REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1997 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairperson Weddington.
PRESENT: Members Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Chairperson Weddington
ABSENT: Member Bononi
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 Steno Clerk Barbara Holmes
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairperson Weddington asked if there were any changes or additions to the Agenda?
Member Capello stated he would like to move Public Hearing #3 Zoning Map Amendment 18.571 up to Public Hearing #1. He stated he would also like to add under Matters for Consideration, the adoption of the revised NCC Ordinance.
Chairperson Weddington added Procedural Announcements under Matters for Discussion.
PM-97-11-273 TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS AMENDED
Moved by Csordas, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as amended.
VOTE ON PM-97-11-273 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington
Member Capello announced there were two letters, both were in regard to the Ramco-Gershenson application for rezoning.
Scott McCarthy of the Taubman Company wrote to express his opposition to the above referenced application for change of zoning. While he was not opposed to expansion and growth, he was opposed to changes which do not reflect an overall Master Plan or provide for adequate roadway improvements. Based on his review of the applicants impact analysis dated September 1997 prepared by Metro Transportation Group, Inc. it is clear that without major roadway improvements beyond those suggested in the analysis proposed development will result in a significant reduction to the current levels of service. Twelve Oaks Mall and the Taubman Company have a long history of participation with the City, Road Commission for Oakland County and MDOT in addressing and resolving traffic issues. He thought it was only equitable to expect future developments in the area to be held to the same standards and at least maintain the current levels of service. He respectfully requested that any consideration of rezoning be held until the traffic issues are explored in detail and clear solutions are provided.
Blair Bowman of the Novi Expo Center wrote and stated he has had an opportunity to review the West Oaks Galleria plan with the development group Ramco-Gershenson. He expressed his support for the rezoning as it will provide for a highly complimentary use to the other very dynamic projects occurring within the City of Novi. The "centertainment" concept is a unique one which will provide another entertainment and retail option to the attendees, exhibitors and convention delegates. He expressed his support for the project as it will contribute to Novi’s continued development and high quality diversified destination.
1. ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.571
Property located south of Grand River and east of Beck Road seeking rezoning from Residential Acreage (RA) to High-Density, Mid-Rise, Multiple Family Residential District (RM-2) or any other appropriate zoning district.
Blair Bowman represented Nobe Property Group, L.L.C. He stated the last time this project was before the Commission, it was indicated that progress was being made with the acquisition of one of the residents located along the Beck Road frontage. The plan before the Commission reflected that acquisition, however, now, before proceeding to Council, he desires to have it as an entire package and a full recommendation on the entire property for consideration.
Mr. Bowman stated the parcel is just under 7/10 of an acre and is located on the frontage of Beck Road. It allowed him to rotate the building and remove the congregate housing facility further from the woodlands. It allowed the elimination of a curb cut and to provide for a common entranceway for both the multiple apartment program and the senior housing program. Mr. Bowman stated he would like to clarify it and make it as part of a single recommendation to Council.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant recommended the rezoning of the 0.69 acre parcel.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the net impact from a traffic perspective is fairly minimal given the small size of the parcel. He provided a copy of his report on the previous zoning. The applicant has indicated that they are not proposing any increase in the number of units from the previous development, therefore, the net difference in trip generation is negligible for this rezoning application.
Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.
Richard Herbel, 43600 Cottisford, Northville distributed an aerial plan. He noted that there were quite a bit of wetlands directly behind the property, looking at the site under review for rezoning, he stated there were a number of streams and creeks that drain the area of water to the east which goes to a large wetland and to the south onto his property. He stated he owns four acres from the corner of Eleven Mile Road going north. There is a series of ponds that step down to catch the overflow. He stated at the last meeting, Mr. Bluhm indicated that in the future, there were plans for a retention basin south of Eleven Mile Road on the west side of the street. It was indicated that they did not have the property yet, nor did they have the R.O.W.’s to get to the property. With all of the plans for the water in the future, Mr. Herbel wondered what would happen when the units were built and the sewer is there for use right now? He asked why the unit couldn’t tie into the sewer system to take care of the water, he hoped the Commission would give it their consideration.
Chairperson Weddington asked if anyone else would like to address the Commission on the Matter? Seeing none she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
Member Capello stated it made sense, the applicant was only adding an additional parcel which was requested at the last meeting.
PM-97-11-274 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO REZONE ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.571 FROM RA TO RM-2
Moved by Capello, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED (7-1): To send a positive recommendation to City Council for Zoning Map Amendment 18.571 from RA to RM-2.
Member Hoadley stated he would support the rezoning. He stated it was really a site plan issue and he would look long and hard before he would approve any site plan that does not deal with off premises water. He stated he would not support anything that does not allow any additional water to go onto Mr. Herbel’s property.
Member Vrettas stated he had a problem with the idea that Novi is getting to the point of too many multiple housing projects and not enough single family. For this reason he stated he would be voting against the motion.
VOTE ON PM-97-11-274 CARRIED
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Watza, Weddington
2. SPORTS CLUB OF NOVI, SP97-40A
Property located east of Novi Road, south of Ten Mile Road, seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Woodland Permit.
Glenn Healy, President of Athletic Club Investors Limited Partnership which currently does business as the Sports Club of West Bloomfield. He stated he owns a controlling interest in that entity. He introduced the General Manager Don Arnt, Sports Director Mark Pinchoff, Architects Chip Fowdy and Carl Enopa, John Hopper with Cunningham Limp Development, and Michael J. Dul the Landscape Architect.
Mr. Healy stated the Sports Club of Novi is an athletic club and sports facility that will offer a diverse facility. Components of the facility include, a cardiovascular facility featuring treadmills, stair masters, upright stationery bikes, Nordic Tracks, transports and stationery rowers, weight training and stretching area, aerobic studio, 12 tennis courts, a swimming complex that will include a 25 meter, 8 lane pool, a 20' x 40' training pool with depths up to 3 ½ feet and a zero depth pool with a kids play structure, martial arts center, gymnastics studio, adult locker rooms with whirlpool steam and sauna, kids locker rooms, a kid center for babysitting, snack bar and a party room for kids parties. Mr. Healy stated they plan to use the facilities to offer a variety of programs and services that will include memberships and fitness, tennis, a summer swim club, programs for members and non-members which will include personal training, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, martial arts and kids camps and parties. They also plan to propose to offer joint programs with either the Novi Parks and Recreation and/or the Novi Community Ed in tennis, swimming, gymnastics, martial arts and preschool play groups. The programs are generally lower priced programs that are offered at off peak times with higher teacher to student ratios. This approach attracts a large and diverse group of customers and it provides residents with the opportunity to pick and choose their services from a broad menu. The Sports Club is not selling an overpriced exclusive membership package.
In terms of the facility that is planned, the buildings are designed to meet a specific function. The function is to provide large open spaces for sports. As a result, he has tried to use the site layout, the buildings facades and colors and landscaping to make the facility as attractive as possible. The site layout with the building on the east side of the lot is designed to meet a few different objectives. The layout allows the applicant to minimize the impact on the protected woodlands, it also places the air structures behind the buildings to minimize the impact on the apartments both with regard to sound and sight. The layout is also the best use of the existing west to east sloping grades. It provides an ample greenbelt between the building and the road for landscaping. With regard to the building materials and facades, he has chosen those to match and compliment those used by the Novi Ice Arena which will create a continuity between the two buildings. He stated he plans to use the same color siding with the exception of the roof. The Sports Club roof is much more prominent and the color used on the Ice Arena would be overwhelming if it were on both the side and the roof, therefore, they chose to use a more neutral color which matches the block for the roof and they brought in a green color on the siding which matches the color used in the Ice Arena. The block is a stained block, he stated at a minimum it would be complimentary. The accent color has been matched directly and will be used as an accent stripe and on the door and window frames. He thought that choosing the materials and colors would allow them to create a match between the two facilities. The interior floor plan is designed to meet the demands of both adults and children. The children related activities are all to the left side of the building and to the right is the fitness center and the adult locker rooms. There are central cores on both sides that take you through the building to a back central core which gives everybody access to the remainder of the facilities. This allows the facility to meet the purposes of both groups by minimizing the natural conflict between kids programs and adults in a fitness program.
Mr. Healy briefly discussed the landscaping plan. He stated the project was a bit of a challenge because of the protected woodlands to the west. He stated placing the building to the east has allowed him to develop the property and minimize the impact on the woodlands. He stated he has met the tree replacement and parking lot tree requirements and has also provided a good buffer along the west using evergreen and large canopy trees between the roadway and the buildings, including the R.O.W. He stated there are trees along the east border to provide a transition into the woodlands and the landscaping along the entrance drives and around the building will help to soften the structure. All of the components are working to make the buildings work with existing conditions, the primary two conditions being the existing woodlands and wetlands to the east and the apartments to the west. In conclusion, Mr. Healy stated the project would meet a variety of community athletic demands for both adults and children. He requested approval of his plan, if approved, he stated he would move quickly to start building the facility. At completion, he thought the Sports Club of Novi, combined with the Ice Arena and the recently completed Soccer Zone would give the City the most formidable line up of athletic facilities of any community in southeast Michigan.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the plan proposed a 91,000 square foot building on a 9 acre site. All preliminary site plan application data is provided and the building meets the I-1 District setback standards. Based upon the new parking standards in the Zoning Ordinance there is sufficient off-street parking. Loading and unloading space is on the north side of the building.
Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated there were a few items that needed to be furnished at the time of Final. Delineate protective snow fencing location so that it is clearer, parking lot tree sizes need to change to 3" caliper. She stated there are not any requirements for screening next to residential when there is a street, road, highway or freeway, which is the case on the west side of the entry road. The applicant has provided a lot of plantings on the western side of the building, the topography drops down and provides the 30" high screening berm that is required. The applicant has also planted the requirement for one shade tree or evergreen per 35 linear feet along the R.O.W. There is some space on the eastern side of the entry drive and it is recommended that the City plant trees there as part of the tree fund replacement dollars, to provide additional screening along the entry road. Ms. Lemke recommended approval.
In regard to the building facades, Mr. Rogers stated there were two air bubbles of polyester film which would enclose the tennis courts and one of the pools at certain times of the year. The material is specifically permitted in the new Zoning Ordinance and would be approvable. The building height is acceptable, no roof appurtenances are shown. In summary, Mr. Rogers recommended preliminary site plan approval subject to the minor item of redesigning the parking bays and aisles, clarification of the facade plan, which Mr. Necci has done, compliance with Woodland Permit conditions, and resolvement of internal parking lot vehicular access way connection.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the applicant is proposing the construction of an indoor/outdoor sports facility for swimming, tennis, gymnastics and fitness. Waste water will be disposed of through a building lead connected to the proposed sanitary sewer along the east side of Ice Arena Road. An on-site storm sewer system will collect runoff from the site and discharge into the proposed on-site detention basin. Storm water will discharge at a restricted rate to existing wetland east of the site. The applicant is proposing closed storm sewers, the storm sewers will be directed to the southeast corner of the site, they will be providing conventional detention basin which will ultimately release at a restricted rate into the existing wetland. The applicant is proposing no intrusion into the wetlands or the wetland buffer, therefore, a Wetland Permit is not required. Mr. Bluhm stated there were several minor comments that will be expected to be addressed at the time of Final.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated there are two primary points of access, both coming off of the Novi Ice Arena roadway that is currently under construction. There is a proposed stub to the Ice Arena property, the issue is still outstanding and will have to be resolved as a part of the Final Site Plan. If the City and the applicant cannot come to an agreement, it will be closed off and the internal connection will not be provided. Mr. Arroyo thought the internal connection had some benefits and would be a plus for the project.
Mr. Arroyo provided a trip generation forecast for the Sports Club as well as all of the other proposed projects along the Ice Arena roadway. He stated the Sports Club of West Bloomfield was counted in order to provide a forecast of trip generation, it generates 150 a.m. peak hour trips and 340 p.m. peak hour trips and he expected similar trip generation characteristics for Novi. He indicated that there is a Level of Service Analysis for both the Ten Mile Road/Novi Road intersection and the Nine Mile Road/Novi Road intersection. Both intersections currently have some level of service problems. The Nine Mile Road/Novi Road intersection is operating at Level of Service "B" in the morning and at Level of Service "F" in the afternoon. The City has some improvements scheduled within its’ Road Bond Program that are scheduled for next year. This will include new turn lanes, a center turn lane on Novi Road, additional extension of right turn lanes and a signal upgrade. With these improvements in place, the Level of Service will improve to "C" during the p.m. peak hour and it will be at Level of Service "C" during the a.m. peak hour. In regard to Ten Mile Road/Novi Road intersection, it currently operates at Level of Service "D" during the morning and Level of Service "E" during the p.m. peak hour. With the addition of all of the traffic as indicated in the report, the Level of Service remains the same, this is assuming that the five lane improvement on Novi Road between Ten Mile Road and Grand River is included. This improvement is anticipated to be completed within the next couple of years. Mr. Arroyo also indicated that the Level of Service at that intersection would improve further in the p.m. peak hour to Level of Service "D" if Ten Mile Road were to be widened to the east of the project. Mr. Arroyo stated he also looked at the intersection of the Ice Arena Road and Novi Road, and it is proposed to operate at Level of Service "B" in the morning and Level of Service "C" in the afternoon.
Based upon his review, Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the preliminary site plan subject to the resolution of the internal connection issue as a part of the Final Site Plan.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department which states that the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following: 1) Provide access through the fence to both proposed fire vehicle accesses; 2) The front (main) sidewalk to the building shall be widened and reinforced with a mountable curb for fire vehicle access.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci of JCK which states that the plan was reviewed for compliance with the Facade Ordinance and all facades are in full compliance with the Facade Chart, it is therefore recommended that the application is in compliance with the Facade Ordinance, and that a Section 4 Waiver is not required.
Chairperson Weddington stated she has received a letter from Daniel R. Davis, Director of Novi Parks and Recreation which states that he has received a copy of Mr. Rod Arroyo’s letter regarding the above referenced matter. Mr. Arroyo mentions in Item #3 that the applicant proposes an internal parking lot connection to the Ice Arena site. I have not been provided a site plan, or requested to comment about this specific issue. If this internal connection is indeed planned, then I believe a formal request from the applicant and Novi City Council approval would be necessary.
In regard to the Woodland issue, Ms. Lemke stated there were about 2.5 acres of woodlands on the eastern boundary of the site. The woodlands are indicated on the map as light and sparse, the light areas are regulated and the sparse areas are not. She stated there is a wetland and that is the area that is high quality, the remainder of the trees and the woodlands in the 2.5 area are lower quality, they are mainly Pioneer species, Black Cherry, Elm with some Ironwood, Sugar Maple and Linden. The ground cover is relatively open along the eastern portion and the site becomes more dense further to the west. On the Wildlife Habitat Master Plan, the site is indicated as a possible linkage which is a lower quality designation on the Habitat Map. It connects to a type B habitat to the east with type B habitat to the west of Novi Road. The area to the south is under construction and has basically lost its value as a potential linkage. It was also designated as a possible linkage. There are not designated historic or specimen trees on site but there are two potential trees that should be considered for historic or specimen trees, #38 and #81. The woodlands line has now been delineated on the plans and the trees have been correctly located. Development run off would be directed through the detention basin which is located in the southeast corner. Ms. Lemke stated there were a couple of items that have not been submitted, the location of protective fencing needs to be shown on the tree survey, some trees indicated to be saved within the fencing are shown to be removed on the tree list, this change needs to be made. The previous submittal indicated all of the woodlands on the site to be removed to the eastern property line, this alternative indicates a buffer area that is 15 to 40 feet in width along the property line. A small portion of the area would be removed if the land banked parking is built. Ms. Lemke stated the applicant was asked to look at reconfiguring the detention pond to relocate the basin to move the building to the west and to reduce the number of parking spaces, they did do this and they were not able to provide any redesigns in those areas. The alternative provides an uninterrupted buffer to the wooded wetlands, it is a good alternative even though it is a smaller alternative. Replacement trees are indicated on the landscape plan, approximately 39 trees are being removed and 119 trees are being replaced. Ms. Lemke stated they were accepting evergreen replacement trees at 2 to 1 and a total of 119 replacement trees are indicated on the landscape plan separate from the landscape requirements. Replacement tree numbers and evergreen numbers need to be revised on the landscape plan. In summary, Ms. Lemke recommended approval for a Woodlands Permit with the following conditions: 1) furnish items indicated in the letter at resubmittal for Final; 2) payment of a performance bond of either cash or letter of credit with the amount to be determined at Final; 3) no construction including clearing or grubbing can begin until the protective fencing has been approved by the City and Environmental Pre-Construction meeting has been held; 4) the remaining regulated woodlands which are not platted are placed into a preservation easement; 5) preservation signs are erected and directed by the City; 6) the Consultants shall review the Final engineering plans for woodlands impact.
Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and opened up the Matter to the Public.
Colleen Schultz, 22811 Penton Rise Court stated she was a 20 year resident of Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision, she is currently the Manager of River Oaks West Apartments. River Oaks abuts the road and property where the Ice Arena and Sports Club are being constructed. She stated River Oaks hosted a ground breaking ceremony for the road construction and the Ice Arena, at that time she was given a hand out where it asked the question, "what about landscaping, berming and tree planting along the Arena Roadway?" Ms. Schultz reported she was working with the owners of River Oaks West to hopefully expand the existing berms along the roadway and any extra soil will be dedicated to enhancing the berm. She stated they were also working on the feasibility of planting Christmas Trees from the City of Novi Tree Farm along the berm and the Arena will have landscape in accordance with the City Ordinances. The issue seems to have been overlooked through the process of road construction and the erection of the steel supports for the Ice Arena. The berming is not only an aesthetic issue, it is a comfort issue to the residents and their feeling of security. On November 12, 1997, a letter was sent to Ed Kriewall giving permission to place mounds of earth on River Oaks Property to begin the berming process and excavating from the Ice Arena and the Sports Center should be dedicated to the mounding. As of today, the only thing that has been done is a top soil dressing and grass seed. Ms. Schultz asked the Commission to please keep the berming under consideration for all work that is performed adjacent to River Oaks.
Chairperson Weddington asked if there was anyone else who would like to address the issue? Seeing no one she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
Member Churella agreed with the project and felt that it was needed in Novi, however, he thought the building lacked some pizazz and resembled a factory. He asked the applicant if an industrial type building was trying to be conveyed.
Chip Faudy of Gillard Associates Architects stated the main body of the building is basically a metal building. He stated the front portion of the building that faces the wetlands is a split faced block material with bands of decorative block and windows. He stated the dryvit on the Ice Arena is used in an area above glass windows where structurally the block would be hard to do. Mr. Faudy stated he could come up with a scheme and add some dryvit.
Member Churella stated he would not vote against the project, he just hated to see a good looking building without any life to it. Member Churella asked if the applicant could add any color to it?
Mr. Faudy stated they could choose some alternate shades, however, it was up to Mr. Healy.
Mr. Healy stated the dryvit is not a major component of the Ice Arena building, there is a small amount used on the entrance. He stated he could incorporate some on the Sports Club entrance, however, it would not change the look of the building.
Member Hoadley suggested the stripe being done out of dryvit.
Mr. Faudy explained that the stripes were just painted on block, he stated dryvit could be used but it does not hold bright colors very well. He stated through past experiences the brighter colors fade over time.
Member Watza disagreed with the emphasis that was being put on dryvit. He stated the block would last longer than dryvit and added that dryvit deteriorates and leaks. He liked the plans as they were shown.
Member Hoadley expressed concern about the internal road structure issue. He stated it was brought to the attention of Dan Davis and he assured the Commission that he would cooperate and work with the Ice Arena to make sure they hooked up so they could access each others parking lots without going onto the street. He thought this needed to happen. He stated that the utilities for the Ice Arena were required to be underground, this was not mentioned on the plan, he asked the applicant if this were going to happen?
Mr. Healy stated it would happen.
PM-97-11-275 TO APPROVE PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE CONSULTANTS RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDING UNDERGROUND UTILITIES AND THE INTERNAL ROADWAY AND SIDEWALKS HOOK UP WITH EACH OTHER
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval to Sports Club of Novi SP9740A, subject to the Consultants recommendations and conditions including the provision for internal road network and sidewalks.
In regard to the berming as mentioned earlier during the Public Hearing, Member Csordas asked the applicant if he planned to move it up or if he was in agreement with what the Manager of River Oaks requested as far as raising it? He asked how high the berm was as shown on the plan?
Mr. Healy thought Ms. Schultz was referring to the west side of the roadway where he did not propose to do anything because it was not his property. On the east side of the building, he stated he has a lot of landscaping proposed.
Mr. Healy commented on the internal roadway, he stated he was all for it, however, he could not control it. He stated the way the properties line up, he could not build a road on the Ice Arena’s property. He stated if it was a condition of his approval and the Ice Arena decides they do not want to do it, it is out of his control. Mr. Healy stated he could provide the access but he could not guarantee that the road that would connect the lots.
Member Hoadley stated the Ice Arena will have to cooperate because they have already testified publicly that they would.
In regard to water quality measures, Chairperson Weddington stated that Mr. Bluhm’s report did not address any specific water quality measures that were being taken on the site.
Mr. Bluhm stated the oil and gas separators will be required as usual at the Final Site Plan and the basin will be built with Best Management Practices which is also in the Design and Construction Standards Ordinance.
Chairperson Weddington agreed with Member Churella’s comments, it appeared to her that there was an excess of metal siding, it is within the Ordinance requirement therefore there is not much she could do about it. She expressed concern about the appearance but stated she would support the motion. Chairperson Weddington expressed concern about the unnecessary removal of trees for parking, she stated she would like to avoid it or minimize the woodland impact if at all possible. She asked Ms. Lemke if the two potential specimen historic trees were being preserved?
Ms. Lemke answered, yes.
Member Hoadley added to have the applicant come back for Final so the Commission knows that the City has cooperated.
Member Vrettas accepted the amendment to the motion as the seconder.
VOTE ON PM-97-11-275 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington
PM-97-11-276 TO APPROVE THE WOODLAND PERMIT
Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant a Woodland Permit to Sports Club of Novi SP97-40A, subject to consultants recommendations and conditions.
VOTE ON PM-97-11-276 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington
3. ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.559
Property located south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Donelson Drive seeking Rezoning from Residential Acreage (RA) and Conference District to Regional Center (R-C) or any other appropriate zoning district.
Mike Ward, Chief Operating Officer of Ramco-Gershenson introduced the rezoning of a portion of land south of Twelve Mile Road and West of Donelson Road. Mr. Ward stated Ramco-Gershenson also owned and developed West Oaks I & II and briefly went over its’ history. He stated they are developers and owners, they keep the properties that they develop and maintain them.
Mr. Ward stated he has entered into his third opportunity to work with the City of Novi with the West Oaks Galleria. He has been working on the Galleria for about five years and has come up with something that is extremely exciting. From a site plan standpoint, he has configured a shopping center that does not have a back to it. Every use in the project will face to the outside with all of the receiving corridors in the internal part of the shopping center. The uses that are contemplated do not duplicate uses that are currently in the City. He stated he has no desire to compete against his own projects or other projects in the Community. He hoped to bring tenants that are not in the City of Novi, not in Metro Detroit or in the state of Michigan.
Mr. Ward introduced Richard Gershenson, partner and Officer, Joe Sutschek, Director of Development as well as some of his consultants. Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust is a new entity, it is approximately 18 months old. They went public in May of 1996 and they are listed under the New York Stock Exchange. He stated when they make commitments, they have a lot of people to answer to. Mr. Ward turned it over to Mr. Sutschek to review the land and the information that was contained in the report binders that were in the packets.
Joe Sutschek stated they have assembled approximately 70 acres in launch of a 144 acre area which is bounded by Twelve Mile Road on the north, I-96 on the south, Donelson Drive on the east and the CSX Railroad on the west. There are approximately 38 acres of RC zoning, the entire I-96 frontage running over to the CSX Railroad is currently zoned Conference District, and there is also Single-Family Residential zoning. The Master Plan recognizes that the isolated 144 acres is not a location for high quality residential development in that it suggests that the area be developed with a mixture of Commercial and Office land uses.
Mr. Sutschek stated the 70 acres which have been assembled runs from Twelve Mile Road to I-96 and from Donelson Drive westerly approximately 1,250 feet. The RC zoning totals 38 acres and the Conference District totals 13 acres, these two districts represent over 74% of the 70 acres that are assembled. Mr. Sutschek stated when the project first started, they were told very strongly by Mr. Wahl, Mr. Rogers and the Planning Staff that they were very interested in having a high quality transition development on the Commercial areas in this location that would encourage high quality office and high tech development in the area further to the west. In order to comply with this desire, he had to acquire the additional 15 acres or 264 feet, this allowed him to come up with the concept that would provide the high quality commercial transition area.
Mr. Sutschek stated they came up with an entertainment, shopping center area which he calls a "centertainment" area which has the front of all buildings facing the four perimeter roads. Donelson Drive will then be extended along the southerly boundary of the property and up the westerly boundary. All of the loading will be on the internal courtyard, hidden from view. This combined with the high quality architectural design of the buildings will look across the roadway, he believed this would encourage the development of the OST area further to the west, especially by the introduction of a new public roadway along the southerly and northerly borders.
In summary, Mr. Sutschek believed his proposal was consistent with the Master Plan, it suggests extending the Commercial zoning only 264 feet further west than is shown on the current Master Plan. Mr. Sutschek turned it over to Rolf Killian, Traffic Consultant from Metro Transportation Group.
Rolf Killian, Senior Vice President of Metro Transportation Group stated he was retained to prepare a traffic impact analysis for the project. The study has been included in the packets. The results of the study identified some significant roadway improvements that would be needed to ameliorate the impact that the development will create in terms of additional traffic. It also identifies the access locations for the development along Donelson Drive, Twelve Mile Road and major improvements at the I-96 interchange. He stated he is meeting with MDOT tomorrow to discuss those issues in more detail.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated all application data has been provided. Mr. Rogers stated if the Residential property were to stay as it is currently zoned, it could support fifteen, 1 acre single family lots. It was Mr. Rogers opinion that the proposed rezoning plan would create a uniform RC District adjacent to West Oaks I & II. The resultant RC zoned area would permit a commercial development with a front door on four sides. Mr. Rogers stated were the subject area and the adjacent property east of Donelson Drive to be developed as planned commercial center, important issues to be considered would be the traffic capacity of the adjacent roads, regulated wetlands impact and mitigation and regulated woodlands impact. The applicant’s traffic study is to be reviewed by Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant and Woodlands and Wetlands Permits will be required. Mr. Rogers recommended the proposed rezoning as permitting coordinated and major economic development for the City. He further recommended the Master Plan for Land Use be amended to reflect Non-Center Commercial use for the site not so already classified.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated provided a variety of information, he provided a trip generation comparison looking at the entire 70 acre site. The applicant provided an existing zoning scenario and Mr. Arroyo showed how much traffic would be generated under the existing zoning scenario. Mr. Arroyo stated the last time there was a rezoning for Commercial in the area, there were several Commissioners who expressed concern and wanted some information regarding the possibility of OST development. Under comment #2, Mr. Arroyo provided an overview of the type of trip generation for the site if the entire 70 acres were rezoned to OST. As a comparison, he provided information on what would happen if there was a floor area ratio of 0.5 instead of 0.25, there would be approximately another 75% more trips per day. Mr. Arroyo also provided a trip generation comparison for just the 32 acres that are before the Commission tonight. Under existing zoning, there would be approximately 370 p.m. peak hour trips, 440 Saturday trips and just over 2,000 24 hour trips. Under the proposed zoning, just under 1,500 trips during the p.m. peak hour, under 2,000 Saturday peak hour trips and 17,660 over a 24 hour basis. When dealing with retail trips, a number of the trips are pass by trips and this information has been estimated in the tables. Mr. Arroyo also addressed OST development under the 32 acre scenario. Mr. Arroyo provided a description of the road network.
Mr. Arroyo stated there was a traffic impact study submitted this week for another rezoning and there were some turning movement counts taken at the intersection of Novi Road and Twelve Mile Road in September of 1997. This provided some comparison information and it was found that the intersection is operating at Level of Service "D" during the p.m. peak hour. The traffic study that looked at the September counts, showed that the intersection was operating at Level of Service "E". It also showed that the volumes on westbound Twelve Mile Road are substantially higher than they were in August. He stated this shows a reflection of a change in patterns from the summer to the fall.
Mr. Arroyo stated traffic from other approved developments was added to the road network and this resulted in a future level of service which he charted out in his letter under Item 5. The chart showed the comparison when road improvements are made and that there is an improvement in the Level of Service. However, a couple of things must also happen. The proposed improvements have to be funded and there has to be approval from the various road agencies. The applicant will be meeting with MDOT regarding one of their improvements and this will give an indication as to whether or not MDOT will allow left turns to occur for the northbound left turn movement from Novi Road onto Donelson Road and westbound on ramps. If this does not occur, the option would be to have two left turn lanes at West Oaks Drive. This would mean that Novi Road would have to be widened as well as westbound West Oaks Drive.
The other intersection of concern is Twelve Mile Road and Novi Road. This intersection is being shown at Level of Service "F" when all of the project traffic is added. Based on analysis, there are not improvements that can solve it except for the boulevard improvement, as Twelve Mile Road is being planned to be a six lane boulevard, extending from Meadowbrook through Dixon. He stated the improvement is not funded for construction or R.O.W. It is not programmed for construction for at least 10 years. The City recognizes that this is an improvement that has to be made and they are trying to do what they can to facilitate the improvement. Mr. Arroyo stated hopefully the property owners in the area, the City and the various road agencies can get together to try to find a way to make the improvement a reality.
Mr. Arroyo stated he has asked for additional clarification of data for the traffic impact study. He stated most of his concerns have been addressed and most of the information he has asked for has been supplied.
Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development added that there is a North Central Novi Traffic Planning Committee currently in place. Over the years the Committee has accomplished a number of traffic related improvements. Regardless of what happens with the Matter before the Commission, there are matters such as improved signage, traffic management issues, etc. that they would move forward with. In regard to Mr. Arroyo’s comment, Mr. Wahl indicated that there was an effort in place and underway.
Chairperson Weddington announced she overlooked a communication from Progressive Tool and Industries, Company which states, "We the owners of the property described above, hereby indicate our approval and request rezoning of the property to the RC zoning classification as applied for by Ramco." The letter was signed by Victor A. Winarski, Secretary Treasurer.
Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.
Scott McCarthy, Vice President of Development at the Taubman Company stated they were the owners of Twelve Oaks Mall. He stated he has always been very supportive of growth and development in Novi. He stated he was not opposed to the project but he was very concerned about the traffic, the size of the project and what he feels to be very modest traffic improvements. He requested that the Commission not recommend approval of the rezoning until there are solutions for the traffic issues, until there is a program to complete them and funding is in place. He stated he retained a traffic consultant to try and get an understanding. He stated he had three primary concerns: 1) he was uncomfortable with the data as it was provided in the traffic report. He did not feel it fairly reflected the situation; 2) all of the intersections, the key intersections being Novi Road and Twelve Mile Road where significant improvements are required; 3) the expressway and Novi Road and the road leading across, he had difficulty seeing how this would work. Mr. McCarthy stated he has real concerns and thought they had to be addressed to allow any kind of development, he again requested that the recommendation for rezoning not move forward until there are solutions and a program and funding in place.
Blair Bowman, 43700 Expo Center Drive briefly restated the support that the Expo Center expressed for the rezoning. He understood the concerns that were expressed by the Taubman Company and stated he too was a member of the North Central Novi Traffic Planning Committee and was concerned about traffic patterns in the area. He thought it was logical to configure the zoning in a comprehensive development pattern and he had a great deal of confidence that the Commission was going to pursue and make certain that any types of improvements to accommodate the development would occur. He believed that these efforts needed to be continued to be put forth to maintain and pursue the progress for the larger scale improvements.
Debbie Bundoff, Novi and Twelve Mile Road stated she had some concerns, in the past she has also made comments as to the choice of changing the zoning in the area. She stated it goes back to the history of Twelve Mile Road between Novi Road and Dixon Road. In the past, the Master Plan for Commercial was lost for the reason that there was too much Commercial in the area, the area was changed to Office and Multiple choices. To add Commercial in an area where it supposedly had too much Commercial, seemed to be another flip flop of what happens in that area. She stated she was not against people being able to develop their lands, especially in areas that development has been put off because of the massive changes. Ms. Bundoff thought that the conceptual plans looked very good except it is a rezoning petition, it has nothing to do with any site plan. Although the plans look great, it does not mean that is what the City will get. She asked the Commission to please be careful in its decision.
Chairperson Weddington asked if anyone else would like to address the Public Hearing, seeing none she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
Member Vrettas stated, from past experiences until the development is built, the road will not happen.
PM-97-11-277 TO RECOMMEND TO CITY COUNCIL THAT THE ZONING BE CHANGED FROM RA AND RC
Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED (6-2): To send a positive recommendation to City Council on Zoning Map Amendment 18.559 to rezone from Residential Acreage (RA) and Conference to Residential Center (RC).
Member Hoadley stated he would be in support of the motion, he thought the potential was a world class project. He agreed with Member Vrettas that the roads would not be built ahead of the project. He clarified that just because he was in support of the rezoning, it does not mean that he would be in support of the site plan unless he was convinced that the infrastructure is adequate to handle 28,000 additional trips per day. One thing he thought should be done, would be to put an eyebrow and widen Donelson Drive to two lanes, two ways where it comes onto Novi Road. He stated this would divert a lot of traffic off of Novi Road and almost all of the traffic that would normally head westbound off of Twelve Mile Road. Member Hoadley strongly felt that Twelve Mile Road needed to be five laned even if it is not boulevarded.
Chairperson Weddington was in favor of squaring off the property and having uniform zoning, however, she did not support the RC zoning. She believed there was too much Commercial in the area that already existed. She stated the infrastructure does not exist to support it and the applicant’s own traffic study shows at best a Level of Service "D". She believed that the traffic study significantly underestimated the impact. She believed the area was prime OST location because it fronted I-96 and Twelve Mile Road, she stated it would give a greater tax base, much more tax revenue with 1/10 the traffic impact of what is being proposed. Chairperson Weddington also believed there would be conflicts with other activities in the area if the proposed uses are developed. She was afraid that they would be cannibalizing businesses at Twelve Oaks, West Oaks, Town Center and Main Street, she did not think it was the appropriate area as it was too congested already. For these reasons, she could not support the motion.
Member Watza agreed with the objections of Chairperson Weddington. He stated until he read Mr. Arroyo’s report, he was not concerned. He stated it sounds like they would develop something that nobody would be able to get to, or if they are fortunate enough to get to it, they will not be able to leave because of the traffic. Member Watza stated it seemed like the roads should be improved first, he also thought that OST was the more correct use of the property. He stated he would not be supporting the motion.
Member Csordas asked the petitioner if there were any occupancy commitments for the property if it were to be developed as shown?
Mr. Ward answered, yes. He stated he and Mr. Gershenson would be traveling to New York hopefully to wrap up one of the most significant players in the project. There is at least 400,000 square feet of the space committed with quality national users.
Member Csordas asked if it was proprietary information or would the applicant care to divulge the amount of money tied up in the development?
Mr. Ward stated the project would be in excess of $60 million dollars.
Member Csordas asked if the applicant would consider himself a "stay and play" type developer?
Mr. Ward stated there were properties that Ramco-Gershenson has developed over the last 30 years that they still own. He stated they found the land, put up the projects, managed them and continue to own them. He stated they would be adding to the portfolio, they would not be taking from it.
Member Csordas asked if the applicants’ financial people have recommended development, in other words, would the return on investment be there?
Mr. Ward stated the project has been approved by the Board of Directors of the Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust Company.
Member Csordas asked how the infrastructure would affect the new project as well as the existing projects?
Mr. Ward stated the study that Mr. Killian did, he thought that when they are done, they will have maintained status quo, there will not be any overall improvement or any downgrading to any of the service levels that are existing today.
Member Csordas asked if the people who have committed to occupancy had any concerns of access to the development?
Mr. Ward stated the users that he is working with will be investing millions of their own money, they have been to the site, they have driven the site and have had their market research people doing research, they have had their management operations people at the site. They would not commit the kind of monies that they need to commit in a project that they feel is unaccessible or doomed for failure.
Member Csordas asked what the annual tax revenue was, that the project would generate?
Mr. Ward deferred to Mr. Sutschek who stated the annual tax revenue, assuming roughly 45 mills of total local property taxes would be in excess of 1.25 million dollars. This does not include personal property tax, sales tax, or income tax.
Member Csordas asked what level of service of fire and police would be required annually for this project?
Mr. Sutschek stated he was not a Police Chief, however if he were present, he might say that the biggest drain on police and fire services of any municipality are in the single family residential areas, not the Commercial areas.
Member Csordas thought that anyone that has done their due diligence in investing $22 million into a project and has a high level of occupancy commitment already, demonstrates significant due diligence, therefore, he thought rezoning the property makes a lot of sense and would benefit the City of Novi and generate some revenue. He stated he would be in support the motion.
Member Canup stated it appeared that the development of the project would enhance the property to the west of it as to being OST, it would give it access and would make it developable. He stated at this point, it would be very difficult to develop the property and find a financial means t develop it as it sits, therefore, he saw it to be a good place to draw a line on the western boundary and look into the property to the west being OST. He thought the development would be an asset to Novi in developing the property to the west.
Mr. Wahl stated the Department has been working with the applicant regarding the properties to the west from the standpoint that they are in the development business, they have contacts, they work with realtors and other development professionals who recognize their name and the quality of the types of projects that they build. He thought it would be an asset to the City’s efforts to develop the property as described by Member Canup. He was not making an opinion regarding the overall discussion on the Matter, but he was saying that the Department is proceeding as the Commission has discussed its interest in that area being OST and he felt that Ramco-Gershenson is already helping in that regard.
VOTE ON PM-97-11-277 CARRIED
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas
No: Watza, Weddington
Chairperson Weddington announced the Commission would take a brief recess.
PM-97-11-278 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR THE RECENT AMENDMENTS TO THE NCC ORDINANCE
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council to adopt the recent amendments to the NCC Ordinance.
Chairperson Weddington suggested letting the Commission know what transpired at the Implementation Committee meeting earlier in the evening.
Member Capello reported that the Committee reviewed the most recent modifications based on the comments from the Commission at their last meeting. This was to allow for two users on one property either in one single building or in two separate buildings. The Committee approved it unanimously.
Member Hoadley added that they increased the square footage up to 1,500 per lot.
PM-97-11-278 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington
Chairperson Weddington stated she was asked by the Mayor to poll the members of the Planning Commission to see if they could schedule a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and the City Council for the purpose of getting to know the new Council members and address priorities, especially OST and potential projects. The times she suggested would be early Saturday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. She asked if there was a common Saturday before Christmas that they could give to Council to get together?
Member Vrettas stated the best one for him would be Saturday, December 6th.
Member Csordas could not make the meeting on December 6th.
Chairperson Weddington suggested Saturday, December 13th. The Commission agreed on this date. She stated she would get a confirmation back from Council and mentioned that there may be a little bus trip involved but she would advise the Commission.
Chairperson Weddington reminded Commissioners that if they were going to be absent, please call Steve Rumple and let him know before the meeting so they could be excused. She mentioned at the last meeting, a couple of Commissioners were missed.
Debbie Bundoff spoke in regard to the rezoning. She hoped that the Commission realized that in changing zonings in two areas that were not Master Planned, it has great impact, especially in the Twelve Mile Road Corridor. She stated because of the boulevard, to have sufficient setbacks is going to be a very big issue because if the boulevard ever does come through, the people who built the West Oaks mall are already into a problem with a boulevard because of how close the City allowed them to build to the road. Ms. Bundoff stated she looked at the traffic report and she had no idea how some 4,000 seat theater could generate 200 trips in a peak hour. The traffic really concerned her, she liked the fact that she remained on a road because when improvements to Beck Road go through, maybe the traffic counts from that area would be cut in half.
Chairperson Weddington stated she asked Dennis Watson to provide the Commission with a brief analysis of a recent decision for the City of Troy which identified a problem with a rezoning because the Master Plan had not been updated. She stated it is essential that the Master Plan be updated and keep zoning and Master Plan in sync.
PM-97-11-279 TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 10:08 P.M.
Moved by Capello, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 10:08 p.m.
VOTE ON PM-97-11-279 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Weddington
Steve Rumple - Staff Planner
Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr
November 25, 1997
Date Approved: December 17, 1997