REGULAR MEETING OF
THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo.
PRESENT: Members Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Chairperson Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington
Member Bonaventura 8:55 p.m. (excused)
ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Engineering Consultant
David Bluhm, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, and Planning Aide Steven Cohen
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
PM-95-12-065 ELECTION OF NEW PLANNING COMMISSION SECRETARY
Motion by Hoadley, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To elect Member Eda Weddington as Planning Commission Secretary.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-065 MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairperson Lorenzo requested that under MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION, the following be added: 2. Notification of Absences and Tardiness.
PM-95-12-066 TO APPROVE AGENDA AS AMENDED
Motion by Weddington, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Agenda and amend by adding under Matters for Discussion as item 2) Notification of Absences and Tardiness.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-066 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
Lynn Kocan asked that the Planning Commissioners speak into the microphone stating that she could not hear Mr. Capello at the back of the room.
Member Weddington read a letter from Andrew Mutch, November 21, 1995 (attached).
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVAL AND APPROVALS
Member Weddington noted a correction on the Minutes of August 16, 1995. Page 29, last line in the first paragraph, "whether there were odors or remissions," remissions should read "emissions."
Member Hoadley noted that on Page 8, Minutes of August 16, 1995, the fifth paragraph, middle of the paragraph, "he said it would be different if Mr. Keros were coming in here with something which really did violence...." The word should be "violate," not "violence."
PM-95-12-067 APPROVAL OF CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS, MINUTES AS AMENDED
Motion by Vrettas, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda items, minutes as amended.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that under the Consent Agenda, 4. ARDEN GLEN SUBDIVISION, SP 92-37G, POSSIBLE WAIVER OF SCREENING REQUIREMENTS has been approved.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-067 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
1. DELFINO ESTATES SUBDIVISION, SP 95-06C
Property located south of Nine Mile Road, west of Taft Road for possible Tentative Preliminary Plat recommendation to City Council.
Mike Priest, Civil Engineer, representing Laura E. Marchosetti owner of the property, stated that the west side of the property abuts Thornton Creek, a natural watercourse which will not be disturbed. Eight, half-acre lots, exclusive of the wetlands areas will be provided.
Brandon Rogers reviewed the plan and also noted the comments of JCK and Associates. Mr. Rogers advised that there are some lots that are platted into wetlands, particularly along the west edge. The applicant has provided statistics showing that the net areas, in all cases, exclusive of wetlands areas, are in excess of the Ordinance requirement of a half-acre. It is suggested that those wetlands areas be excluded from the area of the particular lots and put into a common area, therefore, not requiring a variance from City Council. Tentative Preliminary Plat approval is recommended.
David Bluhm of JCK has reviewed this plan and the proposed improvements include a 28-foot wide public street with a cul-de-sac extending south of Nine Mile Road with water mains and sanitary sewers extending from Nine Mile Road. Due to the moratorium, water service will be for fire suppression or fire service only and individual wells will be proposed on a temporary basis. Sidewalks are proposed along the internal streets and also along the Nine Mile Road frontage for the project. In addition to the easement areas for the Lexington Green Basin, there are FEMA regulated flood plain areas in both the northeast and southwest area of the site. The applicant will have to get a letter of map revision from FEMA which would move those flood plain lines into their correct positions which more or less follow the easement areas which would pull the flood plain areas back quite a bit. They will have to get that permit through the Building Department and FEMA. As Brandon Rogers eluded to, itís possible to make the area of wetland on the west side a park area, however, due to the Plat Act, theyíd have to provide access to that park area. JCK and Associates recommends approval and will be looking at it further.
Rod Arroyo reviewed the Tentative Preliminary Plat and reported this is fairly straightforward from a traffic perspective. The cul-de-sac road that is proposed meets City design and construction standards. With eight lots, fairly low traffic will be generated and no improvements to Nine Mile Road are warranted. Therefore, approval is recommended.
Sue Tepatti reviewed the plat from a Wetlands Ordinance standpoint and this project falls under the Minor Permit category of the Wetlands Ordinance. Her office expects to recommend approval in the future of the Wetland Permit. They will be asking for a temporary sedimentation basin to be constructed in the northeast corner and feel that should adequately address any sedimentation that occurs on this site.
Ms. Tepatti stated that Thornton Creek flows through the site; crossing Lots 3 and 4, platting the wetlands along the western boundary. There are some concerns with that as the Ordinance has been revised to prohibit the platting of wetlands; primarily to prevent future intrusions into those areas. The applicant feels that he would be able to stay out of the buffer and the wetlands and, even though they do have those areas platted, our first choice is to have those excluded from the platted lots and have them in a Commons area. They would also be required to place a Preservation Easement over those areas which would call out certain restrictions and serve as notice to the potential home buyers that these areas are protected and off limits.
Ms. Tepatti continued by stating that a letter of "No Jurisdiction" will be required or a Department of Natural Resources permit for the storm water discharge. In addition, she will be reviewing future detailed engineering drawings for best management practices and placement of the sedimentation basin and maintenance functions for that.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted for the record that a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department stating that "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
Member Hoadley asked Mr. Priest if there is a reason he wants to plat into the wetlands knowing what the Ordinance calls for.
Mr. Priest replied that from a practical standpoint, the simplest resolution would be to show it on the plat as being a Conservation Easement. It could also be enumerated in the Deed Restrictions as far as what it was and that it could not be touched. It is contiguous to the park which is included in the subdivision to the south.
Member Hoadley stated that all the petitioner has to do is re-draw the lines so there isnít intrusion into the wetlands.
Mr. Priest stated they could revise the plat boundary to follow the line (as noted on the map). If it is not necessary to include it in the plat, the plat boundary will have to be revised. The residual property could be deeded to the City.
Dennis Watson stated that the Ordinance requirement doesnít prevent the plat going into a wetland area. What it precludes and what they would need the waiver to permit is to have actual lot lines going into wetland area. In other words, what the Ordinance anticipates is rather than have individual lot owners owning that wetland, you would make that a common area deeded to the subdivision association and they would be responsible for maintaining and preserving it. For that to be a common area, there has to be common access to it. They would either have to run an easement or something across one of those lots to do that.
Mr. Priest stated that the property could be deeded to the City of Novi.
Dennis Watson stated that the problem isnít what physically is going to occur out there, but who has title to it.
Member Vrettas stated that when you talk about putting access to it, that defeats the purpose of wetlands because wetlands is a place that is supposed to be preserved.
Dennis Watson replied that whoever has the responsibility for preserving it has to take care of that and to do that, you have to have some way of getting in there. Even if it were deeded to the City, the City would have the same problem.
Member Hodges asked if the lot line could extend into the wetland.
Dennis Watson replied that in accordance with the Cityís Wetlands Regulations, lot lines cannot encroach into the wetland areas.
Member Hodges stated that basically, the lots could be platted as they appear on Ms. Tepattiís map and they would stop where the buffer lines stops.
Dennis Watson agreed except that in order to do that, Mr. Priest will have to make some other modifications to the plat to provide a means of access to that area.
Member Hodges then stated that if itís known from the onset that itís not their property, then at least the people cannot presume they can do what they want. Member Hodges then added that we should do whatever is necessary to prevent them from entering in the first place.
Member Weddington asked Mr. Rogers what would happen to these lot sizes if an easement were created along the back of Lots 1-4.
Mr. Rogers responded by stating that the lots could be shifted down. Lot 7 could be reduced in size and still have at least the half acre. The lots on the west side of the plat all read about .5 acres. Mr. Rogers doesnít know if thereís enough room to put in that 12-foot easement behind Lot 1.
Mr. Priest asked if it can be a walkway or an easement?
David Bluhm is not sure if an easement is acceptable. It may need to be part of the park area which means it would be outside of the lot lines.
Mr. Priest asked what if we didnít include it within the plat?
Dennis Watson replied that you would probably have a different problem in that youíre leaving a remainder parcel that is landlocked which wonít comply with the Zoning Ordinance in any respect and you probably wonít get approval to do that.
Member Weddington stated that in the past, she has had no problem with just requiring a Preservation Easement to keep construction and people out of the sensitive lands, but Member Hodges raises some valid concerns about the willingness of people to actually abide by those easements. In this case, Member Weddington doesnít know if we can adequately provide the access needed for this "orphan" parcel that would be created. The alternative is just to go with the Preservation Easement and hope that we can enforce it and keep all future construction out of the wetlands buffer.
Mr. Priest stated that the lots are larger than half an acre. The best safeguard, as far as maintaining that, is the eight people who are going to live there and he doesnít envision anyone going out there and trying to fill it in.
Chairperson Lorenzo added that what weíre trying to accomplish here is to get it in the hands of the eight lot owners so that collectively they have access and control over the use of that wetland.
Mr. Priest believes that could be done in the covenants and restrictions for the subdivision.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked how you would regulate individual property owners.
Member Weddington stated that by putting it in the covenants, conditions and restrictions of the subdivision, the owners will enforce those restrictions. Member Wedding further asked if the Commission can include that as a condition of approval.
Dennis Watson responded by stating that itís going to be in their covenants and restrictions either way and, whether itís a common area or whether itís owned by the individual lot owners, it will be enforceable by everyone who has rights in the subdivision. Typically, we make those portions of the restrictions enforceable by the City as well in case maintenance of those areas is not conducted by the people who have the property right to those areas.
Mr. Priest replied they would have no problem working that out to the satisfaction of Dennis Watson.
Member Hoadley noted that Lot 1 has more than a half acre of land and you could have the easement off Nine Mile Road along the back of the lot.
Member Capello asked if the wetland buffer is included in the square footage per acreage.
Sue Tepatti replied "no." Youíre allowed to plat lots within wetland buffers but not into the wetlands itself. The acreage shown is strictly the wetlands acreage, not including the buffer.
Member Capello asked if the Commission has any authority to run the easement where Mr. Hoadley suggested or have the authority to allow a lot to be less than half an acre in this zone.
Dennis Watson replied "no." The City Council could approve it subject to a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals. There is Cluster Option, Preservation Option, but Mr. Watson is not aware that any of them would be applicable to this project.
Brandon Rogers stated that in the Preservation Option, you cannot count regulated wetlands and there are no regulated woodlands on the site. This site doesnít qualify for Cluster because there isnít fifty percent regulated woodlands and/or wetlands. There is one other solution and that is to delete a lot.
Member Hoadley stated that if the petitioner would consider moving the line between Lots 1 and 2 towards Lot 3 and he could pick up enough square feet to have that easement; make one lot a little larger and two a little smaller.
Brandon Rogers noted that it might be done, looking at Lot 5. That lot is quite large and you could shift Lots 1, 2, 3, 4 and move into the west edge of Lot 5 which has a width of 120 feet.
Member Vrettas noted that the wetland obviously does not stop at the property line but continues on. If they could have an access just to the west in the next property that would lead all the way down to the entire wetland, then the requirement would be fulfilled. Member Vrettas then asked who owns the property next to this property?
Mr. Priest replied that Singh Development owns the property.
Member Vrettas offered the suggestion that Mr. Priest talk to Singh Development and try to work together to work out a means of access to the entire wetlands area that would satisfy both of them.
PM-95-12-068 MOTION TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR TENTATIVE PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR DELFINO ESTATES SUBDIVISION SP 95-06C
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Hodges, FAILED (3-4) : To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Tentative Preliminary Site Plan approval for Delfino Estates Subdivision SP 95-06C subject to consultantís conditions and recommendations to require Preservation Easements over all the wetlands and to have that information in accordance with the subdivision covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
Member Vrettas stated he is voting "no" because he feels the Commission is rushing and shouldnít move this on when we have concerns about wetlands. Why not delay long enough for the petitioner to talk to Singh Development and see if they can have a combined wetland with access.
Member Hodgesí concern is whether or not the Commission can legally demand that the petitioner do that. They do not have the right to dictate or change the covenants and restrictions at the neighboring subdivision. In addition can there be a shared access at this point?
Dennis Watson noted that the property to the immediate west is not yet developed. The proposal is to do something jointly with the two properties and that can be suggested. The property owner is entitled to have an evaluation of this particular proposal and parcel of land. It may be to the petitionerís advantage to explore that question with the neighboring property owner so that question can be responded to in front of the City Council.
Member Vrettas stated that the point he is making is that the petitioner talk with Singh Development. Mr. Priest replied that he has talked to Singh Development; they acquired the property from Singh.
Member Vrettas noted that they are going to have the same kind of problems the petitioner is having right now because the wetlands donít stop at the property line. Why not explore it? If the petitioner had already explored it and the response was "no," then Member Vrettas could support this motion. Until itís been explored, Member Vrettas cannot support the motion.
Member Weddingtonís other suggestion is that when you start crossing property lines, you have to think about other things such as "who is going to actually have control and responsibility for this property?" Itís not just that we want people to stay off of it, but weíll be opening up a battle zone when the other property is developed. The neighbors are going to be going back and forth. We have to have faith in our Ordinance system and enforcement that they can support this.
Member Vrettas added that the logical response is to put it all together into one wetland and deed it to the City.
Chairperson Lorenzo reminded the Commissioners that this is a recommendation to City Council. The Council will have the minutes, including suggestions, and the City Council can make a decision.
Member Weddington stated that the rationale behind her motion is that the solution is consistent with the way we have treated these situations in the past. We have a better likelihood in this case of enforcement and protection of this wetland if itís in the hands of the individual owners and the subdivision; all the other owners in this case would have authority to enforce this and make sure that the deed restrictions are adhered to, and there would also be enforcement by the City. By deeding it to the City, weíre not sure the City wants it. City Council will make that decision, take on the liability for it, and the responsibility for maintaining it and that might not be the most efficient, effective or preferable way of handling it.
Member Hoadley stated that Brandon Rogers said we can pick up enough land if the lot line between Lots 1 and 2 is moved, allowing room for a 12-foot easement along the back of that lot line. That will solve everything, if the petitioner is willing to do it. Member Hoadley asked Member Weddington if she would be willing to amend the motion to include that possibility.
Member Weddington would have difficulty with that because itís too speculative. She would want to see a new drawing and believes the Council would want to see something specific.
Member Hoadley suggested that the petitioner bring to Council an alternate plan, if feasible, to do it that way.
Member Bononi stated that one of her concerns with this plan deals with Lots 4 and 8, which are being proposed as oversized lots. If we are to read what Design and Construction Standard 11-126 requires in a situation where retention is proposed, her concern is that these lots are indeed oversized lots. She understands that the retention situation on Lot 8 is proposed to be temporary and the situation on Lot 4 is in existence. When you look at the difference between what is required in the underlying zone and what is being proposed and put forward as being an oversized lot, weíre talking about something just a little over 4,000 square feet. It seems that isnít an oversized lot when you consider the degree of activity thatís being proposed on a lot this size which is to provide temporary and permanent retention for storm water. Member Bononi has a concern about what oversize means according to our regulations and whether or not these two lots qualify as being oversized lots.
Member Bononi continued with another question concerning notation number five where it says that "a wetlands consultant flagged the wetlands boundary." It also says that "the boundary was amended by JCK" and she would like to know what the amendment was.
Sue Tepatti replied that under the Wetland Ordinance, the developer/applicant is required to obtain a wetland consultant to flag the boundaries and the field, and our office then goes out and confirms those boundaries. In addition, she met with the consultant in the field and actually made the wetland larger than what they had originally shown. The wetland flags were re-surveyed and shown on the plan in the locations that her office had approved.
Chairperson Lorenzoís preference would be to see the shifting of the lots in order to allow for an easement of access so that these wetlands could be placed in a common area for this subdivision. She shares Member Hodgesí concerns about having this be individual property owners property and would like clarification as to Member Weddingtonís motion and how this is going to protect this area because if itís not deeded over to the residents of this subdivision as "common," what control, other than the fact that it may be a conservation easement, do they have over this wetland area?
Member Weddingtonís understanding is that the responsibility would rest with those individual lot owners, in this case the people who own Lots 3 and 4. But the other property owners would have the authority and the ability to require those individual property owners to enforce the deed restrictions and the easement.
Dennis Watson noted that Member Weddington is correct. Anything in the covenants and restrictions is enforceable by everybody with a property interest in the property.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted that she appreciates the intent behind Member Vrettasí suggestion, but when you start getting into someone elseís property, it becomes very complex and very presumptuous in terms of whether or not someone else is going to enter into an agreement with this property owner to allow some type of an easement to occur there. The simplest solution, if it were feasible, would be to shift the lots and allow the access between two lots. That would be her preference.
Member Vrettas stated that if itís a common area with access and someone behind Lot 2 does something, isnít the entire subdivision now legally responsible for what Lot 2 did? Couldnít they be held accountable because itís a common area?
Dennis Watson stated that assuming itís a common area and the City was going to enforce that provision, the City would look to the subdivision association and then, if it was not taken care of, those provisions would allow the City the right to do whatever maintenance action has to be taken care of and then assess that cost to all of the lots in the subdivision.
Member Vrettas stated that under the present motion on the floor, he would question whether any enforcement would ever be done by anyone. If we were to have the access and the responsibility is spread out among the entire subdivision, those who have an interest in protecting their own self are going to make sure that they are doing their job over on Lots 1, 2, and 3.
Chairperson Lorenzo directed to Mr. Watson, that in terms of the flood plain, there was no action. She further remembers that the Commission referred this matter to the Ordinance Review Committee and they didnít take any action on whether to permit or not permit flood plains.
Dennis Watson replied that his recollection is that they determined not to change the Ordinance.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted that platting of flood plains within lots is still permissible by Ordinance.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-068 - MOTION FAILED
Yes: Capello, Hodges, Weddington
No: Bononi, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Vrettas
PM-95-12-069 TO RECOMMEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR DELFINO ESTATES SUBDIVISION, SP 95-06C
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED (6-1): To recommend a positive recommendation to City Council for Delfino Estates Subdivision SP 95-06C subject to all consultantís conditions and recommendations and that the applicant will remove the lot lines from Lots 2, 3, and 4 from the wetlands, dedicate those wetland areas as common, conservation easements and provide access to that park area, if feasible.
Member Hodges asked if there was a need to specify ordinance enforcement in this motion.
Dennis Watson reported that it is a part of our normal review of those covenants.
Member Weddington agrees with the approach, but her question is can we send a recommendation on a different plan because thatís what this would be. Weíre not even sure that itís feasible.
Dennis Watson stated that a recommendation is being sent to City Council that the developer modify that plan to deal with those concerns. The Commissionís recommendation is that changes be made to this plan so that the petitioner doesnít need that wetlands variance from the City Council. When the petitioner gets to the City Council, heís either going to make modifications to do that or demonstrate to the City Council why it canít be done.
Rod Arroyo asked if thereís a new plan resubmitted, does that go directly to City Council or do the consultants review it to make sure it meets all standards since itís being modified?
Dennis Watson stated that if there is actually a new plan to present to the City Council, it should be reviewed by the consultants.
Member Bononi expressed concern that the information, as presented, is premature as far as its completeness is concerned, especially in view of the revisions that the members of the Commission are asking the petitioner to make in order that the Commissioners can support it. These are her concerns and she believes that the petitioner would be better served by having a plan in a more complete condition from the standpoint of the comments that are being asked of him. Member Bononi would feel a lot more comfortable about it if she could see those before passing a recommendation on.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-069 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington
2. ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR, SP 95-52
Property located north of Grand River Avenue, between Meadowbrook Road and Novi Road for possible Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approval.
Jeff Scott, Scott Architects, stated that Enterprise Rent-a-Car is planning to become a tenant in the existing strip mall and an overhead door is needed at the rear of the building to bring vehicles into the car preparation area. Because of this addition, a modification to the exterior facade of the building is required. There are no proposed modifications to the existing parking lot or the existing landscaping areas.
Brandon Rogers stated that all application data is provided and they would comply with the sign ordinance over the front door. Special Land Use approval and Preliminary Site Plan approval is recommended. If both requests are approved by the Commission, Mr. Rogers would approve, administratively, the Final Site Plan.
David Bluhm, JCK and Associates stated they have no engineering concerns.
Rod Arroyo stated they have reviewed the plan primarily to look at changes to access which in this case is a modification to provide an overhead door for servicing vehicles. We find that access is acceptable adjacent to that and we donít anticipate any significant changes in trip generation. We recommend approval, both Preliminary and Final Site Plans.
For the record, Chairperson Lorenzo noted a letter received from Daniel W. Roy, Captain, City of Novi Fire Department, which states that "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
Member Bononi asked if they would be washing cars out of doors. The petitioner replied "no." Member Bononi also asked where the rental cars would be parked? The petitioner replied that the intent is not to have dedicated spaces. The cars will be parked at the rear of the building, not the parking area in front of the building. The intent is to keep the cars as far away from the normal public parking as possible and keep them in the back and far edges of the parking lot.
Member Capello asked what drainage the landlord was going to provide inside the bay?
The petitioner responded by stating that they will make the necessary interior improvements.
Member Capello asked why a strip center was chosen and if were there problems finding space in Novi. The petitioner stated that it comes down to cost of property and zoning. Enterprise is a low rate rental car company and in order to provide low rates we need to have less overhead.
Member Hoadley stated that he thinks this is a good business to come to our community and he will support Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers what the criteria for Special Land Use is in this shopping center.
Mr. Rogers replied itís the type of use; car rental is called out as a Special Land Use in a B-3 District.
Member Bonaventura asked the petitioner if servicing the vehicles is limited to strictly cleaning. The petitioner stated that all repairs of the vehicles will be done offsite.
PM-95-12-070 TO APPROVE SPECIAL LAND USE AND PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN FOR ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR, SP 95-52
Moved by Hodges, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, SP 95-52 subject to consultantís conditions and recommendations.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-070 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. CIRCUIT CITY STORE, SP95-01 B & C
Property located in the West Oaks Shopping Center (formerly Krogers Store) for possible Revised Preliminary Site Plan and Final Site Plan recommendation to City Council.
David Olsen, Casco Corporation, representing Circuit City noted that Circuit City claims to be the nationís largest retailer of consumer electronics. They operate approximately 300 stores nationwide, are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and are looking at a number of stores in the Detroit area.
Mr. Olsen noted that he appeared before the Commission in February 1995 for Preliminary Site Plan Approval, proposing to re-use the existing structure pretty much as is. The Fire Department had voiced a concern regarding the proposed customer pickup being located at the front of the building. In order to mitigate that, we talked about locating that parking on the side of the building and flipping the floor plan which would require demolition of the existing dock and reconstruction of that dock on the other side. We submitted our Revised Plan showing the flip of the floor plan and reconstruction of the dock. Reconstructing the dock required a Zoning Board of Appeal approval which we obtained last night. Tonight Mr. Olson is asking the Commission to approve the Preliminary Site Plan Amendment and Final Site Plan for recommendation to City Council.
Brandon Rogers noted that this is a "rebuild" of the old Kroger Store. The square footage is slightly reduced and the Plan is back because itís a new foot print. The function of the loading dock at the south side of the building is the same but by re-locating it, they can have the doorways for cars going inside the building for services. By putting it on the southeast corner, it will be enclosed in this new eastern facade so the east facade of this addition will all be face brick. In addition, the center was built prior to the current parking standards and have "grand fathered" in the parking because they are reducing the parking need due to the building having less square footage.
Concerning the landscape plan, Linda Lemke has noted minor details that can be resolved.
The new facade does not require a waiver and could set the style for further development in West Oaks I.
The developer is asking for a waiver on size of signs and the Building Department will decide this request. Mr. Rogers believes the signage on these plans is in scale with the building and legible, and he would recommend approval for their request.
Mr. Rogers recommends approval of the Revised Preliminary Site Plan and the Final Site Plan with the following conditions: (1) the ZBA to review the deficient rear yard setback (have received approval); (2) touching up minor landscape concerns; (3) review of the wall signs by the ZBA for compliance with the Ordinance.
David Bluhm reported that JCK and Associates has reviewed the Revised Preliminary Site Plan and Final Site Plan detailed site constructions plans. From an engineering point of view, at the rear end of the building there are some minor underground storm improvements and sanitary lead improvements that were made to facilitate the changes. Detailed plans have been reviewed and approval of the Preliminary and Final Site Plans is recommend.
Rod Arroyo reported that the Plans have been reviewed and approval of the Preliminary and Final Site Plans is recommended.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted for the record a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department, which states that "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
PM-95-12-071 TO APPROVE REVISED PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN AND FINAL SITE PLAN RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR CIRCUIT CITY STORE, SP 95-01 B&C
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Bonaventura, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Revised Preliminary Site Plan and Final Site Plan approval subject to consultantís verbal and written recommendations and conditions for Circuit City Store, SP 95-01 B&C.
Member Weddington stated that this is a great improvement and the facade treatment gives the building a very nice appearance.
Member Hoadley noted that projects like these show the willingness of applicants and our consultants to work things out. When they do, we end up with outstanding projects and he commends everyone for doing so. Member Hoadley stated his positive support.
Member Bononi asked why the HVAC equipment to the rear of the roof cannot be screened. The petitioner replied that there are two reasons; (1) the existing building structure would not accept the additional snow drifting, and (2) the elevation.
Brandon Rogers noted that the one unit we can see the top of is enclosed by either a metal web or screen. Itís not going to be obtrusive. Itís at the back; there are trees between the rear wall and the hotel and it wonít be noticeable.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-071 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
2. McDONALDS PLAY SPACE & CASH BOOTH, SP95-29B
Property located south of Twelve Mile Road, between Novi Road and Meadowbrook Road for possible Final Site Plan recommendation to City Council.
Frank Martin, Dorche and Martin Associates, Architects. This particular facility is located at Twelve Oaks. Weíre looking at providing a Play Place totally enclosed on the front of the building. In addition, a cash booth addition was proposed and it is a part of this submission. The project has gone before the ZBA relative to its existence into a certain zoning and that ZBA request has been granted. We have been working with your consultants with respect to resolving some landscape issues, and material sample boards have been included with submissions.
Brandon Rogers noted that this is a Final Site Plan that has to be recommended to the City Council for approval. The Preliminary Site Plan was approved by the City Council.
This particular project was built prior to the PD-3 Ordinance and being that it was a non-conforming use under the PD-3, it had to go back to the ZBA for permission to expand a non-conforming use in this District; permission was received on September 5, 1995.
Linda Lemke finds this an acceptable plan. They have shown on the plan the widening of Twelve Mile Road and, when that occurs, they will be responsible for putting in the required eight-foot wide asphalt bike path and there will be improved landscaping along Twelve Mile. They have planted considerably more plant materials on the north entrance drive and around the building. The architecture of the proposed building would match that of the present building. They have tried to soften the effect with a gable roof design and the use of brick/wood trim. The materials and design comply with the standards of the Ordinance and approval of the final site plan is recommended and should be referred to City Council for review and approval.
David Bluhm noted review of the Final Site Plan and approval is recommended.
Rod Arroyo noted review of the Final Site Plan and recommends approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted for the record a a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the Novi City Fire Department which states "that the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
Member Capello asked if a decision has been made as to the type of interior.
Supervisor of McDonaldís noted that plans for the renovation of the existing interior have been submitted to the Building Department; e.g. wallpaper, etc., however, he does not have a specific plan to share this evening. In addition, he does have the plan for the existing lobby and that would be a natural transition into the play place.
Member Capello asked what the plans are for the inside of the Play Place. One of the concerns expressed the last time the petitioner was here was that since the Play Place was going to be all glass, there was concern about what was going inside and once again, you state that itís going to be compatible with some environmental theme. Member Capello further asked if the plan includes seeing the bright blues, pinks, and yellow tubes from the outside through the glass?
The supervisor of McDonalds noted that the theme would go with the earthtone theme that is currently in the existing restaurant; not the bright blues, pinks, and yellows because they want something that everyone can be proud of.
Member Weddington asked about the Twelve Mile Road widening and if they will be able to meet the parking requirements?
Rod Arroyo stated that by taking that bay of parking out, as long as the aisle is maintained, it would be essentially the way it is today.
PM-95-12-072 TO RECOMMEND FINAL SITE PLAN APPROVAL TO CITY COUNCIL FOR MCDONALDS PLAYSPACE & CASH BOOTH,
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Final Site Plan Approval of McDonaldís Play Space and Cash Booth, SP 95-29B subject to consultantís recommendations and conditions.
Member Hoadley commended the petitioner by stating that this plan is better than the original. He also commended the petitioner for working with our City Ordinances and consultants to bring in a high quality plan.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-072 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
3. PLANNING COMMISSION - COMMITTEE SELECTION
a. Administrative Liaison Committee - (one vacancy)
Member Weddington will serve on this Committee.
b. Planning Studies & Budget Committee - (one vacancy)
c. Communication and Community Liaison Committee - (two vacancies)
Member Hodges and will serve on this Committee
One vacancy remains
d. Implementation Committee - (one vacancy)
Member Bononi will serve on this Committee
e. Master Plan and Zoning Committee - (one vacancy)
Both Member Vrettas and Member Bononi will serve on this Committee
f. Rules Committee - (one vacancy)
Member Vrettas will serve on this Committee
g. Town Center Steering Committee - (one alternate position available)
Member Hodges will be an alternate on this Committee
Member Capello asked if the Novi Senior Housing Committee has been disbanded. Member Hoadley replied "no," they just havenít had any meetings lately. Member Capello believes the Building Authority has taken over. Member Hoadley replied that they combined them into one, meeting jointly.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Steve Cohen to clarify this and report back.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Discussion of replacing summary minutes with verbatim minutes.
Chairperson Lorenzo began the discussion by pointing out that in the packets there was a memo from Steve Cohen to Jim Wahl and the Commission which indicated that the minutes most recently prepared have not been in the short version but in a modified version as the clerical staff took the initiative to take our suggestions to heart in terms of adding more detail and audience participation and Commission discussion. We have before us three options: (1) the proposed "short" version; (2) the "old" format (adopted this evening), and (3) the "modified" version which is the September 20, 1995 minutes.
Steve Cohen reported that on September 20 the Commission adopted a policy, recommended by the Administrative Liaison Committee, that audience participation be slim; shorter minutes. That policy was adopted. At the next meeting, a citizen had some complaints regarding the minutes along with Chairperson Lorenzo and Members Bonaventura and Weddington. The clerical staff took the opportunity to take those suggestions and modify the format previously adopted. Chairperson Lorenzo asked for a time evaluation as to time-savings and after talking to the staff it appears that the short isnít as short as we thought it would be. We need some direction as to what you want.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the Commission needs to focus on the purpose of the minutes and what the Commission wants to see in the minutes; not necessarily on the time it takes to prepare the minutes or the time it takes to read the minutes.
PM-95-12-073 RECOMMENDATION TO DIRECT STAFF TO RETURN TO THE ORIGINAL VERSION (OLD FORMAT) OF THE TRANSCRIPTION OF PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES.
Moved by Bonaventura, seconded by Vrettas, FAILED (4-4): To go back to the original version (old format) of the transcription of Planning Commission minutes.
Member Hoadley stated he will vote against the motion. Member Hoadley believes the condensed version is better because of the errors that occur when trying to produce the longer version minutes. Member Hoadley doubts that all the Commissioners read the long version; some have been over 100 pages. If condensing or modifying the minutes gets the minutes to the Commissioners sooner and they can be concisely done, Member Hoadley prefers the short version.
Member Hodges agrees with Member Hoadley stating that we donít take verbatim minutes, we donít have verbatim transcription of the minutes. If weíre willing to pay the price of a court recorder, we could have verbatim minutes but that doesnít address the items underlined.
Member Capello agrees and doesnít believe that the long version of the minutes that we have had for years is accurate of what is conducted at the meetings. Verbatim minutes are not easy to read and the summary is a better representation of what transpired at the meeting. If we want to have verbatim minutes next year, we should consider contracting outside with an individual to attend the meetings and prepare the minutes.
Steve Cohen stated that it very expensive to have a person come in and transcribe minutes. Also, there is a technicality with the union in the City of Novi. There might be problems taking work away from someone else.
Member Vrettas asked if the tapes from the meetings are destroyed or kept.
Steve Cohen noted that it was agreed by the Commission to keep the tapes for three years.
Member Vrettas stated that if we are keeping the tapes for a sufficiently long time, he would vote "no" on the motion. Member Vrettas agrees with what everyone is saying, but there are times when we need the verbatim minutes.
Member Bononi noted that as a new member of the Commission, she does not share the history of the minutes. After reading the minutes provided to her for several meetings, if you are going to have verbatim minutes, you have verbatim minutes. The two "shortened" formats, in addition to the longer ones, in her view, provide anyone who is interested in knowing what the business of the Commission was that information. Member Bononi cannot say which one she would prefer, but doesnít think the long minutes are as efficient as they could be. She does not support the motion.
Member Bonaventura noted that through his past experience as an activist in the community, the minutes have been very helpful in doing research on past decisions. For a "novice" to be able to read almost detailed information from previous meetings helps greatly. If the old format is wrong, weíve been doing it wrong for a long time. Member Bonaventura has a problem with shortening the minutes noting that there are benefits in being able to go through minutes that have everybodyís comments; comments not deleted or shortened. Possibly these shortened minutes could be fabricated if there is no basis for the method of condensing the minutes. Member Bonaventura stressed that there might not be a criteria for condensing peopleís thoughts, ideas, comments, and the possible manipulation of our minutes as far as not adding anything. That concerns Member Bonaventura for future planning commissioners and future residents of the City.
Member Bonaventura continued by referencing the Interlock case and stating that watching and listening to the video tape and reading the minutes, they are about as close as they can be without going to extraordinary lengths. He considers those minutes practically verbatim and very useful.
Member Hoadley responded to Member Vrettasí concern by stating that the last motion on this was to go to the shortened minutes with a provision that the cassette tapes be kept no less than the statute of limitations. That was in the motion; that was what was agreed to, and therefore would be mandated to do that.
Member Vrettas stated his support for what Member Bonaventura said, but added that he is supporting it from the point of view of people making honest mistakes when they are trying to summarize, especially if this is not their forteí and they are making the judgment as to what is going to be summarized. Itís safer to go the long way. Itís cumbersome, itís burdensome, but the words and how they said it and what the implication was, you have to hear exactly what they said to know what they meant. Member Vrettas thinks it is better to return to the old version.
Steve Cohen pointed out to Mr. Vrettas that the Commissioners approve the minutes and most of the time they catch any errors and send their corrections back for revision.
Member Hodges agrees with Member Bonaventura. Itís a good opportunity to encourage them to submit written comments which will become part of the minutes. Itís in our notice that written comments will be taken at any time and we can encourage our residents to submit written comments to be added to the file, especially if they are concerned about the fact that we may misquote or misinterpret them. In addition, if there is someone who is illiterate and cannot write, Member Hodges believes that provisions have to be made within City Hall to take notes or write letters for those residents. There are many ways we can assist, teach, and change. Member Hodges cannot support the motion because itís a change for the worse.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated she agrees with Member Bonaventura and disagrees with Member Capello, particularly in the sense that the minutes that we have been approving in the past are inaccurate. Obviously, there are some typographical errors, obviously there may be some words that were incorrect, but thatís the reason the minutes are reviewed, the minutes to make those corrections.
Chairperson Lorenzo continued by questioning as stated previously, what is the purpose of these minutes? In addition to the minutes being a legal record and a legal requirement, it is a public record and an invaluable public service to all of the public at large - the 40,000+ residents of this community. Like Member Bonaventura, Chairperson Lorenzo speaks from ten years experience being involved in this City by going to the Library on a Saturday or Sunday, making copies of minutes, taking those home and doing research, and then taking issues back to the Planning Commission or the City Council. With a very short version, it is totally cut up, the thought process isnít there, the reasoning isnít always there; not necessarily "yes" weíll have our motions in there, "yes" we have to provide (in terms of the legal requirements) the reasoning, if we refer to ordinances not being complied with, etc. If you look at the detail that we provide in our old minutes or even the middle-of-the-ground minutes, itís imperative to have that amount of detail in there; particularly for research purposes.
Chairperson Lorenzo went on to state that it is very inconvenient and impractical to expect the public at large to go to the Planning and Community Development Department and listen to a tape in their offices. Some people may feel uncomfortable or intimidated to have to come to the City for that information. It would be a disservice to the community to go with this drastic cut. It seems to be evolving from a cost-saving and time-saving situation and that is not the purpose of the minutes. The purpose of the minutes is to have a record, a semi-permanent record on file of what took place, who said what, and when. Chairperson Lorenzo noted that she has used that information in issues before City Council and for the Planning Commission the past ten years. Yes, it may be inconvenient for us to read through that material when it comes to us for review and approval, and it may take the staff extra time to prepare those minutes, but in the long term, youíre providing a very necessary service to the whole community. Chairperson Lorenzo stated her disappointment that the Commission would go to a shorter version and noted that she might be able to support the middle-of-the-ground version.
Chairperson Lorenzo also referred to Ms. Roderís comments during audience participation at the June 7, 1995 meeting where Ms. Roderís comments in the short version were one paragraph and when compared to the old version, were almost two and a half pages worth of material. Chairperson Lorenzo went on to sate that a lot is lost in the shorter version. Furthermore, correspondence is encouraged, the whole purpose for audience participation in this arena is for people to stand up and address us vocally. We do give them a time limit, but within that time limit they should have the opportunity to address us and we should have that on record as to what they said, what they asked, what their comments were. This Commission is approaching this from a different perspective and maybe itís a philosophical issue, but the information is important.
Another example deals with a little misunderstanding between myself and the Novi News a couple of months ago regarding Aspen Woods. That got resolved. Mr. Malott asked for a set of the minutes and the tapes. Without more detail in these minutes, something that we said or didnít say could be misconstrued without going back to the tape. In the case of the newspaper, they are doing their work and can go to the City and receive that information. But to the average citizen out there itís not as viable.
This is a very important issue and Chairperson Lorenzo restated her disappointed that the Commission would consider to adopt a cut version and voiced her support for the motion.
Member Vrettas stated that if we are here to serve the people, then one of the things in this information age that weíve got to remember is that the most valuable asset that anyone has, especially a citizen, is knowledge. If we start cutting off the knowledge to our fellow citizens, weíre not serving them well.
VOTE ON PM-95-12-073 - MOTION FAILED
Yes: Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura, Lorenzo
No: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges
2. NOTIFICATION OF ABSENCES AND TARDINESS
Chairperson Lorenzo asked the Commissioners to contact Steve Cohen if they know that they are going to be late to or cannot attend a meeting. Itís very important that we know if weíre going to have a quorum for both Planning Commission Meetings and sub-committee meetings as well.
PM-95-12-074 TO ADJOURN MEETING
Moved by Capello, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn
VOTE ON PM-95-12-074 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
Steve Cohen, Planning Aide
Transcribed by Christine Gehler
January 19, 1996
Corrections assisted by Barbara Holmes
February 13, 1996
Date Approved: February 21, 1996