of a roadway connecting West Road to 12 Mile, the Taft Road extension, is the solution to reducing the amount of through-traffic on South Lake Drive and just because you modify South Lake Drive to make it a slightly longer route, there really isnít a good alternative for people to take right now without the Taft Road extension.

Mr. Arroyo said in terms of access to South Lake Drive the way this site is laid out, he believed that the number of units that do access South Lake Drive are not a large number and most of the units are found on the west side of West Road and that the way the land lays out, the access to South Lake Drive, he believed is reasonable.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if he has gotten to the point that he could say they have 49 boat slips in terms of the PCPís and the lake front and Mr. Arroyo said on a preliminary level, he believed that Mr. Rogers has reviewed that and that it is his finding that there are 49 but the plan has not been finalized.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Ms. Lemke what was lake front and what is wetlands and is that included or could that be included in the PCP credits. Ms. Lemke said they are including an area along the lake shore that is included as wetlands buffer and basically upland, non-regulated wetlands, in their PCP count.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Ms. Tepatti how much were they talking about in wetlands and Ms. Tepatti replied the lake itself, the open water, is considered the actual lake front. She said there is a band of fringe wetland vegetation that runs along the whole lake so she considered that classified as wetlands and even though both are regulated under the same ordinance with the City, the DNR would consider them separately.

Ms. Tepatti said in her consideration, they have recently mapped the wetlands along the lake front and those have not been shown on the plan but they have been surveyed and reviewed. She said Ms. Lemke was saying they are not counting that wetland fringe and only counting from the cattails west.

Chairperson Lorenzo said so the buffer area is being counted/the upland woodlands and Ms. Tepatti said correct and Ms. Lemke said in the whole count, in the upland woodlands that are not regulated, the wetland woodlands are counted.

Chairperson Lorenzo said then the ones that were less than 2 acres and are not regulated are being calculated in the PCP credit. Ms. Lemke explained the area along the lake that they are counting is approximately 3.31 acres and she discussed further. Ms. Tepatti indicated they are not counting the very large wetland west of the lake and they are not counting the cattails in the wetland marshy area along the actual open water.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Watson what type of control do they have over the lake access usage and can they preclude certain activities or what activities would be permissible in that area. Mr. Watson said the types of activities for which you need the lake front recreational park is basically access to the lake, which includes water skiing, swimming, water sports, boating, access for boating or similar lake usage so those are the kinds of things that you need the park to begin with.

Mr. Watson said the lake front standards donít provide provisions for making a determination as to allowing some of those activities but not other activities so that it not a part of that but it may be a part of the wetland ordinance approval if there are wetland impacts from some of those things, but until something is proposed for those kinds of uses and the wetlands consultant looks at that, he couldnít answer that question.

 

COMMISSION DISCUSSION

Member Hodges asked Mr. Watson would it be necessary for the developer to designate lake front usage beyond the Homeowners Association and do they have to identify specific lots or could they say Homeowners Association.

Mr. Watson said the way the Ordinance is written you have to provide covenants and restrictions indicating which lots would have access rights, and if they wanted to do it differently and depict specific lots, they would need a variance from the City Council.

Member Hodges asked if the developer was required to seek permits or restrictions from the DNR as if they were to exercise the right to coordinate in the ordinance or do those come when whomever develops it. Mr. Watson said if she meant do they have to get the permits from the DNR to do the access, if they are not proposing to do the access, they only get permits for what they are proposing to do.

Member Hodges said they have not discussed the DNR and some of these restrictions do come under the DNR and they cannot predict or dictate what the DNR will or will not do. Mr. Watson said what the Commission and Consultants do is make it a condition of every wetland permit approval and other permit approvals that they also have to get any necessary DNR permits.

Member Hodges thanked the residents for attending that evening and felt a lot of important issues have been brought forward.

Member Hodges said what scares her about this and what would be the most restrictive tool for development is they have to carry insurance and you can imagine what the insurance would be on that lake front and when it is developed, it will increase. It is a beautiful plan.

Member Weddington liked the preservation that has been worked into the plan. She shared the residentsí concerns about the wildlife.

Member Weddington asked Mr. Watson if they could include a condition that woodlands and wetlands be placed in a preservation easement, could they do that in this case especially given the statement of the petitioner that they do not intend to develop the lake front area.

Mr. Watson said it depends on a few things, and one is whether that area is part of the area that has to be preserved in order to use the preservation option, and if that is the case, then there are going to be provisions put in the covenants and restrictions to deal with the preservation of that area and if it is not, then it wouldnít be dealt with necessarily in that fashion, however, it may be depending upon how the wetlands issues are resolved and it may be an issue that becomes a condition for wetland approval.

Member Hoadley said he did take a boat trip along the sensitive wetlands and did drive over the meadowlands and did look at some of the woodlands. He said he had concerns about the wetlands and the boats and he would not want to see any boats or intrusion into that wetland. He said the answer to this problem is for the developer to deed that property over to the City which takes care of all the concerns.

Member Hoadley asked Mr. Watson under the Ordinance, they would not be allowed to put a boat access and Mr. Watson said correct and the ordinance states there is to be specifically no boat launching facility.

Member Hoadley asked Ms. Tepatti if the City and/or Planning Commission or combination thereof recommended not to allow development of a beach or dredging, what kind of weight does that have and Ms. Tepatti said the DNR does consider that and they have considered the cityís comments and concerns in the past.

Member Hoadley asked Ms. Tepatti is this a wetland that is regulated all along the lake and would she ever give a favorable recommendation for any type of development along there. Ms. Tepatti said they are all regulated wetlands under duo-jurisdiction of the city and state and they have not, as of this date, provided any type of application or information for a wetland permit or given any details on that. She said they do have a right to ask for the permits and she couldnít say that they would ever deny everything, because she didnít know what they might propose or to what extent, but anything they do propose would have to be evaluated under the ordinance.

Member Hoadley said she was on the same boat trip and was there any way they could bring in boats there without dredging and Ms. Tepatti said she did not believe so. He said this would be a large environmental impact if the boats were ever allowed and Ms. Tepatti said yes and there are areas that are quite heavily vegetated into the open water and with shallow depth and at the northern end, there is slightly less vegetation but there would be great concerns about any intrusion into that area and they would have to provide a lot of information regarding impacts.

Member Hoadley said other than that concern, he did like the preservation plan and felt it would be a beautiful subdivision and he felt the homes would definitely sell.

Member Hoadley asked the developer if he would consider deeding that land to the City. Mr. Cohen commented he would ask the City if it was something they would want to do because of the liability implications that go along with it. He said they would give it serious consideration from their prospective but he didnít think he could answer that question that evening.

Mr. Watson commented that a suggestion has been made that may solve some problems and it certainly was not a requirement that the city would impose requiring dedication of an area of land as a condition to approval. He said the second thing to remember is that even if it was offered for dedication, it is really ultimately the decision of City Council as to whether they would accept that.

Member Hoadley said he was concerned about the phasing of the development and the phase that was south of South Lake Drive and the cut coming to South Lake Drive for the phase north, and would the developer be willing to develop that phase last so that hopefully the Taft issue may be resolved because they were looking at 2-3-4 years to develop it out. He asked would they be willing to keep that cut that they now propose on South Lake Drive closed until they were sold out.

Mr. Serlin said he touched on that issue earlier which was the Taft Road extension and he would be willing to make that the last phase, simply because he didnít know what will happen with Taft Road.

Mr. Serlin said he was prepared at the time the city makes a decision on the direction of Taf t Road to request a vacation of the existing right-of-way if it was not part of the plan and dedicate the lower corner which they have seen on other plans, which would be a reasonable or natural connection with West Road for Taft Road so he would be willing to make a swap at the time a decision is made. He said that would probably preclude them from developing that in the early stages of their community and he wanted to know how that will fall out. He said with regard to the curb cut going north, they havenít really completed their phasing plans yet and one of the major considerations would be the availability of sanitary sewer and the irony is that is where the sanitary sewer is, and whether they develop on the lake side initially, remains to be seen.

Mr. Serlin said one, everything virtually on the east side of West Road is R-4, the smaller lots, and they are marketing 70-80% of their lots in the larger sizes so he wasnít sure that they would start with their smaller lots and two, one of the things they may want to do is because that park is critical to their marketing, they may want to develop that community area, the swimming pool or at least the pavilion with the boulevard entrance to it so that people can see that it is there, and he is not sure how they are going to phase this yet but he would guess that the south side of South Lake Road would likely be their last phase.

Member Hoadley said he was suggesting to just keep the curb cut shut until he was sold out and then open it up and Mr. Serlin said he couldnít predict that but he would say that if South Lake Road is going to be a problem for construction traffic, the guys would find another way to get there. He said he would study it further.

Member Hoadley asked him if he would be prepared to address the concerns at the public hearing and Mr. Serlin said yes.

Member Hoadley asked about one lot that Ms. Lemke expressed concern about. Ms. Lemke indicated the lot she was concerned about was in the southwest corner and they have already made that lot bigger and a lot of her concerns can only be addressed when they get more information on final grading.

Member Bonaventura said as far as resolving the problem with the lake access, from what he has heard, they have a few options to look into. He didnít like the idea of the city taking over the property because basically he didnít trust the city of Novi as far as taking over property.

Member Bonaventura asked about the bonafide plan and asked Ms. Lemke if it was squeaky clean as indicated and Ms. Lemke indicated Mr. Rogers has reviewed that and feels it was an acceptable plan but she has not reviewed it for woodlands. He said he realizes the petitioner is submitting the preservation option but at the same time, they do have to verify that it is a bonafide plan and he wanted his request on the record that he was looking for something more thorough than what he has seen in the past as far as going over a bonafide plan.

Member Bonaventura said regarding the community impact statement, the very first question is the expected annual number of police responses which is not answered and he would be looking for the answer. Also another question was the number of employees and obviously this project has no employees but the developer made the comment that this would create approximately 11, 500 jobs over the 3-4 year build-out period and that was very significant and he felt that needed clarifying.

Member Bonaventura said since the developer is submitting the preservation option, it is commented there would be no boat docks, sand beach, etc., and those references from the community impact statement should be taken out if they are not proposing them.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Cohen or Mr. Wahl to get answers for Mr. Bonaventuraís specific questions for the meeting.

Member Mutch asked what were preservation easements and how might they be possibly used with this particular project.

Mr. Watson said preservation easements are generally an encumbrance on a piece of property that restricts how it can be used and they come in different forms. He said recently there was property along Meadowbrook Road that was proposed to have a conservation easement placed upon it through a program through the State Government. He said often times they take the form of woodlands preservation/wetlands preservation and they are not the only mechanism for preserving property in such states. He said they are different than simply having an ordinance in place because it preserves it in perpetuity as opposed to as long as when the ordinance is in effect. He said in addition to easements, there are other methods as well in terms of covenants and restrictions and easements are utilized in areas where you donít have an entire development that is going to be subject to covenants.

Member Mutch said the developer was saying that he has no intention of developing that wetland area for any of the purposes that have been suggested along the lake front and Mr. Serlin said that was correct.

Member Mutch said so a preservation easement, if such a thing were placed at that part of the development, would have no effect on his plans for development. Mr. Serlin said he wasnít sure he was 100% clear on this but it was his understanding that what is preserved by agreement is that which is used in their count for preservation option credits, in other words for example if he is not using the wetlands, which they are not entitled to use in their count for preservation credit, then the easement doesnít run to the wetlands and was that correct.

Mr. Watson said not exactly and the Ordinance provides that the development is to include a mechanism to assure the permanent preservation of the preserved and open space areas, in other words, if it was a part of what you are proposing, you are saying you are going to have certain areas that are open space, and irrespective of whether they are going to be considered for the credits for the option, there is going to be a mechanism employed to preserve those open spaces.

 

Member Mutch said certain areas under the preservation option and certain areas of this property will be preserved and they will be counted in terms of density calculations and Mr. Serlin said correct and Member Mutch said she was not talking about that but was talking about the lake shore area, the wetlands area, they have already said cannot be counted toward that credit anyway. She said Mr. Serlin has the right of potential development of that but he was indicating he has no plans to do that but what she is hearing residents say is they have a concern that while he may not have any plans to do that at this point, in effect, he was letting the future residents come in via the Homeowners Association and that is another fight down the road for the existing residents.

Member Mutch said but the question is if he has no plans to develop that, as people come in and buy those lots and they see that is a preserved area and if it is further preserved with a preservation easement, wouldnít that be a selling point for the entire area particularly if the area that develops first is not which is closest to the water but is the part west of West Road.

Mr. Parsegian said what he is prepared to do is make a study of the area where they know could be no development and then he would be willing to put that in a preservation easement and he would study that further.

Member Mutch said when developers come in and say they have no intention of doing anything with this, but at the same time does not want to give up the right to do it, then a preservation easement for a significant part of it anyway would go a long way toward improving that credibility on that one issue.

Mr. Parsegian said he builds homes as well as developing and building homes would be more a part of his business than the developing business but what he has learned over the years is that it is very difficult when you work with Homeowner Associations and communities to make decisions for them and he felt the Commission was asking him to make decisions for a community that he is not personally going to live in and he did not like doing that.

Mr. Parsegian said when asked to give that right up, he is not crazy about it because when he gives it up and the residents are happy, then after he sells all those homes and the Homeowner Associations find out he gave up those rights, they call him and their attorney calls him and that is why he wanted to reserve that right.

Member Mutch said he doesnít want to make a decision for people who are not there yet but the Commission does that every time they meet. She said when he chooses to divest himself of that property, there is a market for whatever he has at that point, so if he chooses to have a development that has a preservation easement on it, he has a piece of property that no one else has on that lake or anyone in the city has and that is what people are going to come and buy and they would probably sell in excess of $175,000.

Member Mutch said he was not losing a marketing opportunity with that, and all she is anticipating is that if preservation of that area is in his immediate plans and he has no desire to develop it, then why not seriously look at a preservation easement for that area and save himself a lot of money in pursuing permits that may turn out not to lead to anything anyway and save those future residents from battling and save the Commission from their anger.

Member Hoadley said there was a question from the audience that they have not addressed and a statement was made that the water that would be developed from this will go into the wetlands and that is true. He asked Mr. Bluhm if he could give some reassurance to the audience that when you go through the engineering plans, that he would be looking at detention/retention possibilities with gas separators and oil separators so that they donít do any harm to the regulated or even the non-regulated wetlands.

Mr. Bluhm indicated those types of controls are already in the standards that the developer has to abide by. He said the plans he has looked at tentatively show that they are proposing detention basins outside of wetlands and woodlands areas and upstream of the Walled Lake area.

Member Hoadley agreed with Member Mutchís comments and other than deeding this over to the City, he felt her comment would be a wonderful way to mitigate this and he felt the developer should give a dedicated easement some serious consideration.

Member Bonaventura commented if the developer makes a commitment to preserve this area and it is preserved and he sells it in that manner, then he would have no problem and when selling it, he would not charge any particular premiums for an access to the beach so there shouldnít be any problems with the future residents as far as buying the properties or anything in the future.

Chairperson Lorenzo indicated the hot topic of the evening was the lake front and she was in agreement wholeheartedly with the Commissioners in terms of ideally having a preservation easement on that area and having it only accessible in terms of very passive uses.

Chairperson Lorenzo said she did not foresee herself supporting now or in the future any type of variances that would be required for any type of usage of that area including but not limited to boat launching, docking, the beach, the use of jet skis and any other physical structure or activity that would destroy and destroy or jeopardize the environment or wildlife there.

Chairperson Lorenzo agreed with Member Mutch and Bonaventura that you would still have a market for this project, particularly for nature lovers. She said in terms of limitations on future residents, you do it all the time in the covenants and restrictions and this shouldnít be any different.

Mr. Gibbs then asked for clarification about the conservation easement and would that be so restrictive that it would waive the rights that are there now or were they talking about a conservation easement that would work not to waive the given rights for water usage.

Chairperson Lorenzo said Mr. Watson would have to determine the specifics.

Mr. Parsegian then asked to speak regarding the easement and he wanted to state their position and they would be determining what portion of that they were sure is always going to be utilized for the fishes, fauna and all the other things they want, and that easement will cover that area and they would not restrict the entire frontage with the preservation easement and it will be a substantial amount which they will have to engineer as to which area is definitely an area that canít be touched in the future, but they do want to reserve their rights to the development of the frontage under the terms of the ordinance not to exceed 49 boat slips and they do want to reserve the right for their successors to utilize the frontage of the lake in a fashion that was compatible with the ordinance and no waivers would be asked for.

Chairperson Lorenzo said regarding the Taft Road right-of-way, she would like to reserve judgement on that until Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Watson comment further in terms of whether Mr. Arroyo feels it is feasible and Mr. Watson thinks it is legal and if they are both in agreement with that when it comes to fruition, she could probably support that either way.

Chairperson Lorenzo indicated she was very much in favor of the preservation option over a bonafide conventional plan assuming that it meets all of the ordinance requirements and the PCPís are all straightened out.

Chairperson Lorenzo felt they have done a very good job and it is a tough piece of property and she hoped they could resolve all the issues mutually.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Mr. Mutch had one comment and said they have had the Meadowbrook Lake and Interlock issue and had the big fight over I-1 and that is still going on. He said directly to the west, west side of the parcel is I-1 property and he knows that in the middle cul-de-sac, there is a nice buffer but that southern cul-de-sac is right on the I-1 property and possibly they should shift that to the east and get more of a buffer there so they donít have future "Meadowbrook Lakesí and Interlockís, etc."

 

Mr. Condon asked them to take a close look at the number of lots to the west of West Lake Drive to be tied to the park because technically the Novi City Ordinance does say 25 feet of park so only 49 lots get to own anything in that lake front whether it is developed or not, so to him that seems like a natural mix, to match everything west with that park on the west side of the road, and everything east of West Road to the east side.

Ms. Bundoff asked if they had an answer to her question about OS-3 and Mr. Arroyo replied that before the issue comes back before the Commission, there would be some additional analysis and research done so they have that information and he didnít think that was something that could be answered that night and that would be forthcoming before a decision is made..

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 A.M.

 

 

 

_______________________________

Steven Cohen Planning Aide

Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian

October 2, 1995