View Agenda for this Meeting


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 2000 AT 7:30 P.M.




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


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


ABSENT/EXCUSED: Member Churella


ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant Victoria Weber, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Director of Planning and Community Development Jim Wahl and Community Planning Assistant Sarah Marchioni






Chairperson Capello stated that he understood that the Public Hearing Zoning Map Amendment 18.601 has been tabled until the July 19 meeting and the public hearing will be heard at that time.


Chairperson Capello asked if there is a motion to approve the agenda with this correction?




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Piccinini, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To approve the Agenda as amended.




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

No: None




Pete Hoadley, 31084 Arlington Circle stated that there was an article in the Free Press today regarding Joe Knollenberg and another Congressman sponsoring some legislation at the national level that would make it much easier for developers to sue in federal court. He believes that local control should be kept on a local level. He urges the Planning Commission to take a look at it and prepare a resolution to City Council. Farmington Hills has done theirs last week.


A resident of the Haverhill subdivision stated that the Zoning Map Amendment 18.601 proposal backs up to property that he occupies. He has paid a significant amount of money for his property and his home. There is a lot of wildlife in the wetlands that is to the south of his subdivision. He would be against developing this property because it is encroaching on the wildlife that is there as well as the property values.


Pete Hoadley, 31084 Arlington Circle stated that he would like to speak on the Zoning Map Amendment 18.601. He suggested using the new RUD ordinance, which is an overlay zoning that would preserve woodlands and wetlands.






Chairperson Capello announced there were two items on the Consent Agenda, West Market Square Outlot Retail East SP 00-24 and approval of the May 3, 2000 Planning Commission minutes.


Dennis Watson stated that he would like to make a comment on the first item. He stated that it is subject to the consultantís letter and it is contingent upon the ZBA variance.




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Piccinini, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (8-0): To approve West Market Square Outlot Retail East SP 00-24 and the minutes of the Regular Planning Commission Meeting of May 3, 2000 as presented.




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

No: None





The proposed rezoning of 19.49 acres in Section 1, located south of Fourteen Mile Road and west of M-5. The applicant is seeking a positive rezoning recommendation from Residential Acreage (RA) to One-Family Residential District (R-4) or any other appropriate zoning district.


Bob Latten, landscape architect and planner from Ann Arbor, stated that he would like to show the Board why he thinks that the R-4 rezoning is appropriate. He stated that it is a long, narrow piece of property and Haverhill subdivision is to the east. Haverhill is zoned R-2 but it was done under an older ordinance that allowed for reduction of lot size for preservation of open space. Most of the lots in that development are below ninety (90) feet wide and below one hundred thirty (130) feet deep so they are more in the category of an R-3 type of zoning. Beyond Haverhill is the Maples PUD which is single unit condominiums and the density is quite high. A mobile home park is not far from the site, which averages around five (5) units per acre. There is not very much R-A property left and it is basically surrounded by more intense development. Also, there is a very large wetland complex that isolates this site from other properties. The site has a stream that passes through the property and a piece of wetland that is attached to the wetland in the Haverhill development. There are only four (4) lots in Haverhill that really abut the property. There are no trees on the property with the exception of the property line.


Bob Latten stated that he realizes that this isnít site plan approval tonight but he would like to show the Board a couple of layouts to show the difficulty of the site in terms of developing it. R-A is a one (1) acre lot with one hundred fifty (150) foot widths and the site is just wide enough to single load a road down the property. It is not realistic and economically feasible to develop under this category. R-1 is the same kind of problem with the lots being one hundred eighty two (182) feet deep with a single sided road. R-2 is one hundred ten (110) foot depth lots, which is also not economically feasible. R-3 has a small enough lot depth that you can economically afford to build the road. The problem with this lot depth is that you have to build a straight road. He has come to the conclusion that if they can obtain R-4 zoning then they would be able to double the road, put a curve in it and not have a straight road. The minimum depth would be one hundred twenty five (125), which is very close to the minimum depth in Haverhill. The width would be eighty (80) feet, which he is not very concerned with. R-2 zoning allows two units per acre and one of the plans has forty-seven (47) lots. He is not opposed to losing some lots for density but he would like to get some flexibility in the depth so that the road can be curved. He stated that there are four (4) lots in Haverhill that abut the property but they actually back up to the stream which would have to have a twenty five (25) foot buffer on either side. There is one lot that is adjacent to the site.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant stated that he is going to provide an overview of his report dated May 24, 2000. He is not recommending approval of the request that is before the Board to rezone the property from RA to R-4. Instead, he is recommending an alternative zoning of R-2, which is consistent with the density recommendations in the Master Plan for Land Use. The adjacent subdivision is zoned R-2, Maples PUD is located to the west and to the south is existing RA zoning. In terms of the Master Plan for Land Use, it designates the property on the west side as residential and the property to the east side of M-5 is designated for office consistent with the OST zoning. Also, the Master Plan includes a residential density map in which the subject property is designated as a 2.0 dwelling unit per acre density, which covers both the subject property and the Haverhill subdivision. Immediately to the south the density drops down to 1.65 which is consistent with R-1 zoning and to the south is .8 units per acre which is consistent with RA zoning. In terms of active projects in the area, North Novi Medical is a medical office site plan located to the east. Most of the site is covered by medium density woodland and that woodland continues to the south and to the wetland area. There is a small wetland that encroaches close to Fourteen Mile, a small wetland near the center and the southern end and a larger wetland, which was preserved. He indicated in his letter that he is not recommending approval because the density is not compatible with surrounding densities within the city. The density and the rezoning to R-4 would not be in conformance with the Master Plan for Land Use recommendations. The minimum lot size in RA is 43, 560 feet and the density is 0.8 dwelling units per acre. The applicant is asking for R-4 zoning that would provide a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet and would provide for a maximum density of 3.3 dwelling units per acre. The recommended R-2 zoning that he is suggesting would provide for 18,000 square feet with a minimum lot size and 2 dwelling units per acre. This is a fairly narrow, long site and the city will have more and more of these sites for consideration. As the Board is aware, he is currently in the process of taking a look at all of the residential development options that the city has that allows for flexibility in development. He has been working closely with the Planning department and other consultants on how some Master Plan recommendations can be brought forward to provide for some flexibility in development. In terms of options for this property the applicant has indicated the difficulty in providing for certain types of development that might be desirable or different development scenarios such as double loaded roads and curvatures in the roadway. It is not necessary for a property to be rezoned to R-4 in order to have flexibility in lot sizes and flexibility in the lot development. One way that this can happen is through some of the residential options. The residential options preserve the density, which would be if it went to R-2 then the applicant could not go above 2 dwelling units per acre. It could allow for some potential reduction in lot sizes in exchange for providing open space and providing for the ability to work into a difficult site. This summer in July there will be some concepts coming forward and possible zoning amendments that look at the various residential options that may provide for some additional flexibility.


Chairman Capello stated that if you look at the sizes of the lots in Haverhill they are the same as the projected R-4. He asked if he could provide some information on the type of zoning and the reduced lot sizes that Haverhill came under when it came before the Board?


Mr. Arroyo stated that there was a fairly long history. The project did come forward and the applicant was looking for a more intense zoning initially and there was a lawsuit filed. A consent judgement was entered on that property which set forth the agreement to the settlement of the lawsuit and there may be some lot provisions and lot dimensions within that property that donít meet all of the R-2 preservation option standards. There may be some modifications that came through the consent judgement process.


Mr. Watson stated that he believes that this project may have originally come in under a prior option that the city had that was later withdrawn.


Mr. Arroyo stated that the adjusted lot size option, which was in place before the preservation option, had different application of density and potential reduction of lot sizes different than preservation. At the time that this was going through that process one of the options of adjusted lot size was withdrawn, repealed, and replaced with the preservation option.


Chairman Capello stated that the proposed stub is coming into Paisley Court. He asked if Paisley Court abuts the property line where they would have access to it?


Mr. Arroyo stated that the right of way does and that was part of the discussion when that project came forward because of the long cul de sac length in that area. There needed to be a connection to this particular property to provide for an eventual emergency connection or full connection. It is planned as a full connection but it could be either.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect stated that the GIS is reading this property as one massive woodlands. Mr. Latten was correct that the woodlands are at the south end and are at the edges of the site. However, it is not a continuous woodland.


Chairman Capello asked if they are regulated?


Ms. Lemke stated that the little areas that go across it and on the sides are regulated.




Chairman Capello stated that there were one hundred forty eight (148) objections and two (2) approvals. Dale Jung objects to the rezoning because the property values in Haverhall will fall, traffic is currently a nightmare, and the noise and pollution level will be greatly increased. John Charles Bawn objects to the rezoning because he is R-2 zoning and R-4 zoning will decrease the property values. Willford Allen objects because he paid a hefty premium for his lot due to location, size and wooded area behind and to the side of the lot. Gladys Baun objects because the R-4 zoning will decrease her property values. Scott and Susan Comere object because the area is too small for the quantity of homes and decrease property values. Karen OíBrien Cortis objects because traffic flow will be increased, property values will decrease. Karen Courtis, Linda Wash, David & Wendy Camalerry object because they have a serious concern made to the grade of their property behind the hill. Nancy Shurgen objects because her subdivision has one exit/entrance for tighter security reasons and less traffic on her street. Irene Lapinski objects because the new homes will be smaller than hers and will be on smaller lots. Karen Chudler objects because they do not need increased traffic within the lot. Steven & Carol Gable object because the development will not be substantially similar to Haverhill and the new development would be quite different than the neighborhood directly to the west. John Ladimere III objects because of increased traffic and decrease property values. Jerry Atuma objects to R-4 zoning because it will decrease property values. Colleen Bonnier objects because of increased traffic and decrease home values. Caroline & Zing Chen object because it will decrease the property values. Ma Jau Dejonga objects because it will increase traffic and 14 Mile is already overcrowded. Sandish Manur stated that this should have been brought up before they bought their house. Glenn & Dawn Whitehead object because the project should be zoned R-2 as Haverhill is and not R-4. Mohamad Hadid & Soji Alnij approve. Linda Wash objects. Chairperson Capello stated that the rest of the correspondence would be available in the Planning Department to look at.


Mr. Arroyo stated that he neglected the traffic review and he would like to go over it. The applicant did provide a trip generation analysis, which is required per the Ordinance. The analysis compared the development under RA zoning, the current zoning. It showed that under RA the number of dwelling units would be fifteen (15), under R-4 the number would be fifty-one (51) with the difference of thirty-six (36). In terms of traffic and trips on a twenty four hour basis an RA project with fifteen (15) units would generate one hundred eighty one (181) trips per day versus five hundred fifty eight (558) trips per day for an R-4 subdivision of fifty one (51) lots. During the AM peak hour the RA subdivision would generate twenty (20) trips versus forty-five (45) for the R-4. During the PM peak hour the RA subdivision would generate nineteen (19) trips per hour versus fifty-eight (58) trips per hour for the R-4 subdivision.


Member Mutch stated that he would like to take a second to review the process because a lot of the audience members may not be familiar with this process. The Planning Commission is a recommending body on rezonings. Tonight they will make a recommendation to the City Council on this rezoning proposal. The City Council has final authority on rezoning proposals so whatever decision the Planning Commission makes is just a recommendation. Whatever plan is shown here may be different than the one that they submit and they can do that as long as the use is permitted in the zoning district. The Planning Commission doesnít have any control over home sizes, the developer controls that. The Commission cannot approve or deny a rezoning with the condition that a house must be built to a certain size. Even in an R-4 zoning the houses will probably be equal or greater in value than some houses.


Chairperson Capello stated that the notice states "R-4 or any other appropriate zoning" and that leaves it to the Planning Commissionís discretion. Also, this is the only Public Hearing and when it does go to City Council than there will not be a Public Hearing.


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


Pete Hoadley, 31084 Arlington Circle stated that he lives in Maples of Novi and he hates to disagree with the developer but he is dead wrong in regards to the density of Maples. Maples is an RA zoned piece of property with an overlaying zoning under the PUD Ordinance. However, the gross acreage is about three hundred (300) and the total units are seven hundred fifty (750). The reason is because they have preserved almost fifty (50) percent of the property in either woodlands, wetlands, wooded wetlands, golf courses and many small cul de sacs with greenspace preserved. Haverhill has turned out to be a terrific subdivision with an R-2 zoning and there is a terrible traffic pattern. There will be traffic problems until 14 Mile is widened and he doesnít see that happening for at least ten (10) years. This particular piece of property is hard to develop and it would be hard to develop under RA. R-2 is the appropriate zoning recommendation because it limits the amount of trips per unit. If you go R-4 then you will get all two-story, no side or rear lot line houses that will get the money. As far as the wetland/woodland issue then you can always mitigate on property by putting in the appropriate number of trees. He strongly recommends an R-2 zoning to the Planning Commission.


Linda Wash, 40449 Paisley Circle stated that she lives in the cul de sac in the developers plans. Although her property does not abut the proposed development she is about fifty (50) feet from it. She wanted to address some of the more specific issues that should be considered and not the ones that have already been brought up which is the traffic impact and property values. The biggest impact that she sees is the potential impact to drainage. When she first moved in she had a drainage problem and one of the residents, James Sprawl, who couldnít attend had pictures to submit. She read a paragraph relative to the drainage from James, "The picture provided indicate a serious drainage problem directly in front of my home on Paisley Circle. The placement of homes across the street would cause a serious problem with the drainage in front of my home. The city of Novi is aware of this problem and they were involved in the resolution to the original problem. There is a solution in place but any additional drainage onto Paisley Circle will result in flooding again. Glenn Lemmon, the City Assessor, was the individual who assisted in determining the original problem which is an eighteen (18) inch sewer line being reduced to twelve (12) inches at the corner of Kingswood and Paisley Circle. If new homes are built across the street the previous drainage and flooding issue will return at which time he will expect to initiate legal action to protect his interest." He had already started legal action but there was a resolution put in place. The bottom line is that there is a slope and once the property is developed then the water will run into Paisley Circle again. Her biggest concern is the drainage and there would be have to be serious consideration given to the design of how they will drain that property. Also, there is the M-5 road noise. The residents were told that the sound barrier for them was the strip of trees so if anything is developed on that piece of property than it is inevitable that the trees will be disrupted. During rush hour the residents have to close their windows and if something were developed a permanent sound barrier must be installed. The third issue is preservation of wetlands and trees. There is a park called Paisley Park that is a permanent easement for wetland preservation and drainage. Some sort of easement will need to be put around it because it will impact the drainage. Also, if they dig too close to the trees than the wetland will be gone and the residents will be able to see houses in their backyard. The fourth issue is the property owner on 31120 Kingswood Boulevard who has a thirteen (13) foot tall retaining wall which is directly against the proposed property. The city of Novi was involved when that retaining wall was put up. The ownerís concern is that there will be homes directly behind it and if there is it will shift the land and that will impact the retaining wall. In addition to the retaining wall, they have spent a significant amount of money on boulders and waterfalls that could be impacted. The last concern is that she paid a significant lot premium to live on a cul de sac and also to be surrounded by wetlands. She paid an excess of $27,000 to be exact and it wouldnít be fair to her to have the wetlands removed to have some sort of an access road. It would impact her privacy and home value and she would like to thank the commission for investigating and evaluating the residents concerns. She asked if there would be a decision made at this meeting?


Chairperson Capello stated that he is confident that the board will come to a decision at this meeting. Sometimes the board tables things for further research but he has a feeling that they will come to a decision tonight.


Bernard Nefy, 40523 Paisley Circle stated that the Paisley Park is specifically for wetland preservation and drainage. The property that is directly adjacent is very steep and the developer will have a hard time without disrupting the drainage. The water flows over to Haverhill Park and the park has a certain area and drainage. He is very concerned with flooding in the basements and if there were a lesser density than the developer would have the flexibility of moving the houses back and expanding Paisley Park to accommodate extra drainage that would be expected. There was an EPA study done on M-5 and they are saying that EPA standards recommend that if there is a 3DB change in noise, which is a doubling of the noise energy from a development that they would consider noise abatement for that property. It is also stated from MDOT that approximately one hundred (100) feet of tree width provides approximately 6DB of noise abatement. There will be a serious problem of noise abatement because those trees are providing that protection. He read a statement from the Highway Traffic Noise Analysis and Abatement Policy guidelines, "The development (M-5) had to be present or committed to construction started before the date of public knowledge. The date of public knowledge shall be the date which a project environmental analysis documentation is approved, i.e. the approval of the categorical exclusion and finding of significant impact." After this date, MDOT is not responsible for providing noise abatement for new developments that occur adjacent to the proposed project, M-5. "Provisions for such abatement become the responsibility of the local governments and private developers." He is pointing out that the tree line is very important.


Phil Weber, 40611 Paisley Circle stated that the developer had made the comment that the proposed lot sizes are approximately the same size as those in Haverhill subdivision. That is misleading since a large number of the Haverhill subdivision is either adjacent to woodlands, wetlands or contained greenspace. The other major issue besides property value and traffic is the issue of the elevation of the property under this proposal. The proposed elevation is significantly above the elevation of the Haverhill subdivision and the drainage concerns are significant. There are already documented drainage concerns on these properties.


Matt Moyski, 40624 Paisley Circle stated that his comments are similar to his neighbors.


Bennett Mazell, 31175 Kingsley Court stated that he is a landscaper and a lot of his work is in Novi. He has been in business for the past thirty (30) years. When the developer comes in he is going to wipe out a lot more trees than what they say. The other issue that no one has addressed is that there are a lot of children in the subdivision and with all of the traffic someone is going to get hurt. There are approximately one hundred fifty (150) children in the neighborhood between the ages of one (1) to ten (10). He only wants the city to be beautiful but he doesnít think that the homes will look good.


Steven Gabel, 40595 Kingsley Lane stated that he is the only board member for Haverhill and he will speak on behalf of the board. As you can see the neighborhood had a pretty strong turnout and there were at least ninety-one (91) signatures or more on the petition. Before he knew all of the facts he didnít have a problem as long as the proposal was similar to Haverhill. He learned that the proposal would not be similar and that an access road would be built. He didnít receive on any of the documents from his developer an access road. He stated that he has not seen a valid easement. People had been advised that the land next to the sub was undevelopable and bought the houses subsequently because of that. There is no notice that there would be an access road. He believes that there is value to continuity and if something different were put in it would be very mish mash. Also, the increase of traffic from Fourteen Mile and Paisley Circle would make an already difficult situation worse. Haverhill currently has roads that are owned by Haverhill and have not been dedicated over to the city. They are private roads at this point.


Chairperson Capello stated that the roads had been talked about and it was assumed that since it is a subdivision the roads were dedicated. It does make a big difference in regards to the access.


Mr. Arroyo stated that if this is a platted subdivision the Ordinance requires that the roads have to eventually be dedicated.


Mr. Watson stated that it is conceivable that they might not have been accepted at this point.


Mr. Arroyo stated that usually when the subdivision is still under construction the roads have not been finalized and the city doesnít accept them until they are finalized.


Mr. Watson stated that they are not accepted until after the construction is completed just in case there is damage to the road. Obviously, this is something that will have to be looked into and resolved before any actual plan comes in.


Chairperson Capello stated that a lot of these issues are premature because rezoning is being looked at and not drainage and road access.


David Lloyd, 40844 Kingsley Lane stated that he agrees with his neighborís comments and requests that the Planning Commission denies the request.


Jeff Blackman, 31121 Chatsford stated that everything has been well stated tonight as far as the drainage, the value of the property, etc. but he would like to bring up the issue of traffic. Ever since M-5 was completed approximately one year ago traffic on Fourteen Mile has been extremely difficult getting in and out of the subdivision during rush hour. In the morning he has been behind school buses that are trying to make a left out of the subdivision and have waited so long that they become impatient and pull out in front of traffic causing cars to stop or swerve out of the way. He has seen accidents increase on Fourteen Mile by the subdivision and if the proposal goes through then there will be even more congestion created. There have been many times when he has wanted to make a left out of the subdivision and waited so long that he had to make a right and turn around. There are approximately one hundred fifty (150) children in the subdivision and the more traffic the more concern he has.


Dan Betz, 31129 Chatsford stated that if a deposition was taken from one of the bus drivers then they would say how horrendous it is getting out of the subdivision. There is no other way to get out of the subdivision than to just take a chance. He stated that he hadnít seen a drawing before tonight but it looks like the developer is trying to make a silk purse out of a cowís ear. This piece of property is embarrassing to develop and he thinks that this is one of those situations where it is a lost opportunity for whoever owns the property. He is sure that the owners of Haverhill approached the applicant and asked them to purchase the land or at least they should have. A precedent must be set right now because this will happen over and over again. He thinks that it is a great opportunity for the developer to try and use the remaining space available because in one year there will be more developers trying to develop the property.


Konrad Stauch, 31800 Northwestern Highway stated that he is representing Brightmor Christian Church which is the owner of the one hundred three (103) acre parcel directly to the south of the proposed project. Brightmor is presently developing a church on the southern fifty (50) acres and are preparing an RUD which will be the balance of the property. Lot sizes will be larger and the homes will be more expensive than Haverhill is. He would be in support of anything that is about two (2) units per acre whether that is an R-2 zoning or whether it is a stipulation by the developer that he will develop no more than two (2) units per acre. He believes that will be in conformity with the development by Brightmor.


Mark Szerlag, 37000 Grand River stated that he is here on behalf of the owner, Sharon Windsor. He is obviously in support of the rezoning and believes that with the surrounding land uses of OST to the immediate east no one has talked about the commercial zoning. He thinks that the zoning that is being proposed is appropriate. The property does have some developmental hardships, which have been described by the developer and residents of Haverhill. This fact was not created by the landowner or the developer. The dimensions of the property are three hundred forty five (345) feet of frontage by twenty five hundred (2500) feet deep and the challenges are obvious. With an R-2 zoning and developing a road up the middle of the property with homes on either side would be a situation where the depths of the property did not meet the existing R-2 zoning ordinance. On an R-4 zoning that would allow a road to meander through and give more appeal to the project. He understands the concerns of the property owners in Haverhill but in response to the comment of property values it is his understanding that the proposal before the board is really looking for the same size lots in Haverhill. He would ask that the board recommend approval to the R-4 zoning.


Seeing no one else he closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.




Member Mutch asked how long the proposal for the R-2 density in the Master Plan has been on the books?


Mr. Arroyo stated that prior to the most recent 1999 Master Plan as his recollection that the density proposed in the Master Plan for this area was RA density. It was changed to an R-2 density with the most recent Master Plan in 1999.


Member Mutch stated that there were some comments on the uses permitted in R-4 district and the possibility of apartments. Do we allow apartments?


Mr. Arroyo stated that in a single-family district it is not allowed.


Member Mutch stated that the property directly across the street might be zoned multiple family in Commerce Township. It is probably at least one hundred fifty (150) acre township park and he thinks that any discussion of the surrounding land uses needs to reflect that reality because it is not developed area. He acknowledges that there is multiple family to the northwest but across the street is actually parkland. These are always interesting proposals because for the residents Haverhill is a subdivision but to him Haverhill is a riding stable. The reality is that there will be development in this community and there will be development on vacant land. Unless the residents purchase this land as a whole then there will be homes going up on property next to them. However, it has to be done in a responsible and planned way, which is what the Master Plan, and ordinance is about. A lot of the issues are valid in terms of the drainage, the woodlands and the properties directly abutting M-5 because they provide the sound barrier. As one of the residents pointed out MDOT is not going to pay for a sound barrier. The problem is that any development of that area is going to take down a lot of trees. The residents really need to communicate with City Council who makes decisions about acquiring land and doing something to preserve the trees and the sound buffer. The Planning Commission can always make a recommendation but they donít control the tax dollars. The recommendation from our consultant and from the Master Plan is for an R-2 rezoning. He thinks that it is appropriate for the area but he has a feeling that the residential options that will come forward in July will provide a potential for a more desirable use of the property. He thinks that anything lower than R-2 would be appropriate but he would like to see this move forward as an R-2 area to be compatible with the adjacent properties.




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Watza: To send a positive recommendation to City Council on Zoning Map Amendment 18.600 to rezone the 19.49 acres in section one (1) from Residential Acreage, RA, to R-2 zoning.




Member Canup stated that he somewhat agrees with the motion. However, he disagrees with the motion because the piece of property to the east that borders along the expressway. His opinion is that the two pieces of property need to be assembled. By rezoning this piece of property and making it developable something creative could be done with being assembled with the easterly piece. He would not be in favor of rezoning it to R-2, he would be in favor of leaving it as it is until there is a plan in place that comes before the board with two assembled pieces of property.



Moved by Koneda, seconded by Mutch, PASSES (7-1): To send a positive recommendation to City Council on Zoning Map Amendment 18.600 to rezone the 19.49 acres in section one (1) from Residential Acreage, RA, to R-2 zoning. Also, to bring this site into compliance with the Master Plan.


Member Koneda stated that he agrees with Member Canup because it is a very difficult site to develop. It is a long, skinny site and he is concerned with what is going to happen to the remaining land to the east, the buffering. He is really concerned with who said that the trees would remain as a sound barrier. The board cannot makes claims of saving existing trees as a sound barrier. A lot of issues were brought up about development, the impact on Haverhill and other questions that have to be addressed during the preliminary site plan approval process. The only real question is density and he will support the motion to rezone it to R-2.


Member Cassis asked if it has to be rezoned?


Mr. Watson stated that City Council does not have to rezone it but it is the Planning Commissionís responsibility to make a recommendation one way or another.


Member Cassis stated that the residents have very professionally presented to the board their opinions. This situation doesnít make economic sense and he hates to disagree with it completely. When someone purchases a property they assume whatever it was and this was an RA zoning. It was well known to the developer when they brought the property so he rejects that idea. He thinks that the board should go ahead with the motion that was made and he would go along with it.


Member Canup asked if they have to recommend any kind of rezoning?


Mr. Watson stated that you have to make a recommendation. However, the recommendation may be a negative recommendation.


Member Canup stated that he doesnít have a problem with the R-2 but he has a problem with fragmenting this property. That piece will be even more difficult.


Joe Locricchio stated that he is part of the development entity for this proposed project. He has approached all of the surrounding property owners. The key parcel belongs to a Marlin Rubel who is in a lawsuit with the Michigan Department of Transportation that will last for quite awhile. His property is unavailable to them. In thinking about developing his site in the future for himself or whoever they have provided a stub street to it. In the meantime, it is a buffer between the proposed property and the freeway. If the recommendation were for an R-2 tonight would he have the opportunity to be considered for the site with the new amendments to the ordinance?


Mr. Watson stated that assuming that they are adopted then yes. It would have to wait until they are actually adopted by the City Council and become effective.


Member Cassis stated that unless the applicant would like to wait until that occurs.


Mr. Locricchio stated that he is not sure about that because he doesnít know at what point that would take place. He approached all of the property owners that are to his eastern border including some to south and north of Mr. Rubelís piece and the properties were not available.


Member Watza stated that he agrees with Member Canup that there is a staggered piece that will come later. Can the board deny a change in the zoning since there was a failure to pick up this other parcel?


Mr. Watson stated that when a parcel comes in you have to evaluate that parcel on its own merit.


Member Watza stated that it would be nice if they could assemble all of the pieces but he doesnít see how the board can make them do that.


Member Canup stated that the board cannot make them do anything but economics will eventually. There will be a time when that property will be valuable enough.


Member Koneda asked how many additional parcels are there to the east up to the M-5 corridor? How many property owners are there remaining? When he looks at the map it looks like some of the property originated off of Haggerty and went back and the M-5 connector cut it.


Mr. Arroyo stated that M-5 did go through some of these parcels and cut it. He canít answer exactly how many owners there are.


Audience members shouted three (3) owners.


Member Koneda stated that he is concerned in an R-2 district that if they really abide by the current ordinance and would force the developer to put in a ninety (90) foot minimum lot width and sixteen hundred (1600) square feet that the property would look odd. He thinks that there needs to be some sort of relief. Also, he thinks that whenever there is an opportunity to bring parcels of land into compliance with the Master Plan then they should take advantage of it. He agrees with Member Watza because he doesnít understand keeping it as a RA designation since it doesnít make sense to develop it like that. Like Mr. Arroyo stated the board will be plagued with these small parcels coming back over and over again.


Member Mutch stated that he is the biggest tree hugger in this group and he is looking like he wants to build a subdivision. He agrees with Member Koneda because he thinks that it makes sense to bring this parcel into compliance with the Master Plan and the reality of the past history in the area. He doesnít think that the RA zoning would be defensible in that area. The R-2 zoning is completely defensible and there shouldnít be any problems. The next step after City Council is going to Oakland County Circuit Court and they are not so friendly to the city of Novi in the Pontiac area. His concern is that a judge there may decide that RA is not reasonable and may decide on another zoning that nobody wants there. He is not implying that the developer has any intention of suing us but the R-2 zoning makes sense for that area. He would have to disagree that he thinks that the assemblage is a good idea because he doesnít see any benefit to developing the properties as a whole. The only thing that will happen in a development that assembles the property is that you will lose trees and that area provides a critical sound buffer. The city needs to acquire those properties that were split up from M-5. He canít see any development of that property that makes any sense. There is no benefit to the developer for acquiring this property because itís not like he can add density. That clear pastureland is the developable property and everything east of that is very environmentally sensitive.


Member Capello stated that the parcel of property is a very difficult parcel to develop. He agrees that to load that road doesnít make economic sense or aesthetic sense. However, there is an opportunity to bring this property in line with the Master Plan. The only problem with trying to get the developer to obtain the other piece of property is that he is looking at a strip center being developed. To try and get it zoned R-2 would be beneficial to try and stop that type of activity.




Yes: Capello, Cassis, Koneda, Mutch, Piccinini, Richards, and Watza

No: Canup








1. Planning Commission Briefing Program Ė Zoning Board of Appeals


Mr. Arroyo stated that the Zoning Board of Appeals have some basic duties that are outlined in the state statute and then are clarified in the Zoning Ordinance. The first one is interpretations of provisions of the Ordinance. The interpretation then becomes binding until there is a zoning amendment, the ZBA takes further action or the courts rule otherwise. If someone feels that an administrative body or official has made an opinion based upon a fact that is incorrect and that have an impact on the decision than they may take that as an appeal. The Ordinance does provide for appeals based upon a potential error in terms of applying the provisions of the zoning ordinance. ZBA is authorized to hear appeals from decisions on Special Land Uses only if your Zoning Ordinance specifies it. The Zoning Ordinance does not specify that a Special Land Use appeal can go to the ZBA. The ZBA has the ability to grant variances to certain standards in the Ordinance. They are not created to circumvent the Zoning Ordinance or overrule the City Council. They are to hear appeals for unusual situations in the case of a practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship. In the case of what constitutes a legitimate hardships is usually self-created hardships and economic hardships are not to be considered legitimate. For example, if you are going to make more profit by the issuance of a variance than that is not reason alone to grant the variance. However, economics could come into play if a zoning restriction was such that it would disallow a developer from any reasonable return on an investment from a particular piece of property.


Mr. Watson stated that under certain situations the ZBA under some Ordinances are also the body that gets some special exceptions for Special Land Use. Under our Zoning Ordinance there are a number of limited items like that in which they are authorized to hear.


Member Canup asked if the Planning Commission grants a site plan can a homeowner who is affected by that granting appeal to the ZBA to get it overturned?


Mr. Watson stated that the criteria under the zoning enabling act is an agreed party. The courts have had difficulty with it. The property owner would have to be able to show that their land has some special impact on it other than the community at large. There was one case out on East Lake Drive, the old Andris property in which they were able to intervene in based upon that theory. It is an unusual situation but there are circumstances where it can occur.


Member Cassis stated that Member Mutch had explained the information to the residents very well and wanted to know if there was a way that it could be done at each meeting.


Mr. Arroyo stated that there is a number of ways that it could happen. There could be some key bullet points and have it on the projector before each meeting.


Chairperson Capello asked if a Public Hearing has been done yet?


Mr. Arroyo stated that it has not been done yet.


Chairperson Capello asked if a zoning ordinance officer writes a ticket does that have an opportunity to appeal to ZBA for an interpretation of the Ordinance?


Mr. Watson stated no, not in a ticket situation. If the building department has a certain interpretation than the ZBA is the appellate body to consider that.


Chairperson Capello asked if a person is supposed to mow their lawn and they donít then what would happen?


Mr. Watson stated that it has to be something that is in the jurisdiction of the Zoning Ordinance.


Member Canup stated that he would like to see a copy of the state statute dealing with the Zoning Board of Appeals.




1. Magna SP 00-07


Chairperson Capello stated that he understands that everything is in order and they are in shape to get their final site plan approved.


Ms. Weber stated that she has sent comments to them for wetlands and engineering and are waiting their response to those comments.


Mr. Arroyo stated that he is waiting for some revisions too.


Ms. Lemke stated that they have dumped all of her comments to their consultants who are working on revised plans and will be submitting revised plans that she will review.


Chairperson Capello asked if they are put on the very bottom of the pile or move for approval?


Ms. Lemke stated that they go in the order that they come in.


Chairperson Capello asked if that is the policy and if so, who makes that policy?


Mr. Arroyo stated that they take their direction from the Planning Department unless otherwise told. It has always been first in, first out.


Chairperson Capello asked if a project could be made a priority?


Member Canup asked if the consultants work for the Planning Commission?


Ms. Lemke stated no.


Member Canup asked if the Planning Commission is in charge of hiring and firing of the consultants?


Mr. Watson stated that he would have to check. He believes that the Planning Act may say that.


Mr. Arroyo stated that he believes that the Planning Act does say that the Planning Commission can retain professionals to assist them but that the money has to be approved by the Council.


Chairperson Capello stated that he would like to have an update in their packet on briefings and projects. He would like to have some sort of checklist between the preliminary and final stage to see if the process is moving forward.


Mr. Wahl stated that some of the information that you are asking for is talked about at the weekly staff meetings. There is a master schedule of where every project is in the planning process and that could be provided.


Member Piccinini asked if anyone tracks how long it takes from preliminary to final approval?


Mr. Wahl stated that it is tracked.




Stephanie Fordyce introduced herself as the new reporter for the Novi News.






Moved by Piccinini, seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY(8-0): To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 9:27 p.m.




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

No: None




Sarah Marchioni - Planning Assistant


Transcribed by: Sarah Marchioni

July 5, 2000


Date Approved: July 19, 2000