REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, MAY 07, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Meeting called to order at 7:33 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo
PRESENT: Members Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Chairperson Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
ABSENT: Capello, Churella
ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Engineering Consultant Victoria Weber, Assistant City Attorney Paul Weisberger, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, and Staff Planner Steven Cohen
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairperson Lorenzo stated there was a letter on the table from Lee Mamola on behalf of the petitioner for Item 1 under Public Hearings, Zoning Map Amendment 18.566. It appeared they requested that the Public Hearing be tabled until May 21, 1997. Mr. Cohen stated the applicant does not have a choice on the date. He stated they failed to get their rezoning sign up 15 days prior to the meeting, therefore, the item cannot be heard until the 21st.
Member Weddington added under Matters for Discussion, Planning Commission Budget. Member Hoadley added Item 2 under Matters for Discussion, discussion of Master Planning of Service Stations and Service Station Facades. Member Bononi added Item 3 under Matters for Discussion, Form and Content of Planning Commission and Planning Commission Committee Minutes. Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any other additions or deletions to the Agenda? Seeing none she entertained a motion to approve the Agenda as presented.
PM-97-05-139 MOTION TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS AMENDED
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as amended.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-139 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
Mr. Cohen reported he received two pieces of Correspondence. Louise Pargoff, 46480 West Ten Mile Road wrote in regard to the Detroit Edison project. In regard to the underground utility line being installed along the north side of Ten Mile Road by Detroit Edison, she requested the approval of the site plan for the Tahoe Substation be made conditional on the requirement that Edison be held directly responsible for damages incurred during construction. During previous Edison construction, her property was damaged by their subcontractors. Despite numerous requests, she was unable to obtain written confirmation concerning the restitution of the damage. She asked that her request be considered as a part of the site plan approval process.
Bruce Miller, past President of the Greenwood Oaks Homeowners Association. On behalf of the Greenwood Oaks Homeowners Association, he expressed approvals regarding the planned Detroit Edison/Tahoe Substation. Last fall, the Association met with Mick Blunden of Detroit Edison and several associates. He was told that it was to his benefit to have a new substation. He thanked the Commission in advance for their attention in the matter.
Chairperson Lorenzo announced there were three items, the approval of the March 05, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes, the approval of the March 14, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes and a request for an extension of Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approval until January 15, 1998 for the Nantucket Cove Restaurant and the Boston Club Banquet Hall, SP94-49A.
Member Weddington pulled Nantucket Cove.
Member Bononi referred to the Minutes of March 05, 1997, page 24, paragraph one and page 25, paragraph three refers to Randy, she stated she would like to see this person referred to by their surname.
Member Hoadley referred to the Minutes of March 19, 1997, page 6, paragraph 3, line 4, the word "west" should be changed to "east".
Chairperson Lorenzo referred to the Minutes of March 05, 1997, page 3, "Dr. Aimed Lippe" should be changed to "Dr. Emmett Lippe". Page 17, last paragraph, first sentence should read, "Chairperson Lorenzo suggested adding...". Page 33, fourth paragraph should read, "...completing the...".
PM-97-05-140 TO APPROVE BOTH SETS OF MINUTES AS CORRECTED
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the March 05, 1997 and the March 19, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes as amended.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-140 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
1. DETROIT EDISON - TAHOE SUBSTATION, SP97-10 AND A
a) Property located south of Ten Mile Road, west of Beck Road for possible Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approvals.
b) Property located north of Ten Mile Road, between Roma Ridge Road and Simmons Road for possible Woodland Permit approval.
Mike Palchesko, Regional Manger for Detroit Edison Corporate and Public Affairs introduced the Corporate Permit Coordinator Mick Blunden, Senior Architect Dennis Kelly, Senior Engineer Tom Misicko and Director of EMF Engineering Bruce Whitney.
Mick Blunden stated he was before the Commission in October regarding preliminary plans for two projects, one for the Tahoe Substation and the other was Quaker State. Mr. Blunden stated Detroit Edison was being impacted by the growth and new development of Novi, he stated it was most noticeable by the demand being put on the electrical system. The system is a part of the community’s infrastructure and as the City grows, so must the system. He stated it has become necessary to construct a new substation to meet the new energy demands and at the same time, relieve two substations that are currently at 113% capacity. The proposed Tahoe Substation will solve the capacity and reliability problems for the area and meet the demands that future growth will bring.
Mr. Blunden stated during the design process, Detroit Edison has met with residents from the Echo Valley Subdivision, Mockingbird Subdivision, Greenwood Oaks, and Mr. and Mrs. Costelli who live directly across from the site on the north side of Ten Mile Road. He stated he worked with residents and made changes to the design by pushing the Substation further back off of Ten Mile Road, putting in a curbed access drive and adding more berming and landscaping.
Mr. Blunden stated the access drive off of Ten Mile Road was a 20' wide paved asphalt drive, the back of the substation sits back approximately 200' from the south side of Ten Mile Road. The footprint is 120' wide by 85' deep and it is enclosed with a six foot chain link fence with v-arms and three strands of barbed wire on each arm for security and safety. The Substation has two transformers and also some electrical switch gear which is a metal cabinet with electrical equipment inside of it. There is extensive landscaping and berming on the south and north side and significant landscaping has been added to the screen for Ten Mile Road.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated it was a Special Land Use in an RA District. After reviewing the criteria, and meeting with the applicant for the need to provide expanded service to this part of the city, Mr. Rogers stated there is a need for it and recommended Special Land Use approval. He called out one of the criterias that the architecture of the building should be in keeping with the surrounding area. He stated where it was going to be a metal unified fabricated unit will now have a brick facade. Mr. Rogers stated the project meets the setback requirements and off street parking has been provided. In regard to the landscape plan, there were several items that needed to be completed at the time of final site plan approval, ie. details on the berm, the cross section, proposed planting dates, etc. In regard to the buffering along Ten Mile Road, there is a need for further screening, if possible, sub canopy trees and a 30" screen of berm/shrubs should be provided in the open area. It will be required to show the type of protective fencing to maintain the viability of the plant materials. There is a need for an 8' wide asphalt bikepath along Ten Mile Road. Mr. Rogers respectfully urged and requested an easement of access for the the bikepath be provided to give continuity for pedestrian accessway on the west side of Novi. Mr. Rogers recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to Special Land Use being granted by the Planning Commission, addressing the landscape concerns at the time of final, consideration of an 8' asphalt safety path along Ten Mile Road and submittal of a Woodlands Permit for the proposed line extension along Ten Mile Road. Mr. Rogers stated he was in favor of the facility.
Victoria Weber, Engineering Consultant stated no water or sanitary service will be required at the site since it is an on-man station. Swales will be constructed on the property to direct any minor storm water drainage to the Ten Mile Road drainage ditch. An Oakland County Road Commission Permit will be required for work within the approach for Ten Mile Road. She also recommended that an 8' wide safety path be placed along the frontage of Ten Mile Road. There are a few minor items that can be adressed at the time of final site plan and Ms. Weber recommended approval.
Mr. Rogers reported on Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo’s letter dated March 23, 1997. Access to the site will be from the new utility driveway on Ten Mile Road. Ten Mile Road is presently carrying approximately 14,553 vehicles per day. In regard to trip generation, the electrical substation will not be staffed, an operator will visit the site once per week. Mr. Arroyo stated the site plan meets or exceeds the requirements for a utility driveway, he recommended approval of the Preliminary Site Plan.
Chris Pargoff, City Forester recommended conditional approval of the project. As part of the Tahoe Substation, there will be underground lines placed along Ten Mile Road. The lines will travel through a Regulated Woodland at 46470, 46400 and 46320 Ten Mile Road. Mr. Pargoff stated he has been working with Detroit Edison to miimize the impact on the mature Sugar Maples and Black Walnut trees that are planted in front of the properties. The latest revised plans show a directional boring in this location at a depth of approximately four feet. The boring is a tunneling process that will go underneath the root systems of the trees. In addition, the trees will be required bonding as well as protective fencing be placed at either end of the Regulated Woodland. Detroit Edison and their subcontractors will be prohibited from storing any construction materials or equipment in the Regulated Woodlands.
Chairperson Lorenzo announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshall for the City of Novi Fire Department which states that the requested information in the plan review letter dated March 7, 1997 has been received and reviewed and the above plan has been recommended for approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public. Seeing no one she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
Member Hoadley asked the petitioner if he could put in a gabled roof to make the building a little more attractive?
Mr. Blunden stated he discussed it with Mr. Rogers and the electrical equipment is not a typical shed. This was the first time consideration was given to putting a facade on the equipment, and Mr. Rogers thought it would be enough. He stated he would have to have his architects look at the building to put a gabled roof on it.
Member Hoadley stated if the petitioner was going through the expense of putting up a nice brick facade why would he want to put a square roof on it?
Dennis Kelly, Senior Architect stated it was a prefabricated metal enclosure. The existing metal roof will not support another gable roof, additional walls around the perimeter would have to be built. The six foot berms are being screened with 7' evergreen trees. The building is approximately 11' 4" high and it will not be very visible.
Member Hoadley asked if it had to be a metal enclosed building?
Mr. Kelly stated it is electrical Switchgear in order to help keep the cost down and minimize construction time.
In regard to the berming on the south border of the property to Residentially zoned land, Member Hoadley stated he would like to see the potential homeowners protected.
Mr. Blunden stated it was a part of the Detroit Edison corridor.
Mr. Rogers stated one mile to the south is a wide corridor of Detroit Edison property.
Member Hoadley stated there were houses located at the end. He agreed there was enough distance, however, he thought some additional berming should be considered.
Mr. Blunden stated they would not be able to berm all of it because of the corridor.
Member Hoadley stated his primary concern was with the look of the building, he was not satisfied with the flat roof.
Member Bononi asked the applicant if the substation would generate any noise?
Mr. Blunden stated the transformer being used was at a level of 64 decibels. At the property line, which is approximately 180', the decibel level would be approximately 34 decibels.
Member Bononi asked if she could assume that the petitioner would meet the Ordinance requirements.
Mr. Blunden answered, yes.
Member Bononi referred to the wall mounted lighting fixtures. She asked if abutting property owners would be able to see the lights, and will they be lit every night?
Tom Misicko, Senior Engineer answered, no. He stated there were lights mounted on the equipment that are only used if there is a need to work at night.
Member Bononi asked about the cable poles that were referred to in the plans for Ten Mile improvements.
Mr. Misicko answered the poles were like a normal utility pole that make the overhead lines transition to underground at that point. He stated this was common for basically all subdivisions.
Member Bononi asked if the facility would meet any regulatory requirements for EMF?
Bruce Whitney, Director of EMF Engineering stated currently there are no regulatory or Federal limits for EMF in the State of Michigan that apply to the project.
Member Weddington asked Mr. Weisberger if there was a bonding requirement to protect residents from potential damages?
Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney stated he spoke to Dennis Watson prior to the meeting and he stated the City could not make it a requirement.
Member Weddington asked the Detroit Edison representatives, what the position was, on providing restitution for damages?
Mr. Whitney stated Edison would replace anything that was damaged. He stated he was not aware of the letter that was written but he would certainly look into it. He stated he spoke with Mr. Pargoff and he understood that it was a cable company who did the damage.
Member Weddington asked if Edison was responsible for the work of its’ subcontractors?
Mr. Whitney answered, yes.
PM-97-05-141 SPECIAL LAND USE AND PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR DETROIT EDISON TAHOE SUBSTATION, SP97-10 AND A SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE CONSULTANTS CONDITIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan for Detroit Edison Tahoe Substation, SP97-10 and A subject to all of the consultants conditions and recommendations.
Member Markham asked whether this would resolve the unusually high number of power outages on the west side of Novi?
Mr. Misicko stated the original intent of the substation was to provide local relief for the area and the overburdening of the system. In the design, provisions were included to improve overall reliability.
Member Markham asked if Mr. Rogers discussion of the bikepath was a part of the motion?
Chairperson Lorenzo answered, if it was one of his conditions or recommendations, yes.
Mr. Rogers stated he respectfully requested it.
Member Markham asked the petitioner if he would be willing to put in the 8' bikepath along Ten Mile Road as part of the site plan?
Mr. Kelly stated it was something that he has done in the past and he would consider it.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-141 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
PM-97-05-142 TO APPROVE WOODLAND PERMIT FOR DETROIT EDISON TAHOE SUBSTATION
Moved by Weddington, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Woodland Permit for Detroit Edison Tahoe Substation.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-142 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi
2. PATHWAYS TO LEARNING ADDITION, SP96-46-A
Property located south of Nine Mile Road, east of Meadowbrook Road for possible Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approvals.
Member Hoadley asked for direction from the Commissioners, he explained that his granddaughter works with the petitioner, he felt he could be objective and make a rational decision, however if the Commissioners did not feel that he could, he stated he would be more than willing to exclude himself.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Weisberger if he had any direction for the Commission? She clarified that Member Hoadley does not receive any financial gain from the project.
Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney did not see a problem with it.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any objections from any of the Commissioners? Seeing none she thanked Member Hoadley for bringing the information forward.
Kevin Akey stated the project is an existing day care facility that is in very poor condition, structurally and aesthetically. His goal is to add an addition to the building. He would like to obtain Special Land Use and Site Plan approval in order to obtain a variance. He stated he was missing some site application data and he planned on complying with landscaping and site plan information, however he was working off of an existing site plan that did not contain that information. Again, Mr. Akey stated he was requesting approval so he could proceed to the ZBA.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the site was 3 acres. He stated the petitioner proposes to expand the facility to handle 85 children. Mr. Rogers stated the general standards have been met, utility services are on site and there are no regulated wetlands or woodlands on the site. There a number of pieces of documentation missing from the application. The building addition complies with setback standards, except on the south side yard where it meets 67' of the 75' required. Mr. Rogers stated adequate parking spaces are provided.
In regard to the landscape plan, there are a number of items missing from the standard landscape plan. All of the missing items, as indicated on page 2 of Mr. Rogers’ report can be addressed at the time of final site plan submittal. The proposed facade plan of the building is attractive face brick, E.I.F.S. dryvit system, there will be a new gable roof over the existing building. It appears to meet the facade schedule of the Ordinance. Mr. Rogers did not recommend Special Land Use approval or Preliminary Site Plan approval because of missing application data and the deficient south side building setback. He stated he was not convinced that the building addition could not be shifted to the north to comply with the Ordinance. He spoke to the architect who has the concept that the, setback and building detailing must be this way to make it look attractive and be functional. Mr. Rogers was not in favor of the side yard variance being granted.
Due to the fact that Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant, was attending a City Council meeting, Mr. Rogers reported on Mr. Arroyo’s letter dated April 14, 1997. He stated the applicant is proposing to construct a 2,020 square foot addition to an existing 2,255 square foot day care facility. Access is proposed from one existing driveway on Meadowbrook Road. Meadowbrook Road is a minor arterial which carryies over 10,000 vehicles per day (1995). An 85 student capacity day care center can be expected to generate 395 trips per day during a.m. and p.m. peak hours and 69-72 trips are forecast, respectively.
In regard to internal site issues, the site plan should be revised to include accel/decel taper and passing lane on Meadowbrook Road. The applicant has indicated that it would be a financial hardship to install such tapers, but the applicant does not address the passing lane issue. It is assumed that the same justification by the applicant applies. Based on City warrant graphs, 15 inbound right turns warrant a decel/accel taper and 17 inbound left turns warrant a passing lane. The accel/decel taper is not an optional element uless City Council grants a waiver. The passing lane is optional per City standards, however, if it is not provided, the driveway must be posted with a no left turn sign for inbound traffic. Based on the proposed site design, no drop-off or pick up of children directly from vehicles will be permitted. All children must be escorted to the door by a parent or guardian.
Mr. Arroyo did not recommend approval until the accel/decel and passing lane issues were resolved.
Victoria Weber, Engineering Consultant stated there were existing public utilities for water and sanitary. The site has existing parking and building areas, the addition of impervious area will be minimal and she suggested that no storm water detention be placed on the site. There were several minor items which could be addressed at the time of final site plan. Ms. Weber recommended approval.
Chairperson Lorenzo announced she received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department which states the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended.
Chairperson Lorenzo announced she received a report from Douglas R. Necci who indicates that the application is in compliance with the Facade Ordinance.
Chairperson Lorenzo announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the matter to the Public.
Linda Schlessman, 41330 Marks Drive stated her property borders directly south of Pathways to Learning. She stated she has lived there for about 14 years and appreciated it if the applicant could fix up his building. She thought everyone that bordered the property felt the same. She along with a number of residents were not in favor of the expansion of the facility due to the noise and traffic. She believed there to be a number of variances granted when the building was originally built. According to the Zoning Ordinance, if a parking lot abuts residential property, at least 35' is required. She stated there currently is only about 12' to 15' with three rows of evergreen trees. Ms. Schlessman did not believe that the applicant needed to have the building any closer to the south property, however, because of the existing house she could see why they would not want to shift it to the north. There are trees within the three rows of evergreens which serve as a nice buffer, however, a number of them have died and are dying and to her knowledge, nothing has ever been replaced.
Gary Gryglewski, 21701 Siegal Drive stated at one time, the buildings that constituted the church, house and garage just barely met the requirements within the three acres. At that time, it was indicated that they would not build or subdivide the property. He asked if the policy in the City of Novi has changed, granting the addition to the property? He stated he was located directly east of the property and asked if anything was going to change the makeup of that location or was all of the construction going to occur to the west and north?
Chairperson Lorenzo stated the Commission would make sure that Mr. Gryglewski’s questions were answered.
Mr. Rogers stated Ms. Lemke acknowledged the dead and dying trees and screening is needed where the property abuts residential, particularly in the parking lot areas, therefore, these items will be addressed.
Arthur Fletcher, 41328 Todd Lane stated the Public Hearing Notice did not show a labeled entrance area for Carriage Hill off of Meadowbrook Road. He stated there was no room. He stated on Meadowbrook Road between 8 and 9 Mile, there were no businesses, it was all subdivisions. He stated there were no businesses on 9 Mile between Haggerty and Meadowbrook nor on 9 Mile between Meadowbrook Road and the railroad tracks. He stated it was a residential, therefore, to bring out a building in front would make the looks of Meadowbrook Road really nice. He thought the Commission should consider that the houses are not very expensive along Meadowbrook Road, and does the development fit the area?
Chairperson Lorenzo asked if anyone else would like to address the Public Hearing? Seeing no one she closed the Public Hearing and turned the matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Cohen if Mr. Arroyo could be present for this issue?
Mr. Cohen answered he would see what he could do.
Member Hoadley expressed concern with traffic. He stated he would have a difficult time supporting a Special Land Use for the expansion until the issue of accel/decel lanes were addressed.
Mr. Akey explained he was working from a very limited budget. He thought the project would be dead if he had to do it.
Applicant Barbara Engerer stated one thing they could do was to apply for a license for 60-65 children versus 85. She thought this may address the traffic issues.
Member Hoadley stated he was hesitant to waive the requirement. He stated the passing lane was absolutely required because of the business of the road in the a.m. and p.m. and due to the fact that this was when the children would be dropped off and picked up.
Member Weddington asked the petitioner to address the issue of the setback and why it was necessary to build in the direction that is proposed?
Mr. Akey stated the reasons for doing it was because the existing building is on the south setback line, he stated he was not actually moving the building in that direction, all he was doing was adding a covered entrance on the site. Five posts were being built into the setback of the south wall and the roof was being extended over the top. Another reason was to get the covered entrance since the parking was located in the rear and there was no drop off policy for children.
Member Weddington asked if the parking lot was being enlarged at all?
Mr. Akey answered no. He stated it was actually reduced.
Member Weddington asked if any berms were added?
Mr. Akey answered, they were existing. He stated he eliminated two (2) parking spaces on the east end of the parking lot.
Member Weddington asked if there was any way to enhance the berms to provide some additional sound protection for the adjacent property owner?
Mr. Akey answered, yes, he was sure something could be done as far as more trees or replacement of the dead trees.
Member Weddington suggested building up the berm slightly. She asked how high it was currently.
Mr. Akey answered approximately 6 to 7 feet with trees on it.
In regard to the 35' parking setback, Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Rogers if it was in compliance?
Mr. Rogers answered no. He stated it was a predated standard in the Ordinance and it was grand fathered in. He stated for off street parking, a 4½ foot berm is required between the parking and the adjacent property line. Mr. Rogers stated he would have to conduct further research.
Member Markham stated the Public Hearing Notice has been in the newspaper for over one week, the petitioner is present and prepared and she thought a great deal of disrespect was being shown due to the fact that the entire staff was not present to answer questions. She thought Mr. Arroyo should be present because he wrote a letter recommending that the petition should not be approved, she stated she would like Mr. Arroyo to be able to defend it.
Chairperson Lorenzo suggested taking a ten minute break and hopefully by that time Mr. Arroyo would be able to join the meeting.
Chairperson Lorenzo announced the Commission would take a ten minute recess.
Member Hoadley asked Mr. Arroyo if there was enough right-of-way for a passing lane and an accel/decel lane?
Mr. Arroyo answered, yes. He believed there was because it was his understanding that in the area, if the statutory 66' of R.O.W., 33' from the centerline, which would provide in upwards for a decel lane as well as a passing lane. Once they are put in plus the two existing lanes, there would be approximately 48' of pavement which fits within the 66'.
Member Hoadley asked how long the passing lane would need to be?
Mr. Arroyo answered there was a standard in the Design and Construction Standards that calls for a 150' long approaching taper in a 250' long passing lane and another 150' long departing taper.
Member Hoadley asked about the accel/decel lanes?
Mr. Arroyo believed there would be a 100' long deceleration taper and a 75' long acceleration taper.
Member Hoadley asked how the matter would get to Council since it was a Planning Commission issue?
Mr. Arroyo stated because a Design and Construction waiver has to go to City Council, there were two options: 1) to deny the plan because it does not meet the standards. Then the petitioner can go to City Council and ask for the waivers and then come back to the Planning Commission for reconsideration; 2) grant approval conditioned upon City Council granting the waivers.
Member Hoadley asked how many trips were generated in the present situation?
Mr. Arroyo answered an actual count was not conducted as it is not required, he stated the current student population was 45, therefore, it would be about half of what he reported in his report.
Member Hoadley asked if they currently meet the standards?
Mr. Arroyo answered they probably would not if it were not for a passing lane under the current situation.
Member Hoadley asked if an accel/decel lane were added would they meet the standards?
Mr. Arroyo answered, yes, probably.
Member Hoadley asked if the site were approved, would the site ever be able to be used for any other type of business?
Mr. Arroyo stated it would have to be a use that was permitted within the District and then if there was a Special Land Use, it would have to be throughout the application.
Member Hoadley asked if Mr. Arroyo could professionally ever recommend approval?
Mr. Arroyo answered, as it currently stands, no.
Member Markham stated fundamentally, the existing day care in a residential area was providing a service. She stated everyone agrees the setup is not the most attractive. She stated some of the neighbors probably use the service. She was pleased with the fact that the parking was not increased, although the proposed number of students has been almost doubled. The building addition was toward the road and away from the residents. The petitioner would consider modifications to the berm and landscaping to further enhance the screening from the residential area.
PM-97-05-143 TO APPROVE SPECIAL LAND USE AND PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN FOR PATHWAYS TO LEARNING ADDITION, SP96-46A, SUBJECT TO THE ZBA VARIANCES REQUIRED AND SUBJECT TO CITY COUNCIL WAIVER OF ACCELERATION AND DECELERATION LANE REQUIREMENTS
Moved by Markham, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED (5-2): To approve Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan for Pathways to Learning Addition, SP96-46A, subject to ZBA variances required and subject to the City Council waivers of accel/decel passing lanes.
Member Hoadley asked about the passing lane?
Chairperson Lorenzo believed Mr. Arroyo stated the passing lane was not required.
Mr. Arroyo stated it would not be required under the existing situation, however, if the addition was approved, it would be required.
Member Markham stated the motion was to approve, subject to all of the road improvements being waived.
Member Weddington stated since there were so many conditions and issues, she asked that it be returned for final before moving forward.
Member Markham accepted the friendly amendment.
Member Vrettas also accepted.
Member Hoadley stated he could not support something that he felt would cause a traffic accident. He believed if nothing else, the accel/decel lanes should be put in. He was hopeful that the Council would not grant a waiver and the petitioner would come back with a revised site plan. He stated he would not be in support of the motion.
Member Bononi asked Mr. Arroyo where the Meadowbrook right-of-way line was, relative to the property line shown.
Mr. Arroyo referred to the drawing which showed the existing R.O.W. and the future R.O.W.
Member Bononi asked if the requirements for the deceleration and passing lanes was relative to the fact that the development is a child care facility?
Mr. Arroyo answered, no. The use has no bearing, it is based upon warrant graphs, the Design and Construction Standards and volumes.
Member Bononi asked what would happen if the facility were approved as it was. She asked if Mr. Arroyo could propose or speculate accidents that might occur as a result from access and egress to the site?
Mr. Arroyo answered it would be very difficult to quantify it. He thought that due to the amount of left turns and the amount of through traffic there would be a greater likelihood of accidents without the improvements, this was the main reason they were put in. Secondly, they were put in to improve the capacity so that when someone is turning left into the project, through traffic can continue. Mr. Arroyo stated there were both safety and capacity benefits to the improvements.
Member Bononi asked if the 30 mph speed limit figured into it?
Mr. Arroyo answered it really did not. The warrant graphs are based upon volume. He stated regardless of what rate of speed was, if there are a certain number of cars per day and that number will continue. He did not think it had that much of an impact.
Member Bononi stated when she considers some of the things that have come before the Planning Commission and the information that has been supplied, the requirement seems to be really severe for an existing situation. She expressed concern with taking a child care provider and requiring roads to be built, she hoped that every situation in the City could be pointed out and hold them to the same requirements. She stated if the Commission were going to be consistent about the requirements then she would be in agreement. If it were an existing situation that has proved to be problematical or has contributed to accidents then she would agree, however, she stated she did not see it and would support the motion to approve.
Member Hoadley reiterated his concerns about traffic.
Chairperson Lorenzo sympathized and empathized with the applicant in terms of the dilemma, economically. However, economics are not one of the things that the Commission typically considers. She expressed concern with the speed limit remaining 30 mph. She stated she would like to see the accel/decel tapers consistently required within the City of Novi for any type of project. Regardless of the use, Chairperson Lorenzo took into consideration the traffic implications that could arise. In terms of the landscaping issues that have not been fully addressed, and no commitments to the berming, whether it will be improved and to the extent, she stated she would be voting against the motion.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-143 CARRIED
Yes: Bononi, Csordas, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
No: Hoadley, Lorenzo
3. NANTUCKET COVE RESTAURANT AND THE BOSTON CLUB BANQUET HALL, SP94-49A
Member Weddington stated last time, she raised the issue about how long the extension would be needed, she believed a request was for six months was given. At the time that more of an extention was needed, a one year extension was given. She stated during that period of time, there had been some changes across Meadowbrook Road, the Soccer Zone development has forced the Commission to look at the driveway, she believed it had an impact for proposed developments in terms of proper alignment.
Robert Fenton, Petitioner for and on behalf of New England Associates and on behalf of the Boston Club/Nantucket Cove stated the driveway has been recognized. Since the extension was granted, he stated he has been busy purchasing the land and completing financing. He stated the financing process has not been as easy as he thought it would be. He stated he would appreciate the extension.
Member Hoadley asked if the rule was changed that the Commission could only grant up to 3 years of extensions?
Steve Cohen, Staff Planner stated it has not yet been adopted. He thought it was at the Council level at this time, he stated it was one of the issues to be looked at, at the next Rules Committee Meeting.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked that the status be clarified and also to schedule a Rules Committee Meeting.
Mr. Cohen stated the next Rules Committee Meeting was scheduled for next Wednesday.
Member Hoadley stated if the Commission were to grant an extension, it would be the third year.
Chairperson Lorenzo clarified it would be the third year since the applicant came forward, it would be a second year extension. It was approved for one year, extended for one year and if it were extended now, it would be for a second time.
Member Hoadley asked the petitioner, if it were extended to January 18, 1998, could he assure that he would be prepared by then.
Mr. Fenton stated he would love to give that assurance, he stated it was something that he was continuously working on.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant pointed out, under Section 25.16, under Approval Limitations, Final approval shall be effective for one year, Planning Commission may grant extensions of up to one year duration to either Preliminary or Final approval.
Member Bononi shared Member Weddington’s concern about the duration of the situation. She recalled when Soccer Zone was approved, not only was the entrances and alignment of concern, there was also a storm drainage system that was of concern. She stated this was another situation that could have possibly changed in the interim. Member Bononi asked whether or not the subject site was being offered for sale?
Mr. Fenton answered, no. There has been a real estate sign on the property ever since he became involved a couple of years ago. He stated it was being offered for sale non-actively, however it could be.
Member Bononi expressed concern with a lot of resources and time that are being spent by the Commission for continual extensions of time. It was her opinion that at some point, the Planning Commission does have the right to deny. She stated she was not impressed with Mr. Fenton’s explanation, however, due to the fact that there is no rule in place, she would support an extension for the minimum possible time.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated the applicant was asking for an extension until January 15, 1998.
Member Bononi asked at the end of that time, if an active site plan application is not brought forth, may the Planning Commission declare that application to be void.
Mr. Weisberger answered, it was the right of the Planning Commission to no longer extend past that point.
PM-97-05-144 TO EXTEND UNTIL JANUARY 15, 1998 WITH THE CONDITION THAT THIS BE THE FINAL EXTENSION
Moved by Bononi, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To extend until January 15, 1998 with the condition that this be the final extension.
Member Hoadley asked the petitioner if he still had the extra parking in place?
Mr. Fenton answered, yes.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-144 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. 1997-98 PLANNING COMMISSION BUDGET
Member Weddington expressed her disappointment that at a subsequent meeting of the Council, the Planning Commission’s budget would be reduced by $25,000. She stated at the presentation meeting, the Commission received encouragement and they were told by the Mayor and Council members that they should communicate with the citizens and now the Communication budget was being cut by $14,000. She stated the another thing that was cut was the Imperviousness Study. As a result of some other information from other sources.
Member Weddington referred to the RUD Ordinance Review, being discussed by Council tonight, stating that it is a very important issue to the Commission, however, none of the members are able to participate because it conflicts with the Regular Planning Commission meeting. She stated the consultants were taken away from this Commission meeting to attend the other meeting and she thought it was improper and not in the publics interest.
Member Hoadley agreed with Member Weddington. He felt that the Commission did a good job and answered all of the questions to the fullest. He stated the Commission has been asked over the past several years to get in the planning business. Member Hoadley thought the budget was very conservative and thought Council needed to be realistic if they wanted the Planning Commission to do its’ job.
PM-97-05-145 TO DIRECT A MEMORANDUM FROM THE PLANNING COMMISSION TO CITY COUNCIL TO RECONSIDER, EXPLAINING THAT THE COMMISSION IS VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE DECISION AND THEY NEED THE FUNDS TO DO THEIR JOBS
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a memo through Administration to City Council expressing the Planning Commission’s disappointment in the budget cuts and with respectful request for them to reconsider.
Member Vrettas directed his comments to the Audience. He stated the editorial of last week was taken well and respected. He stated they also made an editorial on commending the Commission on wanting to communicate with the public and educate them, he hoped he would see an editorial about the fact that $14,000 was cut from the Commission’s ability to do that.
In regard to the Imperviousness Study, Member Weddington added that there were benefits to many of the citizens of the City, it was not something that would just benefit the Planning Commission. She stated the intent was to gather information that could be used and shared with the Storm Water Management Committee, DPW, JCK, the Building Department and developers. She stated it was not a selfish study, it came about because the Commission found, in doing its’ work, that they did not have sufficient information about the impacts of development and there were concerns about storm water management and water quality.
Member Markham shared Member Weddington and Member Hoadley’s disappointment. In regard the Imperviousness study, she explained that the Environmental Committee meets roughly once a month, and the issues were referred to the Committee. In the way that the Committee studies, attends seminars, reads and tries to understand what other communities are doing to assure the most effective planning, the Committee tries to come up with recommendations for where the City should go. Member Markham believed that planning was the job of the Planning Commission. She stated the Commission did not suggest an Imperviousness Study to step on anyone’s toes, it was never stated that the Storm Water Management Group was already studying the issue, therefore, this was the reason the Commission felt it needed to be done and asked for the funds to do it. Member Markham believed the Commission should concentrate on land use planning and that was what she thought the budget items were intended to allow. She also believed that the City Government has a responsibility to communicate with and solicit input from the residents whenever possible. She believed that $11,000 was an inexpensive amount of money to spend over the course of a year to provide professionally staffed seminars on the subject of land use planning. Member Markham was very disappointed with the way the entire City Government has operated in the past few months.
Member Bononi thought the budget cuts were a misfortune for the Commission because she understood the importance of communicating with the citizens and serving them with information. She believed the seminars were extremely important. She stated she and Member Markham spent two mornings of their private time attending 20/20 meetings because they were interested in what the citizens think. She stated the citizens expect to be heard, they expect to have some information, they respect the opinions of the Commission and the consultants but they have to understand what the ordinance is all about. The Planning Commission meetings as well as the seminars give the citizens, as well as the Commission, the opportunity to learn more. She did not understand why this should be eliminated.
In regard to Communications, Member Bononi stated support should be given to anything that can be sent out to the citizens. She agreed with the concern about overlapping information and thought it should be looked into.
In regard to the Imperviousness Study, Member Bononi stated she has been long interested in it and explained that it tells how the City is doing with regard to water quality. Member Bononi stated it does not matter who conducts an Imperviousness Study, it just needs to be done. She suggested proceeding with the concerns about the environment. She stated she did not receive any information in the Environmental Committee meetings from the consulting engineers stating that there was an overlap of activity. She hoped that the Commission’s request to relook at the items would be taken seriously.
Member Hoadley asked if the Chair would review the memorandum for its’ content and make sure it expresses the various opinions of the Commissioners.
Chairperson Lorenzo answered, certainly. She asked the Administration to pass it to her prior to sending it to City Council.
Chairperson Lorenzo shared the concerns and disappointments of the Commissioners. With regard to the cut in the Communications Budget, she did not think it was sending a positive message to the Planning Commission or the public. She thought it was saying that the Commission is not interested in informing, educating or communicating with the pubic, and this was not a positive message to send to the citizens.
In regard to the Imperviousness Study, Chairperson Lorenzo stated she reviewed the minutes and it was her interpretation that the City Council was under the impression that the Storm Water Master Plan had some type of Imperviousness Study built into it. The City Council requested the Storm Water Financial Committee to review any information that they had and report back to the City Council with findings. In speaking to Tony Nowicki, he was under the impression that since the Council deleted that item from the budget, they did not need to meet. Since then, Mr. Nowicki informed Chairperson Lorenzo that he would gather the information, present it to the Committee members and he anticipated the Committee meeting regarding the issue and try to gain support from the Committee for the Study. Chairperson Lorenzo agreed that the Commission has no ownership over the studies, the concern was that the study is conducted so the Commission is aware of exactly what the conditions are, the status of imperviousness and how to move forward in the City. She asked Mr. Wahl if he had any insight as to what transpired?
Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated he was not at the meeting when the deletions were made, therefore, no comments were made by the Department. He stated he was at the same budget work session as Chairperson Lorenzo and there were no specific cuts brought up at that point in time. Therefore, he had no expectation that specific actions were going to be taken. Mr. Wahl noted that Council member Mitzel is on the Storm Water Management Committee, and would have clarified any work of that committee if specific questions came up. Mr. Wahl stated he was not clear as to what the Storm Water Committee was doing or has done, he anticipated that they could provide a report to the Commission if necessary. However, he thought the action on the budget was likely to take place on Monday evening May 12, 1997, and at that point the Planning Commission budget would be finalized.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated there were two options, one would be to cut the budget by a certain percentage or amount and allow the Planning Commission to apportion it accordingly, or that they would reconsider possibly a budget amendment.
Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Bluhm if he was aware of anything that the Storm Water Committee has conducted thus far?
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant answered, no. He thought when they were speaking to an Imperviousness Study, they were speaking to the Master Plan in general. The Master Plan is a tool to look at how full build-out of the city and the imperviousness that results from that, impacts the streams and how the detention basins have to be developed because of it. He thought Member Bononi was correct in stating it was a water quality issue and a view of how the city is doing with water quality. Mr. Bluhm could see a dual benefit for the Storm Water Committee and thought it was just a misunderstanding of the study and its’ goals and objectives.
Member Weddington clarified that her concern was not with the amount of money that is in the budget, it was with the way the actions were taken, decisions were being made and the lack of communication.
Mr. Wahl stated that a number of Commissioners probably had not been involved in the budget process. He stated over the past six years as indicated in the Work Program, the average of the Planning Studies budget was $46,000 per year. He stated there has been a strong commitment to planning. However, the Commission has worked very hard with Council to explain or deal with differences of opinions regarding habitat, environmental studies, and traffic studies. He stated the Planning Commission and the Department have always stood up for commitment to planning and he thought Council has also made a commitment to planning, but it has not always been on the same level of understanding as to exactly what that was. Mr. Wahl thought that history has shown that there has been a lot of planning study in this community and this commitment continues. He thought the Commission should be aware that Commission budget cuts was not something that has never happened before. This is not a budget that is not healthy because it is not a strong commitment to planning, although there are differences of opinion about priorities. Regarding the various meetings and budget discussions that have been held, Mr. Wahl noted that a Public Hearing had taken place and that final action is still pending on May 12, 1997.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-145 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
2. MASTER PLANNING OF SERVICE STATIONS AND FACADES FOR SERVICE STATIONS
Member Hoadley stated the few service stations in the City of Novi are experiencing a tremendous amount of business to the point where they are causing stacking. He thought now was the time to begin planning to see where they should go and Master Plan for it. Member Hoadley suggested looking into the idea of Facade Ordinances for service stations.
Member Vrettas supported the comments of Member Hoadley, he stated it goes to the heart of what the Commission is trying to do. He thought this was the time to sit down and look at it in a reasoned way. He believed that growth and change in Novi was inevitable but it does not mean that it cannot be controlled and reasoned.
PM-97-06-146 TO REFER TO THE MASTER PLAN AND ZONING COMMITTEE FOR REVIEW
Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Markham, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To refer to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for review.
Member Bononi asked Member Hoadley what he saw the responsibility for studying the issue, to be comprised of?
Member Hoadley thought the study was important to the locations of service stations and it would also include demographics as to where the appropriate service stations should be Master Planned.
Member Weddington pointed out that service stations were allowed in B-3 and there are a number of areas zoned B-3, this would be a starting point.
Chairperson Lorenzo supported the motion with caution. She was not sure that there were not a lot of service stations in Novi. She stated she would like to see a list of service stations in the City of Novi and the surrounding borders of the City.
Member Vrettas suggested plotting a map of existing service stations, locating where the growth was occuring and then fitting in service stations with proper zoning and master planning so there is no conflict.
Chairperson Lorenzo wanted to make sure that a service station was not going to be placed in the middle of a Residential area. If this was the case, she would not look at allowing service stations in the heart of Residential areas. She stated she would like to proceed with caution.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-146 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham
PM-97-05-147 TO SEND THE MATTER OF UPGRADING THE FACADE REQUIREMENTS FOR SERVICE STATIONS TO THE IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send the matter of upgrading the facade requirements for service stations to the Implementation Committee.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-147 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Weddington, Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas
4. PLANNING COMMISSION AND PLANNING COMMISSION SUBCOMMITTEE MINUTES FORMAT
Member Bononi referred the the Administrative memorandum from Jim Wahl, dated Friday, May 2, 1997. She referred to the paragraph, "I’m assigning staff servicing committee to reduce minutes to actions taken, (motions and committee discussion) directly related to these actions. Member Bononi stated she views Planning Commission Minutes in two ways: 1) she considers them public documents; 2) historic documents. She was concerned about what Mr. Wahl’s statement meant. She asked about the form and content of the minutes that were being proposed in the memorandum, considering in the Planning Commissions’ Bylaws, there is already a section (4) that refers to minutes and how they shall be accomplished. She asked how the summarized version was going to compare with what the Commission currently has?
Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development clarified that his memorandum was indicating to reduce the Committee Minutes, not the Planning Commission Minutes. He stated they would be reduced to a minumum in that the use of minutes was intended to provide indications of actions taken and work directly related to actions, not to include a lot of areas of general discussion. Mr. Wahl stated the basic reason for this action is the fact that the Department is overwhelmed with assignments that are being given higher priority. He stated it was a city-wide directive, he thought it was fairly clear that the objective was to reduce it to the most important items which are actions that a Committee may recommend.
Member Bononi stated she would not have a problem with making the documents more efficient, however, she transferred her concerns on to Mr. Cohen. She did have a problem with the fact that if the Committee minutes are to address the subject at hand, all of the comments of a level playing field should be included. She specifically made reference to the fact that minutes were not brought back to the Committee for approval which she felt they must be, she also brought attention to the fact that several comments that she had made were not included in the minutes. Member Bononi stated she was looking for consistency, she was interested in a legal opinion as to whether or not the Planning Commission has the right to establish a method to produce its own minutes. She stated she would like to see the minutes of the Commitees remain as much as they are now. Her concern was that the minutes were going to Council or other Committees without being approved, without enough information or that the public who wished to review the minutes in lieu of being present would have an accurate and complete picture of the comments of those who participated.
Chairperson Lorenzo did not want to put Mr. Weisberg on the spot, she suggested asking the legal council to report back to the Commission by the next meeting, regarding those questions and what discretion the Planning Commission has in determining the format of the minutes.
PM-97-05-148 TO ASK LEGAL COUNCIL TO REPORT BACK TO THE COMMISSION BY THE NEXT MEETING REGARDING MEMBER BONONI’S QUESTIONS AND WHAT DISCRETION THE PLANNING COMMISSION HAS IN DETERMINING THE FORMAT OF THE MINUTES
Moved by Bononi, seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To ask legal council to report back to the Commission by the next meeing regarding Member Bononi’s questions and what discretion the Planning Commission has in determining the format of the minutes.
Member Hoadley agreed with Member Bononi’s comments. He thought it was important to understand the thinking of the Committee members.
Chairperson Lorenzo fully shared the opinions of Member Bononi and Member Hoadley on the issue. She believed that the minutes were extremely important historical documents for the City, for informational purposes and legal purposes should litigation take place.
Member Markham commented on a related item. She referred to Mr. Wahl’s letter which stated, "City Council has directed the Clerk and the Department to delete the Planning Commission minutes from the City Council packet, except that excerpts pertaining to City Council items for action will continue to be included." Member Markham hoped it did not mean that City Council was not interested in what takes place at the Planning Commission meetings. She stated she has been concerned that they were making some decisions because they were not fully informed as to why the Commission decided something or what history or discussion that took place. She stated the RUD was a good example. She was hopeful that the Council was getting the full compliment of information so they can best make their decisions.
Member Weddington gave an example of the daycare center and the discussion regarding the accel/decel lanes and passing lanes. She thought the Commission shared the traffic concerns and even though it was approved, there were reservations and was hopeful that the Council would gather this out of the minutes.
Mr. Wahl clarified that the Council would not get any excerpts in terms of reducing the discussion on that item, what they won’t get was the entire minutes from a given meeting. They would only receive the minutes pertaining to action items.
Member Markham used the present meeting as an example and asked if the discussion regarding the budget would be included in the minutes?
Mr. Wahl stated a request was made so they would receive the minutes. However, an absent direction on a discussion item would probably not be seen by the Council.
Member Markham had a lot of concern about that because there is not a lot of direct communication between the two bodies, therefore, the bodies communicate through the minutes. She expressed concern with only minutes that are directly related to a petitioner who is coming before them on a particular item because there are a lot of other things that happen in the Planning Commission meetings that relate to things that are happening at Council.
Mr. Wahl stated Council always lists Communications on the back of their Agendas and suggested this as an avenue of communication to the Council.
Chairperson Lorenzo stated it would be helpful.
Mr. Wahl stated one concern was with the review letters being attached to the minutes which makes them so lengthy. The Council wants to read minutes that are relevant to things that they need to act on because of the volume of paperwork that they have to deal with. He thought if a Communication on any subject were sent to the Council, it would stand out and be itemized from the Planning Commission, he stated the Council does look at the Communication items very carefully.
Chairperson Lorenzo clarified that the minutes where budget cuts were discussed and the memorandum will be on the Communications list.
Mr. Wahl answered, yes.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-148 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington
PM-97-05-149 TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 10:35 P.M.
Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Markham, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 10:35 p.m.
VOTE ON PM-97-05-149 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington No: None
Steven Cohen - Staff Planner
Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr
May 30, 1997