WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 1996 AT 6:00 P.M.


(810) 347-0475


Meeting called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo


PRESENT: Members Bononi, Capello, Churella, Hoadley, Chairperson Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington



ABSENT: Member Hodges (absent/excused)



ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Senior Staff Planner Greg Capote, and Staff Planner Steven Cohen


Chairperson Lorenzo introduced and welcomed Bob Churella to the Novi Planning Commission. Bob has been a resident of Novi for four years and has owned a business in the Orchard Hill Place shopping center for seventeen years.








Chairperson Lorenzo opened the floor for nominations for the election of new officers.


Member Hoadley nominated Laura Lorenzo to continue as Chair, seconded by Weddington: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any other nominations for the position of Chair, seeing none she closed the floor and stated she is unanimously re-elected and appreciated the Commissioners support and confidence. Chairperson Lorenzo opened the floor for nominations for the position of Vice Chair.


Member Bononi nominated Eda Weddington for the position of Vice Chair, seconded by Hoadley: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any other nominations for the position of Vice Chair, seeing none she closed the floor and announced that Eda Weddington is unanimously elected as the new Vice Chair. Chairperson Lorenzo opened the floor for nominations for the position of Secretary.


Member Weddington nominated Kim Capello for the position of Secretary, seconded by Bononi: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any other nominations for the position of Secretary, seeing none she closed the floor and announced that Kim Capello is unanimously elected as Secretary for the Commission.





Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any changes or additions to the Agenda? She added the announcement of the Public Hearing for the Fuerst Property to the Agenda.





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


Chairperson Lorenzo stated it has been moved and seconded to approve the Agenda as amended. All those in favor of approving the Agenda as amended signify by saying aye, those opposed say no. The motion passed unanimously.





Yes: Bononi, Capello, Churella, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington

No: None







Chuck Young, 50910 West Nine Mile - As a resident of Novi, Mr. Young stated he is quite concerned. He is a member of the SWAN Organization and they are still putting commercial zoning in residential areas. He stated he has a lot of information and will be watching the issue closely.



Bob Shaw, 40612 Village Oaks - Mr. Shaw stated he was not addressing the Planning Commission as a representative of the Parks and Recreation Commission, nor as a member of Community Clubs of Novi. He addressed the Planning Commission as a private citizen. Mr. Shawís comments related to the Zoning Map and Master Plan. He noticed that there are study groups that work on zoning issues for particular sections of Novi. He stated the interchange area of Eight Mile Road and Beck Road is a vital area and he is not sure that it has made the list of issues. 1) Eight Mile Road will continue to be a major artery which will also continue to widen as growth occurs. Mr. Shaw stated growth cannot be stopped beyond the boundaries so it must be planned for. 2) Beck Road corridor is not a major artery but regional planning indicates that it will become an arterial in the future and this must also be planned ahead for.


Mr. Shaw further stated there are no locations zoned to provide services to the residents beyond Novi Road, with two exceptions of Ten Mile Road and Beck Road and the developments at Twelve Mile Road and Wixom Road. Mr. Shaw expressed concern about not providing areas of service to west side residents, he wondered if the City was really doing them a disservice? Secondly, will the residents of the east side of Novi appreciate the increased traffic from the west side residents coming to use the neighborhood services? Service areas increase traffic and noise which will become double for east side residents. He felt since Ten Mile Road will not be widened into an arterial in the future then Eight Mile Road must be.


In conclusion, Mr. Shaw asked, considering the corridor location, doesnít it make sense to plan ahead and provide services in the area of Eight Mile Road and Beck Road? He asked the Commission to take a stand for the benefit of all of Novi residents and plan for all of Novi.



Gertrude Alkema, 47931 Nine Mile Road - Commented on the area of Eight Mile Road and Beck Road. She stated it accommodates a considerable amount of business for those residents who need a service area closer to their homes. There are also small developments as well as residential homes being built in the area of Ten Mile Road and Beck Road. Ms. Alkema felt the area west of Beck Road should remain in itsí rural character as Master Planned. She also stated the residents who have moved to the peripheral areas of Novi have moved with the desire to maintain the rural character of the area.



Judy Elvy, 48120 West Eight Mile Road - Stated even with the Special Development District, there is still an open door for Commercial and Industrial. She also stated the Community needs to preserve what is currently there, not throw it away. Ms. Elvy commented that the City has made an effort to plan for itsí future. Preserving the rural community is an objective, particularly historical preservation. Progress is necessary but not at the sacrifice of the entire future.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there was anyone else who would like to address the Commission. Seeing no one she closed the Audience Participation and announced there will be another before adjournment.











Ernie Aruffo started with an overview of the Beautification Commissions objective. He stated the emphasis was to keep track of, and beautify the arterials of the City including the entrance ways, intersections, etc. The Enabling Act has asked the Beautification Commission to provide a short-term and long-term plan to the Council. He referred to the short-term plan and presented an example, "The Beautiful Half Mile". This runs from the Novi Police Department through to the Taft property including the Civic Center, which has been completed, the Novi Public Library and Novi High School. The Commission functions solely on volunteerism for work to be performed as well as funding. The Chamber of Commerce allowed the Commission to have an auction where two of the members provided a substantial gift of funding. He then explained that the long-range plan is an ongoing plan.



Mr. Aruffo explained that he was making his presentation to the Planning Commission to open up the possibility of a relationship between the two Commissions. The Beautification Commission is hopeful to be informed of new plans for the purpose of speaking with the applicants for allowance of beautifying the entrance ways as well as enhancing wetlands, etc. Mr. Aruffo thanked the Commission for their time stating he looked forward to working with the Commission in any way that is helpful to the City.


Chairperson Lorenzo thanked the Beautification Commission for their presentation and stated the Commission appreciated and applauded all of their efforts and would do what they could to work together with them.







Discussion of SDD District - an overlay zone permitting flexibility in land development.


Member Bononi pointed out the reason she was presenting was to provide an alternative from the standpoint of land use vehicle. She addressed Special Development Districts as a land use issue relative to the proposed Recreation District designation. Land use analysis of specific sites leads to a choice among existing zoning classifications and sometimes offers the opportunity to create new classifications or districts.

Member Bononi acted as a hypothetical applicant, addressing several of the options available in the City of Novi as well as the Special Development District which is currently not available. Member Bononi, as the applicant, wished to propose a recreational use that is not permitted in a single-family zone. She has unlimited resources regarding time and money and is convinced that her proposal will positively benefit the City. She presented a few choices:


1) A Zone Change - would probably be presumed to be high risk. Especially if the use is perceived as not being compatible or if it is in disagreement with the Master Plan. However, she explained if the use is not too far removed from the underlying zone, there may be a chance for a rezoning.


2) A New Zoning Classification - only limited non-intrusive uses are proposed. However, if the proposal for a district is very broad regarding use, the risk of opposition in single-family zones rises. Spot zoning is a risk as well as an incompatible use with the existing Master Plan. Member Bononi stated the problem by proposing a zoning district is that there is a possibility that the REC use being proposed could be used anywhere in the City, as long as the standards of the classification are met.


3) New District Classification that proposes Special Land Use - At this point the applicant would look to the Planning Commission for recommendation and to City Council for approval.


4) Special Development District - a better opportunity for the project to be accepted by the City as well as the community as long a) it is in harmony with the Master Plan, b) it must be superior to any plan possible under the regular standards c) it must be in harmony with the uses of adjacent properties d) it does have the ability to exceed existing zoning standards (ie. side rear and building line requirements, parking requirements, maximum building length, landscaping and buffering, adaptive reuse proposals and abutting zone property use limitations). It provides the opportunity for land development and building use that would otherwise require standard changes in the Zoning Ordinance for a given zone. Exceptions are State mandated requirements (ie. wetlands and watercourses) and federal requirements (ie. flood hazard regulations). The Special Development District provides planning flexibility, regarding zoning standards to the City, developer and the citizens because all are involved in the approval process. The City can benefit from Special Development Districts because overly broad Ordinances may become detrimental to the planning function. Attempting to accomplish a single development goal by way of a broad zoning classification may a) prompt many additional and unanticipated development proposals which are not desired b) may result in incompatible actual uses c) may alienate the community perception of the appropriateness of development in existing neighborhoods. Special Development Districts allow needed uses in the community such as senior housing and recreation complexes as well as the reuse of historic buildings which otherwise would be destroyed. It also protects abutting property owners due to the increased buffers and landscaping.


Member Bononi reviewed the negatives of Special Development Districts.


1) The Unknown - How will a development be compatible with abutting uses?


2) Expensive Process - and often requires professional representation.


3) Abutters may be unhappy with the use - although upon complaint, City Council has the right to call the applicant before Council at any time in order to fix the situation. Council may also amend any conditions of approval at any time.


4) If the Special Development District does not remain "Special", it loses itsí effectiveness. Casual approvals will not maintain the quality applications.


5) Planning Focus - required on quality, or results will not happen.


6) Contract Zoning - A negotiation resulting in a project where more people are satisfied. The Special Development District attracts top drawer applicants and companies committed to develop a quality project. Member Bononi presented the Commission with some examples.


Chairperson Lorenzo opened up the floor to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Hoadley strongly supported Member Bononiís presentation stating it could be used in many areas of the community. He encouraged the Commission to send a recommendation to City Council to adopt the Special Development District rather than the REC Ordinance.


Member Weddington thought the Special Development District had some possibilities in that it offered several uses. She asked Mr. Rogers if he had used the Special Development District in other communities and how it might work in the Novi.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant responded that the draft is very flexible and gives a lot of discretion to the City Council. However, it does not spell out the specific standards or conditions, which could be quite different than what is found in any other district classification. Mr. Rogers concern was if the SDD would satisfy the need for specific and general standards. He also stated that City Council would have the final decision if a Special Land Use provision were adopted.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney commented he did not see anything in the Michigan Zoning Act Statute that prohibited the use of Floating Zones, Special Development Districts or techniques. He stated it does not specifically provide for these types but it does provide for Special Land Uses as well as Planned Unit Development Districts. He commented on the possibility of the attachment of additional conditions when re-evaluating an approved project when a problem occurs. This is something that the Michigan Zoning Enabling Statute specifically precludes. Within the statute, there are options that deal with imposing reasonable conditions. Lastly, Mr. Watson commented on Contract Zoning. Illegal Contract Zoning is entering into a contract to provide certain zoning approvals, however, there is a Michigan Case Law that says reasonable conditions can be imposed upon the approval.


Member Vrettas asked Mr. Watson if an alternative could be, to take the concept of Member Bononiís presentation and tailor it to comply with Michiganís law? Mr. Watson thought this could be done however, he stated that some thought should be given to the technique, relative to Recreational uses or other specific uses.


Member Bononi commented, in the event the perception is that the land use vehicle is unique to the state of Connecticut, it is not. It is being used in many other states with varying degree of success depending upon how the Ordinance is written.


Dennis Watson stated in Member Bononiís presentation she indicated one of the decisions an applicant would initially face was whether they would initially seek a zoning change, it appeared that density would be an issue whether they made this request or not. He asked Member Bononi in her past experiences, was use ever one of the controlling factors as to whether the applicant would seek a rezoning? Member Bononi answered the compatibility of a proposed use did become a defining question. In some cases, underlying zone change is required in order to get the Special Development District requirement.


Member Markham asked if an applicant wanted to rezone and add an SDD, could the City reject it unless the applicant came back with an SDD overlay? Member Bononi answered it is at the applicantís discretion to ask for the vehicle.


Member Markham expressed concern that the SDD would not be communicated in order to get reasonable consideration, before the Recreational Zoning District was acted upon.

Member Capello stated he felt what was being done at this point was a gathering of information so that the City Council could evaluate the information before they made a decision.






Chairperson Lorenzo announced that there will be a Public Hearing regarding the Fuerst Property on Thursday, July 11, 1996 at 7:30 p.m. in the Parks & Recreation Activities Room.


Chairperson Lorenzo entertained a motion to adjourn the Special Meeting of the Novi Planning Commission.





Moved by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Special Meeting of the Novi Planning Commission at 7:25 p.m.





Yes: Bononi, Capello, Churella, Hoadley, Hodges, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington

No: None






Steve Cohen - Staff Planner



Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr

July 23, 1996

Date Approved: August 7, 1996