WEDNESDAY, JULY 15 , 1998 AT 7:30 P.M.


(248) 347-0475


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


PRESENT: Members, Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Chairperson Weddington


ABSENT: Member Piccinini


ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Assistant City Attorney Paul Weisberger, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Environmental Specialist David Wickens, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, and Planning Assistant Kelly Schuler








Chairperson Weddington announced there were a few changes to the Agenda. Under Matters for Discussion, Item #1 is not ready for discussion. She added General Filters Phasing Plan as Item #1 under Matters for Discussion. She asked if there were any other changes t the Agenda? Seeing none she entertained a motion to approve the Agenda as amended.





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





Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington

No: None










Martin G. Feldman of Marty Feldman Chevrolet wrote in support of the Ramco-Gershenson Retail/Entertainment development. He believed that the development would greatly enhance Novi’s status as one of the leading communities. He stated it would complete the mix of uses that would provide a center of activity unparalleled in Oakland County. He commended the City leadership and its ability to attract an outstanding developer and project to the City.





Chairperson Weddington announced there was one item for approval. She asked if there were any corrections to the Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of July 24, 1998? Seeing none she entertained a motion to approve.






Moved by Watza, seconded by Csordas, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Regular Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of July 24, 1998 as presented.





Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington

No: None







This project is located east of Novi Road between Nine Mile Road and Eight Mile Road. The 2.97 acre property is zoned Light Industrial (I-1). Applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Wetland Permit approvals.


Adorno Piccinini the developer for ADCO Office Park founded his business in Novi 10 years ago. He stated his project is comprised of two light industrial buildings equaling approximately 29,000 square feet. He stated he has worked with the owner to develop a safer entranceway to both sides of the project, they have also coordinated the parking. There are some waivers being requested because of some of the unique characteristics. He stated John Fenn, the engineer will also be available to answer any questions.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant reviewed Brandon Rogers letter dated June 29, 1998. He stated the site is an I-1 zoned property. It is located just south of the Estate Storage building on the east side of Novi Road. The project size is just under 3 acres. The proposed structure meets all required setback requirements. Adequate parking is provided and exceeds the Parking Standards for the I-1 District. The parking along the west side of the site is close to the property line, and there is a strip that does not meet the 10' setback, it is only 9'. He stated it is a provision that the Planning Commission can grant a waiver for the parking green space standard, provided the site makes up for the loss somewhere else. The facade plans show an overhead door on the east facade of Building B which is not permitted in the Ordinance. He stated there were two options, to amend the plan and delete the overhead door as part of Final Site Plan or the applicant can choose to seek a variance from the ZBA. In summary, the recommendation is for Preliminary Site Plan approval, subject to five conditions; 1) Conceptual Landscape Plan; 2) Waiver of the 40' deficient parking setback from the railroad; 3) Waiver of the 10' setback for parking spaces 61-73 and then 1' setback along the south yard near Building A; 4) Reconsideration of the location of the overhead door on the east facade.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the applicant proposes public utilities to service the site and an extension of sanitary sewer along the north edge of the site will serve both buildings. Water mains will be extended across the site to the north and south and loop together. Hydrants will be provided for fire protection and domestic water supply for the buildings. The site is generally very flat, generally the fall is from Novi Road back to the CSX tracks. The ditch then drains to the north. The applicant is proposing underground storm sewers to pick up storm drainage from the site and direct it back to the drainage ditch and north about 500' to the Rouge River. They do not need to provide storm water detention on the site as it is not required. There were some concerns with the elevations of the building and the parking areas, the applicant has now proposed to raise the buildings and parking areas by approximately 1˝' which will allow it to be more consistent with the adjacent buildings. He stated there is a flood plane at the rear of the project that encompasses a portion of the back building, the applicant will be required to provide a Local Flood Plane Permit for the filling of that area to elevate the building above the flood plane. The applicant will need an MDEQ Permit or a letter of no jurisdiction as a part of the local flood plane permit and a letter of map revision will be required from FEMA prior to occupancy of the building. The applicant is proposing a temporary sedimentation basin at the outlet point which is the extreme eastern part of the site. The basin will be in place during construction and will be transformed into a permanent water quality basin with vegetative swales to help with water quality prior to its release into the CSX drainage swale. Mr. Bluhm felt the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility and recommended approval.

Based on an Office development, Mr. Arroyo stated the project is forecast to generate 501 trips during an average weekday, approximately 70 during the morning and afternoon peak hours. One unique feature is the proposal of a shared driveway with an existing business, therefore, there will be no additional access points to Novi Road. Mr. Arroyo indicated that the driveway does not meet the spacing standards because of existing conditions with other driveways in the general vicinity, he stated it would be necessary for the Planning Commission to grant a waiver of the driveway spacing standards. The applicant is proposing to extend an acceleration taper to the north which will be an improvement to Novi Road. He stated there were some conditions in his letter that needed to be addressed at the time of Final, there needs to be some modifications to the end island designs, there needs to be additional area for backing up out of some of the parking spaces between Buildings A and B, the maneuvering lane to the three parking spaces along the east side of Building B needs to be increased in width. Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the Preliminary Site Plan subject to the driveway spacing waiver and resolution of the other items noted in his letter.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated the applicant meets all of the concerns. They need a waiver from the Planning Commission to retain the existing woodlands area on the slope, which is approximately 7.5' in height and is covered with primarily deciduous material. They have provided evergreen plantings all along the base and would be meeting the requirement to screen adjacent to residential. The applicant meets all of the requirements, she stated there were a few issues that need to be addressed at the time of Final. Ms. Lemke recommended approval of the Conceptual Landscape plan.


David Wickens, Environmental Specialist stated two isolated wetland pockets are contained on the site, both are smaller than 2 acres and do not exhibit any criteria listed in the City of Novi Wetland and Watercourse Ordinance for Protection. He stated the site has been previously disturbed and gravel fill was placed on the site. The result of the disturbance has been the cause for the two wetland pockets. Both pockets contain scrub shrub vegetation common to disturbed areas. Mr. Wickens recommended Preliminary approval of the Site Plan.


Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department which states that the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following conditions; 1) All weather access roads capable of supporting 25 tons are to be provided for fire apparatus prior to construction above the foundation, this is to be noted on the plans; 2) All water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and in service prior to construction above the foundation, this shall be noted on the plans; 3) the building address is to be posted facing the street throughout construction. The address is to be at least 3" high on a contrasting background, this should be noted on the plans.


Chairperson Weddington announced she has received a letter from Douglas R. Necci of JCK which states that the above plan has been reviewed and is in full compliance, therefore, a Section 4 Waiver is not required.


Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public. Seeing none she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.





Member Capello disclosed his Commission relationship with ADCO and Adorno and Karen Piccinini. He stated he worked as an attorney for ADCO, however, he has not done any work with them in the last 18 months. He stated he has a brokerage license and they have a salesman that they employ that is licensed into his brokerage license, however, he has no financial involvement. He did not feel that he had a conflict, but it he left the decision up to the Commission.

Member Watza also did not feel that he had a conflict, however, he represented the seller of the property.

He stated since the deal closed, he has not had any involvement in the development of the property.


Chairperson Weddington asked if anyone had a problem with either Member Capello or Member Watza participating in the decision? Seeing none she asked for questions or action on the Matter.


Member Csordas asked Mr. Arroyo if there have been any grants for developments regarding the setback variance north or south of the project?


Mr. Arroyo believed that Estate Storage was granted that same 60' and this is the abutting property immediately to the north.


Member Csordas asked for clarification of the overhead door facing the residential property to the east. Even though there is a railroad track between the project and the residence, he asked if it still applied?


Mr. Arroyo answered, yes, because the way the Ordinance defines "abuts" states it would be excluded from that if there is a road R.O.W. separating the project from a residential and it does not include railroad R.O.W.

Member Csordas asked what the planned uses were for the building?


Mr. Piccinini answered, the planned uses were primarily for a research development park type situation. He stated his partner and himself would be occupying the facility. He stated his partner does environmental testing in a small lab and he was hopeful to attract this type of user who will only need a small lab or storage and primarily office.


Member Csordas asked if vehicles would be parked overnight inside the building?


Mr. Piccinini answered he did not plan on it.


Member Csordas asked if the applicant had any concerns, problems or questions regarding the professional Consultants recommendations?


Mr. Piccinini answered, no. He commented that he put together a board showing the adjacent properties and the railroad track and although he did not know the zonings on those properties, they all had doors facing the east, which faces residential.


Member Mutch asked Linda Lemke to address the parking setback question of whether the variance could be granted if the applicant provided green space elsewhere on the site.


Ms. Lemke stated it allows the Commission to grant a variance to the setback if a wider band of green space is provided along the same area at some point.


Member Mutch asked if she felt the applicant has met that requirement?


Ms. Lemke answered, yes.



In regard to the 10' setback requests for the parking lot spaces 61-73 and the 1' setback along the south side yard, Member Mutch asked the applicant what the reasons were for the request and why could he not meet the Ordinance requirements on those particular issues?


Mr. Piccinini answered, giving the characteristics of the property being so narrow and long, in order to facilitate the amount of parking required, he provided 20' of green space on the north side of the building where 10' are required and 6-8' around the building where 3-4' are required to more than make up for the few parking spaces.

Member Mutch asked if the overhead door on the east facade was a waiver able issue or will it have to be deleted?


Mr. Arroyo answered it was something that the applicant would have to address to the ZBA if they wanted a waiver.





Moved by Mutch, seconded by Watza, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval and Wetland Permit approval to ADCO Properties Industrial Park SP98-12 with waivers for the parking lot setbacks, the driveway spacing and the berm and a ZBA waiver of the overhead door.




Mr. Arroyo clarified that the plans were reviewed primarily as office buildings with the office parking being the calculation made. In regard to the warehousing that is proposed as part of the development, in order for it to be approved as a principal permitted use, it has to be incidental to the office component and not a principal use within the structures or else it would consider a Special Land Use approval because it is adjacent to a residential district. Mr. Arroyo stated if the use of the building were to be treated as 100% office, then there would be a shortage of 8 spaces and would require ZBA action.


Chairperson Weddington asked if there would be a reduction in parking spaces required if part of the building were used as warehouse?


Mr. Arroyo answered, yes, if it were designated as part of the site plan approval. The other option would be to see if there is room on the site to add the additional parking spaces at the time of final.


Member Capello asked the applicant if he was proposing any warehousing?


Mr. Piccinini answered, no it was for storage and small lab equipments.


Member Capello asked Mr. Arroyo if the Parking Ordinance was amended to have a new formula when there was a combination office/storage.


Mr. Arroyo answered, the Ordinance permits the Commission to treat the individual uses separately for parking calculation if it is distinct.


Member Capello asked Mr. Arroyo if he would be reviewing the plan in the Administrative review to make sure the parking was compatible?


Mr. Arroyo answered, absolutely.


Member Capello asked if there was a phasing plan?


Mr. Piccinini stated he was hopeful that it would all go up at one time.


Member Capello stated if there is to be a phasing plan, the applicant needs to address it with the Commission now, otherwise he will be required to build it all at the same time.


Mr. Piccinini clarified there was a phase line on the site plan drawings.


Member Capello clarified that the applicant was planning on phasing administratively and that a phasing plan would be submitted to the Consultants.


Member Koneda asked when looking at a development where the warehouse component is an incidental part, is there anything in the Ordinance that limits the amount of square footage that can be used for warehousing?


Mr. Arroyo was not aware that there was a specific formula in place used by Ordinance enforcement.


Member Koneda asked how it would be enforced?


Mr. Arroyo answered, through the Building Department. Whenever there is a change, there would be a need for a new certificate of occupancy or a business licence through the City of Novi.


Mr. Weisberger asked if a Wetland Permit was necessary?


Mr. Wickens answered, the Ordinance states that wetlands less than 2 acres in size that do not meet any of the criteria shall be approved unless the body acting upon the permit determines that the wetland is essential to the preservation of the natural resources of the City and provide those findings in writing to the applicant stating the reasons for the determination. Mr. Wickens stated the Commission does not need the wetland approval because it falls under the minor use category which is handled Administratively.


Chairperson Weddington clarified that the Wetland Permit does not need to be a part of the motion.


Member Mutch accepted as the maker of the motion.


Member Watza accepted as the seconder of the motion.





Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington

No: None



2. NOVA, SP98-16 A

This project is located west of Donelson between Twelve Mile and I-96. The 71.23 acre property is zoned Regional Center District (R-C). Applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan, Wetland and Woodlands Permit approvals.


Mike Ward, Chief Operating Officer of Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust introduced Richard Gershenson and Joe Sutschek also of Ramco-Gershenson.


Mr. Ward stated the two major anchors that started the project were Star Theaters, a 22 screen auditorium with 5,200 seats and Gaylan’s which is an upscale sports and lifestyle department store. He stated the project will be a joint venture between Ramco-Gershenson and the Taubman Company.


James Ryan, President JPR & Associates Architects stated his company is an architectural planning environment graphic and interior design firm practicing 100% in the retail sector both nationally and internationally. Local projects include Somerset North and South, Too Chez Restaurant and No. VI Restaurant, Steve and Rocky’s and Local Color. He stated this project is a unique opportunity for the Community.


Ron Ray stated the project may be considered one of dining, theater, speciality upscale retail and family entertainment. He stated the developer promises the project some very dynamic first time retailers, restaurants and big move statements. He stated there would be a dramatic entry off of Twelve Mile Road and a dramatic presentation off of the freeway with the Start Theater and Gaylan’s being the major presenters to the passers by on the freeway. He stated a village approach was taken to the landscaping to give the site an importance. Mr. Ray classified the architecture as a neo-classic architecture with a twist to give it an entertainment value. A big part of the setting is "civic moments" which are sculptural pieces worked throughout the entire project. A village approach to the design of the project is being created in that certain peaks, decorative cornices and certain pieces of architecture are being used. In addition to the village approach, they are looking at landscape elements that are much smaller in scale than the bigger picture of landscape, there are gateways and districts. Districts are the areas around the site and are a variety of landscape patterns and motifs in the pavement, each one features a different bench type and planting types. The gateways are called out at points of entrance to the common, they are a collection and combination of landscape and sculpture that act as signage.


Mr. Ray stated there are signage types within the court that are proposed to become more flamboyant, iconic and three dimensional because it becomes the plaza area that is not exposed to the street. Around the perimeter, the shops and businesses that face the street have more traditional type back lit signage, however, he would like to give them a twist, he stated he would like to study it to play up the signage and make it an important feature of the village.


Mr. Ray stated they have created a very dynamic and simple shell for storefronts to plug into. The tenants are top notch and have tremendous presentation in their storefronts. He stated there was 660,000 square feet total, for example, 105,000 theater, 100,000 square feet devoted to Gaylan’s, 94,000 restaurant, and there were two pad site restaurants 10,000 square feet each. Mr. Ray stated there were two major points of entry that require visual identity.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant stated the project constitutes a regional shopping center. He did not recommended approval of the project for three primary reasons: 1) Height limitations - need to be addressed per the ZBA. The proposed elevations do not fall within the maximum of the RC District; 2) The 1,000' spacing standard for the free standing restaurants that are located along 12 Mile Road are approximately 825' apart rather than 1,000 as required; 3) The requirement that a site plan that comes before the Commission must comply with all other Ordinances and requirements of the City, however, the Woodlands Consultant is not recommending approval. Mr. Arroyo indicated that in the event that the ZBA variances are granted and the woodlands issues can be addressed, he would be in a position to recommend approval.


All of the setbacks are met for the RC District. The parking is an unusual case in this situation giving the unique mix of use. The applicant is proposing 4,468 parking spaces which is approximately 620 spaces over the requirement, Mr. Arroyo believed all of the parking would be required primarily because of the nature of the use, the strong theater and restaurant component. He thought there were some important pedestrian components that were not portrayed as part of the presentation, one being that there will be interior walkways within the development. The portion closer to 12 Mile Road will have an exterior facade facing out with a circulation system that goes around it, the loading and unloading area will be completely obscured from view from passers by as it will be in an interior courtyard. Another unique component that relates to both traffic and pedestrian circulation is the internal connection between the project, a private parking aisle is proposed to go through the project with on street parking. Mr. Arroyo reiterated that he was not recommending approval for those three items.





David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the applicant is proposing an extension of water main from the existing Donelson Drive along the southern proposed public roadway and the western proposed public roadway connecting to the water main that will be under construction at 12 Mile Road. There will be internal loops throughout the development to provide the proper fire protection and domestic supply for the buildings. The applicant is also proposing to extend sanitary sewers from the West Oaks development area throughout the site. In regard to the grading, in the vicinity of the 12 Mile area, there is a severe fall from 12 Mile Road back to the site. The applicant will have to provide retaining walls along the eastern and western edges of the site and along 12 Mile. They are proposing underground storm sewer systems throughout the development, the district is split into two, the northeastern corner of the site will be draining by underground storm sewers to a regional basin that exists behind the K-Mart building. The storm water will be detained here and outletted to the I-96 ditch at a restricted rate. Mr. Bluhm stated he would require more water quality sedimentation controls prior to outletting into the regional basin at the time of Final. The remaining 70% of the drainage will drain to two proposed detention basins in the Detroit Edison property. They will be hydraulically connected together, most of the storm water will be routed to the western basin which will provide a sedimentation water quality function. The eastern basin will provide a lot of the detention component for the development, it outlets to the ditch in the I-96 area. The basins are proposed as dry basins, there will be no permanent standing water planned in them at this time.


In regard to the plans, the applicant needs to provide a sanitary sewer along the 12 Mile R.O.W. from Donelson Drive to Dixon Road, it is not shown on the plans and he would like to make it a condition of approval. The applicant is to provide minimal sanitary sewer within the project and utilize the 12 Mile Road sewer. Public roadways will be extended along the south side, east/west from Donelson and extend to 12 Mile. He indicated that a 10' highway and utility easement is proposed on the north side of the east/west public roadway on their site. The roadway is proposed to be constructed primarily on the Detroit Edison property, however, a maintenance easement is needed for the construction of the roadway and the maintenance of the roadway, an additional easement will be needed on the south side. Mr. Bluhm expressed concern over the need to have two or three lanes along the east/west roadway and he would like the applicant to work with him to provide the proper easement width to facilitate future needs if all three lanes are not constructed at this time, he added this as a verbal comment. Because the easements are proposed for the public roadways in lieu of R.O.W. dedication, a Design and Construction Standards Ordinance waiver will be required from City Council. He asked the applicant to address the excess capacity in the City’s Regional Basin, he would like to see them use as much capacity as possible. Mr. Bluhm expressed concern with the locations of their tie into the City’s system. He stated he has received some proposed revisions that might better align the sewers so that they flow better, he stated he would be looking at them at the time of Final. He had a number of other comments in his letter, he felt the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility and recommended approval.


Mr. Arroyo stated the applicant is proposing to work with the City in a joint venture with the Taubman Company to develop and initiate a special assessment district, a contract SAD which will be used to pay for the various proposed road improvements along Novi Road, 12 Mile Road and in and around the project. In regard to access, the applicant is proposing that Donelson Road be extended, they are proposing three points of access off of the north/south road. Proposed road improvements include: 1) Twelve Mile Road - is proposed to be widened to a four lane boulevard from west of the New Street through the Novi Road intersection. 2) Novi Road - Add a third southbound lane from Twelve Mile Road to the first West Oaks II entrance and improve entrance by increasing radii and enlarging right-in, right-out island. Widen road to provide two turn lanes for northbound Novi to westbound West Oaks left turn, Add a right turn lane for northbound approach to the Novi Road/12 Mile Road intersection. 3) West Oaks Drive - Widen approach to Novi Road to provide two right turn lanes. 4) Westbound I-96 off-ramp - extend ramp lanes, add a fifth through lane and improve signage. 5) Northbound Novi Road, between westbound on-ramp and westbound off-ramp, modify to provide third through lane on Novi Road. 6) Donelson Drive - Add a northbound right-turn lane at West Oaks Drive.


In regard to trip generation during a typical average weekday, it is anticipated that approximately 2,370 trips will be generated by the project, during a typical Saturday peak hour it is anticipated that there will be 3,260 trips generated. The traffic study evaluated a series of intersections in and around the project, he provided a table from their report that gives an overview of the levels of service that compares existing conditions with future conditions. Mr. Arroyo stated one of the keys to making a regional attraction work is providing multiple ways of gaining access to such a facility, he stated there is a lot of progress being made to provide other ways to get into the area. The applicant is proposing to construct an extension of Donelson Drive along the south border of the project, within the Detroit Edison R.O.W. easement, this requires a Design and Construction Standards waiver because it calls for a 70' R.O.W. for a non-residential collector. It also calls for 36' of pavement and the applicant is only proposing a 2 lane pavement which would be 24-28' wide, Mr. Arroyo felt this was adequate at this time, however, there may be a need for a third lane at a future point in time. He stated any easement agreements that are entered into on behalf of the area should be flexible enough in the design and the retention basin should also be flexible enough so if the City needs to come in at some point in the future and add a third lane, it can happen within the easement. The applicant is proposing to dedicate ˝ of the 70' R.O.W. for the western extension of the road, they are proposing to build it as a two lane road and it will widen out to three lanes. The third lane will be added when development occurs to the west. Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the project due to the site plan and the extensive road improvement package.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect referred to the requirement for a 36" high berm around the entire site for the public R.O.W.’s. The applicant is proposing to use a combination of berms and retaining walls because there will be some cut and fill on the site in various locations. A keystone wall is proposed, the Ordinance requires a face brick with a cap if a wall is used instead of a berm. She stated the applicant was looking for a waiver to approve the combined use of the berms and walls. Ms. Lemke supported both actions giving that the retaining walls will be used to provide the stabilization needed for the berming. Additional shrubs are needed along the entire R.O.W. to meet the screening requirements, in addition to what is shown on the conceptual landscape plan. Another ZBA variance needed is the requirement for a 4' minimum green space immediately adjacent to the building on all four sides. She stated they will carry out the design schemes and include plantings, lights, paving, benches, planters and gateways all in a controlled means to provide a more intimate scale. The challenge was to overcome the retail scale in this environment and since it is an urban area she was in support of a ZBA variance. Ms. Lemke stated any additional requirements of detail is unnecessary at this time, everything appears to be addressed and can be looked at in more detail at final submission. She stated she would like to see the landscape plan at a larger scale and no typical plans be used for the areas along the R.O.W. but rather a detailed plan provided. Ms. Lemke recommended approval of the conceptual landscape plan.


Ms. Lemke stated there were two woodlands on the site. One is adjacent to I-96 which includes an area that is on the Detroit Edison property and continues along Donelson Drive. The second area goes up to 12 Mile Road. There are approximately 27 acres of regulated woodlands, there are no historic or specimen trees present on the site and no potential trees that should be considered for historic or specimen trees. There are some areas that continue off site to the north but they are across 12 Mile Road. There are 830 regulated trees on the site, 8" d.b.h. or greater. The proposed design will be removing all of the trees on the site and on the adjacent site. The applicant has indicated that they will replace the trees by paying a dollar amount into the City’s tree fund. The quality of the Woodland areas on the site varies. The western hedgerow and adjacent field vegetation has the highest quality in terms of habitat value, the woodlands immediately adjacent to I-96 has the highest value from an overall woodlands perspective. There is very little sugar maple in the under story, making the ultimate quality less than expected for the woodlands. The two hedgerows northerly from the woodlands are primarily red pine, basswood and box elder, both woodlands are relatively isolated, there is no strong northerly connection across 12 Mile Road. Due to the isolation of the woodlands on the site and the species that make up the over story and under story, the quality of the woodlands is average but limited. Ms. Lemke stated the removal of 27 acres of woodlands and 830 regulated trees in conjunction with all of the regulated wetlands on the site is a great loss of natural area. Although the quality of the woodlands area is lower for their particular type and location of woodlands, they do still provide natural areas which will function as buffers, filters, limited habitat areas and continue to provide heating, cooling, wind screens, noise buffers and visual beauty for the area. Ms. Lemke could not recommend approval for a woodlands permit. If approval is granted for the project, one condition would be payment of a dollar amount into the City’s tree fund of $207,500.


Doug Necci of JCK stated there were only two non-compliance issues with respect to the facade chart. He stated the applicant is using concrete masonry units on the service courtyard area of the building, this area is accessible only for delivery vehicles and service personnel, therefore, he recommended the waiver. There is a percentage of wood on one of the facades that exceeds the maximum percentage in the chart. In this case, the wood is used as an important visual feature and is the key element on the facade, for this reason he recommended the waiver. Mr. Necci supported the project, he stated all of the drawings were conceptual and he expected to see some transition occur between the actual construction drawings. He stated he would be looking for consistency throughout the transition.


David Wickens, Environmental Specialist stated seven non-contiguous wetland pockets are located on the parcel. It was determined that only two wetland areas could be considered regulated by the City Ordinance, a 3.44 acre wetland (A) and a 5.52 acre wetland (B). Both are along the eastern boundary of the parcel near Donelson Drive. Wetland A contains a mix of wetland habitat consisting of verbatious vegetation and scrub shrub vegetation. Wetland B also contains a mix of verbatious vegetation and scrub shrub vegetation. Both pockets contain seasonal standing water. The project requires a use permit from the Planning Commission because of the amount of wetland fill proposed, the applicant proposes to fill all wetland areas on site. The total amount of regulated wetland fill is 8.96 acres. In addition to the Revised Preliminary Site Plan, the applicant has submitted two alternative site plans complete with supplementary wetland analysis information. The intent of the suppplemental information was to display that there were no less harmful alternatives to the proposed wetland fill. The applicant also proposes to mitigate 8.96 acres of regualted wetland to compensate for the amount of wetland fill on site. They also propose to construct 13.5 acres of wetland mitigation. Mitigation would occur off site at the city managed wetland mitigation located at west road and 12 Mile Road. The applicant has submitted information that depicts alternatives to the proposed site plan. The information depicts the preservation of wetland areas that were identified as regulated. The applicant believes that the alternatives are not feasible due to their economic constraints, however, from an environmental standpoint, they believe the upland areas surrounding the wetlands would serve to further isolate and adversely impact their wetland features. Mr. Wickens agreed with the applicants findings, over time the wetland would likely be greatly impaired, thus rendering little value to the City. He agreed that the development of the land of the land surrounding the wetlands would greatly reduce their ecological value, it is also required that a wetland system must be built to replace the wetlands that are lost in development, the applicant has proposed to construct 13.5 acres of wetland as part of the City managed mitigation site. Mr. Wickens believed that mitigating for the loss of wetlands on the site is a greater benefit in the long run to preserving them. Upon review of the information, Mr. Wickens found that the plan satisfies the standards required by the City of Novi Wetlands and Watercourse Protection Ordinance for proposed wetland fill activity, therefore, he recommended preliminary approval of the wetland permit. A Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit must be obtained prior to City permit issuance because the wetland is also regulated by the State of Michigan.


Chairperson Weddington announced she has received two letters from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department. The first one states that the above plan has been reviewed and approval is not recommended for approval due to the following deficiencies; 1) at least 50% of the Commercial building shall be accessible within 25' for fire aparatus access, the following buildings do not meet this criteria, buildings D, E, F, X and Y. The applicant has attempted to meet this requirement by providing stand pipe valve connections as an equivelancy, however, a variance must still be obtained. The following items have not been addressed; 2) install fire lane "no parking" signs in accordance with the Code of Ordinances in the following locations; place each sign on the plans, on all fire lanes indicated on sheet SPA-3, 3) reduce hydrant spacing to a maximum of 300' measured in hose laying distance; 4) show the locations of all fire department connections, fire department connections shall be located on the front address side of the building within 100' of a hydrant; 5) show the locations and size of all fire system water mains and provide a control valve for each, fire system control valve shall be either a post indicator valve or a valve in a well; 6) all weather access roads capable of supporting 25 tons are to be provided for fire aparatus prior to construction above the foundation and so noted on the plans; 7) all water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and to be in service prior to construction above the foundation and noted on the plans; 8) the building address is to be posted facing the street throughout construction. The address is to be at least 3" high on a contrasting background and noted on the plans; 9) fire prevention practice during construction shall be in accordance with the adopted building code and fire prevention code and noted on the plans.


The second letter states they have received a letter from Joseph Sutschek, Director of Development for Ramco-Gershenson Inc., in which he explains his intent to address all of the deficiencies noted in the Fire Marshal’s review letter dated July 01, 1998. In item 1 the applicant is proposing an alternative to the requirement of 50% of the building being accessible within 25' for fire aparatus by providing standpipes for fire fighting and sidewalks that can support fire aparatus with mountable curbs. He finds the proposal to be in acceptible equivelancy and have advised him that a variance would still be needed. With a letter of intent to comply with all of the requirements of the next submittal, he recommended preliminary approval.


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


Craig Hesse, Executive Vice President of Development for The Linder Company spoke in regard to the Town Center. He was hopeful that the Planning Commission would review his concerns as they contemplate the approval of the project. He stated the addition of 650,000 square feet of retail would increase it by approximately 21%, if new development continues to be approved to the area north of the interstate, the concept of the successful downtown becomes more and more remote. He also expressed concern about traffic control for the Town Center, the citizens and businesses of Novi, and the Governmental agencies empowered to resolved traffic issues. He stated the issue of traffic control on Novi Road becomes critical for those businesses operating south of the interstate. He felt it was imperitive that the Commission resolve the Novi Road traffic issue prior to the approval of the project or any other development. He asked that the Commission carefully consider the full ramifications of any new retail development on the existing infrastructure of the community.


Jim Chen, 42705 Grand River Avenue thought the development was one of a kind, however, he felt it was the wrong location because it was very similar to Town Center.


Debbie Bundoff had great concerns about the project. She had no problem with owners developing their property, however, not at the expense of adjacent properties. She hoped that the improvements to Twelve Mile Road would not be at the expense of the seven owners from Novi Road to Dixon Road. She expressed concerns with outdoor storage.


Chairperson Weddington asked if anyone else wished to address the Commission? Seeing no one she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.


Chairperson Weddington asked Mr. Arroyo if there were any phases planned for the project?


Mr. Arroyo answered, it was all one phase. He clarified that because it is an RC District, the Preliminary Site Plan goes to City Council, therefore, the Commission will be making a recommendation for the Site Plan and the Wetland Permit. He stated the Woodland Permit is for the Commission to act upon.





In regard to the Special Assessment District, Member Csordas asked if it included properties not involved in the development, such as property north of Twelve Mile Road, west of Novi Road?


Mr. Arroyo answered it was to be a contract SAD which means only those parties that are willing to participate in the funding will be participating. It is not the standard SAD where all properties are assessed, however, the scope of the improvements is such that it will involve R.O.W. acquisitionalong the 12 Mile corridor. Therefore, part of the scope of the Special Assessment District will be to identify R.O.W. that needs to be acquired and factor it into the SAD project so the property owners can be properly compensated if there has to be property purchased.


Member Csordas asked what the impact would be to the City water pressure, especially on the western side of Novi where water pressure is already low. Secondly, he asked what the City’s plans were to address the water pressure issues?


Mr. Bluhm stated this area of the City is in fairly good shape regarding water pressure. He anticipated that there would be no significant deterioration to the water pressure with the additional development. However, there are a number of improvements on the way, one includes a booster station at 14 Mile Road and Haggerty Road. Detroit has entered into a contract to expand service west into Wixom. Along with this, there will be a booster station which will help to improve pressures to service the areas to the west and to help keep constant pressures in Novi. Mr. Bluhm stated the City is actively seeking property to assist Detroit in construction the booster station.


Member Csordas asked who is responsible for the enhancements of the continuing water pressure problems?


Mr. Bluhm answered the internal infrastructure is the responsibility of the City.


Member Csordas asked Mr. Arroyo what the impact of north and south traffic would be on Novi Road south of I-96 with the development of the project with all of the proposed road improvements?


Mr. Arroyo the M-5 connector will impact some north/south traffic. In terms of additional improvements another improvement coming down the road that is currently under design by the Road Commission is the widening of Novi Road between Grand River and Ten Mile Road, to a five lane roadway.


Member Csordas again asked Mr. Bluhm if there would be a lessening of water pressure service with the development of the project?


Mr. Bluhm answered, no.


Member Csordas asked Ms. Lemke to define a keystone wall.


Ms. Lemke answered they are popularly used as a retaining wall. They are a rough format, one stacked on top of another, no morter is used and they are not boulders.


Member Csordas asked if the $207,000 being contributed to the tree fund was mandated to be used to replace all of the trees taken on the project? He also asked if placement of the trees was at the discretion of Ms. Lemke?


Ms. Lemke answered, it is up to the DPS and the City Forester.


Member Watza asked Mr. Chen for a status report of the leasing efforts at Main Street.


Mr. Chen stated the construction was ahead of the leasing.


Member Watza expressed concern for the impact of another mall on the leasing and occupancy rates at Main Street as well as the other malls.



Mr. Chen stated the tenants he is looking for are smaller in square footage, however, the smaller tenants need a larger major retail tenant to carry the ball.


Member Csordas asked if there was a need for additional retail stores beyond what is currently available in Novi?


Mr. Hesse stated it was inevitable that when 20% is added to the existing market, there will be some overlap in competitive uses. He stated it puts pressure on the existing retail marketplace.


Mr. Ward stated he was not concerned because the project was so unique from the surrounding shopping. He also stated that there were no vacancies in either West Oaks I or II.


Member Koneda stated the Ordinance calls for 1,000' spacing between restaurants, he asked what the reason was for this?


Mr. Arroyo understood the primary reason for it was because there was a concern that there might be a line of restaurants along 12 Mile Road, one right next to the other. The City felt that it was appropriate that within the RC District, that there be appropriate spacing standards so other users could have frontages along major thoroughfares.


In regard to wetlands mitigation, Member Koneda asked what is required by law or Ordinance as far as how much must be replaced?


Mr. Wickens answered, the applicant has agreed to replace 13.5 acres. Mr. Wickens stated it varies, typically it is 1˝ to 1 though it can also occur 1 to 1 and 2 to 1, depending on what is being replaced.


Member Koneda asked if Mr. Wickens felt that 13.5 was adequate?


Mr. Wickens answered, yes.


In regard to tree replacements, Member Koneda asked Ms. Lemke if there was a policy that builds forests?


Ms. Lemke answered, currently there is a Woodlands Ordinance which 1) would like to see the replacements on-site in the area that they were removed, to increase the woodlands on-site; 2) that goes to another piece of property that the petitioner would own with the same qualifications so it would go to recreate a woodland; 3) that it go into the City’s tree fund.


Member Koneda asked how much the height limitation was and how many times is it being exceeded and where?


Mr. Arroyo stated it varies in different areas. He referred to the applicant’s board.


Mr. Ray stated the basis for the determination of the basic height was the theatre component that was presented to them. On that component, there were a couple of elements that broke the height limitation. He stated they were stuck with a couple of parameters that went beyond the limits, therefore, they played up and down with it in order to maintain the look.


Member Koneda asked if the road that cuts through the middle of the system was necessary with the 71 parking spaces or could it also be pedestrian?


Mr. Ray stated it was a pedestrian thoroughfare. The pedestrian experience is maintained throughout.


In terms of traffic, Member Mutch asked Mr. Arroyo if he felt the potential impact was positive or negative to the properties to the west


Mr. Arroyo stated a typical retail development will have the back side and loading areas exposed to adjacent properties. One advantage to the proposed design is that it does not place a back end towards any property line, therefore, a user who wishes to locate to the west of the project will be looking at the front facade of the buildings in addition to the parking areas. He thought this would be consistent and not detrimental to any projects. He stated the project will bring more traffic as well as road improvements sooner than they would likely happen.


In terms of the regional storm water system, Member Mutch asked Mr. Bluhm if there were any proposed basins for the area bounded by Donelson Drive, the CSX railroad, the freeway and 12 Mile Road? He asked what is planned to handle all of the storm water run off from this project as well as the OST development?


Mr. Bluhm answered in addition to the basin that is taking a portion of the water from the site, the areas to the west are to drain to the regional basin on the south side of the highway, the Levinworth Basin.


Member Mutch asked if the area proposed on the Edison Property was the recommended area that the detention take place or might there be other locations that it would be better suited?


Mr. Bluhm stated since it was the lowest location in regard to elevation, they have optimized the location of the basin fairly well. He was confident and felt that the design was fairly linear and allowed a good distance to discharge.


Member Mutch asked if the Commission had to make a decision regarding the woodlands that are to be removed? He asked how it was to be handled in terms of permitting?


Ms. Lemke answered the applicant was bringing it in under the current submittal.


Member Mutch asked if the concept designs were realistic in terms of addressing both environmental issues as well as the retail concept?


Ms. Lemke asked that the applicant try to preserve larger contiguous areas of wetlands and woodlands that would raise the quality. The applicant’s argument is that no matter what retail is put on the site, it will impact isolated areas. However, she stated the more area that is saved, the more opportunity there is to improve the quality.


Member Mutch asked asked the petitioner’s woodland consultant to address Ms. Lemke’s comment regarding the buffering transitional quality of the woodlands in terms of trying to reduce some of the impact from the freeway.


Steve Metzer of Giffels-Webster Engineers, Inc. stated residential areas receive much greater benefits from woodlands than would a non-residential development such as this one. He stated some of the functions that it currently serves are not in dispute, however, the development before the Commission does not need visual screening from I-96, they want that visibility, noise buffering is not an essential item, all of the non-wildlife habitat functions that are currently exhibited by that woodland, he felt were much better utilized by the payment into the tree fund.


Member Mutch asked how the pedestrian traffic would occur in a safe manner where it does not involve dodge- em with traffic.



Mr. Arroyo stated the design of the pedestrian and parking circulation was much like you’d find in any shopping center. The aisles are oriented in a direction that is effectively perpendicular to the front facade of the building so the cars can park and the pedestrians can walk toward the building.


Ms. Lemke stated the site is designed so tight that there is no extra room at all. She stated it would be very difficult to put in separate pedestrian walkways. The islands will handle the required trees, she stated she would like to see walkways with trees, however, the way it currently stands, she did not think it would be a possibility.


Member Mutch stated he would like to see the applicant incorporate the types of things referred to by Ms. Lemke because he thought it was a safety hazard and it needed to be addressed. He asked Mr. Arroyo if there was any reason that the landscaping of the improvements could not be included in the cost of the Special Assessment District?


Mr. Arroyo answered, not that he was aware of. He stated there could be landscapeing if it was in the scope of the area. He thought there could be some landscaping within the road construction area.


Member Csordas thought the project would compliment all of the projects already underway in the City, especially Main Street. It was his opinion that the development would raise the bar, increase competition and be a benefit for the City of Novi overall. He complimented Ramco-Gershenson and Taubman for developing the spirit of cooperation, demonstrating their confidence in the City of Novi to continue to succeed and grow. With the development of this project and the completion of Main Street, it was his opinion that Novi would be at its saturation point.





Moved by Csordas, seconded by Capello, CARRIED (6-2): To send a positive recommendation to City Council for NOVA, SP98-16A for Preliminary Site Plan and Wetland Permits.





Member Mutch stated he would not be in support of the motion because he did not think it addressed some of the issues that have been outlying in Mr. Arroyo’s recommendation.


Chairperson Weddington stated she could not support the recommendation as there were too many inconsistencies in the plans, she believed that the topographics maps are to be at a scale of 2' and they have only provided 10' intervals. It does not meet the Site Plan requirements, there are variances required for height. She felt that the plan was way overbuilt. The whole project would be impervious. She stated there would be a decline in the Level of Service regarding traffic. She pointed out that the size of the development is approximately the same size as Laurel Park in Livonia. She agreed with Member Mutch that the development puts Novi over the top. She stated there was no way she could even go near the development, it would scare her away, she thought it was grotesque, therefore, she could not support it.


Member Canup thought the applicant had spent a lot of time, effort and money in getting to this point. When they asked for a rezoning a while ago, the Commission indicated that it approved of what was being proposed. He thought to bring the applicant this far only to turn them away would be atrocity, therefore, he would be supporting the motion.






VOTE ON PM-98-07-143


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

No: Mutch, Weddington





Moved by Churella, seconded by Watza, CARRIED (6-2): To grant a Woodland Permit to NOVA SP98-16A subject to City Council’s approval of the Site Plan.





Member Mutch stated that Ms. Lemke reported the applicant has not explored all of the possible alternatives to the project. He agreed that the site was over built if they could not accommodate the woodlands to the south, which would provide a buffer. He stated the Twelve Oaks Mall was not visible from the freeway and he felt it provided a better view. Member Mutch stated he would like to see the alternatives explored, he stated he could not support an approval at this point in time.


Chairperson Weddington pointed out that the Woodlands Ordinance intent was to protect the integrity of woodland areas as a whole and that the protection and conservation of irreplaceable natural resources from pollution impairment or destruction is the paramount concern of the Commission. The preservation of woodlands, trees and woody vegetation and related natural resources shall have priority over development when there are no location alternatives. The burden of demonstrating that no feasible and prudent alternative location for structures or improvements without undue hardship shall be upon the applicant. She stated the destruction of 830 trees was unacceptable and she could not support the motion.


Member Churella stated he went out and looked at the woodlands, they are not prime woodlands, a lot of the trees are not trees of primary use, they are "junk" trees, this was his reason for making the motion.


Member Canup stated in comparison to the mall, there was a comment made about the trees in between the mall and the expressway. In this particular case, there is a road being built that will run between their project and the expressway. The road will act as a feeder to the property that is to their west between the railroad tracks. Looking at this, he saw no reason not to support the project.





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

No: Mutch, Weddington





Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED (7-1): To grant a facade waiver to NOVA SP98-16A subject to the ZBA’s granting of a height variance.





Yes: Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Canup, Capello, Churella

No: Weddington


With the ZBA variance for the required green space abutting a building, Member Capello asked if there was a provision in the Ordinance that states the Planning Commission shall make a recommendation to ZBA in granting the Ordinance?


Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney thought Ms. Lemke’s recommendation was to grant that waiver and then by adopting the site plan subject to the Consultant’s recommendations, it would be included.


Member Capello stated the retaining wall is being built out of keystone block instead of brick, he asked if the Facade waiver would include waiving the brick and allow them to use the keystone block?


Mr. Weisberger thought the keystone block needed a waiver from the ZBA.


Ms. Lemke answered, that was correct, she stated it was a whole different section of the Ordinance and had no relationship to the facade.


Mr. Weisberger stated his review of the Ordinance addresses exterior building walls, he did not believe that the wall being referred to was an exterior building wall.


Chairperson Weddington announced the Commission would take a brief recess.





Jim Chen, 42705 Grand River Avenue stated in regard to the proposed Galleria, there was no competition for Main Street specifically in regard to the square footage, Galleria can use dryvit and wood whereas Main Street cannot.








Chairperson Weddington announced that the Implementation Committee met this evening and looked at some proposals presented by Mr. Arroyo and some proposed language by Fried, Watson & Bugbee, P.C. They have been asked to fine tune it and Chairperson Weddington thought it would be ready for a Public Hearing on August 19, 1998.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Mutch, CARRIED (6-2): To schedule a Public Hearing for the proposed zoning ordinance text amendment to permit an adult facility in a Residential RA zoning district on August 19, 1998 or whenever the text is available thereafter.





Yes: Koneda, Mutch, Weddington, Capello, Churella, Csordas

No: Watza, Canup





Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney stated he and Dave Bluhm have come up with language that puts some conditions and pressures on the developer to go forward with the site improvements, including the paving of the driveway. He understood that Khanh Pham, Staff Planner was aware of the language and has no problem with it, as it reflects the intent as discussed and it should have been included in the original motion.





Moved by Capello, seconded by Watza, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Phasing Plan for General Filters, SP96-43C on the condition that the Final Site Plan for Phase II for General Filters development be submitted to the City of Novi for review no later than 90 days following notice by the City Engineers, that construction drawings for the Crescent Boulevard industrial spur are completed, further, that construction of improvements for Phase II by General Filters be initiated no later than six (6) months from notice by the City of Novi that the Crescent Boulevard industrial spur constructed improvements are acceptable for public use. Further, that any requests for site plan extension for phase II shall be granted where the conditions set forth above cannot be met because of the City of Novi’s delay in constructing the Crescent Boulevard industrial spur.





Yes: Mutch, Watza, Weddington, Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda

No: None




Moved by Capello, seconded by Koneda, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 11:25 p.m.



Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington

No: None



Kelly Schuler - Planning Assistant

Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr

July 28, 1998

Date Approved: August 05, 1998