WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 06, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.


(248) 347-0475


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


PRESENT: Members Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Chairperson Weddington


ABSENT: Churella (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 Weddington asked if there were any changes to the Agenda?


Member Bononi would like to add SEMCOG Rutgers University Fiscal Impacts of Alternative Land Development Patterns in Michigan as Item 2 under Matters for Discussion.


Member Vrettas would like to add a possible speaker for Special Seminars to the list.


Member Hoadley would like to add Committee Meeting Minutes as Item 4 under Matters for Discussion.


Member Capello would like to discuss the joint Planning Commission and City Council meeting being held on Wednesday, August 13, 1997.





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








Yes: Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington

No: None















Chairperson Weddington asked if there were any corrections or changes to the minutes of the Regular Planning Commission Meeting of July 2, 1997?


Member Hoadley referred to the motion on page 15 that failed (1-4), the vote on page 16 needs to reflect Member Hoadley’s "yes" vote and the remainder of the Members who voted "no".


Chairperson Weddington asked if there were any corrections or changes to the minutes of the Regular Planning Commission Meeting of July 16, 1997?


Member Hoadley referred to page 4, he stated he changed his vote to a "yes". He referred to page 18, the second to the last paragraph should read, "Ms. Weber answered, yes." Member Hoadley referred to page 26, last paragraph, should read, "Member Hoadley stated he would not..."


Member Bononi referred to page 14, first paragraph, last sentence should read, "Member Bononi believed that Planning Commission conditions of approval should be made known to the Council as well as the citizens and if the plans are approved administratively, that the citizens...". She referred to page 16, the paragraph under the motion should read, "Member Bononi stated the Commission should not loose sight of the fact...". Lastly, she referred to page 22, second to the last paragraph, after the word does, insert a semi-colon and strike the word "in".







Moved by Canup, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of July 02, 1997 and July 16, 1997 as amended and the Special Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of July 22, 1997 as presented.





Yes: Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington

No: None








An Ordinance to amend Subsections 2516.6 and 2516.7 of Ordinance No. 84-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, and to add Subsection 2516.8 to said Ordinance, to provide criteria for approving extensions for approved site plans for possible recommendation to City Council.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney explained the main change is with a provision explicitly stating that the approval of a site plan does not grant a vested right to the particular use of the property, however, it may be that an applicant otherwise acquires a vested right by subsequent action. He stated the more extensive changes deal with the granting of extensions. Currently, the Ordinance states that the Commission can grant extensions, now there are some additional criteria, rules and limitations. Of significance is the fact that no more than three (3), one year extensions will be granted. There are also specific items that an applicant has to provide in order to receive an extension.


Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and asked if anyone would like to address the Commission? Seeing no one she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion and Action.











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


Member Hoadley commended Mr. Watson on an outstanding job of drawing up the Ordinance. He stated the intent was very clear and thanked him for a job well done.


Mr. Watson suggested that Member Hoadley’s commendation be directed toward Mr. Weisberger who actually did the work on it.


Member Capello referred to Section 6 (b), he suggested the language, "Approvals shall lapse and cease to be in effect if the premises are not used or the work is not started within the initial one (1) year period, or any extensions granted pursuant to Subsection 2516.7 hereof."


Member Capello referred to Section 6 (c), he suggested inserting the word "the", therefore the sentence would read, "Approvals shall lapse and cease to be in effect if the work..."


Member Capello referred to Part II, Subsection A, he suggested the language, "An extension may be granted for any period of time not to exceed a period of one (1) year.


Member Capello referred to Subsection B, he suggested the language, "An extension of site plan approval must be requested in writing at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the approval. And such request must be granted before the original site plan expires..."


Member Capello did not think that Subsection C needed to be stated. He thought it was a given, after the date of expiration, an application would automatically have to be resubmitted, therefore he did not feel it was necessary to include this paragraph.


Member Capello referred to Subsection F, he suggested the language, "If the burden of the applicant to show good cause for the granting of any requested extension, it is the burden of any requested extension. The following factors may be considered by the Planning Commission in their determination of whether good cause exists: f(2) The applicant has demonstrated that technical review of the final site plan has raised unforeseen development problems; f(3) The applicant has demonstrated that unforeseen economic events or conditions have caused a delay; f(4) A plan continues to comply with all current site plan criteria and City of Novi Zoning Ordinances.


Member Capello stated these were his suggestions to the language.


Member Hoadley stated he would like to go over each of the suggested changes one by one before he would support them, this would allow him to understand why.


Chairperson Weddington thought they were basically editorial and asked Member Capello to explain.


Member Capello stated he would be satisfied if the record would incorporate them into the City Council minutes and let City Council add it.


Member Bononi stated as the maker of the motion, the only item that she would not agree with, was the exclusion of Part II 7(c), she believed it should remain.





Yes: Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington

No: None





Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a commendation to Paul Weisberger for the excellent work done on the Ordinance.





Yes: Canup, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington, Bononi

No: None








Property located north of Eight Mile Road, between Meadowbrook Road and Haggerty Road for possible Revised Final Site Plan (Landscape Plan only) approval and Subdivision Ordinance variance recommendation to City Council.

Lou Sabatini of John Richards Homes stated there were deciduous trees in the original landscape plan and blue spruce trees are now being proposed.


Brandon Rogers stated he did not have any comments, he deferred to the City Forester, being that the plantings were in the R.O.W.


Chris Pargoff, City Forester stated he was opposed to the particular plantings that are currently in place. It was done contrary to the direction given to the landscaper who was working on the site, there were to be no evergreen trees on the islands and they proceeded to put them in despite the objections. Mr. Pargoff stated it was in contradiction to Ordinance 7545, Subsection 403,b,3,d which prohibits any kind of structure or planting that will obscure vision across the island. Mr. Pargoff stated it was primarily a safety issue.


Chairperson Weddington asked how tall and wide the spruce trees would grow?


Mr. Pargoff answered, the spruce tree may grow to be approximately 20' wide and they are currently 12'-15' tall, he stated they can grow up to 60' tall.





Understanding the requests of the City, Member Csordas asked the petitioner why the trees were planted when he would have known that there would be objectives to it?


Mr. Sabatini answered some of the people must have known, but the people that were involved in it originally did not know about it and it became an aesthetic decision when they were out in the field. He was not aware of the restriction until he received a letter in the mail. He stated he drove the site and did not seem to find a problem with sight, he also stated there were speed limit signs of 18 mph being posted in the development and did not think it would be a problem.


Member Vrettas was amazed at the situation. He thought the applicant should have taken up the tree and moved forward once they found out they were in violation of the law, instead of taking time away from the Planning Commission, the City Forester and the applicant’s own time, because time is money. Member Vrettas stated the spruce trees can grow up to 120' high, and stated they would be an obstruction of vision. He thought it would be in the best interest of the applicant, the safety of the children, the City, to take the trees out.







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


Mr. Watson stated the actual site plan revision is a decision of the Planning Commission, only the additional variance to the Subdivision Ordinance needs a recommendation.


Member Vrettas stated that was the negative recommendation that he was making.


Member Hoadley stated originally when the developer came before the Commission, he was made aware that the approval was subject to all of the consultants recommendations. He agreed that it should be denied since the applicant went ahead and planted the trees as opposed to what Mr. Pargoff recommended, and ignored what was originally approved.


Chairperson Weddington stated John Richards Homes builds very fine homes and has an excellent reputation. She was very disappointed that this matter has come up, however, it is a safety issue and that is always the paramount concern of the Commission. The blue spruce is a very dense, thick, lush evergreen that grows quite large, for this reason she was in support of the motion.





Yes: Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington, Bononi, Canup

No: None





Property located south of Grand River Avenue, between Meadowbrook Road and Haggerty Road for possible Preliminary Site Plan approval.


Clif Seiber represented the Beech Tree Development Company. He presented the proposal for a light industrial building located near the intersection of Seeley and Grand River. To the east of the site is the AGA Gas Company, zoned light industrial, and it is proposed to share an existing driveway that was constructed as part of the AGA Gas development. To the west of the site is a vacant piece of property which fronts on Joseph Street and is zoned NCC. To the south is Camborne Place Subdivision which is zoned light industrial but the southerly 30' of the site is zoned Residential.



Mr. Seiber stated in his discussions with AGA Gas, he attempted to provide a continuous berm to provide screening for the residential development to the south and AGA Gas has agreed to it. An attempt is being made to save two substantial trees on the site, a 24" Maple and an 18" blue spruce.


Mr. Seiber stated they would be asking for a variance before the ZBA in order to place the berm within the residentially zoned property. He stated when the AGA Gas development was approved, they obtained a variance from the ZBA to locate the berm within the residentially zoned property and he believed the development proposed before the Beech Tree Office Centre also obtained the same easement. He stated the existing Grand River R.O.W. is 50' half width and is proposed as a 60' half width R.O.W., he stated he has located the sidewalk within the proposed future 60' half width R.O.W. and intends to grant the R.O.W. to the Oakland County Road Commission or grant an easement for the sidewalk. Mr. Seiber stated the sidewalk would align with the existing sidewalk that was constructed as a part of the AGA Gas development.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the development is a one-story office building. All application data has been provided. They have provided 97 parking spaces including the 4 required handicapped spaces. Off-street loading is provided on the east side of the building. Mr. Rogers pointed out that there are overhead doors which may appear to be inaccessible because of parking in front of the doors, he was told that they are to be used only occasionally to bring in a surveyors truck at which time the parking could be kept from those spaces and the vehicle could drive into the doors. Mr. Rogers stated the landscape plan meets the standards of a conceptual landscape plan, he expressed concern about continuing the berm from AGA Gas through without a gap in between. Mr. Rogers recommended the variance for consistency. Mr. Rogers stated there was a 28" diameter Maple that he would like to be saved, he suggested removing one parking space south of the tree as there is access parking. In regard to the conceptual building facade, they are using faced brick and split faced block which Mr. Rogers found to meet the standards of the Facade Ordinance Section 2520. Mr. Rogers recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to reviewing the conceptual landscape plan comments at the time of Final.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the shared driveway will be used between the proposed building and the AGA Gas building to the east. He stated he will need to see a copy of the ingress/egress easement that exists between the two facilities, to check for accuracy. The applicant is proposing to bring water and sewer in from existing utilities into the building and provide service for the building. The applicant is also proposing enclosed storm sewers to carry the storm water to the south side of the building where a storm water detention basin is to be constructed and shared by this property and the AGA Gas development. The basin will be located north of the large proposed berm. The ultimate outlet for the stormwater is into a catch basin that exists in the residential development to the south, it has been sized to handle the agricultural flows for the site. Mr. Bluhm stated there will need to be maintenance and operating agreement between the two parties that will need to be provided before the Final Site Plan is approved. He stated the sidewalk is currently on private property and will need either a dedication of the R.O.W. or an easement in the City’s name for that purpose. The plan demonstrates engineering feasibility and he recommended approval.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the access point is a shared access point with AGA Gas. He asked the applicant to submit existing turning movement counts and forecasts in order to better evaluate it, which has been done and reviewed. He stated the principle comment was in regard to the thoroughfare plan which calls for a marginal access road across the front of the property. The plan shows the R.O.W. for the future marginal access road, however, the drive that goes along the front of the building is not within that 30' marginal access area. Mr. Arroyo believed that if it were located within that area and a stub were provided to the west, it would enable the road to function in a way that the City envisioned that it would function, so that there would be potential for access once the property to the west is developed. He stated it would not be prudent to put in an additional access point onto Grand River, directly east of Joseph Drive. By providing for a marginal access stub street connection, the property to the west could potentially be served by the marginal access drive and would provide substantial traffic improvements. He thought this comment was worthy of discussion by the Planning Commission and that it be resolved as part of the deliberations on the Preliminary Site Plan.


Mr. Arroyo also provided trip generation forecast and indicated that a deceleration lane and center turn lane are already in place for the development, therefore, no additional improvements to Grand River are necessary to serve the property. Mr. Arroyo recommended approval subject to Item 3 being addressed and resolved by the Planning Commission.


Chairperson Weddington 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 Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci of JCK which states he has reviewed the plans for compliance with the Facade Ordinance and he recommends that the application is in compliance with the Facade Ordinance and a Section IV Waiver is not required.


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





Member Capello referred to Item 3 and stated the plan shows that there is a future 30' marginal access. He asked if this was a 30' easement or if it was the actual width of the marginal access road?


Mr. Arroyo stated it was shown on the plan as future marginal access which is basically indicated that it could be put in that area. He did not know that the applicant was proposing to dedicate that or if they were proposing to dedicate an easement.


Member Capello asked if it was a requirement that an easement is dedicated for the future marginal access road?


Mr. Arroyo did not believe that it was an absolute requirement, he stated it was a requirement that it be shown on the plan so that the City can be assured that the development that takes place could be done consistent with the establishment of it in the future.


Member Capello asked if there would be a problem if the marginal access road were put in the location of the drive, between the berm and the front of the building


Mr. Arroyo stated the potential problem would be connecting it with properties to the west.


Member Capello asked what if a stub were put at the end of the drive, 3-4 parking spaces were taken out and that area was used for the future marginal access.


Mr. Arroyo stated it would be so far back from Grand River that it would hinder the ability to develop the site to the west. If it were moved closer to Grand River, it opens up more of the property for development. Mr. Arroyo stated if the plan were approved in this manner and a marginal access road went in later, the landscape berm would be lost because the easement area is where the landscape berm is.


Member Capello stated eventually he wants Grand River to be a nice looking corridor, he did not think the marginal access road looked very good even though it was very functional. Member Capello’s preference was to leave the berm and keep the access road behind the berm where it is less visible. He asked if it would help Mr. Arroyo’s concerns with a stub on the westerly property if the existing road were continued around closer to Grand River?

Mr. Arroyo answered, the closer the stub can be to Grand River, the better. He stated on the eastern side of their property, the north edge of their drive is touching where the 30' marginal access easement would be. At a minimum, if it were extended along that line to the west, he thought it would be preferable to put in a stub south of that point.


Member Capello asked if there was a requirement for the applicant to grant the easement to the marginal access road?


Mr. Arroyo was not aware of such a requirement.


Member Capello asked the petitioner if any of the questions that he asked were anything that he could work with?


Mr. Seiber stated they were well over the minimum number of parking spaces, therefore there was room. He stated he was willing to negotiate an access subject to conditions, when the property to the west was ready to be developed. He stated he was not wild about that property having no access to Joseph Street or Grand River except through his property. He stated the Master Plan for Land Use indicates a marginal access road which cuts across the vacant parcel and ties into Joseph Street, by constructing a marginal access road through the area, driveway cuts are not reduced. He did not see any advantage to a marginal access road, but the fact that there was an indication of one on the Master Plan, he has positioned the building to the south to allow for it and he has provided the 70' setback from the proposed future R.O.W. of Grand River.


Member Capello understood the applicant’s concern about a marginal access road, however, the aesthetics along Grand River outweighs the need for the road along there.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED (7-1): To grant approval of Preliminary Site Plan SP97-14A subject to a ZBA variance and all of the consultants recommendations with the exception of Item 3 in Mr. Arroyo’s report regarding the marginal access road and to have the final landscape plan return at the time of Final.


In regard to the storm sewer and catch basin, Member Bononi asked Mr. Bluhm if the construction of the proposed berm was going to increase any existing drainage problems that Lots 15 and 16 experience at this point?


Mr. Bluhm answered, no. Because the swale and the direction of drainage currently runs to a common swale along the rear of those properties.


Member Bononi asked the applicant if the proposed landscaping for the southern part of the property would also be repeated for the benefit of the house at Lot 16?


Mr. Seiber stated it was proposed to transplant the plantings and trees from the existing berm. The berm will then be reconstructed and raised and the plantings will be brought back on.


Member Bononi asked if the plantings would be commensurate with the new plantings that are being planted at the rear of the site?


Mr. Seiber stated they were proposing to continue what was there now.


Member Bononi stated she would like to see the style, type, number and specimen of landscaping continued on the other property for the benefit of the residents on Lot 16. She did not think it was out of the question since they were already dealing with the neighbor to the east on other matters.


Member Bononi asked who owns the parcel site and where the easterly property line is?


Mr. Seiber answered the Beech Tree Development Company owns the site. He stated the easterly property line runs down the center of the existing driveway.


Member Bononi asked the petitioner to define the office uses that are proposed and she asked him to clarify that the proposed uses did not include medical/dental.


Mr. Seiber answered that was correct, he stated he was not proposing medical/dental. He explained that he would initially occupy half of the building as civil engineers and surveyors. He stated he plans to lease the remainder of the building to professionals such as landscape architects, wetland consultants, architects, etc. Eventually as they continue to grow, he expected to occupy the entire building.


Member Bononi asked why he felt he needed four overhead doors?


Mr. Seiber stated for themselves they need one for survey vans. He felt the additional doors on the other half of the building were needed to service those future tenants for access. Eventually they would be overhead doors for the survey vans for security reasons. He stated they did not want to park their vans outside because the equipment is very expensive, he believed he needed to keep it inside. He stated the overhead doors are not the conventional light industrial overhead doors. He stated they are proposed to be 8-9' and look very much like a residential situation, he added that they would be facing NCC zoning.


Member Bononi asked Mr. Rogers to explain what the scenario would be to adaptively reuse the space to light industrial?


Mr. Rogers stated to convert it to a warehouse, he did not know the roof structure and whether or not some of the walls were bearing walls. He stated the overhead doors are low profile compared to the standard 12' high doors. The off-street loading and unloading requirements would be different, a warehouse requires less parking spaces. Mr. Rogers stated some of the parking could be removed and the pavement area could be used loading and truck maneuvering. He stated the building is one story and has a low profile ceiling treatment with not much height clearance inside.


Mr. Seiber agreed with Mr. Rogers and stated the height of the offices inside will only be between 9 and 10 feet. He thought this was inadequate for an industrial use because they would only be able to provide very little storage. He thought if the building were to be used for a light industrial use it would have to be reconstructed.


With the gabled roof, the use of brick and the nature of the tenants, Mr. Rogers thought the use was a good neighbor to the Residential to the south, over any warehouse or wholesaling use going into the site.


Member Hoadley stated he would not be in support of the motion as it was currently stated. He expressed the same concerns as Mr. Arroyo and Member Capello. He thought there was a compromise that could be offered. He asked Mr. Arroyo to point out where he thought the road could or should go, and he asked how far away the entrance was, from where the road was Master Planned?


Mr. Arroyo pointed out where the road was envisioned to be placed. He showed the applicant’s proposed access point to the shared driveway and stated the alternative was to be as consistent as possible with the Master Plan. Another alternative that was discussed with Member Capello would be to run it parallel to the 30' easement but actually outside of it so that it would come off and the stub would be at another location that would not be as close to Grand River but also would not be as far away.


Member Hoadley stated that would work for him. He thought the compromise would be to split the difference and stated he would not want to give up the potential access to the adjacent property. He did not think it was appropriate to have an access onto Joseph Drive. Member Hoadley asked the applicant if he would be willing to compromise and have less berming along Grand River and only shift the road somewhere half way in between?


Mr. Seiber answered, no. He thought he has provided for the potential that the driveway could be extended within the 70' area.


Member Hoadley stated if the applicant was not willing to compromise, he did not think he could support the plan.


Mr. Arroyo clarified that his concern was that the stub come off where the parking spaces are currently shown. He stated if it ran parallel to the marginal access road area, he did not think it would present any significant problems for development of the property to the west. However, if it were off of the parking spaces, it would be practically on top of the building.


Member Hoadley suggested making it a condition of the approval.


Mr. Seiber stated he did not know when the parcel was going to develop, he did not see it happening anytime soon, he likes what is proposed in his plan and would like to proceed.


Member Csordas agreed with Member Capello that the design of the property is attractive and efficient. He stated he could appreciate the petitioner’s concern about the neighbor’s access only through his property. He couldn’t imagine why any hardship would be put on the petitioner based on the future. Member Csordas was in support of the motion.


Member Vrettas agreed with Member Csordas.


Member Canup also agreed with Member Csordas.


Member Bononi asked if the maker of the motion would consider bringing the application back for Final Site Plan approval?


Member Capello stated it should be brought back specifically for landscaping review.


Member Vrettas agreed with Member Capello.






Yes: Csordas, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington, Bononi, Canup, Capello

No: Hoadley





Property located north of Fonda Drive, west of Novi Road for possible Preliminary Site Plan and Subsection 2520.4/Section 1602.9 Facade Waiver approvals.


Thomas Reder, architect with Ledy Design Group introduced Mike Brister, Landscape Architect. He stated he was proposing the renovation of an existing 20 year old restaurant at the corner of Novi Road and Fonda Drive. He stated he has tried to bring it up to the TC zoning standards as he has met with the Town Center Steering Committee twice and has been working with the City. He explained that he has reconfigured the parking lot and restriped it to repair an existing non-conforming parking condition. It is proposed to add a sidewalk along Novi Road to connect the corner to the Bob Evans sidewalk. He is adding a required splash strip at the corner, landscape screening in the front and rear, and an activity node at the rear of the site.


In regard to the building improvements, a new dryvit facade with an entrance canopy is proposed as well as new signage. There is a cedar shake canopy around the entire building which is proposed to be replaced with standing seam copper colored metal to match the copper that exists on the Town Center buildings. The brick will match the existing brick on the store. Mr. Reder stated he had submitted for a Section IV waiver for the additional dryvit material on the front of the store. The only issue is the checker stripe on the building. The Town Center Steering Committee asked that it be removed and replaced with a cementitious material out of simulated limestone. He stated he removed it, however Elias Brothers would like to address it and propose that the strip be put back on the elevation.


Rick Hamlin, Chief Executive Officer for Elias Brothers thought he had received Preliminary approval on the plan subject to changing the color of the canopy from green to gold. He stated the architect never obtained approval from the property owner nor the franchisor. He stated every time he has remodeled a unit, he has been able to increase the employment within the restaurants by about 40 to 50 people. Mr. Hamlin stated when he found out that the plan was submitted without approval from his company or the franchisor, he was very upset and apologized to the Commission for leading them to believe that they were coming before the body not asking for the stripes. He found it difficult to find that the architect would take it upon himself to move the red and white checks when every restaurant that has developed since he came in, has every conceivable color approved. He mentioned that Friday’s restaurant is able to put its’ signature awnings on its’ restaurant, he felt the red and white checks were more of a signature for Big Boy than the awnings were for Friday’s. He asked the Commission to allow him the opportunity to go forward by amending the request to include the red and white checks.


Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated the applicant appeared before the Town Center Steering Committee a couple of times and thanked them for taking the time to do that. He stated it was an informal discussion and recommendation as part of the planning process that did not have any binding authority. The applicant spent a considerable amount of time and was responsive in a number of areas in upgrading some of the initial designs. Mr. Wahl addressed the principle issue that was brought up by Mr. Hamlin. He stated it was indicated to the applicant that it was a special zoning district and a number of projects had modified their corporate logo or design. Mr. Wahl stated the applicant referred to it as an icon, which is part of the advertising logo of Big Boy. Mr. Wahl thought part of the problem that the Committee had with the checker board was that it is not so much an architectural feature, it is part of an advertising design that is incorporated in the figure and is part of the corporate image. He stated the motion of the Town Center Steering Committee was to make a positive recommendation for the entire project, subject to elimination of the checker board feature and was a 5-2 vote. Mr. Wahl thought the rendition of the building without the checker board was much more handsome and in keeping with the types of high quality unique developments that are in the Town Center. It was the Department’s recommendation that the design as initially presented, was more in keeping with the Town Center theme and he appreciated the Commission considering his comments.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated to bring the development up to the Town Center development amenities, the site was redesigned and they actually gained a parking space. There is an 8 ˝’ to 9' greenspace due to the removal of 7' to 8' of existing blacktop parking lot space. Mr. Rogers stated all application data has been provided, the parking is in compliance, there are a number of details on the conceptual landscape plan and it meets the standards of the landscape plan as a concept plan. To the south there is parking in the public R.O.W. which was approved a few years ago to provide the handicapped parking. The building has an addition in the front which equals 540 square feet. He stated it involves the entranceway. Mr. Rogers corrected the summary in his letter dated July 28, 1997 to say, "In summary, I recommend Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to: 1) addressing landscape concerns at the time of Final and 2) reconsideration of the east building facade compliance." Mr. Rogers stated Mr. Necci did not address the checker board in his review letter.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant suggested that the applicant separate the sidewalk that is proposed along Novi Road, from the road as much as possible, he stated he would look for this to be addressed on the construction plans at the time of Final. Mr. Bluhm recommended approval.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated from a traffic perspective, the primary change is the change in the layout of the parking. He indicated that his only area of concern is the parallel parking along the front of the building. There is one space at the northern end that he felt should be deleted because it would be difficult to access it. He pointed out that typically, parallel parking is associated with a one way circulation pattern, if it were kept as it is currently designed, there is the potential that one car may parallel park facing north and another facing south. One suggestion that he offered as a potential would be to take the perpendicular spaces that share that aisle, and slant them at a 60 degree angle to actually create a northbound one way flow for the aisle. He thought this would potentially provide for a better circulation pattern. He thought this could be worked out with the applicant as a part of the Final Site Plan. Mr. Arroyo recommended approval subject to resolution of this item.


Chairperson Weddington 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 Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci regarding the Facade Ordinance which states it is his recommendation that a waiver to sections 2520 and 1602.9 be granted contingent on the submittal of material sample board indicating the following: 1) "Copper" standing seam metal roof matches material used in Town Center; 2) E.I.F.S. and Simulated Limestone match each other; 3) New brick matches, or harmonizes with existing brick and all other materials.


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





Member Canup referred to the signage and asked if it complied with the Ordinance?


Mr. Reder answered, yes.


Mr. Rogers stated at this time, signage is not reviewed for compliance. Alan Amolsch of the Building Department is responsible for the review. Mr. Rogers was aware of the issue and stated he would not personally recommend the variance, however, maybe the applicant is in compliance.


Member Canup stated it appeared that the front facade was built to accommodate the sign. He asked the applicant if he has addressed the sign issue with the City?


Mr. Reder stated the square footage of the sign is within the Ordinance standards.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney commented that the Planning Commission does not get reviews of signage prior to site plan consideration and evaluation. Approval of a site plan, irrespective of what the depiction is, is not approval of any signage. The applicant will still have to go through the building department and Mr. Amolsch to receive the approval.


Member Capello stated in reading Mr. Rogers report, it appears that the applicant has adequate setback and greenspace plantings along Novi Road.


Mr. Rogers answered, yes. He stated if the applicant met the full intent of the Town Center District Ordinance to have 15% of their site in greenspace, they would loose a lot of the existing parking which they need. Mr. Rogers shared the concerns of Mr. Arroyo in regard to parallel parking.


Member Capello asked if the greenspace that is shown along Novi Road meets the Ordinance?


Mr. Rogers answered, yes. The plant materials are being reviewed to give the screening to the parking lot.


Member Capello asked if the five parallel parking spaces were removed, would the applicant still have adequate parking according to the Ordinance?


Mr. Rogers answered with the seating, lobby area and employees, the applicant needs all of the existing parking. They need 98 spaces and they are providing 99 spaces. He stated he would have to recheck the numbers to be sure and this could be done before Final.


Member Capello stated in looking at the plans, he did not see where the applicant delineated any of the Town Center amenities such as park benches, trash receptacles, brick pavers or street lighting.


Mr. Rogers stated the applicant would have the lighting at the proper spacing, meeting the Town Center design standards. He stated there was not enough safe space to put in benches because of the busier roadway. In lieu of putting it in front, it was put on the back side of the property and is visible when entering the Expo Center.


Member Capello asked if certain street lighting was being required?


Mr. Rogers answered absolutely. He stated the street lighting specifications are approved by Bruce Jerome, working in concert with Linda Lemke.


Member Capello asked if lights were also going to be put in along Fonda Drive?


Mr. Rogers answered, no. There will just be high level street lighting at that location.


Member Capello referred to the applicant’s comment regarding Friday’s. He stated that he and Chairperson Weddington were the only two on the Commission at the time Friday’s was reviewed and they specifically had a problem with the red and white awnings. The issue was specifically addressed with them. It was the Commission’s understanding that the applicant was going to tone the colors down to a maroon and an off white. He did not think that they installed what they should have, this is the reason they exist as they do today. Member Capello thought the applicant’s architect did them a favor by changing the red and white stripe to the simulated limestone and presenting it to the Commission.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Preliminary Site Plan SP97-16B and Section 2520.4 and 1602.9 Facade Waiver approvals subject to Final Site Plan coming back for review, city staff and consultants’ recommendations, waiver of a portion of the 15% greenspace requirement, building facade shall be constructed as approved by the Planning Commission as indicated in minutes and illustrated on the petitioners display board.







Member Vrettas stated the strength of Novi has been its diversity along with a common thread that is unique to who it is. He thought that what the petitioner was upset about is something that is a bad habit that we all have within our own profession. He stated sometimes we become so obsessed with what is going on within our own company that we loose sight of what the common people want. Member Vrettas stated when he hears Big Boy, he does not envision stripes, he envisions the statue of the boy. He referred to the comment that the applicant made in regard to being a good neighbor for 20 years. He stated the applicant did not come to Novi to be a good neighbor, he came into Novi because the market research said it was a good area to make money. Member Vrettas stated, to succeed you must be a genuine good neighbor, he suggested that the applicant thank his architect and go along with what was proposed.


Member Csordas thanked Mr. Hamlin and his company for turning a long standing business from an eyesore to a building in a location that everyone should be proud of. In regard to the checker board logo, he understood the concern and was empathetic with regard to the corporate identity. Member Csordas personally did not have a problem with the checker board.


Member Hoadley commended the applicant on a good job, he felt they complied with suggestions that were made. He was pleased that the applicant changed the green roof to copper. Member Hoadley stated as a member of the Town Center Steering Committee, he felt that the checker board was inappropriate, however, the other rendered facade shown was very appropriate and he was happy to make a positive vote and give the waiver needed to support the rest of the facade and the parking.


In regard to the logo and lettering over the main door, Member Bononi asked if the 1" reveal strips would remain red?


Mr. Reder answered, yes.


Member Bononi stated she had a problem with it. She thought it was not a question of good or bad design, but design in the wrong context, in the proposed area. She thought it had been proven in advertising that maximizing signage does not necessarily increase business. She realized that the applicant wished to call attention to their business, however, she thought in this particular area where the City has tried very hard to establish a sense of place, it is the wrong type of signage. Member Bononi was in support of the motion to support the plan as it was submitted to the Planning Commission. She preferred not to see the red stripes because the front of the building has a graphic look that would appear to be a sign in itself. At the least she expected not to see the checker board horizontal stripes.


Member Vrettas was also in support of the motion. He thought the drawing and quality of the product that was shown by the architect was outstanding.


Chairperson Weddington stated her sentiments have been expressed by other Commissioners. She stated just as Big Boy is trying to establish and maintain its corporate identity, Novi is trying to establish and maintain its Town Center identity. A lot of time and trouble has been put into creating a special district with special materials and definite requirements that are stringent. She stated the Commission tries to apply them fairly and consistently and thought the quality of the area speaks well for the Ordinance and for the efforts that the City has made. She valued the business and thought the business would stand out because they are so prominently situated at the main intersection. Chairperson Weddington thought the applicant ended up with an excellent compromise as it blends in but it still establishes the new identity. She thought Mr. Arroyo’s suggestion for angled parking was a good one and would like to see it worked out. She commended the applicant for updating the restaurant, adding the sidewalk and upgrading the landscaping. Chairperson Weddington was in support of the motion.


If the maker of the motion would accept, Member Bononi proposed to remove the 1" reveal, horizontal vertical red stripes from the plan.


Member Capello stated he was misled. He stated neither of the colored renderings in front of the Commission shows any horizontal or vertical stripes going through the limestone. It seemed by the blueprint that the intent was to have horizontal and vertical stripes between the limestone squares. Member Capello stated he did not have a problem accepting Member Bononi’s proposal as a part of the motion.


Member Vrettas also accepted the proposal as the seconder of the motion.


Member Capello recalled during the Town Center Steering Committee meetings, he did see some red and there was a problem with it because it looked like the entire front was checker board.





Yes: Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington, Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas

No: None


Chairperson Weddington announced the Commission will take a brief recess.






Lynn Kocan, 23088 Ennishore Drive congratulated Chairperson Weddington on her new position. She thanked the new Commissioners as well as all of the Commissioners for donating their time to serve the City. She wished Mr. Cohen great success in his education and career and thanked him for the help he provided to her and the residents of Novi. In regard to Harada Industries, the warehouse that was built next to Meadowbrook Lake is now open for business. The landscape berm turned out very well, the residents appreciate the additional height and she thanked the Planning Department and Ms. Lemke’s office for their work and attention to the details. However, she stated there have been no load limit signs posted on Nine Mile Road, east of Venture Drive, therefore, semi trucks are traversing east on Nine Mile Road which is a road that is not intended to support that weight and the roads will be torn up very quickly. Ms. Kocan stated the trucks are also traversing through the "residential portion" of Nine Mile and Meadowbrook Roads. The Planning Commission had hoped that signage would be up prior to the opening of Harada, it has not happened yet and asked about the status.


Chairperson Weddington believed the Commission required some signage in regard to Harada, she asked the Department to follow up on it as she believed it was a condition.


Steve Cohen, Staff Planner answered, yes.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney thought because it was under the jurisdiction of the DPS, that it was referred to either Mr. Jerome or to City Council through Mr. Jerome. He stated in any event, it could be followed up on.


Member Hoadley asked that Ms. Kocan be apprised by letter as to the status of the left hand turn signs.


Chairperson Weddington stated there would be follow up with a letter on the status of the signs.


Chairperson Weddington asked if there was anyone else who wished to address the Commission. Seeing no one she closed Audience Participation.








Property located east of Novi Road, between Nine Mile Road and Eight Mile Road for possible Preliminary Site Plan approval.


As a result of his reputation with the owner of this project, Member Watza asked to abstain.


Dennis Krestel of Guido Associates Architects thanked Mr. Cohen for all of his help over the years. He passed out photographs of the existing Border Cantina Restaurant. He proposed a 923 square foot addition at the northwest corner of the restaurant along with a new 13,000 square foot parking lot. Eleven additional spaces will be provided than the required. The facade of the addition was designed such that it did not look like they added on to the building. He wanted to keep pace with competition’s facades. He stated they added a southwest style architectural element at the northwest corner of the building that included an illuminated Texas star. He stated the parapet also helps to screen the new rooftop equipment that is required for the addition as well as pinpoint the restaurant from the road. Additional landscaping has been added in an area by the addition where the existing parking spaces have been displaced. The total ˝ acre site at the east rear of the property has been developed for parking while providing for the required interior and buffer landscaping that will benefit the subdivision to the east of the railroad tracks. The subdivision is also separated from the parking area by a 15' landscape berm. Evergreens have been added along the railroad track to further increase the screening. The parking area is located in the Thornton Creek floodplain, the pavement has been designed to minimize the regrading and thus minimize the impact to the floodplain and to the existing trees.


Mr. Krestel stated he had a preliminary meeting with Mr. Ashok Punjabi of MDEQ regarding the parking in the flood plane area and Mr. Punjabi did not have any problems with the way it has been designed. Mr. Krestel realized that he must submit application for their final approval.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the parking lot provides a separation from Riverbridge site condominiums to the east. Mr. Rogers requested that the following application data be provided at the time of Final Site Plan; 1) Graphic scale: Preliminary Site Plan Checklist; 2) Location map: Name of CSX RR, proper alignment of Novi Road; 3) Zoning of property to east; 4) Existing topography at 2' contour intervals for site and a 100' perimeter area. 104 parking spaces have been provided including the handicapped spaces. Loading/unloading is located at the rear of the building and the dumpster pad is screened. In regard to landscape requirements, Mr. Rogers stated the items noted in his letter dated July 28, 1997 can be provided at the time of Final.

Mr. Rogers stated there was a question regarding the facades. He stated they were using E.I.F.S. below a standing seam metal roof which matches the existing building. He stated Section 2520.6 should be revisited. Mr. Rogers recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to addressing conceptual landscape plan concerns and further review of the conceptual facade plans being conducted.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the major engineering feature is the parking area on the east side of the building which is proposed to be paved and curbed. He stated the area to be paved is very flat, there is a shallow ditch on the west side of the tracks that flows from the north across the site. There is a 100 year flood plane associated with it, it does traverse a portion of the parking area. The DEQ will need to provide approval as well as a local flood plane permit for the use of the parking area encroaching into the flood plane. The current parking area detains storm water in the parking area itself. There have been notches dropped in the curb to control the outlet of the storm water, this is directed into swales and then into the ditch. The new parking area is proposing a similar detention type method. Mr. Bluhm stated there were a few other comments in his letter, the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility and recommended approval.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the access to the site will remain as it is today, there is no need for any improvements to Novi Road to serve traffic from the project. He found that the parking lot expansion layout is acceptable and recommended approval.


Chairperson Weddington 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 with the following: Install "Fire Lane - No Parking" signs in accordance with Section 15,F-313.0 of the Code of Ordinances in the following locations: 1) Along the curb, north side of building; 2) Both sides of the curb, south side of building. Place each sign on the plans.


Chairperson Weddington announced she received a letter from Douglas R. Necci of JCK who has reviewed the application in compliance with the Facade Ordinance and finds that a Section IV waiver is not required.


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





Member Bononi asked Mr. Bluhm if there was talk about a map amendment with regard to the flood hazard area?


Mr. Bluhm stated a map amendment through FEMA would be something that would be required if they were proposing a building in the area because they could not put a building in the flood plane. He stated it has been the DEQ’s position that parking areas do not constitute a hazard for flooding the building and a map amendment would not be necessary unless the flood plane were determined to be an error. If they were going to fill the area to put the parking in as an alternative and move the flood plane, they would then have to seek a map amendment.


Member Bononi asked if Mr. Bluhm was saying that there would be no fill deposited in the area, in order to accomplish the parking area?


Mr. Bluhm stated, they were proposing no fill.


Member Bononi asked how the water would be directed into the ditch?


Mr. Bluhm answered the storm water would be detained in the parking area, the curbs would control the storm water and notches placed in the curb would be the outlet points and there would be swales constructed in that location.


Member Bononi asked about any treatment to the water as it comes off of the parking area?


Mr. Bluhm stated the applicant is proposing swales to direct it to the swale adjacent to the railroad. That swale will also treat the storm water before depositing it into the Rouge.


Member Bononi stated there was treatment and pre-treatment, she did not consider it to be pre-treatment.


Member Hoadley asked how badly would the lot flood in the event of a ten year flood?


Mr. Bluhm stated based on the proposed elevations, most areas will be six inches or less.


Member Hoadley asked how long the water would store there?


Mr. Bluhm answered, probably for an hour or less.


Member Vrettas asked why a detention pond is not required?


Mr. Bluhm stated it was due to topography. The land is very flat and depth would have to be created in order to create a detention pond, this would mean a lower outlet point would be needed to de-water the pond. The lower elevation is not available because it is flat.





Moved by Canup, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED (6-1): To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval for SP97-30 subject to consultants recommendations and the berm waiver.





Yes: Vrettas, Weddington, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley

No: Bononi

Abstained: Watza








Presentation from Planning Consultant and Planning/Traffic Consultant regarding master plan process and practice.


Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated when briefings or discussions are put together with Planning Commissioners, it is intended to be with the newer Commissioners in order to bring them up to speed or give them background information regarding the principle functions and activities of the Commission. He stated when the Commission’s schedule allows, he would like to involve the entire Commission under the discussion items.


He stated he would like to review what a Master Planning Process is, what the components are, how it operates, what Novi’s experience has been with Master Planning and most importantly, what the schedule of the Planning Commission is, for updating the Master Plan by the year 2000. He felt this was a timely opportunity to have the consultants give a general overview of how the Master Plan Process works in general and in the City of Novi.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the function of a Planning Commission is to prepare a long range plan. The components of that plan should include land use, schools, recreation, open space, transportation, etc. Planning is an indefinite science, his interpretation of a Master Plan was a set of goals that are discussed and ultimately adopted. Physical design plans that can be put on a map include land use, thoroughfare, general utility, recreation, off-street parking and municipal parking. Mr. Rogers stated a plan goes beyond this, there are soft types of plans such as population strategies, economic strategies, capital improvement programs and citizen education programs.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant thought one point that was really critical was the tie to the Zoning Ordinance. He stated the Zoning Enabling Act says that the Zoning Ordinance shall be based upon a plan. He stated it provides information to stand upon if the Ordinance was challenged, he also stated it leads to other ways to implement ideas.


Mr. Wahl asked Mr. Arroyo to discuss some of the public participation alternatives that were discussed.


Mr. Arroyo stated public participation and input was the basis for the Planning Commission setting its goals and objectives, it needs the public input and it provides additional information to assist with planning. The work program has identified three alternatives for getting public input into the process: 1) A series of town meetings, whereby the City of Novi would be broken into area segments and the Planning Commission and consultants would go forward and have meetings with each segment to gather input; 2) Two futuring sessions that would focus on land use type issues, where citizens would be invited to come forward and address specific land use issues and provide some policy guidance; 3) Conduct a community attitude survey. A phone or written survey would be performed and questions about various land use issues would be asked. Mr. Arroyo stated the Planning Commission would be making a decision as to which of the alternatives they feel is most appropriate to use as a part of gaining public participation in the planning process.


Mr. Wahl passed out an outline of the planning studies that have been completed in the past, as well as the current Work Program. He felt that some determination on ways to obtain public input to the master plan process, needed to be made by October. He stated it could be taken to the Planning Studies Committee and come back to the Commission with a recommendation if the Commission feels this is the appropriate way to handle it.


Chairperson Weddington asked the Commission if they had any preferences? Seeing none, she stated it would be sent to the Planning Studies Committee and let them come back to the Commission with a recommendation, at that time the Commission would address it.





Member Bononi stated she was given a report entitled Fiscal Impacts of Alternative Land Development Patterns in Michigan. The costs of current development versus compact growth summary of findings. She stated it was a study that was sponsored by SEMCOG in conjunction with Rutgers University. It was dated June 1997 and she thought it would be of particular interest to those who live in Novi because one of the 18 city’s surveyed throughout the document was the City of Novi. She thought it was a missed opportunity involving the RUD Ordinance and the consideration of the Harvest Land proposal. She thought the information would have been of interest to anyone who lives in the city and more particularly to the Planning Commission.





Moved by Bononi, seconded by Vrettas: To copy and distribute the document to each Planning Commissioner who is interested in reading it.


Member Bononi thought the projections were most interesting, in that it compares traditional land use against compact land use and open space development, it even predicts the amount of land and money that can be saved. Since the Commission is charged to prepare and provide input into the Capital Improvements budget, she thought it was a very important document.


Chairperson Weddington asked Mr. Wahl if the Department was familiar with the document?


Mr. Wahl stated the Department participated in providing a lot of information when the work was being done, however, he did not recall receiving a copy of the final document.


Member Vrettas found it inexcusable that the Commission did not receive copies of the document because he worked with SEMCOG and stated they do send things out, especially to those who participate. He stated they should have provided copies.





Yes: Watza, Weddington, Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas

No: None


Chairperson Weddington stated there was another study that was brought to the Commission’s attention during the Environmental Committee Meeting regarding Imperviousness. She stated it was conducted by the Huron River Watershed, a copy was sent to the City as well as to the Mayor and JCK. She stated it would be nice that when studies are done and they involve the City of Novi, it would be nice to have the information brought to the attention of the Commission or the appropriate Committee to see if there is interest in taking a look at it, she also stated it may help to save time.





Member Vrettas believed Ted Stanich, the Regional Director for the Federal EPA could give a dynamite presentation on air quality, water quality, etc. He stated Mr. Stanich was a former student of his and he is a very good speaker who was appointed to Westpoint Academy. He suggested adding his name to the list of possible speakers.





Member Hoadley stated during the Implementation Committee Meeting of tonight, a recommendation was made that minutes of the Committee be transcribed and distributed to the Committee as well as the full Planning Commission. The vote was 2-2, therefore it did not pass. He thought he would bring it to the attention of the Commission to see if anyone else had any interest in receiving minutes from the various committees to be kept up to date on what is happening.





Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Watza, FAILED (2-6): To direct the Planning Department to distribute copies of Committee Minutes to the Planning Commission.


Chairperson Weddington asked if there was interest by any of the Commissioners to receive minutes from the Committee meetings?


Member Bononi stated if there was a topic that the Commission as a whole thinks is important to have, she would be glad to receive the minutes, however, she was not interested in receiving any more material than what she currently receives unless it is necessary. She was not interested in doing any more than what is necessary to accomplish what is needed.


Member Capello agreed. He did not think the Commission needed the minutes.


Member Watza asked if the minutes were available if someone asks for them?

Chairperson Weddington answered, absolutely.





Yes: Hoadley, Watza

No: Weddington, Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Vrettas


Chairperson Weddington announced the Joint Meeting with City Council was scheduled for Wednesday, August 13, 1997 at 7:30. It was tentatively scheduled to be held in the old town hall and is intended to be an informal get together so the members of Planning Commission and Council can get to know each other. The Agenda is focused around the roles and responsibilities of the two bodies and moves into a discussion of communication between the two bodies and how they can work together. If time permits, there will be discussion of what the respective objectives are for the next two years. She stated it was intended to be informal and did not think that the consultants needed to attend.










Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 11:05 p.m.





Yes: Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington

No: None


Steven Cohen - Staff Planner


Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr

August 13, 1997

Date Approved: September 03, 1997