REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Called to order at 7:50 P.M. by Chairperson Lorenzo.
PRESENT: Member Bonaventura, Member Capello, Member Hoadley, Chairperson Lorenzo. Member Mutch, Member Taub, Member Vrettas and Member Weddington
ABSENT: Member Hodges - Absent/Excused
ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Engineering Consultant, David Bluhm, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Planning Director James Wahl, Planning Aide Steven Cohen
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Ms. Lynn Kocan, 23088 Ennishore Drive, indicated she wanted to address the Commission regarding the Interlock discussion taking place later that evening.
"As you discuss the impact that Interlock Corporation will have on the adjacent Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision with regard to noise, I feel that you must consider that decibel levels alone are not the only Ordinance criterion this evening that the air conditioning units must comply with. The Intent of the Ordinance with regard to noise and the adverse impact of that noise on the abutting residential property must be addressed. Therefore, I believe that it is important that you consider not only the proposed building location, but also future expansions that are planned by Interlock.
In March, 1994 Interlock indicated that this was to be the first of three phases with plans to reach 100 percent capability within three-five years. Mr. Peterson indicated that he purchased this particular property so that he could in fact expand his operation. At last Septemberís facade waiver meeting, Interlock stated that they do not propose to landscape the eastern side of the building because of potential future expansion.
The proposed Phase I building is presently 312 feet from the residentsí lot lines. As you know, the Ordinance requires five feet of setback for every one foot of building height, up to 25 feet when abutting residential property. Any addition to the east could potentially be up to the 125 foot setback line where the building subsequently be expanded is the exact width and the exact length of the Phase I manufacturing portion of the building. Air conditioning units of future additions would have to be located on the roof of that addition.
Consequently, any noise levels determined for the proposed center building would be comparable to noise levels for an addition of the same size. The distance of the Interlock manufacturing plant will not always be 312 feet from the residents, but could be as close as 125 feet. In your deliberation, I believe it is imperative that you consider this whole project as noise levels determined at a distance of over 300 feet will most certainly have a greater adverse impact when only 125 feet away from second story bedroom windows. The Intent of the Ordinance is specific that there be no adverse impact.
One final note: should this development get approval, to assure that you represent the best interests of the residents, this Planning Commission should require that Final site plan approval be presented to the Planning Commission rather than handled administratively. The residents deserve that much. I didnít know there was going to be a problem tonight, but I am submitting a copy of my comments for your information as well as for inclusion in their entirety as part of the record of this Planning Commission meeting in the Interlock discussion this evening. Thank you."
Chairperson Lorenzo closed the first Audience Participation.
Member Taub read a letter from Mr. Stopinski, South-East-Shawood Homeowners Association. He stated it was written to Gibbs Planning Inc., with copies to the Novi City Council and Planning Commission regarding Lakewoods Preserve. "Dear Mr. Gibbs: Please accept our thanks to you and the developers of the proposed Lakewoods Preserve for the informational special meeting held August 23, 1995 by the Novi Planning Commission. Contrary to what was stated by others in attendance, SES does not have a problem with the subdivision you are proposing other than those concerns outlined in our letter to you of August 21, 1995. The concept is exciting and we do support construction of the subdivision. Further, we support your right to develop and improve the lake frontage shoreline with legal access for the number of properties, lots, families, boat slips as determined by our Keyhole Ordinance.
To our surprise, youíve elected to leave the development of the lake shore line to the future residents of the subdivision. As noted at the meeting by individual members and not as an official position of SES, we do feel this is a case of "passing the buck." You are by now intimately familiar with the lake front protection ordinance Novi is referred to above as the key-hole ordinance, spelling out what you can and cannot do on the frontage. While you may be legally obligated to provide an environmental impact statement, it is our strong recommendation that at the minimum, you contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and ask them to perform an assessment of the shoreline area to determine if you can ever develop or improve it and to what extent. This would settle once and for all the questions everyone has. It seems you would want to do this as the MDNR may tell you that you can never touch the area and this may indeed decide you against the entire project. Please take this recommendation under serious advisement.
Further, the concern was expressed that you may intend to sell the entire 200+ lot subdivision as lake access. This is a serious concern. Our interpretation of the ordinance indicates that if you feel the magic number is forty-nine for the boat slips, then that is also the number for the lots allowed access and you must show in the deeds specifically which lots have the access. You cannot assume that the entire sub has or will have access nor can you sell it as such. This situation must correctly be addressed by the Cityís attorneys and we will request a written opinion of same. Please feel free to contact us at any time. We will be happy to meet with you again to pursue this matter. Our meetings are held the second Monday of each month at Lake Shore Park. Sincerely, Richard Stopinski, Interim President."
Member Taub also read a letter from Ms. Jane Kwan, 28622 Brand Mill, Farmington Hills, owner of Sidwell #502203351017:
"Dear Sir/Madam: Regarding Lakewoods Preserve, I would like to say that Walled Lake needs a natural, undeveloped area, where fish could spawn and one could imagine the green, natural lakeside. At the moment, the lake is so heavily developed, that one could not see a shoreline without seeing boats and houses. This is shameful. Please preserve a site for nature lovers which we all are I believe. Sincerely, Jane Y. Kwan."
1. Lakewoods Preserve, SP95-17D. Property located on both sides of West Road, south of Pontiac Trail for Possible Preservation Option Concept Plan, Recommendation to City Council - APPROVED.
Mr. Robert Gibbs, spoke on behalf of the Novi Group Limited Liability Corporation. This group includes Mr. Ted Jacobson (not present this evening), Jeff Friesien, and Norman Cohen (not present this evening). As you know, these developers have a reputation for being the finest developers in the region. They have a long list of awards and a long history of building quality developments and cooperating extensively with communities in which theyíve worked. These developers have been working quite cooperatively with your consultants and your staff for over a year to come tonight and ask for you to approve our request to develop this property, using your Preservation Option.
Mr. Gibbs said we are not asking for Final Site Plan approval tonight; weíre asking for the right to save the trees and use your Preservation Option. We have had to date over 100 meetings, 100 meetings with your consultants and staff, regarding this project. The meetings have gone from February until two days ago. We have not asked or solicited any special consideration. We have not gotten any special consideration, but we havenít asked for it. We have been treated fairly and we have been, since day one, only asking to do what weíre entitled to do under your Zoning Ordinance. We have not tried to bend the rules.
Mr. Gibbs indicated their plan is located on 205 acres of undeveloped property located in the northwest corner of the City. The property is adjacent to over 200 acres of undeveloped industrial park thatís immediately west and contiguous with our west property line. Our site is contiguous to the north to over 300 acres of apartments of which are fully developed at a very high density. We will have homes backing up to those apartments. We are adjacent to the east to an R-4 higher zoning district than we presently are. So, in other words, we are surrounded on all three of our four sides with much, much higher densities than we are proposing. We did not ask to get the site re-zoned from R-2 to a higher density, although we do believe it would be sound planning practices to have this property re-zoned to a higher density, but we did not seek that.
Mr. Gibbs indicated the color plan on the right represents what is called the "Concept Plan," and thatís the plan that weíre asking to get approved tonight. The plan to the left that is not in color, is known as the "Bona Fide Plan," a hypothetical plan that could be developed by this developer or others following your Zoning Ordinance. The Bona Fide Plan is required to show you a comparison between what could be developed without the Preservation Option versus what is developed using the Preservation Option so that you and your staff can clearly see the advantages of the Preservation Option.
Mr. Gibbs said all of your staff and all of your consultants have agreed strongly that the Concept Plan, using the Preservation Option, has a number of very significant advantages over the Bona Fide Plan. The Bona Fide Plan does not have to be a plan that is 100% a plat, it has to be one according to your ordinance, that is significantly close to being a final plat and that could be approved with a few minor modifications. We are not asking you to approve the Bona Fide Plan tonight, just to acknowledge that it could be approved, it does meet your Zoning Ordinance with a few minor modifications. There are disagreements amongst some of your staff about the Bona Fide Plan and some of them feel that more lots should be removed and thatís something that could be discussed if we were doing that plan.
Mr. Gibbs said if that were to happen, we feel that would be a minor modification. We have spent more time working on the Bona Fide Plan and there have been more words written about it than the Concept Plan and we think thatís unfortunate. He said on the bottom left, is a color plan illustrating the areas in which the developer will set aside as Preservation Credits and of their 205 acres, we are setting aside 35.26 acres as Preservation Credits. These preservation areas are valuable woodlands, not wetlands, wetland buffers, that offer significant wildlife habitat which weíll discuss shortly. By the way, our site also has 46.59 acres of wetlands and 159 acres of whatís called "net site."
Mr. Gibbs reviewed the revisions he went through coming up with the Concept Plan. He indicated they have made four, full complete submittals beginning in March of the Concept Plan and during those submittals, we have completed every single revision offered and recommended by your staff. For the record, there are a number of recommendations that I feel were not sound planning practice that I disagreed with, but that the developer decided to go along with them in an effort of cooperation and because he felt it was necessary to get this approved by the City. He then said there were a few things that were pointed out to him recently where they made an error and it was an honest oversight on their part and he wanted to be very up-front with those.
Mr. Gibbs indicated in their Community Impact Statement, we erroneously left in the statement that we were maintaining a "boardwalk to a beach." That was a mistake. We removed the beach and our consultant, due to my not telling him, left it in the report. That does not make the impact any more intense and it actually makes the impact less intense, so we think the Community Impact Statement is still valid since the impacts reported were actually higher than they would be so the beach is an error and should not have been in there.
Mr. Gibbs said also in the six plans that we submitted to you, four of the plans still show a boardwalk. Thatís a mistake. The boardwalkís not shown on the Concept Plan and they are removing the boardwalk from the drawing and thatís just a mistake that it wasnít removed.
During the review process of the Concept Plan, Mr. Gibbs indicated they have done the following:
1. They have removed driveway curb cuts on South Lake Drive to help reduce traffic on South Lake Drive.
2. They have realigned the curb cuts on South Lake Drive to be further away from West Road.
3. They have removed ten lots that were originally fronting directly on South Lake Drive, just like what happened next to them, a developer put four lots there recently and they thought they could do the same and found they couldnít and they removed those ten lots so they have no lots now fronting on South Lake Drive.
4. They have pointed out where they added a road and removed two lots to shorten the length of the roads to comply with your code.
5. They have removed a cull-de-sac in the northwest corner of the site that removed six lots at the request of one of the consultants to save more trees in the northwest corner.
6. They have rearranged all of the lots on the west side and moved them to stay more out of the woodlands areas.
7. They have added an easement along the lake front which was recommended at their last meeting to ensure that the lake shore will be protected indefinitely.
8. Mr. Gibbs said they originally showed a boat ramp on their earlier plan and they removed that plan because boat ramps are not allowed under your Boat Access Ordinance and replaced the boat ramp with a boat hoist. He said one of their Consultants said a boat hoist was acceptable, but a boat ramp wasnít and then he was later told by another consultant that boat hoists were not allowed also so he removed the boat hoist.
9. Mr. Gibbs said they started out with 25 day slips on our original plan and they wanted to have 25 slips to be used on a first-come, first-served basis by the homeowners, but they were then told by one of their staff that thereís a Zoning Ordinance requiring Keyholing and when he reviewed that, he found that they were entitled to 49 boat slips. He said he increased the boat slips from 25 to 49 and had an agreement from one of the consultants that they were entitled to 49 slips and he then removed all boat slips entirely and the boat hoists per the request of the Homeowners Associations and members of the Planning Commission. He said so there are no longer any boat hoists, boat ramps, or boat docks as a part of their development.
Mr. Gibbs indicated this was done not on a voluntary basis and he would much rather have those; and he felt they have the right to have those; and he felt the homeowners have the right to have those, but it was made clear to them that this plan would not be approved unless they gave that up. He said to permanticize the removal of the boat docks, they put in this 75 ft. easement entirely across the lake front.
Mr. Gibbs indicated they originally had a boardwalk being built at their expense to connect a recreational area on top of a hill with the lake shore. He felt that it would be environmentally sound to have the homeowners walking along a narrow boardwalk instead of walking through this vegetation. He said it was a standard practice encouraged by the Army Corps of Engineers and most Departments of Natural Resources. He said they were originally told that was a good idea but were later told by members of this Commission and by their staff to get rid of the boardwalk and he did, and the boardwalk has been removed except it was mistakenly not taken off a few of the drawings.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Gibb to sum up his remarks.
Mr. Gibbs stated that on the Concept Plan, the last summary is that we were told by one of the Planning Commissioners that we should give our entire lake front property to the City. We offered at our last meeting to give you this lake front property to help us get this approved. That was declined and not accepted, but we did offer to do that. There are a number of revisions that have taken place in the Bona Fide Plan. He said he wouldnít go through them, but there are over seven months worth of revisions. The summary of the Bona Fide Plan revisions are that we started out at 300 lots and we are presently at 231. Of the most significant revisions, we were not allowed to have "eyebrows" at 90 degree intersections, which is the policy of the City to allow developers to do it, but it is against the ordinance.
Mr. Gibbs said he also had to remove a number of lots in the wooded areas which we have done and they have been asked to remove more lots and they do not feel comfortable in doing that.
Mr. Gibbs said it is very important for the developer to receive a favorable recommendation to develop the Preservation Option. He has spent over a year doing this. Heís had over 100 meetings to do this and he is really at the end of the schedule to get under construction next year. His incentive for being cooperative, besides being a good citizen, is to get under construction next summer. He said they were looking forward to a favorable response so they can get on the next City Council agenda. It is extremely important for us. Thank you very much for your time.
Mr. Rogers reported that each Commissioner and each member of the applicantís party have received his latest letter dated September 27, 1995. He indicated this is the second Preservation Option proposed; the first one is Beckingham Estates down at 9 Mile and Beck Roads, which was approved. He said the Intent of the Preservation Option is to provide flexibility in development and preservation of certain sensitive lands.
Mr. Rogers said in his report on pages one and two, he concurred that thereís approximately 22 percent of sensitive lands, regulated wetlands, that does qualify the applicant to reduce his lot sizes up to 20 percent; none do go the full 20 per cent, some do more or less. He said the habitat issue has been answered by Mr. Gibbs who he conferred with last week in a separate supplemental item report in your packet and he wouldnít go into that but his opinion is that it does suffice and it does answer the four criteria. All application data are provided, the tubulus summary of lot widths and so forth for both the Concept Plan and Bona Fide Plan have been on the last couple of reports or plans provided. He noted in Item 6 that on the Concept Plan no waterfront recreational park, launching facility, boat mooring or docks are now proposed. He said they have submitted for the first time in this packet a Phasing Plan. He said he had some brief comments on minor adjustments and nomenclature. He said if they are going to sub-divide this property, itís not Phase I, it will be Subdivision I, Subdivision II, and so forth and that can easily be done when a Tentative Preliminary Plat is submitted.
Mr. Rogers said on the Bona Fide Plan which per the definition of the Ordinance, he would read for the record states, "Which could be approved as a conventional plat or a conventional site condominium, the substance of which could be approved if a full submittal was made or which could be approved with minor changes." He said the Bona Fide Plan has 232 lots or one more than the Concept Plan. The day boats, the day boat dockage, private, has been left on the Bona Fide Plan that would, if it were to be permitted in a conventional plat, have to be associated with a lake front recreational park having certain lineal frontage.
Mr. Rogers said if they look at the Bona Fide Plan, you can see the words "beach" half way down the lake frontage, but the delineation of a lake front park is not shown. The basic Bona Fide Plan with the many revisions made, they could recommend approval of subject to the elimination or adjustment of two cul de sacs in the northwest woodlands and one cul de sac into the central woodlands and others will comment on the woodlands impact at a later time.
Mr. Rogers continued and referred to pages 3, 4 and 5 which he wouldnít read, but they were issues that have to be found in approving a Preservation Option Concept Plan. We think this lays it out with our short answers to each of those issues clearer than we may have done in the past and the substances that the Bona Fide Plan doesnít measure up as well as the Preservation Concept Plan on those various tests. He said they think the environmental assets of the site are better preserved through the Preservation Concept Plan than through the Bona Fide Plan.
Continuing, on Page 5, Mr. Rogers indicated the applicant, through a letter from Mr. Gibbs, states that he will submit a complete woodlands and wetlands permit application with the Tentative Preliminary Plan and he would submit that if only Tentative Preliminary Plat Subdivision I comes in, and the entire area should be reviewed with an application for a full woodlands and wetlands permit and not just for Subdivision I.
Mr. Rogers indicated he recommended approval of the Preservation Option Concept Plan with certain conditions:
1. Demonstration that the criteria for preserving wildlife habitat areas have been addressed and an attempt has been made.
2. There are two excluded linear areas near the lake front that are not part of the sensitive lands computation and he would like an explanation of what those are for.
3. Revision adjustment of the Bona Fide Plan to reduce intrusion of lots into regulated woodlands.
4. Signature on the seal.
5. The revision of the Subdivision Phasing Plan.
Mr. Rogers said lastly, there was a requirement, in his opinion at the time of Concept Plan Review, for documentation on a mechanism to permanently preserve environmentally sensitive lands, and it was determined prior that that particular documentation could be submitted at the time the Tentative Preliminary Plat submittal is made and after the City Council has its input on whether such land should be deeded to the City or covered by a preservation easement. He said he believed forms for that preservation easement have been provided to the applicant and they were referencing this alternative means to preserve the lands in a letter from Mr. Surland of the applicantís group dated September 8, 1995 where he offered either alternative.
Mr. David Bluhm reported that they have reviewed the Preservation Option Concept and Bona Fide Plans for the Lakewoods Preserve. One of his comments was respect to City right of way that existed south of South Lake Drive and east of West Road at the southeast corner of the site and that document had a reversion clause that was in effect in 1990; therefore, that right of way does no longer exist in that location and the applicant has made revisions to reflect that.
Mr. Bluhm said there was also a flood plain boundary that exists on the east side of West Road on the far east side of the eastern lots that run north and south and encompasses a good portion of the wetland area thatís between those lots and Walled Lake. He said the line that the engineer has shown is very approximate but does appear to infringe in some of the lots along the northeast corner. He said some minor revisions to lot line locations should allow removal of that flood plain once we get more information from the building envelope areas which is required.
Mr. Bluhm said the City of Novi is also actively pursuing easements for what the Cityís Regional Storm Water Master Plan calls the North Novi Regional Basin, which exists in also that large wetland area east of this development and just immediately west of Walled Lake. Details of the easements that the City may need for this would come out when the plan is developed further and he would be working with the developer to achieve those.
Mr. Bluhm said the applicant also indicated that the extension of public water and sewer will be provided through the site, but they have given us no indications of the points of connection and we have not reviewed detailed layouts; those again will be reviewed at a later date.
Mr. Bluhm said if the developer intends to develop as a residential subdivision, the Plat Act requires a minimum lot size of 12,000 square feet. Eight lots appear to have lot sizes under that 12,000 square feet and theyíll have to be bumped up to adhere to that requirement.
Mr. Bluhm said with respect to storm water drainage, this site primarily is bounded by three separate drainage districts. Storm water detentions are proposed in constructive basins in each of these three district areas and then released into the existing wetlands or to Walled Lake. These basins appear to be outside of regulated woodland and wetland areas and proper maintenance access to the proposed basins is not indicated, but will need to be provided.
Mr. Bluhm said with respect to the Bona Fide Plan, the storm water basins that the developer has shown on the Bona Fide Plan appear to be fairly small and may need to be up sized to have adequate capacity.
Mr. Bluhm said the flood plain boundary does appear to be accurate with this Bona Fide Plan and 18 lots in this development have lot sizes under the 12,000 square foot requirement.
Mr. Bluhm said with the exception of the comments that weíve addressed, both plans, the Concept Plan and Bona Fide Plan, appear to demonstrate engineering feasibility.
Mr. Rod Arroyo reported that regarding the Concept Plan, there are a few access points proposed to the external road system. We believe the number of access points have been kept to a minimum. There are two new access points proposed west of West Road, one new access point on the east side of West Road, and one additional access point with two driveways onto South Lake Drive. Weíve indicated that South Lake Drive is designated on the Cityís Thoroughfare Plan as a "collector" road and West Road is designated as a "minor arterial." The access points that are shown, the northern most access points on West Road, where you have the boulevards across from one another, weíve indicated thereís some minor modifications that would need to be made to bring those into conformance with the Cityís Boulevard Standards, but those are items that can be resolved at the time the site plan or plat is presented and do not need to be resolved at a Concept stage. He said Mr. Blum had indicated the results of the research regarding the right of way that was previously identified in the southeast quadrant of South Lake and West Roads, and that issue appears to now have gone away since that right of way no longer exists as it reverted back to the property owner.
Mr. Arroyo said a traffic study was submitted for this project as required because it has over 100 units. The project is forecasted to generate approximately 2200 trips per average weekday. The PM peak hour trips, which would be the highest volume hour of the day, would be expected to be approximately 230 PM peak hour trips.
Mr. Arroyo said as part of the traffic study that was submitted for this application, there was an analysis of the number of intersections in the area. He said the Beck Road west intersection is currently operating at Level Service B during both the AM and the PM peak hours. The South Lake/Novi Road intersection during the morning peak hour is operating at Level Service F and at Level Service B during the PM peak hour. The West Road/Pontiac Trail intersection is operating at Level Service B during both peak hours and all movements at the West Road/South Lake intersection are operating at Level Service C or better. He said so under current conditions, the South Lake/Novi/13 intersection is the one intersection that is experiencing poor levels of service of all the existing intersections in the surrounding area.
Mr. Arroyo said as part of the Traffic Study, the applicant is required to evaluate the impact of not only this project, but other approved projects that are anticipated to come on line. So, in the Traffic Study, traffic from the Vistas of Novi was included and added to the road network as was the traffic from the Lilly Pond Subdivision, which is located just east of this project.
Mr. Arroyo said with that traffic added to the road network and the traffic from this proposed development added to the road network, and the funded road improvements that are currently anticipated, which in this area primarily involves the widening of Novi Road between 12 1/2 Mile Road and the connection to the Decker Road extension, and all the critical intersections that were evaluated operate at Level Service C or better.
Mr. Arroyo said the exception is the unsignalized intersection of South Lake and West Roads itself which will have a few movements at Level Service D and Level Service E. This is primarily due to the fact that these are turning movements at an unsignalized intersection, particularly left turns. Any attempt to make left turns at an unsignalized intersection where you have volumes at even a modest level, you can get poor levels of service.
Mr. Arroyo indicated in the future, it is warranted for a traffic signal at South Lake Drive and West Road, but we do not believe it is warranted at this time and it is unlikely and thatís something that would be monitored as traffic conditions change in the area.
Mr. Arroyo said in terms of the impact on South Lake Drive, the Traffic Study forecasts that approximately 45 percent of the traffic generated by this development will travel on South Lake Drive and this will add approximately 78 AM peak hour trips and 105 PM peak hour trips to South Lake Drive. We have indicated that the widening of Novi Road between 12 and 12-1/2 Mile Roads and the connection to Decker will have a significant impact on the operation of the intersection of South Lake Drive and Novi Road because a lot of that through traffic is going to be shifted over to Decker Road, so consequently, that intersection, the South Lake/Novi Road intersection, is anticipated to improve to Level Service B and the capacity of that intersection will improve substantially with the reduction in volumes.
Mr. Arroyo said, however, as they all know, the amount of through traffic thatís traveling on South Lake Drive is considered "undesirable" by just about everyone whoís evaluated it, and the City is currently attempting to resolve that through its study of a new road that would provide a connection from West Road down to 12 Mile and there is a committee thatís appointed by City Council and they are coming to a conclusion, as he understand it, in terms of making a recommendation.
Mr. Arroyo also added that in terms of the impact on the Beck Road and 12 Mile intersection, this project would be anticipated to add approximately 45 PM peak hour trips to that intersection which would be a fairly small percentage increase in the traffic there and as you are aware, that intersection is currently being improved by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Road Commission in a joint project which should be completed before the beginning of the year.
Mr. Arroyo said he has indicated in terms of internal site issues, that the Access Plan for the Clubhouse area should be reviewed in somewhat more detail when we get into the Final Plans due to its proximity to the Boulevard entrance.
Mr. Arroyo said he has also performed a review of the Bona Fide Plan in comparison with the Conceptual Plan and from a trip generation standpoint, thereís very little difference between the two because thereís only one lot difference between the two and consequently, in terms of daily trips, thereís about a ten trip difference between the Bona Fide Plan and the Conceptual Plan which is essentially insignificant when youíre talking about the number of lots that are included.
Mr. Arroyo indicated there are more additional points of access to the external road network with the Bona Fide Plan which we find to be undesirable. He said in terms of the internal road network of the Bona Fide Plan, thereís approximately 20 percent more internal roads within the Bona Fide Plan than there is within the Concept Plan and there are also more cul de sacs which were generally more ineffective in terms of cost-savings and also in terms of police patrols and they do present some additional difficulty over a more standard looped road system.
In summary, Mr. Arroyo indicated he found that the Concept Plan and the Bona Fide Plan have been revised to meet the criteria that are found within the Ordinances, however, they find that the Concept Plan from a traffic perspective, is more desirable due to the reasons he stated and at the same time, it does not present any type of significant increase in traffic volumes over what would be approved with a Bona Fide Plan on this site. He said quite often when weíre looking at comparisons between a Bona Fide Plan and a Concept Plan, often the Concept Plan results in more lots and sometimes thereís more of a traffic impact, but in this case, there isnít, so he was recommending approval of the Concept Plan.
Ms. Linda Lemke reported that in reference to the woodlands permit, weíre not recommending approval at this time and it is a technical reason. She said the petitioner did have the opportunity to furnish the information that we required, that is, required by the Woodlands Ordinance, and chose not to do so, primarily, she felt because it was very detailed information. She indicated they need to look very closely at the engineering data, additional tree surveys need to be done within the woodlands area, and there needs to be a detailed replacement plan so they will need to come back in for a Woodlands Permit recommendation from this body.
Ms. Lemke indicated the layout, however, she was recommending both at a Woodlands Plan stage and at the Conceptual stage here that youíre reviewing that night and she was recommending that because she felt they have provided the best alternative that saves the most amount of woodlands in the most sensitive areas and they have complied to both her requests and to the City Foresterís requests, Chris Pargoff.
Ms. Lemke said the question has also been asked what is the difference between the Bona Fide Plan and the Concept Plan and were they really saving more areas? She said if they for the moment eliminate all of the woodland areas on the west-hand side of the property, they are saving in the Conceptual Plan, an additional area of 16 lots that they would be taking out in the Bona Fide Plan and if you look at the woodlands area, which she talked about in Mr. Rogersí letter, she had asked for the removal of the three cull-de-sacs, and you are talking 10-12 lots depending on how the street systems would lay out. She said if you look at a total of 231 lots, then it becomes a minor condition to the Woodlands Permit.
Ms. Tepatti reported that the Bona Fide Plan and the Preservation Option have been reviewed for their Wetlands impact, and as Ms. Lemke stated, with the Woodlands Permit, the Wetlands Permit will be coming back before the Planning Commission for a more detailed review at a later time. She said the Lakewoods Preserve site does contain quite a few wetlands of various sizes and habitat types, and there are several that are small in size that we do not object to the fill of and they are a tenth of an acre, some are even less.
Ms. Tepatti indicated the Preservation Option Plan is preferably to the Bona Fide Plan from a Wetlands standpoint in that it overall preserves additional wetland buffer areas and does link the project together as a whole with more contiguous wetlands and woodlands.
Ms. Tepatti indicated there are some impacts under the Preservation Option that we have requested that when it comes back for review, that those be addressed and that includes some issues with the proximity of the tennis courts adjacent to the wetlands and she would like those to be moved further away from the wetland, if possible.
Ms. Tepatti said under the Bona Fide Plan, the primary difference, besides more buffer intrusion, is that there is a small wetland in the northwest woodland which is proposed to be filled in conjunction with the construction of the cull de sac. She said this wetland, while it is very small in association with the upland woods next to it, is valuable as habitat for amphibian breeding and she has recommended, in conjunction with the woodlands, that that small wetland be preserved.
Ms. Tepatti said she has also noted that the 75 foot conservation easement that is along Walled Lake does include the 10-20 foot pathways that have been excluded from the Preservation calculations and they also would like to see some explanation of that as to what will be done with that or what the future plans are for those areas along the lake front.
Ms. Tepatti said in future review when the project does come back, she will be asking for locations to be shown for temporary sedimentation basins and we will be reviewing the storm water basins in more detail with Mr. David Bluhm to determine their facts and their function with the adjacent wetlands. She said again, there were also several lots which have platted very small tips of wetlands within them, but again, that can be addressed at a more detailed level later.
Ms. Tepatti said when the project does come in for Wetland Review, we have recommended that while the overall review can be made on a project-wide basis, that individual permits be issued as the engineering plans are submitted for review and that is how we have done that practice in the past with other projects such as Maples of Novi.
Ms. Tepatti said she was recommending the Preservation Option over the Bona Fide Plan from a wetlands standpoint.
Chairperson Lorenzo reported that the Commission had received a brief memo from Chris Pargoff which indicates that he has reviewed the Concept Plans for Lakewoods Preserve and concurs with the City Planning Consultant Ms. Linda Lemkeís letter of September 25, 1995. He believes that the Concept Plan preserves more woodlands, however, additional details are necessary before a Woodlands Permit should be considered by the Planning Commission. Chairperson Lorenzo then asked Mr. Pargoff if he had any additional comments to make at this time and Mr. Pargoff reported he did not have any additional comments to make.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record, they also have a letter from the City of Novi Fire Captain which states that "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
Mr. Dick Stopinski of 209 Bernstadt thanked the Commissioners on behalf of the South-East Shawood Homeowners Association for their efforts in getting the Lakewoods Preserve issue mitigated. Mr. Stopinski thanked the developers and Mr. Gibbs for attending and who has done an outstanding job and is honest and up forward. Mr. Stopinski said he would give up his floor time to Sara Gray, Vice President, due to the fact that she has been on this project from the start working with our people.
Ms. Gray reported that she is Secretary, not Vice President of South-East Shawood Homeowners Association. She said the Association is fully in support of Novi Planning, the Novi Group, and Gibbs Planning on what theyíre proposing. Weíve talked with them, met with them, and as late as Friday evening, I had a conversation with Mr. Surland. We understand what they are trying to do and we appreciate their concerns. We will be following this conservation easement through the Council process. At this time we are 100 percent in support of what they are proposing as far as the concept goes of a Preservation Option. She indicated she had several small points:
1. We want to make sure that itís understood that if there is a 75 ft. preservation or conservation easement along the shore line, Mr. Watson, if she may presume, does that mean that they will not allowed to sell any of the properties as "lake access?"
Mr. Watson reported if the form of preservation is by preservation easement for that purpose, then "no" they will not sell it for lake access.
2. We are concerned about traffic on South Lake. When weíre dealing with over 7,000 cars a day, is 200 more really going to make difference? The answer is probably not. There are major plans going to be happening in our area with the Beck Road Interchange and not just the "quick fix" thatís going on. Some day there will be an eastbound on-ramp that will take all our traffic off South Lake.
Ms. Gray urged the Commission to approve this Concept Plan. Itís a good one and our congratulations to the Novi Group and Gibbs Planning. This is an excellent example of what happens when developers listen to homeowners and address their concerns. We hope this sets a precedent in Novi. Thank you.
Mr. Jim Korte of Shawood Lake stated it was always nice that the Commission listens to them and they listen to you.
Mr. Korte said some of them think that this is wonderful with this 75 feet. I still canít help but question it. I do not know how policing can be done and of course, it will still always become a clumsy area. He said people are always going to trespass; people are always going to take what we consider advantage, and what they consider pleasure, of that 75 foot strip, but certainly everything is going in the right direction.
Mr. Brad Bock mentioned his support of the project and being that he is a resident and his property is contiguous to the development, he has found that the group has been very forthcoming in all their plans and development. He felt, to be perfectly honest, bad for them. He has seen them go through the process and he has seen them get "beat up" on it. Thatís his perspective on it and when he went on the woodlands walk with them, I thought that they lost a few lots.
Mr. Bock said to him in his logical way of looking at things, it seems like itís a little bit excessive to take out lots given the vast amount of woodlands that were being preserved and he was amazed that they are willing to give up almost a quarter mile of lake frontage in Oakland County and he found that to be, without any compensation, something surprising that they would be willing to do that and he was just glad that theyíre not backing away from the project, given all that theyíve had to go through. He said he was fully supportive of the development; and felt it would be very good for the community at large.
Mr. Mike Condon, 1323 South Lake Drive thanked everyone for their time and the Novi Group for all their meetings with the area residents; the LARA Association, which he represents, and for coming to what appears to be a very good conclusion in the end. He said the only thing he wanted clarification on was that in Ms. Tepattiís report, she mentioned that there would be a 10-20 foot pathway along the lake front before the 75 foot easement. How would that work and how would that be scheduled to work.
Ms. Tepatti said that is what their question is, and they excluded a 10 foot and 20 foot area along the lake front, outside of the preservation credits that they have calculated and Mr. Rogers mentioned that as well and he wants some clarification at some time on what is proposed. He said they were basically reserving that area as something that can be used at a later time because you are not allowed to use it in development if you count it as a preservation credit.
Mr. Condon strongly asked that issue definitely be clarified before the Concept approval of the Preservation Option because thatís what the area residents have been involved in from Day One and very concerned on. He said with the rest of the Preservation Option, he felt it made a lot of sense to save a lot of the environmentally sensitive area and he would ask that they just address that issue in approving it..
Ms. Ruth Hamilton, 1245 East Lake Drive, indicated she too wanted to commend this Commission for the meeting of August 23, 1995. She wanted to thank them for listening to their concerns and looking over the area that we are talking about. She too would commend the Novi Group for sitting down and trying to come up with what sounds like a very nice idea. She congratulated them on their project and wished them good luck.
Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Public Hearing.
Chairperson Lorenzo reminded everyone that the action before the Commission this evening is for the Preservation Option Concept Plan Recommendation to City Council.
Member Bonaventura stated that he had a question for Ms. Tepatti. He said they have the lake and then the 75 foot proposed preservation area and then to the west of that is some wetlands and that wetland area, is the developer receiving credit for that preservation area and Ms. Tepatti reported not for the wetlands as he was not allowed to count the wetlands in the preservation credit.
Member Bonaventura said the 75 feet from the shoreline westward, does that come right up to the border of the wetlands and Ms. Tepatti stated it appears to, and it also looks like it includes tiny pieces of the wetland, but basically most of that area is upland or wetland buffer." Member Bonaventura stated the 75 foot shoreline is not wetland area, and Ms. Tepatti said that was correct. She indicated there may be tiny pieces, again, even along the lake front that extend into that easement, but itís primarily upland.
Member Bonaventura asked if the developer is receiving credit for that 75 foot area and Ms. Tepatti believed so, but she would check because the developer has a special plan that shows that. Member Bonaventura said his question is that the 75 foot area along the shoreline, that would be treated in the same manner as the preserved area such as the woodlands all the way to the west. Ms. Tepatti said she believed so, but Mr. Watson may be able to help. She said it may depend on how they will actually write the easement and what restrictions they place on it.
Mr. Watson stated that he was under the impression that area was going to be preserved as well, but from the conversation tonight, itís not entirely clear. He said the developer has proposed as the preservation mechanism, either providing a preservation easement that would provide those terms, or else deeding the land to the City and they havenít specified that and his understanding is the reason they werenít specifying that was because they would need an indication from the City Council as to whether such an area would be accepted if it was actually offered to the City.
Mr. Watson said in looking at Mr. Surlandís letter, thatís not exactly what theyíre saying. He said they were indicating the methodology "either by deeding the land to the City or by preservation easement can be determined by mutual agreement at some future time." He would ask Mr. Gibbs if he knows which method theyíre proposing or whether theyíre open to either method because it was not clear from whatís been submitted.
Mr. Surland stated that they really donít care which of the two they do. It really depends what Counsel in conjunction with City Council determine they want. He stated we know that we canít use that 75 feet and whatever form we put it in, whatever form they want the preservation easement, weíre happy to do it. He said the choice is yours; just tell us what you want.
Mr. Watson said the answer is then if it was deeded to the City, the lack of use will be the same as the rest of that area. He said if it is by preservation easement, the terms of that preservation easement are going to do the same thing.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Watson if the areas that are being used as credit by the developer for this preservation option that are being preserved, what mechanism will be used to preserve them. He said for instance, the woodlands to the west.
Mr. Watson stated there are mechanisms and it was really the option of the City Council whether they would prefer that be by granting title to the land to the City or by simply doing a preservation easement.
Member Bonaventura said that would hold true for any preservation option, and the option is given to the city as far as which way they want to preserve these areas.
Mr. Watson stated that their proposal is to leave it to the Cityís discretion as to which one of those two methods are used and he assumed that is for all areas to be preserved.
Member Bonaventura said he didnít see any problem with just treating that lake shore as the rest of the area thatís being preserved in this Option, and he was assuming they were treating it as such by giving credit for that square footage, just as they would the woodlands. He indicated he would not be in favor of deeding it over to the City but he would be in favor of preserving it and having it a common area for the future homeowners. He said to clarify that, the woodlands areas, if they are preserved under this Option, they are basically common area to the future homeowners.
Mr. Watson stated that the preservation easement would be imposed upon those areas, but the title to those areas would be held by the association.
Member Bonaventura stated that the developer was asked to remove a few more lots and he was wondering if either he could tell him where theyíre at or if whoever asked him to remove a few more lots could tell him what the concerns were.
Ms. Lemke said the northern cull de sac that they see on the Bona Fide Plan, was removed. She said on the Conceptual Plan it was in the center of the western most lots, and there were several lots removed in that area and the open space into those woodlands was made larger and she pointed it out.
Member Bonaventura stated to Ms. Lemke that the developer specifically said that there were some lots that they had a problem with which they refused to remove or didnít remove.
Ms. Lemke said that there was some discussion about removing some of the lots along here. Member Bonaventura asked the concerns and she replied the concerns were woodlands, however, the type of woodlands that are in the rear of those lots, they donít come all the way forward to the lot, it would come about to the edge of the rear of the building envelope for the home and they were mostly very young scrub, what she would call consistently pioneer growth of that woodlands. Not a major woodlands. She said there was an actual fence line thatís out there that is a real definite line between the mature woodlands and the pioneer growth and that was where the discussion ensued. She added she didnít have a problem with the lots there the way they are.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers about the community impact statement and was that required for the Preservation Option and Mr. Rogers stated he felt it was as the site exceeds 20 acres. They have submitted a number of documents and updated the community impact statement with one minor revision they made tonight to further discuss the philosophy of the plan. He said in his report he went into many of the other impact issues at greater depth.
He felt the two together were needed.
Member Bonaventura said to Mr. Arroyo it says here that the traffic study forecasts 45% of the Lakewoods preserve traffic will travel down South Lake Drive and was that correct.
Mr. Arroyo stated that was correct. Member Bonaventura stated thatís 45% of the daily trips generated. Mr. Arroyo stated daily or hourly, either one of those, depending on how you look at it and he said you could take 45% of the peak hour to determine how many peak hour trips would be added or 45% of the daily.
Member Bonaventura said that so daily, they were going to have an extra 1,000 trips per day on South Lake Drive and Mr. Arroyo said that is approximately correct.
Member Hoadley congratulated the petitioner in regards to addressing the sensitivity of this project. They have done a wonderful job and he was supportive of this Concept Plan and would vote positively for it. He said he had one question for Ms. Tepatti and he didnít feel she adequately explained Mr. Condonís question, in fact, she was a little confused about it.
Ms. Tepatti stated that basically there is the upland along the lake front which includes wetland buffer and the applicant is allowed to count upland and the wetland buffer and upland woodlands in the preservation credit count. She said what they have done on their plan was they have highlighted the areas which they have counted and that Ms. Lemke and Mr. Rogers have agreed to count as preservation credits.
Ms. Tepatti said in addition, there is a 75 foot conservation easement along the lake front which they have volunteered to ensure that there is no development along the lake. She said the only issue that she and Mr. Rogers have raised is that they have on the Preservation Credit Plan, omitted a small pathway along the lake from the Preservation Credit count, which means that they would then be able to use that area for some type of development in the future. The Ordinance states that if they count something as a preservation credit, you are then prohibited in the future from developing it and itís required to be covered by the easements that Mr. Watson was talking about.
Ms. Tepatti pointed out the pathway and it was right along the lake front. She said it was a portion of the road, as well as some additional areas, one area is 10 feet wide and goes down to the lake and the other area is a little larger in the vicinity where the old boardwalk was shown.
Member Hoadley said it seemed to him that the road is within the 75 feet so you canít take it out; and itís either going to be preserved or not be preserved and Ms. Tepatti stated that is their question and it depends again if they make separate easements.
Member Hoadley asked the developer what was his intent and would he preserve it or not preserve it. He said it was the pathway that apparently is part of the old road that is within the 75 feet and in one statement he was going to preserve the whole 75 feet and in the next statement he was not going to preserve it.
Mr. Gibbs said he was not saying that. He stated they were preserving 75 feet from their easterly property line west thatís shown on the plan and the pathway will be left in its natural state. Member Hoadley stated he was confusing him and either you are preserving 75 feet along the lake, 75 feet deep, or you are not. He said that is really what the Audience wants to hear.
Mr. Gibbs stated that the answer was no, they were not developing in the 75 feet period. Member Hoadley said so he was preserving the entire 75 feet and Mr. Gibbs said yes.
Mr. Watson said as a follow-up question, are you also planning on subjecting that area to the Preservation Easement or Conservation Easement? Ms. Tepatti indicated the walkway was within the 75 foot easement and beyond it.
Mr. Gibbs stated that they decided not to count that in their percentage calculations and it is being preserved and it will be in a contract with the City; preserved in its natural state period.
Mr. Watson said in other words, it would be subject to whatever preservation or conservation easement is established.
Mr. Gibbs stated that there is an area outside of the 75 foot area that wasnít included in the Preservation Area and just because we didnít include it, weíre not proposing that it be developed. Mr. Gibbs stated that weíre just not including it in there. He felt it was still something that may be an ecological better thing to do, so weíre leaving that not included in the Preservation credit area.
Member Hoadley again congratulated the developer and also congratulated the audience in their participation. He said this was one plan that really has had a lot of attention and a lot of compromises have come along for it, and he was glad to see that now the surrounding residents do support the Concept Plan and he was prepared to vote for it.
Mr. Taub stated that itís hard to oppose a project that has such wide scale support. He said from what he could gather in terms of maximizing the concern of the neighborhood, as far as making sure the 75 foot easement remains in perpetuity undeveloped, etc., he felt it was better off as a Conservation Easement, in other words, deed restrictions, because if itís simply deeded to the City, whoever or whomever controls the City at any point in time, could decide to do something with it that perhaps is not in line with what they were all talking about or planning on now.
Member Taub said as they all know, there are often projects that come before the City, the City Council, the City Management, that are controversial as far as being an ice rink, water parks, etc., and even though the 75 foot area probably is not large enough to accommodate Disney World, they would all perhaps be happier knowing thereís simply deed restrictions that would limit or control its future use such that no one in the future, no individual could change its course at any given time. He said as they all know, people come and go in City government, and by limiting the deed itself, they have some way of setting the course permanently.
Member Weddington congratulated the developers for their sensitivity to this very sensitive area of land, and felt that the changes that have been made are a definite improvement. She wholly endorsed what Member Taub said about the deed restrictions and the conservation easement. She said to move things along she would make a motion.
PM-10-027-95 Moved by Weddington, Seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council to approve the Preservation Option on the condition that all of the Consultantsí conditions are addressed at Preliminary site plan and that the sensitive habitat and woodlands and wetlands are preserved permanently in some sort of conservation easement or other mechanism that is acceptable to City Council.
Member Capello asked of the developer why they decided to take the boat docks out.
The developer said he would have preferred to keep them but with the sensitivity of the area, and a sense of the feeling of the Planning Commissioners, and certainly other groups, they concluded that itís for our mutual best interest to move forward and have it properly reflected by the elimination of them.
Member Capello asked if this issue has been brought before the Planning Commission before and the developer stated they had and Member Capello asked if there was no vote taken on it and the developer sensed it was the opinion of most of the Commissioners and certainly LARA didnít like it either.
Member Vrettas stated he felt compelled on what he hoped would be a precedent setting situation. Developers are in the business of making money and itís nice to see that a developer put the interests of the community before the famous word "greed," and he would hope that other developers would take the lead from the way that this developer has acted in this matter. Member Vrettas stated he is very impressed and he would vote for it.
Member Mutch stated she agreed with everyone who has commented, both the residents and Planning Commissioners with regard to the way in which the developer and the consultants and the residents in the area were able to work together and the way the developer was receptive to what we had to say the last time this was here and responsive to what they were hearing from all corners.
Member Mutch said however something that has not been mentioned that she felt certainly deserves to be encouraged in future projects and in future areas is the way in which the residents were willing to work with the developer, not just the developer willing to work with the residents and that they were alert enough and motivated enough to be informed in the early stages, because itís the early stages where you can have the greatest impact, in my opinion.
Member Mutch said so by working with the developer and working with the City Staff Planners, they were able to have changes at a time when it was less expensive for the developer to be responsive and make those kinds of changes and then by the time it got to us, it had the solid support that we were able to see, where in another situation you might have the developer moving forward with some encouraging signs from staff, but no input from residents even though those opinions, those suggestions, might be out there, they just wouldnít meet with the developer.
Member Mutch said the suggestions when they come at this level, are much more expensive to implement and thereís a lot less harmonious feeling and even if changes are made and everybody goes away with a project that they can then build which may still be successful and still be profit making, thereís a lot of unnecessary bad feeling. So she felt the willingness of the residents in the area, including people who own property who donít even live in the area, the interest that they showed, the willingness they were able to work with all concerned, puts us in a really pleasant situation.
Member Bonaventura stated that sending a recommendation to Council on this Preservation Option Plan, they were tying this plat to the option. He said in other words, they canít come back. He said it wouldnít be like a rezoning where if they had the rezoning, they can do anything they want with it, as long as its within ordinance.
Member Bonaventura said his question was how held are they to this plan. He said the reason he asks is because usually they have approval for the plan that evening where they are granting the preservation option. He said another concern and this is no fault of the developers, is the fact that weíre going to be putting a 1000 extra cars daily trips on South Lake Drive and that is why he was asking as far as the connection, because when he looked at the site plan and looked at the numbers, he saw that their infrastructure is not there and he sees that plans to solve this problem have not happened in the past few years since the last road bonding and that bothers him a lot because a lot of times you look into the future and think this will happen and will relieve this, and a lot of times it doesnít happen. He said it wasnít necessarily this developersí fault, it might be the Cityís fault or some other peoplesí fault by not having corrections in place before a development like this comes in.
Mr. Watson stated that once the Concept Plan is approved by the City Council, the Ordinance provides that any plat or site plan thatís then submitted, shall be consistent with the approved application and concept plan. Minor deviations in the lot dimensions and road layout of the concept plan are permissible provided that the plat or site plan remains in conformity with the requirements of this section. He said so it was essential the road layout and the number of lots youíre seeing are going to remain, the location of sites will remain on the site, and there might be minor deviations in the actual boundaries of those lots.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she would be remiss if she didnít echo her fellow Commissionersí sentiments and say that she feels itís very commendable and they truly appreciate your cooperation and sensitivity on this project.
VOTE: Yes: Bonaventura, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Mutch, Taub, Vrettas, Weddington
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. Novi Auto Mall, SP95-39A - Property located west of Haggerty Road, between Grand River Avenue and Ten Mile Road for Possible Preliminary Site Plan Approval - APPROVED.
Mr. Tom Ross representing the Novi Auto Mall indicated there were two buildings existing on this site, the Infinity Dealership and the Chrysler/Plymouth Dealership at the rear. He pointed out the areas where they were proposing to add on and he indicated they would like to put an additional sales building out in front of approximately 1700 square feet.
Mr. Ross said the additional sales building that they wish to put up near the front of the property would look very similar to the Chrysler/Plymouth dealership and the same brick color facade and so on would tie in with the Chrysler Dealership. He said it was his understanding that they have had the comments from their Consultants and they meet all the Ordinance requirements with the exception of the overhead doors that are moving to the north and the service write-up, and he would ask for a favorable recommendation pending the Zoning Board of Appeals approval that he would have to go through.
Mr. Rogers reviewed his letter of September 26, 1995 as attached. He indicated he recommended preliminary site plan approval subject to the ZBA review of the two relocated overall doorsí orientation.
Mr. Bluhm reviewed his letter of September 19, 1995 as attached. He indicated he had no concerns with the sales building from an engineering prospective and the plan does demonstrate engineering feasibility.
Mr. Arroyo reviewed his letter of September 21, 1995 and said all of his concerns have been addressed and he was recommending approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo indicated the letter from Daniel W. Roy, Novi Fire Department dated September 14, 1995 indicates that the plan has been reviewed and approval was recommended with the following conditions: add a fire hydrant on the traffic island off of the west side of the proposed addition to the dealership and to provide the Fire Department with quantities of the chemicals listed on the Hazardous Chemical inventory.
Chairperson Lorenzo indicated the letter from Susan Tepatti dated September 25, 1995 stated that this project previously received a City Wetland Permit which authorizes a storm water discharge to the Ingersoll Creek, as well as intrusions into the buffer zone. That work has been completed and will not be altered by this proposal. The work currently proposed does not impact the creek, wetlands or associated setbacks and this project does not require a City Wetland Permit.
PM-10-028-95 Motion by Capello, Seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Preliminary Site Plan Approval to Novi Auto Mall, SP95-39A subject to (1) Consultantsí recommendations and (2) ZBA review of the two relocated overhead doorsí orientation.
Member Bonaventura said to Mr. Rogers that there were overhead doors right now and Mr. Rogers indicated yes and that they would be bricked up and new doors for the addition would be just to the north and would look just like them, and they were just replacing the old two, shifting two to the north.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
2. KITCHEN et al v PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF NOVI, et al - The Planning Commission shall make the following findings regarding the Interlock application:
1. Whether the cumulative noise from the air conditioning units will comply with Ordinance standards.
2. Whether an item in the amendment to the motion was a condition of approval or merely a comment by Commissioner Lorenzo.
Mr. Watson indicated there was a letter from him in the file and they have the opinion of trial court in their packet as well. He explained this was back to the Commission at the direction of the court to consider and make findings on two issues. He said the first is that they make a finding as to whether the aggregate noise from the seven air-conditioning units planned for their development will be in compliance with the Standards and Intent of Article 19 of the Code and the Performance Standards of Section 2519. He said minutes have been provided from the last time this was before the Commission, as well as the various standards that they are asked to look at.
Mr. Watson stated the second issue is to make a determination as to whether Paragraph Four in the last approval was actually a condition of approval or merely a comment by a Commissioner and that particular item was the notation by Member Lorenzo that there was additional parking on the east side and that she would like to see the east side parking lot reduced so there was more separation between the lots in those areas. He said they have to determine whether that reduction is an actual condition or not a condition.
Member Taub suggested they take the second item first as that may be quicker and the first item may be more complicated. He felt the first area of inquiry is to get Chairperson Lorenzoís own view of her own statement and it would appear quite obvious that it was a condition, but he felt there should be a discussion and a vote. He also said Chairperson Lorenzo should give her opinion of what she said.
PM-10-029-95 Motion by Taub, Seconded by Bonaventura, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To take Item #2 first because it appears to be a simpler issue and then deal with Item #1.
Mr. Watson suggested whatever order they find convenient to take those two items is fine and there is no problem with that, but it was represented to both the applicant and to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that they would each be allocated ten minutes to address the Commission and he would suggest that they hear those presentations first.
Mr. Alan Greene, representative for Interlock was present. He said he would address both issues at the same time and he would start with Item #2.
Mr. Greene said obviously Item #2 is really a declaration of yourselves as to what you intended. He felt from Interlockís prospective, they viewed it as a condition that they look into the issue to see if they could reduce the parking lot, not a condition that the parking lot had to be reduced for the approval, because he felt it wasnít determined whether that could be done or not done at the time. He said in any case, however the Commission wants to go on this, they thought based upon the courtís remand on this issue now, that it was appropriate to actually look at the question that was raised by Member Lorenzo.
Mr. Greene said they have submitted a plan that does eliminate a substantial part of the parking on the east side. He said they had a substantial amount of excess parking for the site and for the project that was proposed, so what they have done is prepared a drawing that eliminates 50% of the parking area on the east side, which by doing that, would increase the buffer area by another 50 feet, and that is really about as much as they could go and he thought that was not a nominal change and they tried in good faith to eliminate as much parking as they could on that side and they have done it by cutting it in half and increasing it by 50%. He said that was all he had to say on that issue and he would be happy to answer any questions about that proposal.
Mr. Greene said the other issue relates to the air-conditioners. He said he would go back and state where he thought they were at after the first hearing, which was that they had presented specific evidence from Mammoth, the designer of the specially designed handling units, with respect to the noise that would be generated. He said they had it for one unit sitting apparently in a field, and in order to address some of the concerns that the Planning Commission made at that time, as well as the residents, he made some significant design changes, some of which were very unique and he wasnít sure if there were any other buildings around the area that do this.
Mr. Greene said at that time, they ended up taking the handling units and recessing them underneath the roof so that the bulk of those air-handling units were below the roof level and then there would be a parapet over that. He said their engineerís position was that even considering that there may be additional noise by having more than one unit, that if you take the fact that you have those units recessed and have a parapet wall, berm, and trees, that would be well within the Ordinance and the condition was stated in the Resolution that they must operate within the Ordinance standards and that is obvious. He said if they went out there and built the facility, just like any other commercial/industrial facility in the city, if they didnít satisfy the specific Ordinance standards and if someone went out there and measured dbaís, they would have to shut down that equipment, but they thought they had demonstrated it.
Mr. Greene said apparently the court raised this issue about whether or not the multiple air handling units together, would satisfy the Zoning Ordinance requirements that were set forth in the Ordinance. He said their engineer thought the best way to do it was to actually have the Mammoth sound engineers look into the question and do an analysis and come back and tell them because they have all the statistics and they know their equipment. He said they did that and they have submitted that to him in writing and he has given it to the Commission.
Mr. Greene said essentially their analysis was all of the air handling equipment together, even if considered in a field in the open, would not generate more noise than the Ordinance required, in fact it was substantially less than the Ordinance standards. He indicated those were actually custom made equipment and they were very quiet and they can be made very quiet, in fact, the Mammoth people tell him those were all custom made and they were designed to be very quiet.
Mr. Greene said the other thing that they will notice from the report that they submitted was not only did the engineer try to measure it in two ways, both of which come well within the Ordinance standards, but he also went ahead and submitted his analysis to another Mammoth division, their sound engineers and labs, to see if the methodology and information was correct and it was reported that it came out to be correct.
Mr. Greene said the other thing they would notice from that report that they prepared was although they note that their analysis was conservative, they note that there were factors here such as the configuration of the air-handling units, not in mass but in a line, and the location of the air-handling units recessed beneath the roof line with the parapet and the existence of the berm and the trees, would all tend to mitigate the sound even further, in fact, the magnitude was considered to be significant, but they didnít consider that and the figure they have in the report, does not take into consideration any of those other mitigating factors.
Mr. Greene said they had indicated that it was difficult to model that without actually going out and doing it in the field, but it was clear that it would have a significant mitigating factor, so even without that, they were well within the Ordinance standards, so he was submitting that to them in response to the court.
Mr. Greene said the other item that he would point out too was a comment was made about the future and whether there would be a future expansion and what was going to happen to the air-handling units there and this proposal was for this building and it was approved for this building based upon the analysis related to the structure and the site plan that was before them.
Mr. Greene said if, and there were no assurances of this whatsoever, Interlock ever desires to expand this facility, that would essentially be a new project and it would have to come back to the Commission for the same special land use approval and would have to satisfy all the requirements that they wouldnít have an adverse impact on the neighbors with respect to anything, both an increase in traffic, changes in parking, noise, everything they went through the first time around. He said it was really speculative at this time that would ever happen so he has submitted something that relates to this facility.
Mr. Greene also pointed out that unfortunately, his architect was going to be here and something got messed up and there was some confusion and the report here analyzes 11 units and it was their understanding and has been their understanding that they were talking about 7 air handling units and there was an initial design that called for 11 and that was reduced and that was what was presented to them so when they look at this report, this analysis talks about 11 air handling units and even with the 11, they were well within the Ordinance standards, but there wouldnít be 11 and there would be 7 so they might want to take that into consideration as well.
Mr. Michael Barton of Meadow brook Lakes Subdivision and also a plaintiff in the lawsuit and also an attorney was present and said he was asked to make a brief statement before the engineer they have hired to review Interlockís submission, speaks.
Mr. Barton said he wanted to emphasize what both the courtís order and the statute require of the Commission in terms of a finding on this noise level issue and that is they must find not only that the sound level or noise level would meet the minimum requirements of Section 2519, but the Statute says, "also that it complies with the Intent of Article 19." In other words, he stated the Statute itself makes clear they must go beyond finding that it meets Section 2519 to see if it complies with the Intent of Article 19 and if they look to the Intent of Article 19, it tells them what the Intent is which states, "The Intent of Article 19 (the whole statute) is that any development in an I-1 District, have no adverse impact on an adjacent neighborhood and that its external physical effects do not have any detrimental effects on surrounding districts."
Mr. Barton said it further states, that its goal is to promote development free from "offensive noise." He said Interlock has given them nothing to allow them to make that finding, and all they appear to be interested in is Section 2519's standards, and they have ignored the Intent of Article 19.
Mr. Barton indicated they have retained an engineer, Mr. Richard Kalano, who specializes in this type of sound level issue, to review what Interlock has submitted and to address the impact this project will have on the adjacent neighborhood. He indicated he has extensive qualifications in this area, which he will tell you about and they include among other things, numerous HVAC and fan noise projects in a variety of applications ranging from computer printers and automotive climate control systems, to steel mills, industrial plants, hospitals, churches, office buildings, schools and universities.
Mr. Barton felt after hearing what he has to say and considering all the evidence that has been presented, and in looking at the Minutes of August, 1994, the reason they were there today was because when specifically asked how loud those air-conditioning units were going to be, their engineers said they were doing an incredible amount of gymnastics with those things and they couldnít tell them how loud they were going to be and now magically, they say they know how loud they were going to be.
Mr. Barton said on behalf of the residents of Meadowbrook Lake, they do not believe that after hearing what their expert has to say, that the Commission could in good conscious, make a finding that those noise levels will not have an adverse impact, a detrimental effect, or be offensive to the adjacent neighborhood.
Mr. Richard Kalano was present and said he has been asked to review documents relative to Interlockís noise issues and present his findings. He indicated he was President and Principal Consultant of a ten-person acoustical engineering firm and they are the only private practice professional engineering firm in Michigan that specializes in acoustics and noise control.
Mr. Kalano began with a brief background. He said he started with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and progressed to a Masters Degree in acoustical engineering. He indicated he was licensed in the State of Michigan to practice engineering and he was board certified in noise control, by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, one of 11 individuals in Michigan that have attained that status with 17 plus years of private practice experience, working primarily on community noise and noise issues that effect people in the built environment.
Mr. Kalano gave them a quick overview on something they call sound measurements and they use a scale called decibels and that scale is like the Richter scale in that a small change in the measured level really accounts for quite a change in the energy level. He said on the Richter scale for example, if it goes from 7., to 8., they were talking a ten-fold increase in the energy, just like a 70 DB to 80 DB increase was a ten-fold increase in the energy level.
Mr. Kalano said given that, he has reviewed the information that Mammoth has prepared on this. He said regarding Mammoth, they are a well-known reputable manufacturer and they have some people that have reasonably good backgrounds in noise and they have one person in particular on ASHRE, which is the American Society Heating and Refrigerating Engineers, TC2.6 technical committee, that studies acoustics and noise. He said he was also a member on that committee and it was an international committee and they publish information on how to evaluate all types of air conditioning and refrigeration situations, including noise. He said TC2.6 writes the noise section on this and not everyone seems to follow everything that is recommended by ASHRE. He said in their report, they refer to recommended procedures by ASHRE and he didnít see where they have followed those procedures. He said he would get into that further in a moment.
Mr. Kalano said in terms of the levels that they have predicted, they have used a very simplistic modeling of the noise. He said they have taken several units and lumped them into one position, out into the free-field, and they have extrapolated that information to the site at hand. He said they have not done the requisite modeling that one needs to do to accurately assess what noise level would they experience at this property line, given all of the conditions of the building, the height of the building, the size of the depressions, the width of the depressions, the height of the equipment below the depression or above the depression. He said none of that information is in the reports he has been presented with.
Mr. Kalano said also there are other pertinent details that preclude his complete review of their analysis and there is just not information included in that, that would allow him to do the computer modeling they would normally do in a prediction of noise levels. He said in reviewing their simplistic analysis of the free-field condition, he didnít dispute the level that they have come up with and he has done the analysis again in a simplistic form along their way, and his calculation comes out to about a DB difference, so that was not of real consequence.
Mr. Kalano said what they have demonstrated may meet the ordinance level of 70 DB, but the issue he recognized here is that the 70 DB for a residential community is way, way out of line. He then gave some support and said the US EPA has done extensive work in this area in the 1970's and they have reported something called the Levels Document Reportsí recommended levels of noise for communities that protect the health and welfare of the public with an adequate margin of safety.
Mr. Kalano said their recommendations were based on studies that show that noise at a background noise level of 45 DB, has virtually no interference with speech, however, once that level gets up to 55 DB, they start to see speech intelligibility drop and you can understand 95% of the sentence intelligibility in a background noise of 55. He said once they get above that 55 DB though, speech intelligibility starts to fall away, such that at 61 or 62 DB, which is where Mammoth has predicted the noise levels at this property line, the analysis done by EPA shows that you would not be able to hold a standard conversation from a distance of 10 feet, the distance across onceís patio, without raising your voice or without moving closer to the person who is trying to listen to you, so that impact is significant.
Mr. Kalano said the EPAís recommended limit for community noise is something called the day-night sound level average of 55 DB and to produce that 55 DB means in terms of the EPA calculation, the level at night should be 45 DB and the level at day should be 55 DB. He said a lot of communities have based their Ordinance limit on the EPA requirements and a perfect example is Plymouth Township because they have a daytime limit of 55 and a nighttime limit of 45. He said he has compiled a list of ordinance limits from a number of municipalities, both in and out of Michigan, and he has about 14 or so listed here, and the highest nighttime ordinance limit is 55 and the lowest happens to be in California of 40 DB.
Mr. Kalano said the typical or average is around 50 DB and that was out of files of work he has done. He indicated he found another document produced in 1975 by a company called the Research Corporation of New England, Environmental Consultants To Management that studied a proposal for the Allegheny County Noise Ordinance for the J & L Steel Corporation. He said in that they have a summary that has the average for residential noise limits in 68 communities across the country that they have studied. He said the average daytime limit for ordinances is 54 DB, and the average nighttime is 50 DB, so he strongly suggested that the 70 DB limit that has been established for this situation is highly excessive and there would be a lot of unhappy residents.
Mr. Kalano said in summary the levels may meet the current ordinance limits which in his opinion were way excessive for residential. He said the berm and trees will not reduce noise levels in this situation because the height is not correct for the berm and trees do not effect noise unless they were talking 100 feet or thicker dense foliage and that was per Michigan Department of Transportation.
Mr. Kalano said predicted levels of 62 DB will interfere with speech and cause people to get closer to individuals. He said in his view, the 62 DB impact will be a problem for residences and he would expect they would have severe complaints and probably threats of lawsuits, and that was based on the analysis that he has done with the ASHRE procedures that was not followed by the Mammoth people.
Member Taub said to get the ball rolling, he would first ask regarding the second issue, so they have a clear record, whether an item in the amendment in the motion was a condition of approval or merely a comment by Chairperson Lorenzo. He would ask Chairperson Lorenzo to give her comments and recollection.
Chairperson Lorenzo said it was her intent to make that a condition of the motion.
Member Taub said unless someone has a contrary recollection, he would suggest to vote on that item and he made a motion.
PM-10-029-95 Motion by Taub, Seconded by Bonaventura: To establish that the Commission factually finds that the subject item, Item #4 in the amendment to the motion, is in fact a condition of approval and not merely a comment by Commissioner Lorenzo.
Member Capello said as the maker of the original motion, in acceptance of her amendment, he had viewed that just as she had stated that it was a condition to the acceptance and so he would agree with the motion on the floor.
Member Vrettas said he had a problem that there was nothing specific and the question then pops into his mind was that acceptable and how can he determine if it was acceptable or not acceptable and he respected the motion, but it didnít give specifics. He felt they should also for the sake of everyone somewhere down the line make a motion to specify exactly what they mean by how much they would like to see it reduced.
Chairperson Lorenzo said she believed at this point in time, the only question before the Commission was whether or not it was a condition and when they get past that, she was sure they would address that at a future time.
Member Vrettas said maybe they should do it now and Mr. Watson said he didnít think they necessarily should. He said the direction from the court was simply to determine whether that was a condition or whether it was not a condition. Member Vrettas asked if they wanted to go one step further and specify and Mr. Watson didnít feel they should and said typically when conditions were attached to motions, it was up to the consultants to determine that those conditions were complied with, with the subsequent approved plans.
Member Vrettas said his only thought in this whole process was for the sake of everyone, the community and Interlock, the faster this moves, the better and if they could have found a way to shorten the process, fine. Mr. Watson felt the process that was employed is that when the amended plans are submitted to comply with those conditions, the consultants are to review and make sure those conditions are met and if the consultants have a problem with that, they will bring it back to them for further direction.
Member Vrettas said he would be supportive of the motion.
Member Mutch said as someone who voted for that, she would say that in voting for it, since no exceptions were made to her comments, in other words, it wasnít questioned at the time whether she intended that to be a condition or not, she assumed everyone else did as Member Capello did and as she did, that it was a condition.
Member Vrettas called the question and Member Taub asked Chairperson Lorenzo to restate the motion:
Motion by Taub, Seconded by Bonaventura, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: That pertaining to Item #4, that it was a condition and not merely a comment.
Member Hoadley had a question for the engineer for the plaintiff that he had testified that the Cityís Ordinance was out of sync with the rest of the country and what he has agreed to with the petitioner is that they have a 60 decibel level at 300 feet and was that correct, and Mr. Kalano stated they have predicted 61 something and he came up with 62 1/2.
Member Hoadley continued that their model was that they had determined this by cranking up 7 of those in open fields and Mr. Kalano said it was not completely clear what they did, and they took some noise level data from some production units, and extrapolated that to the custom built units that they are intending to employ here. He said that was not the same as building those units, taking them out into the field and measuring them to the applicable standard and it was an extrapolation, so there was some margin of error.
Member Hoadley asked if he built a similar model to come to his conclusions and Mr. Callum said he could not but used a very simplistic approach that mirrored theirs only because he didnít have sufficient information to do a standard acoustical analysis of that situation which was to take the units individually in their siting position, which was recessed in the well and project their level and their contribution to the noise level at the property line.
Member Hoadley said it was his understanding from his testimony that building a 12 foot buffer and putting non-deciduous trees on it would have no impact on the noise and Mr. Kalano said correct and the reason for that is the top of the air conditioning units is about 25 feet off the ground and most of the homes are two-story residences in which the second floor window is perhaps 12 feet above the ground, so with the source of 25 feet and a receiver at 12 feet, a 12 foot high barrier is not going to interrupt the line of sight between the source and receiver.
Member Hoadley asked what happens when you put a 10 foot tree on top of that, and Mr. Kalano said unless you have 100 feet of depth of dense foliage, then they donít consider trees of any consequence as a noise reduction. Member Hoadley asked if he has ever developed a model to prove those facts, and Mr. Kalano said he hasnít , but the research has substantiated that and there are reams of volume on traffic noise data studying the effects of trees and the conclusion, which they can get from MDOT because he had a meeting with them two weeks ago, reports the same conclusion and they do not consider foliage under 100 feet in thickness of any consequence for effecting noise.
Member Hoadley asked what weight did he give the fact that they were recessing the air-conditioning units down to the level of the roof and in addition, putting the wall or some kind of buffering on the roof level.
Mr. Kalano said first they didnít provide the geometry in which he could do enough of an analysis to make a complete determination on that, but he added the recessing of those units may or may not be beneficial. He said the reason for that was there was no indication that there was sound absorption within that well and as a result, we have sound reflections which will reflect sound over the top edge of that barrier. Also most rooftop air handling equipment with condensing units have condensing fans located on the top of the unit and if that is at the level of the roof, which is what he had to assume based on their reports, then the well will have very minimal, if any, potential noise reduction benefit.
Member Hoadley asked about the addition of a buffering wall that goes above that and Mr. Kalano said it was conceivable that that wall could have some benefit if it interrupts the line of sight but generally you have to watch air-flow conditions into and out of that unit so they donít starve the unit for the cooling air so there are strong limitations as to how high those barriers can be.
Member Hoadley asked how did the sound travel and does it travel up and Mr. Kalano said it travels like an expanding balloon and if he has a balloon that expands, it expands spherically into all of space and between point a and point b it follows the line of sight plus any reflected sound energy, plus any refracted sound energy due to wind and the like in which sound can be bent from the source to the receiver.
Member Hoadley said he testified that people sitting on their patios that were adjacent to the berm would be interrupted and their speech would be diminished and they would have to speak loudly, and then you just finished testifying a moment ago, that the impact primarily would be to the second floor sound, so how does he accommodate the fact that these people on a patio are going to be below the berm and how could he make both analysis.
Mr. Kalano said he didnít have enough geometry to make a complete projection to the patio. Mr. Hoadley said but he testified that people sitting on the patio with this scenario would be impacted and just a minute ago, he testified that only the people on the second floor would be impacted.
Mr. Kalano said no, the level of impact would probably be lower but the differential is certainly within the margin of error on their calculations and Member Hoadley asked how much lower would it be and Mr. Kalano said he would have to go through an analysis, but he would estimate 3-4 DB at most.
Member Hoadley said he was bringing it down to a range of 55 and Mr. Kalano said down to the range of 58, which is still an interference with speech.
Member Hoadley said taking the petitionerís statement that they are going to be recessed, and the fact that they are going to have a buffering wall in addition, what kind of mitigation would you give that and how many decibels will that reduce the sound at the 300 foot level distance.
Mr. Kalano asked for the recessing the units and Member Hoadley said yes and in addition, buffering them on the roof level, and Mr. Kalano said it would be a trade-off and he would say all the benefit is reduced by the deficiency of the well and at that point, there is no reduction and if the frequencies of sound they were talking about which their data indicates a very pronounced rise at 250 hertz, which is a low frequency long wave length, the barrier effects would be relatively minimal.
Member Hoadley asked if they have ever developed a model or actually assessed sound where units have been recessed below the roof level and Mr. Kalano said yes, and Member Hoadley asked if he would have the demonstration for them that night and Mr. Kalano replied no.
Member Hoadley asked who did he do this for and where did he measure it and Mr. Kalano replied he has modeled that for previous clients under previous circumstances, with different geometries and have come to all types of conclusions that vary, depending upon the geometry of the situation, the height of the unit, recessed into the cavity, the distance between the cavity walls and the units itself, the kind of equipment, the elevation of the receiver, whether it was above or below and the distance, etc., just to mention a few.
Member Hoadley asked his conclusions and did he have any kind of a demonstration model he could bring to the Commission that night proving what he is saying.
Mr. Kalano said in the other situations that were similar that he has been involved with, they have varied from an increase in noise level to a substantial reduction in noise level and it was very dependent upon the geometry of the circumstances of which he did not have and they did not provide the information he needed to do an analysis to present that kind of result to them. He said he couldnít give him an opinion on the complete analysis that he could not run.
Member Hoadley asked if he had been hired by Interlock to design an air conditioning system that meets their standards or meets the standards that he was saying were nation-wide, how would he have designed it to meet the standards.
Mr. Kalano said he would have looked at putting the units on the west side of the building at grade level and used the building as an acoustical barrier so they would have 25 feet of elevation to the building that encapsulates the units and buffers it from the neighborhood.
Member Hoadley asked then his testimony was that it couldnít be done and Mr. Kalano said he couldnít give a complete opinion on that because he didnít have enough information on the geometry and he suspected it would be difficult to bring it down to 45 DB and there are other means of silencing roof-top air handling equipment and there are costs associated with that and there are cost benefit trade-offs, cost benefit versus performance.
Mr. Kalano said the simple point is that Mammoth apparently has also not gone through that analysis and they also have simply answered the question, will it meet the 70 DB or will it not, and they have not looked at the ASHRE requirements which have a procedure to help them assess will this equipment cause annoyance in the neighborhood or will it not and if they had, they would find it would cause wide-spread complaints and possibly threats of lawsuits.
Member Taub asked Mr. Watsonís opinion as far as the argument that has been presented today, that they should look at Section 1900, the Intent paragraphs, specifically no. 3 which refers to offensive noise etc.
Mr. Watson said that question was asked last August 3rd by Member Lorenzo and the answer he gave them, which he believed was still the correct answer, is that the Commission is not strictly limited to Section 2519 and that Subpart A calls upon them to make a broader consideration as to whether there is an adverse impact or not and they were to consider that in light of all the information that was presented to them. He said in other words, it was not strictly speaking the 70 DB, but whether they determine that whatever level is predicted, whether there is an adverse impact.
Member Taub asked Mr. Watson if the burden of proof as far as this noise question is on Interlock or is it on the plaintiffs, in other words, who shoulders the burden to say that it appears that the noise that would result is offensive or excessive.
Mr. Watson said he wouldnít think of it as burden of proof but it was akin to that and the ordinance requires the Commission to make findings that these criteria are satisfied before they approve the special land use and that is why you are being asked to make that finding and you have to be satisfied that those standards are going to be met.
Member Taub asked Mr. Watson, if the presentation of Interlock relative to the decibel levels that they would predict based on their research and study, presents certain holes in terms of assumptions and in terms of factors and how would he recommend they take that into consideration in their own fact-finding.
Mr. Watson said there were one of two possibilities and if you are satisfied by what has been presented that those criteria are met, and if you are satisfied as to that, then he felt they could make the finding. He said if you are not satisfied by that, you have one of two choices: making a finding that those conditions will not be met, or asking that you be provided additional information as to those other factors that have not been considered.
Member Taub said but they were still in the position to vote on what is in the record today either from last year, or today, and Mr. Watson said if that is the Commissionís desire. Member Taub said so they were not compelled to come back in a month or give either side an opportunity to do further studies and Mr. Watson said they were not compelled to, but they have to understand that what has been said to them is Interlock has come to you and said they are going to meet the decibel levels in the Ordinance, and you have been provided information essentially to tell them two things that you either have to accept at face value or seek additional information.
Mr. Watson said the first is that in measuring adverse impacts upon adjacent residential, there is a specific appropriate decibel level that you should take to do that and you have been given a number of numbers by the Consultants for the residents.
Mr. Watson said the second one is that there has not been complete modeling or complete research as to exactly what the impact is going to be from the additional factors such as recessing and the geometrics of the building so the Commission was really in a position where it would appear that you are not satisfied that there is information there to allow you to make the finding that is required of you., but it sounds like you donít have information before you to say that it canít be done or canít be met.
Member Taub said he was only observing and he felt the other Commissioners should have an opportunity to comment or ask questions, but it appears that the plaintiffs, the homeowners, have retained at their own expense, a person who at face value, appears to be one of the experts certainly in the State of Michigan and to him, he has made two points. He said one point is that the study by Interlock does not provide him with sufficient information to necessarily confirm in an absolute sense, the findings, and apparently what he has done is he has assumed that certain things were true or correct and he has come up with a similar number and he respected his honesty.
Member Taub felt more importantly his other point seems to be that the 70 DB contained in the Ordinance is perhaps not really in line with what they were suppose to be looking at in terms of Intent behind the special land use fact-finding, namely that even if 70 DB is met by a 62 DB finding, that realistically they were talking about something that is too high and that to be fair and to accommodate the homeowners under Intent 1900 who have to be looking at something in the 50-55 DB range, if he understood correctly.
Member Taub said if the fact-finding is merely what is the projected DB, they still have the threshold problem of there not being enough information for us to be able to confirm that which is a problem to him, but even beyond that, they were not just playing with numbers here, and they were trying to determine if there is offensive noise and he took that language from Section 1900 and also the other language as to the effect in a detrimental way of any of the surrounding districts.
Member Taub felt they have a real problem in terms of what they were trying to do in a common sense way, which is to guarantee that the abutting residential areas are not detrimentally impacted and what the expert seems to be saying is that Interlock did not bring someone with apparently that level of expertise. He said the problem was they are talking about if the 62, which Interlock predicts is true, they were going to be creating a problem with individuals in Meadowbrook Lake being able to use their backyards for recreation/conversation and the like, and there is also a suggestion in his mind that in the summer months, there could be difficulty in terms of sleeping and then the necessary results of that, namely, the economic diminution in value of oneís home because the home doesnít supply the full benefit that one looks for certainly in Novi.
Member Mutch felt it was clear that if the plaintiffsí consultant with all his professional expertise cannot confirm or dispute some of Interlockís conclusions, then she didnít know how they could adequately come to some finding on the decibel levels. She would ask if a representative of Interlock could tell them whether or not they could respond to that or supply that kind of information for them so that they have enough information to make a finding that the court requests of them.
Mr. Greene indicated he was an attorney and not an expert on sound, but he did land use work and has dealt with lots of projects and sound studies, and has dealt with Zoning Ordinances dealing with sounds. He said first, they canít go out there and build the units and stick them in the building because that does not make any sense and no one has ever done that. He said what they asked those people to do is to do a worse case scenario and they used the ordinance as their guideline and they were not anywhere within the range of the Zoning Ordinance. He said Mammoth indicated there were things they could try to do in adjusting it.
Mr. Greene said they have not seen any report by the plaintiffsí expert, and he didnít have anything to respond to. They have had their report and they have looked at it, and he didnít see anything in writing and he didnít have anything to respond to.
Mr. Greene said the Cityís Zoning Ordinance provides that in any district, you are allowed to have 60 dba and that could be in a residential district. He said in a Light Industrial District, it goes to 70 at night, 75 during the day, and 60 is a significant difference from that and it is 60 during daytime because if you would recall, they have special devices on those air handling units that cut out the big noise at night, so they are not really operating and they were energy efficient, so this was a worse-case scenario during the day without considering the mitigating factors of where they are located.
Mr. Greene said he could tell them that the plans are available and if they had asked us, their expert could look at where they are located, how they are situated, how thick the walls are, but they spent a lot of time and money in design and in potential additional expense to do it this way because their engineers told them that this will deal with the sound issue.
Mr. Greene said what is causing him great concern here is that they have a big site and they have their building located on two lots, but away from the residential area near the railroad tracks, and if you go down the next lot over, they can put up a facility right there and they could be at 75 dba and that is what the Zoning Ordinance allows. He said they were within the range of the 60 dba that is allowed even for a residential district.
Mr. Greene also said most of the time he agreed with Mr. Watson, but typically in a special land use situation where there are objective criteria in a Zoning Ordinance that are more specific, he believed you are suppose to apply the objective criteria. He said everyone else in the community no matter where they are located and even if you are not in an industrial area, can be at 60 dba but somehow they canít and he asked where can they be and what is appropriate.
Mr. Greene said he believed they were well within the dbaís that were allowed in this district and they were right at the range of dbaís allowed even in a residential district and that was on a worse case scenario without considering the effects of where these things are going to be located in the building.
Mr. Greene supposed that if the Commission wanted further information about what the impact of various dbaís are and a specific opinion as to the impact of locating these things recessed within the parapet wall, remember Mammoth has their plans and Mammothís opinion is that these things would result in a significant reduction in the noise and that is what they stated in their letter, a significant reduction, but they didnít model that as they didnít think it was necessary because they felt they were well within the objective ordinance standards that they have for the City of Novi, not only for an industrial district, but for any district.
Mr. Greene said what do they do if they have an office building or anything going up there with air-conditioning and he felt what they have done is try to address those issues in good faith and come up with very good solutions that would make those things as quiet as they could be. He said he was not a sound expert and he couldnít talk about the dbaís other than the fact that the Zoning Ordinance says 60 in all cases and light industrial is 70 at night and 75 during the day and then they get into heavy industrial and it is even higher than that.
Member Mutch felt what is difficult with the Intent is that when you have phrases such as "have no adverse impact," and "free of offensive noise," adverse and offensive can be very subjective unless you have built into the Ordinance some sort of performance standards. She said in this Ordinance, they do and this discretion or this consideration that can be given to adverse impact, and you start at what is allowable and you move downward. She didnít think they were compelled to move to 0 and she felt they could move to what is reasonable and she felt an argument has just been made that what is acceptable in a residential area would be a reasonable level to set.
Member Mutch felt in the comments from the Consultant for the plaintiff and in some of the comments made by the resident preceding him, they both make an excellent argument for a review of their Ordinance in terms of performances standards, but the fact remains that the Ordinance has certain standards now and if it falls not only with that, but comes down to that residential standard, she didnít see how they could say if they tried to be objective, that that was an adverse impact.
Member Mutch said given what has been said, she certainly would support a review of the standards that they have established and welcome the information that you have been able to gather or provide to the residents so that the appropriate committee of the Planning Commission could review that, because if they were that out of line with the rest of the country, maybe they were creating situations that they couldnít legally avoid unless they change their ordinances, so maybe that needs to be done, but while the Ordinance is still in place and the project has been under review under the existing ordinances, she didnít think her position has changed on this and she would think that given the performance standards that call for what they do in residential areas and this falling close to that, she couldnít consider that in itself adverse.
Member Vrettas asked for clarification and he asked what was the height of Interlockís building and it was stated 25 feet. He asked if that would be level with the second story of the homes that were in the area, and it was stated it was probably a little bit higher than two story and it was a one-story building.
Member Vrettas said going to his credentials, he had a Bachelor of Science Degree and part of it has to do with physics and a lot to do with sound. He said everything he has heard from the consultants is true, that sound goes out like an expanding bubble, but if it is expanding out, it expands out and upward and dissipates with distance.
Member Vrettas said what they have here is the Consultants and the company have basically agreed on a worse case scenario. He said a machine is out in the middle of a field and there is nothing around it so that the bubble is unobstructed and they come with 60, 62, and it is close, and the point is they are well below the Cityís Ordinance in a worse-case scenario.
Member Vrettas said he had to disagree with the Consultant who says that the machine if it were sitting there, not in a well, is going to cause a problem over in a house 300 feet away. He said from his understanding of sound and the studies that he took, both at his Bachelors and Masters Degree level, he felt this worse case scenario is being nice.
Member Vrettas said he honestly believed this was ongoing to drop down into what was mentioned at the Council meeting back in 1994, that is, going to be somewhere between 49 and 54 and if that is the case, it is well within the standards that are being suggested for their new one so he had a problem thinking that Interlock is not fulfilling its standards and is not complying in good faith in what they have been asked to do within their own Ordinances.
Member Taub asked Member Vrettas if he was indicating he was an expert in sound engineering, and Member Vrettas said he knew just enough about it to be dangerous and he knew enough about sound and how it moves to know that it does not go down. Member Taub said he was indicating a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and Member Vrettas said sometimes it is.
Member Vrettas said if the Consultant wants to counter that he had no problem listening to his side.
Member Taub appreciated his input, but he probably watches 10-12 football games a week but he couldnít seriously question any of the head coaches on the NFL teams because they are the experts and he watched a lot of football and he knows a few things but he knew that he really didnít know, and from his own prospective, he would have to defer to an individual who is one of 11 certified people in the state. He saluted Member Vrettasí knowledge, but he probably went to college 20 some years ago and he wasnít trying to be disrespectful. Member Vrettas indicated Member Taub would have to work real hard to get to his ego and he didnít feel Member Taub was being disrespectful and had no problem with his comments.
Member Vrettas said his point was yes they should listen to experts but not this way and the way they should listen to the experts is to listen to what they say and if what they have learned through their own experience is not counter to what they say, then they should trust their own instincts some too.
Member Vrettas said he would be willing to have him refute what he just said about the bubble and that it was not capable of doing that. Member Taub felt they should allow him to respond.
Mr. Kalano said they call that diffraction sound which will bend over a sharp edge and it produces a shadow zone so that expanding balloon, when it strikes an edge, it forms essentially a new acoustic source and it starts to expand again like a new balloon past the sharp edge. Member Vrettas said but this was not a sharp edge, and this gentleman indicated the building edge is a sharp edge.
Member Vrettas said as he understood it, they have a raised part, and that was not a sharp edge. Mr. Kalano said their documents do not indicate what they exactly have and they are indicating that it was recessed in the well, and that means the bottom is below the roof, and that tells him nothing about where the main acoustic source is, which is where the condensing fans are relative to the roof and relative to the residences that were going to overlook that roof.
Mr. Kalano said the other issue he wanted to bring up was the free-field measurement and that is really the best case scenario and to take a piece of equipment and install it in the outdoors where there is no reflecting surfaces is the best condition, and they then have to apply corrections for sound reflections from building elements and anything else that is in the environment, so it was not the worse case and it is really the best case condition that they are starting with, but it was the most pure thing to start from a modeling standpoint and make corrections to.
Member Weddington asked a question of the acoustical engineer as to whether the reduction in the number of units from 11 to 7 has any impact and it was her understanding that the estimations were done by Mammoth and by himself on the basis of 11 units. Mr. Kalano said it may not have any effect if the cooling load is the same, and if they need 1,000 tons of cooling then they have to have 1,000 tons of air-conditioning and it doesnít matter if they are providing that with 11 units or 7 units, and that means they have 7 larger units, and they still have the same acoustic energy potential to create so it was based on how many tons of air-conditioning they are dealing with.
Member Weddington asked if the tonnage requirement was cut proportionately from 11 to 7, would that have an impact and Mr. Kalano said it could and if they reduce the number of sources by half, they could expect ideally a 3 DB reduction.
Member Weddington asked so what neighborhood are they in now instead of 61, and Mr. Kalano said they were drawing conclusions that he didnít think they have a basis to do but they may be looking at a 2 or 2 1/2 DB reduction outside, so they might be at 60 DB.
Member Weddington reiterated her earlier comment that a lot of emphasis has been placed on this Ordinance Intent or objective of the Ordinance and the way she has put together her own structure is that is it sort of a backdrop and the way they enforce the intent is through the other standards that they have within the Ordinance and it is the whole collection of other things, the building materials, the building size, building setback, landscaping, traffic, sound, vibration, etc., all of those standards. Member Weddington said in the Interlock case, they went through the whole list, things that the Commission thought of, things that the residents brought up that they hadnít contemplated, and in every case, the petitioner addressed those issues and met or exceeded the standards that they had set forth. She said that is how she believed they came to the conclusion that they did, and whether their standards are good or bad or need adjustment, that is another issue, but at the time, they had felt they were bound by the Ordinance as it is currently written.
Member Weddington felt at this point to go back and say it was not 70 letís hold them to 50, that is something the Commission generally does not do and it is changing the rules after the fact and pulling the rug out from someone and they have chosen not to do that in other cases. She just wanted to address that because it keeps coming up over and over again and she believed they did go through all of the factors and they made their decision based on the fact that all of those standards were met or exceeded.
Member Bonaventura asked if Mammoth Inc. were the people installing or proposed to be installing the units and it was stated yes. He asked were they under contract to install them and it was stated no. Member Bonaventura said so they were just doing this as a good will gesture to a potential customer.
Mr. Greene said those were custom designed and they were not something you buy off of a shelf so they work with the engineers and architects to come up with a design and meet the specifications that are set forth. For example, he said they have a Mammoth representative here and he was not the sound guy, so he hasnít come up to speak, but what he has indicated was when they state a worse case scenario, when they design those things, there is a whole host of things they can do and he gave them a list of them that even make the sound less than what they were talking about.
Mr. Greene said this 60 is your basic type of unit and he gave him a list of things and you can add additional fan blades to the condenser, which reduces the sound and you talk about sound barriers or insulating materials in the depression and there are a lot of things that can be done and so he was saying what they were talking about is they were just doing a design for a worse case scenario in the open field and their intent was to see whether or not they met the Ordinance and they did it different ways.
Member Bonaventura asked if he had a copy of the report and Mr. Greene said he had the report with him yes. Member Bonaventura said he looked it over several times and he canít find it, but does it say anywhere how many units they are talking about here, and Mr. Greene said it states 11 units but that is incorrect and that was from an earlier design and he referred to the first page, third sentence which stated, "combine the sound power of all 11 units into a single sound source." and he was told that the total tonnage that is being talked about in the design of the 7 units is less, than the 11 units. He said they went through a lot of redesign and discussion to try and reduce the noise and accomplish what they were hoping they were accomplishing here.
Member Bonaventura asked a question of the sound engineer for the residents and he said when they had their meeting on Interlock, he was asking questions about how this was going to work as far as the sound coming out of those wells where the units were going to be set in, and they were talking about an incredible amount of gymnastics with those, and one of the questions he had asked was would there be any sort of an echo effect and basically the answer he received was the direction of the sound was going to go straight up and when he was told that, he knew that not to be true just from simple science classes.
Member Bonaventura asked did he see any problem with any echo or magnification of sound with those walls and Mr. Kalano said that is what he tried to allude to earlier when he said depressing the units in the roof would be of some benefit but of some penalty also and what they were calling an echo effect is really a sound reflection effect of being down inside hard surfaces. He said those sound reflections will reduce the potential benefit for any noise reduction they might achieve by putting those units in the well, but also counter to that though was that most of the acoustic noise is generated at the top of the unit and so that any benefit they might get from shielding this from the edge of the well, was lost because they donít have any shielding and that the source is too close to the top.
Mr. Kalano said regarding the echo effect, there could be some increase there, but again, he was not in a position to come out with a strong opinion that says yes that was going to be louder because of that.
Member Bonaventura said the request he sees was for the Commission to make a finding and he questioned the Mammoth report because of the fact that they were potentially making a sale and that gives him a motive of possibly slapping together a two-page report with some Xerox pages from a handbook in order to come up with some numbers.
Member Bonaventura said there are some comments in here about having accurate methods to account for the 8 foot pit and for the wall around the pit, the building, the berm, and it even commented on the spruce trees, and that all raises questions in his mind. He said he tended to go back to the Judgeís request and to focus more on Section 1905, which is the Intent and that tells him that there is no way that he can make a finding and if he was to make a finding, he would be doing it on straight blind faith to a company that obviously has other motives and that is to make a sale.
Member Bonaventura said so he would not be able to make a finding on what he has received that night. He said as far as the comments from the residentís engineer, this confuses the matter more for him so at this time, he personally could not make a finding and he could not rely on this particular source.
Member Capello had a few questions for the residentsí engineer. He asked if he had any idea of what type of units Interlock is planning on putting into the building, did he have any of the specifications, and it was stated they did not provide specifications in the documents that were given to him. Member Capello asked him if he had any direct communication with Interlockís engineers or anyone from Mammoth and he replied no.
Member Capello asked if he had any idea in regard to a means of construction of the pits that they were going to put the air-conditioning units into and Mr. Kalano replied he had a very generalized idea and again the submittals did not have specifics in terms of dimensions and surface finishes and the like.
Member Capello asked about the parapet walls and did he have any idea what they were going to be constructed of or insulation materials and he replied no it was not indicated.
Member Capello asked if he had any idea what the dimensions of the berm would be and Mr. Kalano said the site plan he believed indicates a 10-11 foot high berm with 3 rows of evergreen trees and he thought the berm was a 3-1 construction such that for every foot of vertical rise, it extends 3 feet horizontally on both sides and he believed it covers a width of 60 some feet in total.
Member Capello asked him if he looked at the letter from Mammoth and he said yes he received that on his desk Monday morning. Member Capello asked him if Mammoth was the manufacturer of the air-handling units or were they the installer and Mr. Kalano stated Mammoth was the manufacturer and he would assume they would have a mechanical contractor firm to do the installation.
Member Capello said so the report is prepared by the manufacturer of the unit and Mr. ? said correct and Member Capello said did he indicate relying on this ASHRE handbook is the same type of system he would use to do some engineering studies on units or did he misunderstand him.
Mr. Kalano said there are other standard procedures for evaluating outdoor noise and essentially using a computer model to construct the building and the acoustic noise sources and then to use the model to predict what the level would be at the property line taking into account the dimensions of the unit, the dimensions of the recessed units, the parapet wall, the distances and everything, and that was really the preferred way to do an analysis and that is normally the way they would conduct a analysis.
Member Capello said so if Interlock was given a requirement of 70 decibel levels at the property line, you are saying that they could develop a model and engineer and design and construct the building and put the units in such that they would meet that 70 decibel level at the property line.
Mr. Kalano said an acoustical engineering consultant could do that, yes, and whether Interlock could do it, he didnít know. Member Capello said some engineer could be hired to do that for them so whatever the level would be, 40, 50, 60, 70, they could say this is the level they want at the residential property line and they could meet that through engineering construction and Mr. Kalano said correct..
Member Capello said he remembered going through their investigation on Interlock and their discussions in reviewing all the materials, and the rooftop units were one of the concerns that they had and as a result of that, Interlock came back with a different design and dropped the rooftop units down lower and put up the parapet walls and increased the berm in order to meet the decibel levels that were set in their Ordinance.
Member Capello said the Judge in his wisdom thought they didnít have enough facts in the record and in his recollection and opinion, they knew what the decibel levels were and the Ordinance sets a decibel level at 70 decibel for the I-1 District and even in the I-2 District, it specifically discusses if it was adjacent to residential, then it drops back to the 70 decibel level, so it is assumed that a 70 decibel level adjacent to residential is satisfactory.
Member Capello said as Member Mutch has said, he didnít feel they were there to question whether or not their Ordinance is adequate and he felt they need to work with the Ordinance that they have in front of them. He felt that is what they did a year ago and made a determination that 70 decibel levels was adequate and that is why in Paragraph 3 of Member Lorenzoís amendment to his motion, she specifically said that they shall not exceed the decibel levels as indicated by the Ordinance standards, meaning the 70 decibels and they understood it at that time, and it was confirmed today by the engineer that Meadwbrook has brought with them, that with construction means, they could meet that decibel level and he felt that is what they had anticipated.
Member Capello said the facts were in front of them, that they knew that Interlock could meet the 70 decibel level at the property line and they were satisfied with that, as long as they met the Ordinance requirements and those were the facts that the Commission made their decision on.
Member Capello said Member Bonaventura pointed out that the Judge wanted them to make factual findings, and he would reiterate that those were the findings that they found before, and they also have in front of them a report, a worse-case scenario report, prepared by not the installer but the manufacturer of the units and the worse-case scenario is that the decibel level at the property line is going to be 60 decibels not even taking into account the lowering of the units into the rooftop, the parapet walls and the berm.
Member Capello said and today, the only other new facts that they have in front of them besides the letter from Mammoth is the testimony from the engineer brought by Meadowbrook Lake, who basically stated that he has not done the testing. He said the engineer doesnít have the information available to him to give the Commission any opinion on what the decibel level would be at the property line, so he felt the only new thing they have in front of them is the report from Mammoth and coupled with the fact that they want the decibel levels to be at 70, which their Ordinance requires and Interlock is going to do, those were the same facts in front of them that evening and they should arrive at the same conclusion that the 70 decibel level is a safe level. He felt Interlock may even be less than that according to the report from Mammoth and the facts substantiate that decision.
Member Capello said he would make a motion but he wasnít sure how to word it.
PM-10-030-95 Motion by Capello, Seconded by Vrettas, MOTION CARRIED: Based on his comments, there were sufficient facts in the past based upon the information in regard to the methods and means of construction, and that, coupled with the new information from the manufacturer of the air-handling units, Mammoth, Inc., that the decibel levels should not exceed 60 decibels in a worse case scenario, and that there were adequate facts that he was satisfied that the neighboring residential community would be protected from adverse impacts from noise from those units.
Also coupled with the fact, that they have the train than runs right next to Interlock right next to the residential community in the evening hours and if anything, the building would block some of the noise from the train and he felt if they did studies, they would find that the train noise would be louder than the air-conditioning units.
Mr. Watson said the particular request is that the Planning Commission make a finding as to whether the aggregate noise from the 7 air-conditioning units planned for Interlockís industrial development will be in compliance with the standards and intent of Article 19 of the Novi Code and the Performance Standards of Section 2519. He said he took by what Member Capello just stated, that he was moving that the Planning Commission made that finding based upon the information that he has described. He asked if that was correct and Member Capello said yes.
Chairperson Lorenzo said she would restate the motion:
That due to the previous information submitted by Interlock regarding the placement and construction of the air-conditioning units and the current information submitted by Interlock from Mammoth, Inc.: That the Planning Commission finds that the cumulative noise from the air-conditioning units would comply with the Ordinance standards.
Member Taub asked the City Attorney if the motion was phrased correctly. Mr. Watson replied that the phrasing was that the aggregate noise from the 7 air-conditioning units planned for the project would be in compliance with the Standards and Intent of Article 19 of the Novi Code and the Performance Standards of Section 2519, and that was what Member Capello had indicated in his motion.
Member Bonaventura said part of the motion was referring to what Interlock had represented to the Commission previously about complying with the dba levels and Chairperson Lorenzo said 8 foot pit, 18 inch high parapet wall, the building height, the berm, recessing the units.
Mr. Watson said he would clarify. He said Member Capello enumerated a number of things that he felt made the case for meeting the noise standards and his question to him was based on those things that he had enumerated, was his motion that the Commission make a finding that the aggregate noise level from the 7 air-conditioning units for the Interlock development would be in compliance with the Standards and Intent of Article 19 of the Novi Code and the Performance Standards of Section 2519 and his response was that was correct and so that was his understanding of the motion that the Commission is making that finding based upon the information that was enumerated by Member Capello.
Member Bonaventura said so the motion in no way comments on previous statements by Interlock and Member Capello said he included the information that was before them at the meetings they had last year with Interlock and Member Vrettas has just brought to his attention on Page 39 of the August 3rd Minutes, it talks about decibel levels also. He said his motion includes not just the new material today, but all the material that had been in front of them in the past.
Member Bonaventura said he would not be supporting this and he had asked the Commissioners to pay attention to the source and it is the manufacturer of the units and they were requested to come up with this information, and he was sure one of their first questions was what was the maximum dba level that they require, and he was sure they conformed their letters to that. He said it was very important to consider whether or not they were using a source that they were doing business with or using a source that was an independent source. He would not vote in favor of the motion.
Member Weddington stated that the acoustical engineer also confirmed those calculations independently. Member Bonaventura realized that and he was also basing this on what was requested by the Court as far as referring to the Intent.
Member Taub said the materials in the City Attorneyís submission of the packet, includes the words, "and Intent," and he felt they should not ignore the fact that they have to look at the Intent of Article 19, the specific Intent portion. He said it has been discussed and he felt the Section 1900 Intent portion talks about offensive noise and any adverse impact, etc., and he didnít think they should be necessarily limited to a 70 DB when they have an expert telling them that would provide a problem for people who live on the other side of that berm and they wouldnít be able to enjoy their backyards as one example.
Member Taub said perhaps if the words, "and Intent," were not part of the question, then perhaps those who advocate the idea of strictly adhering to the 70 DB standard might have a better argument, but they have to look at the words and Intent and he felt to ignore that, is to miss the whole common sense of trying to promote the health, safety and welfare of the community of the residents.
Member Mutch said one comment she had was when you have an Intent, you have a general statement where you havenít made specific limitations or allowances that you are covered, but in this particular case, when you are dealing with noise, you are given specific performance standards to meet, and she felt when you go beyond the things that are specified and itemized, then you go to the Intent to guide you in those areas that were not foreseen as potential problem areas.
Member Mutch said she didnít really have the same concern that Member Taub has on that point. She did think they should remind themselves in light of Member Bonaventuraís comments, that in everything, you have more than one point of view or more than one side being represented, and each side/each point of view, has the opportunity to present their case in the best way that they can, the most effective way and whether it was a company or a group of residents, they locate and hire if they can or otherwise secure, the services of those who can best represent their point of view.
Member Mutch felt with no disrespect intended to the consultant that the residents have hired, he is not more or less of an expert than anyone hired by any petitioner who comes before them, so to dismiss someone who is speaking on behalf of the petitioner in effect would ask them to dismiss anyone that residents bring as well and she didnít feel they should be doing that.
Member Mutch said they should keep in mind that when people come, they come with their expertise and they have more of it in their field than the Commission has, but they also have life experience and hopefully common sense and they were not obligated to accept what they state to us as complete or even to accept it as being the only representations that are to be considered, so she appreciated the additional information brought on both sides and they shouldnít be quite so dismissive of someone based on who has hired their services.
Member Bonaventura commented it was not the fact that they are using their services as far as writing a report, but it is the fact that it is a potential large purchase from a manufacturer.
Member Taub asked for the motion to be restated:
That the Commission has found that the aggregate noise from the 7 air-conditioning units planned for Interlockís industrial development would be in compliance with the Standards and Intent of Article 19 of the Novi Code and Performance Standards of Section 2519.
Vote on Motion:
Yes: Mutch, Vrettas, Weddington, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo
No: Taub, Bonaventura
Member Bonaventura requested to move his Item, Planning Commission Minutes under Matters for Discussion, to the next meeting.
Ms. Kocan said she truly found it incredible that you Commissioners can dismiss an engineering expertís testimony because he supposedly didnít have enough information but then you turn around and you make a motion that there is enough information for the Planning Commission to make a finding and how can that be and I suspect the Judge will see through that illogical conclusion.
Mr. Watson explained that he didnít think that this Commissionís action in any way dismissed anything that was said by anyone, but it considered the information that was presented by all the parties involved.
PM-10-031-95 Motion by Taub, Seconded by Mutch, MOTION CARRIED: To adjourn the meeting at 11:50 A.M.
Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian
October 13, 1995
(These minutes were completed in the modified version before clarification of "shortened" version.)