WEDNESDAY, JUNE 04, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.


(810) 347-0475


Meeting called to order at 7:40 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo


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


ABSENT: Hoadley


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








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





Moved by Churella, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as presented.





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

No: None















Chairperson Lorenzo announced there were two items for approval, the minutes from the April 2, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting and the approval of the May 21, 1997 Regular Planning Commission. She asked if there were any corrections to either minutes?


Member Markham referred to the Wednesday, April 2, 1997 minutes, page 4, paragraph two should read, "Member Markham disagreed with Member Vrettas because she...".


Chairperson Lorenzo referred to page 5, somewhere in the area of the last paragraph she stated she had comments regarding the DPS backlog of storm water drainage system maintenance and she would like it included in the minutes. She referred to page 19, paragraph three, second sentence should read, "she stated that at Level of Service D, the number of vehicles stopping...".


Member Bononi referred to the minutes of Wednesday, May 21, 1997, page 5, paragraph eight, she added that she asked Mr. Arroyo what the maximum number of square feet he would see being able to be utilized in the zone and his answer was 45,000 square feet.


Chairperson Lorenzo referred to page 6, paragraph six, should read, "...for mitigating circumstances that impact the surrounding properties?". Page 12, paragraph 2, third sentence should read, "...adopt rules for transaction of business...". Page 13, paragraph two, fifth sentence should read, "...many debates that are relevant and should be transcribed to be given to the commission as a whole...".





Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the April 2, 1997 and May 21, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes as amended.





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

No: None








Property located east of Clark Street, between Eleven Mile Road and Ten Mile Road for possible Revised Tentative Preliminary Plat and Revised Wetland Permit recommendation to City Council and Revised Woodland Permit approval.


George Norberg of Seiber Keast & Associates represented the owner of the Peachtree Development. Mr. Norberg summarized the happenings with the piece of property since it was originally proposed.


He stated the cul-de-sac length on the previous plan was slightly longer by a few feet, than the one currently shown. According to the City’s Ordinance, a waiver is required when the cul-de-sac is measured from Marlson Avenue which is an additional 490 feet. Clark Street is a platted City R.O.W. and was never constructed, as a part of the proposal, improvements will be made along Clark Street.


Mr. Norberg stated part of the reason the mitigation area is large is because of the wetland crossing at .22 acres, which is unusual for this type of development. He stated, fortunately, the owners of Johnson Controls are willing to grant an easement for the water main connection, however, they were not pleased with the idea that there would be an access at that point. There is a large grade differential in that area as well as another wetland crossing, Mr. Norberg stated they decided not to pursue it any further. He stated he requested to speak with the property owner to the south, but has not received any correspondence and has had great difficulty trying to locate that person.


One advantage to the development, is that the water main will be extended down Clark and brought up to the north. Relative to the wetland location, he stated there is about .22 acres of wetland fill along Clark Street. He stated he has been able to take the area as well as some fill area of .16 acres in front of Lot 18 and mitigate it in a large mitigation area. The total ratio between the acreages and the acreage of fill is 1/1.5.


Under the circumstances with the extension of Clark Street and the requirement for mitigation of the .22 acres, it may be slightly different than what would normally be done. Mr. Norberg stated most of the .22 acres is the reason he needed to add some additional areas throughout the site. He stated a couple of small areas were looked at, but they were also located within the woodland area or located too close to the existing home.



The woodland on the site almost bisects the site. The preservation factor with the detention basin in the woodland area is approximately 71%. The flood plain that is designated on the Preliminary Plat, is shown by elevation. The request by JCK to get a letter of Map Amendment is correct and Mr. Norberg stated he would obtain a Map Amendment. This will amend the drawing not the elevation.


In conclusion, Mr. Norberg believed the plan met all of the City requirements, therefore, he requested approval of the Woodland Plan, recommendation for approval to City Council for the cul-de-sac waiver, wetland plan and a recommendation for tentative approval to City Council of the Preliminary Plat.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated all of the lots comply with the R-4 District standards. The density is 1.81 units per acre. The length of the cul-de-sac is dimensioned and it scales pretty accurately at approximately 799' long. When measured from the edge of Clark Street and Marlson Avenue, the cul-de-sac distance is 1,290', a waiver from Council will be needed for the length which exceeds 800'.


Mr. Rogers stated there is a need for a secondary emergency access. The street name and court name have been approved by the Street Naming Committee, sidewalks are being provided. Mr. Rogers recommended Tentative Preliminary Plat approval subject to three conditions: 1) compliance with Woodland Permit standards and conditions; 2) waiver of length of cul-de-sac by City Council; 3) consideration of secondary emergency vehicle access.


Jim Schafer of Birchler Arroyo & Associates stated access is shown from one cul-de-sac street which connects to Clark Street. The plat properly shows a 60' R.O.W. The plat has been modified to now show a slightly less than 800' long cul-de-sac, however, by Ordinance, the road does not meet the 800' minimum. Future access may be provided to the south. Due to the size of the development, there would be no improvements warranted to Clark Street other than paving to provide access directly to the parcel. Mr. Schafer did not recommend approval based on the situation with the plan not meeting the 800' minimum length for the cul-de-sac. However, approval will be recommended if a variance were received from City Council.


Dave Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the roads and utilities will be contained within 60' R.O.W.’s. The streets will be the standard width for the City of Novi. Utilities are proposed for the project, sanitary sewer will be extended in from Johnson Controls, water will also be extended in and also extended up and down Clark Street for future extensions. The applicant proposes storm sewers to collect storm water from the streets and the lots, this water will be directed to a detention/sedimentation basin on the north side of the cul-de-sac which will outlet into the creek. The subdivision contains a 100 year flood plain around the Monroe Creek. Mr. Bluhm stated the applicant will be required to obtain a letter of Map Amendment for the subdivision, prior to subdivision construction drawing approval. An easement will be required from Johnson Controls for the sanitary sewer extension prior to subdivision construction drawing approval. Mr. Bluhm concurred with the excessive cul-de-sac length variance requirement and if Council grants the variance, Mr. Bluhm stated he would approve the plan. One concern with the sanitary, is a possible extension down Clark Street to its terminus, into the larger undeveloped parcel to the south. The plan demonstrates engineering feasibility and he recommended approval.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated the woodlands is of good quality, it is a wooded wetland that consists of elm, poplar and maple and its’ redeeming features are that it provides buffer for the stream and it does have some wildlife habitat value. Ms. Lemke did not recommend approval because there were concerns with the area where Lot 18 is now located. She felt that it was a very good area of woodlands and by putting a lot in that location would remove the area. She also expressed concern with the area for proposed wetland mitigation, she felt there were other areas on the site that could be used for it. She suggested the area adjacent to the resident that Mr. Norberg spoke of. She stated this area was a grassed area and could be re-vegetated.


In summary, there were still some items that needed to be addressed: 1) additional fencing behind Lots 11 & 12; 2) place Lots 11-17 and if allowed Lot 18 into a "no backyard" classification; 3) address alternative locations for proposed mitigation areas within the upland woodlands; 4) if allowed, she had conditions on the size, number and species of the replacement trees. If approved, Ms. Lemke stated she had 6 conditions that she would like addressed.


Chris Pargoff, City Forester concurred with Ms. Lemke’s Lot 18 and indicated that Lots 13-18 would have a "no backyard" designation. In addition, the downspout gutter systems on the houses should be tied into the sump discharge system, per the City Woodlands Ordinance. He stated it has been a stipulation for the last 6 projects. Mr. Pargoff asked that prospective homeowners sign the grading guideline that has been formulated by the Woodlands Board, all trees shall be counted for the mitigation of trees on site. The number of replacement species needs to be increased to ten (10) because of the numbers of trees involved. Also, the southerly lots shall not be made into nurseries.


Susan Tepatti, Water Resources Specialist, stated the site is approximately 10 acres and contains about 3 ½ acres of wetland area. The Monroe Creek flows east through the site and exits the site at the southeast corner. The proposed impacts that are different are primarily the location of the mitigation area and the inclusion of Lot 18. The primary impacts to the wetlands are for the road crossings and she did not have a problem with it. The applicant has reduced the fill to .388 acres from the original .46 acres. Lot 18 is objectionable because of the wetland buffer impact. The mitigation plan as presented, proposes .32 acres of constructive wetland adjacent to the Monroe Creek, the location is preferable in the southeast corner of the property as it is adjacent to the creek and would have a good hydrological source. The mitigation proposed within the basin is of a concern because of the doubling of the sedimentation basin as well as some of the short term problems that are proposed. Ms. Tepatti did not feel that the entire basin would function as a mitigation area based on preliminary grading shown and the expected hydrology.


Ms. Tepatti expressed concern that the 1 ½ /1 ratio would not be met, rather it would be somewhere between 1/1 or 1 ½/1. She stated her primary concerns were with the location of the wetland mitigation as well as the inclusion of Lot 18.


Chairperson Lorenzo announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshall for the City of Novi Fire Department which states the above plan is not recommended for approval. 1) Each dwelling unit must be within 800' of street distance from the nearest point of external access. Lots 10, 11 and 12 are more than 800' from Clark Street. Provide an additional external access to the site or shorten the road to be within the allowed 800'. 2) Item #2 of the fire department notes is not acceptable. All roads are to be paved prior to construction above the foundation.


Chairperson Lorenzo announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public. Seeing none she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Bononi was disappointed to see that the plans had very little movement from the standpoint of scaling down the density of the subdivision application. Her greatest concerns were with mitigation, the intrusion into the woodlands and the quality of the woodlands, she was also concerned with the quality of life issues. The fact that the lots to the north have no rear yards could make a great difference to a lot of people. She proposed that she would support something that would increase the widths of the lots in order to provide usable side yard. Secondly, Member Bononi expressed concern with the impact of the 18 lots on the existing wetlands and creek. She was not satisfied that the amendment to the FEMA Map would be automatic, she stated she would want to know what the elevation is and how it would affect the lots. Member Bononi proposed cutting the subdivision down to 12 lots, eliminate a lot in the location of Lot 18 which is of greatest objection to the wetlands expert.

In regard to the street crossings, she felt there was a lot of impact on the wetlands. Member Bononi thought something could be done, there was too much happening on the small piece of land.





Moved by Bononi, seconded by Markham, NO VOTE WAS TAKEN.


Member Markham explained the reason she seconded the motion was because she agreed that the application was not all that different from the one the Commission saw at the last meeting. She stated the wetland mitigation requirements were not being met, the lot placement interferes with the regulated wetlands and having Lots 13-18 designated as "no backyard" she found to be undesirable and uncontrollable. Member Markham expressed concern with wetland mitigation and regulated woodlands being planned, she shared Member Bononi’s thought that there were too many homesites on the parcel. She was not against development on the site because she thought it was possible to do it, however, she thought too many homes were trying to be put in too many sensitive places on the property.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney asked for a clarification as to when the project was submitted?


Mr. Cohen answered it was received on April 30, 1997 and it was processed on May 1, 1997.


Member Churella asked Mr. Rogers if Clark Street was already paved, where would the cul-de-sac be measured from?


Mr. Rogers answered, from Marlson Avenue because that is the point where two streets come together to give dual access.


Member Vrettas stated he would support a negative motion because he did not see anything in the plan that he could live with.


Chairperson Lorenzo suggested some alternatives. 1) to deny based on the concerns of the consultants and Commissioners; 2) to recommend with certain criteria in terms of the removal of Lot 18, the relocation of the mitigation area, a clarification and impact of the flood plain elevation before final. She stated it was either going to have to be a negative recommendation to City Council or a recommendation with suggestions.


Member Vrettas suggested voting on the motion.


Chairperson Lorenzo thought the current motion was inappropriate.





Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a negative recommendation to City Council for Settler’s Creek Subdivision, SP96-22B.





Member Weddington clarified that if Council approves the plan, she hoped the applicant would consider the issues and restated that Lot 18 should be removed, the wetland mitigation area should be relocated out of the woodland area and the flood plain issues must be addressed and clarified. She added that she was personally concerned about the cul-de-sac length as a matter of public safety. She stated she would be supporting the motion.


Chairperson Lorenzo further clarified the motion to send a negative recommendation to City Council, she asked the Commission if they wanted to be more explicit in terms of the specific...


Member Vrettas suggested giving reasons why the negative recommendation was being sent to Council.


Chairperson Lorenzo restated the motion to send a negative recommendation to City Council due to the consultants and Planning Commission’s concerns which are as follows: the inclusion of Lot 18, the location of the mitigation area, the "no backyard" designations, the flood plain elevation and impact on the wetlands and on adjacent lots, the length of the cul-de-sac and all of the consultants concerns.


Member Csordas asked Mr. Rogers to clarify his letter dated May 12, 1997, number 3, consideration of secondary emergency vehicle access, he asked if it was asking the applicant to consider another access?


Mr. Rogers answered that was the intent. If it was physically, unreasonably, impossible, then it would not be a requirement.


Member Capello stated the density for R-4 zoning is 3.3 units per acre which is an excess of 30 units on the parcel, the developer is only proposing 18. The developer is having to put in an additional 500' of pavement to bring the road to the beginning of his property, which is an additional cost. He stated several times the Commission has asked developers to bring affordable housing to Novi, this is one project that could bring in affordable housing. However, the way the Commission is trying to re-design the project and reduce lots from 19 to 18 to 12, this project will not be affordable because of all of the costs of the development. Therefore the cost of the lots will have to increase and this will be passed down to the homeowner. Member Capello stated he would not have a problem waiving any mitigation of the wetland. With the wetland in that area, he stated it did not make sense to have the applicant go through the additional cost of mitigating. Member Capello stated he did not know the economics of the project so he could not say that all of the items would make the project economically unfeasible, however, he stated it would increase the cost of the individual lots. He also stated this development would be within walking distance to Main Street. He stated he would like to see the Commission work with the developer to get the project approved. There was nothing that could be done in regard to a secondary access, eventually the property to the south will be developed, but the secondary access was out of the petitioners control.


Member Vrettas stated he had just heard a conversation that made him feel like the Commission had gone back 10 years. He stated we’ve forgotton all of the things we’ve learned about ecology, woodlands, wetlands and have not grown. We’re back to business as usual of 20 years ago. He stated he wanted to help the developers but he did not want to help them in the sense that the Commission goes backwards. He wants downtown to have people coming in but he wants them to walk through nice neighborhoods with clean water, clean air and things that include everything that has been seen over the last 20 years. Member Vrettas stated the Commission has to learn from history and quit repeating it. At this point, the project is terrible, it is not the fault of the developer, it is just the way the land is. He thought the Commission should learn from past mistakes and continue to grow and in this case, because of the way nature has made things, adjustments will have to be made. The land is not flat, it has good trees on it, wetlands, it ties into a stream. He asked, hasn’t the Commission learned anything in the last 20 years? And stated, "let’s grow."


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Bluhm for an exact number for the flood plain elevation for the area.


Mr. Bluhm answered the numbers from FEMA were approximately 910 along Clark Street going down to about 898 at the southeast corner of the site, incrementally increasing through the site.


In regard to the flood plains that are located within the lots, Chairperson Lorenzo asked what those elevations were?


Mr. Bluhm answered the elevations at Lot 18 would be approximately 908 to 909. He stated the lots as shown on the plan are not in the flood plain by elevation of the flood plain. The elevation of a flood plain is not located on the lot, it is contained entirely in the park areas and not on any of the lots in the subdivision.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the petitioner were to meet the Ordinance requirement for the cul-de-sac, how many lots would be lost in doing so?


Mr. Bluhm answered about nine lots.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Member Bononi to clarify her recommendation of number of lots to be removed?


Member Bononi stated her recommendation was to end up with 12 lots, this included a specification of increasing the side yard requirement on the lots which have a "no backyard" designation.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated the Planning Commission’s recommendation with Lot 18 and some additional lots would actually be less than the number of lots that would be lost if the petitioner were to be in total compliance with the Ordinance. She did not think this was unreasonable. Chairperson Lorenzo thought a reduction of at least one lot would be reasonable, she hoped that City Council would take into consideration the concerns of the environment, the impact to the homeowners that will live there with "no backyard" designations and the impact of the Ordinance. She thought it would be a much more feasible and palatable subdivision if that were the case.





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

No: None






Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Markham, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone the Woodland Permit.


Member Churella spoke on behalf of Member Hoadley. He stated that Member Hoadley would like City Council to look at increasing the ¼ acre to make it larger.





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

No: None







Property located south of Twelve Mile Road, between Twelve Oaks Mall and Meadowbrook Road for possible Final Site Plan recommendation to City Council.



Mike Kahm of Singh Development stated he has completed all of the construction plans, he has received a positive recommendation from all of the consultants for approval of the Final Site Plan. He pointed out that he followed the recommendation the Commission in regard to placement of the connection road and he has a recorded easement from DMC to place the road there.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated both facilities would benefit from having access to each other. He stated the plan conforms to the originally approved Preliminary Site Plan. There are two phases, each of which can stand alone. Phase I is a two-story home for the aged, Phase II will be the independent living structure.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated the changes to the landscape plan were minor and dealt with perennials and some small shrubs. The only objection she had was the use of Alpine Currant, she stated she would like to see it changed to a different species.


In regard to the woodlands, Ms. Lemke stated she was in the process of reviewing the final engineering and was working out details as there were some problems with it.


Mr. Rogers stated the proposed building facades show the building to be of face brick with some horizontal siding.


Mr. Rogers referred to the minutes of January 17, 1996, page 6, Member Hoadley asked if an emergency back-up electrical system was planned, Mr. Kahm replied, "they haven’t got to that level but if the state requires a back up system, they will provide it." He asked Mr. Kahm to respond.


Mr. Kahm responded, the State did not require an emergency generator system to be installed for this particular type of building because it was not a care facility defined by the State. That is, it is not a nursing home or convalescent center, it is a home for the aged or currently known as an assisted living facility. He stated he had a lengthy meeting with Don Saven just to make sure they both agreed with what was being done with the building. Mr. Kahm stated he had discussed with the electrical engineer, the ability to bring in a portable generator, connect it to the building and provide for minimal electrical power for the heating systems, etc.


Mr. Rogers recommended Final Site Plan approval.


Jim Schafer of Birchler Arroyo & Associates recommended approval.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant recommended approval with the security of an off site water main easement.


Chris Pargoff, City Forester stated the developer has proposed 1.5 trees per unit rather than the 3 trees per unit as specified in Ordinance 2509,7,e, (1). The proposal was made because of the unique nature of the structure and living unit. He did not have an objection to the 1.5 as opposed to 3 pieces of plant material per unit. The applicant is proposing to contribute to the City tree planting account and part of the woodlands mitigation will be designated for planting along the Twelve Mile Road boulevard.


Susan Tepatti, Water Resources Specialist stated the engineering plans have been reviewed and expects to be drafting and issuing the wetland permit following some minor revisions to the plan.


Chairperson Lorenzo announced she has 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 turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.




Moved by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council in accordance with all of the consultants recommendations for Waltonwood Continuum of Care Facility, SP93-30G.





Member Bononi asked Mr. Schafer where the construction access would be and would the vehicles be sharing the existing roadway through the mall?


Mr. Schafer did not know where the proposed construction access was to be located.


With the cooperation of the Taubman company, Mr. Kahm stated he was hoping to come in along the vacant property and bring the construction traffic in exclusively off of Twelve Mile Road.


Member Bononi complimented the applicant on the variety of the plantings that were specified in the plans. She also thanked the applicant for providing a quiet, people friendly contemplative area for the residents and guests as she had requested.





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

No: None





Environmental Planning Committee regarding revision to Wetlands/Watercourse Ordinance for possible recommendation to the Ordinance Review Committee.





Moved by Churella, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a possible recommendation to City Council for referral to the Ordinance Review Committee for the Wetlands Watercourse Ordinance Revision submitted to the Planning Commission by the Environmental Planning Committee.




Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney asked that Council be provided with all of the minutes of meetings that the Environmental Committee had on this particular draft, he thought it would help put it into perspective.


Member Churella stated the comment he made earlier on behalf of Member Hoadley regarding ¼ of an acre, was located on Page 16. He clarified that Member Hoadley stated it was too restrictive and thought it should be ½ of an acre.


Ms. Tepatti added that Member Hoadley contacted her and his concern was in requiring mitigation for the wetlands less than 2 acres that are not of significant quality. He felt that requiring certain sites to mitigate the wetlands would be a hardship for some developments.


Member Bononi referred to Section 12-174, Review Standards, page 15, number 2 which reads, "Whether the proposed activity will interfere with the natural functions of wetlands and watercourses including the flow of water and nutrients between wetlands and watercourses or interfere with existing trees and vegetation." She believed the language that she suggested was a little more specific and stronger in tone. She stated she was looking for the applicant to provide, by elevation, the effect that storm events would have on existing wetland area including adverse affects on existing trees and vegetation. Although Number 2 generally states what she was looking for, it was not specific and she would like to have it amended.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there was another location where it could also include the more specific language?


Member Bononi thought it should belong where it was because that was where she intended it to be, unless there was a place that Chairperson Lorenzo thought it would be more appropriate.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if it should be included in the Permit Application because engineering information was being asked for.


Member Bononi stated it could be. She thought it would probably be appropriate in both locations. She suggested amending Number 3 to add the words, "and elevation" between the words "flow" and "of". She stated the idea was to try to get some sort of quantifiable or measurable estimate from the applicant with regard to the effect that the differing elevations might have on trees and vegetation.

Chairperson Lorenzo asked Mr. Watson if it would be clear to the applicant that they are to provide those elevations in order to make that evaluation?


Mr. Watson thought it should be included where the specific information is being asked for. He stated the motion should be amended.


Member Churella accepted the amendment.


Member Vrettas agreed.


Chairperson Lorenzo responded to Member Hoadley’s concern. She stated the reason for trying to mitigate at least ¼ acre was because the City wants to prevent a further net loss of wetlands. If the City is to accomplish this, it needs to mitigate whatever impact there is. In determining what size acreage would be mitigated, Ms. Tepatti provided her expertise. While the applicant may have difficulty, in some instances, of mitigating on site, there is always a possibility of mitigating off site.


Member Churella thought Member Hoadley was stating that it should not be in black and white, the Commission should have the right to have the applicant mitigate it.


Member Capello asked if it was common to have letters from the consultants when making revisions to the Ordinance?


Mr. Rogers believed input has been given to the Committee from consultants.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated the consultants comments will be in the minutes.





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

No: None


Chairperson Lorenzo announced the Commission will take a brief recess.














Presentation of Preliminary draft of findings and conclusions of Industrial Land Inventory study by Brandon Rogers, Linda Lemke and Frank Leimbach.


Frank Leimbach introduced himself. He stated the ultimate goal was to come up with a document or brochure that could be used to entice people and stimulate their interest to come to Novi and locate an industrial use. He stated he performed a very detailed analysis of all of the industrial districts and the areas have stayed predominantly the same for a number of years. In preparing the written portion, Mr. Leimbach explained that he went through a brief discussion of the purpose of the accomplishment of the study. Mainly, it was to provide the latest information and to update the 1995 Land Use Inventory. Of the 32 sections in the City, there are 16 that have industrial property. He stated he also met with Realtors who had industrial property for sale and asked them a number of questions to determine the amount of available land. In addition, he looked at zoning districts. He stated it does allow industrial uses that would be very conducive to being located immediately adjacent to residential. He stated there are 189.3 acres available that are vacant or have single family homes on them. Of all of the vacant land available for development in the City, for industrial and currently zoned industrial, there are 883 acres of land. After subtracting the woodlands and wetlands impact, there are only 271 acres available. He stated the City does have a fairly good inventory of available parcels for industrial development, however, it does not have any large parcels that are able to be developed for a corporate type client.


Because of the lack of larger sized parcels, Mr. Leimbach recommended that in the Sections south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Wixom Road, currently zoned I-2 and the property west of that, zoned R-A recommended as I-2, to allow for heavy industrial uses. In asking for this, there are only two areas in the City where there is any space available zoned I-2.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated this is one of the work program elements of the Master Plan update in the 96-97 budget year. Mr. Rogers stated it was an ongoing study and the data changes from day to day.


Member Markham thought the information was terrific, interesting and nicely done, and she thanked Mr. Leimbach.



Mr. Leimbach stated he would like to come back with an example of a brochure. He asked for some feedback regarding the OST issue.


Member Bononi stated she would like to see it included, she stated she would be interested in seeing a Master Plan Amendment that could utilize that district, she stated she would not be interested in City sponsored rezonings.


Member Vrettas expressed concern regarding the brochure that by the time it is published, it might be outdated because of the constant changes.


Mr. Leimbach thought as far as the potential developer of parks and the number of parcels available is real good information, he thought it was an indicator of what the City would be willing to do to work with the developers as long as they are willing to live with the Ordinances and develop high quality developments.


Member Bononi asked if the wetlands and woodlands overlays were information that was a part of the official map update?


Mr. Leimbach answered, yes.


Mr. Rogers stated it was also going into the GIS.


Member Weddington was very impressed by the work of Mr. Leimbach. She thought it would be useful to have some sort of marketing tool in the form of a brochure. She suggested to recognize the changing nature of industrial needs and industrial type work as the economy is changing. She was not as concerned about having very little I-2 because she thought the needs of industry were changing and moving toward the lighter industrial and technical type uses.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked where the funding would come from for the brochure? She asked where the funding came from for the Master Plan and Habitat brochure?


Mr. Rogers stated the Master Plan brochure was done in 1993.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated the Habitat was done as a part of the second phase.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the Industrial Land Inventory could be Phase II.


Ms. Lemke thought it could be more timely.

Mr. Rogers stated a limited brochure could be compiled for testing.


Member Capello suggested going to the Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee and joint venture it with them, as they may be able to come up with some funding and valuable information to add. He thought they would be very helpful.


Mr. Leimbach stated he did meet with them, however, he did not speak to them in regard to funding the brochure.


Member Vrettas stated it seemed that when the brochure is developed, it would be developed with the idea that it could be updated at short term notice so that it is always state-of-the-art.





Presentation of Design Buildout 20/20 study by Linda Lemke.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect showed the buildout plan, she stated there were four boards, 18' x 13' when assembled. It covers from Taft Road to Napier Road and from Eight Mile Road up to Grand River and I-96. She hoped to have it displayed somewhere in the City once they found a place big enough for it.


Ms. Lemke referred to the two southern boards. She showed them with the woodlands and wetlands overlays and noted how the vacant land disappears. Ms. Lemke showed the utility overlay and stated the proposed sanitary was the most important because it goes through a lot of important environmental areas and one recommendation of the study will be that it be looked at closer.


Ms. Lemke stated the two southern boards deal primarily with residential, the two northern boards deal with a variety of uses. She stated she used the new RUD Ordinance to see how it worked and to see what it looked like. She used 80 acres as a guide to see how many parcels would be usable. Using the criteria for the RUD, there was a lot more open space provided, there was 80% of woodlands and wetlands saved by the scenario. She stated she would like to look at it again when it is done in the second phase to see if it could be more ideal, more view spaces in more green corridors. She stated she was not particularly happy with the way the proposed changes in the RUD translated to the design.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Ms. Lemke if she was working with the current RUD or the proposed RUD?


Ms. Lemke answered it was between the previous draft and the draft before that.


Ms. Lemke referred to the two northern boards. She pointed out the industrial area that Mr. Leimbach spoke of, it was zoned RA, I-2 and OS-2. The environmental is significant and it forms a division to Harvest Lake. One goal of Member Hoadley’s was to have petitioners who were proposing a development of a parcel, do an overlay and put it on the board during consideration so they could see how it fits in. She put the habitat and utilities and the Harvest Land overlays on the boards so the Commission could see how they worked.


Ms. Lemke stated she would be preparing a summary document that would list the recommendations for possible rezonings or possible changes in Master Plan, looking at more flexible standards for setbacks and some other Ordinances listing the impacts on environmental.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if a bonafide dimensional subdivision layout was done for the Harvest Land area taking into consideration the wetlands and woodlands Ordinances?


Ms. Lemke answered, no. She thought it would be quite a heavy impact and it would be a "cookie cutter" type format instead of a lot of open areas and green space.


In regard to the scenario on high rise apartments Member Bononi asked high was the high rise?


Ms. Lemke stated she had looked at four if not more, along the lake.


Member Bononi thought it was a good idea.


Chairperson Lorenzo thanked Ms. Lemke for the presentation and all of her efforts, she also thanked the Committee members for their efforts.





RUD draft and Fried, Watson & Bugbee’s legal opinion as to the status of the Harvest Land RUD application.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney stated City Council made further changes to the RUD Ordinance and he reviewed the changes.


He stated Council asked that there be some provision to allow Council themselves to grant a variance on a project under 80 acres rather than send it to the ZBA. Council had added a provision to limit any reduction from the 80 acres to 5%.


Chairperson Lorenzo clarified that it could only be 80 contiguous acres or perhaps 5% less.


The next change dealt with perimeter buffering. In the May 28, 1997 Draft, there was language that stated the 330' area used for perimeter buffering had to be developed in accordance with the underlying zoning for conventional single-family development. Council made the change that it could be developed into any type of single family, non-clustered conventional.


In regard to density and watercourses and bodies of water, Council stated the only time a body of water or watercourse could be utilized for credit was if it were surrounded by a perimeter park.


Lastly, it was stated that there should be some language to indicate that if amenities are proposed to support a development they should be built and recommended as the development is being built, as opposed to being left to a subsequent date by homeowners. Therefore, there was additional language added, dealing with construction of improvements to indicate that when amenities are proposed to be constructed as a part of the RUD, they have to be constructed within the Phase or Sub-Phase of which they are depicted. Additionally, a temporary certificate of occupancy cannot be obtained for final certificate of occupancy, unless they are either built or construction is secured by a financial guarantee.


There was a minor change in regard to a provision in the Ordinance dealing with amendments and revisions which indicated that certain major changes would have to go back through the entire process. Mr. Watson stated a minor change was added to the language to say if there was actually a proposal that decreased density or increased lot sizes, it would not be considered as a major amendment.


In regard to the bodies of water and credit, Mr. Rogers asked what if a developer only had 50% of the perimeter park.


Mr. Watson stated the way it is measured would be to take the percentage of the boundary of the body of water and make a proration based on it.


In regard to the amenities, Chairperson Lorenzo asked if that meant when land is set aside for active or passive recreation uses, do they have to indicate what recreational use it will be used for?

Mr. Watson stated presumably so.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated a lot of the criteria in the evaluation would seem that a bonafide plan would be needed to compare it with, she stated she did not see any language that required a bonafide plan.


Mr. Watson stated he did not know that one would necessarily be needed.


Member Bononi said she couldn’t say how disappointed she was in the content of the Ordinance for many reasons. The intent of the Ordinance was in conflict with itself, she was not impressed with designer Ordinances and she considered this to be one at best. In regard to density, she considered it at worst, to be defect of rezoning. She thought that going from RA to R-3 density was not good zoning. The biggest objection she had was the density discretion, she did not think it served anyone well, and it certainly did not promote land use consideration. Member Bononi thought if the Commission was going to zone by applicant or particular application, it has lost it’s value. The language of the Ordinance is deficient in a lot of ways, in that it uses terms like desirable, effective, genuine variety of sizes and mixtures of types. She stated it takes the land use decision away from being applied to specific criteria and gives a "zone as you go" attitude. The credit of 0.8 dwelling units per acre of open space dedicated to the residents of RUD is a real gift to the applicant. They get a gift twice, first they get to use the underlying zone if desired, and then if they dedicate the use to residents of the RUD, they get an additional 0.8 dwelling units per acre. Member Bononi did not think that anyone but the developer gained out of it.


Member Bononi referred to Page 9 of the Ordinance, she thought effectively the Ordinance was gutted and was not even as good as the RUD that is currently in place. The amended language takes away the previous language that was much stronger and served the City better. In conclusion, she thought it was ironic that the application that seems to be prompting all of the language has essentially an excellent application. She did not think the application needed this kind of jockeying around in order to achieve a fine quality product. She stated she was very disappointed.


Member Markham agreed with Member Bononi and stated she was very disappointed in the way the entire Ordinance has been handled in the past few months. She thought there was an opportunity to do something great for Novi, in terms of stepping ahead and developing some true open space planning for the west side of the City. She thought the City and the development community could both benefit from a good Ordinance, however, she did not believe the current SP Ordinance was a good one for several reasons. Member Markham stated it should provide an incentive to developers when the have unusual circumstances and it should enhance Novi, as it is written, she did not think it did that. She believed that the requirement to provide a bonafide plan which would show the underlying zoning and how a plan in Conventional zoning would be prudent because it would show why it is best for Novi to use an RUD. In other ways it would show Novi that it is probably not a good idea to apply the RUD. She thought it gave an analysis tool, it has been used in other Ordinances effectively and thought it should be a part of this one. Member Markham did not think there was an incentive in the Ordinance for actually constructing recreation facilities. She thought the City should be looking toward developers of large subdivisions to come in and build some of the recreational facilities.


In regard to density credits, according to the way the Ordinance is currently written, somebody with a lot of unbuildable land could squeeze a lot of units into a small space in excess of what the current zoning would allow and this was bad for the City. Member Markham thought there was too much discretion allowed as to when the application can use an RUD. She believed the Ordinance allows too much cluster housing and Novi could become inundated with multi-family type development in what is supposed to be the low density part of the Master Plan.


In regard to phasing, allowing several phases to start at once has not been good for the environment in the past. The version that the Planning Commission put forward to the City Council recently restricted phasing by virtue of several things: 1) a phasing plan that the City and the Developer agreed to; 2) a requirement that each phase had to stand alone; 3) and phases must be completed to a certain level before another one is started. She stated this was done to ensure that the land was disturbed minimally and to minimize the risk to the City if a development gets into financial trouble.


Member Markham still did not agree that lakes and watercourses should be allowed in the density credits, however, she thought the modification was an improvement. She stated the Ordinance had the appearance of being written for one developer and was bad planning in her opinion. She did not think the Ordinance was doing what was right for the City. She thought a Zoning Ordinance should be able to be applied across the board to any pertinent parcels and an Ordinance of this magnitude should be given careful consideration as to its’ impact.


Chairperson Lorenzo supported Open Space planning that would allow a reduction of lot sizes in exchange for an equal percentage amount of valuable open space. She did not support density credits because they are in conflict and not in accordance with the Master Plan. While she was pleased with the revisions that have taken place, she did not think it has come nearly far enough. She had serious concerns that the language as proposed could result in what would be tantamount to major rezonings under the guise of Open Space Planning. Chairperson Lorenzo stated Open Space credits as proposed were still too broad, the credits include environmental features that are already regulated and unbuildable under the current Ordinances. It does not seem to make good or equitable business sense to give extra density credits and rezoning credits for Open Space that will already be preserved.


Chairperson Lorenzo urged that the language be tightened up to include lot size reductions that are only based upon equal percentages of valuable open space that would not otherwise be preserved. She recommended under the woodlands, that upland woodlands be specified that exceed the amount of preservation required under the Woodlands Ordinance. Under wetland credits for wetland and watercourse setbacks, it should be for wetland and watercourse setbacks that exceed the current 25' setback required under the Zoning Ordinance. Chairperson Lorenzo expressed serious concerns, despite good intentions, as currently written, the RUD would be used to circumvent large lot development required under the underlying zoning without measurable, equitable benefits to the citizens of Novi. She stated there was a lot of potential to do something very positive for the City, however, unless the language is tightened up, she was afraid that something detrimental would be done and it would be a total give away.


Member Weddington agreed with all of the comments and she asked if there was any way to have the comments forwarded to Council in time for their next consideration of the Ordinance, as an item for their Communication?


Mr. Cohen answered that was not a problem, it would be included in the packets.










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





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

No: None




Steven Cohen - Staff Planner



Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr

June 09, 1997


Date Approved: June 18, 1997