SPECIAL MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.

COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD

(810) 347-0475

 

Meeting called to order at 7:35 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo

 

PRESENT: Members Bononi, Capello, Churella, Csordas,

Chairperson Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington

 

ABSENT: Member Hoadley

 

ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Water Resources Specialist Susan Tepatti, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, Staff Planner Steven Cohen, and Clerk Typist Khanh Pham

 

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

 

Chairperson Lorenzo announced one change to the Agenda, to remove Item 1 under Matters for Discussion. She believed it to appear on the Agenda in error.

 

Steve Cohen, Staff Planner answered, yes, there was a miscommunication.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any other additions to the Agenda? Seeing none she entertained a motion to approve the Agenda as amended.

 

 

PM-97-02-049 TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS AMENDED

 

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

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-02-049 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

 

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

 

Lori Buerger of AT&T Wireless, 26340 Berg Road did not have any comments.

 

 

David Antonelli of Dykema Gossett, 1577 North Woodward Avenue stated he represents AirTouch Cellular and has submitted a letter which summarized his commens concerning the review of the proposal for the Wireless Communications Ordinance. He highlighted some of the issues in his letter. He stated he had difficulty with the Ordinance as it is proposed with respect to drawing the rational between the 300 foot setback for wireless facilities from residential areas. He also expresssed concern with the provision concerning the 40% separation requirement. He stated he would like to be supplied with a rational of the two provisions at some point.

 

 

Matt Quinn spoke in regard to the City-Initiated Master Plan recommendation changes and rezoning changes on Donelson to Dixon Road properties. He stated Mr. Rogers did a terriffic job in analyzing the property and making recommendations regarding the PD-3 Option and the RC Zoning, he stated he looked forward to coming to the Public Hearing to speak on the agreement with Mr. Rogers on both the Master Plan change and the rezoning change.

 

 

Chuck Young expressed concern with City officials (i.e. Steve Cohen) being constantly forced to do report after report, putting in 60 hours or more, and rushing to get a job done. He did not understand what the big rush was to get everything done at one time. He stated the City is moving so fast that it is out of control, he suggested taking some time to think about what the City is all about instead of rushing into things without totally planning them.

Chairperson Lorenzo closed Audience Participation announcing that there will be a second after the mid-point break and a third before adjournment.

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

Member Capello announced he received a five page letter from David Antonelli of Dykema Gossett dated February 12, 1997. Member Capello stated Mr. Antonelli has spoken in regard to the letter, therefore he would not paraphrase the letter but it will be a part of the record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION

 

 

1. ORDINANCE NO. 97-18 (COMMUNICATION TOWER ORDINANCE)

 

An Ordinance to amend Subsection 2508.1 and 2508.2 of Ordinance No. 84-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, and to add Subsection 2508.8 to said Ordinance, to revise the regulation of communication towers for possible recommendation to City Council.

 

Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the Ordinance draft had been discussed many times by the Implementation Committee and had been recommended to the Planning Commission for forwarding to City Council. To date, he stated are regulations on Cell Towers, however, the proposed Ordinance brings it more in line with the Tel Com Act of 1996. It encourages co-location, it establishes a fall zone and it broadens the locations that cellular towers may be located in. Mr. Rogers stated it would be broadened to be permitted in the OS-1, OS-2, OSC, B-3 and RC Districts provided that the monopole antenna is located at least 300 feet from any residentially zoned districts. It does provide allowance for City Council to permit towers in other districts not listed or closer than 300 feet if there is no way that such a tower can be located to build out a given area and there are no alternate sites.

 

Mr. Rogers stated co-location of the towers is not in the present Ordinance. There are certain design standards for the equipment shelter buildings. He stated it is recommended that they be face brick with a gable roof. The height is limited to 150 feet above surrounding grade. There are reports needed from a licensed engineer on the structural integrity of the facility.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo turned the Matter over to the Commission, she emphasized that the Implementation Committee unanimously recommended the Draft Ordinance for recommendation to City Council.

 

 

PM-97-02-050 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL

 

Moved by Csordas, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council.

 

Member Churella asked if the 300 foot setback was set due to the possibility of it falling on a residential unit, or was it set because it was felt that it would be a good distance away?

 

 

Mr. Rogers did not think there was a record in the United States where a tower has fallen. The 300 foot setback was mainly based on the aesthetics, the visual appearance and structural safety. He stated it is a discretionary standard.

 

If properly screened, Member Churella asked if 200 feet would be just as safe?

 

As a member of the Implementation Committee, Member Weddington stated there was quite a bit of discussion about the setback. The 300 foot setback only applies when it is adjacent to residential. She stated originally they began with a larger number and it was reduced as a compromise because it was what was seen in many of the other Ordinances. Other provisions in the Ordinance are not unique to Novi, they are very similar to what is found in other municipalities. The 40% fall zone came from some specifications from one of the tower manufacturers regarding the way they are designed to crumple. Member Weddington stated the Ordinance applies to all communication towers.

 

Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney stated previously when the issue was before the Commission, he raised concerns about the distance standard which was a 500 foot standard. One of the primary concerns was with aesthetics. The Committee went out on-site and visually looked at towers from different distances to get a feel for the impact. This was a part of what led to the resolution.

 

Mr. Rogers stated the letter from Ms. Lemke dated November 14, 1996, proposes an amendment to Section 2509 of the Zoning Ordinance. He asked Mr. Watson if it had been added to the Ordinance yet, or was it something that should be acted on by the Planning Commission?

 

Mr. Watson answered, no, it had not been put into the book. He thought it was something for further study.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated in terms of the 300 foot setback, originally there was a 1,000 foot setback. After the Committee further explored setback opportunities and how the distance affected the visual impact, they were going to scale it back to 500 feet and then they decided to scale it back to 300 feet. Chairperson Lorenzo was in support of the 300 foot setback as a minimum. In her opinion, in the duties of protecting welfare, it is also protecting the visual senses. She expressed her appreciation of everyone involved to get to this point, she stated she was proud to serve on the Committee and proud to be a part of the Ordinance.

 

 

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-02-050 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

2. PROPOSED FY 1997-98 PLANNING COMMISSION WORK PROGRAM & BUDGET

 

Report to the Planning Commission from the Planning Studies & Budget Committee, Environmental Committee, Planning & Community Development Department, and consultants regarding budget proposals for possible recommendation to City Administration/Finance Department.

 

Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated a new draft has been provided. The Environmental proposal has been incorporated into the budget since there was a Committee recommendation and assignment of staff to try to put it together.

 

He referred to his memorandum dated February 7, 1997; 1) suggestions and ideas input from the Environmental Committee related to what could be done this year and what it might cost. He stated with the money that is allocated to date, there was a balance of $10,459 in the account. The first two priorities for watershed studies were $6,098 which leaves a balance of over $4,000 for the rest of the year in case any other subjects came to the attention of the Commission. He stated there were a couple of suggestions. One from Greg Capote regarding some potential Master Plan studies. He stated Commissioner Markham submitted some ideas regarding recreational uses in residentil areas, and he did not know whether it was something that could be a study or should be identified otherwise.

2) Mr. Wahl stated there was a request from Member Hoadley, to indicate to the Commission, that they consider adding additional money to the Conferences and Workshops line item so that some members might be able to attend the APA Conference or other conferences.

 

3) In regard to the Communications and Community Liaison program, Mr. Wahl indicated that they were still tabulating the polling information regarding the potential seminars as to which ones were the top six.

 

4) In regard to Environmental Committee recommendation, Mr. Cohen put together a report as a result of the Committee asking for suggestions from the Department as to how it might be budgeted. Mr. Wahl stated it has been phased over two years and Mr. Cohen can report on it if it needs further discussion.

 

5) Regarding the Planning Advisory Service expense, the Commission asked the Department if they wanted to put it in itsí budget, Mr Wahl stated over the years, he has used the consultants for Planning Advisory Service and found it to be satisfactory. He stated he did not want to duplicate the expense in the budget.

 

6) The Master Plan; public participation process; Mr. Wahl stated when it was originally put together, there were a couple of... (end of tape) ...it requires discussion of the Commission and he suggested deferring a decision on it as he did not think it was critical to the budget process.

 

7) Additional information has been provided in regard to retainers for the Planning and Traffic Consultants, as per the request of the Commission.

 

Mr. Wahl stated the current budget is presumed that the recommendations at hand would be followed and would be $185,252 including the Environmental study. He stated last years budget was $179,523. On behalf of the Department he thought it was a very thorough approach at planning for the coming fiscal year. He did not think there would be a problem with the dollar amount, he thought it would be a matter of the issues that are being addressed and convincing the City Council that the study proposals are an investment in the long term quality of life in the community.

 

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

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Member Capello asked Ms. Lemke if she would need additional funds to continue her study and if so was it built into the budget?

 

Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated the additional funds are for next years budget for the Build Out 2020 Design Study and it has been incorporated into the revised budget for next year.

 

Member Weddington asked Mr. Wahl if he has received any indications from the Administration of increased limits or any restraints? She asked if the Commission would be able to ask for an increase?

 

Mr. Wahl answered, if there was a budget crunch because of declining revenues or increasing expenses, he thought he would have heard about it by now and he has not. He further stated he has not heard that there was a lot of additional monies available.

 

 

PM-97-02-051 TO RECOMMEND THE BUDGET TO THE CITY ADMINISTRATION FOR $185,252 FOR FY Ď97-98

 

Moved by Weddington, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED (7-1): To make a positive recommendation to the City Administration and Finance Department for the proposed Ď97-98 Planning Commission Work Program and Budget.

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked why the seminar tabulations have not been completed at this time?

 

Mr. Wahl did not know if all of the forms were received or if other work was the cause of it not being finished.

 

Mr. Cohen stated Khanh Pham was present and he has been working on it, when he comes back he will answer the question.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated it had been awhile, she had hoped that the information would be available during the meeting, and was disappointed that it was not. In regard to the budget, she expressed concern with the consultant services representing a substantial portion of the budget. She stated under the retainer services, the consultants provide service to the planning staff, the City Council, other departments and developers and brokers. She stated that part of the budget represents 28% of pre-application meetings and services and stated when the budget is reviewed by City Council, it is reviewed as a whole, and of the $185,252, almost $100,000 of it is for consultant services. She did not think it was a problem if the City Council approves the budget as it is presented, however, she thought it would become a problem if the City Council decides to reduce the amount because the Commission would not be able to undertake a number of important studies and meanwhile, services under the budget are being provided to all of the other Departments and entities. She thought she would just point out this concern because it may become a concern if the budget is reduced. One of the most important functions of the Planning Commission, other than approving or reviewing projects is actual planning. Chairperson Lorenzo stated, depending on how the budget is received and ultimately approved by Council, when it comes back for some type of alteration, she may look at removing the various other services from the Planning Commission budget and adding them to the Planning and Community Development budget or the City Council General Fund or wherever it may appropriately fit, so that the Commission may have dollars to do their planning work.

 

Member Churella stated he worked on the budget along with a couple of the members and they took that into consideration. His opinion was that it has to be asked for because it is needed.

 

Mr. Wahl stated in recent years, the Planning Studies and Budget Committee makes the presentation to City Council at a Work Session with staff and consultants assisting the presentation. The Council would then pick a dollar amount that they felt was workable within the cityís overall budget process and it would be up to the Commission to prioritize the work within the dollar amount. However, in recent years, there was actually actions to pick and choose and remove specific planning studies that Councilmembers felt were not on their priority list. He thought Chairperson Lorenzo made a good point to be aware of. Mr. Wahl stated the Department would do everything it could to support the budget, they will proceed and make arrangements for a meeting with the Finance Director and the City Manager. He stated it has never been done but thought it was a good idea because the City Manager actually makes a recommendation as to potential cuts for all Departments. He thought the budget could be accomplished if it was presented well and if the Planning Commissioners work with the Council to show that it is an investment in the future of the community. He believed the work session to occur sometime in April, the budget sessions with the City Manager and the Finance Director will be this month.

 

Member Capello did not fully understand what part or work was being considered to be taken out of the budget.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated it was not necessarily work, under consultant services, the consultants provide services for many other departments other than the Planning Commission, however it falls under the Planning Commissionís budget. She stated if the Council were to reduce the budget by a percentage, dollar figure or a line item, then she suggested to somehow reapportion the Planning Consultant Services to the other departments and out of the Planning Commission budget so the Planning Commission would then have the opportunity to accomplish itsí planning studies through the money available.

 

Member Markham stated the item where she recommended that the Commission ask the consultants to study how other Communities incorporate active recreation into their community to try to gain more of it throughout the City of Novi to see if there were creative ways other communities did it. She stated Mr. Arroyo came back with a proposal that was between $1,000 and $2,000. She did not understand why it could not be covered under consultant services. Another item that Mr. Wahl mentioned was the Planning Advisory Service, she believed it was $900 and thought it was the best investment this year.

 

Mr. Cohen clarified that it was $400.

 

Member Markham stated the $400 was a very valuable expense that need to be incorporated in the budget. She stated the budget item of $26,500 for Communications and Community Liaison programs and services, should be done but she wondered why it was not reviewed with the Committee before it was put into the budget.

 

Member Bononi agreed with Member Churellaís statement, "you have to ask for what you want or youíre not going to get it", however, she also understood that the Chairís concern was maybe the Commission is not asking for enough. She shared the concern about the fact that the Commission is not accounting for those services that it needs the most. She did not know how it should be addressed but she believed it was a concern. Member Bononi did not have a problem with the bottom line amount that the consultants were receiving or asking for, she stated sometimes she wonders whether or not the retainer system as opposed to the Special Study system is really working. She asked how are the dollars used most wisely and from the standpoint of attendance at meetings, when the Commission is asking for Special Studies, maybe there could be a more efficient way to do that and save some time and money.

 

Member Bononi stated when the consultants meet with developers, the developer pays for the expense, she asked how it was done? Does the developer pay the City or do they pay the consultant directly?

 

Mr. Rogers answered, although in the fee schedule adopted by City Council in August, they could be charged $100 per meeting. He stated if this can be done during the day when the consultants are at the City, Mr. Arroyo and himself have not been charging separately, if the developer has a special meeting on an off-day or they come to his office, he is entitled under the fee schedule to charge them. To date, he and Mr. Arroyo have done this very limitedly. He stated he does not charge against the retainer. Hours spent reviewing a project that has already been submitted, he stated he gets reimbursed out of the site plan review fee. He stated this compensates. The bulk of his time, when at the City is retainer type services.

 

Member Bononi stated she just wanted to know if the developer was paying for those services as it is noted or not?

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Member Bononi if she was speaking about the pre-application meetings or the review fees?

Member Bononi answered, the review fees.

 

Mr. Wahl answered, it is paid to the City.

 

Mr. Wahl stated the consultants have a contract with the City and their services are specified in that contract to the extent that there is some flexibility within those assignments, it is the Departmentís responsibility and job to manage their time in the way that is felt to be most effective to accomplish the requirements of the City in keeping with the contract. As noted, the services are not provided merely to the Planning Commission but there is a substantial amount of time and energy devoted to assignments from the City Council, meetings and assistance to other departments, work on behalf of the Department assignments and other general work that the consultants have.

 

Mr. Wahl stated typically the way he tries to deal with assignments through the retainer is by trying to keep them to blocks of time that are day-to-day services. He stated this is the purpose of the retainer agreement. Typically when a service is asked for under the retainer, the consultant should be able to do it in a day or so, if it takes longer, there should be a budget amendment.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo thought the last time the topic was discussed, there was a tentative agreement to meet on February 26, 1997 to have an Administrative Liaison Committee Meeting to discuss the issues in terms of the consultants contracts and any other communication or staff concern. She asked if the meeting has been confirmed?

 

Mr. Wahl answered a staff member called Member Hoadley but he did not know what his response was.

 

Mr. Cohen asked if it was going to be prior to the Environmental meeting?

 

Chairperson Lorenzo answered, yes, she believed that the Environmental meeting would meet around 6:30 p.m. and the Administrative Liaison Committee would meet between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. She asked if Member Hoadley confirmed that he would be available for the meeting?

 

Mr. Pham answered, no, and explained that he left a message on his answering machine in Florida and he has not responded or returned a phone call.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked when Member Hoadley was due back in town?

 

Mr. Pham answered he was due back on the 19th around 2:30 p.m.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated if Member Hoadley was available, they would meet the following Wednesday at 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.

 

Member Capello stated he would be out of town on that date until March 4, 1997. He asked if the meeting could be set after March 4th?

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated the concern was that Mr. Wahl needed to have the input by a certain date so that he could meet with the City Manager and the Consultant Review Committee.

 

Member Capello asked Mr. Wahl when he needed the input?

 

Mr. Wahl stated the Consultant Review Committee has a meeting scheduled to meet with the Commission on March 6, 1997.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated she was unaware of that meeting. She stated she will confirm with the Commission by next week if in fact the meeting will happen on the 26th and at that point she welcomed input in person or in writing.

 

Mr. Wahl stated the reason they picked March 6th was because they were going to interview the consultants that evening so that might be appropriate. He stated he would check to see if there were other alternate dates that the Commission might be able to get on an Agenda.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated the concern was in terms of the other members budgeting their time. She hesitated to change the date because she could not say for certain that she would be available the week of the 4th.

 

Member Capello stated he was not available on the 26th and this was the first time he heard about any meeting on the 26th in regard to the issue. He did not know how it was scheduled so far in advance if this was the first he heard about it?

 

Chairperson Lorenzo explained the reason it was scheduled in advance was because Mr. Wahl had indicated when he had mentioned it to the Commission a couple of weeks ago that they needed to meet sooner than later and it was understood that Member Capello would not be in town.

 

Mr. Cohen stated he had the results of the seminar tabulations.

 

Mr. Pham stated unfortunately he did not have a formal report. He stated the top six seminars were: 1) Impact of Watershed Development on Water Quality; 2) Growth Management; 3) Master Plan Process; 4) Habitat Preservation; 5) Physical Impacts of Growth; 6) Thorofare Corridor Studies.

 

Member Markham asked how is it determined that something gets done under retainer versus extra funding?

 

Mr. Wahl answered, basically it is the amount of time it takes to do one assignment. He stated anything over four (4) hours would be a Special Study type request and the fact that they have already recognized that there could be some problems by having the Emerging Issues line item in the Planning Commission budget. He reiterated that the retainer is intended to address day-to-day planning services and as it goes in to 20-30 hours, it should become a Special Study.

 

Member Markham stated last years tabulation under Special Projects done under retainer, between April 20th and May 9th, there were 18 hours of Mr. Rogers hours that were spent on REC District and yet it was under Special Projects done under the Retainer. She did not understand how something that took 18 hours...

 

Mr. Wahl stated that did not work the way it should have, he stated he did not sit down and work out what the task was and how long it was going to take. He stated it was a series of assignments from the City Council or the City Manager that ended up with more hours than would have been budgeted for something of that sort. He stated in that case, it was not how it should have worked.

 

Member Markham stated so basically the Commission ate up a lot of hours that were allocated in the budget for a variety of things on putting out a fire.

 

Mr. Wahl stated it does happen periodically. He stated it typically happens in every budget year, so it has been recognized that there is a problem in the way the retainer is structured, this is why the Planning Commission created a special fund for things that they recognized would take more time.

 

Member Markham thought there was reason to think in the long-term, in terms of doing something different in the way that it is structured. She stated it should be thought through how the Commission can better allocate itsí funds and plan for it. She stated she was not happy with the way it looks like the consultants are responding to the problem of the week and not really doing the planning. She stated she would like to see some sort of corrective action or improvement strategy to make the process stronger.

Mr. Wahl stated one of the options is to request a budget amendment at any time that it has been determined that there is a need for special funding.

 

Member Markham stated it was a very reactive process. She thought the issue was that she was not seeing a lot of planning, but rather a lot of reacting. She stated it seems that there is no money to do the planning, there is just money to do the reacting.

 

Member Vrettas asked when the budget is being prepared, is the particular budget item reviewed by the particular committee that is responsible for it?

 

Mr. Wahl answered, in the past, no. Typically, the Planning Studies and Budget Committee has handled 95% of preparing the budget. He stated since Member Vrettas has come onto the Commission, the Committee process has changed substantially, they did not have as structured a Committee program as it is now.

 

Member Vrettas asked if the Planning Commission budget was taken to various committees?

 

Mr. Wahl answered, just the Environmental issues were.

 

Member Vrettas stated the Communications Committee that has not met in over a year and yet there is a budget for it. He also stated there are a bunch of seminars which are not the same as what was asked for, he stated he was confused by all of it. He suggested to the Commission that they look at putting some more money into it for the other six seminars.

Chairperson Lorenzo clarified that the six seminars that Mr. Pham read, replace the other seminars.

 

Mr. Wahl believed the issue of the seminars to be clarified at the last Commission meeting and it was his understanding that the voting process would replace whatever was listed in the work program with the results of the vote. He stated when the Committee was put together, it was at a time when Cable TV had just become formalized. The idea of the Committee was to work with the Department to do some Cable TV programming to actually participate and conduct some interviews. He stated getting programming on Cable TV fell so far down on the time list that adequate time was not able to be devoted to follow up on the idea.

 

Member Vrettas thought the Communications and Community Liaison Committee should be working, he was not on the Committee but expressed concern that it was not doing what it is supposed to.

Member Capello referred to Mr. Rogersí Special Projects done under Retainer. He stated there are several areas that were summarized in the back with a recap of major jobs. He clarified that the hours allocated, were not charged extra as Special Projects, they were included in the Retainer.

 

Mr. Rogers answered, that was correct.

 

Member Capello expressed concern with fitting in various Committee meetings and watching the Commission function, he stated if too much is taken out of the Retainer and allocated to Special Projects, he did not think the consultants would be so liberal and give the Commission the extra time that they do. He stated if less was taken out of the Retainer and try to do a lot of the things under Special Projects, nothing would ever be accomplished. Member Capello felt that over the years, there is a real advantage from the Retainer. He thought the consultants were generous and liberal and was surprised that the Retainer did not go up. Member Capello stated if the Commissioners saw the scope of work within the Retainer, they would have a better understanding of what the consultants are doing rather than just looking at the compilation of their hours.

 

Member Markham stated that was what she was getting at. She stated the way the Commission decides how much money to spend, does not make any sense to her. She stated she was looking for more definition and the language should be more clear.

 

Mr. Rogers stated Schedule A spells out the Retainer services in his contract. He explained there were six categories of what he does and earns under the Retainer.

 

Member Capello stated Schedule A has probably been exceeded. He stated he did not want to get into it because he thought it was Councilís prerogative, not the Commissionís.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated it is the prerogative of the Commission, in that it falls under the budget. She stated this was her opening remark and her original concern. If Council is looking at the overall budget and $98,000 of it is Consultant Services, which 28% is broker and developer conferences, and a percentage is devoted to services to City Council, other departments and to the staff under the Commissionís budget, she felt that the Planning Commission could be short changed in terms of actual hours being directly given for services rendered for planning related items. She suggested maybe during the Administrative Liaison Committee it can be discussed how it can be done better.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated her concern was not with how much the consultants are being paid for their time, her concern was with how much time the Planning Commission is getting out of it, under itsí budget.

Member Churella suggested what should be done, is to set up a fund within the Commissionís budget to cover it. He stated then the new programs can be monitored. He suggested amending the budget to ask for additional money.

 

Member Vrettas stated the Planning Commission has a responsibility to the City and itsí people, to make sure every penny is being spent in a frugal manner. He questioned the Retainer concept and wondered if the people of Novi were truely being served with the present set-up. He stated the budget should not be a personal thing, it is a matter of serving the people of Novi and getting the highest quality for each dollar.

 

Member Capello did not think the issue was whether the City was getting itsí money out of the Retainer. He thought what the Chair was questioning was whether the Planning Commission was getting itsí moneyís worth. He agreed that certain things come out of the budget and the Commission does not get the benefit of it, but the consultants are giving services to the City, the Beautification Committee, the ZBA, Ordinance Review Committee and all of the departments. Member Capello stated it was questionable whether it should come out of the Commissionís budget, however it is City Councilís prerogative. It is the Cityís money that is being spent, and it really does not matter. He stated the Commission is not charged for JCK or Mr. Watson and thought that the charge back for them would be a lot greater than what is being given up out of the $98,000.

 

Member Bononi did not consider any of the money to be "little money". She stated from her planning experience, the Planning Commission budget is something really special. She stated very few planning departments are able to administer that kind of funding to be able to do the things that they need to do, plus all of the planning advise and help that they give to Council. She stated everytime money is spent, she thought it was a personal and professional responsibility to everyone who lives here. She also thought it was a confidence builder in the planning process.

 

Member Bononi thought the money for seminars could be wonderfully and productively spent. One concern that she had was the limiting of the selection of topics and presenters. She did not see any reason to limit the spending of education dollars in the way that it has been done, she hoped if nothing could be done about it this year, that something could be done next year. Member Bononi stated in the seminar topics she was looking for relevance not only to the Commission but to the community as well. She thought that a list of topics and presenters brought up by the Planning Department, limits the scope. This was not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not allowing fresh ideas and topics in. Member Bononi thought that the Commission should be highly aware of what each of the proposed seminars costs because maybe the decision would be made differently if the Commission would weigh the choices by relevance. Member Bononi was concerned about the Commission being too isolated in itsí attitude, she would like to see more ideas and more presenters. She suggested when there are outside presenters, that the consultants coordinate their comments, and express to the Commission how they see what the presenters are saying, effects the City.

 

Member Vrettas agreed with the comments of Member Bononi and Member Capello. He felt the Commission had an obligation to voice any of itsí concerns to City Council.

 

Member Weddington invited any member of the Commission to attend the Budget Presentation Work Session when the budget is presented to City Council. She stated the last 3 or 4 years that she has been involved, the budget has been challenged and in some years, it has been severely challenged and the Commission was put in a position of really having to defend it. She thought some excellent points were brought up that needed to be reiterated. She was not sure that City Council would read the minutes of this meeting, so she again invited anyone who wishes to make their comments directly to Council to come to the work session.

 

Member Vrettas was concerned about the process that has been in practice for years.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the budget included the Planners Advisory Service fee for next year?

 

Mr. Wahl stated it was not in the Commisisonís budget and he was not recommending it to be in his budget.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated, so in other words, it is not being funded at this time?

 

Mr. Wahl answered, yes.

 

Mr. Arroyo clarified that he subscribed to the Planning Advisory Service. He has been asked in the past by staff to provide information through that service. When it is done, he does not charge on an hourly basis to do so, he explained that it is a part of the overall Retainer and the City is not charged extra to use the service.

 

Mr. Rogers agreed with Mr. Arroyo.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated she appreciated the offer and wished she had known about it previously so that the Commission did not have to subscribe. She stated as long as

the Commission has access to the materials, that is all it is looking for. She stated in having served the many committees, it was never offered as a part of the package. Therefore, she did not remember ever receiving information from Planners Advisory Service as potential ordinances were being reviewed.

 

Member Markham was glad to hear that it was being offered, but it has never been clear to her that it was available until the Commission decided to pay for it. She stated the first time any quantity of information was received was after it was paid for. She stated it was exactly this kind of thing that she was looking for, yet she is being told that it is not covered because it is a bigger study. She thought it should be included in Mr. Wahlís budget and the Commissioners should be able to contact the Planning Department and ask for that service to be done. She thought it was the most economical and efficient way to get it done. She made a friendly amendment to the motion that it either be put into Jim Wahlís budget for next year or into the Planning Commission budget and add the $410.

 

Member Weddington accepted the friendly amendment as the maker of the motion.

 

Member Churella accepted as the seconder of the motion.

 

Member Weddington asked if the Commission has itsí own subscription?

 

Mr. Cohen answered, yes.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated Member Markham just has to come to the next Implementation Committee meeting and request it.

 

Mr. Cohen stated it has already been ordered.

 

In regard to the Communications and Community Liaison programs equaling $26,500, Member Markham believed that the Committee should have been consulted before that large an element was put into the budget.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo restated the motion and asked Mr. Cohen to call the role.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-02-051 CARRIED

 

Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi

No: Markham

 

 

 

 

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Chuck Young, stressed the point of communication. He stated if the people of Novi are not considered in the process through communication, it doesnít matter how many good plans are come up with, if the citizens do not have the communications and are not brought into the process, all hell and fury will break loose in the community. He stated the residents care about what is happening now, they want to be taken care and they also want to be informed. He asked Mr. Watson if he felt it was important that as much communication as possible be given?

 

Mr. Watson stated it really is not a legal issue. It is a policy issue and of course everybody agrees that communication and openness is important. He did not think that the Commission was deficient in any respect, in being open about what it does.

 

Mr. Young stated he did not say they were, he stated he felt bad for the Commission when it was sidewinded in the Recreation Ordinance. He stated the Commissioners are all very important people and should have some say in the process. He stated the Council, being the ultimate decision maker, should be required ethically to come up with as much communication as possible.

 

Mr. Cohen stated it was his understanding that the issue of Impervious Study and a possible decision on it would be discussed at this meeting. He asked if it would come back during another meeting?

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked what Mr. Cohen meant by possible decision? She thought it was included in the budget.

 

Mr. Cohen stated the first two priorities that JCK brought forward were proposed possibly for this years Emerging Issues.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated as she understood it, the Commission approved whatever monies in the Ď97-98 budget that was allocated toward the Imperviousness Study.

 

Mr. Cohen stated $10,000 came from rankings of 3 and 4 on JCKís list. The Environmental Committee had asked the Department to come forward with two proposals; one for the Ď97-98 budget and also for this years Emerging Issue budget.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if Mr. Cohen was asking the Commission if they wanted to allocate funds from the Ď96-97 Emerging Issues fund to move forward at this time with Watershed I and Watershed II of the Imperviousness Study?

Mr. Cohen answered, that was correct.

 

 

PM-97-02-052 TO ALLOCATE $6,098 THAT WOULD INCORPORATE FOR WATERSHED I AND WATERSHED II OUT OF THE Ď96-97 EMERGING ISSUES FUND

 

Moved by Capello, seconded by Bononi, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To allocate $6,098 that would incorporate for Watershed I and Watershed II out of the Ď96-97 Emerging Issues fund.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-02-052 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

PM-97-02-053 TO ADJOURN THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 10:30 P.M.

 

Moved by Capello, seconded by Bononi, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Special Meeting of the Planning Commission at 10:30 p.m.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-02-053 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

_____________________________________

Steven Cohen - Staff Planner

 

Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr

March 18, 1997

Date Approved: April 02, 1997