REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 04, 1998 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 Bononi, Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Watza, Chairperson Weddington
ABSENT: Members Hoadley, Vrettas
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
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairperson Weddington asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Agenda? Seeing none she entertained a motion to approve.
PM-98-03-036 TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS PRESENTED
Moved by Churella, seconded by Canup, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as presented.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-036 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Watza, Weddington
Chairperson Weddington reminded the Commissioners to turn on their individual microphones when speaking because there has been some difficulty picking up comments on the tape when the microphones are not used.
Member Capello he has received a letter from Lynn Kocan in regard to the Final Site Plan for Fidelity Communications. At the Preliminary Site Plan Hearing last month, residents indicated a satisfaction with the plan proposed by Fidelity Communications. Since that time, there has been new information. The revised Ordinance requires a minimum 10' berm between developments and residents. At a meeting with another potential developer at Hickory Corporate Park, the plan for their berm was very clear that the berm would be 10' in the middle of the property but would drop to the height of the existing berm, approximately 6' at the north and south ends of the property line. Ben Donaldson, developer for Cunningham Limp told Ms. Kocan that they would revise the plans to correct it and would be willing to work with any developer in Hickory Corporate Park to assure the proper berm height. The berm height is not obvious on the Fidelity Landscape Plan. She assumed that it met the Ordinance prior to Preliminary Site Plan approval and thus gave her concurrence. She stated she called Ms. Lemke on February 16, 1998 and inquired whether the berm would be 10' across the entire project or whether it would drop at each end. Ms. Lemke told Ms. Kocan that the berm did drop at each end. Ms. Kocan said that was not in accordance with her interpretation of the Ordinance and that residents of Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision would have a problem with it. Ms. Lemke stated she would look into it and suggest some alternatives. It appears that no changes have been made to the Landscape Plan and there are no recommendations from the Consultants. Ms. Kocan requested the Planning Commission to assure that Fidelity is in compliance with all Ordinances prior to granting Final Site Plan approval.
There was a letter from Mike and Nancy Kettler in regard to the Pathways to Learning facility. They were opposed to the addition to Pathways to Learning for the following reasons. A 70% increase in the number of children will create more noise and activity. They did not want to see the size of the commercial building increased because it is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Increase in capacity will cause additional traffic on Meadowbrook Road. More traffic in and out of the facility may result in acceleration lanes, the modification would be next to their property and would reduce their property value. They urged the Planning Commission to deny the Pathways to Learning Preliminary Site Plan Special Land Use.
There was a letter from Linda Schlussman in regard to Pathways to Learning. Most of us agree that good quality day care is needed in the City, it provides a valuable service. However, the mere existence of a site should not be automatic justification for a continual increase of size. What should be considered is whether it is reasonable and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. She represented a number of homeowners who oppose the addition to Pathways to Learning for the following reasons; 1) Noise - much noise is generated from the car traffic and the use of the outdoor play area; 2) Traffic - the increased traffic will be an additional burden on Meadowbrook Road; 3) Property - the 2.9 acre site is used by more than one business use. A rental home and a daycare; 4) Capacity - Pathways received a Site Plan approval for 33 children, in December of 1987. They currently have 45 to 50 children and are proposing 85. This is their second increase and represents 2.5 times their original plan. The play area has never been increased to 5,000 square feet as presented on their plans, they are proposing to increase the play area more than three times what it actually is today.
Member Capello stated he received a petition opposing the proposed addition to Pathways to Learning that was signed by 37 residents. As residents of Novi, and neighbors of Pathways to Learning, we oppose the proposed addition at 21900 Meadowbrook Road. We are concerned with the additional traffic and noise that will result from this proposal. Anticipated increased enrollment of 70% will result in additional traffic during the already congested peak morning and evening rush hours on Meadowbrook Road. Noise will increase due to the traffic, the additional numbers of cars pulling in and out of the lot and the increased use of the outside play area at various times during the day. We object to the intensification of a commercial use in a residential area.
Chairperson Weddington announced there were two Items for approval, the Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of February 04, 1998 and February 18, 1998. She asked if there were any changes to either set of minutes?
Member Bononi commented on the Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of February 18, 1998. With regard to the discussion from the Planning Commission regarding the subject of Society Hill, she stated the Discussion was totally omitted.
PM-98-03-037 TO POSTPONE APPROVAL OF THE REGULAR PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 18, 1998 UNTIL SUCH TIME THAT THE DISCUSSION AND POINTS THAT THE PLANNING COMMISSION MADE REGARDING SOCIETY HILL ARE MADE PART OF THE RECORD
Moved by Bononi, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone approval of the Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of February 18, 1998 until such time that the Discussion and points that the Planning Commission made regarding Society Hill are made part of the record.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-037 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Watza, Weddington No: None
In regard to the Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of February 04, 1998, Chairperson Weddington noted that pages 6 and 7 are reversed and should be put in proper order. Page 5, the first sentence under Discussion, the last word "existing" should be stricken. Also on Page 5, fifth sentence, after the word problem, add, ..."with clearance or circulation of traffic...".
PM-98-03-038 TO APPROVE THE REGULAR PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 04, 1998 AS AMENDED
Moved by Churella, seconded by Watza, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of February 04, 1998 as amended.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-038 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Canup, Capello, Csordas, Watza, Weddington
1. DETROIT EDISON QUAKER STATION, SP97-42A
Property located west of Haggerty Road and south of 12 Mile Road seeking Preliminary Site Plan, Special Land Use, Woodland and Wetland Permit Approval.
Andrew Manning of Detroit Edison stated the company has long range plans and has always recognized the need for additional facilities in western Oakland County and Wayne County. He stated the plans identify where additional facilities would be needed to meet the growing electrical demand. Mr. Manning stated the property was purchased in 1972, it is approximately 63 acres, it is bounded on the north by 12 Mile Road, on the south and west by the M-5 Connector and on the east by Haggerty Road. The Quaker site is planned for a transmission station to supply power by an existing overhead tower line that is adjacent to the site. Mr. Manning explained that the transmission system is part of the system that is 345,000 volts, and 120,000 volts. He stated the transmission system is the backbone of the electric distribution system, the way it works is that the transmission system sheaths substations and stations in the power distribution system. The plans for this station will add capacity to the distribution system as well as the flexibility to switch and throw over circuits in the case of an outage.
Mr. Manning stated the need for the Quaker project is essentially to provide reliability for electrical service to customers in the area. The engineering studies indicate the loss of critical lines and/or transformers and could result in widespread loss of power for much of western Oakland County and Wayne County. Mr. Manning stated the station is located in such a way that the access to the site will be via Haggerty Road, a 25' asphalt drive with a landscaping and earth berm for screening of the Country Cousins Mobile Home Park. Additional Landscaping will be put in along the western side of the Country Cousins Mobile Home Park. The station is screened by existing woodlands areas on the east, north and along the south and west sides. There is a large wetland area on the site along with other wetland areas, most of which will be protected. The major equipment at the station site is a transformer, there are also various pieces of switching equipment for throw over and maintenance. He stated 345,000 volts comes off of the transmission line, it drops into one tower into the station and through the equipment and exists via two additional new towers. He stated there is a total of three new towers to be erected. Mr. Manning stated the facility is well hidden, there is one building on the site, the control center building which is approximately 30' x 60'. The building is made of metal clad, it is prefabricated metal and a brick vanier is being put on the side of it for aesthetics. In regard to landscaping, the trees that will be planted are evergreens for screening, along with some flowering trees for accent and for aesthetics. Along the west side of Country Cousins Mobile Home Park will be mostly evergreen trees with a few deciduous trees.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated considering the Special Land Use standards, he itemized seven issues involving traffic, utility service, preservation of natural features, noise analysis, consistency with the goals of the Master Plan for Land Use, promotion of land in a desirable manner. He stated the property is just under 60 acres of land. The western and southern boundaries abut M-5. Considering the Special Land Use issues and findings, Mr. Rogers recommended approval subject to compliance with the Woodland Permits considerations and submission of a noise analysis by a certified sound engineer. All application data has been submitted, the sheet size exceeds that permitted in the Site Plan Manual. The control center building complies with setback standards and the access roads and parking will be paved.
Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated the applicant is proposing to truck in water for the first water and natural rainfall for the berm treatment and other areas at the rear of Country Cousins Mobile Home Park. Due to the amount of plant materials and the type of species proposed, Ms. Lemke stated she would like to see the berms at the entry and along the entry drive be irrigated. The applicant has indicated their willingness to change the species and if it is not approved, it would be required at the time of Final. The applicant has submitted all appropriate species except for one species of Sorbus americana which should be changed to a species more appropriate for the soil type. Screening along the western property line has been provided and a 4' 6" earth berm and screening has been provided along the southern property line. Ms. Lemke stated the Planning Commission will need to waive the addition of a berm along the western property line behind Country Cousins Mobile Home Park, they are adding extra plant materials and they meet the opacity requirements with the large woodland area that is being preserved. It was Ms. Lemke’s recommendation that the berm be waived in that area. The buffer along Haggerty Road has been met. There is a gravel area where parking is proposed and will be minimally used, there are a lot of underground wires in that area and due to that use, Ms. Lemke did not recommend that the applicant have any plantings in that parking area. For the same reason, she did not recommend that the applicant have any plant materials adjacent to the center. There is one Malus Prariefire that needs to be relocated out of the clear view zone and this will be required at the time of Final. Ms. Lemke recommended approval of the Conceptual Landscape Plan.
Mr. Rogers stated the Facade Plan meets the standards of Section 2520. No roof HVAC appurtenances are intended. No trash receptacles or dumpsters are planned. Mr. Rogers recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to the approval of the Special Land Use which has a condition on the sound report.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the applicant proposes one access off of Haggerty Road, the access point will be paved as will the two parking spaces. It is anticipated that there will be one visit to the substation per week by maintenance personnel. Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the Preliminary Site Plan.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility. No public utility extensions are proposed to the site as none are required, the applicant is paving a 25' wide access road into the site. He will be grading the pad for the use of the sub-station. Mr. Bluhm stated swales will need to be provided for the drainage for the road to drain the stormwater east toward Haggerty Road. He also would like to see the applicant look at the grading on the site to minimize the intrusions into the wetland buffer areas and this will be required at the time of Final. Mr. Bluhm recommended approval.
Mr. Bluhm reported on the wetland report. He stated there are 13 existing separate wetland areas on the site, the most significant of which is the large open body of water is DEQ regulated. The applicant proposes no intrusions to the wetland area. The 12 other wetland sites are pockets and are very small in nature, they are not regulated by the DEQ. Of the 12 pockets, 3 are to be partially filled with the development. It equates to about 0.38 acres of wetland fill. They are very low wetland quality, they do not meet any of the 10 criteria that are required for preservation in the Ordinance and Mr. Bluhm recommended that those areas are acceptable to be filled. In addition, there are three small wetland buffer pockets that the applicant is intending to fill permanently. Mr. Bluhm stated he would like to see the fill areas minimized and thought the grading could help eliminate some of the wetland buffer fill. There are also three temporary wetland buffer fills that are adjacent to the tower sites. These are needed to be able to work in these areas to prepare the towers for electrical services, once the work is done, it is expected that the wetland buffer areas can be restored to their natural conditions. In summary, Mr. Bluhm recommended approval of a Wetlands Permit for the site with three conditions; 1) during the Final Site Plan submittal, a wetland setback restoration planting plan be submitted and included in the wetland plans. Setback restoration work shall be required for all temporary and permanent wetland setback disturbances; 2) during the Final Site Plan submittal, the amount of proposed wetland setback disturbances shall be reduced to as much as practical; 3) the remaining wetland areas on site be placed under a Conservation Easement.
Ms. Lemke stated there are basically two areas of woodlands. The major disruption is in the entry road that comes into the site from Haggerty Road. There have been numerous discussions and she has met with Detroit Edison representatives to explore alternatives for the location. She stated in the past, the applicant has tried to purchase other property and not been able to do so. The woodlands are good quality, they are not on the Habitat Map, although they are connected with the Detroit Edison quarter that goes north so there is some value to them. They are being cut off by M-5. The species are Beech Maple in the northern woodlands and Ash and Poplar in the southwest woodlands with similar understory sub species as in the overstory. Ms. Lemke stated she has spoken to Detroit Edison about reducing further, the amount of disruption in the roadway by redoing the grading south of the roadway, and the use of a retaining wall. The applicant has submitted all of the appropriate materials, except for the tagging of some of the trees which will have to be removed, more information will be needed on the retaining walls and additional information is needed on vegetative assessment. The applicant is removing 282 trees and they will not be replaced on site, per the Ordinance another location or placement of a dollar amount into the City of Novi Tree Fund needs to be committed to. A cost estimate of $63,450 for replacement trees has been provided. In summary, Ms. Lemke recommended approval for a Woodlands Permit with the following conditions: 1) payment of a Performance Bond, Maintenance Bond and inspection fees; 2) Placing the remaining woodlands that are being preserved, into a Preservation Easement; 3) Erection of preservation signage; 4) No construction including clearing or grubbing can begin until protective fencing has been approved by the City and an Environmental Pre-Construction meeting is held; 5) Review of the Final Engineering Plans for the items mentioned this evening.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department which states the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following condition: 1) Provide a T-turnaround east of the sliding gate for fire apparatus to turn around.
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.
In regard to the irrigation of the plants at the entranceway and along the berm, Member Csordas asked Ms. Lemke if it was reasonable to believe that after trucking in water for the first year, that the plantings could survive without the irrigation?
Ms. Lemke stated they have to be guaranteed for two years according to the Ordinance and they must be replaced if they die. She stated the irrigation policy has been recently instituted with the new Ordinance Amendments. Ms. Lemke stated there are backup provisions and she thought for the long term health of that area, it would be better to have it irrigated, however, the plants would survive and they would need to be replaced if they did not. Ms. Lemke stated the predictions she has been hearing this year have not been very good regarding rain.
Member Csordas asked if Ms. Lemke has spoken to the petitioner about that?
Ms. Lemke stated the petitioner has indicated that they would change species.
Member Csordas asked if it would be appropriate in her opinion?
Ms. Lemke answered, it would be appropriate, she still thought the irrigation system would be preferable but it would be alright to go the other way since there are back ups.
Member Csordas asked the petitioner if he would be amicable to install the irrigation?
Mr. Manning stated inasmuch as they do not have a water system at the site at this time, it would be an expense that they would like to forego unless it was absolutely necessary. He stated the irrigation is not something that he would like to do at this time, he believed that the plant material would survive.
Member Csordas asked what the plans were to maintain the area as far as cutting the grass?
Mr. Manning answered he has a landscape and grounds crew who is have been contracted for the maintenance of all of his grounds and this station would be no exception. He explained that there is a regular schedule for maintenance and lawn mowing according to the standards of the Community.
Member Csordas asked if there were any light associated with the project that would reflect into the mobile home community adjacent to the property?
Mr. Manning answered, the lights that are on site are only turned on in a case of an emergency.
PM-98-03-039 TO GRANT PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN, SPECIAL LAND USE, WOODLAND AND WETLAND PERMIT APPROVAL FOR DETROIT EDISON QUAKER STATION SP97-42A SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE CONDITIONS OF THE CONSULTANTS
Moved by Csordas, seconded by Canup, CARRIED (6-1): To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval, Special Land Use approval, Woodland Permit and Wetland Permit subject to all of the Consultants conditions and recommendations including the waiver of the berm behind the Mobile Home Park.
In regard to the new proposed towers, Member Bononi asked the applicant how high they would be?
Dennis Kelly of Detroit Edison answered, they would be approximately 120' tall which is approximately the same height as the existing towers.
Member Bononi asked in regard to the new towers proximity to the nearest residence in Country Cousins Mobile Home Park.
Mr. Kelly answered they would be built within the existing transmission line, he stated it was approximately 300'.
With regard to any possible noise impact as a result of the expansion, Member Bononi stated there was no report in the packet and asked why.
Mr. Kelly stated he was waiting to receive a list of Certified Sound Engineers from the City. As soon as he receives it, he stated he would have a sound analysis done.
Member Bononi noticed in the packet of materials there was not a wetlands report, she asked if one was prepared?
Mr. Kelly answered yes, he stated it was prepared by Brooks Williamson.
Mr. Rumple stated he did not receive a wetlands report, therefore one did not go into the packet.
Mr. Bluhm stated his office would have reviewed the report as a part of their review for the site, therefore he would assume that there was a report, however, he could not speak to as to why it was not in the packets.
From the standpoint of acting on a Wetlands application, Member Bononi stated there was no way that she could do so without seeing the report.
Mr. Kelly stated he has confirmation from the MDEQ that the only regulated wetlands would be the pond.
Member Bononi stated that was fine, but the authority with regard to local wetlands rests with the Planning Commission and in order for them to make an informed decision, they must have the information. She stated the fact that the packet of materials comes forward without it, in her opinion the wetlands application should not even be before the Commission. Member Bononi suggested that a wetlands approval be held until such time the applicant can bring the information forward. She also expressed concern with the fact that on this day, there has been an inspection in the field with regard to wetlands. In her estimation, it was a very casual attitude irregardless of whether it was intentional or not. Member Bononi was disappointed that the information was not available in order that the Commission could make a decision on the wetlands application.
Member Bononi asked the EMF representative to explain the general increase that would occur as a result of the application approval. She asked for a percentage, if that is how such increases of EMF are measured.
Bruce Whitney stated in general, since all of the lines feeding the station are existing lines, and the ones leaving are also existing lines, there would not be an increase because there would be no new construction of the transmission system.
Chairperson Weddington asked Mr. Whitney to explain what EMF is for those who are unfamiliar with it.
Mr.Whitney explained that EMF stands for Electric and Magnetic Fields. Electric fields are the field quantities that are created by the voltage on the lines and equipment and the magnetic field is a field similar to the field that points compass needles north. The earth’s geomagnetic field which is created by the current that flows in the lines.
Member Bononi stated conceptually she had no problem with what is being proposed. However, she felt that the application being brought before the Planning Commission was incomplete. She had very grave doubts as to whether or not the application should have even been presented for Public Hearing. She stated she would not be supporting a motion to approve, although conceptually she had no problem with what the applicant wanted to do. She explained that it is not proper to just leave out segments of the application procedure. Member Bononi believed the degree to which the Consulting Engineers went to, to get the information to the Commission and present it on the table, was above and beyond their responsibilities. She stated she could appreciate the fact that they want to bring the information forward, however, to have them do the job was inappropriate. Member Bononi looked for Detroit Edison to deliver the information.
Member Capello asked Ms. Lemke if the Ordinance required the berm along the southern property line where the entrance driveway is?
Ms. Lemke answered, yes, because it is a Special Land Use adjacent to residential.
Member Capello stated the plan shows that the area on the south property line between the Mobile Home Park and the access road is dense shrubs, he asked if this was correct?
Ms. Lemke stated it is not dense shrubs, the plan shows it but on the site there are a lot of openings in the area.
Member Capello asked if there was any way to grant a waiver from the berm? He did not see a reason why a 6' berm with plantings was needed to block a small access road that was going to be used by one person, once a week.
Ms. Lemke stated the applicant would need a variance from the ZBA. She stated the berm could be waived if there was enough existing vegetation to provide the opacity.
Member Capello asked Mr. Bluhm if there was anything that he saw where the application was going to mitigate and when it was going to be accomplished by?
Mr. Bluhm answered, the applicant is not intending to mitigate.
Member Capello asked Mr. Bluhm if there was any information that he believed he was not privy to, that the Brooks Williamson study could provide him with that would change his mind in regard to the 10 items?
Mr. Bluhm answered, no. He stated it was determined that he did not want to push the review forward if all of the information was not available. He stated the site was walked with the applicant’s Wetland Engineer several months ago. All of the information was provided and before him in order to make the review, he did not feel that upon the review of the 10 criteria items, that the three wetland pockets would meet any of the criteria.
Member Capello clarified that even though the letter was written today, the site was investigated several months ago.
Mr. Bluhm answered, yes. The original submittal was several months ago and the information started to come in with the original submittal.
Member Watza stated it appeared that the woodlands that surround the new facility would screen it from the roads that lead into and out of the City, he asked Ms. Lemke if this was correct?
Ms. Lemke answered, yes.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-039 CARRIED
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Watza, Weddington
2. UNIT 7 OF MEADOWBRIDGE PARK, SP98-02A
Property located on Meadowbrook Road and Eleven Mile Road seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Woodlands Permit Approval.
Larry Lax of Real Estate Interests Group stated he was the owner of the property and also the proposed builder. He stated the building was the last of eight that have been constructed at Meadowbridge Park, as the original developers, he required that all of the buildings have the same architectural theme. Mr. Lax explained that he was asking for Preliminary Site Plan approval.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the building shares some access with other buildings in the park. Access will be out to Bridge Street which is along the south edge. All application data are provided except for some engineering survey data. The building meets all setback requirements and based upon the office and warehouse functions, the off-street parking requirements are met. Off-street loading and unloading is on the west side of the building.
Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated there were some minor items that she would be looking for at the time of Final. She stated along the eastern portion of the northern property line, adjacent to I-96, the berm height is mostly less than the required 36" height and the berm width is less than the 20', however, the area is heavily planted. Ms. Lemke stated there would be a variance required for the berm height and the buffer width, this will be sought at the time of Final. She stated existing plantings occur along Bridge Street and she recommended that the plant materials be left in lieu of the required 30" berm that is required along that road, she stated this would need a ZBA variance. Ms. Lemke recommended approval of the Conceptual Landscape Plan.
In regard to building facades, Mr. Rogers stated the materials to be used are split-face block, E.I.F.S., spandrel glass and standing-seam metal panels comply with the standards in Section 2520. Mr. Rogers recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval subject to the survey information being provided at the time of Final.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated as the project is a pad of a larger condominium development, all of the utilities, water and sewer, the storm sewer system and the detention basins were all constructed some time ago to handle this pad as well as the other pads in the condominium. The water and sewer and storm drains are all in place, there will need to be some modifications and run some extensions of storm sewers and catch basins to service the proposed parking lots, however, the leads are in place for water and sewer. The applicant is proposing access off of Bridge Street, there is an agreement for shared access of the driveway. Mr. Bluhm requested that the applicant show an oil and gas separator structure in place prior to outletting discharge into the basins. Mr. Bluhm stated the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility and recommended approval.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the project has access to Bridge Street which is a private road that intersects with Meadowbrook Road. There is no proposed change to the access system. In regard to trip generation, there will be roughly 55 morning and 45 afternoon peak hour trips. The parking lot layout meets the Ordinance requirements. Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the Preliminary Site Plan.
Ms. Lemke stated on the eastern property line, there are six trees that will be impacted. Applicant has provided all information, there has been a slight change on the tree production detail on the Final submission. The applicant proposes replacement trees of eleven White Ash and English Oak along the eastern property line. A separate cost estimate is required for these trees, to differentiate them from those required for landscaping. Ms. Lemke recommended approval for a Woodlands Permit with three conditions; 1) payment of a Performance Bond; 2) no construction including clearing or grubbing can begin until protective fencing has been approved by the City and an environmental pre-construction meeting is held; 3) review of the Final Engineering Plans for woodland impact.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci of JCK which states the plan has been reviewed for compliance with Novi Ordinance 2520; the Facade Ordinance. The percentages of materials proposed for each facade are as shown. The maximum percentages allowed by the Ordinance are also shown. The comparison indicates that none of the proposed materials exceed the Ordinance maximum. As shown, the drawings are consistent with the previous review 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 a Section 4 Waiver is not required.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department which states the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended.
Chairperson Weddington announced 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.
PM-98-03-040 TO APPROVE PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN AND WOODLANDS PERMIT APPROVAL FOR MEADOWBRIDGE PARK, SP98-02A SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE CONDITIONS OF THE CONSULTANTS
Moved by Csordas, seconded by Canup, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval and Woodland Permit approval subject to all of the Consultants conditions for Unit 7 of Meadowbridge Park, SP98-02A.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-040 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Watza, Weddington, Bononi, Canup
3. PATHWAYS TO LEARNING ADDITION, SP96-46B
Property located at 21900 Meadowbrook Road which is on the east side of Meadowbrook Road between 8 & 9 Mile Roads seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use Approval.
Jack Grenweis of AZD Architects gave some background on the project. He stated they have made revisions to the plans in order that the addition used to encroach too far into the side setback and currently they have aligned the building with the existing structure so the front edge of the building is within 16" of the side setback. As far as landscaping or play structure enlargement to accommodate, he stated everything was in compliance. In regard to Mr. Arroyo’s letter regarding a traffic study, Mr. Grenweis stated none of that has been done at this time due to his feeling and the feeling of his client that there is not a significant increase in traffic, nor is there any one point in the day where the structure is bombarded by traffic. He stated children are dropped off and picked up at different intervals throughout the day.
In regard to the structure, Mr. Grenweis stated they comply with the Ordinance and they are trying to bring something nicer. He stated the client’s goal is to provide a positive impact, not to impede on the area, but to bring the structure up to date and provide for the area.
Barbara Engerer owner of Pathways to Learning and the property provided the Commission with an approximate number of children that are dropped off in the morning to give them an idea of the traffic flow. She stated the hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., they service not only full daycare but also a morning and afternoon pre-school program. Between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. there is an average of two children that are dropped off, between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., another five children are dropped off, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., ten children are dropped off and between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., five to six children are dropped off, and then there is a trickle from 9:00 a.m. on. She commented on the letter that was sent with the petition, the letter stated that this was the third appeal to resize the school, Ms. Engerer reported that this was only the second time. She stated they started with 45 children, in addition, she was not looking to double the size, she stated she was looking to add a lunchroom for the teachers, a computer room for children and storage space. She clarified that she was not looking to double the capacity even though the size of the building was being doubled.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the entrance drive is the same as originally proposed. There are no regulated woodlands or wetlands on the site. Mr. Rogers recommended Special Land Use approval, he stated under the Preliminary Site Plan criteria, there are a four points of detail that should be shown and these are stated in his letter. The proposed addition complies with R-3 District setback standards except on the south side yard where 73' 8" is proposed, Mr. Rogers stated a variance would be required from the ZBA. The existing building is shown on the plan as being 74' back, when the plan was approved in 1987 it was required to be 75' but it appears to have been built at 74'. In regard to required parking, a minimum of 14 spaces are required, 24 are provided plus handicapped. A drive through lane for a drop off/pick up is not shown as the intent of this project is to have the child walked inside by the parent.
Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated there is a berm east of the existing parking lot and there is a note stating that the berm will be reworked and further information is needed on those sections and contours to make sure the 4' 6" berm is still there. Ms. Lemke stated there are existing evergreens to the north of the parking area and to the south, there are some trees in groupings that are dying and will need to be replaced. Additional evergreens are needed in the northern cluster to provide complete screening. To complete the screening In the southern cluster there is one continuous unit, since there are mature evergreen trees that already provide screening, she recommended that the Planning Commission waive the requirement of the berm and the wall. Along the R.O.W. in the front, adjacent to Meadowbrook, a 30" high berm with two additional canopy trees is required. The location of the overhead lines needs to be shown on and the canopy trees need to be located 15' from the wires. All of the other items have been addressed or further information will be looked at in detail on the Final submittal, with these comments, Ms. Lemke recommended Conceptual Landscape approval.
Mr. Rogers felt the conceptual facade plan was a major architectural improvement, he stated the plan complies with the standards in Section 2520 of the Facade Schedule. The project will have face brick and E.I.F.S. dryvit system on all sides. Mr. Rogers recommended both Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approvals subject to providing the missing application data at the time of Final submittal, obtaining a variance for the deficient south side yard building setback and further consideration of the accel/decel lanes and passing lanes stipulated by the Planning Commission at the May 07, 1997 meeting.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the applicant is proposing the small addition area in the front which is very minor from an imperviousness standpoint. Mr. Bluhm did not recommend that a detention basin be constructed for the small area, however, the applicant will be required to provide detention tap fees and storm water tap fees to go into the storm water fund for the regional system. Mr. Bluhm stated there is insufficient R.O.W. currently along Meadowbrook Road for the applicant to construct a 5' sidewalk which would otherwise be required. There is an existing ditch section which makes it impossible to put a sidewalk in. He stated he would like to see the applicant consider either dedicating the R.O.W. or an easement to the City and construct the sidewalk 1' off of the ultimate 60' R.O.W., he did not believe it could be a requirement but he stated he would like to see that considered at the Final Site Plan. He stated there were a number of other comments that could be addressed at the time of Final, he stated the plan demonstrates engineering feasibility.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated the current development has access solely to Meadowbrook Road. The current count on Meadowbrook is just over 10,000 vehicles per day based on a count done in 1995. This project can be expected to generate approximately 69 morning peak hour and 73 afternoon peak hour trips per day. Based upon these forecasts and looking at the warrant graphs that the City has in its Design and Construction Standards, Mr. Arroyo believed that the warrants are met for both deceleration and passing lanes at the driveway. He noted that a traffic study was not required for a development of this magnitude, however, in the past, the issue of a passing lane and a dispute has been made as to whether or not it should be constructed. Mr. Arroyo stated as an option, it has been offered that the applicant obtain a traffic consultant to do a detailed study to determine how many left turns will go into the site, the applicant has not provided the option, therefore, he believed that the passing lane and decel lane should be shown. The Design and Construction Standards provides an alternative if a passing lane is not constructed and this is the prohibition of left turns through a sign and a traffic control order issued by City Council. Mr. Arroyo did not recommend approval of the Preliminary Site Plan due to the fact that deceleration lanes and passing lanes are not shown on the site plan.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci which states that E.I.F.S. on the rear east facade is proposed to be 96% which is in excess of the Ordinance maximum of 75% and is not within the limits prescribed by the Facade Chart, however, the elevation is not covered by the Facade Ordinance due to the fact that there are no alterations proposed for the elevation. It is therefore recommended that the application is in compliance with the Facade Ordinance.
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.
Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.
Irene Jacob, 41295 Marks Drive stated she lives on the south side of Marks Drive. She stated she was a little distant from the daycare and the noise is unbearable. She explained that she is home all day and she hears the noise and she resents it.
Linda Schlessman, 41330 Marks Drive lives south of the development and adjacent to the parking lot. She presented a lot of homeowners who are in opposition to the daycare, she stated there was a petition that was signed. The residents agreed that quality daycare is needed in Novi, they were not opposed to the current building, however, they were opposed to an increase in the size of the structure. She stated she has lived in Novi for 15 years and Pathways has been a neighbor for 10 years. Ms. Schlessman stated that the mere existence of the site should not be an automatic justification for a continual increase in size, what should be considered is whether it is reasonable and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. She expressed concern with additional traffic and noise and an increase in the business establishment being brought to the residential area. She stated she has adjusted to the noise but did not want to see it increased by 70%. She believed that the increased traffic would bring a burden to Meadowbrook Road and thought the City had no choice but to insist upon the accel/decel and passing lane. She thought no left turns was not an option because traffic would re-route and drive through the neighborhood to get around making no left turn into the entrance. She believed the site has reached its physical limit for the area and any further expansion would be an unreasonable burden for the surrounding residents. Ms. Schlessman addressed concerns made by the owners of Pathways. She referred to the minutes of the December 1987 meeting which indicated that Pathways would be approved for 33 children in Novi. They obtained a license for 45 to 50 children, the play area at that time was 5,000 square feet which was the minimum. Ms. Schlessman also pointed out that the existing fenced in play area is not 5,000 square feet, it is 2,800 square feet, they are currently in violation and have been for many years. The residents believed that it was the intensification of a commercial use in a residential area, they believed the magnitude was a severe detriment to the residents and they respectfully requested the denial of the Preliminary Site Plan.
Diane Smallwood, 22178 Antler Drive stated her back yard looks directly into the property in question. She expressed her concern over the proposed accel/decel lanes that would end up being right in her backyard. She stated she has been very pleased living in her neighborhood for the last four years, but the fact that a lane is proposed in her backyard concerned her greatly. She stated there is already too much traffic on Meadowbrook Road and she was concerned with the amount of traffic that the larger facility would entail.
Vincent Schager, 22166 Antler Drive stated he is opposite the project across Meadowbrook Road. He expressed his opposition to the pending Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use approval. He thought it was clear from looking at the Master Plan, that the area is residential. He expressed his opposition to the commercial enterprise in the residential neighborhood for all of the reasons discussed this evening. He felt that the structure was inappropriate for the neighborhood. He thought the project should be looked at as far as if it is operating in compliance with the previous zoning and are they acting as a good neighbor to the surrounding residents. Mr. Schager asked the Commission not to approve the pending plan and try to preserve the neighborhood as it currently stands.
Chairperson Weddington asked if anyone else 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 Watza asked the petitioner if she had seen the minutes that were attached to Linda Schlessman’s letter?
Ms. Engerer answered no. She stated she was not aware of it.
Member Watza stated according to the minutes, it appeared that there was a limitation to 33 children at any one time in the facility.
Ms. Engerer stated when the letter was read, she thought Ms. Schlessman was sighting that it was a third addition to the building.
Member Watza asked for the current daily total of children on the site.
Ms. Engerer answered, approximately 45 in the morning and 35 to 40 in the afternoon.
Member Watza stated that number clearly seems to exceed the limitation that was imposed at the meeting in 1987.
Ms. Engerer answered, yes, it does and they will have to add onto the playground regardless of what happens. She asked if the Ordinance meant that they could only have 33 children out there at one time?
Mr. Rogers stated at the time, the Ordinance required 150 square feet of outdoor play area per child. The present Ordinance requires 100 square feet and a minimum of 2,800 square feet.
Member Watza asked if anyone has been out to the site to measure it?
Mr. Rogers answered, no.
Member Watza stated this might be something to check out to see if the applicant is in compliance with the present Ordinance.
Mr. Rogers stated that was an enforcement issue. He stated on the plan the applicant shows 9,000 to 10,000 square feet proposed.
Member Watza expressed concern with granting the applicant some greater use if they are not in compliance with the present requirements.
Ms. Engerer stated she was not aware that she was not in compliance and stated she would have to extend the playground back.
Member Watza asked how many children the applicant was licensed for?
Ms. Engerer answered, 43 to 45. She commented that never are all of the children out on the playground at one time.
Member Canup stated he would have a hard time supporting the project due to the fact that the residents have come forward with some valid concerns. He stated he had difficulty supporting it because basically it was an expansion of a non-conforming existing use.
Member Bononi commented when there are plans to intensify an existing use, that use must be brought into compliance with whatever Ordinances are in effect as of this date. In looking at the plan, she noted that according to a Special Land Use requirement there is a three acre minimum. She asked of the two uses, which was the main use.
Mr. Rogers answered the main use is the daycare facility. He explained in the 1980's it was occupied by the owner or an employee of the daycare center and it was known and accepted back then. He stated it is a residence today and it is being rented.
Member Bononi expressed concern about the minimum number of square feet that is required for each child and no matter what happens from the standpoint of any kind of approval, that the requirement be met. In addition, Member Bononi expressed concern about the 35' parking minimum to a sideyard which is not met, and whether or not it was allowed at the time the application was granted. She also expressed concern with the distance to the rear property line not being shown on the plan or that the existing earth berm would meet the zoning requirement from the standpoint of shielding the abutting property from the play area. She asked why the berm was not required on the plan by the Consultants?
Ms. Lemke stated immediately adjacent to the parking lot, there is no room for a berm and there is existing plant materials. To the north there are existing plant materials, she stated there is an open area adjacent to the property line that some indication of berming in that area has been made. After the discussion, she stated she would like to explore the possibility of requiring the 4' 6" along the property line as long as it does not interrupt the existing vegetation.
In addition, Member Bononi thought there would be reasonable and prudent alternatives from the standpoint of changing the configuration of a play area to wrap around the parking area. In addition, the site also has the capability of eliminating the existing house if indeed the expansion is sought by the applicant. Member Bononi believed that the business has outgrown its site. She stated a daycare is an absolute necessity but it has to be put in an area where it is compatible and it can’t be too great for a single family neighborhood. Considering all of the things that do not meet current zoning regulation, Member Bononi could not approve of the application in its current form. She stated she would be interested in seeing a downgrade in the number of proposed students, on the other hand she would like to see the facility upgraded. She had great concerns about the increased amount of traffic, noise and the comments that the neighboring property owners have made. She stated she would not be in support.
PM-98-03-041 TO DENY PATHWAYS TO LEARNING ADDITION, SP96-46B
Moved by Churella, seconded by Canup, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To deny Preliminary Site Plan approval and Special Land Use approval for Pathways To Learning Addition, SP96-46B, based on the Consultants findings that the Special Land Use does not meet the Ordinance requirements and other comments the Commission has received.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-041 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Churella, Csordas, Watza, Weddington, Bononi, Canup, Capello
Chairperson Weddington announced the Commission would take a brief recess.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. FIDELITY COMMUNICATIONS CORP., SP97-33D
Property is located in the Hickory Corporate Park off of Venture Drive between Novi Road and Nine Mile Road, seeking Final Site Plan Approval.
Tom Crabill of Medora Building Company stated the last time he appeared before the Commission, he had approval from all of the Consultants, there was an issue regarding sound decibel levels at the property lines. Since that meeting, he stated he has provided those calculations from a certified sound engineer that are in conformance with the Zoning Ordinance. He stated he thought he had all of his "ducks in a row" and at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, he was informed that there was possibly some question as to the design of the berm at the rear of the site. Mr. Crabill believed the Ordinance states that a berm of at least 10' in height should be constructed at the rear of the site abutting residential, etc. He stated this has been done in full conformance with the Zoning Ordinance. He thought the question that was raised by the Homeowners Association was, does 10' mean completely across the entire property line or does it mean 10' to the best of his ability. He stated he constructed the berm with the maximum allowable slope from the top of the berm to the property lines on the north and south sides. Anything in addition to that would require a grading easement from both property owners, additional costs, revised plans, etc. Mr. Crabill stated whatever the Commission decides should be done, he was willing to do so. He explained the problem that Fidelity Communications has, is that they have an existing lease that is expiring on July 1, 1998 and the onus was on him to break ground as soon as possible. In regard to the berm, he stated he and Fidelity would do anything they could, to make the situation right with the City. He stated he could not afford to have the matter tabled.
Paul Weisberger did not believe there was a requirement to run the 10' right to the property line but there does need to be a slope. He also did not believe that the Commission could require the applicant to get a grading easement from the adjacent property owners.
Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant stated the Final Site Plan conformed with the previously approved Preliminary Site Plan. Mr. Rogers stated they have submitted a sound engineers report and it appears that the sound levels are within the allowable limits. In regard to landscaping, Mr. Rogers stated all of the requirements have been met. He stated the split face block and brick meet the standards for Section 2520 of the Ordinance. Mr. Rogers recommended Final Site Plan approval subject to the sound engineers report which has been provided.
Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated the berm goes to the property line and then down at a 3 to 1 slope to meet existing grades on both the north and south end. On the south end it would be at about 6 ½' high, at the north end it would be 9' high. It is consistently 10' or above all the way across in the middle of the lot. Ms. Lemke stated they have proposed grading easements as a possibility, another alternative would be to put in retaining walls or when the adjacent property owners come in, have them meet the 10' and build the berm up. At the property line there are evergreen plantings which would provide additional screening in those areas.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated all traffic related criteria has been satisfied and he recommended approval.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the engineering plans are acceptable for approval, he stated the applicant may not be required to secure easements for the grading. If the applicant was going to explore contacting the adjacent property owners, Mr. Bluhm thought it should be clarified whether or not grading easements were needed versus grading approvals.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci of JCK which states he has reviewed the plans and finds that the proposed facade materials meet the Ordinance requirements and it is therefore recommended that the application is in compliance with the Facade Ordinance and a Section 4 Waiver is not required.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department which states the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Thomas G. Blust of the Road Commission for Oakland County which states, at your request, the Road Commission for Oakland County has completed a preliminary geometric review of the above referenced project. There is no work proposed in public road right of way under the jurisdiction of the Road Commission for Oakland County. Therefore, no permit from the Road Commission is required.
Chairperson Weddington turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
PM-98-03-042 TO APPROVE THE FINAL SITE PLAN FOR FIDELITY COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION, SP97-33D
Moved by Churella, seconded by Watza, CARRIED (6-1): To grant Final Site Plan approval to Fidelity Communications Corporation, SP97-33D.
Member Bononi asked the applicant who owns the property north and south of the subject parcel?
Mr. Crabill answered he believed Mr. Ben Donaldson from Cunningham Limp Company owns the parcel to the north and Ken Wah owned the parcel to the south.
Member Bononi asked what berming is currently on the property to the south if any?
Mr. Crabill answered there is an existing berm and Ms. Lemke indicated the berm is approximately 6 ½' in height on the south and approximately 9' in height at the north side.
Member Bononi asked if the property to the north is owned by the same people who are selling to Fidelity?
Mr. Crabill answered, yes.
Member Bononi asked why they could not continue the berm on their own property and solve the problem?
Mr. Crabill stated he spoke to them today and they said they had no problem working with him on it. Mr. Crabill stated if he needs to get some type of written approval, it would not be a problem. Regarding the south side, he said he did not know, he just received it and had no opportunity to speak with that owner.
Member Bononi asked the applicant if he had a problem with making it a condition of approval?
Mr. Crabill guessed he did not. He explained that he was in full conformance of the Zoning Ordinance. He stated he has come this far and he would like to be approved tonight to be able to continue. If the approval is contingent upon doing something additional, he was hoping that the dollars were not going to add up to a point where this is just one more thing to incur...
Member Bononi stated it sounded like if the applicant was concerned about the cost, it was an engineering question of projecting the 10' height and what the slope would come out to, that would encroach on the property to the north, she stated this would be some substance of the expense plus any planting until such time that the property to the north is developed.
Mr. Bluhm answered, this was correct.
Member Bononi asked if there was a sound report how come it was not included in the packets?
Chairperson Weddington stated it was received this evening because it just came in today.
Member Bononi asked for the proposed use from the standpoint of what Fidelity will actually store, and the business they will conduct on the site?
Mr. Crabill answered there is very little storage on the site. The business is the sale of communications equipment. They will have service out of the facility which requires very little equipment. He stated there are two semi-trucks per month that come onto the site and then they transfer the equipment out.
Member Bononi asked if the applicant would be renting to any other tenants?
Mr. Crabill answered their ambition is to occupy the entire building, they have subsidiary companies, research and development, international sales, and customer service. He believed from an investing standpoint their plan is to make it their world headquarters. He stated they built a building that was versatile from a releasing or selling standpoint and they are able to accommodate those other spaces quite easily with their separate operations. Mr. Crabill stated they are anticipating on occupying the entire building and they would like the versatility of having a multi-tenant building.
Member Bononi stated she was curious about the three separate entrances, reception areas and lobby’s.
Mr. Crabill answered, to create a building that at some point in time, could be leased out on a 2,000 square foot basis.
Member Bononi stated she had a problem with it from the standpoint of the fire walls between the building uses and to say that the Planning Commission is going to approve a use when they really don’t know what it is. However, if the applicant states that it will be Fidelity for the near future, she presumed that at such point the applicant decides to change the use, they should seek a change of use through the Building Department. Member Bononi asked the applicant, as of now they have no other tenants?
Mr. Crabill answered, no.
Chairperson Weddington restated the motion.
Member Bononi asked if any language would be included that concerns the extension of the 10' berm?
Member Churella answered, no.
Chairperson Weddington stated they were trusting that the applicant would work it out.
Member Bononi did not think it was good enough. She stated she would like to support the project, but at the same time, she would like to have the interests of the abutting property owners protected and she did not think this was a lot to ask.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-042 CARRIED
Yes: Csordas, Watza, Weddington, Canup, Capello, Churella
2. LANNY’S ROAD OFFICE BUILDING, SP97-37A
Property located on Lanny’s Road, south of Grand River, west of Novi Road, seeking Final Site Plan Approval.
Lee Mamola stated before the Discussion for Lanny’s Road, he would like to continue with his presentation on Vincenti Office Building as it is the same owner and client and many of the comments may be repeated, he thought it would move it along a little faster.
Chairperson Weddington announced the Commission would also consider at the same time, or shortly thereafter, the Vincenti Office Building.
Mr. Mamola introduced Ray Cousineau. He stated when he was before the Commission several months ago, there was considerable discussion involving landscaping and buffering particularly to the abutting homeowners to the south. He stated they proceeded to the ZBA where they obtained variances after several meetings with the surrounding homeowners. The Final Site Plans involve the applicant’s offer to adjacent homeowners to provide landscaping on their property, which they have accepted. He stated he explained to the homeowners, the need for Ordinance requirements with respect to berms and brick walls, they were very concerned that they did not want to see those types of things but rather, they would like to see a wooden fence which is shown on the plans and was granted a waiver by the ZBA. Mr. Mamola stated they have controlled the site lighting to the height of approximately 7' so it is a residential style site lighting. There were several other details and all of the homeowners who were affected gave very positive comments on the applicant working with them. With regard to the Final Site Plan, the Traffic Consultant has recommended approval of both sites, the Planning Consultant had several concerns regarding landscaping on the Lanny’s Road site. Mr. Mamola stated he has reviewed the comments with Ludwig and Associates Landscape Architects and he says the comments can easily be incorporated into a Revised Final Site Plan, therefore, he did not believe there were any outstanding landscape issues that could not be met. The building facade plans for the Lanny’s Road building does comply with the Facade Ordinance. In regard to engineering, there were some comments that Mr. Mamola believed were addressed and ready for resubmittal. It was his opinion that all of the Consultants comments could be addressed and accepted and hoped the Commission would make a motion to accept Final Site Plan subject to one more review.
In regard to the Vincenti Office Building, Mr. Mamola stated the Traffic Consultant has recommended approval, the Planning Consultant has recommended approval, there are a few engineering issues that need to be addressed and he felt they could be addressed. He stated there is a facade waiver required on the building, which includes the rear portion of the building directly over the garage doors. He explained he was seeking a facade request because Mr. Necci and he had two different interpretations of how the new Ordinances should be applied. He stated the facade waiver is based on the architectural concept that the building needs to look and be built like a residential structure, which includes hipped roofs, gabeled ends, punched windows and other detailing in the brick. He stated they are using beveled siding above the garage, it is readily accepted residential material and it is compatible with the residential neighborhood to the rear of the property. Mr. Mamola believed if the facade waiver was not granted, they could comply with the Ordinance by changing the roofline, but it would put the entire building out of character and out of sync with the design and proportions of the rest of the building. He stated they could also add a third type of material to the facade, but in doing so, it would introduce a material that is not characteristic of residential development. He respectfully requested a facade waiver of the Commission.
In regard to the Lanny’s Road Office Building, Brandon Rogers, Planning Consultant approved the facades and stated they comply with the Preliminary Site Plan approval. Mr. Rogers stated there were no conditions on the Vincenti Office Building and recommended approval.
Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated Lanny’s Road Office Building corner clearance was a health safety issue, she stated it could be put on revised plans for stamping but this is why they put a denial on the plan. She stated they could look at it on revised plans and would approve all of the items if they were changed. In regard to the Vincenti Office Building, she stated there were just a few items on the existing plant materials that need to be shown on the plans and she recommended it with the changes being put on the plans for stamping.
Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant stated he reviewed both projects and finds that both are in conformance. He recommended approval.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated he had a number of routine engineering comments that need to be addressed. He stated his letter is negative with the assumption that they will resubmit and receive final approval. From a Planning Commission perspective, he recommended approval, however, they would have to resubmit and address the issues prior to Final Site Plan approval.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci of JCK which states there are no excessive materials shown and it is therefore recommended that the application is in compliance with the Facade Ordinance and a Section 4 Waiver is not required for Lanny’s Road Office Building.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department which states the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended for Lanny’s Road Office Building.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci of JCK in regard to the Vincenti Office Building which states the siding on the left west facade is 36% which is in excess of the Ordinance maximum of 25%, it is his recommendation that the applicant either 1) revise the drawings to comply with the Schedule of Regulating facade materials and resubmit; 2) submit a formal request to the Planning Commission for a waiver to the specific requirements of the Facade Ordinance as provided in Section 2520, paragraph 4. Please not that the Ordinance requires that the request for a waiver be accompanied by a written design statement which shall describe how the selected facade materials and material combination will be consistent with, and enhance the building design concept and how the materials properly relate to the buildings in the surrounding area.
Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department regarding the Vincenti Office Building, which states the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following; the project name shall meet the approval of the Street Naming Committee.
Chairperson Weddington turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
PM-98-03-043 TO APPROVE THE FINAL SITE PLAN FOR LANNY’S ROAD OFFICE BUILDING SP97-37A, SUBJECT TO THE CONSULTANTS COMMENTS AND CONCERNS
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Final Site Plan approval subject to the Consultants comments on Lanny’s Road Office Building, SP97-37A.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-043 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Watza, Weddington, Bononi, Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas
3. VINCENTI OFFICE BUILDING, SP97-38A
Property located on Lanny’s Road, south of Grand River, west of Novi Road, seeking Final Site Plan Approval.
Mr. Rumple asked for a clarification on the Section 4 Waiver.
Mr. Bluhm stated there is another letter from Mr. Necci that confirms the Section 4 Waiver request. The letter is dated March 03, 1998 where he concurs upon discussions with Mr. Mamola, that the Section 4 Waiver is acceptable and he recommended his approval.
PM-98-03-044 TO APPROVE FINAL SITE PLAN FOR VINCENTI OFFICE BUILDING, SP97-38A SUBJECT TO THE CONSULTANTS COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS AND TO GRANT THE SECTION 4 FACADE WAIVER CONSISTENT WITH MR. NECCI’S LETTER OF MARCH 03, 1998
Moved by Capello, seconded by Watza, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Final Site Plan approval to Vincenti Office Building, SP97-38A subject to all of the Consultants comments and recommendations and also to grant a Facade Waiver consistent with Mr. Necci’s letter dated March 03, 1998.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-044 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Weddington, Bononi, Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Watza
1. UPDATE ON FREE SEMINAR SCHEDULE
Report by Steve Rumple, Staff Planner
Steve Rumple, Staff Planner reported that at the next Planning Commission meeting there would be a special guest, Michelle Orzech from the University of Michigan - Flint and she will be giving a presentation on Groundwater Protection. Following that seminar, he stated he would be setting up meetings for the following three months for future fee free seminars. In regard to the motion that was made regarding possibly starting the Planning Commission meeting at 7:00 p.m. to accommodate the seminars, Mr. Rumple stated at this point it was a little early to know what was going to be on the schedule and the other possible problem would be the fact that there is normally an Implementation Committee meeting before the Planning Commission meetings. Mr. Rumple stated he would try to keep the meeting at 7:30 p.m. so it does not interfere with the Implementation Committee and if there is a change to that, he would highlight it and make telephone calls.
Chairperson Weddington reminded the Commission that there was an Economic Summit scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 1998 at 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. in the Activities Room. She hoped everyone could attend.
Member Canup suggested that the Commission take action to ask the Consultants to stop using the terminology that they either recommend approval or denial of a particular case. He suggested this because of legal implications if the City should end up in a law suit, he stated it would just be another piece of ammunition one way or another. He thought it should be up to the Consultants to find some terminology that would be less committal.
Chairperson Weddington stated the Commission has been through this a number of times.
Jim Wahl, Director of Planning & Community Development stated the matter has been discussed in the past, he was not sure that it has been looked at from a legal standpoint. He stated the Mayor and City Council has requested the Consultants and the Departments to provide recommendations as reflective of their responsibilities in the review process. Therefore, they went to the Commission when the matter came up in the past and indicated that in order for the work to be consistent in terms of presentation, the format of the presentation should be the same which would include a recommendation as part of the presentation of findings. Previously the Commission took it under advisement and found that they would prefer to keep it that way.
Mr. Weisberger stated he was not privy to any of the conversations, he stated he would be happy to take a look at it from a legal standpoint if that is where the Commission wishes to go with it.
Chairperson Weddington stated it is an issue that keeps coming up periodically as the make-up of the Commission changes from time to time. She stated it would not hurt to have a legal opinion on it since it is the main concern of Member Canup. Chairperson Weddington asked Mr. Weisberger to take a look at it and report back to the Commission.
Member Bononi believed there was a very important planning requirement in how such recommendations are posed. She thought for a Consultant to say that a plan meets an Ordinance requirement was a much more powerful recommendation. She stated she was looking for the Consultants to tell the Commission where the plans meet the requirements and where they are deficient. Then if the applicant is not giving the Consultant what they want, that is where the Commission comes in and tries to persuade by the eloquence of their arguments, that the applicants can meet the requirements of the Consultants. She thought the words were very powerful and was interested in looking into the matter from that standpoint as well as Member Canup’s legal focus.
Mr. Rogers stated there has been comment and he did not want to raise an argument at the time in regard to Pathways to Learning. He stated it was stated that the site did not have a 3 acre minimum site, he stated this only applies to churches. Also, it was stated that the parking should have been 35' off the side property line where it really was 20'. The Ordinance requires 20' and 35' if it is a church. Therefore, these two comments in his report were not in error.
PM-98-03-045 TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 11:00 P.M.
Moved by Capello, seconded by Watza, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 11:00 p.m.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-045 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Bononi, Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Watza, Weddington
Steve Rumple - Staff Planner
Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr
March 18, 1998
Date Approved: April 01, 1998