REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.

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

(810) 347-0475

 

Meeting called to order at 7:33 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo

 

PRESENT: Members Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley,

Chairperson Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas, Weddington

 

ABSENT: Churella

 

ALSO PRESENT: Planning Consultant Brandon Rogers, Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, and Staff Planner Steven Cohen

 

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda?

Member Hoadley added the format of Planning Commission Sub-Committee Meeting Minutes under Matters for Discussion. Seeing no other changes she entertained a motion to approve the Agenda as amended.

 

 

PM-97-05-150 TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS AMENDED

 

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

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-150 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

None

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

None

 

 

CONSENT AGENDA

 

Chairperson Lorenzo announced there were two items, the approval of the April 16, 1997 Special Planning Commission Meeting Minutes and the approval of the April 16, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes. She asked if there were any corrections to either set of minutes?

 

Member Hoadley referred to the Regular Minutes, Page 1, the motion should be seconded by Vrettas versus Churella.

 

Member Bononi referred to Page 21, paragraph 4, should read, "...anything she has seen in these parts...". Page 27, paragraph 3, second to the last sentence should have the quotation marks removed because she was paraphrasing.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo referred to Page 33, paragraph 5, should read, "She explained that 20% of non-conventional single family homes would be given for 20% Open Space plus another 10% of non-conventional homes for a proportion of 70/30,...". Page 34, second paragraph, first sentence should read, "...to find a compromise with percentages.". Page 37, paragraph five, last sentence, she would like the footnote inserted into the minutes.

 

Member Markham referred to Page 21, first paragraph should read, "the land will belong to the City...".

 

 

PM-97-05-151 TO APPROVE THE REGULAR PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES OF APRIL 16, 1997AS CORRECTED AND AMENDED

 

Moved by Weddington, seconded by Markham, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to approve the Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of April 16, 1997 as corrected.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-151 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

 

 

 

PM-97-05-152 TO APPROVE THE SPECIAL PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES OF APRIL 16, 1997

 

Moved by Weddington, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Special Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of April 16, 1997.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-152 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

1. ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.566

 

Property located west of Meadowbrook, between I-96 and Twelve Mile Road for possible recommendation to City Council for rezoning of property from Residential Acreage District (RA)

 

John Dinan introduced himself to the Commission.

 

Lee Mamola stated Mr. Dinan has asked Mamola Associates to look at what could go on the property if it were to be rezoned for office. He stated he has evaluated it and according to Mr. Dinanís wishes he was looking to build a two-phased office complex approximately 30,000 square feet. The site around it has been master planned Office for at least 17 years. He was hopeful that the Commission would make a positive recommendation to City Council for the rezoning.

 

Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the parcel is slightly under five acres, it is presently zoned RA and it is proposed to be rezoned to OS-1. There is a house on the property and the property to the north, south and west are zoned RA. All of the surrounding property is proposed for Office future land use. Mr. Rogers felt the site was of sufficient size to accommodate a planned development. He expressed concern that some provision be made to coordinate the site with adjacent properties. Mr. Rogers felt that the rezoning request had a lot of merit and while it might appear to be the rezoning of a single spot, it really is not. It conforms to an eventual plan to convert the area to an office use.

 

 

Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant provided a trip generation comparison. He noted under the existing RA zoning there could only potentially be two single-family homes, theoretically there could be four, based upon the acreage. His report compared the existing zoning to office, including general office and medical office. Mr. Arroyo also provided a comparison of trip generation for 24 hour and both peak hours.

 

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.

 

 

PM-97-05-153 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL

 

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

 

Member Hoadley stated the rezoning would obviously increase traffic. He thought a forecast should be given as to whether improvements would have to be made to Meadowbrook Road. He asked Mr. Arroyo what the forecast was for the total traffic if it were developed out the way it is currently master planned?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered if the area develops according to the Master Plan, it was his projection that Meadowbrook Road would eventually have to be five lanes wide.

 

Member Hoadley asked how many cars Meadowbrook Road was handling per day, currently?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered, approximately 12,200 between Grand River and Twelve Mile Road as of 1995.

 

Member Hoadley asked how far back the traffic was stacking in the morning, heading northbound on Meadowbrook Road?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered he does not travel the road on a daily basis, therefore, he could not say exactly.

 

Member Hoadley asked how many feet the lot was, from Twelve Mile Road?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered, 1,500 feet to the center line.

 

 

Member Hoadley was not opposed to the rezoning, he expressed concern with infrastructure problems. He stated Meadowbrook Road was becoming a highly traveled road because it is one of the few north/south roads that Novi has.

 

Member Weddington asked if the sign was posted?

 

Steve Cohen, Staff Planner answered, yes. It was his understanding that it was posted in time for the meeting.

 

Member Weddington stated as the parcels along Meadowbrook Road become rezoned from Residential to Office, it would be nice to see coordinated development, to the extent that it can be accomplished. She believed it would be a benefit to the community as well as to the individual parcels. Member Weddington was concerned about the overall development.

 

Member Bononi expressed concerns about the rezoning. She thought it was important to clarify that additional permitted main uses in the zone were also banks, personal services, and special land uses which also include pharmacies, surgical supplies, mortuaries and day care centers. She asked how many square feet would be estimated at a maximum, above and apart from the 30,000 proposed square feet? She thought it was considerably more square footage if traditional office use were being considered.

 

Mr. Rogers stated there was no maximum lot coverage. What governs the amount of square footage, is compliance with setbacks, parking, off-street loading/unloading.

 

Mr. Arroyo stated there was a time where some old plans of office developments were pulled and it was found that office development typically runs in the neighborhood of 20% of floor space to total land area.

 

Member Bononi thought when the side yard, rear yard and setback requirements were considered, it could conceivably end up to be more, this was her concern. She stated it was being looked at as a rezoning from the standpoint of considering overly importantly, the 30,000 square feet that is being considered as opposed to the maximum. She was interested in knowing what the maximum was with regard to the different uses. Member Bononi did not have a problem with the rezoning, she did have a problem with the potential intensity of the use. Unless she knows what that is, it was difficult for her to make a decision. Member Bononi asked Mr. Arroyo what the maximum number of square feet he would see being able to be utilized in the zone?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered 45,000 square feet.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Arroyo if there were currently any plans to widen Meadowbrook Road?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered, no.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked what the current level of service was?

 

Mr. Arroyo stated the volume was in the neighborhood of 12,000 which would lead him to believe that it is still at a decent level of service. He stated a lot of it depends on the function of the intersection to the north. He stated there was no requirement for that type of analysis at this stage so he did not have an exact number. He guessed that it would be between a "B" or "C".

 

In regard to Member Bononiís comments in terms of the worst case scenario, Chairperson Lorenzo asked if it would have any impact on the level of service?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered, from the property alone, it would not be likely to have any impact. He stated if the entire area were being considered, the answer would be, yes.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any plans designated on the Master Plan for any marginal access roads?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered, no, not in the area. With the exception of the lots that front on Meadowbrook Road, the majority of the property behind it is under one ownership or several large owners.

 

In regard to a conditional rezoning, Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Watson if it would be for mitigating circumstances that impact the surrounding properties?

 

Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney stated rezoning Commercial adjacent to Residential is essentially deeming a certain space for buffering.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated there was a mixture of existing Residential and possibly other types of uses adjacent to it. She asked if there would be a basis for a conditional rezoning for the contingency of construction of a marginal access road to mitigate the traffic impact?

 

Mr. Watson answered he did not think so. He thought it would be the type of condition if proposed on a uniform basis across all of the properties. He stated it was not appropriate to do it on a case by case basis.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated she would support the motion, however, she had some serious traffic concerns from this parcel as well as the additional parcels that can be developed as OS. She stated she would like it to be followed up to go through the steps that Mr. Watson explained so in lieu of funding for road improvements, there would be some mechanism to control the traffic flow.

 

Member Hoadley asked Mr. Arroyo when an applicant comes in with a site plan for that area, can the Commission impose some contingencies as far as proper excel/decel lanes based on the traffic?

 

Mr. Arroyo answered, yes.

 

Member Hoadley stated this would go a long way, it would be self developing and paid for by the development.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-153 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

Yes: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Markham, Vrettas,

Weddington

No: None

 

 

2. ORDINANCE 97-18 (SITE PLAN REVIEW)

 

An Ordinance to amend Subpart 2516.1 (c) to Ordinance NO. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to revise the site plan review process for possible recommendation to City Council.

 

Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney stated the amendment developed as a result of some concerns that Don Saven had regarding pay telephone structures and how they seemed to appear without being shown on site plans. The question was raised, would all of the sites have to go through the whole site plan process. The response was, in the absence of anything in the Zoning Ordinance, to make such a site plan an Administrative approval, it would go through the process. It was brought before the Implementation Committee who agreed that it was appropriate to list that type of change within the site plan. The Ordinance would add telephone structures to the Administrative approval list. A suggestion was also made to add delivery service drop boxes and similar services set up throughout the City. The amendment to the Ordinance is to add these two items to the list of site plan changes that can be done Administratively.

 

 

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.

 

 

PM-97-05-154 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL TO APPROVE ORDINANCE 97-18 SITE PLAN REVIEW

 

Moved by Weddington, seconded by Bononi, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Ordinance 97-18.

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Member Hoadley asked if an Administrative Review meant that the Traffic Consultant would also review the plan for traffic concerns?

 

Mr. Watson answered yes. He explained that "Administratively" meant that it does not go to the Planning Commission, it is sent to all of the consultants who normally review it.

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-154 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION

 

 

1. CHELTENHAM ESTATES SUBDIVISION, SP96-40B

 

Property located west of Beck Road, between Ten Mile Road and Nine Mile Road for possible Revised Woodland Permit approval.

 

George Norberg of Seiber Keast & Associates stated the project received Tentative Preliminary Plat approval from City Council on May 12, 1997. He thanked the Planning Commission for their patience and help in trying to work things out with the owner to the north. Mr. Norberg stated he was before the Commission for the Woodlands Review and Plan approval. He stated he would like to have some leeway on lots 7-13. The lots are 221' deep, a normal lot for the R-1 zoned property is 120' wide by 180' deep which means that they are already in excess of approximately 43 feet. Mr. Norberg was hopeful that there was a certain portion of the lot that would not require bonding if a 50 foot house were built. The home would be constructed at the front setback line and there would be 100' of woodlands or open area. He asked for consideration in not requiring bonds for all of the lots because of the depths of the lots.

 

Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated he would also be filling in for Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect. He stated there were about ten acres of regulated woodlands on the site. A portion of them form the northern portion of the woodlands of the Beckenham Estates Subdivision to the south, they continue off-site to the west and become a part of the core reserve area. The woodlands on the site are of high quality, they area a part of the core reserve area and form a visual and actual buffer. The design intrudes slightly into the regulated woodlands. There are 21 trees that are 8" or greater to be removed and approximately another ten trees which may have to be moved because they are close to proposed utility lines. Mr. Rogers stated there were a number of items to be added to the Woodlands Application. 1) Legal description of the property; 2) Zoning classification of site and surrounding parcels; 3) Locations or need for permanent tree protection measures; 4) Rechecking of tree survey on Lot 11. The correct number of replacement trees have been furnished for the 21 trees indicated to be removed, however, additional replacement trees may have to be removed when the detailed construction plans are submitted. The setbacks do not reflect possible side entry garages, therefore, the building envelopes should be looked at again for more realistic sizes within the lots. All of the trees on lots 5-11 and 15-16 will be bonded at the time of development. Additional fencing is needed for Lot 9. In summary, given the minimal amount of intrusion into the regulated woodlands on the site, Mr. Rogers recommended approval of the proposed plan for a Woodlands Permit. Mr. Rogers stated he and Ms. Lemke reviewed the Preservation Option Plan and there was no significant amount of saving of woodlands under that plan. He stated there were five standard conditions in granting the Woodlands Permit which were listed at the end of the report.

 

Chris Pargoff, City Forester stated the building envelopes as shown were totally unrealistic. He did not believe they presented a proper picture of what would happen when construction begins. Per the Ordinance, the developer is responsible for the entire site on individual lots. This allows the bonding to be transferred to the individual builders when they purchase the lots, therefore, at that point in time the builder is aware that he is being assessed for the protection of the regulated woodlands.

 

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

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Member Csordas asked Mr. Pargoff why he thought the building envelopes were unrealistic?

Mr. Pargoff did not believe the houses were close enough to the road because of the side entry garages. He explained often times side entry garages force the garage to be extended 20' beyond the front of the house. He stated the building envelopes would likely go back 20' into the woodlands. He did not think the projected numbers for tree removal were anywhere close. Mr. Pargoff stated even a front entry garage would create a situation where the building would be pushed back further because of the front yard setback.

 

 

PM-97-05-155 TO APPROVE THE WOODLAND PERMIT SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE CONSULTANTS COMMENTS AND NO WAIVER OF BONDING

 

Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Markham, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Woodland Permit subject to all of the consultants comments and no waiver of bonding.

 

Member Bononi asked about the status of Somerset Park being the proposed site of the City Regional Detention Basin and the likelihood that it would come on line?

 

Mr. Pargoff believed the basin was still to be acquired. Most of the basin flows into the Novi/Lyon Drain across Ten Mile Road. He did not believe the City had possession of the property where the basin actually flows northbound across Ten Mile Road.

 

Member Bononi asked if there would be any affect on the regulated woodlands in the event that it did come on line.

 

Mr. Pargoff did not believe there would be any more than there currently was. He stated there would be some flow of water into the area, as the area is currently in transition and the impact has not been that great.

 

Member Hoadley asked Mr. Pargoff what he would do to make sure there would not be any erosion problems into the wooded wetlands?

 

Mr. Pargoff stated the individual lots would have snow fencing put in on a lot by lot basis. He stated it was done at the time of Woodlands affidavit, at that point a silt fence at the backs of the lots could be required. He believed the Woodlands Ordinance allowed him to mandate that the down spouts and gutters be directly put into the storm system of the individual houses and the sump pump discharge would be put into the city storm water system along the roadway.

 

 

Member Hoadley stated the problem has been the lack of enforcement and maintenance of the fences. He thought the Ordinances should be enforced, otherwise why have them.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo referred to Ms. Lemkeís letter dated March 12, 1997. Ms. Lemke indicated that Lots 5-16 should have a "no backyard" classification, Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Pargoff if this was his recommendation as well?

 

Mr. Pargoff answered, yes. He stated he met with Mr. Nanda and he was aware of it. The key was to make the builders aware of it, he stated it was a part of the Woodlands Affidavit.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated it would be a part of the motion.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-155 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

2. FLASH FLOOD - RECOMMENDED NAME CHANGE

 

The Communications and Community Liaison Committee recommended on May 14, 1997 that the name of the Planning Commissionís Summary Report be changed from "Flash Flood" to "Action Report" or any other appropriate name for possible approval.

 

Member Vrettas suggested calling it a Summary Report.

 

 

PM-97-05-156 TO RENAME THE "FLASH FLOOD" TO "SUMMARY REPORT"

 

Moved by Vrettas, MOTION DIED FOR LACK OF SUPPORT

 

Steve Cohen, Staff Planner stated the report was based on actual motions and actions, he did not know if Summary would be the correct description, he recommended Action Report.

 

Member Bononi suggested the word "Status" be inserted, to denote that something in time was being looked at.

 

Member Markham stated the item came about as a result of a discussion with Lou Martin, Public Information Director for the City of Novi. Mr. Martin stated he often sends the Flash Flood to the local newspapers and it does not really say what it is. Member Markham thought the name implied something negative, she thought it would be better used for Mr. Martin if it were given a different name because it would then be recognized. She suggested keeping the name very simple.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo suggested Action Summary.

 

 

PM-97-05-157 TO RENAME THE "FLASH FLOOD" TO "ACTION SUMMARY"

 

Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Markham, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To change the name of the "Flash Flood" to "Action Summary".

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-157 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

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

No: None

 

 

MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

 

 

1. FORMAT OF PLANNING COMMISSION SUB COMMITTEE MINUTES

 

Member Hoadley referred to Dennis Watsonís letter dated May 12, 1997 in regard to the matter. He stated he was not totally satisfied with it and was looking for some way to get what was really needed. It was his opinion that enough was not being given to make good decisions, particularly on ongoing matters. Member Hoadley thought Committee reports were extremely important since they were acting as small bodies of the Commission. He thought the full Commission should have the benefit of the notes ahead of time, therefore, when a vote is needed, the notes could be read and understood with enough information to make it possible. Member Hoadley believed in summarizing, however, he stated information that various Commissioners have participated could not be left out. He thought the minutes could be condensed but they have to be complete.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated in reviewing Mr. Watsonís letter, basically two things were very relevant. The first being that the Planning Commission has the discretion and duty to adopt rules for transaction of business and shall keep records of its resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations. Further, the Commission has the ability to adopt a rule or bylaw regarding its transaction of business which would include a provision dealing with the format and conduct of subcommittee minutes. Mr. Watson also explained that the duty of the City Council is that the expenditure of the Commissioners shall be within the amounts appropriated for the purpose by Council, which shall provide the funds, equipment and accommodations necessary for the Commissionerís work. Chairperson Lorenzo stated her interpretation was if the Planning Commission, in adopting itsí rules for the transaction of business in keeping with itsí duty to maintain records of its resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations, that it falls into the necessary funds, equipment and accommodations for the Commissionís work and the Council shall provide the funds necessary to conduct business in accordance. Chairperson Lorenzo understood from practice and policy that one of the duties of the Planning Department staff was to provide the support to carry out the Planning Commissionís business.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo expressed concern regarding not maintaining more accurate records and representations of the transaction of business that occurs at subcommittee meetings. Being a member of several subcommitteeís, she stated there were many fact finding sessions, many consultants reports, many debates that are relevant and should be transcribed to be given to the Commission as a whole as well as the public. She asked why the servicing of the Planning Commission subcommittee meeting minutes should change?

 

Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated the Department as well as other departments have been directed by the City Manager and City Council to provide summary minutes of one or two pages emphasizing action recommendations principley to focus on an action recommendation from a subcommittee. He stated it is a city-wide policy as he understands it. He stated over a period of time, Council has been implementing administrative measures and actions to reduce the amount of paperwork. He stated they have reduced their minutes as the Planning Commission has, the transcription time has dramatically improved from past years.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated it was adopted by the Planning Commission as it was their prerogative to do so. She believed it was the Commissionís prerogative to do their business in another manner other than the Council.

 

Mr. Wahl stated he was also directed to reduce the amount of overtime. He stated it was both a budgetary and a personnel situation that he has been directed to deal with. In keeping with the direction of the City Manager in regard to how to administer clerical services to all City Committees, this is the amount of time and energy that can be put into the assignment. He stated if the Planning Commission would seek other solutions to the assignment, the requests would have to directed to the Council and City Manager.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated the Planning Department is also assigned to service the Planning Commission. In accordance with the way the Commission chooses to do itís business. She asked who was transcribing the Committee Meeting Minutes and the Planning Commission Meeting Minutes?

 

Mr. Wahl stated the Committee meeting minutes could be transcribed by just about anyone in the Department except for the receptionist. He stated the entire staff transcribes the minutes depending on the other assignments that are being worked on.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if anyone on the staff was a more effecient typist?

 

Mr. Wahl answered, Diane Vimr is the Steno Clerk and she transcribes the Planning Commission Meeting minutes.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated with a very effecient typist, it should not take that long to transcribe a 1 Ĺ to 2 hour Committee meeting, depending on the type of typist. She asked how long it takes to transcribe the Committee minutes?

 

Mr. Cohen answered, usually one day, uninterrupted.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo did not understand why it took an entire day to transcribe a 1 Ĺ hour meeting. She asked Mr. Wahl to clarify.

 

Mr. Wahl stated he has not conducted a time study on how long it takes to transcribe the minutes as they are being done now. He stated as they were done in the past, it took him 2 to 4 hours to transcribe five to six pages of minutes. He explained that it is not uninterrupted time because there are phone calls and other interruptions.

 

Mr. Cohen clarified, to transcribe verbatim Committee minutes, it takes over one day. To condense it to 2 or 3 pages, it may take 3 to 4 hours.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo thought that the editorializing would take time as far as what is relevant versus irrelevant. She expressed concern at the very least, in addition to motions, she thought questions and responses to and from consultants needed to be included as well as any reports or other comments from consultants. She gave a specific example of a very relevant comment that had been left out until she had asked that it be placed in. It was regarding the Master Plan and Zoning Committee Meeting regarding the Donelson Drive study. She had the opportunity to observe and attend the meeting, and heard Mr. Rogers mention OST as an appropriate alternative for that area. When she received a copy of the minutes from that meeting, the question that had been asked and Mr. Rogersí response was not included in the minutes. She called Mr. Cohen and he did not recall, even though he had transcribed the minutes. He referred back to the tape and sure enough, Chairperson Lorenzo was not mistaken, it was a part that was left out and it was placed on the record. She stated there are very relevant statements, fact finding reports, comments that are made and if they are not part of a record, they are lost forever. She stated it is a part of the Commissionís history and a part of itsí business. For the information not to be able to be brought to the Planning Commission, the City Council, any other body within the City or to the public at large is a disservice.

 

Member Hoadley suggested having the minutes returned to each Committee for approval just as the Planning Commission minutes, and if they are too short, they get sent back to the Planning Department with corrections or additions. Member Hoadley encouraged the Planning Department to compromise and either find a volunteer to assist since it was a budget situation, or compromise on the time and make the minutes a little more complete than what they are. He stated they were not complete enough to satisfy him and thought a better job could be done.

 

 

PM-97-05-158 TO AMEND THE BYLAWS AND RULES OF PROCEDURES TO HAVE THE FORMAT FOR SUBCOMMITTEE MINUTES APPROVED BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE AND ANY SHORTFALL OF CORRECTIONS OR ADDITIONS BE INCLUDED

 

Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To amend the Bylaws and Rules of Procedures to have the format for subcommittee minutes approved by the subcommittee and any shortfall of corrections or additions be included.

 

 

 

DISCUSSION

 

Member Bononi concurred with the concerns of Member Hoadley. She expressed concern about everyoneís right to know. She had a problem with the circumstances in which matters go from the Committee directly to Council without having been approved by the Committee because she wondered if Council was getting the full impact of each discussion. Member Bononi stated everyone who reads the minutes has the right to know how the Committee hammered out itsí decisions. Member Bononi stated if there is to be a summary form, there should be Planning Department criteria about what the summary is to include. She agreed with Chairperson Lorenzo and stated the questions that are asked of the consultants are particularly relevant. She was looking for the summary to include all points of view.

 

Member Bononi stated after working in planning offices for many years, this discussion was pretty arbitrary and capricious and borders on the petty. She stated as volunteers, there was a lot of meaningful work being done and to have it be given short shrift in the reporting process was not fair. Lastly, Member Bononi was concerned about the publicís right to know. She believed that a summary form could be adequate, however, she did not believe the current summary form was adequate because too many important pieces of information have been omitted.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Member Bononi if she wished to amend the motion to include particular items within the summary?

 

Member Bononi thought all of the items in the summary should include pros and cons, questions asked and answered and they do not have to be done in narrative form.

 

Member Hoadley accepted the amendment

 

Member Vrettas also accepted the amendment.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-158 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

Yes: Hoadley, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi, Csordas

No: None

 

Mr. Wahl thought the suggestion to work on the format was very good and well taken. He stated he would like to produce minutes that are satisfactory for the Commission to conduct itsí business, he stated the format is being worked toward. The directive he received in the last 45 days, was to reduce from 5-6 pages down to 2 pages. He stated he would like to work the format out so that it is satisfactory to the Commission. In general, he stated he was between a rock and a hard place because he had been told to proceed in that direction. Mr. Wahl stated he was more paper oriented than most of the other Administrators, he believes in record keeping and a good basic source of information. He stated there were a lot of values to thorough minutes and he has utilized it in his work, on the other side of the coin, there have been some excellent Planning Commissions in the past. There were almost 50% more projects, longer meetings, more work and a lot of Committees and there were no minutes. Basically, people kept their own notes and they brought their information to the table and utilized it in discussions at the table. Mr. Wahl stated in the past there were Commissioners who wanted to have more working type discussions with all of the Commissioners. Whenever there is opportunity on an Agenda, those types of planning and philosophical discussions should be programmed. He offered this as a possible method of more public information, more commissioner involvement and better record keeping and stated it was another method of accomplishing some of the objectives.

 

Mr. Wahl clarified when he said it takes him 5-6 hours to transcribe minutes, that is within a day when the phone is constantly ringing, people stop in at his office, impromptu meetings are held, he is called to a meeting with the City Manager, or the staff needs him to take care of a problem. He stated this type of working day applies to all of the staff. In order to provide quality service to the public, when a citizen walks in the door, he wants to be able to assign the right person to deal with them and spend as much time as it takes for that citizen to get all of the information that they need to have, which means pulling staff off of their work and assignments. He stated there were other responsibilities that the Department had to service the Public.

 

On behalf of the Commission, Chairperson Lorenzo stated they appreciate the cooperation and efforts in the future, to better service the Commission through the new and improved minutes. However, the point is that not all of the day is spent transcribing the minutes. If a record were being kept of how many minutes were actually spent transcribing the minutes, it would give a better representation of how much time it is taking. She did not think the Planning Commission minutes, the way business is done, and the publicís right to know should be penalized because the Planning Department has a lot of other responsibilities.

 

Mr. Wahl reiterated that he has been directed to do the work in this fashion. In conclusion, he suggested if a satisfactory process or practice could not be reached, the Commission should find some other solution with the City Council in the next budget.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if it would be an option for the Commission to reapportion money toward it for the 1997-98 budget?

 

It was Mr. WahlĎs understanding that the budget was currently approved by line item and is set in terms of what services are to be delivered. He stated if the Commission wants to do something different in terms of services, they would be looking at changing the current budget by amending it or coming up with something for next years budget.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Wahl to help determine the amount, by timing, hour, etc.

Mr. Wahl stated the only solution at this point would be more staff or some approach that would provide more time to do that particular assignment.

 

Member Hoadley reiterated his suggestion of a public volunteer. He stated there were also some discretionary funds in the budget that could perhaps be allocated toward adequate minutes.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated with the cooperation of the Department, the goals of including the pros and cons, questions and responses were going to be worked on. She thought it needed to be given some time.

 

Member Hoadley thought Mr. Wahlís idea was well taken, in regard to adding Committee items to the Planning Commission Agenda when there is a light Agenda.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated it was possible, however, sometimes Mr. Cohen does not know how many items will be on the Agenda until a couple of days before the Agenda is actually produced. She also stated the information might not be available for the work. If there is no information on it, there is reallly nothing to be done yet.

 

Member Hoadley stated if it was feasible to do it, he would encourage that it be done that way.

 

Chairperson Lorenzo stated it is done if there is ample time. She stated Mr. Cohen and she does look to add items when they can.

 

Member Vrettas thought the compromise was a good one, he thought everyone could win from the situation. He thought it was a dead issue at this point and suggested moving on to see how it works out.

 

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

None

 

 

PM-97-05-159 TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 9:10 P.M.

 

Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 9:10 p.m.

 

 

VOTE ON PM-97-05-159 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

 

Yes: Bononi, Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington

No: None

 

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________

Steven Cohen - Staff Planner

 

 

 

Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr

May 28, 1997

 

Date Approved: June 04, 1997