REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1999 AT 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairperson Csordas
PRESENT: Members Capello, Churella, Chairperson Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards and Watza
ABSENT/EXCUSED: Member Canup
ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant Victoria Weber, Assistant City Attorney Paul Weisberger, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Director of Planning & Community Development Jim Wahl, and Planning Assistant Beth Brock
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Chairperson Csordas introduced the newest member, Lodia Richards, who was a former Planning Commissioner. He asked if he had anything that, he would like to say about himself?
Member Richards stated that he works for General Motors as a Design Manager and has been with them for thirty-four (34) years. He has two (2) degrees, one in Engineering and one in Management. He was on the Planning Commission from 1990-1994 and it was a unique experience. He thanked the members for appointing him and he is glad to be on the Planning Commission again.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairperson Csordas asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda?
Member Capello stated that there is one (1) amendment of taking Ramada Limited SP 96-28 off the agenda.
Mr. Arroyo stated that the project is up for an extension of Final Site Plan approval. There have been ordinance changes that have occurred since this project got its original site plan approval. Therefore, the project is not up to current ordinances and they are making changes to the project. They are going to bring it back to the Commissioners, they are in the process of scheduling a pre-app meeting and he does not think that it is necessary to extend the approval of the project anymore. It seems to him that there should be an action to specify that the extension is not granted but he could defer to Mr. Weisberger.
Mr. Weisberger stated that it could be moved to Matters for Consideration and then vote to not extend it.
Mr. Arroyo explained that this is their second one-year extension.
Member Capello suggested that it is amended to the Consent Agenda and says that the application was denied.
Chairperson Csordas asked if it could be removed from the Consent Agenda and put it under Matters for Consideration?
Mr. Weisberger stated that to be safe, it should be done.
Chairperson Csordas stated that it would be number three (3) under Matters for Consideration.
PM-99-11-251 TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS AMENDED
Moved by Csordas, seconded by Capello, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To approve the Agenda as amended.
VOTE ON PM-99-11-251 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards, Watza
A man stated that he would like to thank the Planning Commission for the opportunity to come out and provide feedback from a neighbors standpoint on a project that may have been reviewed. The project that he is referring to is a project that will be taking place on Trans-X Drive on the Costello property. He wanted to give a neighbor’s point of view and history of what has happened on the property before the Commissioners reviewed the plans. When he moved into the home in 1991, there was a wetland and a trench has been dug to drain the wetland. Consequently, that wetland no longer exists. Just recently in July, there was some illegal cutting that took place where a citation was issued and a fine. He has met Mr. Costello and he is a nice gentleman but he would like the Commissioners to take in considerations some of the things that he mentioned. In 1996, there was an ordinance violation with how outdoor storage is stored. The citation was issued but it took about three (3) years to come into compliance. The big problem that he has is that the project would be directly behind his house and there is no tree screening there because it was a wetland site. On the either side, there is tree screening but the property is a unique piece and the project would be directly in his face. He thinks that if the project was moved north and west he thinks that it would have a lot less impact on what is going to take place there. He has looked at the stakes of where the proposed building is going to be staked out and one hundred three (103) trees would be removed to accommodate the building. He has made an offer to purchase about one half (1/2) acre of the property about one hundred eighty (180) feet by one hundred thirty (130) feet to push the project away. Unfortunately, it was rejected and he is trying his best to accommodate the development.
Chairperson Csordas stated that the woodlands and wetlands consultants would take all of those things under consideration.
Banita Crawford, 23432 Argile, stated that her main spokesperson is not here. She spoke two (2) weeks ago about the Kindercare at Ten Mile and Beck. She came just to second what she had said but she does not know if all of the Commissioners were there for that. There are so many daycares in the area and Ten Mile and Beck is already congested. She understands that the facility would be able to hold one hundred eighty (180) children which would be one hundred eighty (180) parents dropping them off and picking them up. The congestion there is really bad to begin with. When she was coming home she noticed the Faith Presbyterian Church where Children’s Ark is, less than a mile away was the new Children’s World, and six tenths (6/10) of a mile away from that would be the proposed site for the new daycare. It seems like there are a whole lot more daycares than parks. There is no park that a resident can get to without crossing one of the major roads. It would be nice if there was a little park or walking area just for the residents that are already there.
Chairperson Csordas asked what was done with the project?
Mr. Arroyo stated that it was tabled and will be coming back.
Mr. Arroyo stated that Kindercare is scheduled tentatively to come back November 17.
Tom Logash, 23455 Whitehall, stated that he has been a Novi resident since 1991 and would like to echo the sentiments of his neighbor who is opposed to the Kindercare facility for several different reasons. His main concern is the traffic in the area at the Ten Mile and Beck Road exchange where particularly at the rush hour times is very heavily congested. There is not really any way around the area other than trying to take Nine Mile Road, which is also starting to get congested with all of the construction. It seems that there is more daycare than there is children to be in it.
Judy Placensea, 24142 Trafolger Court, stated that she would like to talk about the Kindercare situation. There is congestion in the area and massive amounts of trucks go through that area everyday. To add the congestion of something like a daycare in that area is asking for a dangerous situation on both of the roads. It gets worse all of the time and does not seem to have gotten better with the completion of 275.
Member Capello asked that since there are so many neighbors here did they think that there was going to be a hearing about this issue tonight?
Ms. Placensea stated that neighbors had called each other stating that there was going to be discussion tonight.
Member Capello asked if there is a night that is coming up?
Chairperson Csordas stated November 17.
Member Capello suggested that she and her neighbors come back on November 17.
Ms. Placensea asked if the Planning Commissioners could give knowledge on reducing truck traffic on Ten Mile? She asked if traffic could be shifted from Ten Mile to Grand River where it is more industrial?
Mr. Arroyo stated that it would be difficult to accomplish a prohibition of through trucks on Ten Mile because it is such a through route from one community to another. It is prohibited on Nine Mile because Eight and Ten Mile do provide alternatives. The Road Commission would make the ultimate decision because Ten-Mile is under the jurisdiction of the Road Commission for Oakland County. Therefore, if there were some concerns one possibility would be to approach the Road Commission to see if there is anything that could be done about the routing of trucks from a larger region perspective. If it were a city road then the city might be able to take action but the city cannot take action on a county road.
Member Capello asked if a count of truck traffic is kept on those roads?
Mr. Arroyo stated that truck traffic is not regularly counted separately. There are counts of total vehicles but there are not truck traffic counts separately.
Ms. Placensea suggested that it be done. She stated that the trucks go down Beck Road throughout the day and there are many issues because of it. She cannot imagine that they are not causing damage, the noise, and the safety issue with the two lane road are just some of the issues. She was trying to make a left hand turn from Beck into her subdivision and there was no left turn lane that she could pull into. A double tantum truck came on her right to pass her with one set of wheels on the pavement and one set of wheels on the shoulder without touching his brakes.
Chairperson Csordas suggested that she calls Mr. Arroyo and he can give her the number for the Road Commission.
Member Canup suggested that a telephone call should be made to the police department because it was illegal what the truck driver did.
Member Capello stated that he thinks that people are unaware that you cannot drive on the shoulder even if you are making a right turn or passing when people are turning left. If she calls the police department then they could possibly set up a police officer there at peak times.
Member Koneda stated that Kindercare is coming back and there has already been a Public Hearing for it. He asked if the November 17 meeting would be a Public Hearing?
Mr. Arroyo stated that it would be a public meeting but not a public hearing. The public will be able to make comments during audience participation. The hearing has been opened and closed but there will be an opportunity for people to make comments.
A member shouting from the audience asked if the Commissioners could elaborate on the difference between a public hearing and just being able to make comments.
Chairperson Csordas stated that a public hearing is when the petitioner and consultants are done speaking then members of the audience may make comments on it. It is that portion of the meeting that the members of the audience have the opportunity to comment. When it is Matters for Consideration, it is not a public hearing and that would not happen. However, during audience participation members of the audience can still express their opinions. It would just be a different time in the meeting that they would be able to comment.
Mr. Weisberger stated that public hearings are statutorily provided for zoning changes, special land use, and they require public notice. It has to be published in the paper to put the interested parties and general public on notice.
Mr. Arroyo stated that whenever there has been a situation where a public hearing has been held, the item has been tabled, comes back at a later meeting, it is the practice of the department to do a courtesy notice to the residents within five hundred (500) feet. When the second meeting comes along there will not be another notice in the paper but there is typically notice to everyone within five hundred (500) feet.
Chairperson Csordas suggested that if someone does not live within five hundred (500) feet then they should go down to their neighbor that does live there and ask them to advise you of the notice.
Seeing no one, else Chairperson Csordas closed the audience participation. He stated that there would be another opportunity for audience participation later in the meeting.
Chairperson Csordas announced there was one item on the Consent Agenda and has been moved to Matters for Consideration.
An Ordinance to amend Subsection 2910.4 of Ordinance No. 97-18, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to permit storage of a small amount of firewood on lake front lots.
Mr. Weisberger stated that this came about in the Ordinance Review Committee meeting where it was discussed that many of the lake front lots people have a small bon-fire pit. The way that the Ordinance has been currently drafted they had to carry the wood from their house out to the other side of the street to have their bon-fire. The Ordinance Review Committee discussed that it would be appropriate to have a three (3) foot height by three (3) foot length by eighteen (18) inches wide pile of wood on each lake front lot. It was felt that it would be permissible. The added language is the last sentence.
Chairperson Csordas asked if it was the last sentence, which was part three (3)?
Mr. Weisberger stated that beginning with "when the firewood is not stored immediately adjacent to a house or garage the maximum dimension of the pile shall be." He believes that it met unanimous approval at the Ordinance Review Committee meeting. The fire marshal did not have a problem with the amendment.
Chairperson Csordas stated that the required action on this is a recommendation of a zoning amendment. He asked if any of the consultants have anything to say?
Chairperson Csordas announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.
Seeing no one he closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.
PM-99-11-252 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION FOR ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT 18.158 - FIREWOOD STORAGE
Moved by Capello, seconded by Richards, PASSES (6-2): To send a positive recommendation for Zoning Text Amendment 18.158 - Firewood Storage.
Member Mutch asked if this would allow the firewood piles on any of the lots? He is trying to understand the intent of the change.
Mr. Weisberger stated that many of the houses on South Lake Drive do not have a house on the lakeside. In that case, they would be permitted to not have it adjacent to the house if it is a small three-(3) foot pile. Additionally, if they had a house on the lakeside lot then they could also have a three-(3) foot pile not immediately adjacent to their home as well. He thinks that it more specifically deals with the scenario that the house is not on the lakeside of the road.
Member Koneda stated that he had asked Mr. Weisberger earlier about the normal Code or Ordinance for firewood storage in residential lots that do not abut lakefront.
Mr. Weisberger stated that he located it and it does refer to compliance with all other Ordinances and regulations. In the Code not the Zoning Ordinance 16-66, it is required to be stacked in a neat and orderly manner to be six (6) inches from the home. It is not allowed in the front yard, it has to be in the rear side yard.
Member Koneda asked if this would allow lakefront property to store firewood in the front yard?
Mr. Weisberger stated that is correct.
Member Koneda stated that he does not have any problems but he is curious about the size. It seems to him that most people are going to move their storage to wherever they want to move it to. He wonders why a full-face quart is not allowed.
Mr. Weisberger stated that an issue came up for the size and the height blocking lakefront view. They felt that was the appropriate size of a pile.
VOTE ON PM-99-11-252 PASSES
Yes: Capello, Csordas, Koneda, Piccinini, Richards, Watza
No: Churella and Mutch
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
An Ordinance to add the definitions of "Floor Area, Gross", "Floor Area, Gross Leasable" and "Scenic Drive" to Section 201 of Ordinance No. 97-18, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to amend the definition of "Floor Area, Usable" contained within Section 201 of said Ordinance, to amend Subsections 402.1, 2505.12 and 2507.3 of said Ordinance, to amend Subpart 1905.4e of said Ordinances, to amend footnote (B) of Section 2400, Schedule of Regulations, and to amend Sections 602, 902, 1101, 2301 and 2406 of said Ordinance, to delete excess verbiage, permit hospice care facilities as a special land use in the RM-1 and NCC Districts, permit hospice care facilities as a principal permitted use in the OS-1 and OS-2 Districts, delete the PD-2 and PD-4 options, amend land area requirements for child care centers, allow the waiver of the berming requirements in the
I-1 District and provide new loading space requirements.
Mr. Arroyo stated that he has attempted to respond to the issues that were raised. The first one that he will go over, is actually a suggested change in the language that the Planning Commission agreed to at the last meeting. It is on page six (6) of the Comparison Draft under paragraph e, where it talks about the Planning Commission may waive or modify the requirements for an earth berm or obscuring wall when adjacent to a woodland. The following additional language was added, "which is of sufficient depth to provide equivalent screening and buffering." The Planning Commission had discussed it and had felt it was appropriate to say that you might waive the requirement for the berm when adjacent to a woodland. It is not just any woodland, it would have to be one that would provide sufficient depth to have an equivalent screening and buffering that the berm would otherwise require.
The other is really a discussion issue about childcare centers. There is a clean-up amendment on the third page of the Comparison Draft and there is an incorrect reference under childcare centers. One of the district provisions that specify that the standard for open space is not there and it should be there. He has just taken the existing language that is in all of the other districts where childcare centers are provided and replicated it, which is the one hundred (100) square feet of outdoor play area per child. An issue that was raised by some of the Commissioners was that maybe a minimum site size should be looked at for childcare centers. The Commissioners requested that he develop some sample sketches for childcare centers at different sizes meeting Ordinance standards to see what impact they would have. At the back of the packet, there is a memo from him, dated October 26, 1999, and he has given them three (3)-attached examples of a hypothetical piece of property being developed. One is a one-(1) acre site, a 1.25 acre site, and a two (2) acre site. He looked at the Ordinance provisions and came up with three (3) separate layouts of a child care center. It is basically trying to see how many children could be accommodated if you met Ordinance standards. Under the one-(1) acre provision, it yields a fairly small facility. Because of the seventy five (75) foot setback requirements from all property lines per structure and the need to get parking provided for, there is not much room to work with. Obviously, if your lot had a slightly different dimension the building would end up being different. In this particular example, you get over two thousand (2,000) square foot building. He found there is about a range of fifty (50) to eighty (80) square feet per child for the ratio of children to floor area. You could get about a thirty-seven (37) child facility in this particular situation with the appropriate outdoor play area. That is much smaller than what has been seen recently. At the bottom of his memo, he showed three (3) of the more recent projects, Children’s World, which has one hundred fifty eight (158) children, Bloomingday, which has sixty (60) children, and the Kiddie Academy, which has one hundred sixteen (116) children. The proposed Kindercare is one hundred eighty (180) children. This would be a fairly small facility by today’s standards and he thinks that it would be very difficult. He doesn’t think that the Commissioners have seen any projects coming in on a one (1) acre site and he doesn’t think that they are likely to see any come in.
If you bump it up to 1.25 acres, that quarter of an acre makes a big difference. A one hundred (100) child facility with approximately fifty seven hundred (5700) square foot building is able to be put on a 1.25 acre site. Because of the additional flexibility, a little more land area provides and there would be adequate play area. This actually has more play area than necessary.
The final example is a two-(2) acre site and with the exception of the Kiddie Academy, every project of this nature that has come through has been over two (2) acres. In this case, there is an example of one hundred ninety (190) child facility on thirteen thousand (13,000) square feet. One of the things that a larger site will do for you is that it provides a more efficient flow of traffic in the site. Instead of a dead-end parking aisle there is actually a circulation system where you can drive in, drive around, and leave. This provides for a better circulation system.
He pointed out that if the Commissioners were to adopt a minimum site size for childcare centers the only amendment that is before them is to one (1) particular district. They would have to initiate an amendment to all of the other districts where childcare facilities are permitted and put a minimum site size associated with those facilities. It would require additional action to clean up the entire ordinance if they choose to make any of the standards for childcare facilities. The ordinance that is before the Commissioners is the change to Section 602 is the RM-1 district provisions. It is where the childcare center standard requires modification. If the Commissioners choose to include any kind of change then he can come forward at a later date with a proposed ordinance amendment that would address the other districts where childcare facilities are permitted.
Member Capello stated that he had three (3) comments on page six (6) on the amended part. He thinks that it should be 2509. Also, two (2) lines above that between said use it should be "and abutting residential." He had talked to Mr. Arroyo about the definition on page one (1) of floor area gross leasable. He found it difficult to read and he proposed another definition that he feels is cleaner. The whole floor area measured to the inside finished surface of the dominant portion of the permanent outer walls excluding major vertical penetration of the floor "example elevator shafts, stairwells, stacks, pipe shafts, interior courtyards, atriums, and vertical ducts with the enclosing walls" structural. Structural columns and projects are included. The gross leasable floor area is fixed for the life of a building and is not affected by changes in corridors. He would replace that language with the proposed language under part two (2).
Mr. Arroyo stated that he has talked about it and it would provide effectively the same regulations. He thinks that they are equivalent terms.
Member Piccinini asked what the minimum square footage for a childcare facility for a child inside the building?
Mr. Arroyo stated that it depends on the age of the child. On average, the childcare facilities that have been approved in Novi have ranged from about fifty (50) to eighty (80) square feet per child.
Mr. Weisberger asked if it was in the Administrative Rules or in the State Statute?
Mr. Arroyo stated that it was in the State regulation to be licensed. You regulate outdoor play area and the State regulates indoor play.
PM-99-11-253 TO SEND A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION OF ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT 18.156 WHICH IS A CLEAN UP SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE ITEMS THAT COMMISSIONER CAPELLO ADDRESSED AND MR. ARROYO AGREED TO
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To send a positive recommendation of Zoning Ordinance Amendment 18.156 which is a clean up subject to all of the items that Commissioner Capello addressed and Mr. Arroyo agreed to.
Mr. Arroyo asked for clarification that the motion is talking about the change to the gross leasable floor area definition, the additional clause on page six (6) to paragraph e, and fixing a couple of typos?
Chairperson Csordas stated that it will be changing 2059.6 to 2509.6 and two (2) lines above that the word "unto and."
Mr. Arroyo stated that it would also be adding the clause to the end of the sentence "which is of sufficient depth to provide equivalent screening and buffering."
Chairperson Csordas stated that is correct.
Member Mutch stated that regarding the child care facility, if the Planning Commission wanted to make a change across all of the districts then it would have to be revisited. He has a concern, generally on the east side of the city because he thinks that the situation is more prevalent there but could actually occur anywhere in the city. There are excepted parcels on Ten Mile and Meadowbrook Road, major roads through the city, that are between one (1) and two (2) acres in size. They are vacant or have an existing house on it that a childcare provider may look to as a potential site for a child care center. There have been a couple of projects, one on Novi Road south of Ten Mile and the project at the southeast corner of Ten and Beck that were probably over an acre each but both projects were denied because of site issues. He thinks that the childcare facility does not work on parcels of anything less than two (2) acres. He thinks that it shows in terms of site circulation and getting a good buffer between the adjoining residential that the smaller sites do not work. If you set a minimum standard it will discourage potential providers from looking at sites that are not going to work in the long term. What is the point of having someone go through the entire process and then come to the Planning Commission on a Special Land Use to be denied? There will be bigger daycares but maybe there will be fewer of them. He thinks that a minimum is needed but he is not sure of the best way to achieve it. He thinks that it can be looked at for a future by sending it off to the Implementation to review it since it will be going across all districts. He thinks that it is something that needs to be addressed at some point.
Chairperson Csordas stated that it was a good idea and asked if he wanted to send it to Implementation?
Member Mutch stated yes.
Member Koneda stated that he thinks that Mr. Arroyo’s memorandum just proved the bigger the site, the bigger the facility. He thinks that the major issue is the parking lot setback from the side yards of twenty (20) feet and he thinks that it should be reviewed. He thinks that the residents are concerned about headlights in their homes and the disturbance that is caused by the parking lot. He is ready to vote but he thinks that at a future time, parking lot setback for childcare centers should be talked about.
Chairperson Csordas asked Ms. Brock to take note of it?
Mr. Richards asked if the applicant could be told that their facility has to be a certain size to be in Novi?
Mr. Arroyo stated that it the Commissioners are going to set a minimum size then it has to be looked at what is reasonable. Obviously, if you set it too large then someone could challenge it and say that it is unreasonable. He thinks that it is a good idea to send it to the Implementation Committee to study it to make sure that the Commissioners will be comfortable with the ramifications of it.
Mr. Weisberger stated that if they are going to have a minimum size then they need to articulate the minimum size as it relates to some sort of protection of public health, safety and welfare. To come up with a minimum size to "discourage" is not going to do it, it has to be there because they are looking out for the impacts on surrounding areas. When the Implementation Committee looks at it, it is the stuff that they should concentrate on.
VOTE ON PM-99-11-253 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards, Watza
David Stewart, Northern Equities Group, requesting that the Planning Commission make a determination regarding adjacency to a residential district.
Brian Hughes, representing Northern Equities Group, apologized for Mr. Stewart not being there. Member Capello had asked him before the meeting what the purpose was? He indicated to Member Capello that if he was going to be categorically denied then he would just go to the ZBA.
Member Capello stated that he has discussed it with Mr. Weisberger. In his opinion, if the Commissioners give him any kind of positive determination then it will not be binding on any future plans that is brought before the Planning Commission at anytime in the future. He does not think that a positive recommendation would Mr. Stewart anything. If a denial is given, then Mr. Weisberger believes that Mr. Stewart can take it to the ZBA to get a blanket-variance for all of the lots. He disagrees with it but if it can be done than he is not going to oppose it when Mr. Stewart comes before him. He thinks that a denial is the only way that will get permanent relief.
Mr. Hughes stated that it is what he is looking for, he does not want to do a lot by lot basis.
Member Capello stated that if he did grant approval it would not be binding on any of the future Planning Commissioners.
Mr. Hughes asked if he could tell him why the ZBA would be binding?
Mr. Weisberger stated that if he is asking the Planning Commission to decide whether they agree with the letter than eight (8) members might do it. However, the body is going to change over time and he might not have the same eight-(8) members when his plans come before them. At that time, they can then decide that they did not agree with the Planning Commission on November 3, 1999. The only thing that will be binding is if a decision is made, that they agree with the city attorney’s office, the fifty-(50) foot land strip is a circumvention of the requirements. The ZBA can issue a binding opinion or variance.
Mr. Hughes stated that if that is the case then he would rather have the denial tonight and go to the ZBA.
Member Capello stated that a denial by the ZBA would not affect the Commissioners decision. However, approval by ZBA granting the variance will affect the Commissioners decision.
Mr. Hughes stated that there is additional information that Neil Sosin presented to the Mayor and the city attorney’s office. It that takes the park and divides it into six (6) phases, which gets more into the natural buffers that already exist.
Member Capello stated that he thinks that it is a very good argument to make to the ZBA for the variance.
Mr. Arroyo stated that in the event that the denial does take place and they go to the ZBA there is an actual site condo plan that is going through the review process right now. Once they get the determination then the Commissioners will see it. The appeal to the ZBA is not going to be to get the project approved, it is only going to be to address this one (1) issue and the project will come before the Commissioners to act upon.
Member Koneda asked if what was presented is a preliminary site plan for the condominium development?
Mr. Arroyo stated that there has been an actual submittal that has gone through consultant review at one editoration and is waiting for a re-submittal to address concerns.
Member Koneda asked that it has not gone through the consultants so there are no comments? It appears to him that this affects the four-(4) lots that abut the fifty (50) foot buffer and all of the other lots are not affected. The issue of the setback does not come before the Commissioners as part of the site condominium plan, it only comes on when each individual site plan is done.
Mr. Arroyo stated that is correct. However, the applicant is attempting to divide the property and if they are a Special Land Use for them, they will need wider lots. They do not want to move forward and get approval of the site condominium plan until they get the question answered.
Mr. Hughes stated that is correct.
Member Mutch asked what the options are? He is unclear of what actions, as a Commission, is supposed to be taking or is empowered to take at this point.
Mr. Weisberger stated that he had sat down with Mr. Watson and this is not the run-of-the-mill Matters for Consideration. What is being asked tonight by the applicant is to either 1) agree with the attorneys opinion, which is the fifty (50) foot strip is a circumvention of the Zoning Ordinance. 2) Agree with Mr. Stewart’s letter that it is not. If you agree with Mr. Stewart’s letter it is just a vote of confidence to the applicant that down the road he might get the same interpretation by the Planning Commission when the plans actually come through. If you agree with the attorney’s interpretation it is his opinion that it is considered a decision of the Commission, which would then give them jurisdiction to appeal that decision to the ZBA for a variance. It is really a jurisdictional issue.
Member Mutch asked that it could be approved tonight but on an individual plan by plan basis it would not apply?
Mr. Weisberger stated that the decision tonight would not be binding.
Member Mutch asked if it is an either/or decision or can they say there is adjacency at some points and not others?
Mr. Weisberger stated that the decision should be uniform throughout. Either it is interpreted as circumventing or not. The only reason that it might change case by case is that there may be different members of the board as each plan comes through.
Member Mutch asked if it is approved could it be appealed?
Mr. Weisberger stated that it could be appealed if the Commissioners give it a negative decision on certain aspects but he urges them to be uniform in their decision.
Member Mutch asked that if it were approved would they be able to go to ZBA?
Mr. Weisberger stated that they could, but it would be time consuming.
Member Piccinini stated that if their approval is non-binding then she does not get the point of why it is front of the Commissions at all.
Mr. Weisberger stated that if they make decision then the decision is an appealable decision. To go in front of the ZBA then they would have to go on an appeal of something.
Member Koneda stated that the Commissioners would be doing the applicant a favor by saving them the expense of going through the whole site condominium submission with the consultants.
Mr. Weisberger stated that the Commission would be giving them direction.
Mr. Hughes stated that it is their intent because they have already spent significant money in getting the project developed to the first phase. It is their intent to go to the ZBA and go for the variance before the additional planning.
Member Mutch asked if Ms. Lemke had any input on the layout or design of the property since it talks about connecting habitat areas?
Ms. Lemke stated that she did not have any input to the fifty-(50) feet. However, she has looked at the property as a whole and the fifty-(50) feet. It is a significant hedgerow and is a wildlife corridor.
Member Mutch stated that his understanding is that people as well as wildlife would use the trail. He is confused because there is no city parkland east or north of the property. He is not sure where the trail goes, trails are not built in the city that connect residential habitat areas to city parks. He asked if Parks and Recreation has been involved?
Mr. Wahl stated that he has not been involved in this in a hands-on fashion where he could give anymore details other than what the consultant’s participation has been.
Member Mutch asked if the city owns the property at this point?
Mr. Weisberger stated that it is his understanding that the city does own it.
Member Mutch asked if the city went to have to property rezoned to residential would the ZBA grant the variance anyway?
Mr. Weisberger asked if it was rezoned before the process?
Member Mutch stated after.
Mr. Weisberger stated that it is how the variance request is phrased.
Mr. Arroyo stated that a rezoning would impact their property because many of the standards that apply when you are adjacent to residential are setbacks measured from where the residential district is. Currently the residential district starts on the east side of that fifty (50) foot strip. For example, parking is supposed to be one hundred (100) feet from a residential district when you are in an industrial. They can include the fifty-(50) feet and then only have an additional fifty (50) feet because it is measured from where the residential district is. If the fifty (50) feet were to be rezoned to residential then they would have to measure the one hundred (100) foot setback from the west side of the fifty (50) foot strip and it would impact the property more. It does have an impact on how they build on their property. Right now, some of the Ordinance provisions are not hurting them because the fifty-(50) foot strip is there. They are still measuring from where the residential district is and not where the fifty-(50) foot strip is. It is an unusual situation.
Chairperson Csordas asked where the park is?
Mr. Arroyo stated that he is not sure which one they are talking about.
Mr. Hughes stated that it is to the southeast. The fifty-(50) foot habitat is owned by the city, which was an agreement that was entered into on February 1998.
Member Mutch asked if there is any language in the agreement regarding the adjacency issue?
Mr. Hughes stated no that it is not addressed.
Mr. Weisberger stated that he does not believe that the adjacency issue was ever discussed.
Member Mutch asked that if the ZBA grants the variance then could the applicant have tier two or three uses adjacent to the habitat trail?
Mr. Arroyo stated that it would be true. If the ZBA finds that they are not adjacent to residential then there could be tier two or three uses on the property. If it were adjacent then there would only be the tier one or two uses permitted. There are setback issues and also use issues. The tier two uses would not be Special Land Uses if it were not adjacent to residential. If it was adjacent to residential then all of the typical Light-Industrial uses become Special Land Uses.
Member Capello stated that variance could be limited to certain things such as the setback and they would still have to comply with certain land use restrictions because it would still abut residential.
Mr. Arroyo stated that there is potential. The ZBA can act in a reasonable manner and attach reasonable conditions. It seems to be an unusual finding but it could happen.
Member Capello stated that they could grant certain setback variances but still require them to comply with other sections of the Ordinance.
Mr. Arroyo stated that they could make a finding that it is adjacent to residential but they could grant variances for setbacks and they would still have to go through the Special Land Use procedures. It would be the same but they could get relief for setbacks.
PM-99-11-254 THE BECK NORTH CORPORATE PARK IS ADJACENT TO RESIDENTIAL AND THAT THE FIFTY FOOT PARCEL WAS CREATED TO CIRCUMVENT THE ADJACENCY REQUIREMENTS
Moved by Capello, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (7-1): The Beck North Corporate Park is adjacent to residential and that the fifty-foot parcel was created to circumvent the adjacency requirements
VOTE ON PM-99-11-254 PASSES
Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, and Richards
This hotel project is located in Section 36, which is on the north side of Eight Mile Road and west of Haggerty Road. The 2.33 acre site is zoned Office Service Center District (OSC). The applicant is seeking a one-year extension of the Final Site Plan.
PM-99-11-255 TO DENY THE ONE-YEAR EXTENSION OF THE FINAL SITE PLAN FOR RAMADA LIMITED OF NOVI SP 96-28
Moved by Mutch, seconded by Churella: To deny the one-year extension of the Final Site Plan for Ramada Limited of Novi SP 96-28
Member Churella stated that he is afraid that this is not going to be right for the applicant. There is no one here to defend this denial because the applicant thought that it was a slam-dunk on the Consent Agenda and then it was moved. He feels that the applicant should be given a chance to explain the situation before it is denied.
Mr. Arroyo stated that they have scheduled a pre-application for revised site plan and is already in the works.
Member Churella stated that it is not the person that is requesting the extension.
Member Piccinini asked who is?
Member Churella stated that it is a potential purchaser who knows that he is going to have to make all of the changes in the site. The owner thought that he was going to be approved and it would be an injustice by not giving him the extension.
Member Mutch stated that he is willing to withdraw the motion. He stated that it could be moved to another meeting or have someone write a letter.
Mr. Arroyo stated that the problem is that the site plan expires in a few days so action must be taken tonight to either approve the extension or deny it.
Mr. Weisberger stated that if it is extended and then not built he does not see what disservice it does anyone.
Member Watza suggested that the Commissioners just let it lapse so that nothing is done to impair the applicants rights.
Member Mutch stated that he thought that some action had to be taken.
Mr. Weisberger asked if there is anything in writing that this person has requested that it be denied or that they do not want any action taken?
Chairperson Csordas read the letter of "the applicant is seeking a one-year extension of the Final Site Plan." He asked what harm there would be if that were done and are the Commissioners within their rights to do so?
Mr. Weisberger stated that Mr. Arroyo is pulling the standard for determining to grant it or not.
Mr. Arroyo read paragraph f, on page thirty through forty-eight "it is the burden of the applicant to show good clause for the granting of a requested extension. The body, which approved the Preliminary Site Plan, shall consider the following factors in this determination of whether good cause exists. 1) The applicant has demonstrated that needed utility services have been delayed. 2) The applicant has demonstrated that technical reviews of Final Site Plan have raised unforeseen development problems. 3) The applicant has demonstrated that unforeseen economic events or conditions have caused delays. 4) The approved plan to be extended is in compliance with all current site plan criteria in current Ordinance, laws, codes, and regulations. 5) There is no pending Zoning Ordinance, which would substantially change the requirements of the approved plan.
Member Mutch asked that knowing that the plan does not meet the current Ordinances and some changes will have to be made how far back would they have to re-submit? He asked if it would be a Preliminary Site Plan or would they be able to make the changes administratively to get Final Site Plan approval?
Mr. Arroyo stated that it would be difficult for him to answer the question without having the plan go through the full review process to see what impact it would have.
Member Mutch asked if it was significant changes would they have to go back to Preliminary Site Plan?
Mr. Arroyo stated that there is a good chance that it could be dealt with at Final but there could be some setback problems. This project originally came in 1996, which means that it precedes the latest Zoning Ordinance update and there were a lot of changes in the Zoning Ordinance update. He thinks that landscaping is one issue and he knows that the parking dimensions changed so it is not up to current standards. They might have to come back for Preliminary and might even have to seek variances to be able to construct what has been approved.
Member Capello stated that Mr. Weisberger thinks that they may not have any invested rights because they have not started construction so they would have to comply with the new Ordinance. The Commissioners could turn them down because they are not complying with the new Ordinance or the applicant could address the issue later. He thinks that Member Churella does have a good position because he would rather have them go back with amended site plans that start the process all over again.
Member Churella asked if they could wait for the person to come back to the next meeting and find out what his opinion is?
Mr. Weisberger stated that they have to take action tonight.
Member Koneda stated that the applicant is asking for another one-year extension and his plan does not meet the current site plan requirements. His excuse is that he had some deed restriction problems with landowners, then he entered an agreement to build a hotel in another city and did not really pursue this project. He asked what the Commissioners are asking, to turn him down or give him a one-year extension? If they give him an extension then how is the site plan revised to bring it up to current Ordinances?
Mr. Weisberger stated that he does not have any invested rights at this point and he would have to comply with all of the Ordinances. Mr. Arroyo will have to review them and decide whether they are substantial enough that he has to start the project over.
PM-99-11-256 TO GRANT A ONE-YEAR EXTENSION FOR FINAL SITE PLAN TO RAMADA LIMITED OF NOVI SP 96-28 SUBJECT TO THE APPLICANT SUBMITTING THE PLANS TO THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT FOR REVIEW WITH CURRENT ORDINANCES
Moved by Mutch, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To grant a one-year extension for Final Site Plan to Ramada Limited of Novi SP 96-28 subject to the applicant submitting the plans to the Planning Department with review with current Ordinances
VOTE ON PM-99-11-256 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards, Watza
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
Debbie Bundoft, 12 Mile Road, stated that she has a clarification for number one for Matters for Consideration. Mr. Arroyo had said something about the childcare facilities being a clean-up issue because of the one that did not mention the open space of one hundred (100) square feet. She asked that if that means that if a childcare facility would be in an office building where there is no outdoor facility provided would that not be allowed in the city?
Mr. Arroyo stated that the Ordinance amendment that was addressed is for the RM-1 district.
Ms. Bundoft stated that it could also happen in a RM-1 district as an internal childcare facility without outdoor play areas for children.
Mr. Arroyo stated that the standard would apply and is more of a legal question.
Mr. Weisberger asked if the wording indicates out door play area?
Ms. Bundoft stated that Mr. Arroyo mentioned one hundred (100) square feet per child had to be provided.
Mr. Arroyo stated that it is a Special Land Use and in attaching reasonable conditions applying the standards for childcare facilities that are found throughout the Ordinance to this one section would be a reasonable thing for the Planning Commission to do. Every other childcare facility is required to have one hundred (100) square feet of play area. He thinks that it could be attached as a condition and would still be applying the standard on a uniform basis. There is a statutory requirement to have some access to outdoor facilities but he does not think that it is as stringent as the particular standard. It is his understanding that State law requires that there is an outdoor play area, it can not be substituted for indoors. Any office use that would have a daycare facility would have to incorporate an outdoor play facility adjacent to the building.
Ms. Bundoft stated that her concern is that there may be an office building in the area that does not offer childcare facilities. Their development is already built and if that facility is taken over by another entity that doesn’t have the ability to add the one hundred (100) square feet then the company is limited in providing childcare.
Chairperson Csordas stated that he is delighted that thousands of people have confidence in his ability to move along to City Council and that he has the support of the Planning Commissioners. He stated that it has been a pleasurable experience working with the group and thinks that it is the best Planning Commission in years. There is the tendency to disagree and vote different ways on different items but there is never any animosity. He is very proud of the fact that the Planning Commission has never been condescending to any petitioner and has treated everyone fairly. He appreciates the city’s consultants who have given excellent advice and direction. He stated that he will fully support the Commissioners on City Council because he knows that their hearts are in the right spot and they make excellent decisions.
PM-99-11-257 TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 9:00 P.M.
Moved by Richards, seconded by Watza, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 9:00 p.m.
VOTE ON PM-99-11-257 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Capello, Churella, Csordas, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards, Watza
Beth Brock - Planning Assistant
Transcribed by: Sarah Marchioni
November 16, 1999
Date Approved: December 01, 1999