WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.


(248) 347-0475


Meeting called to order at 7:31 p.m. by Chairperson Lorenzo.


PRESENT: Members Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Chairperson Lorenzo

Vrettas, Weddington


ABSENT: Churella (Excused), Markham (Excused)


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








Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any additions to the Agenda? Member Weddington added the status of the Emerging Issues Special Studies Budget as Item 3 under Matters for Discussion.


Chairperson Lorenzo added the status of the study regarding shopping centers in Western Novi as Item 4 under Matters for Discussion. Seeing no other additions, she entertained a motion to approve the Agenda as amended.





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



VOTE ON PM-97-06-168


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

No: None






Rob Mitzel 1501 Paramount, noted that this was the last scheduled Planning Commission meeting with Chairperson Lorenzo and Member Markham and expressed his appreciation of their dedication, hard work and willingness to serve, and wished them the best of luck in the future.



Chuck Young, expressed the same adieu.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if anyone else would like to speak, seeing no one she closed Audience Participation and announced there would be a second after the midpoint break and a third before adjournment.










Chairperson Lorenzo announced there were two items, the approval of the May 7, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes and the approval of the June 4, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes. She asked if there were any corrections?


Member Bononi referred to the May 7, 1997 minutes, page 2, last sentence, "sir name" should be spelled, "surname". Page 17, paragraph 4, last sentence should read, "...she stated she did not see it and would support the motion to approve."


Chairperson Lorenzo referred to page 9, paragraph 2, "Mr. Weisberg" should be spelled "Mr. Weisberger". Page 23, paragraph 1, eighth line should read, "...would gather the information, present it...". The last sentence of that paragraph, the word "it" should be stricken. Page 25, last paragraph, first sentence, last word should be "placed".





Moved by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the May 7, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes as amended.





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

No: None

Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there were any corrections to the June 4, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes?


Member Bononi referred to page 21, second sentence should read, "In regard to density, she considered it to be at worst defect of rezoning." The word "density" should be inserted in the third line, after "R-3". Paragraph 2, line 5, "is" should be "has", line 6, "jocking" should be "jockeying".


Chairperson Lorenzo referred to page 8, paragraph 4, second line, "concern" should be "concerns". Page 9, paragraph 3, Chairperson Lorenzo asked that all of Member Vrettas’s comments be added. Page 22, paragraph 4, last sentence "decisions" should be "sense".





Moved by Weddington, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the June 4, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes as amended.





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

No: None








Property located north of Eleven Mile Road, east of Delwal Drive for possible Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan recommendation to City Council.


Brian Grimme of Sprint PCS, 200 Galleria OfficeCentre introduced Phillip Accusme, legal council for Sprint PCS. He explained Sprint PCS was a limited partnership made up of four companies, Cox, Comcast, TCI Cable and Sprint, it is headquartered in Kansas City. The product being offered is a wireless phone service, it is a digital network which will produce more clear and private conversations. He stated he has a license for every square mile in the country to offer the service. The product requires a tower network to operate. Sprint PCS’s first choice is to pursue existing structures. He stated the site fills that preference. It is a 400' self support tower manufactured by Pyrod, it is located next to the City of Novi maintenance garage. It is located in a light industrial district, it is owned by Oakland County and managed by Teletech. The site is shielded on three sides by 50' trees and the maintenance garage is located on the fourth side. Mr. Grimme stated he plans to affix antennas at the 150' mark. There will be outdoor cabinets that will sit inside the existing gated and fenced compound area, it will use about 10' x 15' of space. Mr. Grimme asked for Special Land Use approval and a recommendation for approval of Preliminary Site Plan to City Council.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the 32 acre site is zoned I-1. The use is permitted upon Special Land Use approval by City Council and recommendation by the Planning Commission. Mr. Rogers did not see any detrimental impact on Eleven Mile Road, no impact on public facilities and services and there are no regulated woodlands or wetlands being impacted. Mr. Rogers recommended Special Land Use approval.


Mr. Rogers did not see a need for a landscape plan because of the location and the scale of the project. The cabinets are proposed near the tower, they are to be of metal material. As a condition, Mr. Rogers stated he would like further review by Mr. Necci. Mr. Roger recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to Council granting Special Land Use approval and provision of more specific facade plans which could be done administratively.

Victoria Weber of JCK stated the plans were reviewed for engineering feasibility. There are no on site utilities proposed or required and there are no engineering concerns. Ms. Weber recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated no traffic review is required.


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 it is a Public Hearing and opened the matter to the Public for comments. Seeing no one she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Weddington asked Ms. Weber if the applicant needed electrical service?


Ms. Weber clarified that utilities meant that there was no water, sanitary or storm sewer required.

Mr. Grimme clarified that he needs electrical and telephone service at the site. They are both present within about 75' and will be pulled to the site underground.


Member Hoadley commended the applicant for colocating. He asked if the facility would allow additional colocations?


Mr. Grimme stated it would be hard for him to answer as he did not own the tower. He stated it was certainly being marketed and managed by a company for colocation. He stated the tower was limited by structural issues, therefore, to some extent it was available for colocation but it would depend on what else went up and how heavy it was.


Member Hoadley asked Mr. Rogers why it required Special Land Use when it was originally required of the tower? He asked why it could not be approved Administratively?


Chairperson Lorenzo stated had the City Council adopted the Cellular Tower Ordinance, it would have been an Administrative approval.





Moved by Csordas, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Teletech Novi Cellular Antenna and equipment enclosure SP97-20, subject to all of the consultants recommendations.





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

No: None





Property located west of Garfield Road between Nine Mile Road and Eight Mile Road for possible Wetland Permit approval.


Deborah Wagner, 42519 Parkhurst in Plymouth introduced her husband Tim Wagner. They were seeking approval to build their home on a parcel of property that was purchased on land contract in May of 1989. She stated they initially did not pursue the project due to the fact that they wanted to pay off the property in hopes of keeping the mortgage payment low. She stated they have faithfully paid off the land contract and all property taxes due on the parcel. To date they have obtained the proper permit to build on the site. In their efforts to obtain the permits they have worked and cooperated by making many changes to the original plan which now meet with mutual satisfaction. Mrs. Wagner stated she has received letters from Detroit Edison and Ameritech stating that providing service to the property would not be a problem. She stated they have secured the necessary bond for the Woodland Permit, they purchased the parcel due to the natural tree setting and they are striving to maintain as natural a setting as possible. Due to the wetness on the lot, there was a soil boring test done to ensure it would be able to hold the size and weight of the house. The test showed that they would need to remove the surface peat where the house is to be placed and replace it with an appropriate fill. There appears to be no other problems with the housing area, she stated they would limit any changes to the soil strictly to the location of the home. To the best of Mrs. Wagner’s knowledge, all other issues in regard to the submitted plans have met with approval.


Mrs. Wagner stated they were proposing to build a home that was aesthetically pleasing and correlates with all other pre-existing homes in the area. The location is zoned RA and is Master Planned for Residential. To the south are quite a few existing homes, to the west and north is property owned by Detroit Edison which is where the power tower runs. Mrs. Wagner stated they have become actively involved in the community. She stated they are pleased with the school systems and the moral values of the area. Their goal is to make Novi their permanent residence.


Susan Tepatti, Water Resources Specialist stated the parcel is located just north and west of the mitigation area from MDOT. The lot is about 0.81 of an acre in size, the entire lot is a forested wetland. The wetland extends to the north and west to the Edison Corridor and is fairly extensive in size. The is an existing home to the south, the area to the north is vacant. The application proposes to impact about 17,000 square feet of wetland. As stated, they have received a DEQ Wetland Permit and have received approval for the septic field from the Oakland County Health Department. The permit application is before the Commission because the Ordinance requires that the Planning Commission approve such a residential permit request over 300 cubic yards and 10,000 square feet of wetland impact.


Ms. Tepatti stated JCK spoke to the DNR and reviewed the considerations and process they went through in granting the permit application. She reported that the DNR stated the original plan showed more fill areas than currently proposed. One constraint they had in working with the lot was the septic field and the County basically dictated its’ location, therefore, it restricted the DNR in the amount of fill prohibited. Ms. Tepatti stated when she looked at the plan there were a few areas that if the Commission determines that locating the home in the wetland was permissible but not desirable, there were some things that could be done to limit wetland impacts. In her review she would look at limiting the fill to an area closer around the house, being that the septic fields are in the rear yard and are extensive requiring two fields, she would look to decrease the other yard area around the house if feasible from a grading perspective.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if the City’s Wetland Ordinance had higher standards as far as being more prohibitive and more restrictive, than the State Statute?


Ms. Tepatti answered, yes. The City is allowed to be more strict than the State.


Chairperson Lorenzo recalled other situations in the past where Ms. Tepatti had made negative recommendations for probably lesser fill than the current project is requiring. On behalf of the Planning Commission, Chairperson Lorenzo asked for some direction in terms of whether Ms. Tepatti would have denied the permit or given a negative recommendation.


Ms. Tepatti answered it was a tough spot to be in because it was a new issue as far as residential lots versus subdivisions. Typically, she stated she would not recommend approval of a permit of this type due to the amount of fill and the availability of other possible parcels in the area. If it were in a subdivision, it would not even be before the Commission. She stated JCK would recommend denial based on including a lot that is in a wetland because the past policy has been not to allow the filling of wetlands to gain buildable land.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if it was located directly adjacent to the MDOT mitigation area?


Ms. Tepatti answered it was located across the street and believed the MDOT mitigation area to be directly east and south of the parcel. The northern boundary of the MDOT mitigation is just about equal with the applicant’s southern property line.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney noted that the site is 0.81 of an acre and there is additional criteria for wetlands that are less than 2 acres, he asked Ms. Tepatti if this was contiguous or part of a larger wetland that is greater than 2 acres?


Ms. Tepatti answered, yes. It does extend off site to the north and west.


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 was able to visit the site and stated the lot is totally covered with standing water and it is heavily wooded. He asked Mr. Pargoff if most of the trees were regulated?


Chris Pargoff, City Forester answered, yes. It is a regulated woodlands in addition to the wetlands classification.


Member Hoadley asked if the petitioner were to build and they used over half of the lot, where would mitigation for trees be put?


Mr. Pargoff answered, in the areas away from the septic field. He stated they will be required to plant as many trees as possible and there are possibilities of planting in other locations within the City.


Member Hoadley asked how many regulated trees would be removed?


Mr. Pargoff believed the woodlands mitigation request to be about $18,000, which translates into about 80 trees.


Member Hoadley asked if an $18,000 bond had to be posted?


Mr. Pargoff stated the Woodlands Board of Review has reduced the bond amount to $8,000 but the tree numbers would still have to be met.


Member Hoadley stated he feels for the petitioners, however, they were aware of the woodlands and wetlands ordinances prior to purchasing the property. He stated he was very chary about approving the project. It has a lot of standing water, an engineered field would have to be put in, which means they would have to raise the level of the ground several feet. He asked if it met the Ordinance?


Ms. Tepatti stated in her review and response to Chairperson Lorenzo, she stated she had concerns about whether it meets the Ordinance. As far as past history of the policy of the Ordinance and the implications that it may have for setting precedence for future lots that may come in, she did not look favorably upon it.


Member Bononi asked if anyone knew the manner in which the lot split was accomplished? And was it done with the authority of the City?



Mr. Wagner did not know, however, he stated the lot next door was filled with just as much, if not more than what he is proposing.


Member Bononi asked Mr. Watson if it was a lot?


Mr. Watson stated it was a lot in the way "lot" is defined under the Zoning Ordinance which is simply an existing parcel of land. He stated it is not a lot as defined in the Subdivision Ordinance.


Member Bononi asked if it complies with the underlying zoning?


Mr. Watson stated the underlying zoning was RA and it appeared that it was only 0.81 of an acre, therefore, he did not know whether the applicant was going to the ZBA.


In regard to the base number of cubic yards of material, Member Bononi asked how much over the 300 allotment is proposed to be filled?


Ms. Tepatti did not have the total number of cubic yards, she stated on the plan a total of just over 1,000 cubic yards was proposed just for the house, driveway and septic field.


Member Bononi stated she asked because it was one thing to see the numbers, it was another to picture the cubic yards of material coming and going off the site and what the implication is. She had a very real concern about that in a designated wetlands and the fact that the entire lot was included in the wetlands. In addition, Member Bononi expressed concern about the affect of the wetlands on the site, not to mention the wetlands that adjoined. With regard to the Hartley and Associates, Inc. report which various of the soil borings refer to water level at very shallow readings, this was a concern to Member Bononi considering Mr. & Mrs. Wagner provided a copy of the home they are proposing to build, which shows a walk-out basement. This put together with the on-site sewage treatment system and on the total wetland site abutting sensitive wetland sites, presents yet another concern. On the Hartley & Associates report under water conditions, the statement reads, "the ground water was found in borings 954.3 due to poor drainage of the site, the water level will be higher seasonally. Member Bononi thought the most troubling thing in regard to building the house on the site is the last sentence which states, "the basement finished floor elevation of 960.0 should be above seasonal flooding level. From the standpoint of wetland involvement and single family home placement, the plan is unlike anything she has ever seen proposed. She was sympathetic that the Wagner’s purchased the land in 1989, however, it is difficult to look at the land as having come through official auspicious, that they would not have been informed of the complete wetlands involvement and how it does not lend itself to homes with basements or septic fields. Member Bononi stated there was no way she would support the project due to all of the limiting factors.





Moved by Bononi, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To deny the Wagner Wetland Permit, SP97-18 in accordance with the Wetland Consultants verbal and written comments.


Mr. Wagner asked if the Commission was saying that he could not build on the land?


Chairperson Lorenzo stated to deny the Wetland Permit would not permit Mr. Wagner to build on the lot.


Mr. Watson did not know if it meant that it did not permit Mr. Wagner to build on the lot at all, he stated, it would appear that it would be very difficult to build on the lot. Mr. Watson thought the Commission was saying that the home is not a permitted activity with the amount of wetland fill, under the Wetlands Ordinance.


Member Vrettas stated this project was a tough one because the applicants are not developers, they want to spend their lives here. He asked if the Commission could discuss and give some guidance as to what the Commission thinks they can do to help the petitioner.


Mr. Watson stated if the Commission is able to do that, then it would be terrific. He did not think the Commission had the ability to redesign the plan to make it an acceptable plan at the table.


Member Vrettas wondered if it was possible for the applicant to redesign the plan to make it permissible?


Chairperson Lorenzo stated that Ms. Tepatti mentioned that even the septic fields were putting them in a certain position in terms of the amount of fill along with the septic fields.

Member Capello noted that Ms. Tepatti made some suggestions where there would be less of an impact into the Wetlands.


Ms. Tepatti stated it was possible, however they have not been pursued to see if they are truly feasible. She was not sure if the location of the septic was fixed exactly as shown, the surveyor said there was some movement that might be possible. In regard to setbacks from Garfield Road, their planner said something about the slope on the driveway being a problem if the house were pushed closer to the road. She stated there were a few things that could be investigated as far as reducing the fill.


Mr. Watson asked if the entire area was for the septic field or was the County requiring there to be a secondary in case of a failure?


Ms. Tepatti believed them to require a secondary.


Mr. Watson asked if there was any kind of variance procedure on the requirement?


Ms. Weber answered, not that she was aware of.


Mr. Watson asked if there was an engineer that the applicant was working with?


Mr. Wagner answered, Norm Capeo is the plot plan person.


Mr. Watson asked the consultants if they have any contact or discussions about the plan with Mr. Capeo?


Ms. Tepatti explained she had some discussions with him and he stated he thought there might be some movement in the septic field and he may have problems with the slope on the driveway by pushing it closer to the road, this is why they had it set back 60' versus the required 30'.


Mr. Capello asked the applicants if there was any potential to move the septic field to the front of the house where there is already fill?


Mrs. Wagner stated the DNR addressed it and it was stated that it was not possible to move the septic field. The septic field is not engineered. She read the letter she received from Tony Drautz of Oakland County, "Dear Mrs. Wagner, after conversation with yourself and Mike Nurse at the MDNR, I visited the above mentioned site to determine if there were any other areas of property suitable for the installation of an on site sewage disposal system. At this time I do not feel any other site would be adequate, this appears to be the highest point on this parcel because of the adverse condition surrounding this, moving the location of the system from where it is currently approved on Oakland County Sewer permit would be unacceptable." Mrs. Wagner stated if the Commission is asking them to move it, Mr. Drautz will have to revoke the permit. She also stated that Mr. Drautz said an engineered septic field would not work on the site.

Member Capello stated he was trying to see if there was some potential for the applicant to work with Ms. Tepatti and if there was, maybe instead of denying it, the Commission should postpone it.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Vrettas, FAILED (1-6): To postpone to allow applicant to work with Wetlands Consultant.


Member Vrettas suggested concentrating on what was being raised and maybe it would be acceptable.


Mr. Wagner explained that he did go down to a 3/1 grade and by doing so was not going to improve it.


Member Hoadley explained how an engineered field works. He explained that the land is built up above the normal land surface, the fluid comes up to the surface and the natural sun dissipates it. He stated it takes a lot of sun and a lot of area for an engineered field to work. He did not see any information in the packet which indicated that any soil boring tests were completed for perking and could not see how the project would ever be approved without perk tests. Member Hoadley asked when the area was scheduled for City water and sewer?


Member Capello asked if that was the area where Harris was trying to bring sewer across to Napier?


Mr. Rogers answered the latest he heard was that Harris may be deciding to meet the RA zoning and he was possibly thinking of a well and septic, Mr. Rogers was not certain.


Ms. Weber stated currently there are no plans in that area for sanitary sewer and there are probably no projections for the near future.


Member Hoadley expressed concern that the lot does not meet the RA requirement of 1 acre.


Mr. Watson explained that the Commission is not approving the construction of a house, the applicant has to get a building permit and the Building Department will either grant a permit or have them go to the ZBA.


Member Hoadley stated he was willing to go along with a postponement, however, if the applicant comes back without an engineered field, they would have to provide perk tests that show that the land does perk.


Mr. Wagner stated he was told that a perk test was conducted differently. Currently, they dig and look at the soils.


Member Hoadley stated he would not be in support of the motion.


Chairperson Lorenzo was very sympathetic toward the petitioners, however there were a lot of other issues being looked at. She could not believe that it was being considered because not only was it a wetland, it was a wooded wetland. She thought the Commission needed to stop looking at the applicant as a homeowner versus a developer and stated a proposal is a proposal regardless of how much is felt for the applicant because they are property owners. She stated the issue was a fundamental issue of filling in wetlands and cutting down a woodland to gain buildable land. To approve or postpone the issue, she stated the Commission would go backward 20 years. Unfortunately, the request goes directly against the grain of the Wetlands Ordinance, the Woodlands Ordinance and against the intent of wetland and woodland protection. She stated it would be gross exploitation and abuse of a wetland and a woodland. Chairperson Lorenzo stated the Commission needed to be fair and consistent. She stated she could not vote in favor of the postponement and she would fully support the motion to deny, based upon all of the implications in terms of the Woodlands and Wetlands Ordinances and in terms of the gross abuse that would occur and the dangerous precedent that would be set.


Member Capello asked Ms. Tepatti if it was possible for the applicant to do some off site mitigation?


Ms. Tepatti stated it may be possible, however, she did not know if the applicant had the ability to do it or where it would be done. She still worried about the precedent even with the mitigation.


Member Capello thought since the wetland was a part of a larger wetland and off site mitigation was being done in another area, that the applicant may have the opportunity to do the mitigation if they want to build.


Ms. Tepatti stated it may be feasible, however, the Ordinance addresses mitigation only as a last resort. She stated JCK does not even consider mitigation unless the underlying proposal is acceptable and meets the Ordinance. The mitigation is not a trade off.


Member Vrettas stated he was upset with the realtor that sold the petitioner the land and did not tell them about it’s building conditions. He felt the realtor has done a disservice and has put the Commission on the "hot seat". He explained that he did not like being in that position because he would like to the petitioner to be a part of the community .


Member Hoadley noted in Florida there were a lot of conditions such as this one and they build on stilts where the water can run through underneath, he asked if this would be a possibility?


Ms. Tepatti stated in that situation, it would probably be the same because they would still be disturbing wetland area for the construction, the driveway and the septic. She did not know whether or not it was even feasible.





Yes: Capello

No: Csordas, Hoadley, Lorenzo, Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi





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

No: None


Chairperson Lorenzo announced the Commission would take a brief recess.













Review of start date, mid-point progress report date, budget, change order requirements, initial draft due date, and guaranteed completion date for 1) Demographic Study and Projection, 2) Design Build-Out Year 2020 - Phase II, 3) Economic Base Study - Phase II for possible approval.


Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated one of the planning efforts for the coming fiscal year involves the public input phase of the Master Plan process. He stated there were some variations in cost and the alternatives need to be considered. Since some planning work, research work and background reports were still underway, he suggested the appropriate time for the public input process would be later in the fiscal year, however, a determination of which alternative the Planning Commission would like to use.


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








Moved by Weddington, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To refer the matter of determining and recommending a format for pubic input regarding the Master Plan to the Planning Studies Committee.





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

No: None


In regard to the Design Build-Out Year 2020 - Phase II, under Work Program #2, Member Bononi asked Mr. Rogers for a further explanation.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated there was only one way to administer the Ordinances and it was through compliance with the Ordinance. He stated he could not give a better meaning to the word.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if Item 2 should be stricken? She asked what the intent was?


Mr. Rogers referred to the last phrase, Determination of Standards for Design. He stated there may be some recommendations for modifications to the Woodlands and Wetlands Ordinance as a result of the study. He stated he would rather leave it in but eliminate the word "reasonable".


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if it was included in the original that was approved, she did not recall that specific line.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant recalled the intent of what it involved in the first phase was to follow the Ordinance but also to recognize that it might not go exactly according to what is on the map when developing future development scenarios.


Chairperson Lorenzo preferred to see the language changed accordingly.


Member Bononi understood Mr. Arroyo to say that ramifications that could give potential applicants or developers the idea that certain things possibly would be varied were being looked at. She stated she would not want to give this idea off of the top. She would not like to see the language remain in, if that is what it means, she asked for clarification or removal.


Mr. Arroyo responded he did not think the intent was to vary or to show how a variance might be obtained, but rather, how the applicant might reasonably apply the Woodlands and Wetlands Ordinance to a particular area as if it were coming in for development.


Mr. Rogers stated under the Woodlands Ordinance, there can be some impact. The Ordinance requires that alternative development plans be presented and the one with the least impact may work.


Chairperson Lorenzo agreed with Member Bononi that it seems a clarification is needed.


Mr. Rogers stated he would confer with Ms. Lemke.


Member Capello thought Ms. Lemke commented on how much she learned about the Ordinance by starting to work it and seeing the options that were available. He thought she was trying to use it as a teaching skill for the Commission.


Member Hoadley did not understand the Economic Base Study and asked for clarification.


Mr. Wahl stated when the study was originally proposed, it involved the total amount and since that time it was reduced to $2,700. In order to finish the rest of the work, the city staff is going to do the work, he thought it was a reflection on doing the entire work program item and would require that amount of money of staff time in order to get the work done.

Member Hoadley thought it was a good idea and was in support of the staff work.








Moved by Capello, seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Contractual Obligations for the various studies for the 1997-98 Planning Commission Work Program.





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

No: None








Planning Commissioner Briefing from Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant and James R. Wahl, Planning and Community Development Director regarding various road and traffic issues.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the report has been prepared and updated on a periodic basis to keep the Planning Commission up to date with ongoing road planning through the city.


Mr. Arroyo referred to pages 5 and 6 of the report which gave a brief up to date indication of recent applications that have been made by the City’s Planning and Community Development Department for road projects. He stated several applications have been submitted for several projects; 1) Ten Mile Road railroad grade separation; 2) Novi Road widening from Nine Mile to Ten Mile; 3) Twelve Mile Road widening from Meadowbrook to Dixon, which has been previously approved and is currently under design. The City is asking for it to be reconsidered in terms of the timing of the improvement; 4) Novi Road widening from Ten Mile Road to Grand River, currently in R.O.W. acquisition phase and has been designed; 5) Upgrade to the Grand River/Meadowbrook Signal project which involves adding left turn signal phases and putting auto scope detectors at the intersection to help it respond to actual traffic demand.


He referred to pages 7 through 10 which refer to the planning process. He explained that the City is involved in transportation planning at various levels. The most general and long range level is the Thoroughfare Plan, it sets forth the generalized location of future roads, it sets forth the need for future lane widenings and sets the general framework for what is going to happen to the road system over the years. Corridor Studies have been done in the past, the city is in the process of doing a Grand River Corridor Study. He explained this is where the City gets a chance to look at more detail in specific areas within the City from a planning and a transportation perspective. Special Studies are ongoing all of the time, such as signal warrant studies, speed studies and ten year transportation improvements plan. Traffic Impact Studies for individual developments are done when certain projects are required to submit traffic studies this is covered in the new Site Plan Manual. In regard to rezoning, the City has implemented a new policy in regard to rezoning traffic studies. If a Residential rezoning is being proposed which moves the applicant up two or more categories, a rezoning traffic study is required.


Mr. Arroyo referred to pages 12-13 which covered Major Road Funding Sources. In terms of City Funds, there is 1) The City’s Road Bond; 2) The One Mill Road Fund is the ongoing year to year fund that primarily takes care of maintenance; 3) Special Assessment Districts such as Main Street and Decker Road are examples; 4) Federal Funds ISTEA is a major federal source of road improvement dollars; 5) State Funds include the Act 51 Gas and Weight Tax Funds and; 6) The Department of Commerce has Category A and Category C Funds, Twelve Mile Road boulevard that is currently in place was paid for partially by this as well as the boulevard into Expo Center Drive; 7) County Funds - Tri-Party Funds are usually used for smaller projects such as signal improvements.


Dave Bluhm, Engineering Consultant referred to the 1996 Road Bond Program and Other Road Improvement Projects Map. He stated it was a summary of all of the projects that the City intends to undertake over the next couple of years and beyond. They fall under the categories of new road construction, existing road reconstruction, resurfacing, signalization and intersection improvements and other projects such as pathways, etc. The map was developed at the direction of the DPS to aid them in understanding the sequencing of projects and also to send out to the surrounding communities and private utility companies to aid in coordinating projects that they may have. It is a planning tool, the projects are all subject to change.


Mr. Bluhm referred to the 1996 Road Bond Improvement Projects. He stated it was one of the biggest categories, the two largest projects are located on the north end of the City, one being the Taft Road construction from Twelve Mile Road to West Road. Meadowbrook Road will be a paved roadway from Twelve Mile Road to Thirteen Mile Road, there will also be some intersection improvements at Thirteen Mile Road. Most of the projects set an aggressive schedule.


In regard to the Capital Improvement Program Improvements, the main projects are Beck Road from Ten Mile Road to Grand River and Taft Road south of Grand River will be resurfaced and reconstructed through the 1997-98 season. Nine Mile Road is also scheduled for repair.


Mr. Bluhm referred to the Michigan Department of Transportation Improvements, the biggest project is the M-5 improvements, north of Twelve Mile Road to Fourteen Mile Road. The Beck Road, I-96 intersection is a project that is also scheduled.


Mr. Bluhm stated the Road Commission Projects are mostly centered around the Ten Mile Road and Novi Road areas through the higher developed areas within the City. The bridge over Grand River, just west of Novi Road was scheduled for this year but looks like it might be delayed until next year. Signal improvements are scheduled along the Decker Road area. Federal aid projects include the Ten Mile Road Improvements.


Mr. Arroyo stated there is also a memorandum included in the report that deals with various popular traffic related questions and answers. He also included a summary of the Transportation Improvements Plan of 1995 which identifies over $119,000,000 in road construction improvements that are anticipated to be needed within the City of Novi over the next ten years and finally a transportation glossary.


Chairperson Lorenzo turned the Matter to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Hoadley asked what happened to the money that was allocated in the 1990 Bond Issue for Taft Road?


Mr. Arroyo did not know the answer and deferred to Mr. Bluhm.


Mr. Bluhm stated the initial 1990 Road Bond Program got a "foot in the door" on the Taft Road issue. He stated it has not gone into the 1996 Program where the monies are identified to do the final design and construction for the project.


Member Hoadley asked if there was any money left over from the 1990 bond?


Mr. Bluhm answered he would have to research it and get back to the Commission.


Member Hoadley stated on Meadowbrook Road there is a bend in the road that dips down, he asked if that was going to be able to be followed or would it be cut out?



Mr. Bluhm answered it was a very severe corner and they have been struggling with maintaining the natural characteristics and maintaining the design, integrity and safety of the roadway. Mr. Bluhm stated several alignment alternatives have been looked at for that section.


Member Hoadley asked if it would travel through a regulated wetland if it were to be straightened?


Mr. Bluhm stated wetlands are an issue in that area, there was no doubt. He stated he was weighing those against the alternatives and trying to be as environmentally sensitive as they can with the design.


Member Hoadley referred to the bike path and sidewalk, one on each side of the road, he asked if there could be a compromise to just build a bike path?


Mr. Bluhm was not sure if the bond included both the sidewalk and the bike path, he stated it was an issue and it would be up to the City to determine if they wanted to potentially exclude one or the other.


Member Hoadley stated it would be a less traveled road once M-5 is completed. He stated he would like to see as much integrity of the road preserved as possible. He suggested taking into consideration the wooded wetlands and not intrude any more than what is absolutely necessary.


Member Csordas referred to the map and asked Mr. Arroyo if the shaded areas over the subdivisions meant that all of the roads in that subdivision were subject to repair or upgrade?


Mr. Arroyo deferred to Mr. Bluhm


Mr. Bluhm stated one of the first steps was to look at the developments to see what condition the existing roads were in. He stated some of the roads were scheduled for complete reconstructions, some may be resurfaced and some may be in good condition. He stated the intent was to improve up to a certain level, all of the roads in the developments.


Member Bononi expressed concerns about traffic quality of life issues. The things that affect residents and the quality of their lives such as signalization, stop signs and increasing traffic. She stated she was looking for a little contribution to those things that affect daily lives with regard to traffic such as left turn arrows. She gave an example of Taft Road and Ten Mile Road, she also noted the increasing traffic in the Novi Road, Town Center, Twelve Oaks Mall area. She expressed concern that she did not see as a part of the report, some of the suggestions that were made at one of the meetings, concerning access to the interstates and decel lanes and how they could be improved to alleviate traffic. Her concern was with the point at which people who come to shop in Novi will be turned off by the situation because they are not seeing an improvement, they are seeing them get worse. Member Bononi stated she would like to see the comments that were made to the Commission, taken very seriously.


In regard to Taft Road and Ten Mile Road, Mr. Arroyo stated he was just asked to evaluate that intersection to determine if it needs left turn signal phasing. He stated he did a preliminary analysis and found that it does meet the minimum thresholds for consideration of left turn signal phasing and recommended that the City ask the County to specifically allot the money so a signal could be put in as Ten Mile Road is a County road.


Member Bononi understood that stop signs nor other signs in subdivisions were provided by the City of Novi. She asked if this was true?


Mr. Arroyo stated that was incorrect.


Member Bononi stated it seemed that the placement of the traffic control signs should be done at the time subdivisions are completed or at the time they seem to be warranted by condition, she asked how subdivisions who need stop signs go about getting them?


Mr. Arroyo explained the installation of stop signs and all traffic control devices come under the jurisdiction of City Council after a recommendation from the DPW Superintendent. I stop signs are requested within a subdivision, typically the DPW Superintendent will evaluate it and prepare the conditions to the warrants that are contained within the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. This document provides guidelines for when yield signs and stop signs should be posted within a subdivision. Typically an analysis is made and then a recommendation is made. If a recommendation is made that includes putting the sign up, a warrant has to be sent before City Council and approved. Mr. Arroyo stated only the City of Novi can put a traffic control sign up within a subdivision if it involves city roadways.


Member Bononi asked for further illumination in regard to the Ten Mile Road improvements.


In regard to the Ten Mile Road improvements, Mr. Bluhm stated JCK has recently completed an update to the assessment requested by the State and it will be submitted to the City who will determine whether it will go before Council. This impact assessment was presented to Council last year and revised by JCK.


Member Hoadley referred to signalization and left turn arrows. He stated frequently they do not have an intermittent blinker causing that traffic to be stopped longer. He did not think this was good traffic management and implored JCK to correct the situations where necessary. Secondly, he stated a yield sign was probably a stronger sign than a stop sign. He thought it would slow down traffic in a subdivision better than a stop sign and thought they should be evaluated.


Mr. Arroyo stated the left turn signal phase comes under the control of the Road Commission because they control most of the signals. He stated normally, if there is a separate left turn phase without the blinking light, it is associated with conditions with the new signal systems that are going in. He stated the primary reason that the Road Commission chose not to allow left turns during the permissive phase was a safety consideration. Because of the public comments and complaints, the Road Commission has reconsidered it in certain instances and have allowed the blinking arrow and it is evaluated on a case by case basis.


Member Csordas noted that the SCATS system that was put up at Novi Road and Grand River really does not work. He stated he has traveled eastbound on Grand River, trying to turn northbound onto Novi Road and there has been 20-30 cars where it has never cycled.


Mr. Arroyo stated sometimes there is a malfunction in the system. A couple of things can happen, the camera lenses can become dirty or the detection can be off by bumping or high winds. The systems are very high maintenance, however, the newer versions are much better than the original ones. Mr. Arroyo suggested contacting the Road Commission if a malfunction is witnessed therefore, they can evaluate it.


Member Csordas mentioned that northbound on Novi Road trying to turn westbound on Grand River presents the same problem.


Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development noted that this was about the third or fourth rendition of the report. It was originally developed as a handbook or briefing tool, therefore, it is more of a background explanation than a planning tool. Mr. Wahl stated the Planning Commission’s responsibilities as listed for the Thoroughfare Plan was something that would be coming up as a part of the Master Plan revision process. He stated the data gathering has just been completed through the City’s GIS Program.


Mr. Arroyo explained the Thoroughfare Plan is broken into two phases, Phase I is the data collection and analysis and Phase II is the development of the plan. He stated Phase I has been completed through the DPS. Phase II will be coming through the process in the next fiscal year when the Land Use Plan update occurs.


In regard to the State Department of Commerce category A funds, Chairperson Lorenzo asked what targeted businesses and targeted economic development projects were?


Mr. Arroyo stated those funds were intended for the Industrial type user or similar nature where jobs would be brought to a location and road improvements were needed to provide service to that area. The intent was to provide some funds so if an employer wanted to locate in an area where road improvements were needed, the funds could be drawn upon to make the improvements. He stated they were used to provide access into the Expo Center because of the jobs associated with the Expo Center and the Motorsports Hall of Fame. Mr. Arroyo stated uses that are not eligible include retail uses.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if OST was an eligible use?


Mr. Arroyo answered, yes. He thought OST could possibly qualify and he thought tourism areas would also qualify.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if it was possible that if the area of Twelve Mile Road and Donelson Drive is rezoned to OST as opposed to PD-3, Twelve Mile Road boulevard funding may be able to be obtained for the OST?


Mr. Arroyo stated it was possible that once there was a commitment for jobs, it could make that area eligible for some road improvements.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked if there would be grant money if it was Commercial?


Mr. Arroyo stated that particular program would not be available.


Mr. Wahl added that a commitment for jobs meant that there was an approved plan and the project is ready to be built. He stated it was highly competitive, Novi has to compete against other communities that would be in line for the same opportunity.


Member Vrettas asked for the typical life expectancy of a road made out of concrete.


Mr. Bluhm stated it would depend on how it was used and the traffic on it. Most of them are designed for 30+ years.

Member Vrettas stated he saw a program where the Romans were mixing concrete with the ash from Mt. Vesuvius and the end result was that there were less air pockets, therefore the concrete could last thousands of years. He stated the U.S. Department of Transportation has found a material that serves the same purpose as the ash and they are saying that concrete roads can be constructed that will last hundreds of years. Member Vrettas thought it should be made aware of because there is a responsibility of civic officials to minimize costs.





Verbal report from Chairperson Lorenzo and Commissioner Bononi regarding free seminars available to the Planning Commission


Chairperson Lorenzo stated Member Bononi has done some research and found some potential presenters that would be willing to attend a Special Planning Commission Meeting allowing the Planning Commission to gather some additional information on some issues.


Member Bononi stated it was a great disappointment to her when the funding for the seminar program was removed from the budget. She felt that the seminar money had a great deal of potential to inform the Planning Commission as well as the citizens, about the many subjects that appear before the Commission. Member Bononi stated she contacted three agencies who would be willing to come out and give seminars for free. 1) The Oakland County Bar Association - Shirley Robertson, Director of Member Services said that she could send speakers on the following subjects: Residential and Commercial Development, Cellular Towers, Real Estate Issues in general and Environmental Issues. 2) MDEQ - Ashok Punjabi, District Representative Land and Water Management Division would be willing to speak on the subjects of Development in Flood Hazard, Lakes and Streams and Water Quality Management. 3) The Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner - Janice Bobrin would be willing to speak on Open Space Development and Storm Water Management Issues. 4) Issues and speakers that the Planning Commissioners would be willing to hear or contact. Member Bononi stated she also tried to get a speaker from the Southeast Michigan Homebuilders Association because she thought it would be interesting to hear the builders point of view, but she was disappointed to learn that they do not send speakers. She stated this is not to say that they could not come from another quarter, she did not have enough time to seek out another agency. Member Bononi stated if the Commission was interested, some of the speakers were willing to come out as soon as this summer and some need more lead time up until the end of September.


Member Vrettas recommended that the information be provided and a schedule be developed.




Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To refer the Free Seminar information to the Communications and Community Liaison Committee to set up a schedule regarding the speakers that are willing to present to the Commission for free.


Member Hoadley amended the motion to take the list that Member Bononi has presented and prioritize it prior to giving it to the Subcommittee.


Member Vrettas accepted the amendment.


Chairperson Lorenzo clarified that input would be gathered from the Commission as to the priority.





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

No: None





Member Weddington stated she would like to know how much money is remaining in the Emerging Issues and Special Studies Budget. She explained that an issue came up at a recent meeting regarding architectural control. The Implementation Committee has also recently had some discussions about architectural control or taking a look at the Similar/Dissimilar Ordinance, the Facade Ordinance and their enforcement and some similar concerns have been discussed informally by members of Council. She stated there seems to be an issue emerging and wanted to know how much money remained and asked for the Commission’s consideration for use of the money.


Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated as of June 01, 1997 there was approximately $8,300 in the budget, however, there were some outstanding bills. He stated it would be substantially less than that. The Master Plan Study was the remaining billing.


Member Weddington stated the City has never been interested in architectural controls, however, seeing as there a number of issues around the area, one suggestion that was brought forth in the meeting of last week was to have a study done to identify criteria that could be regulated. She stated Mr. Pham was asked to contact the Planning Advisory Service to gather information about what other Cities have on their books as far as architectural controls. If there was interest, she stated that was something that could be done with the money and she would like to know whether there were any other issues that should be explored.


Member Vrettas thought it should be done. He was willing to have Mr. Rogers or whoever needs to be involved to bring back some ideas of what can be done to change Ordinances to stop the "cookie cutter" activity that is occurring in Novi.


Mr. Wahl gave some background as to some of the input that the Department has received and why they have been giving it some attention. He thought the seminar was very good and that it gave more thought to architectural review, however, there have been some projects that people are not pleased with. Mr. Wahl stated the projects designs and facades meet the City’s Facade Ordinances, therefore, he thought this pointed out that good design is difficult to determine with a chart of percentages and materials, it is a more creative process. Mr. Wahl stated if the Commission would like the Department to pursue it immediately it could be done.


Chairperson Lorenzo suggested perhaps it would be a good move to request the participants to bring forth a proposal in accordance with contractual obligation guidelines.

Member Vrettas agreed with Chairperson Lorenzo.





Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Hoadley, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To request the Administration to bring forth a proposal regarding the architectural control that would be in accordance with the contractual obligations that the Planning Commission has approved.





Member Hoadley amended the motion to include master planning the Wireless Towers and Service Stations. He stated he would like to see the monies spread to be able to complete these two studies as well.


Chairperson Lorenzo stated if there was support from the Commission, they could request the Administration to come back with proposals for all three and then the Planning Commission could decide as a whole which priorities the money should be allocated to.


Member Hoadley stated a motion must be made if the money is to be spent because it is the end of the fiscal year.


Mr. Wahl agreed with Member Hoadley and stated as of July 1, 1997, the money would go back to the general fund, it would not be rolled over. He stated there was nothing to prevent the Consultants from doing some work in the next two weeks on any subject. The criteria is the amount of time that could be put into it. Mr. Wahl suggested there was no reason the other proposals could not be responded to just as they were stated, he stated they would have to be brought back in July to be proposed as a part of the 97-98 Emerging Issues Budget.


Member Vrettas refused to allow the amendment to his motion. He wanted to stay focused on the one issue that everyone was in complete agreement on.


Chairperson Lorenzo asked Member Vrettas if he was still open to all three proposals coming back to the Commission with the proviso that the other two studies would be for consideration for the 97-98 Emerging Issues Budget?


Member Vrettas stated he did not have a problem with it.


Member Hoadley agreed.


Mr. Wahl clarified if anything was to be done within this years budget, it has to be done by July 1, 1997. He stated the only work that could be done would be whatever work could be done within the next 12 days. He stated it would be a minimal amount of work and thought a certain amount of flexibility needed to be given.


Chairperson Lorenzo clarified that by the next meeting the Administration will be bringing forth a result of whatever study they are able to accomplish within the next two weeks. In addition to proposals for the studies that Member Hoadley and the Planning Commission has referred to the Master Planning and Zoning Committee in terms of proposals to see if the Commission would care to appropriate monies for 1997-98 for those studies.






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

No: None





Chairperson Lorenzo questioned the status of the study concerning the shopping centers in western Novi that was referred to the Master Planning and Zoning Committee.


Steve Cohen, Staff Planner stated the map was created by JCK and Linda Lemke and presented at the April 30, 1997 Master Plan and Zoning Committee Meeting. The Committee did not have a chance to review the map or make any recommendations, it is scheduled to go before the Committee the next time they meet. Mr. Cohen stated the Committee was considering meeting on July 2, 1997 regarding OST, however, this was still being reviewed with the members.


Member Weddington stated she had been asked by the Commissioners, Planning Department and Consultants to send Chairperson Lorenzo off with well wishes. She stated Chairperson Lorenzo has been a terrific teacher in the time she has been on the Commission. Chairperson Lorenzo’s energy and effort in the work of the Commission has been tremendous, her thoroughness in examining everything has helped to move the City forward and the best interest of the City has always been at heart with her. Member Weddington presented Chairperson Lorenzo with a small token of appreciation for her service and dedication to the City and wished her the very best in her endeavors.


Chairperson Lorenzo thanked everyone for the gift and stated the past five years as a Planning Commissioner has been very interesting and challenging. It has been fun and frustrating at times, but each meeting, issue and proposal has been a very valuable learning experience that she will take with her. She stated she has had the pleasure to serve with some of the brightest and best in the City of Novi and complimented the Commission on their overall ability to agree to disagree on issues. Chairperson Lorenzo stated she leaves the post with a great sense of pride and accomplishment and fully intended to stay very involved in the City of Novi, she again thanked everyone for the gift.








Chairperson Lorenzo handed the gavel over to Member Weddington in anticipation that she deservedly would be elected to the post.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Weddington, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 10:50 p.m.





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

No: None






Steven Cohen - Staff Planner



Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr

June 24, 1997


Date Approved: July 02, 1997