(248) 347-0475


Meeting called to order at 7:35 p.m. by Chairperson Weddington.


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




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 Steve Rumple








Chairperson Weddington asked if there were any additions or deletions to the Agenda.


Member Hoadley added Michigan Planner June Edition Article as Item 1 under Matters for Discussion.


Chairperson Weddington clarified that there was a second Vistas project, The Brownstones Phase 5 that was Noticed for Public Hearing this evening. She stated it was not ready to go forward, therefore, it will not be heard tonight, it will be rescheduled for Public Hearing at the next meeting of December 17, 1997.


Member Vrettas added discussion of the recent delivery of a gift that each Commissioner received from a developer as Item 2 under Matters for Discussion.





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





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

No: None










Member Capello announced he has received a letter in regard to Zoning Map Amendment 18.572 from Cornrite Properties which states, Dear Mayor McLallen, Cornrite Properties is the owner of the land at 44244 and 44200 West Twelve Mile Road. It is our opinion that all of the property in this area should be developed into Commercial Office or Office Research uses. We do not feel that a residential use is appropriate for this area and therefore wish to express our opposition to the proposed rezoning.


Joanne Gerhart wrote in regard to Zoning Map Amendment 18.572, I am the owner of the land and building which borders Twelve Mile Road and is immediately east of the southern extension of the subject property. I am sending this letter to strongly object the request for rezoning, especially to that portion that borders Twelve Mile Road. I understand that the City of Novi has Master Planned this area and it has been reserved for Office use, not for Multiple-Family units. Apartments or any other residential use of the land extending south of Twelve Mile Road would not in my opinion, be the best or appropriate use of this land. I believe that this proposed use of the land will create constraints on the future plans of this area and would surely have a negative impact on the property values on this portion of Twelve Mile Road between Novi Road and Donelson.


William McMachan wrote in regard to Zoning Map Amendment 18.572, he represents the owners of 5 acres of the Master Planned Office land contiguous to the property to be rezoned. He objected to the rezoning to the Multiple Residential of the portion of property that abuts the east boundary of his clients land for the following reasons: 1) The subject property is presently Master Planned as Office which is consistent with the Master Plan of all of the Twelve Mile Road frontage properties running west to Dixon Road; 2) A rezoning to Multiple Residential would not be consistent or compliant to the existing Master Plan; 3) To permit rezoning of this Twelve Mile frontage site to Multiple Residential would provide a division of Twelve Mile Road frontage properties presently zoned and Master Planned Office. This inappropriate division will no doubt bring pressure for Re-Master Planning and Rezoning to Multiple Residential and balance of the master planned Office property. This rezoning is not appropriate and in essence will create spot zoning along the north side of Twelve Mile Road. Please consider these reasons for objecting to the rezoning.





Chairperson Weddington announced there was one Item on the Consent Agenda. The approval of the November 05, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes. She asked if there were any changes or corrections to the minutes.


Member Capello stated he was absent at that meeting and explained that he called the Planning Department to be excused as he had something come up at the last minute that he had to prepare for the next morning. He stated he would like to be excused.





Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the November 05, 1997 Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes as corrected.





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

No: None







Chairperson Weddington announced there would be a special presentation by Yee-Minard Associates regarding a survey that the Commission would like to conduct as preparation for the Master Plan Update.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant gave a brief introduction. He stated the Planning and Studies Committee met with him and Rod Arroyo to begin to implement a work program that is in the current budget to do a Community Attitude Survey. He referred to his letter dated November 9, 1997 to Tony Yee of Yee-Minard Associates which spells out specifications that were sought in the budget. Mr. Yee responded with a letter dated November 18, 1997. Mr. Rogers stated Mr. Giffins is representing Mr. Yee tonight. Mr. Rogers stated that Yee-Minard & Associates conducts Community Attitude Surveys regularly for commercial customers as well as municipalities. He introduced Mr. Giffins.


Mr. Giffins apologized for Mr. Yee’s absence as he had a conflict that he tried to address but was unable to and had to travel out of town. Mr. Giffins stated his goal was to introduce his firm, its capabilities, and to demonstrate that they are completely capable and qualified to do the job that is expected and then address any questions that the Commission may have.


Mr. Giffins stated Yee-Minard is a full service research firm located in Southfield. They do everything in-house, from collecting data, to tabulations through analysis and presentations. The firm utilizes every well known research technique, telephone and mail surveys, qualitative research that involves focus groups and in depth one on one’s. The firm has a very diverse client base, a strong suit of the Agency is communications, development and evaluation. Mr. Giffins stated the company was founded in 1971, one of the national reputations is in qualitative research, which involves sitting down face to face with small groups or individuals and try to get at the motivational aspects of their behavior. He stated they work for national and global clients that are all regionally located. One area of expertise related to qualitative research is a technique called telesessions which uses sophisticated hardware and software where focus groups can be done over the phone with people in geographically dispersed areas. Mr. Giffins stated most of what they will be doing involves consultation on the design, issue definition and collecting data. In terms of the quantative capabilities, they have a watts phone center, with over 70 stations, 50 of which are equipped with CAI (Computer Aided Interviewing) which reduces non sampling errors. He made reference to his client roster.


Mr. Giffins recommended a mail survey among a randomly selected group of Novi residents. He stated he would receive a diskette from the City and randomly select people using a systematic method. Based on the people that are selected, they will take the questionnaire that is provided by the Planning Commission, he suggested also a cover letter preferably from the Mayor to increase the response, and mail them out. He recommended mailing to a total of 3,000 residents, anticipating a 20% to 25% response rate. The sampling error would not exceed 5.1% getting a high degree of statistical reliability, the cost would be within the budgeted amount. In terms of responsibilities, they would divide the work load and take responsibility for helping define the issues, aid in the development of the questionnaire, select a sample. Once the questionnaires are returned, they will code and validate, do the data entry, provide computer cross tabulations with the sample, total and divide it up by demographic or voter profile sub-groups, and then do significant testing on those groups. The responsibility of the Consultants and the City is to provide a resident disk, to draft a cover letter and have it printed, to have the questionnaires printed and dropped, this will include the postage and a business reply envelope to increase response and the analysis once the data comes back with the input of Mr. Yee and himself. Mr. Giffins felt strongly that Yee-Minard is the right supplier for the survey, based on their strong design and analytic skills, broad experience in many categories and the vote of confidence from large companies. He stated he has a very dedicated professional staff. He assured the Commission if they decide to use Yee-Minard, they would not be sorry.


Chairperson Weddington stated there was talk about different alternatives to gathering data, the objective is to do some opinion survey research to use as input to find out from all of the residents, what they see Novi’s future to be and what factors should be concentrated on in updating the Master Plan. She asked if the mail survey would be an appropriate vehicle to do that? She stated the thought was that the information would be gathered and then conduct some Town Meetings or Public Hearings with those preliminary results before finalizing specific studies that will roll into the updated Master Plan.


Mr. Giffins was confident that it was the right approach given certain constraints. He stated that telephone data collections has some advantages in that it is two way and if somebody gives an answer that is not clear, it can be probed and clarified. He stated the down side is that it tends to be somewhat more expensive. The only challenge is to make sure that the issues are agreed upon to be the most important. He recommended a series of qualitative and then follow-up with a quantitative study.


It was Member Hoadley ‘s understanding that there would be competitive bids and so far there is only one company. He personally felt that at least one other bid would be appropriate. Secondly, he commended Mr. Giffins for the fine presentation, however, the material indicates that the company has never done anything for a Governmental Agency or a City, in regards to a survey analysis.


Mr. Giffins stated he has personally worked in polling for Governor Blanchard and for the City of Royal Oak. He stated it is not considered a major suit in terms of their revenue. He stated he does millions of dollars of research for automotive companies and has a very high comfort level in doing political polling and opinion research.


Member Hoadley asked Mr. Rogers if there were companies that have experience in doing surveys for the needs of the Commission that have credential?


Mr. Rogers could not call out one off hand. He stated both Rod and himself do the surveys themselves. He stated he has dealt mainly with Yee-Minard and has confidence in them.


Rod Arroyo pointed out that this was one of the reasons this is a team approach where the Consultants are involved with working with Yee-Minard to prepare the questionnaire, to make sure that the specific issues that relate to land use planning are being addressed and there is a combination of expertise coming together to form a team. He did not think there were firms that specialize in just conducting Attitude Surveys for Communities.


Member Hoadley asked if there was any problems getting a competitive bid?


Mr. Rogers stated the only problem is that the survey has to be done in this fiscal year and he would like to see it completed this winter. Yee-Minard’s performance would take approximately 2 to 3 weeks once they get the questionnaires returned.


In regard to competitive bidding, Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated it was not his understanding that it was requested when this item was originally approved as a part of the work program. He stated the work program proposals were presented a year ago, all of the Consultants who are proposing to do various work are outlined with the amount of time expected in the product, etc., therefore, to a certain extent, it is done at the beginning of the fiscal year. Mr. Wahl stated the item was several alternatives to deal with public participation, either public meetings, a futuring-type process or an attitude survey, these were the options as part of the work program proposal. The recommendation to the Planning Studies and Budget Committee was to recommend this alternative as the most effective in terms of getting the widest variety of community input. This was his understanding of where it was at, he stated there was not any type of rule or regulation that says that it cannot be changed and bid something out. Typically the proposals are acted on ahead of time and then proceeded on accordingly. Mr. Wahl stated it was his understanding that this was just to be an update briefing and they were to come back at the next meeting in terms of an action item and then the Commission could determine which avenue to proceed in terms of getting public input to the Master Plan update.


Member Hoadley stated being that there is a limited budget, he assumed that good business practices would be to get at least one other competitive bid. He stated he would like to see the demographics brought back to the Commission before they give any final approval for a survey so they can be critiqued agree on the information.


Member Churella agreed with Member Hoadley about bringing the demographics back to the Commission.

Member Vrettas asked how the questions were to be determined? Are any tests for validity or item analysis going to be done? Why four sections of town rather than City-wide? What types of tests for significance differences are going to be conducted? He asked if they were going to be open ended questions? Member Vrettas expressed concern about the idea of only 25% return of questionnaires. He felt that 25% was unreliable and thought it should be more like 50%.


Mr. Giffins stated the issue is non-response. Many companies have tested and validated mail data collection versus telephone, the problem with mail is the higher non-response but what was found was that the people who do not return the surveys, tend to have attitudes and opinions that are similar to the people that do. He stated a 25% response rate is not a unreliable sample, it is pretty standard.


Member Vrettas stated he respected Mr. Giffins but he also has his PhD in statistical analysis, he did not see 25% as reliable from his own professional point of view. He thought the instrument needed to be looked at before talking about sending it out. He stated the instrument and how it is worded, set up and what type of analysis is done on it and tests for validity are very crucial if it is to be a good instrument. He stated he needed to have those questions answered before he would go anywhere on the matter.


Member Bononi asked who sits on the Planning and Studies Committee?


Chairperson Weddington answered she did as well as Commissioners Hoadley and Churella.


Member Bononi stated as a Planner, she would not like everyone to believe that this is the only way it could be done because she has professional and personal experience with doing them in-house, getting a 65% return rate without having Consultants to depend on and a planning staff of 4 people and a City with 70,000 people. She stated attitude has a lot to do with whether or not the questionnaires are going to be returned. In looking at the numbers, based on a 25% potential response rate, she figured that it would be a cost of about $96.00 to process each proposed 750 responses. Member Bononi expressed concern with who was going to compose the survey because the success of the survey has everything to do with the questions that are asked, she thought the Planning Commission should have great input. In Mr. Rogers letter of November 9, 1997, she thought it talked about the Consultants composing the letter, she thought this was fine but she did not believe that the Planning Commission should be out of the loop. She asked if the money was coming out of the Planning Commission budget?


Chairperson Weddington answered, it was a budgeted item.


Member Bononi thought that there was more than one way to collect information and she did not know how a percentage of 25% was going to be any kind of reliable return. She stated there were too many unknowns, she also agreed with Member Hoadley that there should be a minimum of at least one more bidder.


Member Hoadley clarified that when he mentioned demographics, he wanted to see that all segments of the population were able to participate in the project, not just the most affluent or the least affluent, but a broad spectrum of the community.


Chairperson Weddington believed the Matter should be scheduled for more discussion at a later time, perhaps on the next Agenda and maybe some of the questions could be answered. She stated this would also give the Commission time to think about the questions and issues that they would like to see addressed and bring them to the table for Discussion. She stated written questions would be helpful.


Mr. Wahl added that as far as he could determine, there was no immediacy for action this evening or even at the next meeting. The important thing was the report that the Committee had recommended this particular alternative as opposed to other methods of getting public input to the Master Plan. He stated this was a proposal of how to do that and all of the questions are worthwhile of whatever homework it takes to answer them. He considered it to be a key element of the Master Plan process, there has not been a lot of opportunity to do this in the past and hopefully this will be an improvement to the Master Plan process.


Chairperson Weddington asked that this be scheduled for Discussion at the next meeting and she asked the Commissioners to think about it and if Yee-Minard has some other suggestions on how the Commission might best collect the input.


Mr. Giffins stated he has thought about all of the alternatives and given his understanding of the objectives and goals and the budget constraints, this is the design that they recommend.


Chairperson Weddington thanked Mr. Giffins for the presentation and stated it would be discussed further.








Property located north of Twelve Mile Road, west of Novi Road, seeking Rezoning from Residential Acreage (RA) to Low-Density, Low Rise, Multiple-Family Residential District (RM-1) or any other appropriate zoning district.


David Stollman, Vice President of Biltmore Properties Corporation and the applicant for the rezoning request gave some background information about Biltmore. In regard to the rezoning request, Mr. Stollman stated he intended that the proposed Carlton Forest be a "For Sale" Condominium project, there will be no rental units, only home ownership. Furthermore, it is the intent of Biltmore to build and develop the entire project. He introduced Mary Jukuri, the Lead Planner, an Associate and Senior Designer with J.J.R. who reviewed the land use and zoning issues.


Mary Jukuri stated the site is located between Twelve Mile Road and Twelve ½ Mile Road about 1,000 feet west of Novi Road. The site is in a very favorable location for Low Density, Low Rise Multi Family housing. The site is approximately one mile from the Novi Road/I-96 interchange, it is about ½ mile away from the commercial, entertainment and retail amenities. The site is also located across from the future City park which is going to be a significant open space and recreation feature to the northwest of the site off of Twelve ½ Mile Road, it also lies in a residential transition area.


Ms. Jukuri stated the site is 32.9776 gross acres, it is a long narrow parcel about ½ mile long by just over 600 feet wide. There are 5.37 acres of wetlands on the site, predominantly on the southern parcel and on the eastern edge. There are approximately 2 to 3 acres of woodlands on the site, the predominant tree species are Black Locust, Black Cherry, American Elm, Ash and Maples, there are a few rare species such as Butternut Hickory within the woodlands. She referred to a plan that showed what development would look like under the current zoning. Because of the configuration of the site and the wetlands, approximately 15, one acre lots would be achieved on the property, this translates to one dwelling unit per two acres of land.


Ms. Jukuri stated they were proposing low rise, low density multiple family housing. They would be attached townhouses with attached garages. She stated the site would yield approximately 191 dwelling units of this type, assuming that they would be two bedroom type units. Ms. Jukuri stated they are also requesting the RM-1 zoning designation for the entire site, this is consistent with the Master Plan which also designated it as Multiple Family housing, however, the Master Plan did propose and designate Office Service uses for the parcel on the southern side. She stated the southern parcel is predominantly wetlands, there is less than one acre of upland, therefore it does not yield any buildable area for any Office development on that parcel. Therefore, she stated they were proposing to rezone the entire site to the RM-1 District to be in compliance with Section 2506 of the Zoning Ordinance which states that in order for them to gain access to the Multi Family Zoning District, they cannot have the access road through a Single-Family Residential District. Ms. Jukuri recognized and was sensitive to spot zoning along Twelve Mile Road. She believed that the wetlands and the open space system would provide a buffer from the entrance to the multi-family residential development to future office uses. She stated there is no structure for the first 600 feet off of Twelve Mile Road, therefore, the residences will not be that visible off of Twelve Mile Road. The plan has been laid out with units in accordance to multi family guidance, all of the buildings are shown with the appropriate distances from each other, they are shown at a 45 degree angle on the western edge where it abuts the Single Family Residential District. Because of the consolidation of the townhouses, they were able to preserve the stands of trees on the western and northern sites so there could be a could be a contiguous wetland and woodland habitat corridor that links to the wetland areas to the east of the site as well. Ms. Jukuri showed elevations of the proposed townhouse models.


In summary, Ms. Jukuri closed with a few points, she believed that they have tried their best to comply with both the City’s Master Plan as it has designated multi-family for the site and in compliance with the new Zoning Ordinances of the City. She pointed out that in March of 1997, the PD-1 Option was removed from the parcel but the Planning Commission decided to retain the RM-1 designation for the site. Ms. Jukuri pointed out that in looking at the updated August 1997 Zoning Map, it appears that the site is one of two remaining sites that are designated as future multi-family parcels in the City of Novi. Ms. Jukuri felt that it fit well within the context of the intersection of Novi Road and Twelve Mile Road with all of the entertainment, commercial and retail uses and as a transition to the lower density single family districts adjacent to it. She believe the proposal fit within the environmental context of the site, they are able to leave a lot of trees preserved and undisturbed. She believed that the amount of traffic generated by the project does not significantly increase the traffic on the adjacent road network. Ms. Jukuri believed the project to be viable and an economically feasible use for the property, she reminded the Commission that the units were proposed as "for sale" condominium units and there would be no rentals.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the property is about 33 acres, the property is presently vacant and there are regulated woodland and wetlands on the site. Society Hill abuts a portion of the property on the east side, the property to the north, east (north 1/3) and west is zoned RA, to the east (south 2/3) is zoned RM-1 and OS-1 and the south property is zoned RC. The Master Plan for Land Use recommends the property for Multiple-Family Residential future land use except for the frontage on Twelve Mile Road. The property to the east is similarly recommended for Multiple Family Residential Use and Office Use, the property to the south is recommended for Commercial Use, property to the west is recommended for Single Family Residential except for the Twelve Mile frontage which is recommended for Office use. Traffic issues include review of access to Twelve Mile Road and the secondary access to Twelve and ½ Mile Road. Mr. Rogers recommended the proposed rezoning as being consistent with the Master Plan for Land Use.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant provided a trip generation comparison. Under existing zoning, the applicant has indicated that 15 single family dwelling units could be placed on the property which would generate 16 a.m. trips and 20 p.m. peak hour trips and 180 trips over a 24 hour period. In contrast is the proposal as presented by the applicant that is up for 191 dwelling units, it could generate 85 a.m. peak hour trips, 105 p.m. peak hour trips and 1,130 trips over a 24 hour period. The applicant has also provided more detailed traffic impact information looking at off site intersections, including the Twelve Mile Road /Donelson intersection and the Twelve Mile Road/Novi Road intersection. Twelve Mile Road and Donelson is operating at Level of Service A during the morning and the afternoon. The applicant added traffic from other approved developments, when this traffic was added, the afternoon peak hour dropped to Level of Service B. The Twelve Mile Road/Novi Road intersection is currently operating at Level of Service C during the morning and Level of Service E during the afternoon peak hour. When other development traffic was added, the a.m. peak hour drops to Level of Service E and the p.m. peak hour drops to a Level of Service F. In regard to improvements Mr. Arroyo stated that Twelve Mile Road is proposed to become a six lane boulevard, the design work has been completed from a preliminary design standpoint, however, there is no funding in line right now. There are some other interim improvements such as the completion of M-5 which is scheduled for 1999 up to Fourteen Mile Road and this will have an impact on Novi Road. Mr. Arroyo stated there was also the potential for some interim improvements on Twelve Mile Road and the Twelve Mile/Novi intersection, including turn lanes. He reported that this area was currently being studied by the North Central Novi Traffic Planning Committee and there is an ongoing effort to try to make improvements to the area.


Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.


Mark Adams, East Lake Drive stated he was excited when he originally heard the area was going to be low density, multiple family, however, 191 units did not sound like low density to him. Mr. Adams encouraged the Commission to keep the density on the site as low as possible. He stated on the 1980 Master Plan, there was a Regional Shopping Center planned for Twelve Mile Road. He stated that Multiple in that area made sense if a shopping center were going to be developed on Twelve Mile between Novi Road and Dixon Road. He reiterated to the Commission to concentrate on low density as there is plenty of high density already in the area.

Debbie Bundoff made a correction to Mr. Rogers report. She stated although he gave the current zonings for the area, to the northeast he stated there was 1/3 zoned RA, to the southeast was RM and OS and to the south was the RC. She stated there was a minor glitch that Mr. Rogers seemed to have forgotten, that was RA which was her property. She stated she was located below Society Hill and above the OS-1 which is also her property, this leaves a narrow strip of RA between a five story complex to the north and a three story development to the west of that site. She stated the City created that little mess, she just wanted to bring it to the Commission’s attention that she is still located there. She stated she does not have a problem with people developing their property, as long as they do not encroach onto the rights of the people adjacent to them.


Chairperson Weddington asked if anyone else wished to address the Planning Commission on the project? Seeing none she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Capello stated the property is problematic to the extent that there is one section of the parcel north of Twelve Mile Road that is split zoned which makes the property fronting Twelve Mile Road, Master Planned OS-1 and the other portion is Master Planned RM-1. He stated it bothered him that the one parcel of property is split by a Zoning and Master Plan line. He preferred to have the property along Twelve Mile Road remain OS-1 because it is Master Planned as such and to be consistent. He stated the split of the property could change his mind in regard to the zoning of the property on Twelve Mile Road. He stated the property has been Master Planned RM-1 for a good deal of time, he stated the area has been looked at in great depth and they chose not to change the Master Plan from RM-1 to any other use. He also stated the property was looked at in March 1997 and they chose to take off the PUD Option but it remained RM-1. Member Capello stated it would be nice to see the property developed in conjunction with the property to the west all the way to Dixon Road, however, he thought it would put a burden on the petitioner to ask him to go out and acquire all of the individual home properties in order for him to develop his parcel. Member Capello was in favor of the request to rezone the back of the property. He was still not sure what to do with the frontage, he stated it may not be possible to give access to the back unless it is rezoned to RM-1, he stated if this was the case, he would not have a problem rezoning to RM-1.


Member Bononi stated the proposed RM-1 zone talks about all uses permitted as regulated in RT, the principle uses permitted in RT refers to all of the uses in the Single-Family zones. She asked if it was also talking about the applicant being in a position where he can request any special land use uses that are also in all of the Single Family zones, RT and RM-1? She stated as it stands now, irregardless that the applicant is showing apartment buildings, other permitted main uses include a convalescent home or a child care center. She stated if the answer is yes, it also brings in a lot of other uses such as a golf course, private swim club, public parochial schools, colleges, utility and service, public service buildings, cemeteries and mortuary establishments. Member Bononi stated elevations of buildings, street stubs, etc. are irrelevant, this is a land use decision and she expressed concern in if the Commission decides to grant the rezoning, that they understand exactly what the implication is regarding use.

Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney answered that it would be all of the uses including special land uses. In addition, he stated that applications for the special land uses would have to come in as a special land use.

Member Bononi stressed that she did not think 191 units should be presumed as a total number if the property is rezoned at some point. In regard to the implication of the zone change on the southerly most part, she asked the applicant why he feels that portion of the property should be rezoned to RM-1?


Mr. Stollman stated it was owned by the seller and the seller will not separate the two. He stated it was impossible to separate one side of the property from the other side. From a land use and planning perspective, he did not feel that Twelve ½ Mile Road would be a good way of having a main entrance to and from the site. It seemed that either Twelve Mile Road and Twelve ½ Mile Road together would be a good way to have ingress/egress to the site or Twelve Mile Road alone. He stated if they were to leave the Office zoning classification as it is, it would be impossible for him to put an entrance road through there because according to the Zoning Ordinance, in order to run a road from a Multi-Family property to a major thoroughfare, the property must be zoned Multi-Family.


Member Bononi asked Mr. Watson to verify that what the applicant has said was correct, with regard to gaining access through the existing zoning classification.


Mr. Watson stated in Section 2518 it appears to allow access through another district.


Member Bononi stated therefore the existing zoning classification to the south can remain and still allow the applicant to have access.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Bononi, FAILED (4-5): To send a positive recommendation to City Council to rezone the southerly most portion on parcel 22-10-400-037 from RA to OS-1 and to rezone the remainder of the parcel from RA to RM-1.


Member Hoadley stated he would not be in support of the motion. He stated it has not been demonstrated that the property cannot be developed as it is currently zoned. He stated with 15 or 16 lots, there could be access to Twelve ½ Mile Road without any improvements made to Twelve Mile Road. He also stated he was opposed to adding any more high density zoning at this time as he did not see any reason for it. Once rezoned, the applicant could develop 191 apartments, they are not held to any criteria. Member Hoadley also stated he was opposed to having an access on Twelve Mile Road because of the traffic increase. He stated there was no reason to increase density if it was not necessary, he believed it could be developed nicely with large lots and expensive homes. He stated for these reasons, he would be voting against the motion. He stated there was a potential to put an RUD in, which would give more density and they would get credit for the wetlands and woodlands. Member Hoadley also added that he was not sure that the bottom 690 feet would remain OS, he thought it could go to OST and asked Mr. Watson, if it is changed to OST, would it also allow the applicant to put a road through?


Mr. Watson answered yes, he stated it would not make a difference.


Member Canup stated the Commission should keep in mind that at the last meeting, they gave favorable response to a rather aggressive development on the south side of Twelve Mile Road, which will generate a fair amount of traffic for the area.



Member Bononi stated she would support a positive recommendation to City Council to rezone the property only because the commitment to the Master Plan is stated to propose Multiple. The applicant is proposing to make an activity that is consistent with the Master Plan. She stated she would have a hard time disregarding it and on the basis of that, she stated she would be voting in favor.


Member Csordas agreed with Member Bononi’s recommendation. He stated he would support the rezoning as stated, it appeared to him to be a very creative use of property that is difficult to develop on the immediate south and to the east and remains consistent with the zoning directly to the east of the property, continuing west. For these reasons, he would be supporting the motion.





Yes: Capello, Csordas, Watza, Bononi

No: Canup, Churella, Hoadley, Vrettas, Weddington





Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Vrettas, CARRIED (5-4): To send a negative recommendation to City Council on the request to rezone property Zoning Map Amendment 18.572 .





Yes: Canup, Churella, Hoadley, Vrettas, Weddington

No: Capello, Csordas, Watza, Bononi





Property located east of Clark Street between Eleven Mile Road and Ten Mile Road, seeking Tentative Preliminary Plat, Woodland and Wetland Permit Approval.


Clif Seiber of Seiber Keast & Associates represented Beech Tree Development Company. He stated he has met with Linda Lemke and Sue Tepatti to develop a plan that preserves the upland area. He stated he has eliminated a lot on the island area and have relocated some of the wetland mitigation areas to three areas, one adjacent to the stream at the northeasterly corner of the site, one at the southeasterly corner and a small area adjacent to Clark Street at the northwest corner of the site. He believed that he has met the requirements of providing the mitigation while staying out of the regulated woodland area to do so.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the length of the cul-de-sac slightly exceeds the 800 feet, therefore a waiver from City Council is required. The subdivision names have been approved by the Street Naming Committee. Mr. Rogers recommended tentative preliminary plat approval subject to: 1) the waiver of the length of the cul-de-sac by City Council; 2) compliance with the Woodland Permit standards as reported in Ms. Lemke’s report of November 05, 1997. Mr. Rogers also stated there would have to be conformity with the Wetlands Permit.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant the engineering efforts are essentially unchanged, utility efforts are similar, the road is a little bit longer, but essentially the plan remains feasible and approveable. Mr. Bluhm stated one comment was with the issue of the FEMA floodplain. The applicant has verified that even though the current maps showed a flood plain to be on the lot area, the flood plain by elevation is entirely within the park area and off the lots. The applicant will be required to go through the required map amendment change with FEMA as an administrative effort to make sure the homeowners do not have to carry flood insurance. They will still be required to obtain a Flood plain Permit at the Final Site Plan Subdivision Construction Drawing level. Mr. Bluhm again stated the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney asked why is the FEMA map not consistent with the actual elevation?


Mr. Bluhm answered when FEMA generates its maps, they do it on a very broad basis, in large scale, it is a detail issue. He stated for FEMA, a 50 or 100 foot difference is a minute difference on a page.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the key issue is the length of the cul-de-sac. The proposed road does exceed the cul-de-sac length, the actual length of the road is approximately 821 feet. The Ordinance calls for measuring the cul-de-sac from the point where there are two points of access, therefore, there is approximately another 500 feet to be added on. He provided trip generation information and he did not recommend approval of the tentative preliminary plat due to the cul-de-sac issue, if the issue becomes resolved down the road, then he found everything else to be acceptable.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated the area of woodlands that is of highest quality is that area that is adjacent to the stream which the applicant is preserving. The problem areas were the location of Lot 18, which was in an upland woodland and the mitigation of wetlands in a regulated woodland area. The applicant has addressed these issues by removing Lot 18 from where it was last presented and the wetland mitigations are in larger open areas of the woodlands. Ms. Lemke stated there were still a few items that needed review at the time of Final; 1) additional fencing; 2) replacement species, numbers and locations; 3) sump pump locations. Ms. Lemke recommended approval for a Woodlands Permit with the following conditions: 1) Payment of a Performance Bond and a note that all trees on the lots will be bonded for; 2) No construction including clearing or grubbing until the protective fencing has been approved by the City and an environmental pre-construction meeting has been held; 3) Remaining regulated woodlands which are not platted, are placed into a Preservation Easement; 4) Preservation signage is erected as directed by the City; 5) Items above and any other items be furnished at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.


Mr. Bluhm stated the Environmental Department has also reviewed the Wetlands Permit for the project. He stated there was a concern with the orientation of the detention mitigation sedimentation basin. Previously it was long and narrow and there was concern about the viability of leaving water in the basin for mitigation. The applicant has since made that basin a little more round and in a situation that is a little more adapted to retaining water and keeping the wetland plantings in place. The applicant has provided their mitigation areas outside of the treed areas, there are three general locations at the southeast corner, at the extreme northwest corner adjacent to Clark Street and at the far northeast corner. In regard to the northeast wetland, Mr. Bluhm stated the applicant will have to provide a viable means of accessing it for construction of the mitigation, this will be expected at the time of Final. Mr. Bluhm stated the applicant should also provide enhancement plantings around the northwest wetland to try to provide an additional buffer to the existing resident that is north of that area. The Environmental Department of JCK recommended approval.


Chairperson Weddington announced she has received two letters from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department, the first letter states that the plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following conditions: 1) All roads are to be paved prior to construction above the foundation. Change Item #2 on the Fire Department Notes; 2) Provide details of the secondary emergency access road and show road on the engineering plans. The second letter states at the request of Mr. Clif Seiber of Seiber Keast and Associates, I have again reviewed the above submittal and have found that Item #1 in my plan review letter dated October 28, 1997 was addressed on the plan and that it satisfies the requirements of the Novi Fire Department. My second comment on that review "Provide details of the secondary emergency access road and show road on engineering plans", is still required. Approval is recommended with the above notation.



Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public. Seeing no one she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Capello asked the applicant if he has resolved the secondary emergency access yet?


Mr. Seiber answered, no. He stated the access that is available, there is an existing fire hydrant and the driveway for Johnson Controls located at the opposite end of the cul-de-sac. He stated it provides access but not vehicular access for the fire trucks. He stated that Johnson Controls is not willing to grant ingress/egress easements along the back of their property for security reasons, for that reason he stated he is unable to secure a secondary access for vehicles to the end of the cul-de-sac.


Member Capello asked Mr. Watson if there was some means for Council to grant a variance or waiver exception for secondary access?


Mr. Watson answered, yes, he believed that there was. However, he did not have the particular Ordinance provision in front of him. He recalled that there was a provision to do it if there was a hardship or practical difficulty.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED (6-3): To send a positive recommendation to City Council on Settlers Creek Subdivision, SP96-22C for Preliminary Plat approval and Wetland Permit approval subject to waiver of the cul-de-sac length and secondary emergency access road as well as all of the Consultants conditions.





Member Hoadley thought the applicant finally got it right, he only wished that they would have done it right the first time, he commended the applicant for their efforts and wished them luck.


In regard to the map amendment from FEMA, Member Bononi asked if it was ordinary that an applicant could have a letter of intent from them at some point?


Mr. Bluhm answered it could be done that way, typically it is done with a proposal to fill an area that is clearly in a flood plain. He stated this is an error in the map that needs to be corrected.


Member Bononi asked if she understood Mr. Bluhm to say that it would be a condition of approval that the applicant has the map amendment.


Mr. Bluhm answered he was making it a condition of Subdivision Construction Drawing approval and if the applicant does not get it, he will have to look at alternatives to making sure the flooding does not become an issue on those lots.


Member Bononi asked if there was extensive fill required to all of the lots from the standpoint of the topography that is shown, in order to provide the building envelopes?


Mr. Seiber stated the mass balancing of the earth on the site will be primarily the cutting and moving dirt to the front of the lots, therefore there would be some mass grading along the front of the lots on the north side of the cul-de-sac.


Member Bononi asked the applicant to estimate how much that would be.


Mr. Seiber answered approximately 15,000 yards.


Member Bononi asked where will Lots 13 through 18 drain?


Mr. Seiber answered they will be draining directly into the woodland area from front to back. Except for the immediate front yard from the house, the house will be higher than the road curb so that portion will drain toward the road.


Member Bononi asked what effect will that drainage have on the trees in the back?


Mr. Seiber answered, minimal or no effect. He stated because of the introduction of the roadway, all of the drainage which currently drains northerly will be intercepted with the roadway construction.


Member Bononi asked if the marketer of the lots would be advertising the lots as premium lots because of the woodland?


Mr. Seiber answered, probably.


Member Bononi stated there was not way to guarantee the success that the trees will live as a result of the manipulation of the grades and the proposed potential water that drains off of the lots. In regard to protecting the woodlands, she asked what the applicant could do to protect them?


Mr. Seiber was not sure how the trees would be protected. He stated he has reduced the amount of water that they currently receive, it is a wetland and a flood plain area so there is going to be water. He did not know how he would guarantee that the trees would always remain in good health.


Member Bononi asked Ms. Lemke if she had an opinion on it?


Ms. Lemke stated she was requiring all of the homes to be drained to the front of the lots. She stated, in a way, this one of the sites where there is a concern that too much water will be taken away from it because it is a very wet system. She stated it is a real delicate balance when there is a wet woodlands, she stated the best effort is taken to control the water, it will be an ongoing maintenance for the subdivision.


Member Bononi stated it seems to be an area where there is a hole in regulation from the standpoint of protecting woodlands and residents who purchase such lots. She believed it was something that the Commission could pursue. In regard to Lots 1, 2, 3 and 18, she understood that they had use limits regarding a wetland buffer. She asked how the residents are going to landscape their front yards if they do not have the ability to manipulate those areas?


Mr. Seiber answered, that lots 1, 2 and 3 will have no restrictions on them because they are on the other side of the road from the wetland area.


Member Bononi stated on the plans, the wetland buffer does touch the fronts of those lots, she thought that if this is the case, each of the lots should have a warning to any potential buyer about their ability to manipulate anything in those buffers.


Mr. Seiber stated a good part of the road will cross through the wetland buffer, the wetland buffer for the most part is in the roadway, there won’t be much left of it to preserve.


Member Bononi stated that the applicant’s plan shows that it is, therefore, she thought it was something that should be addressed. She stated she would not be voting in support of the plan because if the goal is to shoehorn every single lot that you can get on a minimalized site, the application fits the bill. She had real concerns that it is a very greedy land use approach that has a perspective of affecting the woodlands, wetlands and the quality of life of the people who will live there. She thought there was too much going on. In addition, the secondary access question has not been resolved, she stated she would be voting no.


In regard to Ms. Lemke’s comments of perhaps depriving the woodlands of water, Member Hoadley asked Ms. Lemke is there would be some offset because of decrease of veracity because of the footprints on the land. He asked if this would not increase the overflow of the water?


Ms. Lemke stated there would be some, but since most of it is being taken out, via the hard surfaces of the road, not a lot. She deferred to Mr. Bluhm.


Mr. Bluhm stated in the pre-development condition, there is a good area that drains toward the wooded wetland, the majority of it is being taken away, the offsets by the increased imperviousness of a grassed yard would offset some of it and restore some of the drainage but it certainly would not put it in a condition where it would be a problem as far as saturating the treed area.


Member Hoadley asked if Mr. Bluhm would take this into consideration on the Final Site Plan approval to make sure that the proper balance is met.


Mr. Bluhm stated typically the applicant will be asked to provide a study of the water they are taking away and try to balance it back into the rear area. He stated the applicant will be asked to do it.


In regard to Member Bononi’s concerns regarding the possibility of paying premiums for lots that back up to the woods and then having the trees die, Member Capello thought there was a provision in the Ordinance that requires the developer to post notifications in their sales offices, of the wetland and woodland areas. He stated perhaps the language could be amended to require some disclosures in regard to the possibility of trees and wooded wetlands dying in the future.


Mr. Watson stated he was certain that the Ordinance did not say anything about impact on trees, however there are provisions that require notification of where the woodlands are, he also thought it required the correct posting of signs to indicate the areas.


Member Canup thought some of the issues could be taken up at the Final Site Plan.


Chairperson Weddington stated generally it happens Administratively, the Commission does not see it again.





Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Hoadley, Watza

No: Vrettas, Weddington, Bononi


Member Capello asked if the applicant needed any front yard variances for utilities?








Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED (7-2): To approve the Woodland Permit subject to all of the consultants conditions, for Settlers Creek Subdivision, SP96-22C.





Yes: Csordas, Hoadley, Vrettas, Watza, Canup, Capello, Churella

No: Weddington, Bononi


Chairperson Weddington announced the Commission would take a ten minute recess.





Property located south of Thirteen Mile Road and west of Novi Road, seeking Preliminary Site Plan approval and Woodland Permit Approval for Phase 4, Phase 14 and a portion of Phase 10.


Ronald Hughes represented The Vistas of Novi, he requested Preliminary Site Plan approval for Phase 4 in the Vistas PUD. In addition, he requested approval for a Woodland Permit Phases 4, 10 and 14 because of their close proximity to Phase 4 which was a recommendation from Brandon Rogers. The site plan is consistent with the Area Plan that was approved by the City of Novi. He has received a favorable recommendation from all of the consultants.


Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the project is a 56 unit site condominium on a 15 1/3 acre site. All application data has been provided and the plan conforms to the Vistas of Novi PUD Area Plan in regard to the roadways and lanes which will provide access to detached garages or possibly attached garages from the rear of the properties. He stated there were some front facing garages on the west end of the development where there is no lane or alley at the rear. All of the sites comply with the lot sizes of the previously approved Area Plan which showed 54 sites. All sites are at least 50 feet wide and range in area from 5,400 square feet to about 15,000 square feet. Four conceptual home designs were submitted by the architect and he suggested that they be reviewed by Doug Necci. Mr. Rogers thought the proposed architectural plans would be acceptable and will conform to the Area Plan. In summary, he recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to review of the conceptual house plans by Mr. Necci and a Woodlands Permit application.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the site is serviced by sewer and water, public sewers and public water mains will be extended throughout the public roadway areas. The applicant is proposing a network of public roadways and alleyways connections being to Thirteen Mile Road and Decker Road. The applicant is also proposing an enclosed storm sewer system. From a topography point of view, the property falls from the Decker Road area to the north and slightly to the west towards Thirteen Mile Road, there is a well defined swale that is fairly deep through the middle of the site. There is an existing outlet from the storm sewers in Decker Road that will be picked up in their storm sewer network and rooted through to a constructed site detention basin at the northwest corner of the site. The detention basin will provide sedimentation control and permanent water quality control, more detail will be sought out at the time of Final. After detaining the storm water, it is released across Thirteen Mile Road to the north into a larger series of wetlands and then off to the Walled Lake area. Mr. Bluhm had several comments and notes on the plan but he stated the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility and he recommended approval.


Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the applicant’s access plan is consistent with the approved Area Plan with one boulevard approach to Novi Road formerly known as Decker Road. There are two approaches to Thirteen Mile Road over 700 feet apart. The internal circulation includes both public roadways, the unique characteristics include the rear alleys or lanes that will provide access to most of the parking garages for each individual unit. In terms of the access point to Thirteen Mile Road, the applicant shows appropriate deceleration/acceleration lanes, passing lanes and center turn lanes where appropriate. Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the Preliminary Site Plan.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect recommended approval of the conceptual landscape plan, she stated there were quite a few details that needed to be addressed at the time of Final, including more information on the required berms along Decker and Thirteen Mile Road, additional plantings along East Alison Lane that backs to the residential lots and additional information on the islands and boulevards. In regard to the woodlands, she stated they were indicated as dense on the official map, she stated it was a lighter woodlands somewhat isolated from the remainder of the woodlands on the site. It has some value but it is not a mature, high quality woodlands. The majority of the trees have been removed, it was not a guarantee with the approval of the PUD for Vistas, each phase is looked at individually to try and save as much regulated woodland area or regulated trees as possible. The applicant has submitted considerable data on what trees were one the site and what trees are now existing, they have provided all of the information that was asked for. They have saved an area along the western property line, adjacent to the existing residential homes of approximately 40 to 60 feet in width. Ms. Lemke stated there was some additional information that she would be looking for at the time of Final. The replacement trees including those on the commercial property to the east, are required on a one to one basis per standards in effect at the time the PUD was approved. There are 104 existing trees on the site that are to be removed and 22 on the commercial site, there are an additional 6 on the R.O.W. which is part of Phase 10, or a total of 132 trees that are proposed to be removed that need to be replaced. The trees that were previously removed were approximately 225 trees plus 23 trees on the R.O.W. or a total of 248 trees. She stated that Chris Pargoff, City Forester was dealing with this issue. In summary, Ms. Lemke recommended approval for a Woodlands Permit with the four standard conditions and the review of the items listed in her letter at the time of Final.


Mr. Bluhm stated there was no Wetlands Permit required for the project as there were no wetlands on the site. He stated the office has reviewed a conceptual soil erosion and it is indicated that a permit is required at the time of Final Site Plan. He stated there were several comments made in the letter in the packets, he added that an oil and gas separator will be required at all structures prior to the release into the detention basin. He stated there would be further review at the time of Final.


Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal of the City of Novi Fire Department which states that the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended.


Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Pubic Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.


Mark Adams, East Lake Drive stated he lived close to the site. He expressed interest with the removal of 250 trees prior to a site plan and thought if this number of trees were being cut down, he would like to see them replaced. Additionally, he stated when the new urbanism was sold to the residents of the area, they were told that there was going to be a park in each community, he commented that he did not see a park for the neighborhood. Mr. Adams expressed concern with the size of the houses that will be placed on the 50 foot lots. He stated if the houses were 4,000 square feet, they would overload the neighborhood. He thought the Planning Commission should take a close look at the limitations for the lots before they approve it. Lastly, Mr. Adams commented on the 250 "live-work" units, he thought it was a good idea when there was going to be about 30 to 50 of them, however, he thought 250 of them was way out of line. He thought a close look needed to be given to the parking for these units. He stated there needs to be allowance for employee parking, deliveries and clients. It was his opinion that having 250 people operating businesses out of their homes with no parking was going to be chaos.


Debbie Bundoff had concerns about the narrow lots, she stated she had the same concerns when Sandstones came in. She expressed concern with the revised site plan, she understood that Decker Road was now Novi Road and stated if the applicant had to draw in the new lots why couldn’t they also have named Decker Road as Novi Road to keep people from being confused? She stated a new person coming into the area will see Decker Road, not Novi Road.


Chairperson Weddington asked if any one else wanted to address the Matter? Seeing none she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Canup asked for enlightenment of the 250 trees.


Chris Pargoff, City Forester stated on President’s Day weekend of 1996, a tree clearing company was employed by Hughlan Development and went into the regulated woodlands area and removed 250 trees before the City was notified by Eric Olson that there was tree clearing taking place without a permit. At that point in time it was indicated to the developer that the trees that were taken down were to remain on site and no removals were to be taken place. They were issued a Notice of Woodlands Violation and it was stated that the City would pursue the remedy at the time of site plan approval. According to the Ordinance, when determining a remedy, the International Society of Arboriculture method of tree valuation is to be used which consists of three parts, the size of the trees, species, location and conditions of the trees. Mr. Pargoff stated the applicant has three options, he can replace the trees on site at a different designated location or he can contribute the money to the City Tree Planting Accounts.


Dennis Watson, Assistant City Attorney asked Mr. Pargoff if he was requiring replacement trees just as he otherwise would?


Mr. Pargoff answered, yes. He stated he was using the determination as if there were not a violation involved because once the ISA method is used, the outcome is almost even without a substantial penalty.


Member Churella asked the applicant why the trees were removed?


Mr. Hughes stated as owners of the land, he took the position that he had the right to farm the land. Subsequent to the removal of the trees he went to court over the issue and the court issued an order in his favor relative to farming on the phase and a subsidive portion of all of the land east of Novi Road.


Member Churella asked what type of farming has been done on the land?


Mr. Hughes answered he has done no farming to date, primarily for financial reasons.


Member Churella asked if the applicant planned on farming?


Mr. Hughes answered, yes. However, not on this phase because he has already submitted a site plan.


Mr. Watson stated this came about because the applicant had the belief that they had a right to start farming activity without any permitting. There was a dispute that arose over it, they were told to stop, there were a number of meetings regarding the situation. A conclusion was met that farming was not permitted without seeking additional permission. It did go to court and an order has been entered in that regard, however, he clarified that it was not as a result of the judge making a decision on the issue. The order was a result of the parties sitting down with the court and coming to a resolution of the issues. The net resolution was that farming activities were going to be permitted, but the applicant would be required to make tree replacements. The applicant is now before the Planning Commission on a Woodlands Permit and the tree replacement is a condition of that permit approval.



In regard to the park as mentioned during the Public Hearing, Member Vrettas asked if there was supposed to be a park in each section?


Mr. Rogers stated there is a park, it runs along the west side of Novi Road, it may be identified as a cemetery, however, a cemetery would not be approved there. Mr. Rogers noted how the sidewalk system comes down Novi Road from the internal road sidewalk system. He stated there was no internal park planned in the Area Plan for this phase, but the plan shows a rather wide greenbelt and Mr. Rogers stated it would be a linear park that would suffice.


Mr. Watson asked if it was consistent with what was shown on the Area Plan?


Mr. Rogers answered, exactly.


Member Hoadley stated he was on the ZBA at the time the applicant was promoting the project. He recalled that there was a long, wide boulevard that was supposed to be the park. He asked if this was still planned?


Mr. Hughes answered, it was a part of a different phase, however, it is still a part of the Area Plan.


Member Hoadley asked to look at the facades. He also asked why the applicant felt it was necessary to have a double cut on Thirteen Mile Road. Lastly, in regard to the row of units running east and west, he asked why there was no alley shown behind them?


In regard to the two curb cuts on Thirteen Mile Road, Mr. Hughes stated it is consistent with the traffic study that was required for the Area Plan. It was determined that two curb cuts were advisable, therefore, he was adhering to the traffic study and also concurring with Mr. Arroyo. He stated he was not changing any of the traffic patterns or curb cuts at all. He felt it was a necessity. He stated he was not coming to the Commission requesting any changes of the recommendation by the traffic consultants on the original PUD. He thought if he were to come to the Commission and close the road, he would have received a negative recommendation from the consultants, suggesting that he is violating what the City has already approved, which was two curb cuts.


Mr. Arroyo believed when it was initially submitted, one of the alleys or lanes was missing, he thought all of the curb cuts to the external roads were the same. In terms of his review of the plan, he clarified that it would have been to ensure that there was consistency with the Area Plan that was approved.


Mr. Hughes stated there was no alley provision on the westerly side.


Member Hoadley asked if the facades were all consistent with the Area Plan?


Mr. Hughes answered, yes. He stated the renderings were examples of architectural components.


Member Hoadley stated none of the elevations look anywhere close to the renderings.


Mr. Hughes stated they would not be exactly like the renderings.


Mr. Watson stated the architeture was also an issue in the law suit. He stated representatives of the builders who would be building Phase 2 and also in this phase have been submitting architectural renderings to the Building Department which have been reviewed through the Planning Department by Doug Necci. He stated the initial renderings were rejected. Mr. Watson stated a resolution has been reached based upon the additional drawings that were submitted.


Member Hoadley asked for the average square footage of the homes.

Mr. Hughes answered the homes would be in the 1,700 to 2,500 square foot range.


Member Hoadley asked what the price range is.


Mr. Hughes stated he could not speak for the builder but the range was in the $200,000.


Member Hoadley recalled that there was minimal distances between the lots and the front yard setbacks were 10 feet, he asked if the applicant was still going to adhere to it?


Mr. Hughes answered, yes. He stated he was adhering to all of the guidelines.





Moved by Churella, seconded by Capello, CARRIED (8-1): To approve Preliminary Site Plan and Woodland Permit for Vista Meadows Phase 4, SP87-30OO.





Member Watza disclosed that at some point, he was involved in monitoring some litigation which this project was a part of, on behalf of one of the carriers for the City of Novi. He stated he had no involvement in this particular aspect of it, he stated if anyone had any objections to his being involved in voting, he would abstain.

Member Bononi asked Mr. Watson if it was possible for the applicant to be a part of a phase without completing all of the improvements or must all of the phases stand alone from the standpoint of their completion?


Mr. Watson stated they have to stand in combination with proceeding phases.


Member Bononi asked if they have proved that the portions of this phase will do just that?


Mr. Watson answered, yes. He added that they have come back several times Administratively, for changes to the phasing plan.


Ms. Lemke clarified that it was just for woodlands for the portions of the phase, not for the site plan. The reason this was done was because the applicant is removing all of the trees along Decker/Novi Road and the commercial site.


Chairperson Weddington clarified the motion to grant Preliminary Site Plan approval for Vista Meadows Phase 4, SP87-30OO and also to approve the Woodland Permit for Phase 4, Phase 14 and a portion of Phase 10.





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

No: Vrettas
















Member Hoadley stated he had a recent meeting the Mayor McLallen who asked that he share the article with the Planning Commission. He stated there were some good observations in the article and encouraged the Commissioners to read it. He noted that there were underlined portions by the Mayor.


Chairperson Weddington stated she read the article and thought it was a good one, she recommended it to everyone else.


In regard to training for new Commissioners, she asked if any training was being conducted for the new Commissioners as they are appointed?


Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated there have been some sessions with Commissioners Watza, Csordas and Churella on administrative and departmental procedures, there have been traffic and transportation briefings, a Master Plan review and briefing at the Commission and he believed there was a legal briefing from the City Attorney. Mr. Wahl thought there were at least two others that would be scheduled, one was the wetlands and woodlands procedures and the other is the subdivision/plat process. He added that the briefings were all open to any Commissioners who wished to attend. He stated he has given direction to the Staff Planner to have a program for 1998 at the next Planning Commission meeting.


Chairperson Weddington looked forward to seeing it, she thought it was helpful for the Commissioners to have refreshers.


Mr. Wahl stated to the extent that there are Agendas where there are not an overwhelming number of Items, presentations can be added for the whole Commission.





Member Vrettas commented on the delivery of gift baskets to each Commissioner last Friday. He stated he arrived home and found the remains of a gift basket, his wife told him it was from City Hall. He explained that he read the card and saw that it was not from City Hall, it was from George Keros. Member Vrettas stated that Mr. Keros is a very generous person who feels that whenever someone does something nice for him, he has to do something back. He stated he tried to make a point to Mr. Keros at one time, that the Commissioners cannot accept gifts because they are Public Officials. He stated the basket would not have gotten past his front door if he and his wife had known that it was from Mr. Keros, however, because it was delivered by City employees, she did not know. He stated he was stuck in a situation that he feels very uncomfortable with and as he mentioned to Mr. Rumple over the phone, if a private developer or anyone wants to give the Commissioners something, he feels it is out of line, he also had a problem with the fact that the delivery person was a City employee because it implies approval of the City for what the developer is doing. He hoped that the City employees would take a close look at what they did and make sure that it does not happen again. He stated if someone wants to send the Commissioners something and they send it to City Hall, he suggested letting each Commissioner know about it and they can individually make a decision as to whether they will accept it or not. Member Vrettas stated his bottom line complaint was against the City Officials who had City employees deliver the baskets, he felt it was out of line and hoped that it did not happen again.


Member Bononi agreed with Member Vrettas. From the standpoint of receiving a gift that was well intended, she understood it, however, as a Planning Commissioner, the only reward she expected was to serve the Community. She explained that she was out of state when the basket was sent to her house and she in turn took it to the Whitehall Convalescent Center. She agreed that having delivery made by City employees was inappropriate and if she is not home, it puts her in a position of having to make a decision after the fact. She suggested if there is not a policy in regard to this matter, perhaps the Rules Committee could look into it.


Chairperson Weddington stated there is a policy. She stated there is a City policy on receipt of gifts by City Officials, Consultants and others, she believed it to be a $50.00 limit. The Planning Commission set up a disclosure policy which is in the Rules, which states that a Disclosure Form may be filed by any member receiving gifts over the amount of $5.00 from current or known applicants seeking Commission approval or when gifts are received from City Consultants, this excludes campaign contributions. Chairperson Weddington announced there was a Disclosure Form created and stated that Theresa Swiecicki would be mailing one to each Commissioner. She stated it was voluntary and she shared the sentiments of Member Vrettas. Chairperson Weddington stated she donated her basket to the Faith Community Food Bank, it was her personal feeling that anything more than a cup of coffee should be disclosed. She stated she was very sensitive to the appearance of impropriety therefore she always discourages those things. She stated she sent Mr. Keros a thank you note and told him that she contributed it in his name to the food bank. Chairperson Weddington stated there is a procedure and she left it to each Commissioners own consciences.


Member Churella stated the basket was delivered by a City employee with his packet. It was his understanding that it was from City Hall thanking him for serving on the Committee, he stated he did not even know who George Keros was. Member Churella did not understand why it was such a big issue, he stated the Commission should fill out the form and state that it was delivered by the same person who delivered the packet.


Member Vrettas stated the point is, that it was not from the City and by the City delivering it, it almost implied that it was okay when it is not. He stated that City employees need to be more sensitive to the issue.


Member Hoadley stated he was not home when the basket was delivered to his home, his wife also thought it was from the City. He did not look at the card until the next day, in the meantime, it was opened up and put away, he stated he would be filling out a form. He stated he was not aware that it was anything other than from the City.


Chairperson Weddington stated the Commission gets a lot of information and it is helpful to read things like the Charter, rules and policies.


Member Capello clarified a point made by Member Vrettas, he stated the City did not deliver baskets from Mr. Keros on its own initiative, packets were coming out and together with the packets, the baskets were delivered, the City did not independently send somebody out to deliver the baskets. Further, Member Vrettas was saying that it was improper. Member Capello stated it was absolutely not improper, the Commission discussed it years ago and decided that it was not improper and set forth a disclosure policy. The disclosure policy specifically allows the Commission to accept gifts as long as they are disclosed. In the case of Mr. Keros, he questioned whether or not it needed to be disclosed because the policy states whether it is from a current or known applicant. Mr. Keros’s application has been approved, he has nothing in front of the Commission and to the best of Member Capello’s knowledge he had nothing coming before the Commission in the near future. Member Capello stated at the past two meetings, there has been bread delivered to the City from Panera Bread, he noticed that Commissioners have taken bread home. He thought if more than two loaves of bread were taken home, it would be in excess of $5.00, or if one has eaten more than $5.00 worth of bread, he questioned if any of the Commissioners have filed any disclosures for the bread. He stated you cannot distinguish between the basket sent by Mr. Keros and the bread that has been delivered to the last two meetings.


Member Vrettas personally and philosophically had a problem with the City having delivered the baskets and having been put into a position that he felt very uncomfortable in. He did not doubt how it was delivered, he stated that Mr. Rumple explained the whole situation how the baskets came in at the very last minute, they were getting ready to deliver and it was rushed. He stated that Mr. Rumple told him he thought for a minute that it might not be right but in the press of time, he let it happen. Member Vrettas made a point that he thought it was wrong. He stated by the letter of the law, Member Capello was probably correct but to him it was also a matter of the spirit of the law. He thought the Commission should be given the opportunity to make a decision.


Chairperson Weddington reiterated that there is a policy in place, it is voluntary and she stated that each Commissioner is open to do what they feel is best in their own hearts and consciences.


Member Bononi asked if the majority of the Commission was interested in making a statement to the City that the Commission does not wish for the City to deliver gifts to their homes. That way, a person wishing to send a gift has the burden of getting it to each Commissioner however they wish and then the Commissioner has the right to accept or reject it.


Chairperson Weddington thought the City has gotten that message.


Mr. Rumple stated with all due respect to the Board, he would like to set the record straight that he did not have anything to do with Christmas baskets going out, he never will have anything to do with Christmas baskets going out and until he is directed otherwise by his boss, he will be sending everything to the Planning Commission as it comes into his office for the Planning Commissioners. He also stated he would not be put into a position to make the determination of what the Commissioners do or do not receive. If something comes to the Department with a Commissioners name on it, it will be delivered to their house unless he is directed otherwise.


Not knowing anything about where it came from, Member Watza thanked Mr. Keros for the basket. He appreciated Mr. Rumple’s concerns and comments, he stated whenever he receives the form, he would be happy to fill it out.





1. 20/20 UPDATE


Presentation by Linda Lemke


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect gave an update on the 20/20 Phase II. She explained that it was a build-out design in two phases. The first phase is from Beck Road to Napier Road, from Eight Mile Road to just north of I-96, it consists of four boards which can be found in the Planning Department. Phase II consists of two very large boards, the study area is from Haggerty Road to Pontiac Trail and I-96 to Fourteen Mile Road and includes the M-5 Corridor. The study will have eight overlays which consist of zoning, master plan, woodlands, wetlands, current utilities, proposed utilities, habitat master plan and the two design overlays, a maximum build-out per zoning and an alternative build-out plan. Ms. Lemke stated when complete, there will have been over $3,000.00 spent just on materials. It is a tool for the ultimate design and as a planning tool to see the amount of environmental impact.


Member Churella asked if the budget needed to be increased for the materials?


Mr. Lemke stated there were problems with the budget last time, she thought in the final accounting, the materials ended up costing more than realized. She stated she would keep the Commission informed, right now it is okay.


Member Hoadley thought it was time for the Commission to put the information to use in planning. One idea was to have the developers put an overlay on the map for site plan approval. He encouraged the Commission to inquire it as part of the site plan approval system to ask the developer to develop an overlay that would go onto the area that they are going to develop. He stated it would show the zoning, wetlands, woodlands at quite a large scale and he thought it would be a helpful and useful tool for the developer as well as the Commission. He asked whether a formal motion needed to be made, or could the Department incorporate it as part of the site plan manual?


Chairperson Weddington stated it needed to be discussed with Ms. Lemke to find out whether it was even feasible.


Ms. Lemke stated the developer would have to have another piece of mylar and tape it on, it would be easy to do.


Member Hoadley asked if it would be a useful tool for the Commission?


Ms. Lemke answered, yes. She added that she thought it would have been useful for the rezoning tonight.


Member Hoadley commended Ms. Lemke and stated he personally appreciated it.


Ms. Lemke stated there is a Committee that has worked very hard on Phase I and will be meeting soon on Phase II, the Committee consists of Members Hoadley, Churella, Weddington and Capello.


Member Capello stated Member Hoadley’s idea would be nice, however, one problem he could foresee was that the Commission is continually running out of room in the Council Chambers and if the map is brought in for every site plan approval, plus three or four maps from the developer, either the Commission or the audience will not be in sight.


Ms. Lemke stated it has been discussed amongst the Committee members to permanently mount the maps somewhere such as behind the Commissioners so that it would be visible and accessible. She explained that the boards could also be taken off of the frames to stand alone and view individually.


Member Hoadley asked if a motion was needed?





Moved by Hoadley, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To direct staff to draft a revision to the Site Plan Manual that would require transparancy overlays of site plans to be provided by developers.





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

No: None

Absent: Watza





Debbie Bundoff commented about the developer who spoke earlier about farming his land, taking down trees. She stated to think that a farmer would do something like that was appalling. She stated she lives on a farm where wetlands enter onto her property, with soil erosion. With the rules and regulations that govern farmers, she could not believe what was said.





Moved by Vrettas, seconded by Canup, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 11:00 p.m.



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

No: None

Absent: Watza




Steve Rumple - Staff Planner


Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr

December 10, 1997

Date Approved: January 07, 1998