View Agenda for this Meeting


WEDNESDAY, September 6, 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, Nagy, Piccinini, and Richards




ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Engineering Consultant David Bluhm, Assistant City Attorney Dennis Watson, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Senior Environmental Specialist Debbie Thor, Director of Planning and Community Development and Staff Planner Beth Brock






Chairperson Capello asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda?




Moved by Churella, seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Agenda as amended.




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

No: None












Chairperson Capello announced there were no items on the Consent Agenda.






This office building project is located in Section 12, on the west side of Haggerty Road and north of Twelve Mile Road. The 3.7 acre site is zoned Office Service Technology District (OST). The applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Wetland Permit approvals.


Jim Blane owner of James Blane Associates proposed a one-story office building located on the north side of Twelve Mile Road of Haggerty Road. He requested Site Plan approval and was available to answer questions regarding the project.

Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant clarified that although both Phase I and Phase II are shown, the applicant is requesting approval for Phase I of the project. He stated the Final should only include the components to the Phase I project. Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the Preliminary Site Plan subject to the comments in their letter. His comments included a required Planning Commission Waiver, the screening of the loading area, which Linda Lemke would address. He stated the applicant met the required setback and height restriction within the OST District. Therefore he recommended approval.


In Regard to Traffic, Mr. Arroyo recommended approval of the Site Plan. He stated although the applicant made a number of modifications there were some minor items that will need to be addressed on the Final Site Plan. He stated they have provided connection to the Bota Automations site at the rear of the development as well as a stub to the north. He felt this was an excellent way to connect the sites internally and meet the secondary access requirements.


David Bluhm, Engineering Consultant recommended approval of the Site Plan. He stated the site would be served by public utilities, such as water/sewer, extending along the frontage of the building on Haggerty Road. He described the site’s terrain as rolling. A high topographic point in the middle of the site would be cut down fairly extensively to flatten the site. The drainage would generally fall from the west to the east side of the property to Haggerty Road. The applicant proposed a detention basin, which would need to be fitted with water quality controls. He asked for specific items to be addressed at the Final such as separating the inlet from the outlet, to better help with the water quality. He explained the storm water would be released at a restricted rate to the Haggerty Road ditch, then to the south and cross into Farmington Hills. He felt the plan demonstrated feasibility and recommended approval.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect recommended approval with the Planning Commission Waiver being granted. She stated the truck service areas were not completely screened from adjacent property. She noted the applicant did not show one (1) of the three (3) options; an interior court yard; a wall; or earth berm and planting. The Planning Commission may waive these requirements where the abutting zoning is similar to OST zoning. She recommended the waiver be granted with the additional Evergreen trees placed at the western portion of the site along with numerous Evergreen Trees on site able to be transplanted. She briefly mentioned the landscape plan and engineering plan need to match. She stated there would be a number of items she would be looking at in detail at the Final. She stated there are woodlands that touch the western property line. A Woodlands Permit would not be required for the site, however the applicant would need to include a number of items in the July 30, 2000 letter on the Final Engineering Plans.


Debbie Thor, Environmental Specialist reviewed the applicant’s request for a non-minor use Wetland Permit. She identified portions of four (4) wetlands on the site. Three (3) are determined not essential and the western property boundary wetland is regulated by both the City and the State. She recommended approval with the condition that the small buffer area of the western wetland be restored due to proposed disturbance for grading purposes. She stated the other conditions are standard.


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. He also announced the receipt of a letter from Doug Necci of JCK stating the building is in compliance with the Façade Ordinance and a Section 9 Waiver is not required.


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 Koneda asked Ms. Lemke or Ms. Thor if there was an issue with the landscaping requirements and impact on the regulated woodlands and wetlands to the west?


Ms. Thor stated her comment was based on the engineering drawings. She requested that the landscape drawings be changed to reflect the same impact as the engineering drawings were showing.


Member Koneda asked if Ms. Lemke agreed?


Ms. Lemke stated her previous comment was that the grading plan and the engineering plan did not match. Therefore, she would be looking at any repercussions of this.


Member Koneda asked if this could be addressed at Final?


Ms. Lemke answered yes.


Member Koneda asked why a Woodland Permit was not required?


Ms. Lemke explained the development would not be disturbing the woodland area, yet it only touches the edge of the site.


Member Koneda stated he understood the applicant would be doing replacements on site as stated in the letter.


Ms. Lemke stated they would be transplanting trees on site, however, these are not part of the regulated woodlands. The regulated woodlands are at the end of the site and would not be impacted.


Member Koneda wanted it clarified if the applicant offered to move the trees or if it was a condition of the Woodland Ordinance?


Ms. Lemke answered it was offered and not a condition.


Member Koneda asked Mr. Arroyo if the twenty (20) foot rear yard setback for parking would still be met when Phase II was added?


Mr. Arroyo answered yes.


Member Koneda asked if there was an agreement on the number of parking spaces required on the total leasing area of the building?


Mr. Arroyo stated progress was being made on this issue. However, more information would need to be provided to justify it on the Final Site Plan. He stated if there were any problems, adjustment may need to be made.


Member Koneda asked if this detail would be handled as part of the Final?


Mr. Arroyo answered yes.


Member Koneda stated they have the authority to grant the Planning Commission Waiver for the loading area screening because it is OST. He asked why the applicant did not want to provide the screening along the loading area because usually screening it is a requirement?


Mr. Blane answered because there was not anybody to screen it from. He stated only woodlands and wetland exist behind the property.


Member Koneda clarified that it was the western and the woodland buffer provided adequate screening?


Mr. Blane answered, correct.


Member Koneda asked the applicant if he had any problems providing additional Evergreen trees asked for by Ms. Lemke?




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Canup, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Preliminary Site Plan and Wetland Permit approvals and Planning Commission Waiver for the screening of the loading area.




Mr. Blane asked for suggestions regarding the minimum of three (3) feet of cover required over the storm sewer. He referred to the ordinance as stating unless specifically otherwise approved. He needed suggestions to meet the three (3) feet without disrupting the entire site.


Mr. Bluhm explained in the event there were no options due to it being maintained by a private system, they would allow flexibility in cover requirements. However, this would be provided all other options had been exhausted.


Mr. Blane stated they are draining the ditch. He stated a large portion is over 2’ and 3’ and there may be portions at 2’ or more.


Mr. Bluhm answered they would need to see the Final grading site. He stated it may be a combination of slightly elevating the site without disrupting any of the edges already established for the environmental protection. He stated there might be the ability to look at the Haggerty Road ditch and some improvements could be made to help. He encouraged that there are options to avoid problems with the system heating in the winter.


Chairperson Capello stated Mr. Blane did not have to put in the three (3) feet and whatever could be worked out with Mr. Bluhm was fine.


Member Nagy referred to the estimated removal of one hundred forty-nine (149) trees and forty-four (44) trees are to remain. She asked Ms. Lemke regarding her request to transplant some of the trees. She questioned if the trees were to be transplanted, would they still have the two (2) year surviving rule?


Ms. Lemke answered, correct.


Member Nagy asked who would be responsible to ensure this?


Ms. Lemke answered the landscape process generally takes this long to determine that. She stated they monitor the site after all the money has been release to ensure they are being kept up to standards.


Member Nagy asked if the trees did not survive, would they have to replace them?


Ms. Lemke answered the applicant is obligated to keep the site to the approved landscaping. Therefore, they would be obligated to replace the trees.


Member Nagy asked if Ms. Thor would be ensuring the engineering and landscaping match at Final. She referred to Ms. Thor’s letter that stated there would be additional impact to regulated wetland and the engineering drawings. She asked Ms. Thor to explain what the impacts are and if the corrections would be made?


Mr. Thor answered yes. She stated this was part of the discrepancy was found between the landscape plan, with the detention basin on the western property line, and the engineering drawings show the detention basin along the southern property line. She assumed the landscape drawing had not been updated to the engineer base drawing.


Member Nagy asked if they were providing gas and oil separators?


Mr. Blane answered yes, by ordinance.


Member Nagy asked the applicant how he would implement the best management practices with regard to soil erosion and sedimentation control?


Mr. Blane stated he thought it was by ordinance he was to manage this and needed to have it established before he could start construction.


Member Nagy stated she was asking because the site was different.


Member Richards asked Mr. Bluhm what he meant when he stated "the restricted rate" when he spoke of the collecting of storm water at one side of the detention basin and then would go at a "restricted rate"?


Mr. Bluhm explained the ordinance states the water would be released at no higher of a rate then undeveloped. Therefore, whatever exits currently has to exit the same once all of the hard surfaces are completed. He explained they would need to hold the water back and release it slowly to mimic the existing conditions.


Member Richards asked if it was checked only when it rained?


Mr. Bluhm stated the design perimeters are established for frequencies of rainfall. Therefore, they would have to meet a certain design criteria. What they install is related to the area and the amount of rainfall.


Member Richards asked if it was historical?


Mr. Bluhm answered it was based on historical rainfall through the last fifty (50) years and is updated periodically. The design perimeters allow it to match the existing conditions and discharge fairly accurately. He stated often, the design standards are conservative and more restrictive then they need to be.


Member Mutch spoke regarded the dumping of storm water into the ditch along Haggerty Road. He asked if Mr. Bluhm had any determination stating if the ditch was sufficient to carry the flows that are currently going through there?


Mr. Bluhm stated they are looked at during the preliminary stage. They access the canvass discharge and the existing downstream capacity. Therefore, if the ditch only has a limited capacity, they would need to hold the water back more than what is stated in the current ordinance. They also look at the downstream crossing into an adjacent community to ensure there is no impact. He stated theoretically, there were no difficulties with the ditch carrying the flows at this time. The detention requirements they have are intended to mimic effectively and there would not be an additional impact. They also look downstream to find possible problems in the future. He stated they are familiar with the area due to other developments close by.


Member Mutch understood they were not to releasing more than what was currently coming off of the property. He felt the "assumption" of what is currently in place could handle what is coming off, however it may or may not be true in all cases. He was not familiar with any known problems on that site, however there were other locations in the City where the water ran off far exceeding what the ditches could handle. He asked if the City planned where the storm water would run off when the ditch was removed during the Haggerty Road improvements? He did not feel it should continue to be dumped across the street into Farmington Hills when the ditch was gone. He wanted to know if this situation would be dealt with when those improvements arrive or if it would be part of an overall improvement for the Haggerty Corridor?


Mr. Bluhm stated the Road Commission would have to provide the piping, which would replace the ditch, to allow the flows to discharge. He stated the district that serves this area is fairly large. A large portion of it is the Cabot Technology Park. He stated one concern, as part of the development of a larger park, was the providing of a series of hundred (100) year detention basins. They did this to overcompensate for the ultimate restrictions and discharge into Farmington Hills. In essence, the Cabot Tech Park over detained for the district to compensate for areas, which did not have to provide a hundred (100) year storm. He felt they had looked at it from a regional perspective and some safe guards that had already been instituted to avoid a burden onto Farmington Hills.


Member Mutch stated he was glad Mr. Bluhm explained issues regarding the Road Commission. He felt they should be looking ahead. Member Mutch asked Ms. Lemke to clarify if the waiver for the loading area was due to the fact they were phasing it and left open? He asked if they completed all of the building structure, would there still be a requirement for a waiver?


Ms. Lemke stated if they did provide it, it would be optional.


Mr. Arroyo stated this is OST District. Typically there are large truck deliveries for research. However, this location is an office building and the loading area is much different than some of the other users.


Member Mutch asked if the replacement trees were because there were individual trees on the property that were of such size that would warrant replacement trees?


Ms. Lemke stated they are required to be replaced because they have the trees that are thirty-six (36) inch DBH and greater that are outside the woodland area.


Member Churella commented that it was difficult to approve a building that had no rendering. He stated they did not know the materials being used or what they were proposing to build.


Member Nagy agreed with the comment regarding three (3) canopy trees, three (3) sub canopy trees, one (1) Evergreen canopy species and two (2) Evergreens for a four (4) acre site. She asked if it could be conditioned to approval that the applicant place more of these trees?


Member Koneda clarified with Ms. Lemke if she was speaking of more variety in her letter as opposed to more trees?


Ms. Lemke answered yes.




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

No: None.




This office building project is located in Section 14, on the north side of Eleven Mile and west of Meadowbrook Road. The 2.2 acre site is zoned Light Industrial District (I-1). The applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Wetland Permit approvals.


Chuck Fosse of Wah Yee Associates, architect for Pinnacle Office Park, introduced himself representing Mr. Minasian. He proposed the second phase for the Pinnacle office development located on Eleven Mile Road. He stated Phase I was currently under construction. Phase II is accessed through the Phase I development and a service/secondary entrance is located at the north end of the building. He referred to letters stating the building had met all of the setback, landscape and parking requirements. He stated the building preserves the natural character of the site; the stream, the wetlands and was comparable to Phase I. He proposed the same building materials for Phase II that created the campus effect. He described Phase II as having the two (2) sides of the building simplified due to the fact there were only two (2) sides of the building with public access. Although they were simplified, they would be constructed with the same brick; cast stone, split faced block base, glass and asphalt shingle. Therefore, the building would be finished on all four (4) sides. He proposed it was a two (2) story speculative office building with the main entrance on the south side of the building facing the main parking field.


Chairperson Capello asked if the concerns in the Fire Marshall letter were addressed?


Mr. Fosse stated there were many discussions regarding these concerns. However, because of the nature of the site, the topography, the extreme grade on the site and stream crossing, they were still proposing a site with a single access.


Chairperson Capello asked if they needed a City Council Variance?


Mr. Fosse answered yes. He felt due to the nature of the building, being fully fire suppressed, low hazard, office building with a wide crossing of the stream there was adequate access to the site with one (1) access point.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant clarified although they presented Phase II, it is all one (1) site located on the same property with the same ownership. Phase I of the project has two (2) points of access to Eleven Mile Road. The development connects into the Phase I parking lot, which has two (2) points of access. Therefore, Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Watson felt because it is all one site and not parceled off, it would meet the ordinance requirements thus leaving no need for a City Council Waiver.


Mr. Watson stated they had not reviewed the independent regulations the Fire Marshall may be enforcing. However, it is not a separate site. If it were, the problem of not having frontage on a public street would exist. He described the project as a revision of the first plan, to add a second phase. He stated the site remained under common ownership as single site plan with two (2) points of access on Eleven Mile Road. Absent of further review of the Fire Code regulations he felt this would comply with the requirements.


Chairperson Capello asked if the underlying land was under one parcel ID number?


Mr. Arroyo answered the site plan showed all one parcel with both Phase I and Phase II together.


Chairperson Capello asked if there would not be a need for a variance from the City Council?


Mr. Arroyo stated it did not appear to be that way subject to Mr. Watson’s review of the Fire Codes.


Mr. Arroyo recommended approval subject to minor items. He stated because Phase II was connecting into Phase I, the Final Site Plan would need to clearly indicate the modifications of the Phase I parking lot and the relocation of Phase I dumpster. He stated the plan meets all setback requirements with some minor details that would need to be addressed.


In regard to traffic, Mr. Arroyo recommended approval. He stated they applicant proposed access through the existing Phase I project. He reviewed the driveway access to Eleven Mile with the combination of traffic from this project and Phase I to determine if any additional improvements were warranted. However, he found there were none, primarily due to the current existence of the center left turn lane on Eleven Mile Road. Based on evaluating city warrants, there was not a need for any additional deceleration for access. Mr. Arroyo stated there were some additional comments regarding turning radii, end islands and other minor issues that could be addressed at the Final.


Mr. Bluhm stated he met with both the applicant and the Fire Marshall a number of times in attempt to resolve the secondary access issues. Many options were looked at to the south. The Bishop Creek traverses the site from west to east. He stated they looked at the possibility of a second crossing of the Bishop Creek. However, this option impacted the wetlands and environmental areas and created additional impacts to the site to the south. Another option was to extend the road in from the northwest which backs up to the Department of Public Works yard. The soft containment areas posed problems with the slope and would not work. Recently, they considered an area off site to the east, another road that extends to Eleven Mile. Mr. Bluhm stated the area is very wet with a wetland that wraps around that has posed a difficult problem. He felt with this possible acceptation, this may be the option to work with. He stated the applicant had made a lot of effort in this regard. He stated the site from an engineering perspective is very topographic. The Bishop Creek is approximately ten (10) to twelve (12) feet lower from the site. There is a large open area of water, a temporary basis, standing area in the Bishop Creek. The access is at the narrowest point possible. They would bring in the utilities. The water would be coming from the roadway. They would bring in the sanitary along the western property line from Eleven Mile Road. He stated it would be a forced main system. Mr. Bluhm explained the building is located on an island, leaving no easy way to extend sewer in the site. Therefore, the grinder pumps would be built into the building and privately maintained.


Regarding the site drains, Mr. Bluhm stated there is a very high area at the northwest corner and it all drains down to the southeast. The detention basin proposed would also utilize pipe storage that would oversize some of the pipes into the site, detain the storm water and discharge to the Bishop Creek. The Bishop Creek flows generally south and east and ultimately discharges to an existing regional basin the city currently has on line, approximately a mile downstream. Although Bishop Creek has quite a bit of capacity for conveyance he requested they provide the detention on site due to the culverts. He stated they had done a good job staying out of the area where there is flood plain and floodway associated with Bishop Creek. He stated they have a minor intrusion into the floodway with the elevation of the parking area. To avoid impacting the floodway at the existing elevation, they would need to obtain a Minor Floodplain Use Permit from the City Building Department. He stated there were additional comments that needed to be addressed at the Final. However, he felt the plan demonstrated engineering feasibility and he recommended approval.


Ms. Lemke recommended approval. She stated she had several items in her letter dated August 11, 2000 that she would be looking for at Final.


Ms. Thor recommended approval of the Conceptual Landscape Plan. She stated the one (1) wetland area that hits the property in three (3) locations: 1) the western property boundary, a portion off site that is part of a larger system hooking into Bishop Creek; 2) Bishop Creek on the southern side; 3) northeast side connecting to Bishop Creek to the south. She stated the main impacts that are proposed are the road crossing, the water main utility associated with the road crossing, storm water discharge from the detention basin and the off site sanitary sewer to the west. She stated temporary and permanent disturbance buffer disturbance are proposed from grading for the detention basin in the northeast corner and other buffer disturbance along the western property edge. She stated one (1) condition of approval was to have these areas restored once the grading is completed. Ms. Kay stated the conditions to the approval: 1) the utility crossings under Bishop Creed be bored and jacked to minimize the disturbance to the bed of the stream, 2) enhancement plantings required for wetland impact less than ¼ acre in size by ordinance, 3) a retaining wall in the northwest corner of the site to minimize the buffer disturbance, 4) engineering the storm water outfall to avoid having to dredge Bishop Creek, and 5) she suggested the applicant remove the old culvert in the stream section of Bishop Creek.


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 not recommended due to the following deficiencies: "A secondary access is required for this building, if the secondary access cannot be provided, an emergency access shall be provided from an adjoining property." He announced he has also received a letter from Doug Necci of JCK, which states the façade is consistent with the intent purposes of a façade ordinance and a Façade Waiver is recommended.


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 Richards stated although the consultants felt the secondary access road was not necessary; there was not a letter from the Fire Marshall stating this. He asked for some elaboration?


Mr. Watson stated they have not spoken with the Fire Marshall due to the fact it was just brought up this evening.


Member Richards stated he could not give his approval until he had a letter from the Fire Marshall stating he agreed.


Chairperson Capello asked Mr. Watson if it could be approved caveat he and Mr. Arroyo discuss it with the Fire Marshall. If the Fire Marshall agrees then the approval would go forward.


Mr. Watson stated if it was not resolved by the discussion, confirmed in writing, then the approval would be subject to the applicant obtaining the waiver or variance they need from the Fire Marshall or coming back to the Planning Commission.


Member Richards stated he preferred to have the case come back to the commission if they were unable to get the waiver from the Fire Marshall.


Member Koneda agreed with the single crossing at Bishop Creek and did not see any alternative. He did not feel there was anything wrong with making a motion conditional upon the Fire Marshall’s agreement to the plan or conditional upon the applicant obtaining a Design and Construction variance from the City Council. He felt this was appropriate and would allow them to approve the plan.




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Piccinini, CARRIED (7-2): To grant Preliminary Site Plan and Wetland Permit approval and a Section 9 Waiver of the Façade Ordinance for the site conditional upon all of the recommendations of the consultants and the condition of the Fire Marshall.


Mr. Ludwig commented on the wetland issues. He stated the crossing had been designed as a non-disturbing bridge. They felt they had respected the buffer. He agreed with the Ms. Thor’s suggestion to remove the culvert. However, he stated equipment similar to that of when installing a utility crossing would be needed. He felt the requirement to bore and jack the water line along with the removal of the culvert did not make sense. He figured this would be a four (4) hour disturbance to construct and restore this area.


Member Canup asked if there was any reason they could not directional bore? He stated it was approximately twenty ($20) dollars.


Mr. Bluhm answered no. He stated the sanitary is a force main and the water is not reliant on gravity.


Member Canup stated it would not be a major cost therefore, they would not consider anything except what has been proposed.



Member Mutch stated his appreciation for the applicant’s efforts to minimize the impact. He was concerned with the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the public. However, the more likely situation to arise would be the need for an emergency vehicle and having the crossing blocked as opposed to a fire on the site. Without a secondary access, there would not be a way for emergency vehicles to get to the site. He referred to Mr. Bluhm’s point that the drop in elevation is more substantial than it appears on the map. He was concerned that although there would not be an ordinance issue, a safety issue would exist. He felt there should be some type of secondary access to the west, and the property should be fully explored before he would give his approval. He did not feel safety should be overridden.

Member Nagy agreed with Member Mutch. She asked if the culvert was a county drain and the county’s responsibility to remove it or was it the applicant’s responsibility?

Mr. Bluhm stated it is an established drain that was turned over to the City. Therefore, it is the city’s main and the city’s responsibility.

Member Nagy asked if they would be responsible for clearing it?

Mr. Bluhm stated they would be responsible to maintain it in its current state.

Member Nagy asked if this meant the concrete would be left in the creek? She felt it interrupted the flow of the creek.

Mr. Bluhm stated these could be removed. However, it could not be regraded, or remove culverts without looking at the hydraulics of the drain and how it flows.

Member Nagy felt the broken culvert was a safety hazard.

Mr. Bluhm explained it has functioned for a length of time in this manner, it could be providing an obstruction and restriction in flow and if removed, it could create a harmful interference downstream regardless of how it originated.

Member Nagy felt the only way the stream would flow through the culvert would be if there were a large amount of rain and the water rose. She felt at this point, the water did not flow through and that there were several safety issues that should be addressed with this area.

Mr. Lugwig agreed it was a hazard and was willing to remove it. However, he requested the consideration to allow them an economical way to put the water line in.

Member Nagy clarified if they were planning to place an 8’ pipe through this?

Mr. Ludwig stated it was a different location, across the bridge and was 15’ long, 2’ wide, 4’ deep.

Member Nagy asked if it was possible to cut it into pieces and then remove it?

Mr. Ludwig stated it might be possible but he was not sure. However, the pipes could have rod inside and would not break apart easily.

Member Nagy asked if the commission could require continuous monitoring erosion and sedimentation control as a condition of approval of the preliminary site? She asked Ms. Thor why it was acceptable for permanent disturbance without mitigation?

Ms. Thor clarified if Member Nagy was referring to permanent buffer disturbance?

Member Nagy answered yes.

Ms. Thor stated they do not mitigate for buffer disturbance. She stated in some cases they might require the applicant to restore temporary disturbance. However, in this case, they have a small amount of permanent disturbance for the parking lot.

Mr. Ludwig stated there was mitigation involved and buffer plantings.

Ms. Thor clarified the buffer plantings are for the temporary. In the areas being graded, they can replant it afterward.

Member Cassis asked Mr. Watson if the petitioner had applied for both Phase I and Phase II at the beginning of the project, would they have been required to provide four (4) entrances and four (4) exits, or only two (2)?

Mr. Watson answered the two (2) on Eleven Mile Road.

Member Cassis stated he has visited the site. He felt although it is beautiful, it is also a difficult site. He offered his support to the project.

Member Koneda commented on the crossing over Bishop Creek. He stated City Council had recently approved Churchill Crossing, a residential community with over two hundred (200) lots with a single entrance off of Ten Mile. He asked if they had the same condition that existed with the residential community?

Mr. Arroyo answered the Boulevard did not satisfy the secondary access.

Member Koneda stated the precedence was already set by City Council with having single access points.

Mr. Arroyo stated the building was approximately two hundred and fifty (250) feet from where there are two (2) points of access. The point where Phase I would be connected can be accessed from two (2) sites because there are two (2) driveways until the area where the crossing would be made. The distance from there to the building is approximately two hundred fifty (250) feet. He stated unless the entire culvert structure went out, there was still potential crossing. An ambulance could use a gurney, walk it over two hundred fifty (250) feet and still leave the site. The worse case scenario would be that one could not cross at all, even by foot.

Member Koneda thought it might possible to widen the road and a partition in the middle to help alleviate the problem.

Member Koneda stated when there is requirement to put up a detention basin, and they to put in their own basin as opposed to hooking up to a regional basin, sedimentation control and water quality control is an ordinance requirement. He asked Mr. Bluhm what the maintenance of those requirements were and if it was included in the ordinance?

Mr. Bluhm stated it was in the ordinance under the Design and Construction Standards. The applicant is required to provide a maintenance plan and a sequence of events. When they construct the basin, they install temporary sedimentation control measures in the basin, (having to maintain them on a weekly basis). This particular site is located close to Bishop Creek and therefore, would be scrutinized very closely. He stated the temporary controls are removed and the applicant would show permanent improvements to the basin in their plan.

Member Koneda asked if it would not need to be a condition as it is part of the Ordinance?

Mr. Bluhm answered yes.

Member Nagy asked if there was a possibility to gain secondary access through the building to the north of their proposed site?

Mr. Lugwig answered Novi Garden Park was to the north of them. He stated the building is directly west of Walsh College and is accessed from Meadowbrook. A wetland existed between that building and the proposed site.

Chairperson Capello clarified with Mr. Bluhm and Ms. Thor regarding the cleaning of the drain. He stated this was not a condition of the motion. Therefore, if the applicant chose to voluntarily clean the drain, would they be required to have permission or a Wetland Permit because it is a city drain.

Mr. Bluhm answered they would have to because it is a city drain. He stated they could do it as part of the site plan and it would be reviewed for the downstream impacts and hydraulic drainage impacts.

Ms. Thor stated their suggestion was for the applicant to remove the culvert. However, if they were planning to do any further work that was not included in the review, it would need to be done by the city.

Chairperson Capello clarified that the removal of the culvert was not a condition yet only a suggestion?

Ms. Thor stated yes.

Chairperson Capello clarified that although removal of the culvert was not a condition, the city would possible give approval if they wanted to do it voluntarily?

Mr. Bluhm and Ms. Thor answered yes.

Mr. Bluhm stated the engineering and wetland portion would be reviewed at the Final.

Chairperson Capello restated because the cleaning was not part of the motion, if they wanted to clean it, they would need to contact JCK for further details.

Chuck Fosse stated his concerns regarding the city stream. He was aware the City maintained and cleaned the stream to the east. He described the banks of the stream as caving in and blocking the stream. He explained they are not allowed maintain the stream and stated his frustration of not being able to clean it or have the permission to do so.

Chairperson Capello restated that the applicant needed to speak to JCK. He explained the Planning Commission was not able to give permission regarding the stream as part of Site Plan approval because it was not in their jurisdiction.

Chuck Fosse stated he simply wanted to clarify that they had reviewed the possibilities of maintaining the stream.

Mr. Bluhm explained they needed to apply with Department of Public Services and indicate their plans. DPS would then forward the information to JCK and the wetland and hydraulic issues would be reviewed.

Chairperson Capello restated it was separate from the Planning Commission approval.




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

No: Nagy, Richards










Presentation by Legal Consultant Dennis Watson


Mr. Watson spoke regarding storm water detention. He stated during discussion of Marque Corporate Center a question was raised regarding storm water detention. JCK’s review letter recommended the applicant utilize the regional system as opposed to detaining on site. The question was raised why it could not be made a requirement verses a recommendation. Mr. Watson explained it is made a voluntary requirement to avoid implication of the storm water detention fee being a tax. He provided a detailed letter in the packets to clarify these issues.


Mr. Watson stated the Bolt vs. Lansing case disputed when something was a tax and when it was not a fee. The City of Lansing was trying to raise money for storm water drain and sanitary sewer purposes. A large portion of their system is a combined sanitary/storm system. With heavy precipitation, sewer overflows would be combined, creating untreated sewage flowing into streams and waters of Michigan. Lansing began to charge a fee to parcels of land throughout the city in attempt to raise funds to rectify this. The fee was based upon the impact of storm water flows. A property owner challenged this fee claiming it to be a tax. The case was litigated through the Circuit Court and ultimately to the Supreme Court who decided it was indeed a tax. The Supreme Court gave three (3) criteria to determine if something is a tax or a fee. One of the three (3) criteria was implicated in the discussion was the notion of voluntariness. A fee is voluntary. Therefore, one could take part of the service and pay the fee or chose not to. Most fees are obvious such as hooking up to city water and paying the fee according to the amount of water used. In the Lansing vs. Bolt case, the storm water fee was not voluntary at all, and therefore, was a tax.


The City of Novi storm water ordinance states when one hooks into its regional system, there is a detention fee based upon square footage. However, they have the option to detain on site. Practically, it is generally more economical for the developer to use the regional system, and therefore becomes a recommendation. The ordinance is structured in this manner for this purpose, clarifying it is fee and not a tax. Therefore, JCK letters are patterned after the ordinance.


Chairperson Capello asked if it was mandatory for all developments of residential subdivisions pay the fee?


Mr. Watson answered no, the ordinance has been revised.


Mr. Bluhm stated the voluntariness is applied formally across the board.


Mr. Watson agreed that it was shortly after the Bolt case.


Chairperson Capello asked how this was effecting the subdivisions who received Preliminary Site Plan approval before the revision and are currently in Final Site Plan approval?


Mr. Watson felt they could have the option to revise their plans to include on site detention.


Mr. Bluhm stated typically developments must provide a water quality basin. Therefore, with the small basin required on site and it could be retrofitted to work out.


Chairperson Capello asked how situations were being handled in which subdivisions were required and paid the monies? Does this place the City in a position of liability under the Bolt case?


Mr. Watson stated it was also decided after the Bolt case that it was not retroactive.


Chairperson Capello asked how it was being handled for situations in which it was mandatory and paid after the Bolt decision?


Mr. Watson felt they could allow them to modify their project.




Beth Brock verified the attendance of those registering for the Annual Conference of the Michigan Society of Planning.




Chairperson Capello stated due to the Annual Conference starting October 18, 2000, it was requested to reschedule the regular Planning Commission meeting to October 25, 2000.




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To reschedule the Planning Commission meeting from October 18, 2000 to October 25, 2000.





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

No: None















Moved by Canup, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 8:55 p.m.




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

No: None




Sarah Marchioni - Planning Assistant


Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji

October 11, 2000


Date Approved: October 25, 2000