WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 1996 AT 7:30 P.M.


(810) 347-0475


Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo



PRESENT: Members Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hodges, Markham, Weddington, Chairperson Lorenzo



ABSENT: Members Hoadley, Vrettas (absent/excused)



ALSO PRESENT: City Attorney Dennis Watson, Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant Dave Bluhm, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, Staff Planner Greg Capote, Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect, and Steven Cohen Planning Aide





Chairperson Lorenzo advised the Commission that Items 1 and 2 under Public Hearings would be postponed until the April 3, 1996 and March 20, 1996 Meetings respectively due to insufficient public notice.





Moved by Bonaventura, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone Items 1 and 2 under PUBLIC HEARINGS due to insufficient public notice. Item 1, Zoning Map Amendment 18.544 postponed until the April 3, 1996 Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission and Item 2, Dales & Graphic Supply, SP 96-01A postponed until March 20, 1996 Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission.





Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Weddington

No: None












Moved by Weddington, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Agenda as amended.





Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Weddington

No: None





Seeing no one, Chairperson Lorenzo closed the Audience Participation. There will be a second Audience Participation after the midpoint break and a third before adjournment.





Member Weddington stated that she has received a letter from HEFCO Limited Partnership, in West Bloomfield, written by Howard Friedlaender; Re: Sinai Hospital Applications - Site Plan, Wetland, and Storm Sewer. Member Weddington further stated that she has received correspondence related to the two postponed items and will include them in the package at the appropriate time.


Chairperson Lorenzo requested that Steve Cohen provide the HEFCO letter again when Sinai comes before the Commission. Mr. Cohen replied that he would.





Chairperson Lorenzo asked the Commission if there were any removals. Member Bonaventura replied that he would like to remove Anglin Supply Shade House, SP 96-03.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any corrections to the minutes. Member Hodges

thought that her statement on Page 14 of the January 3, 1996 minutes should read "well and/or septic" and that she believed that Mr. Bluhm responded that both well and septic would be provided. Steve Cohen advised Member Hodges that the tape would be checked.








Moved by Weddington, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve

Items 1, 2, and 3 on the Consent Agenda as amended.





Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Weddington

No: None







Property located north of Grand River Avenue, east of Town Center Drive for possible Preliminary Site Plan approval.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated that there is a letter from Greg Capote regarding Anglin Supply Shade House.


Member Bonaventura stated that he did not have the opportunity to read the letter and asked Mr. Capote to summarize it. Member Bonaventura then stated that he pulled this item because he was concerned that this item would be approved per the consultantsí recommendations and he questions the purpose of Brandon Rogersí recommendation to delete the proposed wood fence along Grand River Avenue.


Brandon Rogers replied that fences are not permitted in front yards of an OS-1 District or a B-3 District. He further stated that there is an existing cyclone fence that appears to have been acquired when the berm and landscaping were originally planted. Mr. Rogers suggested that it even though it may have been for security reasons, to augment a second fence in front of the cyclone fence exasperates the violation. The basic issue is that the fence is on the front property line with no setback and Mr. Rogers does not recommend that the applicant request a variance.


Member Bonaventura then stated that when Anglin appeared before the ZBA, it seemed the ZBA allowed Anglin an overall variance for the expansion of a non-conforming use which is not permitted in an OS-1 District and is subject to site plan review and approval of the Planning Commission. Mr. Rogers responded that it was an expansion of a non-conforming use that originally had been zoned properly. He then stated that at the time of the Town Center Development, the Grand River property was zoned OS-1 and the back property on the south side of Eleven Mile was zoned OSC.


Member Bonaventura then asked if site plans were submitted to the ZBA? Mr. Rogers responded that he believed they were, but the ZBA agreed that this expansion, which is already built, was proper and approved it per the Ordinance as an expansion of a non-conforming use on the same site. Mr. Rogers further said that the ZBA stated that the site plan has to be reviewed by the Planning Commission. The applicant has gone through the process and Mr. Rogers advised that his recommendations are in his report.


Member Bonaventura is uncertain as to whether the ZBA received the same plans as the Commission has. The ZBA minutes state that there was a plan in the packet and Member Bonaventura assumes that the detail of the fence in their packet is the same. He further stated that after reading their approval, he views it as an approval that covers the entire site plan. Member Bonaventura believes that since the fence is known as a legal non-conforming use, he sees the addition of an ornamental white fence as an improvement just as the ZBA had granted their variance by stating that the expansion is an improvement. Member Bonaventura is concerned that this site plan will be approved per the recommendation of the consultants. He believes that the fence is appealing and should be allowed.


Member Capello asked if the Commission has the authority to approve the site plan with the fence. Member Watson replied it would be subject to ZBA approval.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Markham, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant preliminary site plan approval subject to the consultantsí recommendations and to maintain the cyclone fence in addition to an ornamental fence subject to ZBA approval

(if ZBA approval is necessary) for Anglin Supply Shade House, SP 96-03.


Susan Anglin, of Anglin Supply, stated that she has the original plan that was submitted to ZBA and it does show the fence on that location. She then showed the plan to Member Bonaventura.





Member Capello stated that he believed the ornamental fence will be on the road side of the cyclone fence. Member Hodges stated that the ornamental fence is 3' 4" and the cyclone is 6', therefore, the cyclone fence will still be seen from the road until the climbing roses have covered it. Member Capello remarked that the point he was trying to make is that the white fence is on the road side, so it will improve the current situation.


Member Hodges then asked how the ornamental fence sits according to setbacks. Mr. Rogers, reading Section 2515, Paragraph 2a, refers to non-residential fences and states that no fence will extend into a front or exterior side yard. Member Hodges then asked if the fence was outside of the right-of-way? Mr. Rogers replied that he believed that it is on the easement line and is not setback the 20' required in an OS-1 District. Mr. Rogers added that he did not believe that the minutes specifically call out the ZBA action for the fence and that the site plan design judgement was left to the Planning Commission.


Member Bonaventura stated that after reviewing the site plan with the fence detail, in his mind the ZBA granted a variance for the expansion of a non-conforming use subject to the Commissionsí site plan approval which would include the ornamental fence. Member Bonaventura does not want to send the petitioner back to the ZBA when the approval seems to include the fence. Therefore, Member Bonaventura would like to grant an approval that includes the fence.


Member Capello stated that his intent is not to send it back to ZBA if it does not have to, but the Commission does not have the authority to approve the fence. Mr. Rogers read Page 29 from the June 6, ZBA minutes that Ms. Anglin was quoted as saying, "We are respectfully requesting a variance for the use of a shade structure for protection of our more delicate topiary and ornamental and specimen shrubs." Mr. Rogers pointed out that there was no mention of a fence.


Member Hodges referred to the plans in the packet by stating that the fence is proposed to be bolted to the existing fence. She also referred to a handwritten note attached to the plan that the ornamental fence will be flush at the existing fence and not eight inches away, which is contrary to what is in the packet. Ms. Anglin responded by stating that they would like it to be flush against the existing chain link fence for enhancement. Ms. Anglin further stated that she wrote the note after she saw that the architect had drawn that on the plan. Member Hodges pointed out that on the second depiction, it is shown eight inches away from the fence. Ms. Anglin responded that it was incorrect. Member Hodges went on to state that the plans reviewed by Mr. Rogers were not what the applicant actually wanted.


Member Bonaventura asked for clarification as to whether the ZBA had granted an overall variance for the site plan. Mr. Watson responded that the applicant did not apply for an overall variance and therefore, it was not granted. Mr. Watson further stated that the reason people are encouraged to present their site plan to the Commission before they go to the ZBA is because there are often other things that can be addressed during the site planning process. Frequently applicants would rather go to the ZBA first because they would like to know that they are headed in the right direction before they go through the entire expense and process of preparing a site plan.


Ms. Anglin interjected by stating that the fence was part of the application and it does specify that they wanted to add an enhancement to the existing chain link fence. Mr. Watson responded that the Commission will look at it when it comes before them and what action was taken by the ZBA or if it was something that they were requesting a variance for.


Member Bonaventura asked the applicant where the original request is. Ms. Anglin responded that it is on a letter that is attached to the application because there was not enough room to write the entire letter on the front of the application.


Mr. Watson stated that he would like to review the ZBA packet application from the Building Departmentís file.


Member Bonaventura asked for an amendment to the motion, but Mr. Watson stated that it is subject to ZBA approval if necessary and will be reviewed and verified. Member Bonaventura then asked if the applicant will have to come back before the Commission. Mr. Watson replied that it is on its way and there would be no reason for it to come back. Member Bonaventura then asked if the fence was mentioned on the original application and it does not have to go back to the ZBA, is the site plan then approved? Mr. Watson responded it would be approved if it is one of the things that the applicant was seeking a variance for.


Chairperson Lorenzo reminded the Commission that approval is subject to the consultantsí recommendations.


Member Bonaventura noted in Mr. Rogersí review letter regarding corner clearance that it referred to "landscape plan concerns noted above regarding corner clearance being addressed" and further added that these are existing landscape bushes. Mr. Rogers responded that they are outside of the fence and he believes that some of them may be within the right-of-way and violate the 25' corner clearance.


Member Bonaventura asked Ms. Lemke if she could estimate how old the vegetation is. Ms. Lemke replied that she believed that they are relatively new. Ms. Anglin interjected that they were planted four years ago.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record that she is disappointed that this project did not come before the Commission first. She is also disappointed that the applicant built the structure without applying for the proper permits and did follow the proper procedure. Ms. Anglin interjected that the structure was only partially built.

Chairperson Lorenzo directed her next comments to the City Attorney by stating that the ZBA brought up several excellent points about the site from Eleven Mile Road in terms of it not being screened for additional landscaping on the site. She then asked if the Commission has the discretion to add additional landscaping to other areas of the site. Mr. Watson responded only if that is what is called for under the Ordinance. Mr. Rogers added that this would be done at the time of final site plan review and noted that it is distant from the subject improvement on the site. Mr. Rogers further stated that he will take a look at it, especially if there is any exposed outside storage or off street parking. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that there was exposed outside storage of equipment that was referred to in the ZBA minutes and it is very noticeable from Eleven Mile Road. She further stated that if there is a way that the Commission could address this issue, it would be appreciated.





Yes: Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Weddington

No: None


Craig Gates, architect for Anglin Supply stated that the application was for preliminary and final site plan approval. Chairperson Lorenzo responded that per the consultantsí recommendation, the plan was not ready for final site plan approval based upon the fence and the corner clearance. Mr. Rogers added Eleven Mile may be a third issue. Mr. Rogers further stated that he hoped it could be done administratively if the variance issue is taken care of. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she believes that the final would be handled administratively.


Member Bonaventura stated that the applicant applied for preliminary and final site plan approval and the agenda asks for possible preliminary site plan approval. Mr. Rogers responded by stating that the Commission only approves preliminary and in most cases, final is done administratively unless requested to come back before the Commission. Watercrest is an example of one that keeps coming back at the Commissionís request.


Mr. Gates stated that Eleven Mile elevation has been bermed since the plan came before the ZBA. Chairperson Lorenzo advised that this information should be given to the consultants at another time.






Property located south of Thirteen Mile Road, between Novi Road and Decker Road for possible Final Site Plan approval.



Chairperson Lorenzo noted that the applicants are present, but do not have a presentation.


Mr. Rogers, referred to his March 1, 1996 report by stating that the project is approved subject to two minor issues. He further recommends that the Commission similarly approve it subject to the issues and any other minor items the engineers may have be approved administratively. The two issues are as follows:


1. A 5' sidewalk is required along Novi Road if sufficient right-of-way exists

and public safety is provided.


2. The name, Penny Lane, a lane which is located between the two curved roads, must be deleted or reviewed by the Street Naming Committee. This lane is actually an alley access to garages and is not a street.


Mr. Bluhm stated that he also has a couple of issues with the project. One is the sidewalk issue along Novi Road. Mr. Bluhm stated that the engineering company has surveyed the right-of-way on Novi Road and in Mr. Bluhmís opinion it is not feasible to construct the sidewalk within the right-of-way because it is too close to the shoulder and pavement on Novi Road. In addition, the topography is sloping and exasperates the problem. Mr. Bluhm further noted that if the sidewalk were to be placed outside of the existing 33' right-of-way, it appears that there are limited, if any, impacts to the environmental features. In addition, if an easement were to be provided, it would be a location that they could look at for the construction of the sidewalk. He further stated that one of the things that should be noted with the preliminary plan is that the applicant has been unsuccessful in attempting to secure easements to detain their storm water in Shawood Lake. In addition, they were unable to make the improvements with the culvert under Novi Road. The developer has proposed detention on the site in the sedimentation basin and has shown that there is adequate capacity for temporary detention. Mr. Bluhm stressed that this is considered temporary detention and when the conveyance channels for the storm water to get to Shawood Lake are provided, Mr. Bluhm would like to see the restriction removed. The pond would then serve only sedimentation water quality type benefits on a long term basis. Mr. Bluhm also asked the applicants engineer to supply plans at final approval that indicate that construction of the basin and the grading surrounding the basin area will be provided from on site to minimize the impact to the existing 36" water main, which is a critical water main to the City. In conclusion, Mr. Bluhm stated that the plan is approvable, but he would like to see it come back administratively with those items addressed.


Mr. Arroyo has also reviewed the final site plan and he is recommending approval. Mr. Arroyoís letter notes that the applicant will need to contact the DPW Superintendent regarding the installation of traffic control signs and include the signs that as requested in the Fire Departmentís letter regarding the installation of "No Parking Fire Lane" signs along the proposed Penny Lane alley that serves between the individual units.


Ms. Lemke stated that she reviews final engineering after a project receives approval from the Planning Commission. She further stated she had numerous meetings with the petitioner and although there were some revisions to the woodland plan, there was nothing that would bring it back before the Planning Commission. In addition, Ms. Lemke advised that all of her concerns have been addressed and she is recommending approval to release the woodlandís permit. Ms. Lemke then referred to Mr. Rogersí letter regarding the landscape plantings abutting the rights-of-way and commented that she had originally recommended that the applicant put a six-foot berm in the center area where the gazebo is and along the two sides on the park. The applicant has met the 3'-4' meandering berm, but they are leaving the park area open and flat. The nearest resident to the park area is 250' away from Decker Road and the design intent is to leave it open so that the area serves as a focal point for the development. Ms. Lemke feels that there is some merit not to put a berm in the center area where the gazebo is because of its location in terms of the homes. Ms. Lemke concluded by stating that she recommends approval.


Mr. Pargoff stated that Ms. Lemke indicated that no construction, including clearing or grubbing, can begin until protective fencing has been approved by the City, an environmental preconstruction meeting is held, remaining regulated woodlands which are not platted are placed in a preservation easement, and preservation signage is erected as directed by the City. Mr. Pargoff asked that all woodland work permitted for Phase II be confined to Phase II and reiterated that an environmental preconstruction meeting must be held. Mr. Pargoff stated that the street trees on the entryway at Decker Road need to be moved before any work takes place on the site. Mr. Pargoff stated that his department will be approving the trees that need to be moved and the locations in which they are going to be placed. Mr. Pargoff further stated that they are going require that the safety issues of a 10' clearance from any fire hydrant or manhole is maintained and that the trees be placed 35' from any corner as per the City ordinances. Mr. Pargoff added that the standard landscaping requirements such as building permits, petitioning of the Department of Public Works for placement of lighting in the right-of-way, and the landscape contractor must consult with Mr. Pargoffís office before any plant material is purchased.


Mr. Wickens stated the project is approved from a wetlandís standpoint, but there are some minor items that need to be addressed as indicated on the wetland review letter and can be reviewed administratively.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record that she is in receipt of a letter from William Conn, Fire Marshall indicating that, "the above plan has been reviewed and approval with the following is recommended and show the changes on the plans which will receive the approval stamp: (1) Place the following notes on the plan which are to be observed throughout the construction process: a. All roads are to be paved prior to construction above the foundation., b. Street names on suitable poles shall be established and installed prior to construction above the foundation, c. The building address is to be posted facing the street throughout construction. The address is to be at least three inches high on a contrasting background., d. All water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and be in service prior to construction above the foundation., and e. Fire prevention practiced during construction shall be in accordance with the adopted Building Code and Fire Prevention Code.; (2) Install "No Parking," "Fire Lane," and "Tow Away Zone" signs in accordance with F-313.5, Page 1009 of the Code of Ordinances along the entire lanes of the alley, Penny Lane, on both sides of the street and show each sign location on the plan."


Chairperson Lorenzo then turned the floor over to the Planning Commission for Discussion.





Member Hodges asked Mr. Watson when the signs that the Fire Department requested for the alley are erected, would the police department or homeowners association enforce that action according to the code of enforcement? Mr. Watson responded by stating that the fire lane signs will probably be enforced by the police department. He further stated that whether the areas are dedicated or not, for fire lane purposes, it will be enforced by the police department.


Member Hodges asked Mr. Pargoff if the violation that had been sited in his letter of February 20, 1996 had been addressed by the applicant. Mr. Pargoff responded that it had.


Member Weddington then asked Mr. Pargoff if the violations had been remediated or can they be? Mr. Pargoff replied that all of the options are open and that issue is not finished. Mr. Watson interjected that the intent of Mr. Pargoffís letter was to get response from the property owner, which it did. Mr. Watson further stated that he believed that Mr. Pargoff has a meeting with the applicant later during the week. Mr. Pargoff stated that a meeting is scheduled with a representative for the developer on Friday, March 8, 1996.


Member Bonaventura commented that for the benefit of the new Commissioners, he expected that the PUD Ordinance would be supplied as a reference because it is no longer in the ordinance book. Member Bonaventura stated to Mr. Watson that it was his understanding that the area plan, which the Commission worked very hard on, is a contract and this issue would fall under that area plan. Mr. Watson responded that the area plan is a document that is approved by City Council. Once the plan is approved, there is then an area plan agreement into which it is incorporated and that agreement is an agreement that the City and the applicant enter into and then record with the Register of Deeds.


Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers how many phases were in the development. Mr. Rogers responded that are approximately fourteen phases. Member Bonaventura remembered that it may take nine years to fully develop the project and he would like to suggest that nine sets of area plans kept within the City to be supplied to the Planning Commission at the time of preliminary and final site plan to assist future Commissioners in their understanding as to what action was taken by past Commissions.


Member Bonaventura asked if there would be street lighting in the alley. Mr. Rogers responded that he did not know. Ron Hughes, of Hughlan Development, interjected by stating that although there is no street lighting, under the deed restriction they are required to install two illuminated lights on each side of the garage door in the alley. Member Bonaventura then asked if the garages were detached. Mr. Hughes responded that in most cases the garages are attached. Member Bonaventura asked if there would be an alley for garage access for the three rows of homes located in the back of the development. Mr. Hughes replied that those homes will not have an alley but will require a curb cut and a conventional garage.


Member Bonaventura asked if the alleys would be deeded to the city? Mr. Hughes responded that there is a provision that states the alleys are being constructed according to city standards. Mr. Arroyo added that it is all within the right-of-way and the alleys and streets will be public roadways. Mr. Watson then stated that he believed that the area plan agreement indicated that they could request that they be dedicated, but it would be up to the City to accept it or not. If the City did not accept it, it would not be public. Member Bonaventura then asked what is the width of the alleys? Mr. Hughes responded that they are 22'. Member Bonaventura asked if that was the reason there is no parking on them? Mr. Arroyo responded there is no parking because of the narrow width and because of the number of driveways serving the individual garages. In addition, the fire department wants to keep it clear for fire access.


Member Bonaventura asked what is the minimum width requirement that the City allows for a residential street. Mr. Arroyo responded that a standard residential street is 28' feet back to back with the curb. Mr. Arroyo further stated that in an alley, the standard is 22' which includes the right-of-way and the road.


Member Bonaventura asked Mr. Rogers if a road can be included to calculate density in the PUD Option if it is a City road? Mr. Rogers did not recall, but the number of units in this project is less than what they called out in the original area plan. When the project is finished, they are capped out at a certain maximum number of dwelling units. Some of the units may be less or even more than the schedule of regulations were on the area plan. The roads that serve the residential area are considered part of the residential development.


Member Bononi referred to the storm sewer system on sheet C3, located at the rear portion of Lots 49, 50, and 51 and asked how it will operate and where it will outlet. Mr. Hofsess of Zeimet, Wozniak responded that the storm system is designed strictly for picking up sump pump discharge and extends from Lot 48 to Lot 52 and is just outside the 25' setback. It then discharges behind Lot 49, which is indicated by a line that runs due north and stops at the 25' setback. Member Bononi asked if there will be a temporary structure constructed to prevent erosion from occurring in the wetland. Mr. Hofsess pointed to a heavy dashed line that indicates that there is a silt fence that will follow the 25' setback buffer line. Furthermore, Mr. Hofsess does not expect a lot of water being discharged at this storm water point and if there was going to be any kind of disturbance, he would not believe that it would be something that couldnít be taken over by relatively minor maintenance. Member Bononi asked what the size of the pipe would be and Mr. Hofsess replied 8".


Chairperson Lorenzo referred to the past Briarwood issue by stating that the sump pumps in that development that discharged into wetlands increased the water level and killed trees. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if this will be a similar situation in terms of tree die off, increased flooding, or anything of that nature. Mr. Bluhm responded that they do not anticipate those kinds of problems. Mr. Bluhm further stated that the difference with this development as opposed to Briarwood is that the finished grade of the homes in Briarwood were very close to the elevation of the water in the wetland area. Mr. Bluhm advised that the row of lots that abut the northern wetland in this development is elevated significantly above the wetland and the ground water and the soil borings that have been provided is below the finished grade elevation of these homes for the lowest floor. In addition, the locations that they discharge to are not heavily wooded areas. The over riding factor that makes this project different from Briarwood is the topography and the elevation of the homes above the existing wetland.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Bluhm if he could foresee the residents having wet backyards with standing water? Mr. Bluhm responded that the proximity of the homes to the wetland buffer area is very close and there is a potential that some of the backyard area will be limited in use.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if these homes actually had backyards or are the yards similar to that of a condominium? Mr. Hughes responded that the homes are site condos with common use yard areas. Chairperson Lorenzo asked how many feet beyond the structure is actually owned? Mr. Hughes responded that it varies; for some it is as little as 25' and for others it could possibly be as much as 45'. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the area is entirely in commons or as it is in site condos where there is usually a portion outside of their structure that is actually owned. Mr. Hughes replied that the unit would be owned by the homeowner and outside the back door there is a backyard. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the 25' feet is then owned by the homeowner? Mr. Hughes replied that was correct and there is a limited common area exclusively for the use of the homeowner on that site.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Bluhm what he meant when he stated that there may be water beyond the 25' setback in the backyard. Mr. Bluhm replied that according to the grading plan, the standing water area is not on the lots proper and are under private ownership. He further stated that area is beyond the private ownership and it looks as though there is another 25' before getting to the open water portion of the wetland. Chairperson Lorenzo is concerned that water will pond in areas of the backyards other than the 25' setback or the wetland area and then asked if it can be said that is not going to happen. Mr. Bluhm replied that the Cityís grading requirements will preclude standing water from being on the lots. Mr. Bluhm also stated that the developer will be made to grade the lots so that they do not have pockets of water. At the individual plot plan portion of the development of the homes, the ordinance which directs water from being ponded off the lots takes effect and is looked at very closely by the appropriate consultants.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Wickens clarify the original wetland approval dated March 1, 1996 which indicated that intrusion into the wetland buffer is likely during construction on Lots 45 through 47 and Lots 50 through 54 but buffer intrusion cannot be determined to be permanent at this time. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if this was included in the wetland permit approval or is it something determined recently? Mr. Bluhm recalled that he believed there was mention in the minutes that there was going to be concern about the proximity of the homes to the wetland and the issue was brought up to a certain degree. Mr. Bluhm further stated that the problem is that a final determination cannot be made at this level as to what impact there is because the kind of home has not been determined. Mr. Bluhm expected homes built in the tight areas would require little construction equipment in the rear yard areas so that the buffer will suffer minimal disturbance. In addition, Mr. Bluhm stated that is why the plot plan process becomes critical because the impact that may be required is determined. Mr. Bluhm also stated that in other developments, a wetland permit was required for individual lots that have proposed intrusion.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked why would any of the intrusions be permanent? Mr. Bluhm replied that those buffer intrusions would be required to be remediated after construction. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she trusts the consultantsí judgment that the plans will be scrutinized for the least amount of intrusion and the most amount of mitigation.


Member Capello stated that if he understood Mr. Bluhm correctly, it is not feasible to construct a sidewalk on the right-of-way of Novi Road, but it is feasible to construct a sidewalk outside the right-of-way on the applicantís property. Mr. Bluhm responded that from a construction point of view, the right-of-way is too close to the roadway. However, beyond the right-of-way there is sufficient room and it is possible to construct a sidewalk there from an environmental standpoint.

Member Capello asked if the Commission has the authority to require a sidewalk outside of the road right-of-way. Mr. Bluhm did not believe it could be required. Mr. Watson interjected by stating that normally the Commission does not have that authority and he further stated that there may have been a requirement as a part of the area plan approval and that can be investigated before the engineering plans are done.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED (6-1): To grant final site plan approval subject to the consultantsí recommendations, subject to the Fire Departmentís conditions, appropriate studies regarding soil erosion shall be provided to engineering consultant, and sidewalk along Novi Road shall not be required unless required by the area plan for Watercrest at the Vistas - Phase II, SP 95-32F.





Member Bononi would like to amend the motion by adding that the developer will submit a copy of the NPDES Reports from the DNR to David Bluhm with regard to erosion and sedimentation monitoring. Members Capello and Hodges accepted the amendment.


Member Bonaventura asked if there are sidewalks required in the alley. Mr. Rogers responded no. Mr. Arroyo added that there is not enough room and the alleys are not intended for pedestrian access. Mr. Arroyo further added that there will be sidewalks in front of the homes.


Member Bonaventura commented that he will be voting against the motion because he believes the concept of neo-traditional, small lot pedestrian oriented, zero lot lines, ten feet from the road type housing is not in the best interest of Novi.


Member Weddington asked Mr. Bluhm if these types of engineering details are normally left open at final or should they be remedied at this point. Mr. Bluhm replied that there is no allowance for open items in a final site plan from a final approval point of view. Mr. Bluhm further stated that there are always things that need to be addressed prior to approvals, but at final there are no conditions. Member Weddington asked if the issues are so minor that they can be addressed at final. She is concerned that a preliminary site plan approval may be premature because of the open issues. Mr. Watson interjected by stating that the normal practice for final site plan approval is that the consultants provide comments, but the actual final site plan is not stamped approved until the items are taken care of and Mr. Bluhm agreed. Mr. Watson further stated that the Planning Department has a check list and each consultant is provided with a corrected site plan that is only signed off if the outstanding items are rectified.


Member Bonaventura asked if there is a consensus to include his recommendation in the motion that copies of the area plan be retained by the City so that they can be provided to future Commissions as the plan progresses. Chairperson Lorenzo stated that she thought it would be a good idea and Mr. Watson asked that a note should be made to address that to the staff. Member Bonaventura clarified that only one set should be kept and then retrieved after each meeting. Mr. Cohen made note of this request.


Mr. Hughes suggested that the name for the alley, Penny Lane, not be deleted for fire safety purposes. The applicant further stated that they will however, change the name subject to the Street Naming Committeeís approval.


Member Capello replied that the intent of his motion includes that the approval is subject to the consultantsí recommendations.





Yes: Capello, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Weddington, Bononi

No: Bonaventura


Chairperson Lorenzo recessed the meeting for ten minutes.




Property located at the southeast corner of Grand River Avenue and Olde Orchard Road for possible Preliminary Site Plan approval.


John Marusich, architect for the project, stated that the visuals that he provided represent different views of the proposed building. The building is an 8,000 square foot medical/dental facility located on the corner of Olde Orchard Road and Grand River. The building is in the forefront of the site with 47 parking spaces in the rear and will have a wood frame with a three color brick facade. The entry will be located at the rear of the site with private and emergency exits on the sides. The entry will also face Olde Orchard Road with signage located on the island. A berm with mature evergreen is proposed at the rear of the site.



Mr. Rogers complimented the computer graphic visual that the Commission just received from Mr. Marusich. Mr. Rogers then referred to his February 28, 1996 report which was an update of his earlier letter dated February 5, 1996. Mr. Cohen interjected by stating that only the most current letter is included in the packet. Mr. Rogers stated that Mr. Marusich has improved his plan a great deal after meeting with himself and Mr. Arroyo and that all of the site plan application data are now provided. Mr. Rogers then advised that a variance will be required because the site is 1.16 acres and the NCC District requires two acres. Additional documentation has been provided by the applicant as to why he could not acquire the vacant lot east of the site. It has been determined that the lot is not for sale and has been sold for another development which will be a similarly sized parcel. In other cases where a property owner canít acquire 200' of frontage and a 2-acre minimum lot size, a variance approval has been received from the ZBA. The building is set back in accordance with the NCC District and an extra 10' is added from the existing right-of-way on Grand River to recognize the future right-of-way plan of 120'. The developer will provide an easement for the sidewalk on their property to line up with similar setbacks of sidewalks elsewhere along Grand River. The applicant needs 43 parking spaces and they have provided 47 with off street loading in the rear yard. The landscape plan will be reviewed at the time of final site plan per issue two in the February 28 letter by setting the building back an extra 10' with no curb cuts on Grand River and an entrance access from Olde Orchard Road. The applicant is providing a 20' green space next to an existing wood fence with steel posts that exists next to the Olde Orchard Condominium project on the south. The fence was built and approved some time ago and the ordinance requires that if an NCC District were to abut a Residential District, a 6' landscape berm would be required which would take a 38' base. Because the developer is only able to provide 20', he is asking that a 3' berm with landscaping and the original wood fence remain and be considered for preliminary approval. The Planning Commission can substitute a 6' brick on brick wall with a suitable cap in lieu of the berm if certain ordinance conditions are met. However, if the 6' berm or wall is not provided, the applicant is aware that any variation will have to go to the ZBA. It is Mr. Rogersí opinion that the fence is in good shape and serves the screening purposes. The applicant also intends to put a 3' berm with plant materials inside the fence area which will provide supplemental screening to the 6' solid wood fence. However, Mr. Rogers further stated that it is a decision that should be made by the Planning Commission. The applicant is willing to set the parking lot 38' from the fence and put in a 6' berm, but they will then have to move the building 10' closer to Grand River and may have to make other design changes to accommodate it. Mr. Rogers recommends approval subject to his conditions.


Ms. Lemke interjected that there are some two story buildings from Olde Orchard Place that look onto the site and therefore, the options of approving a 6' wall will not aid in screening the site. Ms. Lemke added that the applicant is proposing to provide a 3' berm that would be 3' shorter and make up the difference with bigger plant material such as 10' evergreens. Ms. Lemke believes that a dense screen will provide a good solution if that is the Commissionís prerogative.


David Bluhm stated that the engineering is straightforward. The water and sewer will be provided from the existing facilities on Grand River and Olde Orchard Drive. The applicant is proposing storm sewers to pick up developed flows and direct them to the existing 12" storm sewer in Olde Orchard at the southwest corner of the site and since the developed flows will be provided in that storm sewer, no detention is proposed. Mr. Bluhm would like to recommend that the applicant evaluate the capacity of the 12" storm sewer for its ability to handle developed flows and if there is any shortfall in that storm sewer, they will have to provide a minor amount of detention on site which should be outside of parking areas in pipes or in green space areas if possible. There is also an easement required for the sidewalk along Grand River. Beyond these conditions, the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility and Mr. Bluhm recommends approval.


Rod Arroyo stated that access is proposed from two driveways on Olde Orchard. Mr. Arroyo then stated that because there is a limited ability to provide access because of the shape of the proposed project, he does not object to the two access points since Olde Orchard is a low volume roadway. Mr. Arroyo added that the NCC provisions state that developments that occur within this district will have access to a major thoroughfare. Section 2518 of the Ordinance does provide for the City to make an exception to this rule. The ordinance states that the access driveways may be permitted to other than a major thoroughfare if access is provided to a street where the property directly across the street, between the driveway and the major thoroughfare, is zoned for multiple family use or any non-residential uses, is developed with permanent uses other than single family residential, or is in an area which in the opinion of the City, will be used for other than single family purposes in the future. Mr. Arroyo further stated that the exception will apply only if the City finds that there are special circumstances which indicate that there will be substantial improvement in traffic safety by reducing the number of driveways to a thoroughfare. Mr. Arroyo believes that this project meets the criteria established for an exception and recommends that it be approved with the option to provide an access point directly to Grand River, although he does not recommend that an access point be provided directly to Grand River. Mr. Arroyo also noted that the thoroughfare plan shows that a marginal access road would begin near the site, but would not affect this property on the plan. Mr. Arroyo has provided trip generation information and noted that there is no other improvement necessary to Olde Orchard to serve this site and therefore, Mr. Arroyo recommends approval subject to the exception being granted.


Chairperson Lorenzo noted for the record that a letter from Daniel W. Roy, Captain of the City of Novi Fire Department states, "the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following: 1) Provide a fire hydrant at the north entrance drive.; 2) Show the following fire department notes on all future plans: a. All roads have to be paved prior to construction above the foundation., b. All weather access roads capable of supporting 25 tons are to be provided for fire apparatus prior to construction above the foundation., c. All water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and be in service prior to construction above the foundation., d. The building address is to be posted facing the street throughout construction. The address is to be at least three inches high on a contrasting background.; 3) Fire prevention practice during construction shall be in accordance with the adopted building code and fire prevention code."


Chairperson Lorenzo turned the matter over to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Bononi asked Ms. Lemke to address the issue about the residential homes abutting the site and if the dense screening could be incorporated as a condition of approval. She further asked what type of landscaping from the standpoint of visibility would be planted. Ms. Lemke proposed that a combination of evergreens at 10' be planted rather than the standard 7' evergreens. The evergreens would then be interspersed with sub-canopy trees and shrubs with berries for a more natural theme on either side of the berm to provide a dense screening which would also incorporate features of a wildlife habitat. Member Bononi then asked if that would cover the entire length of the berm. Ms. Lemke responded that it would and it is shown clearly in their computerized plan. The berm is planned for the southern boundary and should provide the screening. Ms. Lemke added that the height is the most important factor because although the view is already cut off on the first floor from the existing fence, the second floor balconies need a better screen. Member Bononi suggested that the height of the plant material that Ms. Lemke is referring to be included as a condition of approval.


Member Weddington asked if the Olde Orchard Condominium Association was notified about the proposed development. Mr. Cohen responded that this item does not require public notice.


Member Weddington is concerned about the screening and the location of the dumpster which appears to be next to the lot line. Member Weddington would like to make sure that the dumpster is isolated or screened as much as possible to protect the residents who will be closest to that area. Member Weddington then asked about the need for two driveways. She stated there is a driveway on the other side of Olde Orchard and asked how it aligns with the two proposed driveways. Mr. Arroyo responded that it is located north of the northerly drive proposed for the current plan. The drive located on the other side of the street is fairly close to Grand River so there should be no conflict. Mr. Arroyo further stated that if one of the access points is eliminated, it becomes difficult to provide for delivery access for larger vehicles. The current plan has a good system because an UPS truck can easily pull into a dedicated area and park, drop-off, and then move on. Because of the small parking lot, if one of the access points were eliminated or if the plan was revised to a one-way in one-way out, it would be necessary to change the parking to angle parking which takes up more space and can be confusing. The current orientation works fairly well because of the low traffic volume.

Mr. Wahl commented that as a resident of Olde Orchard and as a user of the pathway, that the condominium property south of the subject property is already nicely landscaped. He further noted that the other projects which border Olde Orchard are also nicely landscaped and the screening provides adequate privacy for the residents. In Mr. Wahlís opinion, this project will be a nice addition to the neighborhood as the building across the street has similar architecture. Mr. Wahl further stated that he is pleased about many of the projects on Grand River in spite of prior concerns that he and Mr. Rogers shared about the zoning and possible uses on Grand River.


Member Bonaventura stated that the CAD drawings that the applicant provided were helpful in visualizing the project. Member Bonaventura stated that computer technology will be able to provide required specifics on facade site plans in the future.





Moved by Bonaventura, seconded by Hodges, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant preliminary site plan approval subject to Consultantsí recommendations, ZBA variances being granted for deficient site size and landscaping screening (positive recommendation to ZBA for 10 ft. Trees on 3 ft. Berm), and a waiver to Section 2518 allowing curb cuts on Olde Orchard Road for Provident Family Dentistry Building, SP 96-05.





Member Hodges asked the applicant to state for the record the correct name for the project. The applicant replied that it is Provident Family Dentistry Building.


Member Capello asked if the motion is subject to the ZBAís approval of the proposed alternate screening and in addition, is there a recommendation to the ZBA for their approval? Member Capello then stated he believed it would be both and not just a recommendation upon recommendation, but also subject to the ZBA approval of the Commissionís recommendation. Mr. Watson agreed.


Mr. Watson added that he understood the motion to mean that Member Bonaventura was recommending the Commissionís approval of the landscaping as it is shown, but at the same time it is still subject to the ZBAís approval. In a sense, Mr. Watson added, it is an endorsement of the landscaping and it is a recommendation from the Commission to the ZBA.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Member Bononi if her concerns were addressed in the motion. Member Bononi replied that she was looking for a minimum tree size and would like it added to the motion.


Members Capello and Hodges agreed to add the minimum tree size to the motion





Yes: Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi, Capello

No: None



3. NOVI PLACE, SP 94-30

Property located north of Eight Mile Road, west of Haggerty Road request for Final Site Plan to be reviewed administratively.


Kevin Kohls, 2290 First National Building, Detroit stated he is representing American Realty Corporation and introduced Jeffery Sobel, President of American Realty. Mr. Kohls gave a brief review of the proposal and asked for the Commissionís favorable consideration with respect to a wetland mitigation site. Mr. Kohls then asked the Commission to recall that the original approval for the development was subject to the expressed condition that a one-acre wetland mitigation site plan be brought before the Commission and approved prior to final site plan approval. The owner of the site has been looking for a wetland mitigation parcel and has not yet concluded his review of available sites. The owner agrees in the interest of moving forward with the development, to provide a wetland mitigation site on a parcel of land that he owns that is east of Whispering Meadows, west of Haggerty Road, and north of the existing office development along Haggerty Road. The mitigation site would be offered with the following proviso:


1. It would be a temporary wetland mitigation site, dedicated to the City.

2. An easement would be given to the City to build the wetland on that site in the event the developer failed to do so.

3. An adequate bond as determined by the Cityís engineer would be established for the construction of that site.

4. The developer would be permitted to remove that site and provide a substitute permanent within six months.


In order for the site plan to move forward, the applicant is asking for approval on a temporary basis subject to the Cityís right to construct a wetland mitigation site, subject to an adequate bond, and subject further to the fact if a substitute is not brought forward and approved by the Commission within six months, that the original temporary site provided would automatically become permanent. Mr. Kohls stated that he has reviewed this proposal in detail with Mr. Watson. Mr. Kohls further stated that the applicant is asking the Commission to recommend final site plan approval administratively and that there are very few issues outstanding. Mr. Kohls is also asking that pursuant to the authority provided in the Zoning Ordinance, that the City allow American Realty Corporation at its own risk, to begin the site work, soil removal, and associated activity that will allow for the more timely construction of the building given the relatively short building season and the demand for the users of this site.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Cohen if he had anything to add in terms of final site plan. Mr. Cohen responded that he did not.





Member Capello asked Mr. Watson to comment on the wetland mitigation issue.


Mr. Watson responded that one of the reasons that final site plan had to come before the Commission again after preliminary site plan approval was the condition that the developer resolve the wetland mitigation issue. The wetland issue had been raised before for a prior development that had been proposed for this facility. A particular office building was never built, although the particular wetland on the property was filled in accordance with the wetlandís permit. One of the conditions of the original wetlands permit was to complete one-acre of mitigation off site. However mitigation could not be completed by the original applicant or by the City with the monies that had been posted because there was a problem with a particular area designated. In addition, the City did not have the right to do it. Currently, it is a requirement with the approval of this plan to have the mitigation issue completed as a condition of the final site plan approval. What that implies is that they have to have the mitigation performed before the final site plan is actually stamped "approved" which prevents any additional proceedings with the plan. However, given the time of the year, mitigation is not going to be performed until later into the Spring. The applicant is asking that the Commission authorize the final site plan to be approved administratively. They are further suggesting that the wetlandís mitigation issue be addressed before the final site plan is stamped by designating a particular site for mitigation and approved by the engineers. In addition, the applicant will grant an easement to the City to permit the City to do the wetlands work with posted monies if for some reason it is not done. Because it is not their first choice of where they would like the mitigation to be done, they would like the option to provide a different site within a six month period. The condition that Mr. Watson suggests, in addition to providing an easement, is that the developer provide evidence to Mr. Watsonís office that the particular site is not otherwise encumbered to prevent its use for a mitigation site. Furthermore, Mr. Watson suggests that there also be a six-month time limit for the completion of the mitigation work. If during the six-month period they get a second site, it would have to be approved and the work would have to be done within that time period.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the third issue could be addressed in terms of the developer having to do the work. Mr. Watson replied that there is a section in the ordinance that allows for certain work to be done and if that is the work that they are talking about, Mr. Watson believes it is the building. Mr. Watson further stated that there is a provision within the sections addressing site plan approval that allows the City, after preliminary site plan approval but before final site plan approval, to perform certain work below grade including the layout of footings, construction of foundation walls, and certain mechanical pertinencies below grade like sewer lines, drains, etc. That is not something that needs to be approved by the Planning Commission; it is something that the Building Department can approve itself. Mr. Watson further stated if he understood the request correctly, the Planning Commission does not have to act on it. However, if Mr. Watson misunderstood it and the developer wants to do some additional work beyond what is authorized, then that is a different question and is something that is not within the Commissionís authority to approve.


Mr. Kohls responded by stating that Mr. Watson is accurate in that they are asking for an approval pursuant to the section addressing the site plan approval. He further stated that he understood that there was a reluctance on the part of the Building Department to move forward and issue the permits for the grading, the foundation, and the like and that it is really a matter of clarification. He has reviewed the section with Mr. Watson on prior matters. Mr. Watson asked the applicant if he has discussed this matter directly with Mr. Saven. Mr. Kohls replied that he has not personally discussed it with Mr. Saven.


Mr. Kohls stated he would like to follow up on the wetland permit issue as a point of clarification. He then stated that the prior failure to establish the off site mitigation occurred years before American Realty Corporation entered into a contract to purchase the property from the existing owner. In addition, as part of the approval of what American Realty proposes, the offsite mitigation area, which should have been established long ago, will be established to address the Cityís concerns

Mr. Watson stated that the Commission will be authorizing an administrative final site plan approval in accordance with the applicantís requests which will still require the consultantsí to make their other determinations that the plan otherwise meets the criteria for final site plan approval. Mr. Watson believes that Mr. Arroyo may have some comments to clarify some of the traffic issues relevant to this application.


Mr. Arroyo remarked that one of the features of this plan is that it incorporates the existing Chiliís Restaurant within the preliminary and final site plan. Mr. Arroyo stated that there is an existing access point to Eight Mile Road from Chiliís and the applicant is proposing to tie into that access point. Mr. Arroyo advised that he raised several issues regarding this access at the time of preliminary site plan approval and recommended that all inbound left turns be prohibited as part of the approval because there is a driveway into Meijer at approximately the same location on the south side. There is also a center turn lane that is shared when making left turns into Meijer or into Chiliís. Mr. Arroyo stated that by eliminating the inbound left turn, that traffic conflict can be eliminated. Mr. Arroyo commented that the Planning Commission had a number of concerns about left turn traffic onto Eight Mile Road from the development that exits through Chiliís. Mr. Arroyo asked the Commission to recall that there was a lot of discussion about internal signing that would encourage traffic to exit to the north or the south at Orchard Hill Place Drive. There was also discussion about potentially making the access either a one-way in or a one-way out situation to minimize the impact. Mr. Arroyo recalled that it was actually just a one-way in and added that the problem with having a one-way in only access is that there will be a left turn problem that is not resolved. Mr. Arroyo believes that a way to minimize the amount of traffic from the proposed development that would be using the Chiliís driveway would be to create a one-way in and restrict the inbound left turn movement as previously recommended. Mr. Arroyo further stated that if access is desired to the Chiliís site, there will be a right turn-in and when exiting, Chiliís traffic may travel right or left. However, if access is desired to the proposed project, to exit, the driver would have to use one of the other major exits rather than Chiliís driveway. Mr. Arroyo believes that this alternative will satisfy the concerns that he and the Commission have about this access point. Mr. Arroyoís objective is to clarify this issue so that it can be resolved for final site plan approval.


Member Bonaventura stated that the minutes were supplied from the last meeting that the Commission had regarding this project and he hoped that the new Commissionerís would read through them. Member Bonaventura further stated the paperwork for the applicantís prior request for Special Land Use, which was denied, was not included in the packet. However, Member Bonaventura added that the minutes are still a good example of the concerns that the Commission had and how involved the project is. In addition, Member Bonaventura stated the vote was very close as far as approving Special Land Use for this project. In his opinion, Member Bonaventura stated that the turning point in the decision was the statement that building this project and the additions to the roadway will make the corner of Haggerty and Eight Mile Road a safer corner than if the project was never built. Member Bonaventura believes this was an accurate statement in the minutes and he didnít believe it then and he doesnít believe it now. Member Bonaventura further states that the applicant did receive Special Land Use approval with the condition that they come back before the Commission for final approval. Member Bonaventuraís concern is that there is a lot to this project and rather than move the application along at a rapid pace, the applicant should follow the time frame that the process permits.






Moved by Bonaventura, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED (6-1): To deny request that final site plan be reviewed administratively for Novi Place, SP 94-30.





Member Bononi noted that the preliminary site plan approval by the Planning Commission was on June 21, 1995. It seems to Member Bononi that the applicant has had a fair amount of time to address outstanding comments. In addition, Member Bononi interprets the readiness of this plan differently and believes that the consultantsí comments have not been addressed. Member Bononi further stated that she cannot review plans that do not exist and she considers the wetland mitigation area to be an important point. In addition, Member Bononi believes that she would be remiss in her duty if she were to pass this issue on to someone else, when wetland matters are the responsibility of the Planning Commission. Furthermore, she believes that the other matters that remain unresolved are so substantial that it is premature and unfair to other applicants who follow the process. Member Bononi will not support the approval of the application.


Member Capello asked Mr. Bluhm to comment from an engineering viewpoint if there is anything in the project that cannot be handled administratively if they do not come back to the Commission for final site plan approval. Mr. Bluhm responded that there are a lot of outstanding items, all of which are considered fairly minor and would not involve a major change to the site plan.


Mr. Rogers interjected by stating that the selection of restaurants going into the freestanding pad near the hotel has not been decided and the facade plans for the restaurants were not submitted with the last final site plan submission. Mr. Rogers suggested that the applicant phase the project and if they are not ready to select or proceed with the minimum 2 acre restaurant pads, that they call Phase II and they should proceed with the rest of the plan as Phase I. In addition, Mr. Rogers suggested that they include the Chiliís site in Phase I. Mr. Rogers then stated if they chose not to phase the project, then when revised final site plans are presented, he will be looking for all of the final site plan data, including facades and signage for the restaurant.


Member Capello asked if the remaining issues were something that could be handled administratively? Mr. Rogers responded that he thought so. Mr. Rogers did raise a concern about the Best Buy roof sign, but still believes that it could be resolved. Member Capello asked if that would go to the ZBA? Mr. Rogers hopes that it doesnít and thinks that it can be revised. Member Capello stated that it would not be the Commissions decision. Mr. Rogers replied that the ZBA handles sign variances.

Member Capello then asked Mr. Arroyo if he had any concerns. Mr. Arroyo replied that he sees no reason why the outstanding traffic issues cannot be addressed administratively subject to the Commissionís approval. Mr. Arroyo also pointed out that the Road Commission has granted preliminary approval to add a traffic signal at the Hilton driveway that would also serve this development. Mr. Arroyo noted that the Road Commission also concurs with what he has offered in terms of comments and that it is now a matter of revising the final site plan. Mr. Arroyo concluded that subject to his earlier clarification regarding the access issue, it is just a matter of being certain that the changes are consistent with what was approved by the Planning Commission.

Member Capello then asked if those were minor changes. Mr. Arroyo responded that they were.


Member Capello asked Mr. Watson if the wetland mitigation issue could be addressed administratively? Mr. Watson responded that it could be addressed administratively in conjunction with the engineers. Mr. Watson went on to state that once the site is designated, he would need confirmation from Ms. Tepatti that the site is an appropriate site to do the mitigation. Beyond that, Mr. Watson stated that all of the easement issues, verification that the property is not encumbered, and other issues can be addressed administratively.


Member Capello asked the applicant what he has to say on the matter. Chairperson Lorenzo interjected that she does not believe Member Capelloís question to the applicant is appropriate and for the record she does not appreciate Member Capello undermining the Commission.


Mr. Kohls stated that the consultants for American Realty Corporation have worked intensively on the items listed in the mid-February letters and most, if not all, have been addressed. Mr. Kohls further stated that Mr. Arroyo had addressed one outstanding traffic item earlier. Mr. Kohls advised that if the applicant is given the opportunity to review issues in depth on a letter by letter basis, the applicant can demonstrate that virtually all of the consultantsí comments have been addressed. Mr. Kohls further commented that Mr. Rogers mentioned earlier that one in twenty-five or one in thirty five-site plans of this variety is brought back to the Commission for final site plan. He continued by stating that the ordinary procedure for the City of Novi is to allow these matters to be handled administratively and Mr. Kohls understands that it is a condition of preliminary site plan approval and special land use approval. . .


Member Hodges asked for a point of order as the Commission has heard this comment from the applicant. Chairperson Lorenzo agreed and if the rest of the Commission concurs she will ask the applicant to end his presentation.


Member Capello stated that he has the floor and that his point is when these types of items are brought back for final site plan approval, they are not brought back for every specific thing that needs to be accomplished. The Commission needs to substantially see that all of the requirements of the preliminary approval have been met. Member Capello reminded the Commission that the consultants have advised them that except for minor issues, the applicant has met all of the requirements that have been imposed on them at the preliminary stage. Now the Commission has to give it back to the consultants to handle their administrative review and make sure that all of the final minor items are resolved. In addition, the applicant is correct in saying that the Commission does not require all of the final site plans to come back. Member Capello believes this project is at the stage where the applicant should get final site plan approval subject to administrative review.


Member Weddington asked Mr. Bluhm if there are wetlands now and if they were filled in years ago. Mr. Bluhm responded yes to both questions. Member Weddington stated it is her understanding that the proposal is to dig a hole somewhere and fill it with water for six months until another suitable site is available and then rip it up and dig another hole. Mr. Watson replied that they will only perform mitigation once. He further stated that in the six-month period they are going to designate an area where it is going to be done. The actual work will be done within a six-month period of time and during that time they may come in with a better site for mitigation. Mr. Watson further clarified that they will not mitigate at one place and then mitigate again at another. In either event, Mr. Watson stated that it will be done at the initial designated site now or at another site. Member Weddington concurs with Member Bononiís earlier comments and that the project will have a significant impact on the entire area.


Member Hodges also agrees with Members Bononi and Weddingtonís comments. Furthermore, she disagrees with Member Capelloís comment that it is a waste of the Commissionís time to review this project further.


Member Markham asked Mr. Pargoff if he was satisfied with the action taken by the applicant about an issue raised relative to the preservation of a historical walnut. Mr. Pargoff responded that the applicant has indicated that they are going to continue to work on improving the method in which that particular tree is being handled. The applicant fed the tree in the fall and Mr. Pargoff has a certificate from the contractor that did the work. Mr. Pargoff added that Ms. Lemke has indicated that the applicant will be required to put up chain link fencing and place mulch material around the area where the tree is going to be affected by the construction. In conclusion, Mr. Pargoff believes that the applicant has responded to the situation as requested.


Member Markham added that she does not feel that the developer is prepared and she is disappointed in the material that she reviewed. She further stated that she did not have the sense that the progress on this development would be of a quality nature because of the many open issues and will therefore support the motion.



Chairperson Lorenzo concurs with her fellow Planning Commissioners and in particular, Member Bononi and therefore, she will support the motion.





Yes: Lorenzo, Markham, Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi, Hodges No: Capello


Mr. Kohls stated that he will see the Commission at final approval and that the applicant fully expects to satisfy all of the Commissionís concerns.






Robert G. Cartwright, 49988 Helfer Blvd., Wixom, advised the Commission that he was once a member of a committee called Neighbors Against Poor Planning who opposed the Master Planís proposal to create an industrial site where the Lexington Group is now planning to build a residential and commercial project. However, Mr. Cartwright stated that he does approve of the Lexington plan because he sees it as a potential tax boom for Novi and that it will also meet commercial needs for the area. Mr. Cartwright advised when an earlier group was going to develop the area as all industrial, he brought in experts from Michigan State and was able to convince the Council that the area was not suitable for an all industrial site. Mr. Cartwright stated that as a former marketing, advertising, public relations, and communications man, he believed that a lot more money could be made from residential than industrial and with less opposition from the public. Mr. Cartwright explained that is why they are currently in court and the prior group, that consisted of mobile home resident representatives, Leisure Co-op representatives, and residents on Twelve Mile Road and Wixom at Ten and Eleven Mile Roads were opposed to the previous project. Mr. Cartwright has found that the majority of the residents support the Lexington proposal and Mr. Cartwright is asking for the Commissionís approval.







Gary Shapiro, Ivanhoe-Huntley Companies will introduce his concept plan for 206 acres of land in Section 18. Mr. Shapiro proposes an integrated, mixed use development consisting of single-family residential, multiple-family residential, neighborhood commercial, and high-tech light industrial with the potential for recreational uses.


Mr. Shapiro stated that he has submitted research to the Commission for a plan that he has been working on for a year. Mr. Shapiro reported that his firm is a residential, commercial, industrial, single-family developer throughout the metropolitan Detroit area and they are proposing a commercial, residential, and multi-family project on the western edge of Novi. The applicant sees this plan as an opportunity create another Town Center that is a high quality, pedestrian oriented, and environmentally sensitive overall mix use community assembled on a large track of land. Mr. Shapiro continued by stating that over the course of planning this project, Lexington has put together a team of consultants with two key consultants. The Green Group, is a market research company at a national level that work for communities as opposed to developers. The Green Group prepared an exhaustive report on what the applicant sees as a need for Novi both long and short term. The second consultant is Dick Carlisle, a Community Planner, who has a reputation of being one of the best planners in the state. Mr. Carlisle works for more than thirty communities as a community representative (e.g., Plymouth and Clarkston). Mr. Shapiro stated that the consultants have targeted an area on the Master Plan that they refer to as the single family, low density area south of the site.

Mr. Shapiro noted that he recognizes Noviís mandate for low density housing. The area circled on the plan amplifies the need to service all of the growth developing to the south where a high quality neighborhood center will be required. Mr. Shapiro believes his upscale alternative project will be an asset to the Community in that location. Mr. Shapiro referred to his first conceptual plan and he believes that a number of noteworthy ideas resulted; one is the ring road, another is the neighborhood commercial center on the corner, and finally, his proposal for transitional zoning. As Mr. Shapiro became aware of Noviís needs, he proposed a shopping center on a 34-acre area that was originally planned as recreational/commercial. It is his goal to try to put it in one location on the Cityís perimeter. Mr. Shapiro also stated that there was some discussion about a baseball league coming into town. Mr. Shapiro is not certain if it will come to fruition and although his background is residential and commercial development, he has provided an area for baseball play fields, a hockey arena, and an aquatic facility.


Mr. Shapiro has proposed 1,500 units and asked the Commission to critique this unique site differently by reviewing the studies done by the Green Group and Carlisle & Associates which

demonstrate that there is a current and future need for multi-family housing in an upscale rental range between the high end and low end on the south end of the City. Mr. Shapiro further stated that he believed that this isolated piece surrounded by three high density uses will not set a precedent in other locations and instead will put it on the perimeter where it is more suited. Mr. Shapiro added that his building operation is ranked with the top ten builders in Michigan every year and he is very aware of market trends that indicate that new product lines average at $275,000 and over. Mr. Shapiro then stated that the median income studies performed by his consultants indicate that housing in Novi should be in the $120,000 range. Mr. Shapiro believes he is proposing a down zoning from 100% either zoned industrial, high-tech to more than one half residential. In addition, the tax base will be higher as a result of the proposed mix of commercial, multi-family, and residential and will also avoid hodge podge development.

John Carlisle has worked in the Novi area for many years and is familiar with all of the consultants. Mr. Carlisle stated that there are two key concepts. Although he respects the Communityís desire to maintain a Master Plan, he also recognizes that conditions and times change and there are site specific considerations that have to be taken into account when the Master Plan is actually implemented. Mr. Carlisle believes that Mr. Shapiro has taken careful consideration to develop a concept that takes into account the unique characteristics of the site. A second key concept is the concept of transition to provide reasonable and logical transitions in land use. Mr. Shapiroís concept plan B provides the most logical transition of land use, taking into account the surrounding characteristics of the area. The concept locates a transition of land use from the most intense to the least intense and implements Noviís Master Plan by providing more than 60 acres of industrial development. It locates the more intense uses at the intersection area surrounded by a loop road and provides for that logical transition from the more intense area in a southerly and westerly manner to areas that are less intensively developed. Mr. Carlisle then reiterated some of the financial and density benefits that Mr. Shapiro mentioned earlier.





Member Hodges referred to Mr. Shapiroís letter of February 29, 1996 which stated that he is requesting a re-zoning. She then reminded him that he has not yet begun the application process. Mr. Shapiro understands that he has not submitted an application, but in the spirit of how he has been dealing with communities for 18 years, he felt it was prudent to have a work session to get an initial reaction so that he can move forward.


Member Hodges commented that the impact in regards to the existing and proposed land uses to the east and to the south as a result of the high density and use should be considered. Member Hodges stated that she cannot see the benefits of the plan because of the impact it will have on the infrastructure. Member Hodges went on to state that it brings "chaos" to mind as the plan does not appear to be planned, but more like a "big bang for the buck." She further stated that the nearby roadways cannot handle the resulting traffic.


Member Bononi stated that she had two different impressions when she reviewed the siteís informational package and then when she actually visited the site. Although Member Bononi does not agree with the entire plan, the fact that there are not any environmental issues that she can review in advance of knowing what all the densities are is another matter. She further stated that she believes neighborhood services in that area could be an important addition, but how it is accomplished is another matter. Member Bononi is concerned about the density of the housing and how compatible a recreation area is when it abuts an existing asphalt plant. She is also concerned about the number of proposed units and what it means for the quality of life for the surrounding area, the City in general, and the traffic implications; especially on Grand River Avenue. Lastly, Member Bononi asked the developer to explain why he feels that visibility from an interstate is critical.


Mr. Shapiro stated as a point of clarification, that the site does not abut an asphalt plant, but rather an asphalt storage facility. Mr. Shapiro further stated that traffic studies have been done and this type of development will have less traffic during peak hours than a high-tech facility would have. Mr. Shapiro then stated that high-tech typically looks for freeway exposure and for a close proximity to one of the automakers. The piece of land that Mr. Shapiro is talking about is on the far west end of the proposed high-tech and he reminded the Commission that he is not asking to change the entire plan. Mr. Shapiro further stated that he would provide expert testimony as the plan moves forward and issues arise.


Member Bononi stated that she is only asking from the standpoint of the zoning trade off or whether or not it is something of benefit to the City.


In response to Member Hodgesí concerns, Mr. Shapiro stated that he will not argue with the fact that less density is better, but added that he tries to be a realist and the land is very valuable. The site is surrounded on three sides by high density uses and in Mr. Shapiroís opinion has to be developed with high density. In addition, he further stated that if there is going to be higher density in Novi, this is the place to put it and if there could be one acre lots, they would be there. Mr. Shapiro reiterated that he is offering the only viable alternative for this site based on its land values and land planning history when surrounded on three sides by high density. Mr. Shapiro went on to state that he could find users for cement factories, other high density uses or light industrial which would include open storage, trucks, and manufacturing.


Member Weddingtonís general reaction is favorable and she would consider a mixed use as proposed. Member Weddington sees an access advantage in the proximity to I-96 and the interchange which would mitigate some of the traffic concerns that Member Hodges has. Member Weddington also sees a need for convenient services and would rather see it at this location than farther south. Member Weddington also stated that a sports facility is also worth pursuing, but she is concerned about the infrastructure with the utility services that may or may not be available, with the roads, specifically Grand River and Wixom Roads, in addition to the high density issue, all of which will have to be addressed before any rezoning can be considered.


Mr. Shapiro would like to add that the density issue should be looked at in relation to what it is. It is not a piece of residential in the middle of residential, but is in a high density piece of land and he is striving to make it work. The original proposal had 1,500 units so that Mr. Shapiro could reach a greater mean population and would economically reach more of the people. Mr. Shapiro then reduced the units to 900, but reminds the Commission that it will reach a threshold that without density, the economics will not work and it will then return to an industrial area.

Member Bonaventura reported that the PUD (Planned Unit Development) option was deleted and he believes this proposal is similar to what a PUD would allow, which is high density residential, mixed with commercial business. Member Bonaventura reminded the Commission that the PUD was deleted after reviewing the Master Plan for Noviís ultimate population level and for future development of the area west of Beck. In Member Bonaventuraís mind, this type of residential and commercial replacing light and heavy industrial will compound the problem. Furthermore, this Community is based on a centralized commercial unlike other communities have an outdated idea of commercial strips, neighborhood centers, and convenience stores. Member Bonaventura further stated that Novi decided a long time ago that it would focus on centralized commercial and it is working. In summary, Member Bonaventuraís major concerns are the population level and the deviation from the Master Plan for the ultimate population build out and getting away from the centralized commercial.


Member Markham asked the applicant what the rectangular blank space between single-family and multi-family on the plan is. Mr. Shapiro responded that it is owned by two people in a linear fashion split in 10-11 acre parcels and according to Mr. Shapiro, the owners are in support of the project, but their property is not available for acquisition.


Member Markham agreed with Member Bononi earlier remarks. Member Markham also agreed with the developerís consultantís conclusion that there is a need in the City of Novi for housing in a more moderately priced range to help Novi become a more viable and interesting community. Member Markham also appreciated that the developer is trying to address a transition between the highway and stronger industrial uses to the area that the City is trying to keep residential, large lots. Member Markham asked that the developer be as sensitive as he moves forward to planning a community that also takes into account the environmental aspects.


Member Bonaventura reported that median home prices were determined from the average household income that in turn determined the average affordability of a home in Novi. Member Bonaventura disagrees with the approach because the development in Novi is not completed yet and Noviís suburbanization and density grew from the east to the west. Member Bonaventura went on to state that Novi is in its last growth period which is lower density and higher priced housing which will raise the median house price. Furthermore, if the study was done ten years ago, it would have been even lower. Member Bonaventura questions whether Novi has to be all things to all people. Member Bonaventura commented that the types of housing development is well documented in Novi and serves its citizens. He then added that once the last portion is developed, Novi will have a diverse economic housing base.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated for the record that she would like to compliment the developer on the packaging of the proposal. She then added, that in terms of the substance of the proposal, she is not convinced that Noviís plan for high-tech industrial in this area wouldnít work, particularly when the Planning Commission and the Implementation Committee is still fine tuning what is hoped to be a new ordinance proposal that would address some of the issues of high-tech. Chairperson Lorenzo feels that Novi needs to give the high-tech market the opportunity to explore and respond to what Novi has to offer. She further questions whether freeway visibility is necessary and that the developer has based his opinion on limited information. Chairperson Lorenzo then sited Bosch and Nissan in Farmington Hills as examples of what appears to be successful enterprises without freeway visibility and is kind of development Novi would like encourage. Additionally, Chairperson Lorenzo stated in terms of the proximity of the automotive industry to the area, the Ford, Wixom plant is nearby. Chairperson Lorenzo then stated that if the City of Novi does change its mind and decides there is no market for high-tech in the area and then considers residential, she believes that internal studying would have to be done in terms of which type of residential would work in that area. Chairperson Lorenzo suggested that a Kroger, Farmer Jacks, etc. may also have merit for exploration on a smaller scale (8-10 acres) for the area..


Mr. Shapiro responded that his plan is only conceptual and he believes that it demonstrates a substantial compromise. He reminded the Commission that they will be able to seek out a user for the 60 acres of the property that is still zoned high-tech on the east end and/or use it for recreational purposes. In essence, Mr. Shapiro stated that he has taken a third of the property, left it high-tech, and offered a transition of high density residential to a mobile home park. Mr. Shapiro further stated that Nissan and Bosch are examples of an isolated and unique circumstance and this parcel in Novi is a good example of how the Master Plan has unsuccessfully been trying to market it as zoned.


Chairperson Lorenzo disagrees with Mr. Shapiro because of the things that they have learned along the way and added that the Commission and Implementation Committee are trying to fine tune a new ordinance that would address high-tech and flaws in the PD-4 that may attract high-tech users.


Mr. Shapiro reminded Chairperson Lorenzo that it is the only piece in the high density that does not have frontage exposure. Furthermore, Mr. Shapiro sees it as an evolution of the Master Plan and not just a good idea.






Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Ct., Novi stated that although the Lexington Village proposal is a concept at this point, that after he reviewed Plan B, which highlighted the wetlands, the most intense uses are on the most environmentally sensitive parts of the property. The commercial property is approximately one-third designated wetlands and there are additional woodlands and wooded wetlands. Mr. Mutch complimented Mr. Shapiroís previous projects in other communities for integrating his development with environmentally sensitive portions of those properties. In particular, Bloomfield Hills is probably second to none in Michigan in environmental protection. Mr. Mutch would like to see a proposal that would reflect properties of that land. In addition, Mr. Mutch stated that this is the type of proposal that the PD-1 Option encourages and he reiterated his concerns. Mr. Mutch commented that the overall layout has some very innovated designs to integrate the commercial and with residential that is pedestrian friendly. Mr. Mutch further stated if there is going to be a high density development at this location, it almost has to be a stand alone community because it is isolated from the rest of the city. Mr. Mutch then asked the Commission if they are supportive of this plan, to see that it is integrated and more of a community and not a conglomeration of uses.



Mr. Shapiro commented that his group is here first for land use studies and to rezone and they have not submitted site plans because his consultants have not yet studied the site environmentally, etc. Mr. Shapiro further stated that the project will be fully integrated in the site planning process and the preliminary pictures are not a representation of what the ultimate plan will be.



Mr. Rogers asked Mr. Shapiro where the sanitary sewerage service is originating from because the Grand River sewer that is connected to the dealership at Wixom Road may have been sized based upon the Master Plan providing for low density residential west of Wixom Road.



Mr. Bluhm responded by stating that JCK has been meeting with Mr. Peterson who has been retained as an engineer and it is an issue they are evaluating. There is going to be a lot of discussion on providing sewer service to a higher density use and whether itís acceptable or whether it can be done and determine what changes in the infrastructure may be necessary.


Chairperson Lorenzo closed Audience Participation and entertained a motion to adjourn.


Mr. Cohen reminded the Commission to bring the Dales & Graphic Supply site plan to the next Commission meeting scheduled for March 20, 1996.






Moved by Weddington, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn Regular Meeting of the Novi Planning Commission at 11:15 p.m.








Yes: Lorenzo, Markham, Weddington, Bonaventura, Bononi, Hodges, Capello No: None





Steve Cohen - Planning Aide



Transcribed by Barbara Holmes

March 21, 1996


Date Approved: April 3, 1996