CITY OF NOVI
REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1995 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER
45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
Meeting called to order at 7:31 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo.
ROLL CALL: Members Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Chairperson Lorenzo, Mutch, Taub, Weddington, Member Bonaventura (arrived at 8:30 p.m.)
ABSENT/EXCUSED: Member Vrettas
ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect, Planning Director James Wahl, Planning Aide Steve Cohen
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ADDITION TO AGENDA:
Member Capello stated that he would like to have the PD-1 Option put under Matters for Discussion.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
PM-11-042-95 MOVED BY Member Weddington, SECONDED BY Taub to approve the Agenda as amended. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
Joseph F. Galvin spoke on behalf of the Solomon Group. At your last meeting you voted on a recommendation to the City Council to delete the PD-1 Option from the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Sassoon and myself are here to ask you to reconsider the action taken at your last meeting regarding deleting the PD-1 Option from the Zoning Ordinance. Weíre asking that the item be re-heard on principles of fundamental fairness.
Mr. Galvin continued: From some of the comments that were made by a number of Commissioners, you felt you were under immediate pressure from the City Council to hold a Public Hearing and report back to them. Thatís what weíre going to ask you to do tonight. What we want you to do is to re-hear your last motion and have another motion that says that you had a Public Hearing and believe that based on the input that you had at that hearing and the discussions that you had in sub-committee meetings, you need to have more input both from affected property owners and from the City staff itself. Mr. Galvin stated that what has happened is not an appropriate way for his clientís property to be re-zoned and again asked that the Commission re-hear the PD-1 Option.
Member Taub read a letter dated October 25, 1995 from Warren S. Jocz, President, Willowbrook Community Association, Subject: Willowbrook Farms. The letter is attached.
1. Approval of the September 6, 1995 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted two corrections to the Minutes. On pages 19 and 24, the sixth paragraph, second sentence on page 19, "Commission in terms of possibly Ďpursingí should be Ďpursuingí." On page 24, the same typo appears, third paragraph, fifth sentence starting with "some point in time but that he was still going to be ... Ďpursingí should be Ďpursuingí."
PM-11-043-95 MOTION BY Member Taub, SECONDED BY Weddington to approve the September 6, 1995 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes as amended. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
1. EXTENDED STAY AMERICA, SP95-43A
Property located west of Haggerty Road, between Eight Mile Road and Nine Mile Road for possible Preliminary Site Plan and Woodland Permit approval.
The Extended Stay America (ESA) representative stated that Extended Stay America is a new chain of business efficiency hotels catering primarily to managers and professionals who require long term lodging.
Brandon Rogers reviewed his report and indicated his support for preliminary site plan approval.
David Bluhm reported that JCK and Associates had also reviewed the preliminary site plan and the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility.
Rod Arroyo reported that his office reviewed the plan and a traffic study. Access is proposed from one driveway onto Haggerty Road. The traffic studyís based on a 140-room business hotel rather than a 130; it was downsized from an earlier version. A 140-room hotel can be expected to generate approximately 1,200 trips per day during the peak hours; A.M. and P.M. peak hours would be roughly 100 trips during each peak hour, slightly less and slightly more for the A.M. and peak hour respectively. A summary of the findings of the study was provided to the Commissioners.
Regarding proposed improvements associated with this project, the preliminary site plan shows that a passing lane is proposed. Weíve indicated that it may be more appropriate to go with a center turn lane instead of a passing lane in this area because there is a center turn lane to the south that could be extended north through this project driveway. It appears at this time that the center turn lane would likely be most advantageous for this particular project. We are recommending approval of the preliminary site plan.
Linda Lemke recommended approval for a woodlands permit with six conditions: (1) that no construction occurs on the site until a woodlands permit is granted; (2) an environmental pre-con meeting occurs; (3) the protective fencing is inspected; (4) that the required bonds and inspection fees are paid; (5) that our office reviews the final engineering plans; (6) that the species of replacement of trees are shown on the approved landscape plan, that the remaining regulated woodlands, which are not platted, are placed into a preservation easement, and preservation signage is erected.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted a letter from City Forester Chris Pargoff concurring with the findings and conditions of Planning Consultant Linda Lemke, and also a letter from the Novi Fire Department recommending approval.
Audience participant Cliff Thompson asked if there was a possibility that children would be staying at Extended Stay America requiring school buses to go into that area?
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that would be considered.
PM-11-044-95 MOTION BY Taub, SECONDED BY Hoadley to approve the Preliminary Site Plan and Woodland Permit for Extended Stay America subject to all consultantsí conditions and recommendations. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY. (7-0)
The ESA representative reported that the target market is business people. The average length of stay is approximately three weeks and children would not be requiring school buses.
Member Hoadley asked about berming? Linda Lemke reported that a 30" screen along the right-of-way with plantings, both shrubs and trees, averaging out at 50 feet apart is required; not a berm per se.
Member Hoadley asked if berming could be a condition.
George Norbert, Seiber Keast and Associates, Engineers reported that there is no problem with the berming in that area. The only difficulty is storm water detention. Mr. Bluhm is requesting storm water detention down in the southeast corner. This project was designed using parking lot detention which is part of the design and construction standards for the City of Novi. We would prefer to go with the design and construction standards and whatís been established in Novi for some time and be allowed to use the parking lot detention. That would allow us to do a little more berming and landscaping up front.
Linda Lemke stated that this is not ESAís landscape plan and they are not required to show anything at this conceptual stage as to what they are planning on putting in there. Since they are adjacent to similar zoning districts, they are not required to put in any kind of screening, however, itís common landscape practice to provide plant materials on the side yards. Weíll be looking for that at the final.
Member Hoadley asked the petitioner if they are planning to put some landscaping on the side lots.
Petitioner reported that they have met with the City of Novi and are aware of the requirements and they believe the Planning Commission will be pleased with the final landscaping results.
Member Hoadley stated that itís never been the feeling of the Planning Commission and our consultants that on-site retention of water on parking lots is a good idea because of flooding that can occur.
Mr. Bluhm reported that under the Ordinances for allowing detention in parking areas, they can store up to a foot of water which would be on a temporary basis during a storm event. It would be set up so that if they had a storm event that exceeded a ten-year storm, it would run off and flow over land through the site. The way they are required to design it, there would be storage of no more than a foot.
Member Hoadley asked if it would be appropriate to add an amendment as a condition of preliminary site plan approval to require that they also, in addition to some parking lot retention, explore the greenbelt area retention.
Mr. Bluhm stated they may get more storage by pulling that driveway in slightly, if possible, to increase the length and width of the green space area.
Member Hoadley asked the petitioner if there would be any problem with Mr. Arroyoís recommendation of the center turn lane rather than a passing lane. Petitioner stated they had agreed to do whatever was necessary and either recommendation was acceptable.
Member Weddington stated a concern with the traffic on Haggerty Road and asked Mr. Arroyo if he could make any comparison of the volumes of traffic that will result from this project to other types of uses that might be built in this District.
Mr. Arroyo stated itís roughly equivalent to a 100 lot subdivision in terms of traffic generation.
Member Weddington asked if there would be any problem with getting the Oakland County Road Commission or anyone else to agree to the center turn lane.
Mr. Arroyo stated that the Road Commission could raise a valid reason as to why there shouldnít be a center turn lane there, itís their road and their jurisdiction. From the Cityís perspective, weíre bringing it to the forefront ahead of time.
Member Weddington asked if the same thing goes for changing the traffic signals.
Mr. Arroyo stated that if it appears that the road is going to get widened in the near future, they may hold off in doing any signal improvements.
Member Mutch requested the petitioner provide promotional material that shows how the facility is marketed. One reason for the request is the concern that has been raised with regard to the potential for transient residents as opposed to just business travelers.
Member Hodges stated her concern over the traffic situation and thanked the petitioners for their willingness to cooperate in doing whatever to alleviate as much as possible the burden that is placed upon Haggerty Road.
Member Hoadley stated that this is an ideal type of facility for many businesses to accommodate and there wonít be as much traffic intrusion out of this type of facility as regular hotel.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Arroyo about passing information along to the Road Commission. Is that something the Commission needs to do formally? Mr. Arroyo stated that between himself and Steve Cohen, they would make sure that a memorandum is forwarded and reflects that recommendation.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. PLANNING COMMISSION BY-LAWS AND RULES FOR PROCEDURE
Amended Planning Commission By-Laws and Rules of Procedure for possible approval.
PM-11-045-95 MOTION BY Weddington, SECONDED BY Bonaventura to approve the Planning Commission By-Laws and Rules of Procedure with amendments on Item #6, Disclosure Policy, the word "shall" in the first sentence be changed to "may," and there shall be an exemption for candidates for elected office. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY. (8-0)
Steve Cohen reported that on September 20, 1995 at the Regular Commission Meeting the Planning Commissioners adopted the draft of the By-Laws and asked that the Rules Committee look at the draft. That Committee met on October 18, 1995 to go over the recommendations at the September 20 meeting and put together the By-Laws and changes.
Member Hoadley stated he is in agreement with the exception of the three minute rule. His understanding, and it was at the request of our Chairperson, was that we do not add that to it because it puts a tremendous burden on whoever is Chairperson in regards to any type of discrimination.
Member Bonaventura stated he likes it because it allows flexibility to whomever the Chairperson is; it actually gives the Chair more control.
Member Hodges agrees and would like to see it enforced more often than not. The exception would be that the permission come from the Chair.
Member Mutch thinks the Chair has the ability to let somebody continue to finish a point and if any member of the Commission feels that should be held in "check," they can request support from the Commission to allow that speaker to continue. When the notice goes out for Public Hearings, itís standard practice to say that the Public will have the opportunity to comment or to submit written remarks. What is not included is the rule that says "you will be allowed to speak for three minutes unless you represent a group in which case you can speak for five." Adding that statement might help.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she will handle it in the future the way it was handled at the last meeting which is to defer to the Commission for a consensus unless there is a particular reason why she would feel differently. If the majority of the Commission would prefer to have that remain in there, she has no problem with that.
Member Capello stated that on page seven it refers to limiting the general public to three minutes during audience participation and three minutes during Public Hearings and, specifically, limiting petitioners to 10 minutes. One alternative is that any time limit may be extended within the sole discretion of the Chairperson provided the individual requests the extension of time prior to beginning the presentation and gives reasons to the Chairperson to justify why they need the additional time.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated they already have that option. The Chairpersonís personal feeling is she discourages it because we should be limiting them to ten minutes. They should give us a brief overview of the project and then itís up to the Commissioners individually to extract additional information if they so choose to from the petitioner.
Member Capello stated that extracting the information without having the presentation before us, we may be asking questions without having the full information from the petitioner.
Member Taub stated he does not have any problem with what Mr. Capello is saying and has always been an exponent for everyone being able to fully express themselves. Brandon Rogers and the other consultants encapsulate the project for us and from the information in the packet you have a pretty good idea of what they is proposed and what the issues are. Member Taub reiterated that he does not have a problem with the time limitations and will go along with Mr. Capelloís suggestions and would ask him to support the idea that citizens should also have the same kind of leeway so that we have an open forum.
Member Weddington agrees that the time limit may be extended with permission. There might be an addition in the Duties of Officers, Chairpersonís Duties to allow additional time where needed to anyone speaking before the Commission. That would cover petitioners, members of the public, and anyone else who wishes to speak to the Commission. If we all do our homework, read the packets, we have all this information, itís summarized by our consultants. As long as people know what the rule is up front, they can adjust their presentations. We have ample opportunity to ask questions and these presentations get extended by that means. Member Weddington has full confidence that the Chair, this one or any other, will provide additional time wherever necessary.
Member Hodges stated that if we start allowing for those openings, people are going to take advantage of it, but if the discretion is made, anyone of us can petition the Chairperson and ask for an extension. Member Hodges would rather see that citizens and the Commissioners are encouraged to utilize the staff and consultants in their capacity. We donít have to wait until the meeting to get more information. We have the right to call on the applicant, get clarification, we can postpone for more clarification if necessary. We have all kinds of avenues, we donít need to extend the time.
Member Mutch stated that to provide the best opportunity for the best information might be that the timing of the request could be considerably earlier. When the Chair is setting the agenda with the staff, thatís the time somebody can say they need additional time. We have seen projects that needed more time and the applicant can work with staff and vis-a-vis to find alternative ways of getting that information to us. If theyíre concerned that weíre not going to see the whole picture in the written documents and a ten minute oral presentation, then maybe there are alternatives that they can suggest.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated she is going to discourage longer presentations in verbal form at the meetings. She would prefer to have five pages in writing to read through than to extend the length of our meetings past a certain hour.
Member Mutch stated that while itís always possible to put it in writing and have the time to go through additional pages, we also have some of the same reaction to volumes of written text as Commissioner Hodges mentioned to oral presentations. Thereís only so much you can absorb and still carry with you. Sometimes encouraging a more creative presentation of information outside of that ten minute presentation -- a lot more can be conveyed.
Member Bonaventura commented on the Disclosure Policy, reporting that it says "a Disclosure Policy shall be filed by any member receiving gifts over the amount of $5.00." At the end it says, "the Disclosure Policy form may be recorded with the Planning Community Development Department." On one hand it says you will do it and the other hand says you may do it. He would like to suggest that the first "shall" be changed to "may" so that the Disclosure Form "may" be filed by any member receiving gifts."
PM-11-046-95 MOTION BY Bonaventura, SECONDED BY Hoadley to amend the Planning Commission by-Laws and Rules for Procedure to strike "shall" from Item 6, Disclosure Policy and replace it with "may."
PM-11-047-95 MOTION BY Capello, to amend the provision to add the sentence that says "any contribution received by any commissioner running for any elected office shall be exempt from disclosure to the Planning and Community Development Department under this subsection."
MEMBER WEDDINGTON accepted both amendments to her original motion.
Regarding the Disclosure Policy, Member Hoadley stated there should be a definition of what constitutes gifts. Would lunch be considered a gift?
Chairperson Lorenzo said that she would think so. Recalling the Chamber Luncheon, many Commissioners attended and it was publicly noted.
Member Capello stated that there should be some additional exclusionary language for any Planning Commissioners that are running for any public office and who get campaign contributions as a result of running for that office. Whatever disclosure requirements they are required to disclose by the Elections Committee should be sufficient rather than have to file additional disclosures with the Planning Commission.
Member Capello reported that on page four, Section 3.3A, requiring a forum of five. A majority vote would only mean that three out of nine members approved something and three out of nine making a decision for this body bothers him. If the quorum were moved up to six and required a majority vote, we could still get action done without a full nine members here, however, it would take at least four out of the nine to take action. He would like to see the quorum moved up from five to six.
Dennis Watson stated that he would like the opportunity to look at that question.
Member Capello stated that reference page nine, Section 3, Special Planning Meetings, his scheduleís often planned well in advance and well in excess of thirty days ahead of time. If weíre going to have a Special Planning meeting, he would like the By-Laws to state that we need to have at least sixty days notice in advance of a scheduled, planned meeting or have a unanimous vote. Itís not easy for Member Capello to have his schedule adjusted on a weekly basis. He thinks itís unfair to schedule a meeting on a special issue, not give him the opportunity to attend the meeting, and then him having to try to catch up with what went on during the meeting.
Jim Wahl suggested that the Commission consider scheduling a work session on a quarterly basis. Typically, thereís been one in June and November. It seems to fit with the way the workload is broken down within the year and we could project the Special Work Session based on the calendar meetings for the year. In January, when the Planning Aide would have the calendar of meeting dates, we could take suggestions for the annual calendar and you could adopt it then.
Member Taub stated that from his experience, whenever anyone has pointed out that (a) they want to attend a certain meeting, and (b) that the tentative date was bad, the Commission has worked with that individual.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that if the staff is willing to accommodate the Commissioners, she is not sure itís necessary to put it in here.
Member Capello stated that if the Commission is not going to adjust it, there still is the opportunity to schedule special meetings without any advance notice at all.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that considering Member Capelloís point and the discussion weíre having this evening, she is not sure that would be an issue.
Member Hoadley stated that he cannot see restricting the Commission to a 60 day notice when an emergency meeting might be absolutely required. Everyone is going to have conflicts from time to time, and to try and project a schedule that meets with all nine members each quarter is an impossible task. His opinion is that the Commission has always tried to address a Commissionerís needs.
Member Bonaventura stated that when a person applies for the Planning Commission, they should know the commitment that it takes to be on this Board and one of the commitments is to show up at the meetings. For someone to ask for 60 days notice, thatís an awful long amount of time. If your career is to be out of town or you require 60-90 days notice, maybe this is the wrong place to be because you have to attend these meetings in order to follow through on your commitment to the people who appointed you.
A Commissioner stated that if we who are planning for the City canít plan more than 60 days, then thereís something wrong.
Member Mutch stated she liked Mr. Wahlís suggestion that we go ahead and plan for a set number of "work sessions," so everyone can plan their schedules around those commitments. When an "emergency" arises or something requires quick action, the alternative for the less than 60 days would require a unanimous or majority vote of the Commission. Member Mutch thinks that if a member knows he or she cannot attend because of other commitments, that member would understand the urgency and would vote to go ahead and have that meeting knowing that he or she cannot attend.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she would prefer to have the meetings on an "as needed" basis and not get into a situation where weíre creating additional meetings for ourselves. Chairperson Lorenzo stated her appreciation for the efforts of the Rules Committee, the staff, and the Commission.
Member Capello asked if the Commission could approve it with a quorum being six, subject to Dennis Watsonís review of the state statute; that way it doesnít have to come back again.
Chairperson Lorenzo thinks there may be some additional discussion at that point and would not want to discuss it without knowing what the answer is going to be because it may be a moot point.
2. PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Consideration of replacing summary minutes with verbatim minutes for possible approval.
PM-11-048-95 MOTION BY Bonaventura, to replace summary minutes with the old format.
Member Bonaventura reported that one of the reasons that he brought this up and one of the main points that was made when we voted to change our minutes to the summarized format was a question asked Mr. Capote; whether Council had changed their format and he said they had. A majority of Council does not approve of the shortened version and they have asked for the minutes to come back in the long version. Thatís important because of the fact that a lot of what we do goes to Council and if they are not satisfied with the summarized minutes of their own, I would not want to think that they would have to work with our summarized versions; they might feel "handicapped" with the shortened version of minutes.
Member Bonaventura understands that people do not like change, but thatís not the reason for not liking this. As far as lightening up the load on the Community Development Department, this staff is working in the public sector and they are being paid with taxpayersí dollars. This is the way it works. When the administration talks about their internal concerns with their own department and their problems and what would help them, the department should be talking to City Council about these things. If theyíre donít have enough staff, thatís up to the department head. Member Bonaventura stated that he doesnít think this body should be changing this and he would think differently if Council changed their minds and said they liked the shortened version. If they did, then thereís no use in us keeping the verbatim or near-verbatim version.
Member Weddington reported that she voted to support the abbreviated version of the minutes. She appreciated the effort to try and condense the volumes of paper. The person transcribing did an excellent job of capturing what went on in our meetings, but since then, several people have complained that when reading the summary version of the minutes, they canít follow what happened and they are missing some key information about our decisions. For that reason, because other people are relying on this information, Member Weddington will support the motion to revert back to the former method, but would continue to encourage the staff and administration to try and find ways to economize or shorten the minutes.
Member Capello stated that in the verbatim version, he finds confusion and he has been at the meetings. Theyíre not transcribed in detail, word for word, but in a verbatim summary. In reading those, he is confused on what the issues are, what was said, and what the positions are. Not only will the shortened version assist the department, but in summarizing the discussions, the reader should have a better understanding of what actually happened. We shouldnít say to do away with the condensed version, but letís give the department an opportunity to work with the condensed version, submit the minutes to us, and see if itís something thatís more readable to us. Thereís nothing to prevent anyone from asking that a specific issue be transcribed rather than having the entire meeting transcribed. To have the minutes transcribed verbatim all the time serves no purpose at all.
Member Taub stated that he was against the idea of the summary minutes and then, after a committee meeting, relented because the City Attorney Ďs office indicated that the summary version was sufficient for their needs. We need the verbatim minutes for lawsuits. We go through our bi-monthly ritual of correcting the minutes; we focus on the verbatim minutes, making sure theyíre entirely accurate. Now weíre going to summarized minutes where thereís been evidence of individuals who have spoken to us and made comments that arenít summarized at all. To avoid problems, we need to have the verbatim minutes that will memorialize what was said, that will refresh memories, and Member Taub believes that the City has the resources to pay typists to transcribe these minutes.
Member Hodges stated that the Commission approved the Procedures and By-Laws. Under Section 4, Minutes, "the minutes shall contain the following; a synopsis of the meeting. A complete restatement of all motions, points of consideration, a record of the outcome of commission votes, and the basis for such votes, a complete statement of the conditions or recommendations made on any action, a record of attendance." If the staff uses this as a checklist and makes sure that all of these points are addressed in the development of the minutes, nothing would be missing.
Member Hoadley reported that he has supported, from the very first meeting he attended, condensing the minutes and still does. To address Member Taubís concern, if and when the lawsuit is filed, we will always have the tapes; they can be transcribed for the entire meeting on an as-needed basis. That should address that problem. If the Council has specifics that they want to have addressed, they can also do the same thing -- on as needed basis. Member Hoadley would like to see this program stay in place for at least a few more months and agrees with Mr. Capello and Mr. Hodges that we ought to give it a fair shake.
Member Hoadley also pointed out that City Council has not disavowed themselves of this type of procedure and their decision does not necessarily binds us. We should look at this from a practical standpoint as we do have a problem on getting them done on a prompt basis. When we ask them to be done verbatim, we donít get them right away -- itís generally 30-40 days before we get the minutes. Audience participants brought up concerns and maybe we could compromise and go more verbatim on the audience participation. Ms. Roder made a point that some of her remarks werenít totally in the condensed version. We donít need to go verbatim on all our discussions and all the consultantsí discussions. The Commission should try this for a few months and see if the Planning Department can improve on the condensing of the minutes so we can continue this. He would challenge the Commissioners to see if they actually read every word on 100-page minutes. Why spend an extra $30,000 of City money to do something that can be accomplished by retaining the cassettes.
Member Mutch noted her support of the summary version earlier; however, thinks that we all have the opportunity when the minutes come back to say whether or not they accurately reflect not only what we have said individually, but the way a discussion is represented in terms of which points are emphasized or which points are included. When the minutes come back sooner, in whatever form, our memory will be that much fresher, that much closer to the event. We have the opportunity to make it as accurate a representation that we can even in the condensed form. We will find ourselves being more to the point and, in effect, summarizing the point weíre about to make or just attempted to make, because if you can condense it to a sentence or two, thatís what you want in the record. The Chair does an excellent job in summarizing the discussion and making the motion and, individually, we will begin to do that more frequently.
Dennis Watson: Donít let lawsuits govern how youíre going to do your minutes; it all depends on what youíre saying. If youíre saying things that are outrageous and are violating the peopleís property rights, the more detailed the minutes are, the more of a problem that is. All of your decisions should be expressed in the minutes in terms of what youíre deciding with a motion, the reasons for the motion, the substantive facts that have been presented to you that support those reasons, the manner in which those reasons relate to the ordinance standards that you have. Thatís what is essential to have in your minutes to support your decisions. Beyond that, it all depends on what youíre saying. Whoever is doing these minutes will find it a very difficult task. It may very well be that trying to do condensed minutes is as time consuming as doing the near verbatim minutes that youíre used to having.
Member Hodges: That may well be the case - that we donít save money and we donít save time, but what we may have is something that is easier for people to follow. Particularly people who were not able to attend the meeting because itís shorter, clearer, itís more concise. If someone wants to know if there was more behind a particular discussion, the tapes are there.
Member Capello: We get the minutes back and if weíre not satisfied with what they say, we do not approve the minutes, but send them back and say we would like to see more detail in specific areas before we approve the minutes. Or if we know that issues are going to "hot" with Council and they need more factual information in our minutes, we can send them back and ask that in this particular area we need factual detail. We can get what we need without having to have everything transcribed in detail.
Chairperson Lorenzo reported that many times she has stated that she prefers the verbatim version because the information is invaluable not only as a planning commissioner, but as an individual citizen in terms of a record to go back to. Itís not just a matter of approving the minutes and having to read everything thatís before us, itís if a question comes up in the future, she wants to have the opportunity to go back and read in a detailed form what an audience participant said or what a petitioner said. In Ms. Roderís case, her comments were abbreviated to one small paragraph and if you went back to that, you would not get out of that paragraph what Ms. Roder actually stated before us that evening. Weíre missing a lot; Iíd be missing a lot. While I very much respect and appreciate the Departmentís efforts and understand their reasoning, the old format is invaluable and I prefer it to the new.
PM-11-049-95 MOTION BY Bonaventura, SECONDED BY Taub to postpone decision on the Planning Commission Minutes until December 6, 1995. MOTION PASSED (6-2, Hodges, Mutch)
Dennis Watson: Point of clarification. Does that mean put it on the next meeting and then maybe youíll postpone it again?
Member Bonaventura: Postpone it until the next meeting, November 15, unless somebody here says theyíre not going to make it to the next meeting.
Member Hoadley reported he will not be at the next meeting, but would like to be able to participate in this important decision.
Member Capello stated he would like to postpone it for 90 days to give Administration the opportunity to work out some of the "bugs" they have. Weíre going to bounce back and forth with this because Iím not convinced that Administration canít prepare condensed minutes that are going to meet our satisfaction. Iím just trying to get the issue resolved once and for all rather than having it come back every 60 days.
Jim Wahl suggested waiting to see whether Councilís going to take formal action so we could have the same approach coordinated.
3. SPECIAL PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Schedule a special meeting on Wednesday, November 29, 1995, 7:30 p.m. to discuss various planning related items for possible approval.
PM-11-050-95 MOTION BY Weddington, SECONDED BY Bonaventura to schedule a Special Planning Commission Meeting for Wednesday, November 29, 1995. MOTION PASSED. (6-2, Taub, Capello)
Jim Wahl reported that the request for a work session is to prepare a Work Program and Budget Proposal for the coming fiscal year, and we need to have that information to the Administration in January. We have some documentation from the Planning Studies and Budget Committee that lays out a planning program over a five-year time frame. Weíre reorganizing, editing, and clarifying that report and we will request to bring those recommendations to the Special Work Session so that we could then get some direction from the entire Commission regarding what we should be looking at; not only for next yearís work program, but for projecting out for five years. We also have some left over reports from last fiscal year, final reports from the traffic consultant on the Ten Year Transportation Plan, a report on the zoning ordinance changes and amendments which we have not had the time to bring to the Commission. We are requesting the meeting to do that. Also, if the Commission has any non-site plan items it would like to put on for discussion, this would be an opportunity to do that. For example, review a proposed agenda for a joint meeting with the City Council.
Chairperson Lorenzo: In terms of the advance notice that Member Capello talked about earlier, is it feasible or practical to postpone this meeting? Or is it necessary, with your time frames, to have this meeting at this point in time?
Jim Wahl stated that the Department is ahead of schedule this year. This will be more of a brainstorming, idea session, and if a Commissioner couldnít be at the meeting, there wouldnít be a technical problem that we couldnít deal with at a future meeting.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION:
1. IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE REPORT
Report back from Implementation Committee, staff and consultants regarding possible amendments to the Light-Industrial District, pursuant to August 9, 1995 Planning Commission directive.
Chairperson Lorenzo reported that Greg Capote had a personal commitment this evening that prevented him from attending the Planning Commission Meeting this evening and facilitating an Implementation Committee Meeting. In his absence, he asked me to give the status report on the progress of the Implementation Committee regarding this item.
At one of the first meetings, the Implementation Committee brought forth a list representing the concerns that came out of that meeting:
1. Landscaping Requirements, Industrial Uses Adjacent to Residential, Reviewing the Comparison of Interlockís Proposal in terms of Landscaping, and Reviewing Landscaping Requirements for all of our zoning districts
2. Berm Height Requirements for Industrial Uses Adjacent to Residential District
3. Review of Permitted Uses and Uses Subject to Special Conditions within the I-1 District when they are Adjacent to Residential
4. Decibel Concussion and Vibration Levels and how they impact residential areas, reviewing through sound engineersí studies and possible preventative measures that may be utilized by landscaping and other materials
5. Emissions of Dust, Odor and Other Materials that are emitted from various business or manufacturing operations
6. Building Fires and Hazardous Materials, how they are related to what type of business and manufacturing operation
7. Setback Requirements and how they relate to building size and use and should they be increased
8. Alternative Building Materials for the Interior of the Structure that would prevent noise from being detected outside the building
9. Lighting Requirements, requirements in photo matrix and how theyíre addressed in other ordinances
10. MDOT and Highway Administration sound barrier techniques
This information has been forwarded to Mr. Rogers, Ms. Lemke, and Mr. Arroyo. They have given us various responses which we are in the process of reviewing and considering any type of possible actions that have any merit to them. Since this is a very serious and sensitive issue, the Committee feels that we should give it very thorough attention and this is why we have not come to any actual conclusions at this point.
2. PD-1 DELETION
Member Capello stated that he missed the last Planning Commission Meeting and the last Master Plan and Zoning Committee Meeting where the future of the PD-1 Option was discussed and action taken.
The Master Plan and Zoning Committee, through the Planning Commission, had just begun to gather information and begin debate on what to do with the PD-1 Option. Not only had we not completed the information gathering process, but we had no opportunity to review the information or to discuss or debate any alternatives to a complete deletion of the PD-1 Option. In essence, we did not have an opportunity to do any planning.
There were several other options available besides accepting the PD-1 Option as it stands or deleting it in its entirety. We could have taken the language of the Ordinance and amended the PD-1 language to address any specific concerns or specific problems that we had with the way the PD-1 Option had been used in the past. We have already sent a recommendation to City Council and apparently there is nothing we can do about that.
Member Capello reported that he had a discussion with Dennis Watson to try to figure out a way that we could do that consistent with Roberts Rules of Order. The only thing that Member Capello could think of is to make a recommendation to City Council that they postpone any debate or decisions on deletion of the PD-1 Option until the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and Planning Commission has an opportunity to conduct a more thorough investigation and study, and present the findings of that investigation and study to them.
Member Capello continued stating that it appears what happened is that a positive recommendation went to Council to delete the language in the Ordinance but, inconsistently and simultaneously, the matter was referred back to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for further research on alternative zoning districts for the area. It seems that if weíre researching alternative zoning districts, we should also be researching and looking at the problems that we perceive we may have with the PD-1 Option. The way that property lays out now, itís a small portion of RM-1 and a small portion of RA surrounded by park land, industrial, and commercial. Without the PD-1 Option, there isnít too much of a quality project that can go in there under the RM-1 and itís not in a location where it should be developed as RA.
Member Capello is asking if thereís any interest in recommending to City Council that they delay taking any debate or making any decisions on that issue until we can present them with a more thorough study.
Member Taub reported that it is his understanding that only City Council can make the change. Except for Preliminary Site Plans and Special Land Uses, weíre making recommendations which are not necessarily followed by the City Council. We were instructed to act within a certain amount of time and we made a recommendation.
Member Taub stated that the whole concept of a potential change originated at the City Council, not here. Councilman Rob Mitzel wrote a letter that the Committee read, and apparently Mr. Mitzel very aggressively endorsed the idea of reconsideration of that area for less dense use. That letter, along with the Council mandate, had influence on the Committee.
Member Taub continued: Weíre not eliminating this Option, it still exists. The ZBA would be the more appropriate body to address the specific problems that the developer has as opposed to us making recommendations as far as possible less dense planning for the area. Weíre the planning body, weíre not the rezoning body.
Member Hodges stated that the essence of what Member Capello is requesting is exactly what the first vote was. Member Hodges reported receiving verbal requests from the residents adjacent to the proposed site to walk the lot and talk to them before any further decisions are made on the development of that property. They are very concerned. We have already acted on Mr. Capelloís concerns and to send another recommendation would be trying to undo what we already did.
Member Hoadley stated that the problem is we had three meetings on this where we didnít have a full committee. We really didnít even know about this project until the last meeting and .....
Chairperson Lorenzo stopped Member Hoadley stating that the "project" has nothing to do with the decision to delete the PD-1 and does not want "the proposed project" to become the issue. The issue is whether or not PD-1 Option, as it exists today, is still good for the City of Novi. Thatís the question. It has nothing to do with the project. If Member Hoadley wishes to continue on the issue, the Chair requested that he stay to the issue and not to a proposed project.
Member Hoadley stated that the issue was whether we recommended to drop the PD-1 Option. We recommended to eliminate the PD-1 Option because of the sensitivity of the land. We also felt that it should be revisited by the Committee with more input from everybody, including the developer. Iím not prepared to change my vote on the PD-1, but the problem needs to be revisited and perhaps Member Capello makes a good point -- that we should revisit it in a way of suggesting that the Council take no action at this time.
Member Taub stated that this might be an appropriate topic for a Joint Meeting with the City Council at which time Mr. Galvin and his client could make a presentation to everyone involved.
Chairperson Lorenzo reminded Member Taub that he was bordering on the same thing. This is not about a project, this is about the PD-1 Option.
Member Capello said that the letter written by Mr. Mitzel was directed towards this property. The reason that the PD-1 Option came to light was because of the property. This property, and what Mr. Sassoon was doing with the property, resulted in the request from City Council for us to have a Public Hearing on the PD-1 Option, so we canít dissect the two and deal with the PD-1 Option as if itís not affecting this particular piece of property.
Member Capello continued: We, as the Planning Commission, would have more of an opportunity to work with the developer and get a project that will work on the property based on the layout of the property and the location of the property better if we had the PD-1 Option in front of us and available to us to work with. Taking that away, weíre very limited on what we can do with the property and how the propertyís going to turn out. With the limited RM-1 zoning and RA zoning, who knows what weíre going to end up with there. That was the point I was going to make -- keep the PD-1 Option in front of us until weíve discussed with the developer what he wants to do there and look at other alternatives. If we decide the PD-1 Option is not what we want there, then we can move forward with that, but if we have that taken away from us now, we canít go back to it.
Chairperson Lorenzo further clarified her position stating that any action that the Commission and Council takes affects a property. What the Chair is saying is it has nothing to do with a particular project. We may be looking at a piece of property or pieces of property or parcels, but what is before us is a Land Use decision. Itís not about a project; itís about an Option thatís on our Master Plan.
The question is, whatís best for the City of Novi and whatís best for those pieces of property that have the PD-1 Option on them. I donít want to give anyone the impression that this Commission takes this issue lightly or has acted hastily. The Committee had three meetings and Chairperson Lorenzo reviewed the minutes of those meetings. Also, Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Rogers presented various information on that property, the history, the zoning, the surrounding zoning. Two thirds of the Committee gave us a recommendation to delete. This Commission discussed the matter and debated the matter extensively that evening. I donít want to give anyone the impression that we acted in haste or that we didnít thoroughly think about what we were doing. I have to respect the majority opinion. I am not going to change my position on this.
Dennis Watson: Just a point of clarification as to the procedural posture of this. Obviously, the ultimate decision is one for the City Council as is any change to the Zoning Ordinance, whether itís a rezoning of a particular piece of property or text change to the ordinance. However, as with all amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, they require a Public Hearing by the Planning Commission and a recommendation by the Planning Commission. The issue, as raised by Commissioner Capello, is whether you want to revisit that recommendation. The opinion thatís been expressed is that the Commission may want additional information before it makes that recommendation.
Procedurally, there are two methods in Roberts Rules of Order for revisiting things. One is a motion to reconsider. Motion to reconsider has to be made at the same meeting as the original action, so the motion for reconsideration would not be appropriate. The other method is a motion to rescind which is not limited by time. Procedurally, thatís what youíre able to do if thatís what the Commission desires to do.
Member Taub stated that what would satisfy everybody, including the petitioner, would be a joint meeting with the City Council. Mr. Galvin can have his due process, he can address the overall zoning issue, and if the City Council wants to give direction to the Planning Commission at that time based on the information they hear from Mr. Galvin or anyone else, thatís better than us hastily regrouping and voting the other way.
Mr. Galvin again requested that the Commission reconsider action taken at the last meeting. Whatever basis there may have been for the vote to recommend the negative to the City Council has just eroded. Your sub-committee, in three separate voices, has said they would like to look at it. I suggest to you the process has fallen apart because of the way this started which was a letter from the City Council to the Planning Commission to act within 45 days. Thatís not the way itís supposed to be done. Thereís supposed to be a factual predicate, a basis for action, and I am sorry, Madam Chairperson, I think that youíre wrong. This project and itís proposal is inextricably tied to what is done with the PD-1 Option. I, therefore, ask that this body adopt one of the two suggestions made by a majority of your committee.
Andrew Mutch stated that he did not intend to address the PD-1 Option but wanted to reiterate again that he believes the correct decision was made. It put the process on hold, allows this Commission the time to focus on this issue, and to decide whether this is right. The Chair is right - whatís good for the City? In reviewing an Ordinance from another city, you can tell that this PD-1 Option is not giving us the best that we can have. Mr. Mutch respectfully disagrees with Commissioner Capello when he says, "I think we get the best projects if we have the PD-1 Option." There are options that can be explored. This project is sort of rushing its way through and to wait or hold off, this project is going to be through and thereís nothing to be discussed.
Mr. Mutch continued: You received information from Steve Cohen concerning a re-zoning request in Commerce Township. I donít expect this Commission to make any decisions today, but Commerce Township will be holding a Public Hearing on November 20 and itís important that this Commission examine that rezoning. The current request is for 40 acres of B-2 commercial, but in fact, there are 254 acres, which was noticed in the rezoning request. Thatís 254 acres of commercial. If thatís what you want you want coming down Decker Road, Haggerty Road, and 14 Mile Road, then you can let it go on by. We at least need to examine this issue and the residents of Novi deserve some attention on this issue. Itís not in our City, but we need to give it some attention.
Member Capello stated that he wasnít specifically saying that the PD-1 Option was going to work there. He said that itís possible that it could work there and that part of our discussion should be not deleting the PD-1 Option, but amending the language to make it work in a fashion that we want it to work. Perhaps the Committee can talk about it, if we get a joint meeting with City Council, and have some recommendations.
Chairperson Lorenzo: Member Capello, I respect your opinion, but I think we already went through that matter and unless the Commission wishes to entertain a motion at this time, weíre about to adjourn.
Member Taub suggested that Member Capello confer with the Chair about putting this on the agenda for a future meeting.
PM-11-051-95 MOVED BY Capello, SECONDED BY Mutch to recommend to City Council for a joint meeting to discuss the future of the PD-1 Option. MOTION FAILED (2-6, Taub, Weddington, Bonaventura, Hodges, Hoadley, Lorenzo)
Member Bonaventura pointed out that he had requested a joint meeting with City Council to discuss planning issues. We got a letter back from the Mayor saying weíll meet in August. Itís been almost two years since we had a joint meeting. Member Bonaventura is surprised that now weíre going to make a motion to have a joint meeting with Council.
Dennis Watson: If youíre following the elections, youíll see that several of the candidates are strongly suggesting having more joint meetings with the Planning Commission.
Steve Cohen stated that he works closely with the City Clerk on City Council agendas and there is a strong possibility that the PD-1 Option may be placed on the November 6 agenda. It may even be a mute point.
PM-11-052-95 MOTION BY Bonaventura, SECONDED BY Hodges to adjourn the meeting (11:15 p.m.). MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
Transcribed by Christine Gehler
January 3, 1996