REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1996 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBER - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Meeting called to order at 7:31 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo.
PRESENT: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo,
Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Director of Planning & Community Development James Wahl,
and Planning Aide Steven Cohen
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she has received a letter from the petitioner for Item 1 under Public Hearings requesting that the petition be withdrawn. No motion is required.
Member Hoadley stated that he would like to add under Matters for Discussion as Item 3, Handicapped Parking.
PM-96-02-022 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 3, Handicapped Parking.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-022 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas Weddington
Member Weddington read letters from Bradford J. Chaklos, of Tri-Mount Companies, dated 2/7/96 (Map Amendment 18.543) and from David A. Gumenick, dated 2/6//96 (Ameritech SP 95-30A).
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVAL AND APPROVALS
Chairperson Lorenzo noted a correction on the meeting minutes of November 15, 1995. On Page 19, there was a statement made by Member Hoadley and he did not attend that meeting. Steven Cohen interjected by stating that the tape had been reviewed and the statement was actually made by Member Vrettas.
Member Bonaventura noted that there was not a quorum present for the November 15, 1995 meeting and then asked Dennis Watson if it is permissible to call a meeting to order under those circumstances. Mr. Watson recollected that a meeting can be called to order for the purpose of scheduling another meeting or adjourning. Member Bonaventura then asked if motions can be made when there isn’t a quorum. Mr. Watson replied that he believes that they are limited for the purposes that he mentioned.
Member Bonaventura then asked if the agenda could once again be attached to the copies of the minutes because they serve as table of contents. Mr. Cohen said that the Department would begin attaching them once again.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted corrections on Pages 8-12, on the November 15 meeting minutes that Mr. Seiber’s name is spelled incorrectly.
Member Hoadley reminded the Planning Department about a request that the Commission had made requesting that they be given a pink sheet for Committee Meetings so that they would not be overlooked. Mr. Cohen responded by stating that a pink sheet was included in several packets and found that it was repetitious because the Committee Meetings appear on the back of the agenda already and may be confusing if there were a clerical error between the two.
Chairperson Lorenzo noted corrections on the November 29, 1995 Minutes. On Page 1, next to the last sentence it states that Member Hoadley is "eluding" and should read "alluding." On Page 32, the fourth sentence from the bottom, Chairperson wants to clarify that "them" refers to breakaway gates. On Page 35, the fourth paragraph from the bottom, "but" should be inserted before "I’ve sat in . . ."
PM-96-02-023 APPROVAL OF CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS, MINUTES AS AMENDED
Motion by Weddington, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve
Consent Agenda Items, Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of November 15, 1995 and the Special Planning Commission Meeting of November 29, 1995 as amended.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-023 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas Weddington
1. AMERITECH CELLULAR SERVICES, INC., SP 95-55
Property located north of Jo Drive, east of Vincenti Court for possible Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan recommendation to City Council.
Bryan Monaghan, an attorney representing Ameritech Mobile Communication introduced the other representatives for this project: Kyle Dilley, a radio frequency engineer with Ameritech who can respond to the technical questions about radio frequency and cellular technology and Hank Peters from Professional Engineering Associates who put the site plan together and can answer site questions.
Mr. Monaghan stated that Ameritech is proposing to construct a 117' mono-pole cellular tower on Vincenti Court in the Vincenti Industrial Complex. Accompanying the cellular tower is an unmanned 12'x26' equipment shelter which will house the batteries and switching equipment to help operate the antenna tower. The mono-pole tower at 117' is considered small. The reason that Ameritech wants to put the tower in this area is because cellular technology works according to a grid system in any geographical area. The area is divided into cells and the individual cells need to have a tower in them for effective communications. In this particular area, there is a gap in the coverage and capacity because of the vast number of customers passing through and living in the area. As a result they are receiving a great number of complaints. To illustrate the number of complaints received, Mr. Monaghan stated that Ameritech ran one Novi zip code, 48375, through its computer and the printout reflected 2,436 customers which would ultimately translate into a lot of complaints. In addition, Mr. Monaghan stated that Ameritech is one of the limited number of company’s that is licensed to provide cellular communication in the greater metropolitan Detroit area. Mr. Monaghan also stated that there is an Ameritech tower already constructed near the post office. Mr. Monaghan added that the zoning for the site is appropriate, the setback meets ordinance requirements, and that Ameritech tries to place the towers in the most unobtrusive location as possible.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant advised that Mr. Monaghan has covered the points in his letter. Mr. Rogers did add that this plan is a Special Land Use that requires City Council final approval and a Public Hearing. The area is leased in the back of an existing building, Commerce Controls. The driveway loops the building, so there is no need to pave any driveway or parking lot for this use. The shelter will have the same brick as the Commerce Controls building and Mr. Rogers finds that the general standards and setback standards are met. There are minor details on the Preliminary Site Plan called out in Mr. Rogers approval that can be included in the Final Site Plan approval. In addition, Mr. Rogers did not believe that a landscape plan was necessary due to the nature and location of the site. Mr. Rogers recommends Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approval.
Dave Bluhm, Engineer for JCK & Associates stated that his office has reviewed both the Preliminary and Final Site Plan and there are no utilities or paving site work proposed in the development. Therefore, preliminary and final site plan approval is recommended.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant states that because there is no modification to access, his office did not review the plan.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record that she is in receipt of a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain for the City of Novi Fire Department which states that, "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
Chairperson Lorenzo opened the floor for the Public Hearing. Seeing no one, Chairperson Lorenzo closed the public hearing portion and turned the floor over to the Commission for discussion.
Member Bonaventura asked the petitioner what sort of area coverage is transmitted from a tower of this type. Kyle Dilley, engineer with Ameritech Cellular, responded by stating that the standard towers in and around an urban area like Novi can expect coverage of about one half to three miles depending upon the types of antennas being used and the number of channels used which decreases power as system users increase. Mr. Dilley further stated that this is the primary problem for this area because the tower capacity decreases as users increase.
Member Bonaventura further asked if a tower can only access so many calls at once. Mr. Dilley responded by stating that was correct. Member Bonaventura then asked if the tower could be upgraded. Mr. Dilley replied that currently there is a maximum of 54 calls that could be up at one time. If there were 54 channels up at one time, the coverage of the existing towers at one time in this area would be a little over a half mile.
Member Bonaventura then asked if it starts at that or is it built up to that? Mr. Dilley responded by stating that traffic studies are done in the area and the tower currently at the post office is at the point where it is doing harm to the system because it exceeds the 19 channel limits on one face. In addition, one face is down in a quarter mile service area because there are about 24 channels on it right now and it is causing problems in the other area.
Member Bonaventura asked when Mr. Dilley speaks of 24 channels, does that mean 24 calls can go through at once? Mr. Dilley responded by stating that was correct and that 24 was the maximum number on that particular face of that tower.
Member Bonaventura then asked if these work from a radius of a half mile to three miles? Mr. Dilley responded by stating yes, in the standard 100' towers.
Mr. Monaghan interjected by adding that the signal strength also depends upon the strength of the receiver. Mr. Monaghan stated that he has a car mounted phone with an antenna on his car and therefore, he can pick up a signal a lot farther than a hand held phone. Mr. Monaghan stated that 80-85% of the Ameritech customers are now hand held because they are more mobile, but then they also have a restricted reach.
Member Bonaventura remarked that CellularOne had just been before the Commission within the last two months for what he believes is their third tower. Mr. Rogers added that there are two or three more tower proposals pending, including Ameritech.
Member Bonaventura asked if there were other cellular tower companies besides CellularOne and Ameritech. Mr. Rogers responded by stating that Sprint and AT&T may also become involved in cellular communication.
Member Bonaventura asked if it would be possible for companies to share towers. Mr. Dilley responded by stating that the problem is that each cellular system starts on a base grid and Ameritech and CellularOne started on a different base grid. He continued by stating that at times the grids do cross and at those times, they do work together to try to co-locate on the towers. He added that if the tower locations are within a quarter mile of each other, it makes it difficult to fix another cell into their grid.
Member Hoadley asked if it is possible to add more receivers to the top of an existing tower. Mr. Dilley replied that it is possible if the tower has the current strength to add additional equipment. The towers are designed for a specific loading factor. For example, the post office tower is one of the first twelve or thirteen towers built by Ameritech and its technology is very old. To add to this tower would be almost impossible without tearing it down and replacing it with a new one.
Member Hoadley then asked why couldn’t Ameritech connect with CellularOne’s tower or why can’t the post office tower be "beefed up" with more guide wires for the additional equipment. Mr. Dilley responded by stating that first these towers have no guide wires and reiterated that it is a mono-pole technology built in the same manner as a parking light or a street light. Mr. Dilley then stated that part of the problem is that there are only a certain number of channels available. He then referenced his earlier response by stating that if he were to go back to the 19 channels per face or the 54 channels maximum on a cell site, what occurs is that there is only a little more than 400 usable channels and those channels have to be reused throughout the system. Therefore, if he starts with Channel 1, then it has to be protected with a series of channels that surround it before it can be reused in the next ring out. If Mr. Dilley were to go to another cell and start adding Channel 1 to it, then major interference occurs which means that the caller on that cell may get some other voice, and you cannot hear your own conversation and will lose the call. Therefore, there is the problem of a very limited number of voice channels that are available for use.
Member Hoadley again asked if it is possible to expand the existing equipment rather than build another pole. Mr. Dilley restated that it cannot be done without causing interference. He also said that he is at the point right now that he is doing that with the number of channels that he has on the post office cell and is causing interference with himself north of this area and that by adding the new tower will help rectify the problem.
Member Hoadley is concerned about how the towers will jeopardize the appearance of the City and that the only solution is to co-use towers. Mr. Monaghan responded by stating that Member Hoadley’s concerns are valid and ones that he has heard in other communities. Mr. Monaghan then referred to a drawing designed by a radio frequency engineer and pointed to the purple lines on the chart that reference the reach of the tower for the hand held phones which make up the majority of the Ameritech customers. If the purple lines are deleted, it indicates the gap coverage regardless of the capacity issue. Once the tower is erected, to the extent that there is other needs for towers for radio receivers and transmitters, a lot of the capacity issues can be resolved by what are called micro-cells which can be located on top of a building even as low as two or three stories tall which are very unobtrusive. It is Mr. Monaghan’s hope to dispel concerns about hundreds of towers on every street corner because that is not what occurs once the coverage problem is resolved. Mr. Monaghan further stated that the problem lies in the difference in the grids with respect to CellularOne and Ameritech since they were the two original licensees and the ones that have a large structural system already constructed. As to other suppliers, co-location is always a potential issue. Ameritech has co-located in other communities where feasible and is a win-win situation and looks to this alternative at every opportunity.
Member Hoadley asked if Ameritech looked to co-locate in the Novi community. Mr. Monaghan stated that they have not, as far as he is aware. The reason for that is because from a technical perspective, where towers are located, it is not feasible. Ameritech would gain nothing in terms of attempting to cover their area.
Member Hoadley again stated that he would have difficulty in approving the plan and that they should get together with the competition to develop a system that is less intrusive. Mr. Dilley agreed with Member Hoadley and stated that if the competition’s tower had worked in with their plan they would have done so.
Member Hoadley then asked Mr. Dilley if CellularOne wanted to erect another tower, would Ameritech be willing to allow CellularOne to work on this site. Mr. Dilley stated that they have a large number of sites where CellularOne owns the tower Ameritech is on or Ameritech owns the tower that they are on when the grid works out within the plus or minus factors for engineering. In addition, when they’ve had a weaker tower and Ameritech agrees to co-locate, Ameritech has built a new tower next to the old one and removed the old tower.
Member Hoadley then suggested that this might be something that may require an ordinance change to require an applicant to provide proof that other towers cannot be used as a condition of approval.
Member Hodges asked if the service operates by radio waves. Mr. Monaghan stated that it does. In addition, Member Hodges asked how FCC regulations look at the sharing of poles. Mr. Monaghan responded by stating that there is no FCC regulation prohibiting sharing. Member Hodges then asked if the equipment used is patented and solely licensed by Ameritech. Mr. Monaghan replied that they purchase the equipment from Belmont Industries, the manufacturer.
Member Weddington asked Mr. Rogers what would happen if the 117' pole fell? Mr. Rogers responded that if it blew to the west that it would hit the Commerce Controls building but added that the pole would not fall over like a pencil because there is an approximately a 40% collapse zone. Mr. Rogers further stated that even in Florida hurricanes situations, the poles don’t blow over and if they do, they break up and collapse.
Mr. Monaghan said that he could provide newspaper clippings about how a cell tower survived storms like Hurricane Andrew. However, he stated, in the event of a structural collapse, the top half crimps down on the bottom half.
Member Weddington then addressed her comments to Members Hoadley and Bonaventura. She stated having worked in corporate real estate, it is very common for the various users of communications equipment to rent space on the roofs of commercial buildings and very often they do share space and she believes it is accepted practice in the industry. Member Weddington then recollected that the last tower plan that appeared before the Commission also had a problem with the coverage area.
Member Capello asked if the power or the channels could be increased on one of the other two towers to fill in the gap. Mr. Dilley responded by stating that the three towers that are facing into this area are reaching their maximum as far as radios are concerned and the post office tower has currently exceeded its maximum. Member Capello then asked if it reached the maximum by regulation or just its physical maximum capacity. Mr. Dilley replied that he could add more channels to it, but it would cause major interference problems to the second ring cell sites that are using the same channels and that is the fallacy of a radio signal in that radio signals can’t stop where you want them to stop. Member Capello asked if the small gap could be filled with roof tops. Mr. Dilley responded by stating that he would have to have at least a ten-story building with a large penthouse on it in order to handle the equipment inside the penthouse and put the antennas facing the penthouse.
Mr. Monaghan added that the two to three story rooftops that he referenced earlier with respect to the microcell concept is generally just a capacity issue where there may be a heavily traveled street or intersection where more channels need to be available for the number of customers in that area. Mr. Dilley added that the normal radius for that situation is 150 to 250 yards.
Member Bononi asked Mr. Rogers what section of the ordinance addresses accessory structures as they relate to main uses? She further asked if it is an accessory to the use that is already on the site, is it a main use and is it connected in any way? Furthermore, must it be connected in use to be considered an accessory use? Mr. Rogers replied by stating that he has treated it as an accessory use since it is unmanned to the overall system of communications. In this particular case, the use would meet the setback requirements of the I-1 District if it were considered a principal use. If it were freestanding on a separate parcel of ownership, it might be a principal use.
Member Bononi then asked how it relates to what else is occurring on the site as it does not have any kind of accessory relationship to the current building. Mr. Rogers responded by stating that they lease space for this use from Commerce Controls. Member Bononi further asked how other proposals were treated that had an existing use and a use that was not accessory to it. Mr. Rogers responded by stating that the setbacks are taken to the perimeter of the property line of the principal use that is on the property. In the case of Harold’s Frame Shop there was a setback problem and the applicant obtained a variance. He also noted that the building is not an accessory use to Commerce Controls.
Member Bononi then asked under what circumstance can it be allowed as a co-use? Mr. Rogers stated that it could be allowed if it were on the same site as Commerce Controls and it maintained a twenty-foot setback from the property lines.
Member Bononi then stated that this is not about a situation where property is being split and considered to be standing on its own and she does not understand what the relationship between the two is as far as main use and accessory use. Mr. Rogers responded that these types of poles do not own the site, but lease property from an existing use on the site. Mr. Rogers sees Member Bononi’s point, but would say that they’re leasing space from an industrial use, in an I-1, I-2 District. Mr. Rogers sees no reason why it should be a separate ownership parcel. It is really a secondary use of an existing industrial site. This site is a good example because there is a new building on a site that was reviewed a few years ago and Ameritech is placing their accessory building in the back parking lot area using the same brick so that it will appear as an outbuilding.
Dennis Watson, City Attorney interjected by stating that he believes Member Bononi’s immediate question is whether it is an accessory use to the existing use on the site and Mr. Watson believes it is a separate use. It is provided under a separate section of the ordinance and other than towers and other utility type functions, there are no other instances where two principal uses are allowed on a given parcel of land.
Member Hoadley concurred with Member Bononi and adds that this ordinance issue should be remanded back to the Implementation Committee for revision. Member Hoadley then reiterated his statement that before approval, the petitioner will have to first supply proof that they cannot use existing towers.
Mr. Watson believes that what Member Hoadley is asking is not that this application be remanded back to the Implementation Committee, but deem this application under the ordinance as it is now.
Member Hoadley then asked Mr. Rogers if this tower could be relocated on the property that would address the concern in David A. Gumenick’s letter? Mr. Rogers was not certain and advised that Mr. Gumenick is not in the audience and didn’t specify his concerns in his letter. Mr. Monaghan believes that Mr. Gumenick is a neighbor according to the address on the letter.
Member Hoadley asked again if there would be a better location for the tower on the property Mr. Rogers responded that the tower is positioned 117' from the north, east, and south property line and he would have to say that there is no better location.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Member Hoadley if his suggestion for the Implementation Committee was a motion to refer the matter of towers to the Committee.
Member Hoadley responded by stating yes, specifically to address Member Bononi’s concerns and to change the ordinance to a point where it would be mandatory for applicants to investigate all alternatives before erecting a tower.
PM-96-02-024 TO REMAND TOWER ISSUE TO IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE
Motion by Hoadley, seconded by Bonaventura, CARRIED (8-1): To remand tower issue to Implementation Committee addressing the Commissions’ concerns.
Member Bonaventura provided information about MCI and Sprint in that there may be some new changes by the federal government that would allow more competition in the cellular business. He added that now is the time to get control of this issue before that happens.
Member Hodges is not comfortable with the motion from a free enterprise standard and that companies should not be told that they have to share their space with their competitors. She would like to see a way that the Commission could encourage such cooperation, but to demand it is not right if they meet ordinance requirements.
Member Vrettas commented that this issue deals with a precedent that has already been established by the government in regards to airwaves and that the motion is perfectly worded as precedent.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-024 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington No: Hodges
Member Hodges stated that according to Mr. Bluhm’s report there are no utilities connected to the building, but further noted that there will be an electricity connection. She then asked if the electrical connection is considered to be a utility. Mr. Bluhm responded that there are no public utilities proposed and that private utilities would be run to the site. Mr. Monaghan added that there would only be phone and electric connected. Member Hodges further asked why they are not considered to be utilities. Mr. Bluhm replied that they are not utilities that we have jurisdiction over.
PM-96-02-025 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR SPECIAL LAND USE FOR AMERITECH CELLULAR SERVICES, INC., SP 95-55
Motion by Vrettas, seconded by Capello, CARRIED (8-1): To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Special Land Use for Ameritech Cellular Services, Inc., SP 95-55.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked the petitioner how many towers did he anticipate that Ameritech would need to erect to fill in the gaps for coverage. Mr. Monaghan responded that he does not have that specific number, but pointed out that the adjacent sites located in Farmington gives them considerable reach and that they are not looking at hundreds of towers. Once the gaps are covered, microcells can be put on the top of a two-story building to take care of the capacity problems. In addition, once the infrastructure is in place so that there is no topographical gap, there may be a number of antennas on buildings or telephone poles, but no new towers.
Mr. Dilley added that although he cannot say ultimately how many towers will be erected, he can say that they have one more application and he is looking at the feasibility about using some park property in the northern end of Novi. He also stated that he couldn’t guarantee that it would occur in the next two years.
Mr. Monaghan also stated that the application has already been filed and that they are trying to eliminate the necessity for a tower by requesting that an antenna be placed on top of the 12 Oaks Mall water tower in response to the community concerns.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the large pine trees near the Orchard Lake tower location interfere with the wave because the towers themselves are not aesthetically pleasing and perhaps it would be more beneficial to erect trees around them. Mr. Dilley responded by stating that yes they do cause interference, especially the long needle pines because they are antenna length themselves. In general, all large trees slow the signal down.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she is going to support the motion but echo her fellow Commissioners’ concerns because Ameritech is unable to give a number of how many towers will ultimately be needed in the City of Novi which concerns her in terms of aesthetics.
Member Hoadley mentioned that he had read an article several years ago about an underground LOS, a radio communication that was going to be placed in the U.P. for radio communication throughout the world. He then asked the applicants if there is any application for that type of system to this so that it could go underground.
Mr. Dilley responded by stating that particular system was installed and designed to communicate with atomic submarines and it takes approximately twenty minutes to get a seven character coded message to the submarine.
Member Hoadley then asked about the possibility of using satellite communication. Mr. Dilley replied that there is currently a company that is offering satellite telephone communication. The cost is approximately $12.00 per minute, $145-150.00 per month for long distance charges, and the cost for the phone itself is $4,000.00. Mr. Dilley stated this type of communication has a limited amount of spectrum when trying to cover the entire U.S. with a limited number of channels. Mr. Dilley believes the technology is advancing, but he cannot predict how quickly Ameritech will be able to use it. Mr. Monaghan interjected by adding the reason they lease property relatively short term is because of the possibility of their technology becoming obsolete and they may not need towers.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-025 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
PM-96-02-026 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR AMERITECH CELLULAR SERVICES, INC., SP 95-55
Motion by Vrettas, seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED (8-1): To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Preliminary Site Plan Approval for Ameritech Cellular Services, Inc., SP 95-55.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-026 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi
2. NOVI GRAND, SP 95-30A
Property located south of Grand River Avenue, west of Novi Road for possible Revised Preliminary Site Plan and Revised Woodland Permit approval.
Chuck Fosse, President of Wah Yee Associates and architect for the petitioner, stated that they would like to discuss a revision to a site plan was approved approximately six months ago. The proposal includes a retail building on the southwest corner of Novi Road and Grand River Avenue, that sits at an angle with the west facade facing the existing stream which runs parallel to the present location of Flint Street. Parking is available on three sides and there is detention area to take care of the storm water. The remainder is greenbelt between the building and the stream. As discussed previously, there is a possible location with the development of this property or in the future, of a pedestrian path along the stream. Mr. Fosse went on to state that the basic site plan layout is similar to the original plan. He added that the reason for the change is that the building that was approved was designed to accommodate a large, single tenant. That deal did not come to fruition, and the decision was made to make the building more acceptable for a grouping of smaller tenants and was redesigned to be longer and shallower. The building is still in the same orientation, but the footprint was changed which necessitated parking lot and traffic circulation revisions. Mr. Fosse described the location of the curb cuts on Grand River, Novi, and Flint which are virtually in the same location as the previous plan. He then added that the plan meets City requirements for building setbacks, buffers, and parking. The building facades represent hours of studies and meetings. The main facade facing Novi Road has several different architectural forms which are residential in character and part of the building will have canopies without creating a strip center environment. There is a continuous glass facade at the store front and will be adjusted later when there are more specific criterions from tenants. Mr. Fosse stated that the facade is carried around the entire building. Mr. Fosse believes that the new building plan has more character than the previous plan.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant referred to his report of January 23, 1996 and recommended preliminary site plan approval.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant states that the applicant had mentioned storm sewers will pick up the storm water from the parking areas in the building and then direct them to the basin on the northwest corner of the site. Those flows will be outletted to a 30" storm sewer which is adjacent to that basin and outlets to the Rouge River. Mr. Bluhm made the following comments:
1. The 30" pipe’s capacity will be checked to be certain that it can handle the detained flows.
2. Concerns about the location of the sidewalk along Novi Road and the applicant should look at moving the sidewalk as close as possible to the parking areas as well as along the northern edge of the Novi Road area. It is very close to the curb line and may pose a safety hazard.
3. The northwestern 40% of the development area is in the 100-year flood plain. Thirty to thirty-five feet of the new building location is in the flood plain. However, the developer does intend to elevate the building to meet the ordinances and DNR requirements.
4. The parking lots are in the flood plains and the applicant will have to get permits from the DNR and locally to fill flood plain areas.
5. Flint Street improvements will be looked at again at final site plan approval.
Mr. Bluhm stated that the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility and recommends approval.
Rod Arroyo reports that the plan includes three points of access and is fairly consistent with the type of access scheme that he looks for which is limiting one point of access for each major road it fronts.
The site is unusual in shape and has about 650' of frontage on Novi Road. There are six curb cuts on Novi Road and they are proposing that all six be eliminated and replaced with one curb cut. Mr. Arroyo recommends that the curb cut be shifted slightly south to better align with Six Gates across the street. In addition, the Novi Road curb cut is separated and spaced evenly between Flint Street and Grand River. When the last plan was considered, it was approved with some turning movement restrictions to better accommodate traffic flow. The Grand River access point was limited to right turns in and out due to the proximity of the driveway to the Novi/Grand River intersection. The inbound left turn movement onto Novi Road would be restricted because traffic from the south would be able to turn at Flint (which will ultimately be Main Street with a traffic signal) and because there is a five-lane section with a center turn lane. Because of the heavy demand anticipated for southbound left turn traffic into Main Street, it is anticipated that during peak times the area will need to use as much of the center turn lane storage to accommodate left turns into the Main Street Project which is anticipated to reach approximately 450. Mr. Arroyo also made recommendations regarding internal circulation. The development is slightly larger than the last plan and trip generation is approximately 3,050 average trips per day. Peak a.m. and p.m. trips are forecast to be 73 and 278. Mr. Arroyo recommends preliminary site plan approval subject to items mentioned in his report that will be resolved on the Final Site Plan.
Mr. Pargoff stated that the particular plan was approved for a Woodlands Permit by the Planning Commission on July 19, 1995. Since then, the location and shape of the proposed building and parking have been altered. Mr. Pargoff stated that approval was previously recommended due to the low quality of the vegetation and the small amount of intrusion. He then added that there are approximately fifteen trees that need to be replaced and delineated on the landscape plan. In addition, Mr. Pargoff requested a bond for an additional five trees in case they are damaged during grading. The plan does indicate that some non-regulated trees are to be saved and will also require protective fencing which must be shown on the plan. Ms. Lemke will be checking for the changes on the landscape plans. In addition, the fencing should be shown on the woodlands and the landscape plan in addition to identifying the river pathway on the landscape plan. These items need to be addressed and payment of a performance bond must be paid in the form of cash or letter of credit before a woodland permit can be issued. Mr. Pargoff went on to state that no construction, including clearing or grubbing, can begin until the protective fencing has been approved by the City and a preconstruction meeting has been held. The remaining regulated woodlands which are not platted should be placed in a preservation option and the preservation signage will be erected as designated by the City.
Dave Wickens of JCK, substituting for Sue Tepatti, stated that this plan proposes a small disturbance into the wetland buffer and will require a minor use permit per the wetland ordinance. It will also be reviewed administratively by JCK for buffer enhancement and restoration data on more detailed engineering drawings are submitted.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record that she has received a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department which states: "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following: 1. The dumpster must be a minimum of 15' from the building."
PUBLIC HEARING AUDIENCE DISCUSSION
Tom Marcus owns the property across the street from this project and states that most people don’t realize that when traveling north and turning left onto Grand River, that drivers exit the gas station and then sit for two lights. Mr. Marcus went on to state that because it is uncertain where Six Gates is going in the future, he believes stacking will occur on Main Street to turn onto Main Street. Mr. Marcus further stated that other than this traffic issue, the plan is acceptable to him.
Member Hoadley confined the following remarks to traffic concerns for the current plan. The plan was presented to the Town Center Steering Committee and by the time the project came to a discussion level, there was no longer a quorum. The five members who were left, agreed to recommend to the Planning Commission that the left-hand turn from the Novi cut be eliminated because of the safety issue. Member Hoadley went on to state that the last time he researched this issue, there were numerous occasions in the evening that the traffic stacked back to Flint Street, making it impossible to make a left hand turn out. Member Hoadley further stated that he would like to eliminate the cut altogether because he feels it will not be necessary at a later date when or if the ring road is completed.
Member Hoadley then asked Mr. Arroyo when Main Street is completed with 600,000 square feet of commercial and office, how many additional trips will that generate for a twenty four hour period. Mr. Arroyo replied that he could only approximate figures, but would agree that roughly 40,000 trips could generate, not factoring any substantial population growth. Member Hoadley’s pointed out that this is a dangerous intersection and any cut that close to Grand River is a dangerous situation from a health and state safety standpoint. Member Hoadley could not agree to support a dangerous situation. Member Hoadley also noted that it would be difficult to make a left hand turn at the Novi exit around the south island because of its proximity to the building. Member Hoadley then recommended that the developer work closely with the Main Street architect to continue the same facade treatment that will be generated by Main Street.
Member Vrettas asked Mr. Arroyo if an outbound left-hand turn is allowed at the entrance/exit onto Novi Road so that people will be able to exit the property and travel north. Mr. Arroyo responded that would be correct. Member Vrettas then asked if would be easier to travel to Grand River, turn right, and then move to the left turn lane and eliminate the left turn. Mr. Arroyo replied by stating that particular left turn lane is backed up beyond where that driveway is for a substantial part of the day and with through traffic on Grand River, it would be difficult to get across and do that. In addition, Mr. Arroyo stated that intersection has the heaviest left turn movement in the city and is also heavily traveled by trucks making the stacking worse.
Member Weddington shares Member Hoadley’s traffic concerns and asked Mr. Arroyo if it is necessary to have access to Grand River? Mr. Arroyo responded that he believes it is because if access is not allowed to Grand River, then any patron on Grand River that wants to go to this particular center would have to pass through the Grand River/Novi intersection and then turn in. They then travel back to Grand River and through that intersection again. As a result, extra traffic is loaded through the intersection which as a general rule, should be avoided. Allowing a minimum of one access point to each roadway makes sense because it minimizes the impact on the intersection.
Member Weddington then asked if there has been consideration given to the plan of the possible widening of Novi Road and/or Grand River and what would the impact be on this development? Mr. Arroyo replied that the anticipated plans involve five lanes on Grand River and on Novi Road which is essentially what is adjacent to most of the site already. However, the widening is going to take place away from the intersection because that intersection has existing buildings that are eliminating the ability to widen. The only change Mr. Arroyo anticipates for that area is signal improvement.
Member Weddington added that she appreciates Mr. Keros’ patience in their efforts to save the Methodist Church.
Member Markham is not clear about the necessity of an entrance at the front of the building on Novi Road that is not at Flint Street. In addition, if left turns are allowed out and in from the south, how will the drivers know that it is a left turn only or that the Flint Street is the preferred left turn entry? Mr. Arroyo responded by stating that he has recommended that there be no left turns in at the Novi Road driveway forcing drivers to use the Flint Street access and it would be posted with a no left turn sign for the northbound traffic. In response to Member Markham’s other concern, Mr. Arroyo stated that he considers future growth. Flint Street will become the southwest quadrant on Main Street. It was realized from the very beginning that Main Street is going to be very congested and will not be easy to travel. By providing another point of access, it provides options for the busy traffic times. In addition, because it is a retail project, generally speaking the people who frequent the area will be familiar with the roads and the entrances and exits.
Member Bononi asked the applicant if the access to the Novi Road site is essential or if there is any negotiating room on the proposed terms. Member Bononi is concerned about the safety issue, specifically the outbound left turn on Novi, northbound. Mr. Keros responded that Novi is the main entrance and is situated there for circulation purposes on the site as well as ease for people entering the development. The Grand River access is more remote. Mr. Keros went on to state that they will abide by Mr. Arroyo’s comments relative to that issue and it is something that they will be glad to investigate further at final site plan approval.
Member Capello asked the applicant why the building is set back so far if there is a concern about the Novi Road traffic? Mr. Keros stated that the building is angled in such a way that as traffic travels south on Novi Road, the view is better. In addition, parking is generally located in the front of buildings and it is set back far enough to meet the City’s building setback requirements. Mr. Fosse added that a large portion of the building is situated close to Novi Road and secondly, from an overall site planning aspect, it was more important not to have a lot of vehicular activity close to the street. Member Capello believed that if the parking were moved to the back of the building like Main Street it would alleviate the cut on Novi Road, still give the building the wanted exposure, and is more compatible with the Main Street design. The applicant stated that this type of service and convenience retail functions best when the parking is conveniently located near the stores entrances and would not survive in a Main Street type of environment. Member Capello stated that he would go to a more convenient intersection where there is less traffic if he were to go to a convenience store. Mr. Fosse stated that the pass-by traffic makes this kind of development thrive. Member Capello then asked if a false facade on Novi Road and the actual entrances in the rear would be an alternative. Mr. Fosse responded that is an interesting concept, but may be difficult to sell to the tenants.
Member Vrettas stated that the main issue for this project is the left-hand turn onto Novi Road, traveling north and suggested that the applicant address this concern specifically. Chairperson Lorenzo responded to Member Vrettas’ statement by saying that just as a point of reference that the Commission has the ability to require that.
Member Bononi would like to be assured that the matter would be brought back before the Planning Commission for final site plan approval. Member Hodges restated her motion to include Member Bononi’s concerns.
PM-96-02-027 FOR APPROVAL OF THE REVISED PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN INCLUDING PROHIBITING THE LEFT TURN TO NOVI ROAD FROM SITE. UPON COMPLETION OF THE RING ROAD, WE WILL ELIMINATE THE CUT AT NOVI ROAD AND ENTRANCE THEN WILL COME IN OFF THE RING ROAD AND HAVE THE ERECTION OF NO LEFT TURN SIGNAGE AND ENTRANCE SIGNS TO NOVI GRAND ERECTED ON NOVI ROAD AND GRAND RIVER ROADS; SUBJECT TO CONSULTANTS’ COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS AND THE PROPOSAL WILL RETURN TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION FOR FINAL SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR NOVI GRAND, SP 95-30A
Motion by Hodges, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED (8-1): To approve revised preliminary site plan including prohibiting the left turn to Novi Road from the site and upon completion of the ring road, the Novi Road cut will be eliminated and entrance will then be at the ring road with the erection of no left turn signage and entrance signs on Novi Road and Grand River Avenue; subject to consultants’ conditions and recommendations and the proposal will return to the Planning Commission for Final Site Plan Approval for Novi Grand, SP 95-30A.
Member Bononi went on to state her reasoning for amending the motion is that she has a lot of concern about all of the construction that is going to occur in a very tight and environmentally sensitive area. She added that she is specifically concerned about the grading, the filling, the construction of the detention pond, the extension or the capacity of the storm drainage outlet, the construction and/or extension of the sanitary sewer through or under the river to the Flint Street location, and also the protection of the wetland buffer.
Member Hoadley noted that when the ring road is completed, there could easily be a second cut on the ring road which could eliminate the second cut on Grand River because there is going to be a light on Flint and Grand River making the project more accessible, less traffic intrusive, and much safer.
Member Hodges asked Member Hoadley if he would like to make a motion to amend the motion to provide for the elimination of the Grand River exit and entrance when the ring road is complete.
PM-96-02-028 TO AMEND PM-96-02-027 TO PROVIDE FOR THE ELIMINATION OF THE GRAND RIVER EXIT AND ENTRANCE WHEN THE RING ROAD IS COMPLETE FOR NOVI GRAND,
Motion by Hoadley, seconded by Hodges: FAILED (3-6): To amend PM-96-02-026 to provide for the elimination of the Grand River exit and entrance when the ring road is complete for Novi Grand, SP 95-30A.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-028 - MOTION FAILED
Yes: Hoadley, Hodges, Markham
No: Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello
Chairperson Lorenzo restated that the motion is to approve revised preliminary site plan subject to all of the consultants’ comments and with the conditions that there will be no left hand turns off of the exit of Novi Road, that the Novi Road exit will be closed once the ring road is completed, and the appropriate signage for the no left turns and for the shopping center entrance on both Novi Road and Grand River; and the final site plan is to come back to the Commission. Chairperson Lorenzo then asked if there were any other comments.
Member Bonaventura asked if the revision was brought before the Town Center Committee? Chairperson Lorenzo responded that it was presented last Monday. Member Hodges said that it was unanimous with the five remaining members to eliminate the left-hand turn in and out. Mr. Wahl interjected by stating that there was not a vote. Chairperson Lorenzo added that there was no quorum and minutes are not included in the packet.
Member Bonaventura stated that this is a high profile project because of its location. He further stated that it is important for the overall character and look of the City to look closely at this project Therefore, he wonders what is the purpose of a Town Center Steering meeting if there is not going to be any feedback. Member Bonaventura further added that he liked Member Capello’s idea about moving the front of the building up with a false front facade with access from the rear.
Mr. Wahl clarified Member Hoadley’s report of the Town Center Steering Meeting by stating that the discussion was limited because of the time constraints on the meeting and that the project had been before the Steering Committee on numerous previous occasions. When the current project was presented in January, there has not been an opportunity to place it on a Town Center agenda prior to Monday night. It was Mr. Wahl’s impression that it was going to be a brief review because it was a minor change to an already approved site plan that had extensive commentary. Mr. Wahl further stated that because the meeting was held on Monday, there was no time to prepare minutes and a verbal description was offered tonight by Member Hoadley.
Member Capello stated that even though the footprint of the old plan and the current plan are similar, there is a big difference in having a major user on the front of the street as compared as a lot of smaller users. Member Capello added that smaller users are more consistent with the Main Street concept.
The applicant wanted to address the access from Novi Road because he feels it is important for the success of the project. He then asked at what point of a proposal mandates that the entrance be closed when the ring road is available, what if that does not work? He further stated that he would like that to be an option and discussed at a later time, but to make it mandatory is a burdensome requirement on the project.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-027 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Hodges, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley
Member Capello asked Mr. Watson if there were anything at the time that this passes at Council that the Novi entrances could be closed because the ring road is open. Do they have the opportunity to come back before us?
Mr. Watson stated that the petitioner could always come back with a request for a revised site plan approval to revisit the issue. They may even have additional traffic information by the time final site plan occurs for the current plan.
PM-96-02-029 TO APPROVE REVISED WOODLAND PERMIT SUBJECT TO CONSULTANTS’ RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NOVI GRAND, SP 95-30A
Motion by Hodges, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve a revised woodland permit subject to Consultants’ recommendations for Novi Grand, SP 95-30A.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-029 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas Weddington
Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Ct., stated that he has already voiced his views on the Commerce Township rezoning petition, but would like the Commission to know that it will go before the township board next week. Mr. Mutch further stated that if the Planning Commission has any intention of providing any comments to the Township, it must be done tonight. It was Mr. Mutch’s hope that the Planning Commission would inform Commerce Township of the potential impacts the rezoning and associated development will have on the infrastructure, the environment, and future land use in Novi. Mr. Mutch then reiterated his concerns about traffic impact, funding for M-5 north of Fourteen Mile Road and Haggerty Road improvements, and the long term concerns about what the potential commercial development impact will be on the local cities master plans. Mr. Mutch further added that he would like Novi to bring two southern parcels to the township’s attention. One is largely wetland and undevelopable; the second, which fronts Fourteen Mile, should be retained as office zoning. Mr. Mutch also informed the Commission that there is a proposal that is going before Farmington Hills Planning Commission tomorrow night for rezoning the northeast corner of Nine Mile and Haggerty for approximately 16 acres of commercial development in which Kroger’s name has been associated.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked the Planning Department staff why the Commission was not informed about these matters? Mr. Cohen responded that Farmington Hills has not informed the Department, but the Farmington Hills Planning Commission agenda is included in the packet. Mr. Cohen further noted that Farmington Hills is not required to send a public notice.
Chairperson Lorenzo publicly requested that the Commission would appreciate receiving public notices from Farmington Hills about such rezonings. Member Vrettas asked that other nearby communities do the same. Mr. Cohen added that it is Novi’s policy to send notifications to neighboring communities if they are within 500-feet of the rezoning.
Member Capello requested that the agenda be amended by moving Item 1, MetroCell Security, SP 95-49C, under Matters for Consideration so that the petitioners can give their presentation.
In a consensus vote, Chairperson Lorenzo stated that MetroCell will move up on the agenda.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. METROCELL SECURITY, SP 95-49C
Property located at the northwest corner of Ten Mile Road and Novi Road for possible Final Site Plan approval.
The applicant stated that they do not have anything to present, but they are here to answer any questions.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated that a request by the Planning Department to DPS was made. Attached to Mr. Rogers letter is a report from Mr. Nowicki who checked with the county about the limited space between the right-of-way and the curb. Mr. Nowicki’s report stated that there is no safe way to provide a sidewalk. Mr. Rogers regrets that an easement for access for the sidewalk was not provided to connect with the existing sidewalk at Pine Ridge Center and with the proposed sidewalk the applicant is putting in on Ten Mile Road. Mr. Watson’s comments in the minutes were that if the applicant does not wish to provide the easement of access, it cannot be required. In Linda Lemke’s review of the landscape plan, she has found that pursuant to the standards of the ordinance that the applicant meets the requirements for screening, interior landscaping, and corner clearance. The applicant’s architect has agreed to install a brick facade, including over the windows on the front fascia, and on the two side elevations which satisfy original ordinance concerns. It should also be noted that the rear elevation will be refinished cinder block and there will be an awning on the front Mr. Rogers will require that a note be made on the facade plan to delete a reference to roof top air exchange units. Mr. Rogers recommends approval of the final site plan provided they submit a revised cost estimate reflecting certain landscape plant materials and a clearer deletion of the note on the facade plan on Sheet 2, Note 2 that there will be no equipment on the roof.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant concurs with Mr. Rogers comments on the limitations geometrically for the sidewalk and is recommending approval based upon engineering feasibility.
Rod Arroyo stated that after reviewing the plan he is recommending approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record that she has a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi, Fire Department which indicates: "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended."
PM-96-02-030 TO RECOMMEND FINAL SITE PLAN APPROVAL
FOR METROCELL SECURITY, SP 95-49C
Moved by Capello, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED (7-2): To recommend final site plan approval with the conditions that the appropriate traffic control signs will be erected before approval and the cinder block and a refuse container at the rear of the building will be properly screened.
Member Hodges asked Mr. Bluhm about the final site grading. Mr. Bluhm responded that minor grading will be done when the existing parking area is removed.
Member Hodges would like to see the traffic control sign that prohibits left-hand turns in place before the applicant opens. Mr. Arroyo responded that traffic control signs are installed by the city and then the city invoices the applicant.
Member Capello accepts Member Hodges friendly amendment which states that appropriate traffic control signs will be erected before approval.
Member Hoadley pointed out to the applicant that sidewalks are constructed for safety purposes and knowing that by refusing to give an easement, it will direct the pedestrian traffic across the parking lot which could increase the liability for the applicant.
Chairperson Lorenzo interjected by stating that it is the Oakland County Road Commission, not the applicant, who said that they would not issue a permit.
Member Hoadley responded by stating that the applicant can voluntarily grant an easement or put a sidewalk without an easement off the county property and they choose not to.
Chairperson Lorenzo then asked Mr. Rogers and Mr. Bluhm if the sidewalk issue is from the county or city. Mr. Bluhm responded by stating that if the sidewalk is proposed in the existing right-of-way, which is county right-of-way, the county is saying that it is not feasible or safe. This is the county and city’s standpoint.
Mr. Rogers added that this same question was directed to Mr. Nowicki and he is responding to Cliff Seiber whose earlier letter explains that in his professional opinion, he did not want to sign plans where there could be a hazard.
Member Hoadley then said that is true if the sidewalk is located on a county right-of-way and has nothing to do with granting an easement, which the applicant has refused to do on their own property. Member Hoadley went on to state that some kind of compromise should be agreed upon to address the safety issue and liability. Mr. Bluhm responded that it had been addressed with the possibility of providing a sidewalk in a safer area.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if it would be acceptable from the City standpoint if an easement were granted. Mr. Bluhm responded that by looking at the plan that there is room if an easement is granted, but Mr. Bluhm could not comment on the safety of it until he saw the proposal.
Mr. Rogers added that the right-of-way may be widened with the improvement of Novi Road. The applicant can put a deposit for such a sidewalk if the right-of-way exists, but it cannot be required.
Member Hoadley again suggested that the applicant provide a sidewalk voluntarily and reiterated that the applicant should be concerned with the safety issue. Mr. Fosse responded by stating that he does not believe that the owners of the property are interested in granting the easement or dedicating the right-of-way to the County Road Commission, nor have they indicated a willingness to install a sidewalk at this point.
Member Hodges stated that she would install a sidewalk to the west of the existing right-of-way, putting it into the parking lot, which would require the reconfiguration of the parking lot. She added that if the owners put a sidewalk in without an easement, they are encouraging people to take a risk.
Member Vrettas asked Mr. Rogers if the applicant agreed to make adjustments, could the plan be revised and still meet other parking requirements. Mr. Rogers responded that if you look at the Pine Ridge sidewalk stub, the applicant could drop it south and not interfere with any of that parking. If one parking space had to be relocated, there is other space on the site for more parking. Mr. Rogers asked Mr. Watson to iterate their position for the record.
Mr. Watson responded by stating that the position is simple and already documented in the minutes on Page 11. The question is whether an applicant can be required to grant easement for the sidewalk and the answer is no.
Member Vrettas then asked the representative of the petitioner why the applicant is refusing. Mr. Fosse guessed that it relates to cost, but is not certain.
Member Vrettas stated that he will be voting against the motion because he is morally against it and believes that the applicants’ motives are economic.
Member Bononi asked the applicant how the watering will be accomplished for the landscaping in compliance with Ordinance 2509(G2)? Mr. Fosse does not recall what the landscape plan calls for in regards to water irrigation. Mr. Rogers replied that it has to be irrigated with either a supply system or the plant materials have to be accessible to a hose bib. After looking at the plan, Mr. Fosse stated that there is nothing on the plan for underground irrigation so it would have to be watered.
Member Bononi then stated that the refuse container is visible from southbound Novi Road and recommends that the structure be turned 45º and use the landscaping specimens to screen it. Mr. Fosse replied that there is landscaping proposed for this area.
Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers to restate what the facade of the rear of the building will be. Member Bonaventura then asked Mr. Pargoff if there is any consideration given to sight lines from the road when landscaping plans are being reviewed. Member Bonaventura is specifically concerned about the choice of landscaping at the back of the site as it is viewed by the easterly traffic on Ten Mile Road. Mr. Pargoff replied yes and furthermore, they consider the particular placement of the plant materials and it can also be adjusted on the site. He then added that it would be more of an inducement if it were part of the motion.
Member Bonaventura asked to add a friendly amendment to the motion stating that the cinder block and refuse container at the rear of the building should be properly screened. Both the motioner and seconder agree to amend. Member Bonaventura is also concerned about the sidewalk safety issue. Member Bonaventura then asked an open question as to how many years it has been since that site was used. Mr. Rogers replied that he believes it was prior to 1985.
Member Hoadley once again reiterated his concerns about the health and safety issues because now they will be "bushing" the pedestrian traffic on the street.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-030 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Markham, Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hodges, Lorenzo
No: Vrettas, Hoadley
4. ORDINANCE NO. 96-18
An Ordinance to add definitions of "Brewpub" and "Microbrewery" to Section 201 of Ordinance No. 84-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to amend Subsections 1601.12 and 1601.13 of said Ordinance, to add Subsections 1601.14 and 1601.15 to said Ordinance, to add Subpart 2505. 14c(20) to said Ordinance and amend Subsection 2507.2 of said Ordinance, to establish standards for Brewpubs and Microbreweries within the TC and TC-1 Districts for possible recommendation to City Council.
Mr. Wahl opened the discussion by presenting the Commission with some background information on how the microbrewery concept was first introduced to Novi. Mr. Wahl went on to say that four years ago the Steering Committee had several workshops for the original Main Street concept and the Committee developed a list of unique projects. Some ideas presented were a farmer’s market, a theater complex, and a microbrewery. Mr. Wahl believed at that time state legislation may not have allowed such a project in the state of Michigan. Even so, it was still considered to be interesting, entertaining, and a feature attraction for the Main Street area. The difference between a microbrewery and a brewery is in its production which has to be less than 20,000 barrels per year. It is specialty brewing with a restaurant and a pub on the premises. Mr. Wahl went on to say that the facility itself becomes a visual type attraction for people to watch the brewing process. Evergreen III appeared before the Steering Committee, and some Committee members went to see a facility in Gaylord to get an idea of how they operate, what they actually look like, and if there are any problems that may be associated with it. When the ordinance was looked at to accommodate such a concept, the Main Street area was a commercial district. In the past, breweries were considered an industrial use and therefore, the existing ordinance in the Main Street area did not permit this type of activity. Mr. Rogers did quite a bit of work researching this idea in other Michigan cities. The microbrewery concept is a specialty activity and is oriented toward entertainment. Dennis Watson made some slight editing in the February 7, 1996 draft in the packet. The Town Center Committee believes that this would be a signature project in the Main Street area and that the most recent ordinance editing brings it into conformance with the Town Center District regulations.
Mr. Rogers added that a developer is currently looking at the building next to Vic’s Market for a microbrewery with a restaurant with at least 125 seats and full dinner service. However, if they lease any building in the TC or TC-1 District there would be no open storage of a beer keg like the Gaylord brewery in the parking lot and no outside storage of pallets for kegs, bottles, etc. In addition, the architectural style of the building, even though the inside may have a two-story span because of the equipment, would have to meet the Town Center facade ordinance. Although it is a unique use, it is common to find such a use in downtown areas.
Mr. Wahl clarified a point by saying that he does not believe that Evergreen III has signed any agreement with any particular microbrewery operation and the free standing building by Vic’s Market is a not a committed site and should not be considered when reviewing the ordinance. This ordinance could be used anywhere in the project where the developer can meet site plan requirements subject to these provisions and the ordinance revision is not site specific, nor is it identified with any particular developer.
Member Bonaventura stated that after his review of the Town Center minutes that his main concern is about performance standards and odors. Mr. Rogers agreed that this has been a major concern and addressed those concerns on Page 2, Subsection C by referring to the already existing performance standards in the ordinance and then specifically added a clause for the steam condensation unit that will be required on all venting which reportedly will not cause any odor to waft away, although the brewers claim that the brewery manufactures a sweet smelling odor.
Chairperson Lorenzo interjected by stating that Mr. Cohen has brought to her attention that this is a Public Hearing and will open the floor to the public. Seeing no one, Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Public Hearing and opened the floor for continued discussion.
Member Bonaventura lived next to the Anchor Steam Brewery in San Francisco and although it is not a microbrewery, there is an odor. Member Bonaventura is concerned with this because of the nearby residential. Member Bonaventura then asked if there had to be a half mile radius between breweries. Mr. Rogers responded by stating that there had to be 2,500 feet between them.
Member Bonaventura then asked if one were to locate in the Main Street area, would there only be one. Mr. Rogers replied that there could not be another one in the southeast quadrant because the southeast quadrant is less than one half mile in width. If there was another one, it would have to be in the Novi Grand area. Mr. Rogers went on to state that he understands that the odor comes when the hops are being boiled or brewed which does not occur every day.
Member Bonaventura stated that even though the Commission is reviewing an ordinance and that the review should not be site specific, he would feel more comfortable if it were site specific. In fact, he would prefer to set the ordinance review aside until a petition actually comes before the Commission with a concept so that odor questions could be addressed.
Member Hoadley said that he traveled to Gaylord to observe the Big Buck Brewery and the larger Frankenmuth brewery which produce approximately 100,000 barrels per year. The Frankenmuth brewery had no screening for odor and Member Hoadley said that the group detected almost no odor while they were brewing. The Gaylord brewery had zero odor, but it is also encased in glass and they have the necessary equipment to eliminate the odor and is a small operation like the one that would like to get approval in the Town Center District.
In addition, Mr. Chen does have other prospects interested in opening a microbrewery if the ordinance can be changed. Member Hoadley believes that such a concept would be an unobtrusive asset to the community. Member Hoadley went on to say that the petitioners intend on producing root beer, opening a restaurant, and conduct tours for the public. Member Hoadley would like to insert in the verbiage that the sale of alcoholic liquor and wine is restricted to the sale of beer produced in the microbrewery. Mr. Watson interjected by stating that alcoholic liquor is a term of art used in the liquor control act that includes all spirits.
Member Hoadley then stated that he believed that the Steering Committee was unanimous in requesting that the ordinance revisions be adopted.
PM-96-02-031 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL TO ADOPT ORDINANCE NO. 96-18 REVISIONS AS WRITTEN
Motion by Hoadley, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED (6-3): To send a positive recommendation to City Council to adopt Ordinance No. 96-18 revisions as written.
Member Hodges had an exception to the motion that she just seconded in that she knows that some things were added in the definition, for example adding "brewery/brewer," and then asked if those changes should be added. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that the changes have been made in the revised version. Member Hodges then asked about the beer tents and Chairperson Lorenzo stated that those changes had also been made.
Member Bonaventura stated that he is against the motion and reiterated that the ordinance should be put on hold. Member Bonaventura then commented on visiting a microbrewery for one day and living next to one is totally different. Member Bonaventura also stated that he is not familiar with the brewing process, but there are strong odors that come out of the brewery even though it is not a daily occurrence. Member Bonaventura went on to state that the Commissioners should educate themselves on this, determine what the odor is, and how often it occurs. Member Bonaventura reminded the Commission how they recently approved a residential area near the Main Street which falls within a half mile of the proposed brewery area.
Member Weddington agrees that this concept is interesting and entertaining, but she doesn’t believe that the Town Center location is appropriate. Member Weddington wanted to remind the Commission of the intent of the Town Center District which is designed to promote the development of a pedestrian accessible commercial service district in which a variety of retail, commercial, office, civic, and residential uses are permitted. In addition, each use will be complementary to the stated function and purpose of the district and will not have adverse impact upon adjacent street capacity, safety, utilities, and other city services. Member Weddington did not go to the Gaylord brewery, but has a close friend who was involved in its development and is somewhat familiar with it from that standpoint. They intentionally did not put the brewery in the downtown area of Gaylord because of the very problems that have been noted tonight. They considered the odor, the traffic, the shipping and receiving, and the volume of people. The Gaylord brewery needed visibility so they located it on I-75 next to a well-known landmark. Member Weddington does not see anything in the Town Center District that allows for any type of food processing or manufacturing or other similar type of uses. It is Member Weddington’s understanding that the brewery process requires large volumes of water and the discharge of the waste water has an impact on the sewage system. Furthermore, the bugs that remain in the discharge either help the system or harm it and she is uncertain of the impact on the utilities. In addition, there is a need for large trucks to deliver raw materials and to remove the product in an already congested area. Member Weddington also added that she just read an article about microbreweries which stated that the industry has already reached its peak and is on the down trend. Member Weddington’s major concern is what is going to happen to this in five years if the brewery wants to change its identity to something else. Member Weddington agrees that this may be an appropriate and fun type of facility for Novi, but should be located in another area.
Member Vrettas is also opposed to this motion adding that although he supports the current discussion, he would like to add that he has been looking forward to the completion of the Town Center in that it should be a place where he can take his eleven-year-old son. In Member Vrettas’ opinion, the Town Center concept to him is that it should be a family type atmosphere. Member Vrettas does not want a brewery as an example to his son as to what is good for families.
Member Markham stated that she does not know enough about the concept to make a judgement as to whether or not it is good for the Town Center District. She added by stating that she spent nine years in Milwaukee which is a big brewery town and would like to make the point a microbrewery can be done tastefully, in addition to being a family environment if it is done with care.
Member Bononi asked if beer could only be purchased if one is a patron of the restaurant or if it can be purchased in a retail capacity. Mr. Watson believes that it is possible to purchase the beer in that manner for a microbrewery, but would have to check the retail implications for a brewpub.
Member Capello responded to the odor issue by stating that in Subsection 12.c, the steam condensation unit is the measure of preventing the smells from going outside the building. Mr. Rogers concurred with Member Capello’s statement regarding odors.
Mr. Wahl stated that although he cannot speak to the specific engineering implications, he does know that because there is a move to put this type of project in a commercial area, such as downtowns, that this issue has been addressed specifically. In addition, because a microbrewery is a new concept nationwide, it uses state-of-the-art equipment and therefore, many of the issues have been engineered out of the problem areas, but may still have to be addressed when a specific development is brought before the Commission.
Member Capello referred to Section 2519 in that it has the right intent, but could see it going to court and having various testimony on emission of odors which are generally agreed to be obnoxious. Member Capello then disagreed with Member Vrettas by stating that he has taken his children to such an establishment and it was an upscale family restaurant that had crayons, etc. for the children. In addition, Member Capello stated that you don’t need a special type of building in that if the business goes under, that you’re stuck with a building that cannot be modified to something else other than interior remodeling. Member Capello then asked Mr. Watson, about Item 12, H in regards to the limitation of no other microbrewery within 2,500 feet, if that only applied in the TC, TC-1 District. Mr. Watson responded that it is 2,500 feet period.
Member Capello then asked if someone wanted to put a brewpub or microbrewery in the industrial district abutting the TC, would they still have to meet the 2,500 foot connotation. Mr. Watson replied that if there is a microbrewery within the TC District within 2,500 that they would have to follow that rule.
Member Capello encouraged the Commission to move forward on this concept because there are other communities that the petitioner can go to if Novi is not ready to accommodate them.
Member Hoadley reiterated that through the Committee investigation that this concept is family oriented and less intrusive than a regular restaurant with a bar serving alcoholic beverages because the only alcohol that they will be able to serve is their own manufactured beer and there is no odor problem because of the type of equipment used. Member Hoadley further added the inside of the microbrewery is hermetically sealed by glass.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-031 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham
No: Vrettas, Weddington, Bonaventura
Member Bonaventura motioned to postpone the two remaining items. Chairperson Lorenzo responded that she would like to get to the two remaining items. Member Bonaventura then stated that his motion takes priority.
Member Capello asked what Member Bonaventura was postponing. Member Bonaventura wanted to postpone Items 1, 2, and 3 under Matters for Discussion.
There was no second. Therefore, motion died.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked the Commission to realize that the items need to move forward because there are time restraints involved.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. COMMERCE TOWNSHIP REZONING
Discussion regarding rezoning at the northeast corner of 14 Mile Road and Haggerty Road from Office to Commercial.
Member Vrettas would like the Commission’s representative to make contact with the Township and share concerns about the need to work together when major changes are being made that affect other communities.
Member Hodges asked if the City is notified as a requirement of State statutes. Mr. Watson responded that they are not.
Member Hodges then stated that Member Vrettas referred to the Commissions’ "concerns" and she is not certain what the Commissions’ actual concerns are because no action has been taken to date. Member Hodges further stated that unless a Commission member would like to address the issue, she would move close the discussion.
PM-96-02-032 TO TAKE NO ACTION REGARDING THE COMMERCE TOWNSHIP REZONING
Motion by Hodges, seconded by Capello, MOTION CARRIED (7-2): To take no action regarding the Commerce Township Rezoning.
Member Bonaventura agrees with the motion and if he were a part of the Commerce Township Planning Commission, he would fight the action. He further stated that it would be hypocritical to make comments about another community. Furthermore, since Commerce is an up and coming community, this sort of development seems desirable.
Member Hoadley supports the motion, but feels the Commission has a duty to make a recommendation to a surrounding community if it impacts Novi. In addition, Member Hoadley disagrees with Mr. Mutch because the proposal is a less intensive use.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-032 - MOTION CARRIED
Yes: Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Markham
No: Lorenzo, Vrettas
2. GRAND RIVER AVENUE CORRIDOR PROPOSAL
Planning Commission review of Request for Proposal (RFP)
Mr. Wahl addressed the Chair by stating that there is material included in the packet outlining a Request for Proposals to move forward on the Grand River Avenue Improvement Program. Furthermore, Mr. Wahl added that the Planning Commission was a key advocate of the idea to engineer and design Grand River and that the Department and Commission should be prepared to apply for grants or other potentials to widen Grand River. The Department and Commission should also take into consideration, streetscape design similar to the approach on Twelve Mile Road in Farmington Hills. Mr. Wahl reminded the Commission that they did move this forward to City Council which authorized expenditures. However, it was funded through the Road Program, so the Department of Public Services is implementing the concept. Mr. Wahl then described the items included in the packet. The process is a qualifications-based selection process for consultants and will be bid out and will presumably be an item on the next City Council Agenda. The Planning Studies Committee reviewed the proposal. The Committee suggested it be referred to other organizations that are interested in Grand River and the Department can do that. The Department of Public Services asked that this be brought before the Commission as a courtesy because it originated here. Mr. Wahl is asking for comments for the record to forward the Council and no action is required.
Member Hoadley referenced Under Scope of Service, in A-H, lighting and streetscape is not included for the change. Mr. Wahl believes Member Hoadley is looking at the older proposal and asked him to look at the new proposal, lighting and streetscape design on Page 1.
Member Bononi believes Grand River has great potential for improvement and development. She further stated that she is concerned about the wording under Scope of Services where one of the goals specifically states "economically rewarding" to property owners in the community as a whole. She further believes that the goal should be a more community oriented statement that could imply that meaning without using that phrase. Another concern is the environmental impact of a project that would be this sweeping. Member Bononi’s final concern is that it is very difficult to try to create identity by using unique signs and would like to "plow" the money into the project.
Member Bonaventura stated for the record that he is in favor of Grand River improvements.
3. HANDICAPPED PARKING
Member Hoadley wanted to make an observation for the record and ask that the consultant’s revisit the handicapped parking that is required for the various projects because the town is aging. Senior citizens currently make up 25% of the Novi population and the handicapped parking should be increased to accommodate that population. Member Hoadley sited Bally’s as an example of limited handicapped parking. Mr. Rogers responded by stating that Novi is under the ADA, American Disabilities Act, which requires a certain amount of minimum handicapped spaces and that it is a matter of enforcement.
Mr. Arroyo interjected that he believes that this matter is handled by the Building Department as governed of building code.
Chairperson Lorenzo requested that Administration forward a memo to the Building Department for feedback on this issue.
Member Hoadley reiterated his concerns.
Mr. Watson stated that the issue is probably covered under a state construction code legislated by state and federal governments and therefore, the report would come from the Building Department. Mr. Arroyo added that there should be an examination of enforcement.
Member Vrettas said not only is a report necessary, but asked if there is a need for increased parking, how is it accomplished and can it be accomplished.
Mr. Rogers added that Novi is the only city in Michigan that requires handicapped spaces on top of the minimum requirements for parking for a particular use.
PM-96-02-033 TO ADJOURN REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION AT 11:45 P.M.
Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Planning Commission Meeting at 11:45 p.m.
VOTE ON PM-96-02-033 - MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas Weddington
Steven Cohen, Planning Aide
Transcribed by Barbara Holmes
February 23, 1996
Date Approved: April 3, 1996