View Agenda for this Meeting


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2000 AT 7:30 P.M.




Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairperson Capello


PRESENT: Members Canup, Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini and Richards




ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Planning/Traffic Consultant Kathy Wyrosdick, Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Assistant City Attorney Paul Weisberger, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Senior Environmental Specialist Aimee Kay, Planning Official Jim Wahl, and Planning Assistant Beth Brock




Chairperson Capello welcomed Commissioner Victor Cassis to the Planning Commission.




Chairperson Capello asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda? Seeing none

he entertained a motion to approve the Agenda as presented.




Moved by Cassis, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as presented.




Yes: Canup, Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards

No: None








Member Churella announced he has received a letter from Norman and Evelyn Young asking the Planning Commission to look at an article published in the Detroit News by Glen Hagy. Specifically they asked the Commission to look at Resolution #3 which speaks about overburdening the highways and overbuilding areas.


Bud Scott and Lisa Willard of the Novi Chamber of Commerce wrote in regard to the Grand River Corridor. The felt that the City’s enacted OST zoning was very attracting and positive. They were excited about the relocation of the Expo Center within the City of Novi.


Member Churella noted that he received a blank Response Form regarding Cabot Technology Center from Dr. Joseph and Ann G. Gadbaw.




Chairperson Capello announced there were two (2) items on the Consent Agenda, Bearing Service, SP97-59 and Cellular Tower Study.




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda.




Yes: Canup, Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards

No: None





The office building project is located in Section 12, west of Haggerty Road and north of Twelve Mile Road. The 7.86 acre site is zoned Office Service Technology (OST). The applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Woodlands Permit approvals.


Joe Drolshagen of Northern Equities Group updated the Commission Cabot and Lewis. He stated there were two buildings totaling 83,000 square feet. The site is heavily landscaped. There are two entries off of Cabot and one off of Lewis. The buildings are anticipated to be one story structures. Most of the units will have a 10’ x 12’ door at the rear. He stated the bay depth is 70'’x 81'’which is important for the anticipated user which is predominantly office. 75% office and 25% warehouse mix is typical in the marketplace. He stated the design is brick and glass with some limestone accent and block at the bottom. He anticipated the building, once fully leased would generate approximately 200,000 in taxes per year.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant recommended approval. He stated the site was fully serviced by water and sewer. The roads are intended to be public, the applicant is currently in the process of dedicating them to the city. Storm sewers pick up storm water and discharge in private regional detention systems that have been built with the overall park development. The applicant will need to provide temporary on site sedimentation basins during construction. Mr. Bluhm stated there were a number of other comments that could be addressed at the time of Final. He felt the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility and recommended approval.


Kathy Wyrosdick, Planning and Traffic Consultant recommended approval subject to minor issues being presented at the time of Final and also subject to a Planning Commission waiver of the loading area screening in the rear yard. Either a screen wall, berm or court wall design of the building is required for the OST District.


In regard to traffic, approval is also recommended subject to some minor issues being resolved at the time of Final. The applicant should show a deceleration and acceleration on the southerly drive off of Cabot. All approvals are subject to the subsequent lot split that the applicant is applying for.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect recommended approval of the landscaping. All items have been addressed. Items listed in her December 21, 1999 letter could be addressed at the time of Final. In regard to woodlands, Ms. Lemke recommended approval. Her first recommendation was not to approve, based on some missing information which the applicant has since provided which dealt with the quality of the woodlands on the southern end of the site. The applicant has indicated that they will be saving the area south of the parking lot and the area of woodlands off-site to the south. The details of grading and retention walls and the remaining items listed in her letter of January 14, 2000 would be furnished at the time of Final. Ms. Lemke recommended approval with the four conditions in her letter.


Chairperson Capello 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.




Member Mutch asked if Detroit Edison owned the property to the east?


Mr. Drolshagen answered, yes.


In regard to the storm water detention, Member Mutch asked if the facilities have been constructed at this time or was it to be constructed concurrently with the development?


Mr. Bluhm answered, the detention facility has already been constructed. He stated there was still some minor work such as grading and stabilizing.


Member Mutch asked where it outlets?


Mr. Bluhm answered, to the south and then to the east across Haggerty Road into Farmington Hills.


In regard to the waiver for the screening, Member Mutch asked if Ms. Lemke was in favor of the waiver or would the applicant be providing landscaping?


Ms. Lemke answered there was no problem with the applicant providing screening with the landscaping.


In regard to the waiver for the parking stall end islands in the courtyards, Member Koneda asked if the end islands aided in traffic circulation? Therefore, would it not be beneficial to put the end islands in? He asked if it would also help to provide some control for the dumpsters?


Mr. Drolshagen believed the deletion of the end islands would allow for better truck maneuverability. He did not anticipate those parking spaces to be utilized as much. However, if there are cars parked there, the larger trucks may not be able to move as well. He believed the islands were used for aesthetics and he stated this area is self contained from public view.


In regard to the slope on the eastern property line, Member Koneda asked if the applicant was required to obtain an easement agreement from Detroit Edison in order to provide the 1 to 4 ratio?


Mr. Bluhm answered, the applicant would try to grade the slope out on their site before hitting the Edison property. He stated they would have to obtain a grading approval if they were to use Edison’s property, not an actual easement.


Member Koneda asked if the berming for the corner was something that could be done at the time of Final?


Ms. Lemke answered, yes.








Moved by Koneda, seconded by Mutch, CARRIED (7-1): To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval and Woodlands Permit approval for Cabot Technology Sp99-59 conditioned upon all of the Consultants conditions and a waiver from the Planning Commission for the deletion of the end islands in the courtyard for parking.




Member Canup stated this was not what he envisioned looking at in an OST District. He stated even though it meets the requirements, it is a multi-tenant building. He envisioned the Nissan use in Farmington Hills as being OST usage, he felt that this project was an I-1 use. He felt the Commission needed to take a serious look at the Ordinances.


Mr. Drolshagen commented that the park in Farmington Hills contains single tenant buildings such as Nissan and Silicon Graphics as well as buildings such as what he is proposing. Its use is primarily office.


Member Canup still felt the Commission needed to take another look at the Ordinances if this is what will end up in the OST District.


Chairperson Capello announced he received a letter from the Novi Fire Department asking that the fire protection water main and domestic water main be separated.


He also announced that he has received a letter from the Novi City Assessor that states Cabot Drive has not yet been accepted by the City. Therefore it does not have any public road frontage. Chairperson Capello stated the motion would also have to be subject to Cabot Drive being accepted and getting frontage.


Chairperson Capello asked Mr. Weisberger to address the requirements that needed to be shown before the Commission could consider a Preservation Easement.


Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney stated when it is permissible to require the preservation of remaining natural resources the impact that has occurred is measured against how much is being preserved. He stated the Implementation Committee has asked for some sort of criteria to be set forth so there is a better idea of when and when not to grant Preservation Easements.


Chairperson Capello stated it was the burden of the Commission to establish the connection between the easement and the permit that is being applied for. He was concerned that it was not being met.




Yes: Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards

No: Canup








This office building project is located in Section12, on the west side of Haggerty Road, north of Twelve Mile Road, and south of Thirteen Mile Road. The 22 acre site is zoned Office Service Technology (OST). The applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan, Woodlands, and Wetlands Permit approvals.


Matt Quinn spoke on behalf of The Beztak Company. He stated the main entranceway is located off of Haggerty Road. He stated there were two (2) 68,500 square foot office buildings in front which are three story multiple tenant office buildings. He stated the OST Ordinance specifically allows office and OST. He stated the two three story buildings meet the height requirements. He was seeking a waiver regarding the requirement of a berm or wall being placed on the boundary line. He stated landscaping was to be done to buffer it from the adjoining properties. A waiver was also being requested on Section 9. Mr. Quinn stated it was his intent to comply with all of the recommendations of the Traffic Consultant by the time of Final.


Mr. Quinn stated the site was 40% covered by woodlands. He stated in order to build the buildings, they would need to destroy 9 out of 10 acres of quality woodlands. He stated he has looked at and submitted alternatives to moving the buildings around to try to save more trees and he believes that there is no alternative feasible plan that exists. He stated they were going to add trees to the site, however, they would not have room on the site for all of the trees, therefore, they would be paying money toward the City’s tree fund.


Robert Santner of Yamasaki and Associates Architects stated the office buildings were Class A office space. He proposed three story office buildings with a footprint approximately 22,000 square feet each. The facades are proposed as architectural pre-cast concrete simulated stone. He asked for a waiver on the height of the building. The rear buildings are single story, OST multi-tenant buildings which are anticipated to be 75% office use and 25% research shop use which is consistent with the area.


In regard to traffic, Mr. Santner stated the required additional lane widths at the entry could be accommodated as well as the outlets at the southernmost portion of the site for left and right hand turns.


Joe Marson of Parsons Transportation Group, Inc. added that a continuous center left turn lane was proposed on Haggerty Road from Heatherbrook on the east side, northerly to the site driveway which would accommodate left turns for both north and southbound traffic into the Heatherbrook Subdivision. He stated there was 350’ of storage space which works well with the residential development on the east side.


Mr. Quinn clarified that the project would not be phased. He stated they would start with the building on the front north portion and the other three buildings would be built as tenants were obtained.


Mr. Arroyo stated if the plan was not going to be phased, it presented some practical situations for the developer. He stated if the plan is not phased, when the permit is pulled for the first building, financial guarantees would need to be posted for all improvements throughout the entire site for all four buildings. He added that this is not normally what a developer wants to do, this is why they tend to phase a plan at the Preliminary level. He explained that when a developer comes forward with a Phasing Plan with their Preliminary Site Plan and both are approved, then they just have to come back to the Commission with individual site plans for the. However, if there is no phasing at the preliminary level, the developer is bound to build the project at once or post a financial guarantee for all landscape, paving and utility improvements for the entire site.





Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant stated he was under the impression that the project was being proposed with a Phasing Plan. Mr. Arroyo did not recommend approval of the Preliminary Site Plan owing to the building height issue of which the City standards were not being met. Mr. Arroyo stated the applicant would have to address the ZBA if they chose to build buildings that exceed the maximum height of 46’ allowed in the district. He stated there were two items that needed to be addressed in terms of variances and waivers. The first being the two office buildings in the front requiring action by the ZBA. A waiver is necessary for loading area screening standards, should the Commission choose to approve the Preliminary Site Plan. Mr. Arroyo indicated that there were some items that clearly needed to be addressed.


In regard to traffic, Mr. Arroyo recommended approval subject to a number of items being addressed, including some modifications to the southerly entry which the applicant has indicated that they will do. Mr. Arroyo also had a number of other modifications. There was also the potential for an interconnection to the property to the north as well as the property to the south. Mr. Arroyo was hopeful that all of the properties could interconnect to gain access to Lewis Drive. He felt this would benefit all of the property owners in the area because they would have the opportunity to gain access to roads that have traffic signals to improve left turns in and out of the site. It would also improve circulation between businesses and not require people to go out onto Haggerty Road.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant recommended approval. Water and sewer serve the site entirely. The applicant will be bringing water and sewer up along the west side of Haggerty from the Fata Development. The applicant will need to provide the City with easements outside of the R.O.W. Two site detention basins are provided, the outlet is at the northeast corner of the site and into an existing ditch along Haggerty Road. In regard to the outlet, there is limited capacity into Farmington Hills. There may be a need to detain storm water in excess of what the ordinance standards require, the applicant may need to work with JCK to come up with the necessary detention storage. Mr. Bluhm stated there were a number of other comments which could be addressed at the time of Final. He felt the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility and recommended approval.


Aimee Kay, Environmental Specialist recommended approval of the Wetland Permit. She stated there were two wetlands on the site. One located on the northeast portion of the property which is deemed to be non-essential. The other wetland is located on the far western edge and is 0.05. It is deemed to be essential and the applicant is not impacting this wetland. Ms. Kay recommended approval.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect recommended approval of the landscape plan. The applicant is providing screening with landscaping for the loading and unloading area and the concerns in her letter have been met.


Ms. Lemke stated there were approximately 10.7 acres designated as dense woodlands on the map which run along the western property. They are about 600’ in depth and 697’ in length. There is a small area of orchard in the front along with a row of evergreen trees, none of these trees are regulated according to the woodlands map. Ms. Lemke stated the 10.7 acre woodlands are beech maple with a mature canopy and viable understory. There are approximately 69 trees at 20" dbh or greater on the site. The woodlands are very high quality, the area is indicated as Type C, wildlife habitat. It is a large, contiguous area of woodlands on and off the site. The woodlands continue to the north to the next parcel and to the new road, and they also continue to the south through a vacant parcel and then down to the Fata site. Ms. Lemke did not recommend approval because she was looking for a better feasible and prudent alternative location, design for the structures improvements proposed which preserves more of the quality woodlands. She was looking for the preservation of woodlands and related natural resources based on a section in the ordinance that calls for them having precedence over development where no location alternatives are presented. The applicant has provided an alternative, however, it is not an alternative that would preserve hardly any of the woodlands. The applicant is removing approximately 560 trees that are 8" dbh or greater and thousands of smaller trees and understory vegetation.


Ms. Lemke gave possible alternatives that would preserve more of the high quality woodlands area. 1) To eliminate buildings both rear buildings, thereby saving half of the area. 2) To reduce the sizes of two buildings by half, which would save approximately 7.31 acres including the half an acre in the center. 3) To eliminate the center road would save approximately half of an acre. 4) Landbanked parking. 5) Go to the ZBA for height. Ms. Lemke did not recommend approval. She stated there was some missing information as well as replacement trees.


Chairperson Capello announced he 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) Provide additional hydrants along Novaplex Drive. The applicant shall contact the office to discuss proper hydrant locations. 2) Show the locations of the Fire Department connections and the fire suppression water main leads. 3) All weather access roads capable of supporting 25 tons are to be provided for fire apparatus prior to construction above the foundation. This shall be noted on the plans. 4) All water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and be in service prior to construction above the foundation. This shall be noted on the plans. 5) The building address is to be posted facing the street throughout construction. The address is to be at least 3" high on a contrasting backboard. This shall be noted on the plans.


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


Vincent Lee owns the property directly to the south of the site. He stated it looked like a good project, however, he objected to it. He objected stating that he just had his property surveyed, he owns five acres next door. The surveyor informed him of the 10’ to 20’ wide vacant parcel which the Beztak Property has claimed. Mr. Lee’s attorney informed him that he had as much legal right to it as the Beztak Property does. He stated the challenge was if Beztak has the legal right to the property, he would like to see the deed. If the deed came from the Cox family, his attorney has informed him that they have no right to convey the deed, they do not have ownership to the property as they have not been paying taxes on the property. Mr. Lee stated he planned to take legal action to protect his interests in a parcel of land. He explained that his frontage runs parallel to the frontage of their land and parallel to the rear of their land. He stated there was approximately 20’ in between that they claim to build on, which he has been informed that he has as much legal right to.


Chairperson Capello asked if anyone else would like to address the Commission? Seeing no one he closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.




Member Mutch asked Mr. Weisberger to address the comments of the property owner and whether it will have an impact on the Commission’s decision.


Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney stated his answer would fall under the same general principal as with Morgan Creek. Mr. Weisberger stated the property owner, Mr. Lee has the right to file an injunction to prevent the matter from going any further. The applicant has indicated in their application that this is their property, the civil dispute is between the property owner and the applicant, not the Commission.


Member Koneda asked who has legal deed to the property?


Mr. Quinn answered, he did as well as title insurance.


Member Koneda stated this could create a problem for the whole project because it could change setbacks, etc.


Member Mutch asked if Farmington Hills residents were sent notices on the project?


Member Mutch asked if the City was required to notify residents in adjacent communities?


Mr. Weisberger stated the City does not distinguish between property owner or City jurisdiction.


In regard to the entrance to the project, Member Mutch asked if signals were proposed along the length of Haggerty Road at Lewis Drive and at the entrance to the subdivision across the street?


Mr. Arroyo stated Lewis Drive would be a location for a signal. Because of spacing, the area that comes in at the south Novaplex project would be an idea location. Mr. Arroyo stated there could potentially be a boulevard constructed with the inbound lane and a signalized entrance serving both this project and the project to the south.


Member Mutch asked if the entrance was set up and ready for a traffic signal?


Mr. Arroyo stated the main entrance was set up so it could be signalized if the southerly access does not work.


Member Mutch asked if the site generated enough traffic to warrant a signal?


Mr. Arroyo answered, it could. Depending upon the uses that go in.


In regard to additional on-site storage, Member Mutch asked if this was a condition in the letter?


Mr. Bluhm answered, he would like to add it as an additional condition based on his verbal comments.


In regard to the height issue, Member Mutch stated one of the issues when looking at the OST Ordinance was providing additional setback for additional height. He asked if the applicant was providing any additional setback?


Mr. Arroyo stated the two taller buildings are set back greater than the minimum, however, that standard does not apply.


Member Mutch was concerned that if sufficient screening was not provided, the property owner who builds next door either will have an ugly loading area to deal with


In regard to the woodlands, Member Mutch asked if the replacement trees were being placed into a conservation easement?


Ms. Lemke answered, no. It was never required in the past.


Member Mutch asked what was to keep the trees from being knocked down in the future and developed for some other use?


Ms. Lemke answered, good record keeping. She stated she required plans of the areas which showed where they would be planted.


Member Mutch thought a conservation easement should be required. He thought it was silly to have a developer plant replacement trees on their property and then leave open the possibility that they could be knocked down and developed down the road.


Member Mutch asked how approval of the plan would affect the woodlands to the north and south along the property line?


Ms. Lemke stated since it was a contiguous system, it impacts the areas to the north and south. She stated if the area to the north would be preserved, by isolating the woodland there would be a small narrow corridor that would run behind the property and connect to the woodlands to the south.


Member Canup stated the whole idea behind the OST zoning was to try to get buildings that were friendly with the environment and to work around the natural features. He stated he has not seen a great effort to do so. In looking at the plan, he did not feel that the applicant has demonstrated much ambition in trying to preserve the woodlands. He stated he would not favor approval of the request.


Member Richards asked for clarification of the phasing of the plan and whether or not it was going to be phased.


Mr. Arroyo stated it was his understanding that if they chose to build the first building without a phasing plan, they can do so, however, they will be in a position of having to post a financial guarantee for all improvements on the site.


Member Richards asked if this guaranteed a percentage of total buildout?


Mr. Bluhm answered, it requires the applicant to post a bond that is equal to the buildout. He clarified that the bond that would have to be posted would be one and one half times the cost of all site improvements that are not completed at the time they are asking for occupancy.


Member Richards expressed concern with the height of the buildings. He asked if there was a structural reason why the building had to be taller than the zoning calls for?


Mr. Santner stated one reason he was looking to build the three story buildings in the front was that they were office buildings and that was the most economical and compact building arrangement on the site. It preserved the most site area for office type uses. In addition, the building height gives appropriate ceiling heights for tenant spaces. Mr. Santner stated the 9’ ceilings were typical of current leasing requirements for Class A office space in the market.


In regard to the main entrance, Member Richards asked if the street aligns with the residential streets located across from it?


Mr. Arroyo answered, no. He stated there was a boulevard that comes in at the south property line. There is another boulevard north of the property.


Member Richards stated it appeared that it could be a signalized street.


Mr. Arroyo stated it was hopeful that someday there could be the potential for signalized access at the southerly access point across from Heatherbrook.


Member Richards asked if there was some way of indicating that the replacement trees would grow and if they didn’t would they be replaced with new trees?


Ms. Lemke answered that a guarantee of two years is required of all woodland replacement trees. She explained that money is held for this reason for the two years.





Member Koneda was disappointed in the site plan. He stated he was pleased to see the Husky project built around the natural resources and thought it would be a model for mass destruction of woodlands. He reminded the developer of what the Woodlands Protection Ordinance asks for and its purpose. He stated the plan did not demonstrate any conscientious effort to try and meet the Woodlands Ordinance.




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Cassis.


Member Koneda stated he made the motion because it essentially will stop the site plan since the site plan cannot be approved without a Woodlands Permit.

Mr. Weisberger stated action still needed to be taken. One of the criteria for determining whether or not to approve it is whether or not it meets the regulations.

Member Koneda amended the motion to also include the denial of the Preliminary Site Plan.




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Cassis, CARRIED (6-2): To deny Preliminary Site Plan approval and the Woodlands Permit for Novaplex SP99-32 based on the criteria that the Site Plan does not meet the intent of the Woodlands Ordinance.




Member Mutch agreed with the comments of the Commissioners, however, if the applicant was willing to revisit the issues brought up by the Consultants, he stated he would be open to tabling the matter. He asked if the applicant was willing to look at the matter and would they prefer a denial or a tabling?


Mr. Quinn stated the Beztak Corporation believes that they have looked at all viable alternatives and there are no other economically viable alternatives, therefore, they do not think anything can be accomplished by tabling.


Member Mutch disagreed. He stated there were alternatives that could be explored which dealt with building height, footprint, orientation, square footage, parking issues in terms of looking at alternative parking measures. Member Mutch was in support of the denial if the applicant was not willing to look at any alternatives.


Chairperson Capello stated in the residential area of the Ordinances, more of an effort is made to protect the woodlands and work with developers because there are certain incentives to stay out of the woodlands. He felt the Commission was learning from this project that this has not been addressed in the OST District.



Yes: Capello, Cassis, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Canup

No: Churella, Richards





Moved by Koneda, seconded by Mutch, FAILED (4-4): To grant Wetland Permit for Novaplex SP99-32 subject to the Consultants recommendations and conditions.




Member Canup asked what the value was to approve the Wetlands?


Mr. Weisberger answered it was on the table, therefore, the Commission needed to take some sort of action on it. Secondly, the Consultant has indicated that it is a non-essential wetland that has some impacts. Legally, the Commission has to take some sort of action on it.


Member Canup clarified his question was regarding why the Commission needed to approve when they just disapproved of everything else.


Member Cassis asked Mr. Weisberger to clarify what the Commission was voting on.


Mr. Weisberger stated the Commission went through an extensive discussion over the last year which dealt with essentiality and non-essentiality. He stated when a wetland is non-essential, meaning under two acres, and the Consultant deems it non-essential, the state law says that a person can come forward to the Commission with a request to do whatever they want in a non-essential wetland. The Commission is required by law to grant that permit.


Chairperson Capello stated the way the Ordinance is written and with a Wetland Permit, the applicant does not have to tie it to a site plan.


Mr. Weisberger stated the proposed activity is the filling of the wetland. Because it is a non-essential wetland, it is something that the state requires that a use permit shall be granted.


Chairperson Capello added to the motion that the particular wetland to be filled is non-essential, therefore, it is non-regulated at this time.


Regarding the wetland that is not to be impacted, Chairperson Capello expressed concern whether there is enough information or factual support to determine that it is essential. He stated it is only 5 acres, therefore, in order for the Commission to regulate it, it must be determined to be essential to the preservation of the natural resources in the City. Chairperson Capello did not think this to be the case. He did not think the preservation easement should be granted because

he did not think it was essential. He also did not think a preservation easement could be required without a site plan. He thought the motion should grant a permit to fill the wetland and no preservation easement required on the remaining 0.05 acres.


In regard to the non-essential pocket, Ms. Kay thought there was more of an issue than just whether or not it could be filled because part of it is forested, about 0.20 acres of it. She stated the other 0.20 acres of it is outside of the woodlands area and is an old homestead pond.




Yes: Koneda, Piccinini, Richards, Capello

No: Cassis, Churella, Mutch, Canup






Moved by Mutch, seconded by Churella, FAILED (4-4): To deny the Wetland Permit.




Yes: Churella, Mutch, Canup, Cassis

No: Koneda, Piccinini, Richards, Capello


Mr. Weisberger suggested tabling the item to get a solid review and opinion letter from the City Attorney’s office.






Moved by Mutch, seconded by Piccinini, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To table decision on Wetland Permit for Novaplex SP99-32.




Yes: Mutch, Piccinini, Richards, Canup, Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda

No: None


Chairperson Capello announced the Commission would take a ten minute break.









An Ordinance to amend Subpart 28-6(2)b.3 of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to allow a business closest to a thoroughfare a wall sign although the business’s entrance does not face the thoroughfare.


Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney stated the amendment was sent back to the Implementation Committee for clarification. They clarified the provision that states the building closest to a thoroughfare which does not have its building facing the thoroughfare can have its’ sign on the wall which fronts the thoroughfare. He stated this would only apply to the typical strip mall setting. All other businesses would be governed by the provisions in the Sign Ordinance.


Mr. Weisberger stated one issue was in regard to multi-story office buildings. He stated there was an allowance for a business center sign, a business sign and an additional business wall sign if certain square footage requirements were met.


Chairperson Capello stated the intent was specifically to address one story retail space.


Mr. Weisberger stated a business occupying a portion of the building nearest the thoroughfare which is entitled to a sign. Under Subpart 28-6, (3) d, it states that there must be a direct separate entrance to be entitled to an additional sign.







Member Mutch asked if "a business" was clear enough or would a tenant come forward and say that they were sort of in a part of the building?


Mr. Weisberger answered, it would be the business occupying that portion of the building nearest the thoroughfare which is entitled.


Member Mutch clarified that they would only get one sign.


Mr. Weisberger answered, yes.


Chairperson Capello suggested to clarify the issue, it might make sense to change "a business" to "the business".


Mr. Weisberger stated there could be a strip mall that has back to back businesses, each with direct separate entrances. Under this provision, they could both have their signs facing the thoroughfare.


Member Koneda asked if there were two different developments under two different ownerships and the buildings share a common wall, would both businesses then be entitled because they are separate developments?


Mr. Weisberger answered, yes.




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Richards, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send a positive recommendation to City Council to adopt Code of Ordinance Text Amendment 99.100.26.




Yes: Piccinini, Richards, Canup, Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda, Mutch

No: None



This senior housing development project is located in Section 2, on the southwest corner of Fourteen Mile and Novi Roads. The 4.67 acre site is part of the Maples of Novi development and is zoned Residential Acreage/Planned Unit Development (RA/PUD). The applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan approval.


Member Churella stated the owners of the property are clients of his, therefore, he would not be voting on the issue.


Member Piccinini stated the owners did some project management work for her last year, therefore, she asked the Commission how they felt about it.


Paul Weisberger, Assistant City Attorney asked if she was receiving any financial gain from them being approved for the project?


Member Piccinini answered, no.


Mr. Weisberger asked if she had any longstanding relationship or anticipated receiving any finances?


Member Piccinini answered, no.


Mr. Weisberger then stated that she did not have a conflict.


Jenny Lawrence represented Royal Management Company. She stated the project is part of the Maples of Novi PUD. She stated the project is a senior apartment facility that is proposed to be three stories with 100 units. There were no wetlands or woodlands on the site. Ms. Lawrence requested a Section 9 Façade Waiver as she exceeds the percentages on the asphalt shingles on the east and west facades.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant stated the plan complies with the overall PUD plan and Section 27, he recommended approval subject to minor items being addressed on the Final Site Plan.


In regard to traffic, Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the preliminary site plan. He stated the access to Novi Road is as was proposed on the PUD area plan. There were some minor changes and comments that needed to be addressed as part of the Final.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant recommended approval. He stated there were a number of minor comments that could be addressed at the time of Final. He stated the City has a primary water main feed along the western side of the site. He asked that the applicant limit the amount of permanent below grade construction in that area such as patios, footings, foundations, etc. as the water main is fairly old and very sensitive as well as it supplies the main feed for Novi. The applicant will have to secure a R.O.W. permit. He would be looking for details on limited amount of equipment accessing that area for construction at the time the R.O.W. permit comes in.


Linda Lemke recommended approval of the Landscape plan. She stated at the time of Final she would be looking for: 1) additional shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennials to be added throughout the project. 2) Additional shrubs underneath the deciduous canopy trees along the western property line to provide more opacity to the adjacent use. 3) Additional shrubs to screen the first floor units. 4) Reworking of the R.O.W. plantings, providing more plantings to meet the required opacity and moving some evergreen trees. 5) She was looking to save some of the mature clusters of Amelanchier canadensis which are somewhat unusual in Novi. With these comments, she recommended approval.


Mr. Bluhm reviewed Mr. Necci’s letter dated December 9, 1999. He recommended approval of a Section 9 Waiver.


Chairperson Capello announced he 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) Existing hydrant in the parking lot near the front entrance shall be relocated; 2) the location of the Fire Department connection shall be shown on the plan; 3) at least 50% of the building perimeter shall be accessible within 25 feet for fire apparatus; 4) The canopy shall have a minimum 14’ clear access height; 5) the cul-de-sac shall have a minimum 52’ outside turning radius; 6) all roads are to be paved prior to construction; 7) all water mains and fire hydrants are to be installed and in service prior to construction above the foundation; 8) the building address shall be posted facing the street.


Chairperson Capello turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion




Member Mutch asked if the applicant intended on meeting the Ordinance regarding building height?


Ms. Lawrence stated the building eve height was 33’ therefore, it was under the 40’ requirement.


Member Mutch asked about the nature of the actual housing.


The applicant answered it was independent living of senior citizens that were totally mobile. He stated each apartment had a full service kitchen and bath facilities. The building had a lot of amenities.


Member Mutch asked if it was possible to make adjustments to the landscaping to provide a pedestrian connection from the front entrance to the bikepath on Novi Road and then connect the sidewalk up to Fourteen Mile Road.


Ms. Lemke answered, yes, it would be possible.


Member Mutch stated he would like to see that as part of the motion.


Member Mutch asked if something could be done as far as landscaping or signage, at the corner of Fourteen Mile Road and Novi Road as it was an entrance into the City.


Ms. Lemke stated she could suggest some treatments to the applicant.


Member Mutch asked how the access points lined up with the shopping center across the street?


Mr. Arroyo answered the southerly access lines up directly. He stated they were all in accordance with what he was looking for.




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Cassis, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Preliminary Site Plan approval for Maples Manor 98-57 and to grant Façade Waiver.




Yes: Piccinini, Richards, Canup, Capello, Cassis, Koneda, Mutch

No: None



Presentation by Planning Department Director Jim Wahl and Planning Consultant Road Arroyo.


Jim Wahl, Planning Official stated although there was no formal action taken on the budget or work program, however, there were a number of comments on different proposals within the budget.


Mr. Wahl gave a brief review of the concerns regarding the studies. In regard to the Industrial and OST Inventory Analysis, he stated it has been moved back in the five year work program estimate. It is to be completed with the new Master Plan in the spring of 2004. The Threatened and Endangered Species Study Proposal has been revamped based on the comments of the Commission and is now titled Ranking of Environmental Areas. The Environmental Educational Outreach Program has been reworked to involve cable TV broadcasting and some other elements. The major changes dealt with road and traffic planning and related corridor studies.



Chairperson Capello asked if anyone had any comments regarding the Industrial and OST Inventory and Analysis?


There were no comments, therefore, Chairperson Capello announced the study would remain.


Chairperson Capello asked if anyone had any comments regarding the Threatened and Endangered Species Study?


Member Piccinini asked if permission would be sought out before going onto any property to conduct the studies, because she would not support it without the property owners explicitly giving permission. She suggested that language be added to reflect her feeling toward permission being granted.


Member Koneda thought the study was important to rank environmental areas and he supported the study. In regard to the narrative under Goal, he suggested adding the words "City purchase" after the word "or". He stated if areas are identified that are thought to be better suited parklands than some of the current lands, parklands could be sold, traded, or the usage could be changed, there were all kinds of opportunities. He would like to see the Study taken and shared it with Parks and Recreation and perhaps get them to incorporate it into their Master Plan. He felt there was a lot of value to it, it was information that could be shared and for the amount of money being spent, it was a bargin.


Member Churella asked if school property is also looked at? And is it sent on to the school board?


Ms. Lemke answered yes. She stated the information could certainly be shared with the school system as well as the Parks and Recreation Department.


Member Mutch stated there were several on-going State programs that were handing out millions of dollars. However, he stated there would be some requirements for the City to match funds. He stated Parks and Recreation needed this kind of information to be able to compete in the grant process and if they don’t have it, they will not be able to get the dollars.


Chairperson Capello thought once they started getting to the bottom of the list the money would run out, therefore, he thought something different needed to be done rather than go in chronological order.


Member Koneda suggested by going through it, the Commission may find a study or two that they don’t think is warranted and delete it. He also suggested that the Commission should prioritize them as to what they really want to do as opposed to what they would like to do. Perhaps this would also give some guidance to City Council




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Koneda, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Ranking of Environmental Areas.




Yes: Richards, Canup, Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini

No: None


Chairperson Capello asked if anyone had comments regarding Environmental Educational Outreach?

Member Koneda thought this was a nice study, however, he did not feel it was a high priority. Therefore, he was not sure that the Commission would get much out of it, he would like to see it deleted.


Member Piccinini disagreed with the comments of Member Koneda through a marketing standpoint. She stated more would be gained through a pamphlet, flyer or television than an individual situation. She stated more of the broad based public would be reached. She also felt that available handouts would be a cheaper and more effective way of getting information to a lot of people.


Chairperson Capello asked if there was money in other budgets that could be combined and worked with to create the cable TV program?


Ms. Lemke did not know.


Member Cassis agreed with Member Koneda regarding eliminating the study.




Moved by Cassis, seconded by Koneda, CARRIED (5-3): To delete Environmental Educational Outreach.




Yes: Richards, Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda

No: Piccinini, Canup, Mutch


Chairperson Capello moved to the corridor studies.


Mr. Arroyo gave an overview of all three studies.


Member Cassis asked if most of Beck Road has been developed by housing?


Mr. Arroyo stated the majority of the frontage has been developed with housing.


Member Cassis asked what studies were conducted as far as alignment, width, etc.


Mr. Arroyo stated the studies at that level were much different. The traffic studies for individual projects look at the need for turning and passing lanes. He clarified that this was something totally different. It was looking at the construction of a boulevard, it would have the impact of putting a landscaped median down the middle of the road which would have a more positive aesthetic impact as well as it would push the road out closer to residential. The end result of the study would show where the road would go and how close it would be to the homes, what type of landscape and buffering treatments might be available and obtaining input from the public. Hopefully by doing so, there would be some support for the ultimate solution.


Member Cassis asked who planned the boulevard?


Mr. Arroyo stated the recommendation for a four lane boulevard came from the Planning Commission as part of their last Master Plan update. He stated in looking at a few key roadways, the Master Plan and Zoning Committee determined that there were some roadways where it might make more sense to build a boulevard. He stated the recommendation is for Ten Mile Road as well as Beck Road to be a four lane boulevard through the City. He stated City Council, as part of the Road Bond discussion, has expressed an interest in pursuing a boulevard option along Beck Road.


Member Cassis was concerned that the Commission would approve of a study for the boulevard and the citizenry would not approve of it or the final submission may not come in as a boulevard. He asked if the study was being done without a basis or a concrete focus?


Mr. Arroyo thought there were some advantages to finding out now before going through the formal design process and the actual bond proposal process. He stated sometimes there is a reaction to proposals based on a certain amount of information and once additional information is brought to light, there could be changes. He stated there is also the potential for a unique solution to come out of the process based upon the input from the citizens. He thought it would benefit the Community to have this information up front.


Member Richards asked if it could happen that it is looked at as a 4 or 5 lane surface street as opposed to being a boulevard with a median?


Mr. Arroyo stated the proposal is only to look at it as a boulevard. The only viable option to it would be a five lane road. He stated a four lane road with a divider would be unsafe because there is too much of a problem with left turns without a center left turn lane. He proposed that the Commission look at the boulevard because it is consistent with the thoroughfare plan and it seems to have more of a positive impact and seems to fit the corridor.


Member Richards was looking at it from the standpoint that there was less maintenance on a five lane road versus a boulevard.


Mr. Arroyo stated the five lane alternative could be incorporated into it. He thought it would adjust the scope, but it could be added. He stated they went with the four lane boulevard because it was the Thoroughfare Plan recommendation.


Member Churella asked if an area overlay would show the projected road, landscaping, irrigation, etc. He stated if proper irrigation is not put in, it dies off and looks terrible. He thought this needed to be taken into consideration. He asked if more money was budgeted for the Novi Road Corridor because of the bridge?


Mr. Arroyo stated there were a number of reasons. He stated it was a much more complicated land use pattern. He stated there were impacts of the bridge as well as the Special Intersection Studies.


Member Piccinini expressed concerns regarding getting grants for work while at the same time paying again for the same work. She stated there was redundancy in the Planning Department budget regarding mapping information and distribution to the public. She stated the maps that were discussed in the Planning Department budget are things that are already being done by DPS as she saw a bunch of the finished products.


Mr. Arroyo stated Member Piccinini was correct in that the maps were already completed. He clarified those maps are not being recreated. The proposal in the Department’s budget is to take that information and convert it into a format that can be viewed by anyone with home software.


Member Piccinini interjected that it was already being done.


Mr. Arroyo stated he would follow-up with this because the Department was unaware of it.


Member Cassis thought concern should be placed on what was actually going to be submitted to City Council. He thought the City Council would be very choosy in what they will and will not accept. He stated he would like to see the more important projects funded. While the others that are not essential at this time be moved to the side. He did not feel that the Beck Road situation needed to be completed at this time.


Member Piccinini thought the Beck Road issue was an important issue that would affect many residents.


Member Koneda asked what the difference in R.O.W. was between a five lane road and a four lane road divided by a boulevard.


Mr. Arroyo stated they were about the same in many areas, however, there are areas where turnarounds for larger vehicles need to be provided. He stated quite often the R.O.W. has to have a bump out area. The straight section usually can be fit within 120’ of R.O.W.


Member Koneda asked if the study would define the proposed R.O.W.’s for future developments?


Mr. Arroyo answered, yes, on a conceptual level.


Member Koneda stated many of the residents do not want Beck Road to be widened more than two or three lanes. He suggested that the message needs to be sent out early enough that this is the right thing to do, or else it will never happen. For educational purposes, he thought it was the right thing to do.


Chairperson Capello understood that the studies and overlays would help to educate the residents on Beck Road. However, he would like to see the monies to do the more in-depth studies come out of a budget other than the Commission’s. He stated he would like to take $2,000 or $3,000 and add it into the Community Liaison Program and specifically mark it to educate residents along Beck Road that it is to be widened.


Chairperson Capello stated he would like to see the Novi Road Corridor Study come out of some other budget as well. He thought Novi Road between Trans-X Drive and Ten Mile Road needed to be addressed. He stated something needed to be done with the property and he would rather take an aggressive approach than have some other industrial type use come in.


In regard to the Novi Expo District, Chairperson Capello stated at the last meeting, he suggested that some visionary studies along Grand River be done. Particularly, west of Novi Road up to Beck Road.


Chairperson Capello asked the Commission if they wanted to handle the Matter tonight or put it off until the next meeting with additional direction from the Consultants?


Member Piccinini stated since it was the Planning Commission’s budget, she thought some of the things should come from the Commission. She thought it was important and pro-active and it is what the residents are asking for. She agreed with postponing the Matter until the next meeting.


Member Cassis was not sure if planning for road studies and corridors was the jurisdiction of the Planning Commission. He thought it was more of a City Council situation.


Member Mutch thought the traffic studies were a part of the Planning Commissions jurisdiction, he explained that there was an entire section in the Master Plan. He stated the Commission needed to go to the City Council with the items that they want to spend money on. If the Commission cuts their budget and sends it off to Council, they could cut it even more and then the Commission would be even further in the hole. He agreed that the Commission should wait until the next meeting to make the final call, however, he thought most of the studies should be sent on to Council.


Chairperson Capello asked Mr. Arroyo to give the Commission an idea of what kind of budget would be needed to add the Beck Road Corridor Study to Community Liaison. He also added that the Novi Road Corridor Study would be brought back to the next meeting.






Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant briefly reviewed the Zoning Text Amendment Process.





Beth Brock, Planning Assistant announced the dates of the APA National Planning Conference which was being held in New York this year. She also announced the registration deadline.


Chairperson Capello asked if there was money in the budget to allow for this conference?


Mr. Wahl stated very little of the $8,000 line item has been spent. He believed that three members was the maximum number of Commissioners that could attend a national conference.


Chairperson Capello stated he considered attending.


Member Piccinini stated it was possible that she would attend.


Member Churella stated he would also attend.




Member Canup stated over the past year, it seemed that there was always some information being handed out just before the meeting, he asked why this information was not being included in the packets?


Beth Brock, Planning Assistant answered, because the information was not received until later.


Member Canup felt that if information was being received late, the applicant’s case should not be heard. He stated if all of the information is not complete and turned in before the packets are delivered, it should not be heard because it is not a surprise that the information needs to be turned in. He stated it was not acceptable. He gave an example that at one of the last meetings, there was some fairly important documentation that was handed to the Commission at the last minute.


Member Churella agreed with the comments of Member Canup.


Member Canup felt that the real way to address the problem was to make a motion that stated if information was not accepted on time, the Commission does not hear that particular case.




Moved by Canup


Chairperson Capello thought rather than make a motion, he would like to have the City Attorney’s take a look into it because there are some filing requirements. He did not know if by making a motion, the Commission could amend the rules.


Mr. Arroyo stated there were standards in the Site Plan Manual and the Bylaws that address this issue.


Chairperson Capello asked if they could be amended by a motion or would it have to go through some other formal process?


Mr. Arroyo thought they could be looked at. He stated it may be that the Commission just needs a policy decision. He stated it could be looked into with a report back to the Commission.


Member Canup withdrew his motion until the next meeting which would give an opportunity to review the issue.


Chairperson Capello added this item under Matters for Consideration for the next meeting Agenda.






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




Yes: Canup, Capello, Cassis, Churella, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards

No: None




Beth Brock - Planning Assistant


Transcribed by: Diane Vimr

February 07, 2000


Date Approved: February 16, 2000