CITY OF NOVI
REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER
45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
NOVI, MICHIGAN 48375
Meeting called to order at 7:40 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo
Chairperson Lorenzo: We do not have a quorum at this time, however, we do expect to have a quorum at 8:30 p.m.
PM-053-95 MOTION BY Weddington to recess for one hour and reconvene when additional Commissioners are expected to arrive.
There being no Second, the motion failed.
PM-054-95 MOTION BY Capello, SECOND by Weddington, to set the items on the agenda over to the next meeting, November 29, 1995. Motion failed (1-2)
Member Weddington: We have petitioners present and people have gone out of their way to come here this evening. Even though itís a long agenda, I believe most of the matters are fairly straight forward. Personally, I do not see anything too controversial on the agenda. My hope would be that we could get through it, even starting at a later hour, and finish the business this evening. I would like to go forward as much as possible at 8:30 p.m. or whenever we do have a quorum.
Member Capello: A fifteen minute delay is understandable, but beyond an hour is not understandable.
Chairperson Lorenzo: Mr. Cohen, what was the last ETA?
Mr. Cohen: The consensus was that since all three are involved in the same concert, they would be here no later than 8:30 p.m.
Chairperson Lorenzo: It would be my preference to continue this evening because we have a full schedule for our November 29 meeting. That is why we called this special meeting because we usually cannot get to those items during our regular meetings because of all the other items that take precedence. As Member Weddington pointed out, we do have petitioners that were scheduled and some of them are present at this time. Out of fairness to them and out of practicality, I would ask Member Capello to reconsider.
Mr. Cohen: We didnít know until about 4:45 p.m. whether or not we would have a quorum. We apologize for not getting back to all of the Commissioners. We had several people working on trying to find out whether or not people would be here and we feel we are going to have a quorum at 8:30 p.m.
Chairperson Lorenzo: The Chair will recess until 8:30 p.m.
ROLL CALL: Members Bonaventura, Hodges, Vrettas, Weddington, Chairperson Lorenzo
Absent/Excused: Members Hoadley, Taub, Capello (Member Capello was present at 7:30 p.m., but left the meeting before 8:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
PM-055-95 MOTION BY Member Weddington, SECOND BY Hodges to approve the agenda as it stands. Approved (5-0)
There was no audience participation at this time.
Mr. Cohen reported that there was one letter from the CSX Railroad to the City Planning Department regarding CellularOne antennae construction. "CSX has been advised that CellularOne proposes to construct a 120 foot monopole, 280 feet north of Grand River Avenue adjacent to CSX right-of-way, approximately 12 feet from the right-of-way line. The site is behind Haroldís Frame Shop at 44170 Grand River. Our understanding is that the pole will meet all applicable local and state building codes, including both wind and ice load conditions. CSX has no objections to this installation as the setback will not interfere with our operations. Please advise if there are any questions. Sincerely, T. F. Tippee, Senior Product Engineer, CSX Railroad."
1. Approval of the September 20, 1995 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes.
2. Prayer Mausoleum by the Pond, SP 95-47B. Property located north of Twelve Mile Road, east of Novi Road for possible Preliminary Site Plan approval.
PM-056-95 MOTION BY Member Weddington, SECOND BY Vrettas to approve the Consent Agenda.
Member Bonaventura stated he is going to vote against the Consent Agenda until we have the Minutes straightened out as far as abbreviated or near-verbatim.
Chairperson Lorenzo: On pages 28 and 32, with reference to LaReta Roder she is referenced to as "Ms. Order." Any place where Ms. Roderís name appears needs to be corrected.
PM-057-95 MOTION BY Vrettas, SECOND BY Weddington to approve the Consent Agenda as amended. Motion passed. (Yeas - 4, Nays - 1 (Bonaventura)
1. CELLULARONE ANTENNA & EQUIPMENT ENCLOSURE, SP 95-46A
John Crane: We are proposing to construct a 120 foot monopole antennae off of Grand River, adjacent to the CSX Railroad right-of-way, an industrial zoned piece of property. It will include the monopole antennae, the panel-type antennae on the top of it, and a 12x35 foot brick equipment enclosure at its base. It will be exactly like the structure that is behind the U.S. Post Office on Novi Road. Itís part of our infrastructure, part of our continuing project to provide cellular communications to Novi residents, to the region, and the interstate highway system that runs through it. It will be an unmanned structure visited twice a month by a van-like vehicle. There are no trucks, no semi-trucks, no railroad guards, or anything going to or from it during construction. We would like to request your permission to proceed with this project. We do have FAA approval and the CSX letter which was read into the record.
Brandon Rogers: This was the second submittal. I should point out that this is Special Land Use approval by City Council after your Public Hearing tonight and written recommendation to City Council. All preliminary application data on the site plan has been submitted, and the area for parking space and the access aisle are paved. They have a service vehicle parking space. At the time of Final Site Plan Review, after the Council lends Special Land Use, we will look at whatever landscaping is appropriate.
The equipment shelter building will be all brick with a slight gable roof, complying with the standards of the Facade Ordinance. I recommend Preliminary Site Plan Approval, contingent upon Special Land Use approval being granted by Council and further documentation from the CSX Railway on their consent. Such a letter has been received from CSX and it was read into the record tonight and with this finding, this case should go to the City Council for Preliminary Site Plan approval and Special Land Use approval, then to the ZBA for a variance because of the setback requirement. The Ordinance requires that the height of the tower is the distance from the perimeter property lines. You can recommend to the Council this course of action and leave it to the ZBA to take care of the distance requirement.
David Bluhm: We have reviewed the plan for CellularOne. We find that the applicant proposes a 292-1/2 square foot equipment building with a 125 foot high antennae and will be writing an ingress/egress easement for the leased area. There are no utilities proposed for the building or the antennae. It demonstrates engineering capability and we are recommending approval of the preliminary site plan.
Rod Arroyo: Everything is in order and we are recommending approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo: For the record, Iíd also like to note that we have a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department which states that "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
This is a Public Hearing and at this time we will open it up to the public for comments.
There being no public comments, Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Public Hearing.
Member Bonaventura: What is the area this antennae will cover?
Mr. Crane: Weíre anticipating about a three mile radius.
Member Bonaventura: Thatís normal for these types of antennas?
Mr. Crane: For this antennae at this location, thatís what weíre anticipating. The radius of coverage is controlled. We have antennas at Grand River to the west, one at Ten Mile behind the Epicure Restaurant, and one atop the Samuelson Office Development at 275 and Eight Mile. Previously, our antennas were handling about a nine mile radius, eighteen mile diameter. As we get demand, we shrink the cells, make them smaller, and put in more antennas.
Member Bonaventura: How many do you have in Novi?
Mr. Crane: I believe itís three for CellularOne.
Member Bonaventura: Does CellularOne share with Ameritech?
Mr. Crane: Originally we werenít allowed to speak to Ameritech about antennae uses because that was an anti-trust issue. In the last year and a half, the Federal Communications Commission has allowed a small percentage of shared uses of antennas. Closest to you is the one in Farmington Hills at the DPW yard; also at Mercy High School thereís a shared use antennae with both companies. PowerPhone is coming in with an application to share antennae space with us at our Ten Mile site. The answer is "yes," it is happening.
PM-058-95 MOTION BY Bonaventura, SECOND BY Hodges for a positive recommendation to City Council for Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approval on CellularOne Antennae and Equipment Enclosure, SP-95-46A subject to consultantsí recommendations and letters. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
Member Weddington: It looks to me, Mr. Rogers, like the antennae site is only 80-100 feet from the building. Iím concerned about the proximity of the tower to Haroldís Frame Shop building. Is this normal to put a tower so close to a building?
Mr. Rogers: There are a number of cases where CellularOne has put the tower adjacent to the building and the equipment shelter inside the building to save having to build a new equipment shelter. I suggested that to them, but they preferred to be remote next to the property line. Itís clear that Haroldís Frame Shop is leasing this spot to CellularOne; theyíre not buying it and are fully aware and will be aware when it goes to the ZBA of where its location is.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION:
1. Johnson Controls Container Reclamation Center, SP95-48
Don Anderson, Plant Engineer, Johnson Controls Container Reclamation Center: Weíre asking for Preliminary Site Plan approval for installation of a cooling tower on our property. We would like to reduce the amount of water that weíre using in our recycling process or recirculate the water. One of the things that occurs through the process is that heat is added to the water so, hence, we need a cooling tower to remove that heat so that we can recirculate it and reduce the amount of water that weíre using in our process. The cooling tower will be located on the south side of our building on the southwest corner of the building. It will be located in an area that currently has some silos and ancillary equipment. It will be nestled back behind some of this equipment. The height of the unit will be no higher than the existing building. The decibel levels that weíre received from the manufacturer of the equipment are within the Ordinance guidelines of the City of Novi for an I-1 District. The material that will cover the unit is a grey fiberglass corrugated material thatís consistent with the building.
Mr. Rogers: This equipment is behind the reclamation center building which is the building nearest Novi Road. They wish to build a 27 foot, 3 inch high cooling tower. The site is about 3-1/2 acres in size. In this particular area at the rear of the building, a number of silos were originally approved. Five of them were built and they are 30 feet, 10 inches high. The other building, next to the residential, is only 25 feet high. Just south of this site, there are two existing dust collecting bins, 17 feet high. You cannot see the site from Novi Road; there is a large berm and landscaping along Novi Road. Obviously, no off street parking changes are needed and we donít see any need to modify the previously approved landscape plan. I recommend preliminary site plan approval and stated that applicant should submit data on the color of the cooling tower exterior material.
Chairperson Lorenzo: We have a letter from William A. Conn, Fire Marshall, City of Novi, which states that "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following: (1) a revised hazardous chemical survey is to be submitted which pertains to chemicals to be brought on site by the contractors; (2) the hazardous chemical survey for the occupancy and telecon with Johnson Controls, Inc. indicates that the use of chemical additives in the cooling tower water is not currently planned."
Member Bonaventura: I assume water is brought into the tower that acts as a cooling mechanism.
Mr. Anderson: Essentially, how it works is the water is pumped into the tower and it rains down in the internal mechanism. Thereís a fan that pulls air through it to remove the heat from the water and then the water returns to the process after that point.
Member Bonaventura: Whereís this water coming from?
Mr. Anderson: This is currently City water that weíre using in our recycling process in order to wash the bottles at the plant.
Member Bonaventura: Has there been any changes inside your plant for you to require this cooling tower?
Mr. Anderson: No. Since the plant was built the economics of plastic recycling have changed rather significantly. Because of this, we have to look at new ways of cutting our costs and one of the ways is to reduce the amount of water that we use. In terms of our process changing, itís not process changes that are driving this as much as the economics of recycling and what it takes to run a business. Thatís why weíre looking to install this equipment.
Member Bonaventura: So this is another way of doing the same process.
Mr. Anderson: Weíre just looking to cut our costs by using less water.
Member Vrettas: I just want to understand the process. It sounds to me that what youíre saying is that in the past you brought in City water, washed the bottles and then the hot water went down the drain.
Mr. Anderson: Hot, relatively speaking, not boiling water.
Member Vrettas: The way you were solving your heat problem in the water was flushing it down the drain. What youíre now doing, if I understand you correctly, is youíre bringing the water in, going through a process of cooling the water, so you can then use it to wash some more.
Mr. Anderson: Yes, thatís what weíd like to do.
Member Vrettas: In essence youíre double/triple washing them so you can cut down the amount of water you use. No chemicals of any sort?
Mr. Anderson: Not in this water because that will be a closed loop system.
Mr. Vrettas: Number one of the Fire Marshallís letter, Revised Hazardous Chemical Survey. Whatís the purpose of this?
Mr. Anderson: The way I understood that is the Fire Marshall wanted to know if there would be any chemicals brought on site during the construction of this piece of equipment. We misunderstood how he wanted that filled out so we had to resubmit the application to him. There are no chemicals involved with the installation of this item; itís basically a structure and the unit itself that essentially bolt together.
Member Weddington: You mentioned the decibel level of the sound of this piece of equipment. You said that it does not exceed the industrial standard. Do you know what the sound level of this equipment will be?
Mr. Anderson: The manufacturer has given me data. The cooling tower itself is going to be located approximately 50 feet from the west property line which borders another Johnson Controls facility and is approximately 200 feet from the south property line. The way the information that we got from the manufacturer is the loudest area of this piece of equipment will be, the very top where the fan is located, 50 feet away from the fan, the noise level will be 70 decibels. The Ordinance, the way I understand it, is for light industrial during business hours, itís 75 and in the evening itís 70 decibels. This will be at 50 feet which will be adjacent to the Johnson Controls facility and we expect it to be even farther away from the south property line.
PM-059-95 MOTION BY Member Weddington, SECOND BY Hodges to approve Preliminary Site Plan subject to consultantsí recommendations for Johnson Controls Container Reclamation Center, SP95-48. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
Member Bonaventura: Whatís the closest residential to this?
Mr. Rogers: Itís on the other side of the other Johnson Controls building at least 250 feet. It may be shown on the site plan. If itís 200 feet from the south property line, which is zoned Office District (OS-1), itís a greater distance to the west to the residential zoning on the other side of the Johnson Controls Building.
2. METROCELL SECURITY, SP95-49A
Mr. Seiber: The plan you have before you this evening is a corner that youíre very familiar with; the corner of Novi Road and Ten Mile Road. Itís the gas station thatís been there for several years. What is proposed is a cellular telephone store for sales and installation of telephones in automobiles. Th site currently has four driveway connections; two on Novi Road and two on Ten Mile Road. As part of this proposal, we intend to delete one driveway on Novi Road and one driveway on Ten Mile Road. In addition, thereís fairly extensive areas of pavement which are planned to be removed. The existing right-of-way for both Novi Road and Ten Mile Road is 43 feet for the half width. In other words, from the center line of the road to the edge of the right-of-way is 43 feet. We have proposed a sidewalk to be constructed along Ten Mile Road at that 43 foot right-of-way line; however, the existing 43 foot right-of-way line along Novi Road ends only about four feet from the back of the curb. Therefore, there is insufficient room at this time to construct that sidewalk along Novi Road. In discussions with the owner, heís indicated he is unwilling at this time to donate that land to the Oakland County Road Commission or to the City or to donate a public easement for that purpose.
Mr. Rogers: A dozen proposals have been made for this site and now we have a use thatís permitted in a B-3 District. Formerly a gas station, possibly with some land takings for the intersection, the site became less than an acre, so itís deficient for a gas station site today. The only application data missing is the sidewalk along Novi Road.
The existing building complies with B-3 setback requirements. Concerning off-street parking, I conclude that eleven spaces, including one handicap space are needed. Nineteen are shown on the plan including the one required handicap space. Off-street loading and unloading is designated on the plan and thereís a dumpster with screening gates shown in the back yard. In a B-3 District, thereís a requirement for a 10-foot green space around all four perimeter sides of a site plan. These are shown on the property. However, the Master Plan of the County and City projects both Novi Road and Ten Mile Road to have 120 foot right-of-way. Apparently, they have but 86 feet of right-of-way today. Were those rights-of-way be required in the various road improvement programs, the proposed ten foot green space it would become deficient and so I suggested that if we eliminated three of the nineteen spaces, still beyond the required number of parking spaces, you would have the desirable green space setback if the full right-of-ways is provided.
On the Conceptual Site Plans, Iíve been watching the building deteriorate. Itís a very unsightly cinder block building. Plain cinder block is not permitted in a B-3 District and this building is made of cinder block. All they are going to do is paint it. The plans indicate that the existing metal fascia would be used, but the plans are not correct because thereís no existing metal fascia over the front of the building today. Itís difficult for me because theyíve boarded up the building and I want to be put on the record that when the final site plan comes in, Iím going to have a very good memory of these plans and what I think I recall the building looking like because it may not comply with the Facade Ordinance. This is something thatís reviewed at the time of Final Site Plan Approval. I recommend Preliminary Site Plan Review subject to reconsideration of a sidewalk. I have discussed this issue with applicant and urged him to see the wisdom of it.
Mr. Streight: Considering the existing, proposed and previous areas, the existing areas are significantly greater than was proposed and the storm water runoff will be less than existing and since they are not altering the overall site, thereís no more detention required. Weíd like to see a placed right-of-way line which is proposed with either the right-of-way granted or an easement provided. We are not in a position to require that as a condition of this approval. We have recommended approval of the preliminary site plan.
Mr. Arroyo: There will be an improvement to this site from a traffic perspective with the reduction from four total curb cuts down to two which we would recommend and are glad to see in the plan. Weíve indicated that there currently is a right turn lane on Novi Road to serve this property as well as the right turn from Novi Road to westbound Ten Mile Road.
Thereís also center turn lanes on both Novi Road and Ten Mile Road, however, weíve noted the access point onto Novi Road and its close proximity to Ten Mile is such that we would recommend that there be no left turns inbound from Novi Road into this particular site because you would essentially be using the same center turn lane as southbound traffic on Novi Road is using to turn to go eastbound on Ten Mile.
We have provided an estimate of trip generation although this use does not specifically fall under the categories in the Trip Generation Manual. It appears to be most similar to an automobile care center where stereo installation might occur for example. A similar building of this size would be expected to generate less than 30 peak hour trips and less than 300 trips over a 24 hour basis. Internal circulation appears to be acceptable, therefore, we are recommending approval of the preliminary site plan.
Chairperson Lorenzo: For the record, Iíd like to note that there is a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain, City of Novi Fire Department which states that "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
Member Hodges: On the turning lane on Novi Road, I would like to have some recommendation as to what type of signage we can put there to deter people traveling north on Novi Road from trying to turn left (west) into the parking lot of this facility.
Mr. Arroyo: Iím recommending that be prohibited and that would be done through signage at the driveway.
Member Hodges: Mr. Seiber, what is behind the boards Brandon Rogers referred to?
Mr. Seiber: Iím not certain. We can set up a meeting with Brandon Rogers at the site and pull those boards off and see whatís under there.
Member Hodges: On the sidewalk, do you think that thereís any way we can get that sidewalk on Novi Road?
Mr. Seiber: Thereís only about four feet from the back of the curb to the right-of-way line and the owner at this time, does not appear to be interested in dedicating either additional right-of-way or public easements for that purpose. Unless you wanted to put in a four foot wide walk right at the back of the curb, thatís the only alternative at this point.
Member Hodges: What about Brandon Rogersí recommendation to delete three of the parking spaces?
Mr. Seiber: I believe that requirement is a ten foot green space from the existing right-of-way line. If the county or the City ever did purchase the additional 17 feet of right-of-way to move it back to the 60 foot right-of-way line, we would simply delete these end spaces. We have more than enough parking and the reason we havenít deleted these is because we think we need the additional parking, but also itís already existing pavement. We didnít see a need to delete it until the taking or the deeding of that right-of-way occurs. The other point to be made here is we think this building is a temporary situation. As you can see, thereís a substantial amount of property remaining to zone commercial. We think the building will end up being demolished and a higher use of that property would be made. We donít believe this is going to be a permanent condition.
Member Hodges: Itís a good plan. We need to do something to improve that corner.
Member Vrettas: I, too, would like to see something put there because itís an eyesore and I have no problem with wanting to do something about it. There is one thing that I am concerned about. This was a gas station and are the tanks still in the ground?
Mr. Seiber: No, they are not. If you walk the site you can see thereís test wells scattered all over the site. Thatís because over the years they have been attempting to receive a final closure from the Department of Natural Resources for removal of contaminated soil. And, as I understand it, they have received that final approval from the DNR. So the tanks are gone.
Member Vrettas: I support Mr. Rogers on the sidewalk. There are a lot of kids in this area and thatís an area where you have high traffic and Iím concerned about the fact that there isnít a sidewalk there. Iíll have trouble approving this without a sidewalk.
Dennis Watson: Unfortunately, the sidewalk is not something that weíre able to require. There is a provision in the Site Plan Manual that when you have a project along a major road like this, one of the requirements is a five foot sidewalk. However, weíre only able to enforce that where there is existing right-of-way to physically put the sidewalk. Thatís the problem in this case - the existing right-of-way isnít there and one of the things you canít do is require the property be deeded or conveyed to the county in order to do that. Unfortunately, under those circumstances and the nature of the site and the limited amount of right-of-way that the county has there, it canít be a requirement.
Mr. Rogers: We have Main Street going in where thereís a sidewalk directly adjacent to a curb. Could a four foot concrete sidewalk be provided? I donít see why it canít be with a one foot waiver by Council of construction standards and we put in a sidewalk four feet wide adjacent to the curb.
Dennis Watson: I would suggest that if you propose to do that, that you have the matter reviewed by the Department of Public Works and Director of Public Safety because of concerns of sidewalks close to the road in terms of the maintenance requirements and liability of doing that. One of the things we found is that in terms of liability for problems with ice, etc., youíre not liable for the natural accumulation but you can be liable for exacerbating that and thatís been the Departmentís concern in the past because the plow trucks are going to go by there and toss the road salt and snow from the road right on there. If the Commission is inclined to ask for that limited four foot sidewalk, that would be subject to the review by that Department.
Member Bonaventura: Mr. Rogers, the landscaping plan comes in at final?
Mr. Rogers: Yes, itís optional that they bring it in at preliminary.
Member Bonaventura: Whose option is it as far as the preliminary - the petitionerís or ours?
Mr. Rogers: Itís optional for the petitioner. In the Site Plan Manual it says it may be submitted, but it doesnít have to be.
Member Bonaventura: As soon as I saw this, I said to myself, "I hope this is temporary." I wouldnít think that a piece of property would be used like this for very long. Itís not a very efficient way to use this piece of property and itís not very attractive either. Itís more attractive than what we have right now, though.
Iím concerned about the landscaping. Whatís the purpose of all that green there? Is that just to show you where the parking lot is, or is that going to be sodded or seeded? Right now we have all asphalt and gravel on that property, correct?
Mr. Seiber: Yes, most of the front area now is paved.
Member Bonaventura: The back is gravel and/or dirt?
Mr. Seiber: Yes.
Member Bonaventura: The purpose of the green color there, does that signify "greenness?"
Mr. Seiber: Yes, "greenness" is what is proposed here. Itís graphically to show you the areas that are being paved and the areas that are going to be lawn or landscaped areas. The site plan certainly isnít the landscape plan and there will be plantings and trees provided along the front, but weíre not certain of that design at this point. It will be either lawn or planters.
Member Bonaventura: When a motion is made and when discussion is over, I would like to see this Final come back specifically to review the landscaping because thereís not much there. Weíre basically keeping what weíve got, a little bit of paint here and there, and Iím really interested in the overall quality of the site and the esthetics of it.
PM-060-95 MOTION BY Bonaventura, SECOND BY Hodges to approve preliminary site plan for Metrocell Security, SP95-49A subject to consultantsí recommendations and conditions and for this to come back for final approval.
AMENDMENT TO THE MOTION by Member Vrettas to require the four foot sidewalk subject to review and concurrence with the Department of Public Works.
MOTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY (5-0)
Member Bonaventura: Talking about the four foot sidewalk, Iíll go along with it and see what the DPW says.
Member Vrettas: I donít like it either, but itís better than nothing.
Member Weddington: I share all the concerns that have been raised tonight, including the sidewalk and traffic control. I do share Member Hodgesí concern about the signs. I want to look for whatever method would strongly discourage left hand turns.
In spite of all the concerns and minimal improvement here, it still is an improvement and Iím happy that thereís no fast food going in. I will support this and hope that we see further improvement in the not too distant future.
3. THE HALL GROUP, SP95-50
Mr. Lee Mamola, Mamola Associates, Architects. With me tonight is Mr. Dickson Hall, from The Hall Group, the owner and applicant of the project. The project is a development of a five acre parcel on the north side of Grand River, west of Haggerty. It includes three buildings on the parcel and a phasing in of each building. Each building will stand on its own and Iíd like to walk you through the concept and layout of the site.
Phase I, or Building B, consists of 80 per cent of the floor area devoted to shop area and 20 per cent devoted to office area. Itís a manufacturing/warehouse type of use. In Phase I, the building would be developed as well as all the required parking for that building and only curb cut on to Grand River, and loading/unloading, and then an egress out of the site. One of the peculiar characteristics of this site is that we obviously have Grand River frontage, but for two other sides we have easements which exist and have been in place for some period of time which allow vehicles on this property to egress out through an existing boulevard arrangement back on to Grand River. The on-site circulation and related storm drainage would occur in Phase I to handle itself on its own.
Phase II, or Building A, is essentially an office building which would have a little bit of high bay or research type area; somewhat of a "flip" of the original Building B, in terms of its devoted use. The parking areas have been calculated for an office use as if it were totally an office use, so there is more parking devoted on this site than you might see normally for a given square footage if it were a manufacturing warehouse. This building has a somewhat peculiar footprint and will have a more interesting facade when it gets built. We feel we have a unique opportunity here with this functioning as a corner intersection allowing the public visibility from several sides. On the east end we have somewhat of a very mild sawtooth shaded effect to give an architectural relief to this part of the facade. We felt it important that the front entry to the site, as well as treatment up and down Grand River, become a front courtyard. Weíre looking for entry relationships across from one another to each building. What evolved in the shape and form, partially due to the angle of Grand River, was a straight wall of office glass, but then a very long radius canopy to provide some protection to the glazing of the building. We have a rather jagged footprint, but when you look at it architecturally and look at the facades, thereís a long sweeping radius that ties in this as one more or less streamline type of look. Continuing from there the footprint picks up as much more of a traditional office-type look, single story office look.
The final building, Building C, the smallest building, is about 10-11,000 square feet, predominantly figured to be warehouse space, very low need for vehicle traffic. Itís our intention that the parking that is generated by the employees, tenants, and people that work on this site would be worked in such a way that they are instructed to exit off either side and customers would exit off Grand River.
We are asking your approval of a greenbelt waiver. We are deficient by approximately 600 square feet of a ten foot greenbelt, part of Phase I. As a trade-off for that, we have about 1,200 square feet over and above adjacent to the building and that serves a better purpose to put the green area there instead of having the parking abut right up against the mason facade part of that wall. It would give trucks coming into the loading area an opportunity to take advantage of a larger turning radius.
This site, per the Cityís Storm Water Master Plan, allows drainage to occur without retention. When initially submitted, the site indicated that. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, there are problems with drainage a mile or two away that would prevent or cause further aggravation. We are proposing detention. There was communication between our engineers and JCK; detention can be readily accommodated. The plan itself is very straightforward, the only thing we need is your waiver on the greenbelt that was discussed.
Brandon Rogers: This is the first time the plan has been submitted. There were some pre-app conferences. This is a very difficult site and adjusting the parking and phase lines was no small job. Itís three industrial buildings, totaling 64,000+ square feet on a five acre site, zoned I-1. All application data are provided. The buildings comply with I-1 District setback standards. They show, to the credit of the developer, the 120 foot proposed right-of-way adjacent to which a sidewalk is proposed and show the 40 foot setback of buildings beyond that line.
Iíve computed the parking based upon primary use identified by applicant in the schedule here, concluding they need 174 spaces including six handicap. These are more than provided on the site. Off-street loading and unloading space is properly provided at the rear of the buildings. Also, the parking in front of Building B complies with special standards for parking in an I-1 District.
The green space setbacks of 10 feet are all provided except for a 62 foot stretch at the north parcel line which weíve discussed and applicant has shaded on the site plan. There is a shaded double area, 1,247 square feet, for perimeter landscaping adjacent to the building which is a new trend that I would like to encourage to enhance some of these rather stark masonry buildings and paved parking lots
The Landscape Plan would be reviewed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. Iíve noted the five foot sidewalk thatís being provided for which an easement of access presumably will be provided.
On the Conceptual Facade Plans, they show face brick, patterned masonry units. I have asked for a discussion session on what this patterned masonry unit is to see if it will be an acceptable facade material per the Facade Ordinance.
In summary, I recommend approval of the Preliminary Site and the Phasing Plan subject to the waiver by this Planning Commission of that small green space re-allocation and a condition that before they submit the Final Site Plan we have a look at the material being used on the facade.
David Bluhm: The buildings are to be constructed in three separate phases. The site has three access points; one from Grand River Avenue, one from the existing drive to the east, and one from the existing drive at the rear of the site containing 178 parking spaces with six handicap spaces included. Water supply and waste water disposal will be handled by existing utilities around the site and the existing storm sewer on Grand River is not sufficient to handle the storm water. Applicant will required to provide detention and has provided us with a plan depicting the areas where he intends to have detention; that is along the areas of Grand River, as he has stated, and any few small areas contained within the parking area. With those comments, we recommend approval of the Preliminary Site Plan.
Rod Arroyo: There are three primary points of access to this project; one new driveway on Grand River, two driveways to private internal drive systems. Thereís also a fourth access point which appears just to be a service access point towards the south end, fronting onto the boulevard area and we have indicated in our letter weíd like to hear more about exactly how thatís going to function. Iím still looking for more information on that area. We indicate that the northerly access point onto the internal system is wider than is normally allowed, but this is not a public road access and the reason for the extra width is because of the proximity of the truck service bays and it doesnít appear to be a problem. Itís not a high traffic area.
From a trip generation standpoint, an industrial project of this size can be expected to generate about 440 average trips per day. Peak hour trips would be about 60 trips during the A.M. and P.M. peak hours. Industrial uses are generally not heavy traffic generators. In terms of improvements, Grand River already has a center turn lane in place. There would need to be a deceleration and acceleration taper for the new access point on to Grand River that should be shown on the Final Site Plan. We would also recommend that the median break at the northerly driveway be widened to improve ingress/egress in that area and thatís something that can be taken care of at Final Site Plan. We are recommending approval subject to our comments and further exploration of the function of that service drive at the south end of the site.
Chairperson Lorenzo: I would like to note that we have a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department which indicates that "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
PM-061-95 MOTION BY WEDDINGTON, SECOND BY VRETTAS to approve the Preliminary Site Plan and Phasing Plan for The Hall Group, SP 95-50 to include a green space waiver subject to consultants recommendations. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY (5-0)
Member Hodges: Mr. Mamola, could you tell us the elevation of Building A from Grand River?
Mr. Mamola: One of the problems we have in trying to represent graphically this building is the sweeping fascia in the front. You will see the arch as you head eastbound on Grand River and you also begin to see it just as you get to the front of the building.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION:
1. CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF COMMERCE - REZONING PETITION
Steve Cohen: Andrew Mutch is in the audience tonight and he had brought this to my attention. Commerce Township is looking at re-zoning about 40 acres of office and multi-family land to B-2 Commercial. The property is located north of Fourteen Mile Road, west of Haggerty Road. On November 9, 1995, I talked to Commerce Township Planning Director Bill Brownfield and he informed me of four things which are in my letter. The applicant wishes to re-zone the property to build the multi-screen theater complex and possibly future office buildings. The site has a lot of wetlands, they figure only about 20 acres can be used. Even though the zoning petition is contrary to their Master Plan, the Township is currently working on redoing their Master Plan and making that B-2. Even though they had not issued their report, he verbally expressed that they were in support of the re-zoning petition.
Some concerns from a planning aspect for the Commission is traffic onto Haggerty Road. Substantial commercial, equivalent to the West Oaks Shopping Center, will be in that area in the next five years. Obviously, you canít control that but you might want to be involved in the process.
Brandon Rogers: You already have on the other three corners of Haggerty and Fourteen a collection of commercial uses second to none. The northeast and southwest corners are in West Bloomfield Township. We have resisted proliferating commercial in Novi limiting it strictly to that one acre gas station site and the First of America Bank to the west is an office district. The Council, on at least two occasions, has not rezoned any more commercial. This is becoming a major impact point and as you drive up Haggerty to Maple, youíve got a major traffic impact and Rod Arroyo and I are going to be concerned. When they extend M-5 up to Pontiac Trail, the trafficís going to go on Pontiac Trail. The entire southeast quadrant of Commerce Charter Township is in for a lot of problems and they donít need all this land to put a theater complex. It looks speculative to me and hundreds of acres going commercial may be premature.
Chairperson Lorenzo: Specifically on the City of Novi, what implications could there be?
Brandon Rogers: Itís certainly going to cause heavy traffic on 14 Mile past the Maples of Novi and Beech Walk Apartments and maybe the Andris-Romain Restaurant. Fourteen Mile has access to M-5 and Haggerty is going to be a nightmare, even with M-5.
Rod Arroyo: One comment I would make is "yes, itís going to add more traffic," but I would prefer to see, if youíre going to zone something commercial, a use like this than more retail because one advantage to constructing something like a theater complex is at least a theater generates traffic primarily during off-peak times. People go there in the evenings and on the weekends. Theyíre not going there in rush hour like you would if you were going to a retail strip center. That is one advantage if youíre going to go commercial. The other thing worth noting is that the recent news that MDOT is going to dedicate the funding to construct M-5. At least there are some improvements coming to that area which will include the widening of 14 Mile Road between Haggerty and M-5.
Member Bonaventura: Mr. Cohen, did somebody request that this be put on our agenda?
Steve Cohen: Yes, the Chairperson.
Member Bonaventura: This gets into regional planning and Novi hasnít been a real champion of regional planning. Iím basically concerned within our borders. I hear that our wonderful high density development called Maples of Novi would like some commercial on the corner of 14 and Decker. Iím sure weíll be less concerned about that than we are about what our good neighbors are doing. I am hesitant of offering any input to other communities, especially this particular area with what Iíve perceived to be shameful what we have done with the density in that area. I think we sent a letter last time to this Township offering our opinion. Iím sure they really appreciated that. In the big picture, I truly believe in a perfect world where regional planning would work, is proper, but this is a community that decided they werenít interested in mass transportation, which is very important for a solid foundation for a metropolitan area. In a perfect world, I would say it would be right for us to offer comments, but in the real world, I donít really see how we could.
Member Vrettas: I agree with Member Bonaventura. I like the idea of regional planning. Is that some decision that was made by Council? Iím asking out of curiosity because I donít know why we donít get involved in regional planning.
Jim Wahl: I believe the City has official representation on SEMCOG and has participated over the years as a voting member of that organization and has supported it to the extent that weíre involved in that type of activity. I would also point out for the benefit of the new commissioners that we have over a period of years invited, encouraged, and listened to input at this body from a number of our neighboring communities including Northville Township, City of Wixom, Lyon Township, Farmington Hills. Weíve had residents parade to the microphone and give testimony. Weíve had planning commissioners deliberate that input in their decisions and Novi has gone out of its way to take comments from other communities and weigh them at the same level as if they were our own citizens. I think that historic record would show that to be true and when the Department has brought these matters to your attention, it has been with the recognition that our community has taken our neighbors very seriously. We had commissioners who made arrangements to meet with other communities and, therefore, we thought it was appropriate that we should have the same concern of whatís going on in our borders. We have consistently informed you and offered you the opportunity to do the same thing that other communities have done vis-a-vi the City of Novi.
Brandon Rogers: Under the Township Rural Zoning Act, we have a provision for a County Coordinating Zoning Committee and it obligates townships to submit proposed re-zoning plans to adjacent communities or if they donít do it voluntarily, the County Coordinating Zoning Committee sends the file to the adjacent communities. Legally, would this be a matter that we have a right to comment on because itís a township?
Dennis Watson: Without reviewing the Zoning Enabling Statute for Townships, I canít answer that question. I know it provides for County review, but I donít know if it mandates that specific input.
Brandon Rogers: Iím wondering why Oakland County didnít refer this matter to the City. Why did it take Mr. Mutch to do it?
Dennis Watson: I suspect that it relates to the order that it is done. My recollection was that it went through the Township process first and then it was referred to the County for review. The broader question that you asked, about regional planning, relates to the fact that those provisions for County review only apply to Townships. As most communities develop they tend to incorporate to become cities and the real power in how zoning is going to occur in those communities is on the local level and that authority has been jealously guarded by the communities. The legislatureís not seen fit to disburse that at a broader level. It cuts both ways. It reduces your local control.
Member Vrettas: Iím for local control but there are times when working together as a team you develop a win-win situation and thatís why regional planning to me can be a win-win situation.
Chairperson Lorenzo: It doesnít look like the Commission would like to take any action on this matter.
Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Court: The reason I brought this forward is because I thought it was important. The initial rezoning notice was for an area that was about a half section. I had a chance to attend the Commerce Township Planning Commission Workshop. The petitioner came forward and presented his plans. Itís a 12-screen, United Artists Multi-Theater Complex. In addition, there is the Newberry Shopping Complex right on the corner and then further up Haggerty is a Target. Already approved next to Target is Home Depot and the developer who controls almost all of that land in Section 36 has plans for about half a dozen more Big-Box stores.
Itís surprising for me; I saw what we went through with the Novi Place at 8 Mile and Haggerty and all the concerns over traffic. Here we have a Township essentially dropping in about a half dozen Big Boxes and the movie theater, apartments and all the traffic. As a Township, they have no responsibility for improving the roads - thatís entirely on the Road Commission. We know where the Road Commissionís going with roads; theyíre lucky if they can get them plowed two days after the last snow storm. Weíre crossing our fingers for Haggerty Road improvements and M-5. I think we should at least let them know that those are concerns.
In addition to the traffic, youíre going to have drainage which is going to go south into Novi. Youíre going to have the impact of all that commercial south into Novi. As far as the last time you commented, you did comment on a rezoning petition for multiples in that area and if Mr. Hoadley was here, he could affirm this. That the residents directly affected by that in Commerce Township were strongly opposed to that rezoning. They came out in mass against that rezoning and although itís almost late in the game here, I think that if this Commission had come out strongly in opposition to that, that could have been influential.
Weíve talked about Maples, the zoning density and the type of development going on across Fourteen Mile as far as their residential is twice the density of Maples. At least in Novi weíre paying our way. We pay to widen Decker Road to five lanes and alleviate that traffic. Theyíre not doing that in Commerce; youíre not going to see the road improvements in Commerce. As far as their sophistication, as far as their Planning Commission goes, itís not at the level you are. Theyíre probably about fifteen years back. They donít have a woodlands ordinance in Commerce, they donít have a wetlands ordinance. Youíre not going to see the type of improvements you saw at the Novi Place Complex where the developers going to bring in an extra lane along Haggerty or along Fourteen Mile. Itís just not going to happen. We have to be aware that things donít end at our border. If weíre going to think regionally, then we also have to think about those regional impacts. If it was the Commerce Township Landfill, and the residents were out here saying "say hell no to that," I think youíd would be sending a negative recommendation. Iím not saying meddle - just let them know what your concerns are.
Chairperson Lorenzo: Thank you Mr. Mutch and we do appreciate you bringing this to our attention.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION CLOSED
PM-062-95 MOVED BY WEDDINGTON, SECOND BY BONAVENTURA to adjourn the meeting 10:18 p.m. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY (5-0)
Transcribed by Christine Gehler
December 15, 1995