REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, March 17, 1999 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
Meeting called to order at 7:35 p.m. by Chairperson Weddington
PRESENT: Members Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Watza and Chairperson Weddington
ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Assistant City Attorney Paul Weisberger, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Environmental Specialist Debbie Thor, Senior Environmental Specialist Aimee Kay, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, and Planning Assistant Kelly Schuler
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairperson Weddington asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda?
Member Capello would like to add Wetlands Ordinance Revisions as Item 2 under Matters for Discussion.
PM-99-03-137 TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS AMENDED
Moved by Mutch, seconded by Koneda, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as amended.
VOTE ON PM-99-03-137 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Watza, Weddington
Member Capello announced he has received a letter from Wayne F. Richards, Secretary of Maple Pointe Condominium Association, regarding Maple Place Development. He expressed concern with the location of the proposed road from Centennial Drive to the shopping center. He did not believe that any of the 306 households of the condo association favored the installation of the road. The association had grave concerns regarding safety as well as noise disturbances to the clubhouse users and residents if the road is installed as currently designed.
Chairperson Weddington announced there were two items on the Consent Agenda.
Approval of the minutes of the Regular Planning Commission Meeting of February 17, 1999 and March 03, 1999. She asked if there were any corrections to either set of minutes.
Seeing none she entertained a motion to approve.
PM-99-03-138 TO APPROVE THE CONSENT AGENDA
Moved by Mutch, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda.
VOTE ON PM-99-03-138 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Watza, Weddington
Project is located in Section 32, west on Beck Road, south of Nine Mile Road. The 71.65 acre-site is zoned Residential Acreage (R-A). Applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan Approval, Woodlands and Wetlands Permit Approvals, and a Preservation Option application Recommendation to City Council. The Applicant has submitted two separate applications (A and B) for consideration.
Joe Galvin appeared on behalf of Cambridge Homes. He requested the Commission to make a recommendation to City Council with respect to two site plans, to approve them and the correlative Woodlands and Wetlands Permit for the two. He explained that he is trying to accommodate Bellagios proposed project to the Ordinances and the Preservation Option. He stated the preferred Plan A does not meet all of the requirements of the Preservation Option. He respectfully requested that the Commission recommend approval of Plan A conditioned upon obtaining a variance from the ZBA. Plan B meets the requirements of the Preservation Option, however, Cambridge Homes believes that Plan A better serves the purposes, preservation of more sensitive lands than Plan B. Mr. Galvin stated there were issues raised under the Wetlands Ordinance as well as the Woodlands Ordinance. Mr. Galvin asked that the Commission recommend Plan A to the City Council subject to obtaining a variance from the ZBA and Plan B.
Mark Guidobono owner of Cambridge Homes and Cambridge Development Company asked for approval on Bellagio. He stated he would be acting as the developer and builder on the project. The site is approximately 72 gross acres, about 2/3 is field, the back 1/3 is wooded. There is slightly over an acre of woodlands in the center of the site. He pointed out water and sewer. He proposed a dated community similar to Turnberry, he stated private roads would be provided. A brick wall is proposed along Beck Road, a fountain is proposed on the central boulevard. The entrance is flanked by two limestone columned gazebos with a metal dome roof. He showed a brief video of some examples of the architectural detail to be used in Bellagio. He stated Plan A was the plan he felt to be superior. He stated the Open Space Option was an alternate plan to consider since Plan A did not meet the Preservation Option. He stated the disadvantage was two-fold. Only 10% of the site could be saved versus 20%. By using the Open Space Option, they would preserve less land and loose density. Mr. Guidobono stated he would be protecting trees 4" or larger, he would require masonry fireplaces, no metal flus through roofs, extensive use of brick and architectural details that are superior in quality. He thought Plan A offered the best balance and quality of life for the residents, he asked for the Commissions approval.
Brooks Williamson owner of Brooks Williamson & Associates stated there were two larger complexes at the northwest corner and the southeast corner, both subject to regulation by the City and the DEQ. He stated there were a series of smaller isolated wetlands throughout the site, three within the proposed central area in Plan A and one on the north property line. Mr. Williamson stated the wetlands within the interior of the site are small, less than two acres, isolated wetlands with very limited drainage areas, functions and values. His interpretation was that they did not meet the definition of essential wetlands. He defined essential and gave some examples. He stated the wetlands and small drainage areas should not be subject to regulation by the Community.
Karl Huff, Senior Forester of Northern Timberlands spoke regarding the woodlands. He stated the woodlands are mature and species are made up of red maple, silver maple, ash, basswood, red oak, swamp white oak with minor components of beech, cottonwood and aspen. The woodlot shows signs of decline, extensive internal rot and in some cases there are several dead trees and several that are in the process of dying. The understory is generally sparse and of less desirable tree species. Wildlife species encountered were fox squirrel, gray squirrel, deer, English sparrow and gold finch. Mr. Huff stated both plans do very well in preserving the large tree and seclusion experience and generally has no impact on the wildlife habitats.
Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant briefly highlighted information that the Commission needed to consider in their consideration of the Preservation Option. Mr. Arroyo did not recommend approval of the concept plan for the Preservation Option nor did he recommend approval of the Preliminary Site Plan due to several items outlined in his letter. The proposed number of units includes 56 total units. There needs to be a schedule in Option A that clearly delineates the net site area and the preservation credit percentage. It appears that the preservation credit area for Option A is 6.427 acres, he looked to the Citys Environmental Consultants to comment on it. If the preservation credit is 6.427 acres, it gives a percentage of 9.3% which would allow a minimum lot size of 39,509 square feet. The schedule of lot sizes reflect many of the lots as being substantially less than 39,509 square feet, therefore, it was his opinion that the plan needed to be revised to meet the minimum lot size provision through the Preservation Option. A stub street is required every 1,300 feet of property. Applicant must seek a waiver from City Council. Option A has two cul-de-sacs that exceed the maximum cul-de-sac length which is 800. Bellagio Court is approximately 1,110 feet and Ravello Drive is approximately 900 feet. There is a proposal to increase the cul-de-sac length to 1,000 feet in RA Districts when a preservation option is in place, however, this proposal has not yet been presented to City Council, therefore, it needs to be reviewed against the 800 standard. In regard to the parallel plan: 1) an emergency access connection to Beck Road would be required until stub streets are connected to an off-site roadway; 2) the impact of the stub street connection needs to be determined by the Woodlands and Wetlands Consultants; 3) changes to the boulevard approach island width and road width are necessary to meet Design & Construction Standards; 4) only 55 units are permitted; 5) the woodland and wetland intrusion at the rear of the site needs to be commented on by the Consultants to determine if the bonafide plan is true and could be approved under the conventional techniques.
In regard to traffic, Mr. Arroyo stated based upon a traffic study provided by the applicant, a passing lane is required and is not shown on Option A but could be included on the Final Site Plan. Stub streets need to be provided. In summary, Mr. Arroyo did not recommend approval of the Preliminary Site Plan from a traffic perspective due to the deficiencies noted.
In regard to Option B, Mr. Arroyo did not recommend approval of the Concept Plan or the Preliminary Site Plan due to two main reasons; 1) the project exceeds the maximum density by one lot and 2) the lack of stub street connections. Mr. Arroyo had the same concerns regarding the parallel plan and the comments carry forth.
In regard to traffic, there are some minor modifications that need to be made. The stub street requirement needs to be addressed and the dimensional requirements for the boulevard need to be addressed. Mr. Arroyo did not recommend approval primarily due to the stub street issue which could potentially be resolved by a waiver from City Council.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the applicant proposes to extend sanitary sewer and public sewer and water into the site, it will run along the roadway and service the lots within the subdivision. He asked the applicant to extend the 12" water across to the south property line. The site falls from the midpoint to the east fairly severely, it has about a 30 drop toward Beck Road. From the midpoint to the west, it is very undulated in nature, there are five regulated wetlands west of the halfway point and an extensive forested woodland area. Four are to be impacted significantly, typically the Wetlands Ordinance does not allow wetlands to be platted over lots. Variances have been allowed in the past and may be necessary. Storm sewers will be picking flow up into the streets. All storm sewers lead to the eastern part of the site at Beck Road into a forebay sedimentation basin. The applicant has been asked to convert the basin to a water quality basin once construction is complete. After detention, the storm water exists into the significant wetland area that is regulated by the DEQ. The City has identified the area as a City regional detention basin and is not in a position to construct the basin at this time, however, Mr. Bluhm asked for the applicants participation in identifying the proper easement for future construction. He expressed concern with Lot 48, he would like to see the applicant grade the lot so the storage is minimized on the lot. The ultimate release is into the Randolph Drain which crosses to the east side of Beck Road and extends into Northville. Mr. Bluhm felt both plans demonstrated engineering feasibility and recommended approval.
Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated she would support a ZBA waiver on the berm. She stated there is a problem with the corner clearance regarding the fountain which will need to be discussed if it continues further. The proposed landscaping and wall treatment amenities are very attractive and would be very unique to Novi. The plan demonstrates conceptual feasibility at this stage and she recommended approval.
In regard to Plan B, she stated there were two separate areas of regulated woodlands. Light woodlands is located in the center of the site and is approximately one acre in size. She stated there was a total of approximately 30 acres of regulated woodlands on the site. There were no designated historic or specimen trees on the site. The site is part of the Core Reserve Area as indicated on the Wildlife Habitat Master Plan. Ms. Lemke did not recommend approval of the plan for a Woodland Permit due to the fact that proposed plants do not meet requirements of the Preservation Option and that there are other alternative designs that could reduce the amount of intrusion into the woodlands. The two mechanisms in the Zoning Ordinance regarding design alternatives for RA zoning are the Preservation Option and the Subdivision Open Space Option. In regard to the quality of woodlands on the site, there are two or three systems going on. There is a wooded wetland system around the wetlands in the northwest corner. Further south there is a higher quality woodland with more diverse species and heavier understory. The one acre isolated area of woodlands is a much lower quality area because of the quality of the tree species. The exact areas for the preservation credits were not identified on the plan. She found that there was such area of upland regulated woodlands that could be used for the preservation areas. There are quite a few lot sizes that are over the 38,000 square feet and many of the lots exceed the 140 minimums proposed by the submittal. Some of the measurements occur due to the lot locations on curves or corners, however, if the percentage area allows further lot reduction, additional areas of woodlands could possibly be saved, therefore, she would like to see it further explored.
In regard to the bonafide plan, she stated it would not be approvable under the Citys Woodlands Ordinance. The plan shows removal of approximately 12.5 acres and comes over the property line for removal. It removes two (2) wetlands and impacts an additional two (2) wetlands and intrudes through the DNR regulated wetland. There is a significant amount of intrusion with the plan. Another item is Section 2401.4 which requires that all woodlands and wetlands be preserved as feasible. Ms. Lemke stated in some areas, the woodland is not real viable and shows signs of decay, however, in other areas, it is a much healthier woodlands and the understory appears to be doing well. This is one of the only two Core Reserve areas in the City as identified on the Wildlife Master Plan. Core Reserve areas are areas of high conservation values and diversity of habitats. She stated it functions primarily as a corridor area and almost a refuge area. She saw quite a few evidences of birds and mammals. The western woodlands provides a significant scenic asset, windblock, noise buffer and an environmental asset providing a cooling effect in the summer and a heating effect in the winter. There were a number of items that were not provided for compliance with the Woodlands Ordinance which have been listed in her letter. At this stage of submittal there are 609 regulated trees that are indicated to be removed. Ms. Lemke did not recommend approval of Plan B.
Regarding Preservation Option A, she stated it removes approximately 11 acres of regulated woodlands. Both options have been suggested to the developer, that he try and move the areas out of the western area of the woodlands. Since the area is already degraded, she did not have a lot of objections to having that amount of impact to the area. She stated she was more concerned with the western area. She would like to see it pulled back from the DNR regulated wetland areas. She expressed concern with the amount of lots in the southwestern area with both options. She would like to see the connections to the south be moved out of the area as much as possible.
Aimee Kay, Senior Environmental Specialist addressed the item of an essential wetland. She stated there were two DEQ regulated wetlands on site and the applicant made an attempt to minimize impacts under the statutes, however, there was a tip of the wetland that the applicant did not attempt to avoid impacting. The DEQ Permit application was denied. The four essential wetlands in question are 6, 7, 8 and 9. Wetland #6 is approximately ¼ of an acre. Although the four wetlands in the back west half of the site are small, she felt that any type of absorptive capacity was worthwhile and should be considered. The applicant is proposing approximately 790 cubic yards of fill on one section, she stated with some simple design alternatives, the applicant could avoid all impact to the wetland very easily. She also felt that Wetland #7 had good absorptive storage capacity, it is over ¼ of an acre and 1,052 cubic yards of fill is proposed which is the entire wetland. She stated there was not effort made on the part of the applicant to avoid impact by moving the blueprint of the home. Florence Court attempts to avoid some impact, however, there is no need to fill the remainder of the wetland. Wetland #8 has some storage capacity for storm water. The applicant proposes to fill 0.14 acres, 845 cubic yards and keep the remaining southern half in tact. Wetland #9 has 0.05 acres of wetland fill proposed on the tip because of a driveway and a portion of the home. She stated the applicant could easily move the footprint of the building and the driveway over to avoid the impact. Ms. Kay felt that area 6, 7, 8 and 9 had sufficient flood and storm control. She stated if the applicant could avoid further impact to the systems and leave them in tact, they will be even more of an asset to the Community. In regard to wildlife habitat, Ms. Kay stated there was evidence of deer, raccoon, opossum, squirrel, wood duck, mallards, and geese. She stated more importantly, some of the smaller wildlife organisms that would use the area included frogs, salamanders, reptiles and turtles.
Ms. Kay did not recommend approval of either plan, she felt there were feasible and prudent alternatives. The applicant has not made any attempt to avoid disturbance. She felt very strongly that all less harmful feasible and prudent alternatives must be investigated to reduce the impacts. She believed it could be done and wished to sit down with the applicant. The MDEQ permit and letter of no jurisdiction of the non-contiguous wetlands must be obtained. It was Ms. Kays opinion that the bonafide plan would not be approved under the current Wetlands and Woodlands Ordinances, therefore, comparison cannot be made between the bonafide plan and the proposed 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 items being corrected on the next plan submittal: 1) the applicant shall make the following changes to the hydrant placements; a) remove the hydrant between Lots 23 and 17; b) relocate the hydrant at the end of Ravello Court to between Lots 16 and 17; c) relocate the hydrant on Venice Court to between Lots 38 and 39; d) remove one of the hydrants at the end of Bellagio Court and relocate the other one to between Lots 32 and 33. 2) all roads are to be paved prior to construction above the foundation, item 2 of the Fire Department notes is not acceptable; 3) the applicant shall provide details on the plans for the emergency access drive to Beck Road. The drive shall be paved and marked as an emergency access drive; 4) as per Section 15-21 G of the Fire Prevention Ordinance, gates are prohibited across public and private roads. The applicant shall either remove the gates at the main entryway or seek a variance; 5) the proposed street names shall be submitted to the Street Naming Committee for approval.
Chairperson Weddington announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.
Janet L. Compo stated she owns the property to the south. She thought the plan had a great deal of thought and effort put into it. She understood all of the issues of the Consultants, however, she was in favor of what the applicant was trying to accomplish.
Michael Kahm of Singh Development Company, 7125 Orchard Lake Road. He complimented the builder in regard to their quality. He expressed concerns regarding the planning philosophies of the City of Novi. He thought one thing the City should do on a more consistent basis, was to decide whether or not they wanted integrated neighborhoods throughout the City. He expressed concern from a road connection and a utility connection perspective. He stated this was a principal corridor for the connection of roads and utilities from Beck Road, westerly to Garfield. He stated if consideration and thought are not put into the linkage of the properties to the west, the end result will be long cul-de-sacs that run from major thoroughfares and do not connect to anything. He thought it was a fundamental concern of the City. He urged the Commission to consider providing for stub streets to connect the adjoining properties as well as providing for utility connections.
Mark Taylor, 48265 Nine Mile Road, expressed concern with the impact to his property if the project were to be built as proposed. He stated when he purchased his property, he was told that nobody would ever be able to build near him because of the wetlands and preserved woodlands. He asked for the consideration of the Commission.
Chairperson Weddington asked if anyone else would like to address the Public Hearing? Seeing no one she closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
Member Watza asked Ms. Kay to describe what she saw when she walked the site.
Ms. Kay stated she did not see actual standing water in Wetlands #7 and #9. She stated there had been several previous site visits from other JCK staff members. There was standing water in #6 and #8 and she believed that areas #6 and #8 store water year round. She believed that #7 and #9 store water seasonally or intermittently during a flood event. Ms. Kay stated there was evidence of standing water as there were water marks on area trees, she stated there were water marks in areas #7 and #9 as well.
Member Piccinini asked Mr. Bluhm to address water run off.
Mr. Bluhm stated it is required that the applicant contain all develop flow that would exceed what naturally runs off of the land. In regard to the northwest corner, there is very little development in that area. He stated there would be negligible impact in that area.
Member Piccinini asked Mr. Arroyo to address the breakaway connections.
Mr. Arroyo stated in the past when there has been concern regarding connections between subdivisions, there have been proposals made and accepted by Council, that there be emergency access only gates. It is not the favorite form of access but they will take that over no additional form of access.
Member Piccinini asked the applicant to address the discrepancy on Plan A regarding the woodlands.
Mr. Huff stated he proposed a 30 or 40 preservation easement that would physically be put onto the homesites to preserve the area as a natural area.
Member Piccinini asked for clarification of the entrance island measurements?
Mr. Huff believed there to be a typo on the plan. He clarified that the two boulevards should be 22 and 22 and the island should be 24.
In regard to the Ordinance requiring the developer to contain all of the storm water on site, Member Capello asked Mr. Bluhm if the small wetlands are to be filled, would the developer need to control the water on site and eventually divert it to the temporary retention basin?
Mr. Bluhm stated with minimal intrusion, the wetlands will provide the same function as before, they will contain water that is developed in the wooded areas and the streets and houses would all be directed to the detention basin. The storm water will basically be handled in a developed condition the same as it was in an undeveloped condition. He stated the water from the smaller wetland pockets will be dispersed potentially to other areas to the west or north if swales to contain the water are not put in.
Member Capello asked if it was looked at in the engineering to determine where the water is going after the grading is done?
Mr. Bluhm stated it would be looked at and determined how much of an impact and diversion of flow was occurring. If there were to be a change, he would be looking for an appreciable type of change that would impact someone elses property.
Member Capello stated that the resident would not have any real concern that the development or filling of the small wetlands would flood his property.
Mr. Bluhm stated he would not say that entirely. He stated the situation would need to be looked into.
Member Capello stated there was some concern in Plan A of whether or not the preserved woodlands was 6.427 acres or 1.205. He stated it was still not resolved and before the applicant was to appear before Council, he would like to have it resolved because it would change the percentages.
Mr. Arroyo responded to Member Capellos concern. He stated he received a call from Pat Keast who mentioned that the acreage on the Option A was there in error and it should have been the number as shown on the plan of 6.427. He stated he then spoke to Ms. Lemke to verify that the number corresponded with her evaluation and she informed him that she felt that it did.
Member Capello asked Mr. Arroyo if the cul-de-sac waiver was a waiver from City Council?
Mr. Arroyo answered, yes.
Member Capello asked about the lot sizes?
Mr. Arroyo answered, it was a ZBA issue.
Member Capello asked if the applicant went with 56 lots, was it also subject to a ZBA variance?
Mr. Arroyo answered it was a ZBA issue.
Mr. Guidobono stated he would be going with 55 lots.
Member Capello asked which lot would be reduced or taken out?
Mr. Guidobono answered it depended on the stub street.
Member Capello asked Ms. Lemke if she had a preference?
Ms. Lemke recommended that the applicant reduce 3 to 4 lots, therefore, she stated she would take 31 or 32. She stated 32 would have less of an impact on the wetlands.
Mr. Arroyo suggested that the Commission should seriously consider Mr. Kahms information regarding stub streets. He stated projects have come before the City in the past where stub streets were not required, they were waived and it created a tremendous amount of headaches for other development that occurred down the road.
Member Capello stated there were a couple of parcels with the opportunity to have two entrances off of Beck Road and meet City Ordinances if stubbing occurred to the east and west of the parcels, he asked Mr. Kahm if that was correct?
Mr. Kahm was concerned that if the connection was not made, there would certainly need to be a connection for utility connections so they could be continued onto the west as the Master Plan calls for. He stated he was only bringing up the issue because at some point in the future, he would appear before the Commission to try and resolve the issues. He stated he was trying to head off the problems before they become something where they will need a lot of variances because he cannot accommodate circulation on the parcels because of their odd configurations.
In regard to the wetlands, Member Capello asked if Wetland #6 is filled, what impact will it have on the natural resources in the City of Novi?
Ms. Kay stated that habitat is primarily made up of buttonbush which was locally believed to be uncommon. She stated it was not listed as one of the criteria as being locally uncommon because she did not feel that there had been enough in-house study in that area to designate it as such. She stated it is a preferable species because it provides a lot of wildlife benefit. From a biological perspective, she would like to see it remain there so it can be propagated elsewhere.
Member Capello asked about Wetland #7.
Ms. Kay stated with regard to species, they are not uncommon in that area.
Member Capello asked about Wetland #8.
Ms. Kay stated Wetland #8 is similar to Wetland #6 in species and size, therefore, she had the same comments for Wetland #8 as she did for #6.
Member Capello asked about Wetland #9.
Ms. Kay stated Wetland #9 was not of uncommon species but of high quality wetland that provides nesting, breeding and habitat for the kind of species she felt should be preserved.
Member Capello asked if the applicant would like to respond to JCKs comments regarding the essentiality of the four wetlands?
Mr. Williamson addressed the quality. He stated the wetland at the north property line in Lot 14 is primarily button bush interior, quite thick and dense with a little bit of a moat around the perimeter. In regard to the potential for use by ducks, he stated the flight path into the area is very limited, therefore, any duck that intends to go through it will have a hard time. He stated it was doubtful that wood ducks would use the area because they typically look for dead woods to nest in or rest on. He stated that mallards may come into the area to feed, however, typically they will not nest in any one of the areas, they prefer a grass meadow. In regard to Wetland #7, it is a relatively shallow depression with indication of some early season water in the area. Vegetation consists of cottonwood and red maple. There is no vegetative understory to speak of and very little water as of today. Wetland #8 is a relatively shallow basin, the interior has some button bush with a larger moat around the perimeter. There are primarily silver maples and american elm around the perimeter. Wetland #9 is dry to date with one small pocket of water run off at the east end. Primarily consists of silver maple, american elm, green ash, little to no understory and a slight potential for waterfall use because of the dead wood in it.
Member Capello stated he would like to see Option A approved. He thought the benefit of the park in the center was a benefit to all of the residents. He thought that they would take advantage of it much more than they would regulated woodlands to the west of the property. He thought Option A, while deleting Lot 32, still leaves enough of a corridor that satisfies the City goals. He asked if he were to require where replacement trees are placed, could it be part of the approval or would it be strictly up to Ms. Lemke and the City Forester?
Mr. Arroyo suggested that it be something that is accomplished as part of the Final Site Plan approval. It would be difficult to specify at this point in time.
Ms. Lemke stated it is looked at during Final. She stated she likes the applicant to put back into the areas that they are removed from.
PM-99-03-139 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR APPROVAL OF PRESERVATION OPTION A AND TO GRANT PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL SUBJECT TO WAIVER OF CITY COUNCIL FOR THE LENGTH OF THE CUL-DE-SACS AND ZBA APPROVAL FOR THE REDUCED LOT SIZES UNDER THE PRESERVATION OPTION AND RECOMMEND APPROVAL OF SITE PLAN A AND TO GRANT A WETLAND PERMITDETERMINING THAT WETLANDS 6, 7, 8 AND 9 ARE NON-ESSENTIAL SO THE APPLICANT CAN DO AS HE CHOOSES, AND TO GRANT A WOODLAND PERMIT TO ALLOW THE ENCROACHMENT INTO THE WOODLANDS AS SET FORTH IN SITE PLAN A SUBJECT TO THE REDUCTION OF A LOT AND SUBJECT TO THE OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CONSULTANTS
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella.
Ms. Lemke stated her letter includes five standard conditions that include 1) A Preservation Easement on the areas outside of the lots regulated woodlands areas that are to be preserved; 2) Financial guarantees; 3) Fence maintenance bonds and inspection fees; 4) no furnishing of all of the items in the letter indicated that were missing in the final engineering; 5) no construction or equipment on the site until an environmental pre-construction meeting is held.
Member Capello added to his motion, on Plan A regarding the western loop of the road, he stated he would rather see paving bricks in that area where grass can grow over them. He felt it would make the park flow smoother to the west as opposed to having curb, gutter and road there.
Member Capello amended Preservation Option A to delete the road and put in paving bricks in that area. He also requested that the applicant put some replacement trees between the park and the Preservation Option.
Member Mutch stated the Commission is required to make findings to the City Council for the Preservation Option.
Mr. Weisberger thought the findings could be addressed by saying that it meets all of the findings in 4, a, b, c, d, e & f.
Member Capello did not think it was like a Special Land Use where the Commission needs to set forth the facts that were found. All that it says is that after the Commission finds that the criteria are met, they can make a recommendation. He added that all of the criteria are met in subsection 4a through f.
Member Koneda asked for clarification on the determination of the number of lots permitted on a site. He stated the bonafide plan shows 56 lots and it was agreed that it should be 55 lots. Based on Ms. Lemkes comments, it really is not a bonafide plan because of the Woodlands Ordinance, 55 lots cannot be put on the site. He stated it seemed that the site was being overdeveloped and asked Mr. Arroyo how many lots could be accommodated on the site and meet the Woodlands Ordinance.
Mr. Arroyo stated he did not know the answer to the question. He also mentioned in his letter that there were some concerns that the bonafide plan would not be permissible under the Woodlands Ordinance. He stated it was an issue that has not yet been determined.
Member Koneda stated under the required findings for the Preservation Option, it needs to be determined that the Preservation Option is no more detrimental than the bonafide plan and if there is no bonafide plan that is acceptable, how can you tell if the Preservation Option really did anything? He was convinced that the criteria for the Preservation Option has not been met, therefore, he stated he would be voting against the motion.
Member Watza stated he would be voting against the motion. He thought it was a beautiful development, however, the western end of the lot was designated to be held as a park. He suggested that the applicant keep it and reduce the number of lots.
Regarding the proposed utility extensions, the sewer extension along Beck Road and the proposed sidewalk along Beck Road impacting the wetlands, Member Mutch asked if alternatives have been explored how to get them out of the wetlands? He asked if the sewer had to run to that point and could a boardwalk be implemented in that area?
Mr. Bluhm stated boardwalks have been looked at in the past. He stated they like to shy away from that type of thing, keeping the R.O.W.s as open as possible because they are important for sight distances and safety issues with the roadway. From an engineering perspective, he prefers to see the sidewalks and pathways installed. He stated the possibility of it being moved closer to the road while still maintaining a safe distance could be looked at in more detail.
Member Mutch commented that Beck Road is proposed to be built to five lanes, he asked what the likelihood of the path remaining in that location was?
Mr. Bluhm stated with any kind of a road expansion, there would be impact that would remove the sidewalk in the future.
Mr. Arroyo stated the applicant shows the required 60 half R.O.W., if the pathway stays 1 inside of the R.O.W. line, than it should not have to move if the road is widened to five lanes.
Member Mutch stated if a boardwalk were to be put in, it could be placed at the 60 R.O.W. and not have to deal with it in the future, otherwise, the City would have to pay to move it. He asked who would bear the cost, the developer or the developer and the City both paying because it needs to be redone. He asked if the sanitary sewer extension had to go through the wetland or could it be routed elsewhere on the property?
Mr. Bluhm did not believe it was possible. He stated he likes to see them in or near the road R.O.W.s. He stated if they are run into the site and then back to the corner, the wetland would be crossed at a different location. He stated the wetland impacts for sanitary sewer are temporary and the applicant will have to provide a plan indicating how they will restore the area after the sanitary is constructed. He did not see an alternative that would propose less of an impact, even on a temporary basis.
In regard to the water extension on the southwest side of the site, Member Mutch stated to the south is part of the Core Reserve woodland area, he asked if there was an alternative location to the east where the watermain could come down and loop around the woodlands area? He stated it was not as great an impact and asked if there was a no impact alternative?
Mr. Bluhm did not know if there was a no impact alternative, he stated at the time of construction drawings, he could look for a minimal impact alternative. He stated the stub could be shifted a lot or two either way. He did not want to move it too far east, he stated he would like the point to be as far west as possible because of the main in Beck Road. He thought there was flexibility that would help to minimize the impact on the woodlands and felt it could be addressed at Final.
In regard to the stub street, Member Mutch stated essentially everything from the jog going south is a continuation of the Core Reserve area, he asked if the stub street was really desired to be extended into that area.
Ms. Lemke stated that was a consideration she indicated for the plan. She agreed with Member Mutch on that point.
From a development viewpoint, Member Mutch asked if there was anything that looks at how the road network should go into place in that area or is it still undeveloped at this point?
Mr. Arroyo answered, there was nothing official other than what might have been done as part of the 2020 buildout.
Member Mutch asked what would be the best location for a stub so the property could be fully developed? He thought it seemed more desirable to bring it more toward the westerly edge of the property because it keeps it out of the woodlands area.
Member Mutch asked Mr. Williamson about the quality of the three wetlands in the park area?
Mr. Williamson stated there was some standing water in them today. They were primarily wooded, during the summer they were dry, shrubby perimeters. He stated there was limited quality, and they were isolated.
Member Mutch asked if they would fall into the ordinary category?
Mr. Williamson answered, yes.
Member Mutch commented that he was sympathetic to what Mr. Guidobono was trying to do with the development because he believed that the development options do not give enough flexibility. On the other hand, he stated for the applicant to obtain the Preservation Option reductions as requested, they would have to save 20% of the site and they were short by 3.6 acres. He stated he could not approve Option A because the necessary acreage is not there to qualify for the lot reductions. He stated the Commission could not ignore the basic standards of the Ordinance. He stated he could not support the motion, however, he does support the concept.
Member Churella thought the plan was the best plan for the City. He could not see where Commissioners were worried about taking out some woodlands when they were to be replaced five trees to every one removed.
PM-99-03-140 TO GRANT PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL ON THE APPLICATION OF BELLAGIO SP98-49A CONTINGENT ON CITY COUNCIL GRANTING A PRESERVATION OPTION. THE PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL INCLUDES THE DELETION OF ONE LOT, THE GRANTING OF A WETLANDS PERMIT FOR WETLAND AREAS 6, 7, 8 AND 9 DUE TO THE FACT THAT THEY ARE NOT ESSENTIAL, GRANTING OF A WOODLANDS PERMIT, SENDING A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR THEM TO GRANT A PRESERVATION OPTION BASED ON THE FINDINGS OF FACT AS SPECIFIED IN SECTION 2401 SUB 4, ALL OF THE APPROVALS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ARE CONTINGENT ON THE GRANTING OF ZBA VARIANCES WHERE REQUIRED AND COUNCIL WAIVER FOR STREET LENGTH, ENTRANCE GATE AND STUB STREET AND ALSO CONDITIONED UPON ALL OF THE CONSULTANTS CONDITIONS AS WELL AS MS. LEMKES FOUR STANDARDS AS ORALLY SPECIFIED.
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED (5-4): To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval on the application of Bellagio SP98-49A contingent on City Council granting a Preservation Option. The Preliminary Site Plan approval includes the deletion of one lot, the granting of a Wetlands Permit for Wetland areas 6, 7, 8 and 9 due to the fact that they are not essential, granting of a Woodlands Permit, sending a positive recommendation to City Council for them to grant a Preservation Option based on the findings of fact as specified in Section 2401 Sub 4, all of the approvals and recommendations are contingent on the granting of ZBA variances where required and Council waiver for street length, entrance gate and stub street and also conditioned upon all of the Consultants conditions as well as Ms. Lemkes four (4) standards as orally specified.
VOTE ON PM-99-03-140 CARRIED
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Piccinini
No: Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington
PM-98-03-141 TO GRANT PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL TO BELLAGIO SP98-49B CONTINGENT ON CITY COUNCIL GRANTING A PRESERVATION OPTION WITH THE DELETION OF ONE LOT AND ALSO TO GRANT WETLANDS PERMIT FOR WETLAND AREAS 6, 7, 8 AND 9 DUE TO NON-ESSENTIAL NATURE, ALSO TO GRANT A WOODLANDS PERMIT AND TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL FOR PRESERVATION OPTION 98-49B BASED ON FINDINGS OF FACTS SPECIFIED IN SECTION 2401 SUB 4 AND ALSO CONDITIONED ON THE GRANTING BY COUNCIL OF WAIVERS FOR STUB STREET AND ENTRANCE GATE WAIVERS ALSO ANY ZBA VARIANCES THAT MAY BE NECESSARY AND ALL OF THE CONSULTANTS CONDITIONS INCLUDING MS. LEMKES STANDARD FOUR CONDITIONS AS ORALLY SPECIFIED.
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED (5-4): To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval to Bellagio SP98-49B contingent on City Council granting a Preservation Option with the deletion of one lot and also to grant Wetlands Permit for wetland areas 6, 7, 8 and 9 due to non-essential nature, also to grant a Woodlands Permit and to send a positive recommendation to City Council for Preservation Option 98-49B based on findings of facts specified in Section 2401 Sub 4 and also conditioned on the granting by Council of waivers for stub street and entrance gate waivers, also any ZBA variances that may be necessary and all of the Consultants conditions including Ms. Lemkes standard four (4) conditions as orally specified.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-141 CARRIED
Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Piccinini, Canup
No: Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington
Chairperson Weddington announced the Commission would take a brief recess.
Project is located in Section 15, on the east side of Taft Road, and south of Grand River. The 0.46 acre-site is zoned Light Industrial (I-1). Applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan Approval and Special Land Use Permit Approval.
Clif Seiber of Seiber Keast and Associates represented Larry Santos. He also introduced Lee Mamola. Mr. Seiber requested approval of a 1.3 acre site, 3,300 square foot building to be used as a recording studio. He stated building setbacks and parking requirements are met, however, there are problems with front yard parking and landscape area requirements. He stated he plans to approach the ZBA for variances on these issues. He requested a denial of the site plan to give him access to the ZBA.
Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant did not recommend approval of the Special Land Use or the Preliminary Site Plan. He stated there were certain Special Land Use standards that he felt were not met, some of which related to the site design standards. Mr. Arroyo clarified that it is a Special Land Use due to the adjacency to Residential to the west. There was no landscape plan provided which is required. A portion of the parking lot intrudes into the wetland setback area which is not permitted by the Ordinance. There are some other issues that involve non-compliance. There is no sidewalk shown along Taft Road as required, there are also deficiencies in the parking lot dimensions. There was some missing information regarding site lighting and other issues that would need to be provided before any final recommendations can be made.
In regard to traffic, Mr. Arroyo stated the project is a fairly low traffic generator. There is one two-way access proposed for the site. It meets the required spacing standards to Andes Hill Court. The maneuvering aisle for the parking lot is only 21 instead of the required 24. There is a 5 turn-around tail required at the north end of the parking which is not provided. A landscaped end island is required at the south end of the parking lot which is not provided. The location of the parking does not comply with the required conditions for front yard parking and sidewalks are not provided. Mr. Arroyo did not recommend approval from a traffic perspective.
David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant stated the applicant will extend a sanitary lead off of the rear of the property tying into the 18" sanitary sewer. They will provide water service with a water well on site. The parking lot is proposed to be paved and curbed. Storm sewer directs storm water out into the ditch along Taft Road, it will then outlet to the north and into Levinworth Creek which crosses the site west to east on the northern quarter. The regional basin is downstream of the development, therefore, no detention is required on site. The site is very small and does not meet the requirements of a sedimentation basin, therefore, an oil and gas separator will be sufficient with deep sumps to collect sediment. He asked the applicant to try to pull the culvert back in the ditch so as to maximize the overland flow before it reaches the Levinworth Creek, this will help in the water quality aspects in the project as well. He asked that the developer work with the City in dedicating an easement for drainage across the Levinworth Creek. There were a number of comments. He commented on the 5 sidewalk, the existing 33 R.O.W. has a significant ditch which would make it very difficult to put a sidewalk in. Mr. Bluhm felt the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility and recommended approval.
Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect did not recommend approval of the landscape plan as they only provided five (5) hedge maple which does not meet the requirements.
Debbie Thor, Environmental Specialist stated the plan is under the minor use permit category of the Wetlands Ordinance and will be permitted Administratively for stormwater discharge to Levinworth Creek. She stated the applicant has made a genuine effort to avoid further impact in the Creek. Ms. Thor required: 1) a planting plan to re-establish the buffer in the areas that will not be disturbed or built on; 2) to pull the storm water end section further from the edge of the Leavenworth Creek to provide a grass swale; 3) detail the ditch filter; 4) cobblestone riprap; 5) a DEQ Permit or letter of no jurisdiction. She stated these items could be addressed at the time of Final.
Doug Necci of JCK stated his review is based on the new Ordinance. The design is in compliance with the old Ordinance but is in substantial non-conformance with the new Ordinance. Since the denial letter, the applicant has asked for a Section 9 Waiver which he just received and has not had a chance to respond to. He stated the type of metal siding proposed and the color chart were a few of the items that would be at play as to whether or not he recommended the waiver.
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 as the site plan is in compliance with Fire Department requirements of the Site Plan Manual.
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-99-03-142 TO TABLE SPECIAL LAND USE PERMIT FOR SANTOS BUILDING SP99-01 AND TO TABLE THE FAÇADE WAIVER ISSUE AS WELL AS TO DENY PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN UNTIL AFTER ZBA ADDRESSES THE QUESTIONS AND THE ACTIONS ARE BASED ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CONSULTANTS
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella.
Mr. Mamola stated it was his intent to ask the ZBA to give relief and allow him to comply with the Façade Ordinance as it was on the books when designing the building. He understood if it was part of the motion to table, it would not give him access to the ZBA, he stated he would prefer that part of the motion not be tabled.
Member Capello asked the applicant if he wanted to make an effort to comply with the Ordinance?
Mr. Mamola answered, not at this time. He stated it could be discussed in the future.
Chairperson Weddington asked if the applicants intent was to come up with a proposal that attempts to meet any of the requirements?
Mr. Mamola stated it was a classic case of a small site and there was some obvious need for variances to develop the property.
PM-99-03-143 TO DENY SPECIAL LAND USE AND PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN FOR SANTOS BUILDING SP99-01
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To deny Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan for Santos Building SP99-01.
Member Mutch asked the applicant for the total number of variances being requested from the ZBA for the project?
Mr. Seiber answered, approximately six (6) as he was not certain of the exact number.
VOTE ON PM-99-03-143 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington, Canup, Capello
PM-99-03-144 TO SEND A RECOMMENDATION TO THE ZBA TO DENY THE VARIANCE REQUESTS FOR SANTOS BUILDING SP99-01
Moved by Mutch, seconded by Canup, CARRIED (6-2): To send a recommendation to the ZBA to deny the variance requests for Santos Building SP99-01.
VOTE ON PM-99-03-144 CARRIED
Yes: Csordas, Mutch, Watza, Weddington, Canup, Capello
No: Churella, Koneda
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant highlighted key changes of the Site Plan Manual. He stated one significant recommendation was to make pre-application meetings mandatory before a site plan is submitted. This will require all applicants to bring their team of experts to the table informally with the Consultants to discuss a project before it is submitted. The idea behind this is to make the applicants aware of the City specifications, procedures and requirements and to identify issues in their concept plan to help eliminate the need to resubmit plans as they go through the process. He believed that this would cut down on the total review time.
Member Churella stated if the procedure works, it would help to make the Community developer friendly. He thought it was a positive move.
Member Capello reported that there was discussion regarding the Wetlands Ordinance at the Joint Meeting with City Council. Council said if the Commission wished to make comments, they could make them individually or as a body. He asked the Commission if they wanted to make any comments as a body.
Chairperson Weddington stated they were discussing the issue tomorrow afternoon.
Member Capello thought the State Statue was clear. He stated the Commission could send a recommendation or an opinion to City Council on what they think should be controlled as far as wetlands less than two (2) acres. He thought it needed to be determined that a particular wetland affects the natural resources of the City as a whole. Once it affects the natural resources of the City, then you go on to determine if one of the criteria are met as to that particular property.
Member Mutch asked for clarification regarding the State Statue regarding regulating wetlands and whether they have to be essential to the State as a whole?
Member Capello stated there was specific language in the State Statute that gives jurisdiction to the Citys to regulate only if requirements are met. It was his opinion that the requirement was a two-prong test.
Member Mutch asked if the requirement states that the wetlands have to be essential to the City as a whole?
Member Capello believed that it did, however, it has not been interpreted in such a way in the past.
Member Mutch asked how the State interprets essentiality?
Member Capello explained that the same criteria does not apply. The criteria is specific to wetlands of two (2) acres or less.
Member Mutch thought if the Commission was deriving its practices from the language of the State law, he thought it would want to follow the same practices as well. He asked how the State defines essentiality?
Amy Kay, Wetlands Specialist stated the list of ten criteria came from the State and a group of organizations working together. They came to the understanding that the definition had to be the same, secondly, they wanted to omit having any regulation of wetlands under two (2) acres. The State did not allow it, therefore, the ten criteria came into use.
Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney agreed with the comments of Ms. Kay. He added that the developer friendly groups wanted no regulation at the City level, the other end wanted municipalities to take over what the State was doing to let them monitor their own wetlands at a local level. They struck a compromise to come up with a definition that everyone could apply to. They realized that the definition would be wide ranging and include a lot of the wetlands in the State. The first four (4) criteria are addressed rare type wetlands. The next six (6) criteria come from what makes a wetland important.
Member Mutch agreed with Member Capello that it should be reviewed and he would like to see the States definition of essentiality on paper.
Member Capello thought as long as it was not more restrictive than the State law, the Commission could set the policy where it should be and then set more strict and understandable guidelines.
Member Churella thought it should be looked at because he thought it caused problems with each development that comes forward with small wetland pockets.
Member Capello suggested putting the item on the next Agenda as a Matter for Discussion and invite the Chamber of Commerce to present their view to the Commission.
Ms. Kay stated she has spoken to individuals in Lansing regarding the issue. She stated she would appreciate some of their input. She has spoken with an individual who has had many years of experience Administratively and would recommend somebody like that or somebody from Lansing who knows the Administrative role and has some good historical perspective.
Member Mutch thought someone from the Environmental Community should also be present because the wider range of opinions on the matter, the more information the Commission will have to make a decision.
PM-98-03-145 TO SCHEDULE A SPECIAL MEETING TO GATHER INFORMATION ABOUT WETLAND ESSENTIALITY AND TO INVITE COUNCIL MEMBERS AS WELL AS REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE DEQ AND PERHAPS SOME OTHER ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE NEXT 120 DAYS
Moved by Canup, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To schedule a Special Meeting to gather information about Wetland essentiality and to invite council members as well as representatives from the DEQ and perhaps some other organizations within the next 120 days.
Member Koneda asked what would happen with the draft Wetlands Ordinances?
Chairperson Weddington stated it is scheduled for discussion tomorrow with the Ordinance Review Committee of Council.
Member Koneda expressed concern with the Commission making a motion to review an Ordinance that may already be enacted upon.
VOTE ON PM-98-03-145 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington, Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas
PM-99-03-146 TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 11:45 P.M.
Moved by Canup, seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 11:45 p.m.
VOTE ON PM-99-03-146 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Canup, Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Watza, Weddington
Kelly Schuler - Planning Assistant
Transcribed by: Diane H. Vimr
March 24, 1999
Date Approved: April 07, 1999