WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.


(810) 347-0475


Meeting called to order at 7:34 P.M. by Chairperson Lorenzo.



PRESENT: Members Bonaventura, Bononi, Hoadley, Hodges, Vrettas, Weddington, Chairperson Lorenzo



ABSENT/EXCUSED: Member Capello



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








PM-11-063-95 MOVED BY Vrettas, SECOND BY Weddington to remove Item #3, Evangelista Property - Environmental Impact Study from the Agenda. MOTION PASSED (7-0)





Member Hoadley stated his opposition to the motion. A report is in our packet in regards to the environmental study costing $15,000 and maybe this should be remanded back to the Town Center Steering Committee for further evaluation and recommendations from them. There are some things regarding current zoning on the property that should be discussed at that level and further study should be done on it.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Wahl if this item was up for discussion at the next Town Center Steering Committee Meeting.


Mr. Wahl stated it could be put on the agenda.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if she was correct in understanding that the additional information that Member Hoadley is alluding to is going to be discussed at that meeting.


Mr. Wahl stated that was correct.

Chairperson Lorenzo stated that if we postpone this information, in terms of the Planning Commission, we will already have gone to the Steering Committee and be back here again.


Mr. Hoadley asked if the intent was to postpone indefinitely.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated it could be brought back when itís ready or it can be postponed until the next meeting.


Dennis Watson: You donít have to postpone it, you can remove it from the agenda. The Chair and the Planning Department are ready to put it on the agenda.


Mr. Wahl: I want to draw your attention to the report you referred to earlier. We were not able to complete it until today because we were having some continuing discussions that related to this matter. I did prepare a report that was in the packet and would ask that you read it over and that is some of the information that we thought would be helpful for this evening. Weíll send that on to the Steering Committee as well.


















Mr. Wahl thanked the Commissioners for scheduling this Special Work Session. On occasion, there have been suggestions that the Planning Commission should be doing more planning and this Commission has made a substantial involvement and investment in time and effort in Master Planning, Thoroughfare Planning, and other aspects of planning the community.


This is the first chance that Rod Arroyo will have had to review one of our most valuable and helpful reports in terms of road planning; the Ten Year Transportation Improvements Program.


The three items we would like to go over with you that are products of last yearís work program are:


(1) The Ten Year Transportation Improvements Program is an implementation mechanism of the Master Plan and Thoroughfare Plan. Itís going one step beyond the basic thoroughfare planning of the community and talking about projects. Itís part of the programming of road bond issues and the future giving us our first real consideration of costs and expectations and awareness of what the future holds.


(2) The Zoning Ordinance Update. We discussed this and have been through this thoroughly with you in some of the past reviews. This is not just a reporting opportunity, this is generating ideas. All of these items, past, present, and future, were put together as a team effort of staff, consultants, committee work and the Planning Commission.


Mr. Wahl also pointed out in the Zoning Ordinance Update that it was really a two part process. Part of the work was completed as of the first July. That work could go forward as it was prepared, but Council did authorize an additional amount of time and effort to deal with some other matters and we will be doing that. Brandon Rogers will handle that report this evening.


(3) The Master Plan 1995-2000. This is a summary outline of a five year planning program. Itís written as a summary of what those findings and recommendations are. A second part of that is a resource document that we put together. Thereís nothing in here that you would have needed to have had previously in terms of being able to understand the recommendations or information received in the other document. Itís intended to give you a better idea of the types of materials that were studied and looked at. Itís a compilation of background information and, hopefully, it will provide Commissioners with a better idea of where these ideas came from.




You have in your packet a draft copy of the Ten Year Transportation Improvements Plan. The City of Novi prepared its first Ten Year Transportation Improvements Plan in 1989. This was the year following the adoption of the Master Plan and Thoroughfare Plan from 1988. That document, just as this document, was intended to identify road improvements that are expected to be needed over the next ten year horizon. The City was able to use that document to prepare a list of road improvements that were included in the Road Bond Program that was presented to the voters and eventually funded a number of road improvements that have been built and are still in the process of being constructed.


Iíd like to briefly go over what the Ten Year Transportation Improvements Plan is intended to do; its primary goals, and then go over the individual improvements that have been identified. I should point out that this report was prepared by our office, but we were also assisted by JCK and Associates who provided us with the cost estimates that are within this report.


The primary goals of the Ten Year Transportation Improvements Plan are:


1. To collect existing traffic data thatís been generated over the past few years, including individual traffic studies for new developments.


2. To gather comments from various City Departments with concerns about traffic flow within the City. We solicited comments from the Department of Public Services, the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Planning Department, the City Manager, City Consultants, and others. They were all given an opportunity to identify improvements they felt were needed and also to give an indication of the importance of those improvements.


3. To gather data generated in the Cityís Thoroughfare Plan.


4. Analyze data and comments received.


5. Develop a listing of road improvements necessary to meet anticipated demands over the next 10 years and to write them down by category. We ended up identifying them by road jurisdiction and also breaking them down further into major improvements and minor improvements. Minor improvements being those that are under $100,000 to construct.


6. Organize this report for presentation to the Planning Commission and City Council.


This information is the culmination of this effort. I would like to turn to the road improvements themselves in order to try to get through all the various items that you have on your agenda this evening.


Rod Arroyo referred to a map representing in graphic form the road improvements that are identified in the summary and update. We have identified $116 million worth of road improvements that are necessary or anticipated to be necessary over the next 10 years. This $116 million figure is representative of construction costs only; it does not include engineering costs, right-of-way acquisition costs, etc. The total amount of money that will be needed for these improvements to be constructed will be substantially higher than that.




These roads are not necessarily just within the City, but those that are actually under the jurisdiction of the City.



Southwest Quadrant of Main Street, Connecting on Grand River to Novi Road. The estimated construction cost of that improvement is $750,000 and that does not include the Streetscape improvements which would be in excess of $1 million in addition to the $750,000.


Taft Road Extension. This has been the subject of a lot of discussion and debate. There is a committee that was appointed by City Council to study this. As of yet, a final decision has not been made on the road alignment. The $2.5 million is the minimum estimate, being the one that would be on the west side of the tracks, and the least expensive and wouldnít involve a grade separation over the railroad. Any modifications to this would involve additional costs. We do note that this is a minimum estimate and could be much higher than is stated in this line item. The Taft Road extension extends from West Road down to Twelve Mile.



Thirteen Mile Road Paving. This is not a widening improvement, but rather a paving of an existing gravel road and a realignment to line it up with Thirteen Mile Road in Farmington Hills. There are various intersection improvements that are also identified. The Thirteen Mile Road paving has been funded for a number of years; probably five or six years. It has been delayed because of the impact of M-5 and the thought that it doesnít make any sense to pave this when most of it would be torn out with M-5. It is anticipated that paving would take place when the M-5 construction reaches that particular point.



Meadowbrook Road from Twelve Mile Road to Thirteen Mile Road is an improvement that can go a number of different ways. This road is designated as a scenic drive in the Thoroughfare Plan. You see two of the extremes in terms of the cost estimates; the higher and the lower. JCK has been studying alternatives to this and they have identified that at the upper end, which would be a total reconstruction of the road and paving the roadway, would run approximately $1.9 million. If the road is not paved and minor safety improvements are made instead and it remains a gravel road, that cost would be $300,000. You can see that thereís a fairly wide variation. Obviously, there are a lot of trees that are close to the roadway. If you design it according to modern standards, a number of those trees would be removed and there would be a clear, safe area adjacent to the road. That has a significant impact on the way that road looks and the character of that roadway. So there are tradeoffs and a decision has not been made as to which way the Cityís going to go on that; thatís one of the reasons why thereís a variety and range of costs.



Widen Beck Road to Five Lanes from Grand River to Pontiac Trail. The cost estimate represents only that portion of the improvement from Pontiac Trail to the Wixom city limit. The portion within the City of Wixom would be funded by the City of Wixom or potentially with some County, State, or Federal contributions.



Resurface Taft Road south of Grand River. There are a number of resurfacing projects that have been identified in the Cityís Six Year Road Improvement Program. The City has a program whereby they look over a six year horizon for improvements that can be funded primarily within the one mill road designation thatís available, but also through other committed funds. There are a number of resurfacing projects. The Taft Road improvement, which would run from Grand River down to the Northville city limit, has been identified as a project for the 1996-97 fiscal year and the cost of that is estimated to be $700,000.



Resurface Beck Road from Ten Mile to Grand River. This is targeted for 1997-1998.



Resurface West Road. That would be from Pontiac Trail through to the Wixom city limit. This road is in poor condition. There would likely be a reconstruction as well as a resurfacing so the cost is higher than you would normally anticipate - $2.2 million.



Resurface East Lake Drive. That is scheduled for 1999-2000. The cost is identified as $150,000.



Crescent Boulevard Bridge. That is the component of the Ring Road thatís in the northwest quadrant that would link the existing drive going to the Expo Center to the portion of Crescent Boulevard that is funded from Grand River up towards the river, but is not yet been built. There are three pieces of this road, one of which has been built, one is funded, and the one in the middle, that has not been funded. The estimated cost for that component is $640,000.



Resurface Nine Mile Road from Novi to Ennishore. This is targeted for 1997-1998 at a cost of approximately $382,000.



West Oaks Collector Roads. Those are the roads identified in the Thoroughfare Plan as collector roads that would serve the area west of the West Oaks area and west of Donelson Drive. The cost of those is estimated to be $1.6 million. Those would likely be funded by one of two ways; either by the City or by private developers or a combination there of. A lot will depend on what type of development proposals are made and what type of road improvements appear to be necessary.



Crescent Boulevard Extension to Grand River. Thatís the portion from Town Center Drive to Grand River. The right-of-way was included in the road bond program and that has been acquired by the City. The construction costs are estimated at $3.2 million.


The grand total for the Major Improvements to City Roads, construction costs only, is $15.7 million over the next ten years.






Novi Road. Widen to five lanes from Grand River to Eight Mile. This improvement has two components. The portion from Grand River to Ten Mile has been funded from an engineering standpoint for preliminary engineering. The portion from Ten Mile south has not been funded at all however the construction and right-of-way acquisition has not been funded for either one of these segments. The construction cost estimate for the total improvement is $12.5 million.



Ten Mile Road. Widen to five lanes from Novi Road to Haggerty Road. This is an improvement that the City Council has not yet determined to be an appropriate improvement. JCK has been doing a number of environmental and other impact statements. City Council is reviewing this. The cost, if it were widened to five lanes, is estimated to be $7.4 million; a preliminary cost estimate as all of these cost estimates are. If improvements are done, such as something less than the five lanes, which is one of the alternatives, the cost for the this would be less than the amount stated.



Haggerty Road. Widen to five lanes from Eight Mile to Ten Mile. This is an improvement that has been sorely needed for a long time. Currently, Haggerty is five lanes from north of Grand River down to Ten Mile based on improvements that were done in the last couple of years. This improvement is estimated to cost $6.5 million.



Grand River Avenue. Widen to five lanes from Haggerty to Twelve Mile, essentially through the City of Novi. This is one of the most expensive improvements because of its length and because of the fact that youíre going in and widening a two lane road to five lanes for such a significant length.


Twelve Mile Road. We broke this into two components -- the construction of a four-lane boulevard from west of Meadowbrook to Dixon. That would be the first component. There are engineering funds approved and an engineering study is currently under way for that segment. Construction cost is estimated to be $8 million. The second component would be from Dixon to Beck and estimated construction cost is $5 million.



Fourteen Mile Road. Widening to five lanes, Becker to Haggerty. This improvement is estimated to cost $4.5 million.



Napier Road. Paving from Eight Mile Road south of Twelve Mile Road. The estimated cost would be $1.5 million.


This is a total major improvements in the County of $67 million.






M-5 (Haggerty Connector). The construction of a new 6- 8 lane highway between I-96 and Pontiac Trail has been partially completed between I-96 and Twelve Mile Road. The remainder is anticipated to be on line by 1999 unless funding or construction delays occur. The estimated cost would be $14.3; the total cost of M-5 up to Pontiac Trail is $34 million.



Beck Road Interchange. A preliminary cost estimate is $18.8 million.


The total of these two improvements to state and federal highways would be $33,100,000.

The final two categories are:



MINOR CITY IMPROVEMENTS (based on reviewing traffic impact studies)


1. Decker Road/Vistas Signal, $85,000

2. Beck Road/Nine Mile Traffic Signal, $85,000





1. Ten Mile/Novi Road (extend center lane storage), $80,000

2. Grand River/Novi Road (add westbound right turn lane, $50,000

3. Haggerty Road/Orchard Hill Place Signal (when warrants are met), $85,000

4. Ten Mile/Cranbrooke Signal (when warrants are met), $85,000


The minor improvements total $300,000. We have a grand total of $116, 722,000 in construction costs.




This has been a topic of interest to City officials and citizens. We updated the information that was collected in 1989. Essentially, the State Department of Transportation does have some railway safety funds, but their total budget for the entire state runs about $3 million. It costs about $2.5 million to construct one single grade separation. Obviously, they will not be building any grade separations with the funds that come from the state.


We discussed some of the existing grade separations that are underway in the area. There is a requirement for the railroad company to participate in the funding. The percentage varies depending on whether or not there are federal funds involved. If there are federal funds involved, they have to contribute five per cent of the total cost; if no federal funds are involved, then the railroad company must contribute fifteen per cent of the total cost. Thatís based upon a Michigan law from 1993.


A typical five lane road bridge structure over a railroad will cost between $1.5-$2.5 million depending on the type of improvement necessary. In contrast, widening a typical two lane road to five lanes for one mile costs $2.5- $3 million.


Weíve listed six railroad grade separations in order of priority as identified in the Master Plan:


1. Novi Road

2. Twelve Mile Road

3. Ten Mile Road

4. Taft Road

5. West Road

6. Nine Mile Road


It is expected that Ten Mile Road and Twelve Mile Road would switch priority levels if the City Council moves forward with the Ten Mile Road widening project. It is anticipated that the Twelve Mile Road grade separation will take place when the planned boulevard section is extended to the east past Dixon Road. The final decision on the Taft Road extension could also impact the priorities of Taft Road and West Road.


Based on the above data, it is recommended that only the first three priority grade crossings be included in the Ten Year Transportation Improvements Plan at this time. Because of the costs involved with grade separation, it should be limited to only those roads with high volumes or high fatality/injury rates related to rail/vehicle conflicts.




That is a summary of the road improvements identified. When the County comes to the City on an annual basis and asks what are your road priorities, this is the type of document the City can turn to. The City can also use it to try to prioritize its own construction using City dollars or decide which roads it wants to go for when its applying for grant applications.


Chairperson Lorenzo thanked Rod Arroyo for his enlightening report.


Member Vrettas stated that he was pleased with the improvements at Twelve Mile and Beck Roads. He raised concern about the exit from I-96 to south Beck Road noting how dangerous it is to make a left turn.


Mr. Arroyo reported there are a number of safety considerations at that interchange because of the way it is designed and they all cannot be taken care of until the interchange is reconstructed.


Member Weddington asked for an explanation on "warrants for traffic signals."


Mr. Arroyo stated that the Michigan Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices lists a number of different criteria or warrants for determining whether or not a traffic signal is necessary. A number of them deal with volumes and itís based on the volume on the major road and the volume on one of the highest minor roads that intersects. Accidents is another component. Most of them are based on road volume numbers and they are fairly specific as to what one volume on one roadway has to be and the volume on the other roadway has to be. Then there is an engineering study to determine if a signal should be put in.


Member Hoadley asked if M-5 does get put through, why would it be necessary to consider paving that at all since the M-5 Corridor, which will have an interchange on Thirteen Mile, should take care of the north and south bound traffic.


Rod Arroyo, for the most part, agrees with Member Hoadley. The M-5 improvement will have a substantial impact on the volumes on Meadowbrook Road and reduce those. Because itís a gravel road, if it remains in that state, people will generally choose M-5. At this point, Mr. Arroyo is not convinced a paved road needs to go in that segment, but it is an option being considered.


Member Hoadley stated that if the M-5 doesnít get done, then it is a necessity to do this because the traffic volume is horrendous and itís dangerous. Will your recommendation change to just safety improvements if M-5 gets put through?


Mr. Arroyo stated he would like to see the final results of the study being done by JCK on the engineering components of modifying that roadway. Once thatís done, he would make a final decision, but it would be his general feeling that major improvements to that road would not be necessary from a volume standpoint if M-5 goes through.


Member Hoadley stated that he feels Beck Road will need to be a five lane road eventually and if weíre talking about resurfacing Beck Road, you will lose $500,000 when you do widen it. Wouldnít it be better to delay the resurfacing?


Mr. Arroyo stated it depends on the availability of funding to do the widening project. If it looks like there are a number of other improvements that are in line ahead of this one, and it may be 7-10 years before you get funding for it, then it would make sense to move forward with the resurfacing and get 5-6 years of benefit out of that. If the funding became available in the next few years for that type of improvement, then it wouldnít make sense to do the resurfacing.


Member Hoadley does not think Beck Road is a critical road for resurfacing right now and would suggest that Mr. Arroyo rethink his position on this. We donít want to waste $500,000 unless, between now and then, it becomes a critical issue. Itís not a safety hazard at this point in time.


Member Hoadley asked about Eleven Mile Road; the segment not paved. Mr. Arroyo stated it is being paved right now and thatís why it wasnít in the report.


Member Hoadley asked about Fourteen Mile Road between Haggerty and Decker. Is it necessary to go five lanes or would a three lane upgrade be sufficient? Mr. Arroyo stated that based on the volumes that are there now and the anticipated level of development that is occurring along the Fourteen Mile Road Corridor, we believe it will need to be five lanes within the next ten years.


Member Hoadley stated that reference widening Haggerty Road between Eight Mile Road to Ten Mile Road, he thinks it should be expanded from Eight Mile to Fourteen Mile.


Mr. Arroyo stated that the only segment in his mind thatís a question thatís not included would be the segment north of Grand River to Twelve Mile. The portion from Twelve Mile to Fourteen Mile should experience the same benefit that Meadowbrook Road will experience from M-5. We think a substantial amount of traffic is going to be taken off of Haggerty Road and put on to M-5 and that will delay the need for widening. One day Haggerty Road will need to be five lanes, but there is doubt that will happen within a ten year horizon, if in fact M-5 is constructed as planned.


Member Hoadley stated that there is a big difference between Haggerty and Meadowbrook Road. Meadowbrook Road serves as virtually nothing as far as roads accessing it between Twelve and Thirteen where Haggerty Road takes care of a tremendous amount of collector traffic right now and thatís going to increase. It seems that the M-5 is not going to address Haggerty Road because it doesnít address the needs of people entering/exiting Haggerty. The M-5 answer is not necessarily a good answer.


Mr. Arroyo: Some previous origin/destination studies that have been done along Haggerty Road have indicated a majority of the traffic on that roadway is through traffic and is traveling more than two miles, indicating that road is being used by commuters who are attempting to get the 275 interchange or Twelve Mile. Within a ten year horizon, we believe that M-5 will have sufficient capacity because of its construction and design to handle most of that traffic.


Member Hoadley asked about going three lanes up to Fourteen Mile Road, having a center turn lane. Mr. Arroyo stated that there are passing lanes in place to separate the left turn and through traffic. At this time, a three lane road would not be money well spent, but if development starts to accelerate on the west side of Haggerty within the City of Novi, that could change.


Member Hoadley stated that in the Minor Improvements, the Decker signal is being put in now, correct? Mr. Arroyo stated this is a different signal, the signal that would be at what was previously known as Market Street going into the commercial area of the Vistas; their main street. The signal being put in now is where Decker Road intersects with Novi Road. Thatís already factored in to the Novi Road widening.


Member Hoadley stated that he is assuming that Mr. Arroyo will be updating this report year-by-year as our traffic and density patterns change, particularly when Main Street becomes a reality.


Mr. Arroyo stated that based on past experience, itís been about every five years that this has been updated. It could be updated more frequently and that could be a topic of discussion this evening when you talk about the Master Plan 1995-2000 because that is one of the components. It is not scheduled to be updated until four years from now based on the current schedule. But if you feel the need for it to be updated sooner than that, that could be something discussed. I would say that if conditions are rapidly changing, there may be some benefit to doing it every two to three years. Every year may be a bit much, but certainly some alternatives could be identified for how often.


Member Hoadley: These figures that you projected through JCK, have you factored in cost of living? Mr. Arroyo stated these are 1995 dollars. They are good estimates for understanding the current cost in todayís dollars.


Member Hoadley stated that if weíre talking about bond issues to take care of these, this is useless.


Mr. Arroyo stated that when the City gets together and starts talking with the bonding attorneys and the financial people about how to identify a total cost, they then take these numbers and start factoring them up based upon anticipated adjustments in inflation and these are good because they are the first step in identifying the costs. As long as the assumptions that went into this remain the same, then all you have to do is deal with the time value of money and adjust them upward and that can be done simply through some formulas.


Member Hoadley asked Mr. Arroyo to consider, when putting these reports together, a time sequence for the various different projects. Some are imminent, but others, reality wise, are not and perhaps it would be to everybodyís benefit if we put a time frame in as to when we can reasonably expect to have these things completed.


Mr. Arroyo stated that is probably the most difficult thing to deal with because we donít know when the money is going to come, and right now, the funding situation for road improvements is becoming more and more restrictive. A lot of federal road moneys are being geared to some very major improvements and funding is still a big question mark with the "minor" improvements. We can make a general projection that these are going to be needed within the next ten years and itís obvious there are some needed sooner than others, but in terms of determining when these would likely be constructed, itís almost impossible to do that because of the current funding situation.


Member Hoadley: Youíre showing a Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan, but in my judgment many of these things are not going to get done in the next ten years.


Rod Arroyo: Thatís very likely.


Member Hoadley: Why not be more realistic as to when they will be done. We would all like to see the Beck Road interchange done and weíre probably looking at more than ten years.


Rod Arroyo: These improvements generally reflect the priorities of the staff and consultants that made comments on this draft. What you see here is a general indication of the priorities, at least at the staff level. The priority issue was not pushed as a major component because we felt that would likely be something the City Council would end up dealing with and it was felt that if at least they had this information, they could then make those decision.


Member Hoadley: The higher priority we put on some of these things, the more apt they are to be done on a more timely basis.


Rod Arroyo: That is the goal.


Member Hoadley: We have to start putting the ball in somebodyís court to do something pro-actively on these roads. We have a critical situation in this town and I think we all have to jump on the band wagon and push buttons to get the money and get these things done.


Jim Wahl: Reference Member Hoadleyís statements. For those Commissioners who were not here at the time that the last road bond program was put together, a citizens committee was established in 1990 to put together a projection of needs and costs based on available information. Citizens committees appointed by the City Council have always been very diligent in getting the most project for the most reasonable amount of money. Weíre planners, weíre responsible for building the communityís basic structure, and this is part of that. If we want to meet the concerns that Member Hoadley has identified, then these other types of involvement are essential. If you want this to be successful, it requires an activism to go beyond just being a planner and be part of the process of accomplishing these projects.


Member Vrettas: What weíre doing here is offering suggestions because we think that what weíre offering will help make the City even stronger. I feel that Beck Road, at this point, does not need to be resurfaced. I canít justify spending $500,000 on it at this point in time; other things need to be done. If the suggestion is to widen Fourteen Mile Road, why arenít we also looking at widening Ten Mile between Novi and Taft? If you look at your numbers as they are now, Fourteen Mile is running numbers around 7,000. Between Novi and Taft, you have 18,000. Itís worse now.


Rod Arroyo: I agree with you that the amount of development going on between Novi and Taft is something you canít take lightly, and also between Taft and Beck. On Ten Mile Road, between Haggerty and Novi Road, thereís actually been a slight reduction in volumes primarily because of the Eight Mile widening; it kept the Ten Mile Road volumes from getting significantly higher than they were in 1991.


Mr. Arroyo continued: Another thing to keep in mind with Fourteen Mile that makes it somewhat unique is M-5. Any time you put in a major highway improvement in one direction, all the minor roads in the perpendicular direction that have access to that, balloon significantly because people start coming from the east and the west towards this north/south improvement so they can get to a major destination.


In the final component that has to be considered there is the type of development thatís occurring in Commerce Township. Youíve got a lot of commercial development, fairly intense multi-family development, and the density of that development, combined with the impacts of M-5, are such that we think it will grow rapidly in traffic volumes, particularly once M-5 is open.


Member Vrettas: Ten Mile still has a need and Iím looking at a situation where at 8:00 a.m. or 5:15 p.m., you canít get on that road.


Rod Arroyo: I think the potential exists for the volumes to be high enough to warrant five lanes for that segment, but it is one of those improvements that are on the borderline. Another thing that will have an impact on that is whether the widening of Grand River takes place. If Grand River became a five lane road, that could also provide some relief to that particular component of Ten Mile.


Member Vrettas: That entire area is growing and people wonít go up to Grand River and come back down. Itís a need and people around me have complained about that segment.


Member Hoadley: We need to update this more often than five years just because of the changing patterns and activities on these streets. I would make a recommendation to include a survey on speed limits in future Transportation Improvement Plans and they should be updated every year or two because of the increased amount of traffic. Some roads should be increased in speed limit; some reduced.


Rod Arroyo: There are two ways to address that problem. One would be more of a comprehensive analysis of speed limits within the City. There was a proposal approximately two years ago to do that and based upon the cost to do such a study, the City Council felt it wasnít something they wanted to proceed with at that time. However, there still is the opportunity, if there are a problem areas, that they can be studied on a case-by-case basis. On County roads, the City canít say what the speed limits are going to be; itís up to the Road Commission, but the City in the past has requested the Road Commission to re-evaluate certain road segments based on growth.


Member Hoadley: It wonít get done on a case-by-case basis. Weíre talking about identifying the areas and I donít see why we canít require that as part of our planning process.


Member Hodges: I disagree with my fellow commissioners on Beck Road. I see that as a section that could be upgraded. With the anticipation of the new subdivisions coming in, I can only see that becoming worse not better. The road surface is in poor condition and any improvements on Beck Road would not be a waste.


Chairperson Lorenzo: Placing the sensitivity and controversy aside, Iíd like feedback from you regarding Ten Mile Road, as to whether you support five lanes or could you support a lesser project in this


Rod Arroyo: Based upon the numbers that Iíve seen, the calculations that have been done, and the level of growth that is anticipated between now and the time an improvement would be put in place, I donít see that an improvement less than five lanes would address the capacity problem. If you go to three lanes, all youíre doing is assisting in getting the left turning traffic out of the stream and you get some minor capacity improvements, but it doesnít really have a significant impact. If you go to four lanes, you get the two through lanes, but you have a safety problem because you donít have a center turn lane. Therefore, five lanes is the most efficient way to move the volumes of traffic through there and provide for the left turn lane that is needed. Based upon the evaluations I have seen to date and the anticipated growth in the area, I think if an improvement is not made to Ten Mile or if a minor improvement is made to Ten Mile, then the capacity problems will begin to impact roads like Nine Mile. Nine Mile is much less able to handle additional volumes and through traffic than Ten Mile. The way I look at it is if you have a problem there, there is only a limited number of ways to try to solve it and while you can do some things that may make the situation a little bit better, when you look at the longer range and the potential impacts there, I donít think anything that Iíve seen that short of five lanes is going to address the problems that have been identified.


Jim Wahl: Some of the same problems that we have on Ten Mile Road were problems we had on Eight Mile Road a few years ago - capacity, accidents, turning, etc. We worked hard to get that road improved and that road works. Iíve heard no complaints regarding its impact on that part of the City. Grand River, which is now three lanes, becomes almost dysfunctional at busy times of the day. The backups and traffic on Grand River are almost the same as on Ten Mile. Regardless of how we deal with development in the western part of Novi, we have no control over whatís happening in our neighboring communities. South Lyon is growing and Ten Mile Road will be the logical road to take and any other way to get there is not a practical idea. Overall, a five lane road will be easier to get from one side of town to the other, itís going to be safer, and itís going to be an improvement that will serve the entire community.


Member Bonaventura: Looking at the average daily traffic volumes on Ten Mile Road, these numbers seem to go along with the density of residential housing along Ten Mile. Am I correctly observing that pattern or are there other factors?


Rod Arroyo stated that the other factor to consider is that the concentration of employment is to the east for the most part and you get a lot of traffic moving on to Ten Mile and using it to commute to the east to get to work and then come back. You have a lot of people feeding on to it and traveling to the east. Itís not just the density of development, but rather the attraction to go to and from the east. If the metropolitan area were to the west, and the density in Novi were exactly the same, it would look a lot different. You would have traffic going to the west even though the density was low.




Brandon Rogers: On the question of density, since 1991 a lot of development has been approved and a lot of homes have been built and a lot of cars have been generated from those homes. It is a density question. If you look at the zoning map as you go west from Haggerty, patterns are R-3 to R-4 to R-3 to R-2 to R-1 to R-A. This is the pattern that we are following in the Master Plan of 1993, implemented by the Zoning Ordinance. If we were to go to a higher density in west Novi, you are going to change the pattern of traffic and the needs and this traffic study. Weíve been very consistent in the last ten years reexamining the Master Plan. The Master Plan of 1988 and of 1993 and maybe of 1998 has been consistent and followed the market trends.


Each of you, as a Planning Commissioner, realizes that a Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map is totally different, but compatible with a Land Use Plan or Master Plan. The Zoning Ordinance is adopted by City Council pursuant to the City and Village Zoning Act. The Master Plan of Land Use is adopted by the Planning Commission after Public Hearing. The Master Plan sets the Districts, the densities, the policies for zoning, and should be the foundation for zoning. Itís very useful and of paramount importance to be able to refer to it if you have to defend the Zoning Ordinance.


About a year ago, a program was prepared and proposed to City Council for budgeting. Only part of that budget was funded. The second half was funded and is part of this yearís 1995-96 Work Program. In June, Rod Arroyo and I prepared and submitted to the Commission a draft of recommendations on first year zoning recommendations.


Areas that have been reviewed, documented and recommended to this Planning Commission as of last June:


1. To look at certain Definitions; some are redundant, some out of place. For instance, Boarding Houses, we donít use that term today. We wanted to revisit the diagrams that go along with definitions. What we have done in the report is collected what we think are better diagrams.


2. The second element was Statements of Intent. We cleaned up the language for Multiple Family, Mobile Home District, etc. Weíre thinking about removing the PD-4 Option from the OS-2 District if we adopt an OS-3 District.


3. About two years ago, I started to return to the Planning Commission certain jurisdictions that have gradually become the jurisdiction of City Council. I think the further development in the Expo District should be done by the Planning Commission. This could be reviewed and approved, preliminary and final, by the Planning Commission. Communication Towers (CellularOne, Ameritech) now are a Special Land Use that has to go to City Council and should be done by the Planning Commission.


4. Returning to the Commission the approval of RC (Regional Center) Uses. PD-3 Uses go to City Council, but recently Council felt that all uses in the RC District, such as Circuit City, do not need to have to go to Council.


5. Standardizing the Development Options. The Preservation Option, the Subdivision Open Space Option, the One Family Clustering Option, RUD (Residential Unit Development) Option, and the PD-1 (Planned Development) Option; all read differently on how to qualify regulated wetlands.


Last year it occurred to me that requiring a fully documented, "squeaky-clean," preliminary site plan to be submitted up front with a PD-1 application, and maybe a concurrent rezoning application, was burdensome. I have put in language that perhaps we ought to use as we do in the Preservation Option, require a Concept Plan without all the minutia and detail. This would apply to the PD-1, 2, 3, and 4 Options.


Rod Arroyo and I have discussed and presented here revisions in Off-Street Parking Space and Access Aisle Standards. Regarding barrier-free parking, we elude to both the Michigan Barrier-Free Standards and the ADA Standards. There is an upgrade on stacking space for certain drive-through facilities.


6. Next is Facade Control. I had two reports from Doug Neeci, JCK and Associates, and Lee Mamola, a former Planning Commissioner. I incorporated some commonality of thought and put into the draft to "encourage innovation among architects, to encourage harmonious relationships," where a building may have two or three types of materials. To specifically exclude plain concrete masonry units so that you wonít have confusion in the future.


Brandon stated that you can have a good Master Plan, but you have to have an Ordinance to carry it out. An Ordinance is really a "permissive" Ordinance - what is permitted. If you canít find it in the Ordinance, itís prohibited. In certain areas, we wanted to be both permissive and prohibitive. We want to make the Ordinance user-friendly and yet unless you deal with this Ordinance of 200+ pages on a daily basis, you canít put your finger on a particular regulation quickly. I donít think we want to put a developer, particularly a new developer, in a difficult situation.


Lastly, the items on the current year program that we are looking at:


1. To review the Mobile Home District Ordinance classification.


2. To adapt the TC-1 Parking Standards into the Ordinance based upon the shared parking study that you had a year ago and which was considered in recent Town Center Planning.


3. To further review those uses requiring Council review which might be relegated to the Planning Commission.


4. To examine the entire schedule of off-street parking for adequacy of space standards.


5. To review and update the landscape planting standards that Linda Lemke did back in 1986 which was "state of the art" back then.


6. Revisit performance standards, noise vibration, odor, smoke, glare. That was a hot item in the past twelve months in the Interlock case. Itís nice to have fancy standards, but you have to have the ability to understand them and enforce them.


7. Revisit the Standards for Special Land Use review.


We are constantly thinking ahead to improve the Ordinance and some of the ongoing studies weíre doing right now:


1. TC-1 Ordinance


2. Revisiting the commercial uses on second floor.


3. Size of commercial space on the first floor, trying to attune it to market demand.


4. Working on the OS-3 District.


5. The Implementation Committee is looking at the B-1 Ordinance.


6. The NCC District, leave as is.


Member Bonaventura stated that Mr. Rogers was reviewing TC-1 in regards to the amount of second floor commercial and first floor commercial. You related that to "market demand."


Mr. Rogers: Yes, and to planning theory.


Member Bonaventura: Specifically, what area are you talking about?

Mr. Rogers stated that the only TC-1 District we have is Main Street and Vicís Market.


Member Bonaventura stated that we rezoned that to TC-1 just recently. Nowís there talk that there are market demands .... sounds like it might be changing my vision of what Main Street would look like.


Mr. Rogers stated that first floor space allowable for a single user would be capped out at 15,000 square feet. The second floor would be commercial and capped out on the entire second floor of a given building at 12,000 square feet or 25 per cent of the total floor space, whichever is lesser. Thatís the proposal. Presently, the Ordinance limits for a one story building in a TC-1 District to 7,500 square feet. If you have a two, three, four, or five story building, you can go to a larger amount of square footage on the first floor, but you canít have any commercial on the second, third, fourth, or fifth floors. There are some commercial uses being considered that might benefit by having a two story, interior stairway, or a two story configuration. The intent was also on the first floor that a certain percentage would have to be made up of units of 3,500-5,000 square foot maximum size units and the first floor of a building could not have more than a certain percent in a single user.


Member Bonaventura stated that personally he thinks you can be flexible with the interior of the commercial on Main Street, but what heís looking for is the facade outside of the interior to have a traditional Main Street look to it.


Mr. Rogers stated that the promotional literature thatís being presented to future tenants shows that individuality of roof line, materials, etc.


Chairperson Lorenzo thanked Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Rogers for all of their efforts.



2. MASTER PLAN 1995-2000

Mr. Wahl reported that what has been done was to review plans and planning done over the past years, look at various documents, recommendations for action, for future studies, and then formulate those into summarized recommendations. A number of those recommendations reflect themselves in proposals for future planning studies.


Mr. Wahl called attention to the Table of Contents. We have included a thorough review of how the planning process works under Section III. Review of Master Planning in Novi. What Iím asking the Planning Commission to do, in particular the Planning Studies and Budget Committee, is give attention to these identified priorities to ensure whether weíve covered all the topics.


Reference Section V. Recommended Future Five-Year Master Planning and Futuring Program, other Planning Commissions, yourselves included, have identified these issues as being priorities, goals and objectives have been established, and work has been done. This is an ongoing process; these are things that all of you have worked on over the years. In respect to items A-J, I would call your attention to some issues that will be most critical for you in the coming year.


A. Futuring - This is a planning term that talks about strategic planning, visioning. It comes at the beginning of a planning process where you do your research and then you establish some policies or goals. Like the Philosophy Statement of 1986, which provided the groundwork for the Master Plan of 1988, weíve had discussions with Council members, Commissioners, and private sector people. Iím sure there will be a report coming through the City Council that will start to establish a framework for this Futuring process to be put in place in 1996.


The first step is to design the process. My understanding is there will be a proposal to create an ad hoc committee that includes the principal elements within the community -- Planning Commission, City Council, school system, homeownersí associations, business community -- to design how that process is going to work. Weíve had the advantage that the school system had a strategic planning process that they utilized over the past several years and this will help us to have some prototype we can look at.


In the Environmental Planning section, one of the situations we ran into is many of the follow-up actions were not really planning related. We had a difficult time bringing back action recommendations to the Commission because there werenít things this Commission deals with. My concern is that if someone doesnít act on these, some of the implementation or educational elements will just sit there as ideas and no one will pursue them. Perhaps the Commission may want to re-assign that. Sue Tepatti, JCK, did an excellent job on the Environmental Planning Review. It seems like a lot of those recommendations will require some type of special attention.


The other elements are straightforward. We did an Urban Design Plan in 1988 and a number of those recommendations require further action.


There is a committee handling the Historic District and Greg Capote provides staff services to this committee. They were designated to have that responsibility and I have included the draft report in this document because there are planning implications you should be aware of.


Iíd like you to review the Town Center/Main Street/Downtown section in the "black" report. We had a number of technical documents which we acquired from the organizations that we are members of and I would bring your attention to these documents. The City Council is going to review the resolution that established the Town Center Steering Committee. Most communities have identified their Town Center as a specialized district; special zoning, special planning resources, staffing, budgets. In many communities, itís a separate agency called the Downtown Development Authority, or itís a corporation, or a privately funded organization. In Novi, we have chosen to bring it under the umbrella of the City, but to provide a committee that included representation from different groups that would have an interest in that part of the community -- property owners, Planning Commissioners, City Council, to try and steer the planning and development of that area. Itís absolutely essential that the organizational structure and the funding this Commission has had under itís umbrella continue. Itís modest when you look at expenditures in the hundreds of thousands of dollars even on an annual basis that other communities have provided. A lot of development has taken place over the past ten years, but the Ring Road is not complete, two quadrants of the Town Center District are largely undeveloped, as envisioned in the Town Center Planning Study, and itís our recommendation that this attention and method of dealing with it will continue and the Planning Commissionís assistance to this effort, both as committee members and through your budget, should be a priority.


Regarding the Transportation Planning section, Rod Arroyo has given you a good overview not only tonight, but a year ago we provided a complete outline of how the transportation planning process in the City functions. The traffic implications in Novi are perhaps a much higher priority than they might be in communities that are already developed or communities that are years away from the type of experiences that weíre having.


This book will provide you with some good background as to how the planning process works.


Finally, we still have work to do on the Communications and Community Liaison Program, but I would like to say that weíre making some new proposals which will be coming forward. Steve Cohen has put together a proposal for a Planning Library by researching what available publications are out there and making some recommendations to the Commission. Over the next month or so, Iíd like to circulate catalogs to the Commissioners and if you have periodicals or books that you think would be helpful for yourself or citizens, let us know. The cost is about $3,000 to set up the library .


Weíd also like the Commission to consider newsletters which we had in the past years. Because of the technical nature of planning, it was difficult to provide general, and public relations news releases. Weíre looking for something written by traffic planners that we could distribute. The new citizen who comes into the community, comes to our department and wants resource materials. Our recommendation is to reinstate the newsletters and I have asked the consultants to bring some proposals forward.


Weíd also like to do cable TV programming. This has been a priority for years and our resources have just not provided us with the time to do that. We would like to spend more time and resources in order to provide that kind of service. It will be a total team effort - staff, consultants, commissioners. To do it with just in-house staff has not worked. If the Commission feels that a greater emphasis on cable TV programming is something you want to see, and I think thatís the message weíve heard, weíre probably going to need some consultant time in order to prepare the outline of the subject matter, prepare scripts, talk to the people who are going to be interviewed, and the staff will also participate. If weíre going to carry it forward, weíre going to need some additional time and resources.


Iíve highlighted where weíre at. There are some specific budgeted items which are reflected in next yearís fiscal year work program. I have provided some of the initial documents for that and we still have a lot of work to do. We will be taking that to the Planning Studies and Budget Committee in December so that by January all of the items identified for fiscal year 1996-97 will have goals and objectives attached, assignments, and dollars attached. Obviously, part of the discussion this evening is that we want some feedback, are we going in the right direction, have we missed anything. Does the Commission have any further thoughts or input.


One final reflection, last year we ended up taking all the planning studies and prioritizing them. We have no way of knowing if City Council will adopt this entire proposal, half of it or whatever. In your review of this, try to be thinking of whatís most important, whatís second, etc.


The last Master Plan was approved in 1993; this project works through the year 2000. Every one of these studies costs money and by projecting it out over five-seven years, weíve spread that responsibility out and weíve also extended that planning period a year or two for budget purposes and because it is a lengthy process.


Chairperson Lorenzo thanked Mr. Wahl for his presentation.


Member Bonaventura referred to the Master Plan for Land Use section referring to "recent discussion by City Council on extension ...." What are you getting at as far as Councilís opinion of the RA zoning. "Owing to continued interest by some Planning Commissioners .......," what do you mean by that.


Jim Wahl: In the Planning Studies and Budget Committee, there has been renewed interest in the idea of three to five acre lots, lower density than what we have. I thought there was enough interest that this was a good idea.


Member Bonaventura: The comment on "City Council," as far as revisiting the RA Zoning, thatís the same thinking?


Brandon Rogers: There are a number of developers who own land like the Levy property and other properties towards Napier Road. At the Council Meeting that I attended, JCK presented a generalized sanitary sewer plan that took you out to Napier Road. I distinctly remember one or two Council Members saying "well, that may be well and good, even with the cost of lift stations, but we arenít going to tamper with the RA Zoning policy." There was no further discussion but there was interest to maintain the present zoning policy. In this paragraph, the Master Plan of 1993 does call out a two acre minimum lot size generally for the area south of Ten Mile and behind the frontage on Beck, over to Napier Road. That plan was never implemented by a new zoning classification. The zoning remained RA, one acre since 1993. Maybe in Section 10 we need some country living size lots which you find in other communities not far from here. Is there a market for that type of housing in Novi or should we let the City build out like Warren and Sterling Heights?


Member Bonaventura thanked Brandon Rogers and stated he agrees with our current Master Plan and what we are doing west of Beck as far as density levels.


Member Bonaventura: Regarding "Futuring," my idea is to have a committee made up of citizens from the community with the requirement that they live in the City of Novi and be a past Planning Commissioner. We have a great number of people who were Commissioners and have a wonderful source of knowledge. I suggest that we solicit all past Commissioners to get involved in a committee since we have five years of research to do and this is such a monumental task as far as the amount of information. I think we could use their help. This is a suggestion Iíd like you to think about because it seems that by the time you get your feet wet and learn how the process works, youíre not a Planning Commissioner anymore and there are a lot of people out there well qualified. A committee like that would be listened to by future Planning Commissions in the year 1999 and maybe future City Councils.


Member Vrettas: One of his concerns is whenever youíre doing this kind of planning, itís crucial that in the initial stages you have as much input from your community as possible. Itís easier to make your corrections at the beginning of the process. Sometimes someone who lives in the community and has to live with the results can bring a fresh attitude to what youíre talking about. If they bring it "higher up," itís lost and I donít mean disrespect to our Consultants. I concur with Member Bonaventura, we need to get people involved from the community and what better people than people who have been through this process and know about it. I would support that.


Member Vrettas continued: I have no problem with the library itself but I have a problem with the location. I can see having the up-to-date journals and books at the Planning Commission, but I think it would be a good idea to take advantage of our Library. People will think to go first to the Library then go to the Planning Commission.


Member Bononi: My comments are directed to the Environmental Studies section in the Master Plan and Jim Wahlís call for a comment about focus and priority. I must say that I am disappointed to see that there isnít focus and priority given to current development pressures where woodlands and wetlands are concerned. I think thatís a very important subject that I would like to see included in the Master Plan, specifically with regard to the general updating of the official wetlands map so that persons who want to live here and people who want to develop here have a very clear and concise feeling about looking at our official map and using it as an official map.


The second thing I am concerned about is the use of mitigated wetlands and the fact that now we seem to be accumulating quite a number of them, many of which are not proven as mitigated wetlands normally are, until at least five years of time. I would like to know if it would be a good idea to have an assessment of those wetlands areas above and beyond the ordinary functional reports that we see. In addition to that, those criteria that are used to designate whether or not a wetlands mitigated area is even included in a development plan and whether or not sometimes those mitigated areas are too casually considered and approved. Those are some of my concerns. When I look at the plan and the things that have already been done, it almost looks like a historic document because weíre going back to 1985 and weíre not getting to the heart of the matter -- whatís going on and how wetlands and woodlands are being challenged by development pressures now.


Chairperson Lorenzo: I take it you mean more local monitoring of mitigation. Mitigation is monitored by the DNR at this point in time and they are given five years before they actually go out there and see if itís a ballpark or wetlands.


Member Bononi: People who live in the areas that have mitigated areas are very concerned about how their input affects the functioning of these mitigated areas and also that they will function long term.


Member Hoadley: Member Bonaventura has a good idea on expanding the committee. We do need to get another Commissioner or possibly two appointed to the Master Plan Committee. Maybe we should consider Member Bonaventuraís idea and just expand that committee to include some former Planning Commissioners and make it a bigger committee, somewhat similar to our Steering Committee for the Town Center. We certainly should have more than one or two Planning Commissioners present at a Committee of that importance.


Chairperson Lorenzo: I think what Member Bonaventura is referring to is establishing a committee for Futuring. Member Bonaventura stated that was exactly what he was referring to.


Member Bonaventura: Ms. Lemke, our new Commissioner mentioned updating the Wetlands Map. One of my concerns was the update on the Woodlands Map, is that still under the DPW? Ms. Lemke stated "yes."




Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Court. The issue I want to address tonight is the PD-1 Option. It went to City Council and they decided they would allow you to study it for another three or four months, back to them sometime in March.

I would like the Planning Commission to examine the idea of removing the PD-1 Option from the Master Plan at this time, essentially going through the Public Hearing process, eliminating the PD-1 Option from the Plan, and that will allow you, as a Commission, to examine, research and discuss this Option. Create a moratorium for three months and allow yourselves to discuss it without the pressure of a developer presenting plans and you being forced to make a decision under the current Ordinance and then having to approve a plan and essentially destroy any chance to do any proactive planning and be forced into a reactive planning where you would have to adopt a Master Plan for this area, conforming to their development, not what may or may not be best for this area. You may decide at the end of this process thatís not what you want, you donít want a PD-1 type development, you may want a low density, single family residential. If youíre forced to approve plans and then development gets in the way, obviously you have no choice. Weíre all aware of the Sassoon Project. At the City Council Meeting another developer came forward stating that he also had plans underway for another PD-1 development in this area. Obviously, thereís a lot of pressure on this area. I think if we take a stance where we remove the PD-1, allow the Commission to do its work in peace, and if you feel that the PD-1 is appropriate zoning and planning for that area, you can return that to the Master Plan. I think right now the best course of action is to remove it. Thank you.





Chairperson Lorenzo stated she had a card from Warren Jocz, but he was not present at this time. Seeing no one else, Audience Participation was closed.




Initial discussion of Planning Commission Work Program items and schedule for the next budget submittal.


Jim Wahl: Iíd like to draw your attention to the memorandum dated November 22, 1995 and the attachments therein. All weíve been able to do at this point is to forward to you those elements of the projected Work Program where weíve provided some written documentation and there are five items listed here. As the Work Program format develops, there are goals and objectives stated, there are assigned work tasks, and thereís a budget for each item.


The Design Build Out-Year 2020, provided by Brandon Rogers, is an outline of how these work program descriptions have been prepared over the years. Each of the elements of the proposed budget would have this type of description and I have asked the consultants to proceed with the proposals we already have so we can go back to the Planning Studies and Budget Committee and have this documentation to review. If there are items which the Commissioners perceive or identify as an item that they would like to see either moved up on the priority list from future years or a draft proposal put together, now is the time to bring that to our attention. The questions about the wetlands map and other environmental issues, weíll look into those and report back.

At the top of our list of administrative priorities is to improve quality control. Part of the problem is that when our consultants are here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are overwhelmed with meetings with applicants, citizens, developers, and itís really stressed us out. Weíve been thinking about a proposal to have consultants in the office not only Tuesdays and Thursdays, but also Wednesday - thatís when the draft agenda from the City Council comes out, thatís when documents start coming in from developers, and thatís when our staff and consultants could check the documents for accuracy. We could also be calling the City Attorney to confirm legal questions that may have come up so that we donít have items showing up on agendas that perhaps require additional attention or have errors associated with them.


Another thing weíre considering is Greg Capote should be re-focused to site plan related issues; again, this is an ongoing thing every day. He could spend more time on that and perhaps reassign Brandon Rogers to handle the Implementation Committee as a more permanent assignment and the Department would monitor that the work is being done in a timely fashion. In the past, that committee might have dealt with twelve minor amendments during the course of a year, but whatís happening now is weíre getting these major zoning provisions that require a substantial amount of research, background reports, and that is more of a planning consultant function than a staff administrative function. We would like to direct staff to more administrative matters and to assign the Planning Consultant back to the Implementation Committee.


I would expect that the retainer proposal be increased for reasons that weíve mentioned here to give you better service, to get better quality, and because the workload is at a high. That is going to be an important proposal that we would like to bring forward in your budget.


We have an extensive file on past budgets, work thatís been done, and trends over the years, and weíll bring that forward in future meetings with the Planning Commission and the Planning Studies and Budget Committee.


Member Hoadley noted that Mr. Jocz was back in the audience and asked if Mr. Jocz could address the Commission and not wait until the next Audience Participation.






Warren Jocz, 40755 Ten Mile Road, stated that he would like to address Items 1 and 6. In particular, the Ten Mile Road improvement project. I understand that Item 1 was really a report-out on budgetary issues, but the Commission did ask some relative opinions regarding Ten Mile Road. The residents formed a committee and submitted to the City a full and extensive engineering report that looks at an alternative solution to five lanes. It uses references like the Federal Highway Administration, HUD, EPA, the City of Novi, etc. It comes out with a totally different solution to the problem. I will make a copy available to any Commissioner wanting a copy. Item 6, there is a potential to have a joint meeting with the City Council regarding Ten Mile Road. About two months ago, I submitted this report to the City and City Council. Based on this report, it was directed by the City Council that JCK and the City Department of Public Works were to sit down with me at an off-site meeting to discuss the issues that I have raised in my report. Iíd like to invite you, as well, to sit in when that meeting is arranged. I understand that JCK has reviewed my report and has submitted their opinions to the City and the City is reviewing those opinions. They are to contact me to schedule this meeting and Iíd like to have attendance by some of the Planning Commissioners so they can understand the various issues that are going on here.


What concerns me in listening to you talk tonight and the mentality was that five lanes is better. If you look at the Master Plan for Land Use, Eight Mile, Nine Mile, Ten Mile, Grand River, Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen, are all slated for five lanes or more in the future. If you close your eyes and you think what that does to the map, thatís a lot of pavement. We have to act slowly, we have to look for alternative solutions, we have to be creative, and I think weíve taken that approach here. I have copies of the report and Iíll be sure that you get them. Thank you.


Member Hoadley: Iíd like for Mr. Jocz to inform the Planning Department as to the date(s) of your next meeting and I would like to attend.


On the budget, we have several seminars that are being proposed on different types of zoning and one that I would like added to it would be Mixed Use Zoning. I assume that if we do decide to do it and budget for it, that these would be publicly telecast, weíd have them here in the Chambers and the City Council would be invited as well as ourselves and any other interested people in the community.


Jim Wahl: Thatís possible. I think we could make that arrangement.


Member Hoadley: Iím the one thatís been pushing for seminars to be held here rather than run all over the country. I think we lose a little in translation trying to bring the information back to our fellow Commissioners and the City. Not to say that we still shouldnít go to seminars individually, but Iíd like to see a number of seminars conducted right here where everyone is privileged to them so that the entire community can be informed as to different ideas that are being practiced throughout this country that we may not be aware of and we havenít addressed locally. If we do decide, as a Commission, to push this type of educational program for ourselves, Iíd like to see it be done on a public basis where everybody can be informed.


Chairperson Lorenzo: In terms of the Wetlands Fringe Impact Study, if that could be further identified because I didnít see anything in here specifically on that topic.


Linda Lemke: We had talked generally about this. This is one of those that does need to be developed more. Weíve talked about this throughout the years and thatís where Wetland areas or Wetland buffers adjoin a heavy industrial use.




Jim Wahl: The Administrative Liaison Committee. We have at least one outstanding issue and that had to do with the format of how the consultants write their review letters. There were some comments on that issue and the question is do we want to refer that to the Committee and take further action.


The Implementation Committee. Greg Capote has an early meeting in Lansing tomorrow and he deferred to anyone on the Committee that wanted to speak to scheduling or current priorities.


Chairperson Lorenzo reported that they have been working on the adverse impacts of I-1 next to residential and also a proposal regarding the ordinance that Brandon spoke to earlier. Those are the two items before us in recent months and that are ongoing at this point.


Jim Wahl continued referring to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. The question that Council raised was how the Commission felt it was best to assign various research and responsibilities to sub-committees; either to Master Plan and Zoning or Implementation Committee. Perhaps this Committee will once again have some assignments to deal with in terms of the PD-1 and Section 10 and that will be a determination that I understood we were supposed to get into as soon as that gets back to the body as a whole.


Member Hoadley stated he was on that committee. He and Commissioner Capello held a Public Forum here a few weeks ago, invited the public, took a lot of testimony on that particular area and PD-1, etc., and we had input from some of the residents. It was a recorded session and those minutes will be available for the Commission. It was a good experience and Member Hoadley felt he had a better grasp of the feelings of not only the developers but the people who would be affected. Member Hoadley suggested that in the future, when we have sensitive things like that at the Committee level, that we might consider doing a little bit more of that, get more input on it. We didnít come to any final conclusion with the exception that we were going to have the developer agree to show us some different plans under other types of zoning. At least weíll be able to have our consultants pick apart their studies for different additional edification for the entire Commission.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated that considering there are several vacancies on committees, she would ask that information to all the Commissioners, in terms of what those vacancies are, be included so that by our next meeting we can fill those vacancies.


Steve Cohen stated that was not a problem and the Chairperson might want to consider electing a new Secretary.


Jim Wahl reported that the Town Center Steering Committee has a meeting scheduled for December 5 with a full agenda of issues to deal with. Itís his understanding that weíve received a site plan for the entire Main Street development and weíll be taking a look at that. We also will be looking at the final draft language of the TC-1 which we briefly got into this evening. Weíve got the question of whether to go back and reinstate a City-initiated rezoning for TC-1 for areas that were projected to be that, and that fell one vote short. We have to determine when and if that matter will be brought back for further consideration. Weíve got the Trans-X Drive discussion and some additional information on that. Weíve got quite an agenda coming up and I presume that those action items will be reported back to the Commission. Council Member Clark was appointed to the Committee and weíll need another appointment to that Committee as well.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she would like to reassure Member Bonaventura that the proposed revisions to the TC-1 are in order to better accomplish the vision that we have for Main Street.


Jim Wahl stated that Council Member Mitzel introduced some suggestions regarding that site in terms of making it an active recreational area. He suggested a Public Hearing be scheduled. Mr. Wahl believes the Council deferred any action in that regard because the committee was reporting that it was reaching some conclusions. Studies have been ongoing for quite some time. My understanding is we will have a meeting on December 14 trying to wind up our work so we can report back to Council. We will also give some consideration to what the Councilman had suggested and get some input from the Committee. Council Members Schmid and Crawford are on that committee and I believe that Commissioner Clark was on the committee at the time he was a Commissioner.


Member Vrettas stated he would like to know when the meetings are because he didnít know there were any meetings scheduled. The December 14 meeting -- what time and where?


Capital Improvement Program Committee. Weíre trying very hard with this program this year. Getting the job done on schedule ... that was our big problem last year. One of the situations with that Committee has been that they spend a lot of time prioritizing capital improvements, but then they are limited if there are no monies in some cases to implement what the list of projects is. When you have some dedicated funds you can do that because the money is there and itís a source of income to fund those improvements. A lot of the projects are a "wish list," and some Planning Commissioners who visualized a Capital Improvements Program as a true implementation device have been frustrated with that over the years and have been looking for something thatís less of a planning tool and more of a doing/accomplishing thing. But thatís simply not been what the City budget process has allowed us to accomplish.

Member Hodges: Iím on that Committee, and either Iíve missed the meetings or weíve had to cancel them. Iím hoping that I have been informed and kept up with the proposed meetings. Is it that we havenít been able to coordinate schedules?


Jim Wahl stated he would check with Greg Capote as he wasnít certain that any meetings had actually taken place.


Member Hoadley: Iíd like to make a recommendation to Mr. Wahl or Steve Cohen. We used to get a pink sheet in our packet telling us about upcoming meetings. I know itís on the back of the yellow agenda, but Iíve been negligent a couple of times and not looked at it properly. I think it would be very helpful to bring it to our attention to have the "pink" sheet come with the packet for the different committee meetings.


Member Vrettas asked that they talk to members ahead of time before they set these meetings up because he was embarrassed that he is just now finding out about this meeting and itís scheduled on a day when he canít be there. If we know ahead of time, we can try to move our schedules around because we want to do our job. Member Vrettas wants to serve on this committee and be a contributing member. We need to be called ahead of time so we can check our schedules because we have other commitments.


Member Hodges thinks it would be helpful to bring the "pink sheet" back because she doesnít think Member Vrettas realizes that these meeting dates are set on a regular basis.


Steve Cohen stated that he will work with Chairperson Lorenzo on a form that can be easy to see and everyone will know whatís going on.




a. Report from Planning Commissioners and Staff who Attended Recent Planning Conferences


Member Weddington stated that this was the first MSPO Conference she attended and it was a very nice experience. She got to meet counterparts from Walled Lake, Chesterfield Township. There was quite a mix of people there. A lot of counties were represented and they are at a different stage in their planning maturity and there were other communities that were advanced. Thereís quite a wide distribution of planning sophistication so some of the sessions, questions and discussions at some of the sessions was rather basic. Member Weddington attended sessions on Site Plan Review, Why Just Plan When You Can Design, Master Planning, Evaluating Rezoning Requests, and from these different sessions she noted several themes that came up that were common to the presentations as well as at the luncheon speech which was delivered by Joe Strought (sp?) of the Free Press. A need for a clear vision of the communityís future; that needs to be communicated in the master plan and that something is that we revisit and develop our master plan again.


There was also a concern about urban sprawl and, as it happens, Novi was truly the poster child of urban sprawl. There was a large poster that was given away and Member Weddington brought back copies which show the aerial map of Novi with M-5, the freeway to nowhere at this point. It did not have Novi identified on it anywhere, but anyone who knows the area knows that it was Novi.


Several speakers talked about using prior mistakes as learning tools as we go along. We learn as we go along and every community looking back sees things that they wish they had done a little differently, decisions that were made that they might have considered differently having the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, but there are opportunities to learn and to make improvements and corrections in the future. In doing so, some of the considerations that were suggested be kept in mind were: the interrelationship of all the different factors in the planning; the traffic; housing; economic development. All these things need to work together because they have an impact on other parts of the community as it develops.


One of the themes was Consider the Impact on Neighboring Communities. There were a number of requests for cooperation by different communities. Itís something thatís handled a little differently by townships in the out state areas where the planning is coordinated at the county level but itís something to keep in mind here. We need to work together and that message came through a number of times.


Also, the Preservation of Natural Resources. I think Novi does an excellent job and yet we can always do better, but other communities have not adopted woodlands and wetlands ordinances as we have and they recognize the need to preserve those precious resources.


Along the same lines, the Preservation or Reuse of Buildings and Lands. This was something that was of much more concern with older, urban communities such as Detroit and larger cities where thereís a need to redevelop the older areas that are not being used to their fullest potential.


The final theme was the Need for Diversity. That there is strength in having a wide range of diversity in all aspects of the community and that thereís a need for balance in meeting different community needs.


I brought back materials that I will be happy to share with anyone or give them to the Department for the Library. I would also like to mention that Birchler/Arroyo received the award for Central Area Plan for Oxford Charter Township. I think Rod and his associates deserve a round of applause.



b. Discussion of Referring Subdivision Stub Streets to the Ordinance Review Committee


Member Bonaventura: I remember putting this in for Matters for Discussion a month or so ago. My intent was to ask Mr. Watson about a memo referring to the changing of a part of our ordinances that specifies that a stub street "may" continue into other subdivisions and thereís a proposal now to change that to "will." Do you remember writing a memo on that?


Mr. Watson reported that the Ordinance Review Committee has been working on the issue of stub streets and whether you have to have them. Currently, the Subdivision Ordinance has some very general language and the Committee is working on that particular issue. Mr. Watson will send Member Bonaventura a draft of the ordinance.


Member Bonaventura stated that from what he has read that right now we have the flexibility of not being held to specific distances. His own personal philosophy on subdivisions is that itís not necessarily a great and wonderful thing. A lot of people give a lot of time and effort to designing subdivisions that might not be thoroughfares to neighboring subdivisions and some people like this type of lifestyle.


Member Hoadley: I agree with Member Bonaventura in regards to having the flexibility rather than being nailed down to a concept like that where you have no way out. I canít see changing that language.


I would like to commend Linda Lemke on what I consider an excellent report on the review that she did at Maples. It certainly is appreciated by me and she did a wonderful job.


Chairperson Lorenzo "seconded" that statement.


Member Hodges stated that she didnít know if we were in the habit of asking opinions from our Fire and Police Departments. In former communities where I have lived, weíve used stub streets, but weíve used such items as the breakaway gates for public safety issues only and they seem to calm the tempers of the exclusive community. Maybe we can get some feedback from our fire and police and see if they have any opinions or even Public Works.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated that if memory serves, in past opinions they discourage breakaway gates.


Member Hodges stated that the whole idea is do we have them or donít we have them.


c. Discussion of the 52-1 District Court Facades


Dennis Watson: This is something that was prepared for the City Council and I donít know if Council has taken action on this. I would rather not discuss it and have it put on a subsequent Commission agenda for purposes of discussion.


Member Bonaventura: You have to be kidding. Weíre not presently in a lawsuit are we?


Dennis Watson: No, we are not.


Member Bonaventura: I asked for this to be put under Matters for Discussion not necessarily to focus on the 52nd District Court or necessarily to focus on what went wrong.


Chairperson Lorenzo: Member Bonaventura, if our Legal Counsel has suggested a course of action, I believe we should follow that course of action.


Member Bonaventura: Okay, but to focus on corrections for the future and which have been addressed in other memos I think ......


Brandon Rogers: There is a committee that Mr. Wahl has appointed of which Linda is chairperson of made up of Doug Necci, myself to review, in addition to the zoning ordinance update review, procedures that will facilitate proper facade review design.


Linda Lemke: Basically, our charge is to review the procedures and how they carry out through construction which would include all review under the facade ordinance, all review of construction materials and then inspection appeal. And involving the use of an architect more than what is presently being done in basically the inspections of the materials before they go on the buildings and making sure that all of the different phases of the facade ordinance and if the building is built in like Phase I, Phase II, that all the different facades during the different phases would stand on their own. Thatís our charge as a committee. Weíre going through that in a very detailed manner. Itís proposed as part of the Work Program for next year and weíre just about ready to have another meeting.


Brandon Rogers stated that at the preliminary site plan submittal phase, all we require in the ordinance is a conceptual design of all exposed facades. It might be helpful to the developer to have a closer scrutiny on how the materials are laid up, colors, materials, and be of help to the developer at the early stage of a project.


Member Bonaventura: In the site plan manual, Brandon, doesnít it require an on-site meeting with the materials on site?


Brandon Rogers: Yes, itís in the ordinance and before the materials are put, we go out and look at them. Currently, Steve Cohen does. I used to do it all but now itís a staff function. We may want to address that procedure.

Member Bonaventura: JCK has a registered architect?


Brandon Rogers: Doug Necci and he reviews routinely all Section 4 waivers.


Linda Lemke: One of the things that weíre talking about in this meeting is having him assume that responsibility since he is trained in architecture. That is one of the things we have been discussing and how we would implement that into the process.


Member Bonaventura: The attorneyís advice was not to discuss this, Iím assuming thatís specifically the problems with the District Court. Why, if weíre not in an impending lawsuit, canít we discuss it?


Dennis Watson: Because itís the subject of a confidential letter from our office to the City Council which is subject to Attorney/Client privilege, until such time as the City Council chooses to waive that, which I assume they will do once they make a determination as to what action to take.


Member Bonaventura: Iím not in the business where Iím familiar with confidential memos and nobody has taken the time to explain to me that process as far as confidential memos. I was not aware of the status of confidential memos.


Dennis Watson: Iíll be happy to do that.





Jim Wahl stated that the procedure in the past has been for the City Clerk and the Mayor to review a list of concerns that the Councilís had and likewise for this body to make some suggestions that are of mutual interest. I thought either this evening or at the next meeting the Commission could get together a short list of items and then we would work with the City Clerkís Office in formulating such an agenda. Weíre looking for things where we want something to happen as a result of these two bodies being together.


Chairperson Lorenzo: One item that Mr. Wahl and I discussed earlier today as a possibility of including was the Evangelista Property. Anything that happens on that property obviously is going to require both Planning Commission and City Council input. I donít know if weíre at a point in time where weíre comfortable with the items or do you want to mull that over and be prepared next week.


Member Vrettas: I have no problem waiting until next week, but I would hate to see us tie ourselves up just to specific items. The whole concept of meeting with City Council isnít just to try to talk about specific issues, but give us a chance to know one another. I hope that whatever you put in your agenda that you do leave some time open for us to get to know one another a little bit more.


Chairperson Lorenzo: Perhaps there could be a little informal gathering prior to the meeting. When you get sixteen people together, have a list of topics and everybody has an input, the clock runs and twelve oíclock approaches quickly.


Member Vrettas: Chairperson Lorenzo, I donít want to patronize you, but if you want to see a group of people getting together and conversing, try going to a Greek church at their general assembly where you have 400 chiefs and no Indians. I know what youíre talking about. But I also notice something in those meetings, the chiefs get to understand one another a little bit when they dialogue. One of the things I have learned is you have an agenda, yes, you have things you do, yes, but you also spend some time dialoging. Getting a feel for one another so you can avoid misunderstandings and misdirections later on. If you donít get to know one another, you will make mistakes and those whom you are serving will suffer. Thatís years of experience speaking, not in planning, but in administration and education. The one thing I have learned is that when people are in a group, they act a lot different than they do as individuals and you need to understand the group dynamics. You donít do that if you donít take the time.


Chairperson Lorenzo: Iím not disagreeing with you, Iím just saying for practical purposes when youíre discussing items with the Planning Commission and City Council, unfortunately, time wise you donít have that luxury.


Member Vrettas: Itís not a luxury and itís not practical. If you get down to practicality, we can sit here and go Roberts Rules of Order and miss the whole point of what our purpose is. Weíre here to serve and part of the purpose of being an effective servant is to dialog.


Member Hoadley: Why not just include on the agenda a period of time for open discussion as an agenda item, that solves Member Vrettasí concern. I agree with him that you should have some open dialogue and just have it as an agenda item. Either at the beginning or the end.


Chairperson Lorenzo: I have no problem with that, but Iíve sat in on these meetings and we hardly get through the topics that weíre there to discuss.


Member Vrettas: Chairperson Lorenzo, you are doing something. You donít realize it but youíre doing the kind of "gut" understandings of one another that are crucial to be able to do your job effectively in the future. You have to do dialoging to really understand.


Chairperson Lorenzo: I understand that, Member Vrettas, but I think youíre missing my point.


Member Hodges: I was going to ask Jim Wahl if he thought it would be effective for us to prioritize our list of work programs, and he could set this up like that and weíll number them and give you a format. We can turn it in at our next meeting.


Jim Wahl: Typically, the Planning Commission Chair, the Mayor, the City Manager and myself came up with the agenda. I hope you wonít be disappointed if something is missing, but we will endeavor to accomplish that.


We went back several months ago researching a history of joint meetings over the years. It was kind of a shock to find out that in the 1980's, one year we had 16 joint meetings and they pyramided down to three or four a year on a regular basis. I think that accomplished a lot of what youíre talking about. You had 16 people begin to understand where each other was coming from and it was difficult to get an agenda that everyone was happy with and get through all the items. Nevertheless, we were still meeting three or four times a year. But the mood in recent years has been simply that the workload of the two bodies was so overwhelming that we got away from that. That wasnít the Administrationís choice, it was direction, probably, from both bodies. Part of that direction was we want things to be accomplished. When you donít meet like we used to, I think you do lose some of that interrelationship of individuals in understanding what the other side of the coin is that in the 1980's we didnít have cable TV, we may have seven council members sitting at home listening to all of your ideas as we speak. We didnít have that advantage, perhaps that is a substitute.


Member Vrettas: Believe me, I understand being task oriented. That is me all the way, twenty years ago. Life has taught me some things and it has taught me that if you donít dialog, you donít get to understand one another. I think one of the biggest problems Council had in the last year and caused the shake-up that occurred is they quit talking to one another and they got into groups and it became this faction against that faction. You see it happening in Washington right now. Youíve got to dialog, youíve got to reach consensus or you will eventually divide and fight. Iíve seen it happen. We need to dialog. All Iím asking that we do is that when Jim puts his list of items together for us to prioritize, they include one item -- Open Discussion. If it doesnít rise up high enough on the part of this Commission to be an item to be presented, then Iíll go with the feelings of this Commission. But, believe me, if Iíve learned anything in the time that Iíve been in this world, you need to openly talk with one another or youíll never get it done.


Member Hodges: Iím confused by Mr. Vrettasí statements tonight. I was under the assumption the reason for having this joint meeting is that we will bring our concerns to the table which is in fact what I consider dialog. I donít want to end up coming down there, spending the rest of my tenure, trying to second guess what the Council wants. Thatís not what I see as my duty, second guessing the Council. I donít want to see that as priority in my service.


Member Vrettas: The definition of dialog is that two people get together with no ground rules and talk and let the conversation take you wherever itís going to take you. And in the process ....

Member Hodges: I think that we have some very real tasks before us and I think we have to set them as a task priority.



PM-11-064-95 MOTION BY Bonaventure, SECONDED BY Hodges to adjourn the Special Planning Commission Meeting at 11:40 p.m. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.







Steven Cohen

Planning Aide


Transcribed by Christine Gehler

December 20, 1995