View Agenda for this meeting






Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Member Piccinini.


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


ABSENT/EXCUSED: Members Capello, Churella, Nagy


ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Director of Planning and Community Development and Staff Planner Beth Brock, Environmental Specialist Dave Mifsud, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, City Attorney Tom Schultz






Member Piccinini asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda?




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




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

No: None












Member Piccinini announced there were three (3) items on the Consent Agenda.


Approval of the minutes of the Regular Planning Commission Meetings of October 4, 2000, October 25, 2000 and November 1, 2000. She asked if there were any corrections to the minutes?


Seeing none she entertained a motion to approve the minutes.




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Koneda, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the minutes of the Regular Planning Commission Meetings of October 4, 2000, October 25, 2000 and November 1, 2000.




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

No: None





This industrial spec building project is located in Section 24, north Grand River Avenue between Haggerty and Seeley Roads. The 2.97 acre site is zoned Light Industrial District (I-1). The applicant is seeking Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use Permit approvals.


Bill Myers of Myers, Nelson, Billian & Churk represented the applicant for Novi Technology Center No. 5. He announced there was only one (1) remaining subject to be addressed with the project. He stated it was the question of application of Section 2407 of the Novi Zoning Ordinance, related to site condominium projects. He stated the comments and recommendations of the consultants had been addressed. In his opinion the commission was able to view the ordinance in relation to the project without exceeding its legal authority. He explained the project had been in the process for ten (10) to twelve (12) years, with four (4) prior phases already approved. He added that this was the first time in the history in the project, the applicability of Section 2407 was being questioned. He felt that throughout the process, the project had not been viewed as a site condominium within the application of Section 2407. He understood the possibilities of having the project approved subject to Zoning Board Appeal’s approval of a variance. He did not feel this step was necessary. He did not interpret the ordinance applying to this type of project. He stated that the definitions may state that it might, however he felt the clear intent of the ordinance was reflected in Section 3B, which states " the review of plans submitted under this section shall be accomplished with the objective and intent of achieving the same results as if the improvements were being proposed pursuant to the City of Novi subdivision ordinance, accepting the procedural requirements imposed under that ordinance". Mr. Myers stated in the mid to late eighties (80’s) he was certain that Novi was one of the many cities involved among the communities regarding the advent of site condominium developments. He stated during that era, the condominiums were confined to residential development that was co-extensive with platted subdivision configurations. He stated site condominium alternatives were elected because it presented the opportunity for a quicker review and approval process as compared to a platted subdivision process. Therefore, he felt ordinances of "this" type were passed in several communities to deal with the residential phenomenon of that time period. He stated Novi’s Ordinance could have a broader application due to the manner it was written. He believed that the Section stating the purpose of the ordinance was to deal with effectively proposals that are equivalent to projects that would otherwise be imposed under the subdivision control ordinance of the City of Novi. He felt the evidence could be that whether it was residential or commercial, this would be the only intent of the ordinance. He did not believe the section was intended to apply to the proposed project, which was not intended to be platted. Nor did he believe the Novi City Council would pass an ordinance to not permit this development as a condominium. He stated this would contravene a state statue Section 141 of the Michigan Condominium Act, which states that municipalities may not discriminate against developments simply by the form of ownership. Therefore, if a development was permissible to exist in a municipality in a particular physical form, it could not be prohibited by virtue of it being a condominium project with a different form of ownership. He recalled the Planning Commission approved the project as an expansion project. He did not feel it was appropriate for an extra step should be imposed on his client.


Tom Schultz, City Attorney agreed with Mr. Myers regarding the intent of site condominium ordinance, which Novi adopted with several other communities in the eighties (80’s). He interpreted this type of ordinance as referring to situations in which a property owner is effectively attempting to avoid sub dividing or platting property and using the easier condominium process to have the same result. Parcels that effect parcels or lots or large units with more than buildings verses a traditional condominium with air space within walls and common ownership. In his opinion, this was the intent of Section 2407. He recalled the portion that stated, that the review of plans under this Section shall be accomplished with the objective and intent of achieving the same results as if the improvements were being proposed pursuant of the City of Novi Subdivision Ordinance. He stated this would typically be residential, however it could be a commercial subdivision. He stated the code defines the term "site condominium" broadly to pick up everything with the exception of cluster developments and residential condominiums under the RM-1 (One family residential district) and RM-2 (One family residential district). He stated technically by the definition under Section 2407, it would encompass the proposed development. He questioned if this truly was the intent and if the commission ought to apply in this case? The building development had been a condominium since approximately 1990. He felt building No. 1 was developed in the traditional site plan method, however, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 were developed while it was a condominium project. He confirmed that his statement differed from his letter. He stated in his review, he found No. 2 and No. 3 were described as part of a condominium. He questioned if this was done intentionally or if it was an over site on the city’s part? He addressed the concept raised by Mr. Myers of the state law and the Condominium Act prohibiting this project from being treated differently for the reason of it being a condominium form of ownership. He stated Mr. Myer’s presented a plan, which was like a general traditional condominium, however, there were elements that would typically exist with a site condominium. In an earlier conversation between Mr. Myers and Mr. Schultz, Mr. Myers stated he would change the Master Deed to make it clear that his proposed project is a general condominium and not a site condominium and to clarify that everything outside of the pad would be general common element. Mr. Schultz stated if Mr. Myers were to make these clarifications the situation would be a traditional site plan with the only difference being the form of ownership. He stated in this case the Planning Commission would be in a situation to apply Section 2407 to require public road frontage. Mr. Schultz felt the commission should explore the options further with Mr. Myers to find what he would do to make it clear that this project is not a site condominium in the commonly understood term or in the ordinance definition. He felt once this affirmation was made, it would allow the Planning Commission two (2) options. The Planning Commission could send the case to the Zoning Board of Appeals with the reasoning that it is not the position of the Planning Commission to determine the intent of the ordinance. Alternatively, he stated the commission could apply the intent of the ordinance in connection with the past practices of an approval, if it could be clarified that there were no elements and no vestiges of a site condominium.


Member Cassis asked Mr. Schultz if the ownership changed and the buildings were sold as separate buildings, would this interfere with the situation?


Mr. Schultz did not think this would create a subdivision or a lot split of the sort intended to be addressed by the subdivision ordinance. He stated although it would be a change in the form of ownership, it would not be a change in the operation of the project.


Member Cassis asked if this would be the same with access and road issues?


Mr. Schultz stated all of this would remain the same because they are general common elements governed under the Master Deed that the city would need to approve. He stated the ownership of the buildings might change, however the common elements would stay the same.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant agreed with the option of changing the Master Deed to clarify that this project is a general condominium, limiting the building units and making it look like a general condominium. He stated if the applicant were willing to do this, it would make things clearer for the consultants to view the project. He stated it was his understanding that secondary access would be provided through the property that goes out to Seeley. He stated these details would need to be clarified on the Final Site Plan. He felt the other issues were addressed at the previous meeting. He recommended approval subject to the resolution of the one- (1) issue.


David Misfud, Environmental Specialist stated the impact of the storm water discharge that would be pretreated and would be an Administrative Approval. He recommended approval.


Mr. Arroyo stated the site is served by water and sewer. The review letter refers to the two (2) separate storm water districts on the site, which would be handled per City Ordinance. From an engineering perspective, approval was recommended.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect continued to recommend approval from her letter dated August 29, 2000.


Member Piccinini announced she has received a letter from Michael W. Evans, Fire Marshal for the City of Novi Fire Department, which states that the above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended. She stated she has also received a letter from Doug Necci, of JCK, which states that a Section Nine Facade Waiver was not required.


Member Piccinini announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the Matter to the Public.


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




Member Koneda asked Mr. Schultz if the option of treating it as a site condominium and applying Section 2407, would require the condition of the third amendment to the Master Deed to be imposed upon the motion?


Mr. Schultz answered, correct.


Member Koneda interpreted the definition of the third addition to the Master Deed as all of the land being added to the back of the property to Seeley Road was being included in the description?


Mr. Myers answered yes. He stated one of the reasons was due to the emergency access.


Member Koneda stated that emergency access could have been provided without including the entire parcel.


Mr. Myers agreed. He felt that the commission would feel more comfortable if the entire parcel, however, he stated they could do the emergency access by easements if they preferred.


Member Koneda supported adding the entire acreage onto the general condominium description. He stated his concern of what else the applicant would do in that area. He stated if it was not included, would the back piece need to be lot split to attach it to the other parcel? If the ten- (10) acres were not attached as part of the general condominium development, he asked if there would need to be a lot split and addition to the other? (Eliminate the lot split by combining them into one.)


Mr. Arroyo answered, yes.


Member Koneda felt these options were valid and legitimate. He asked Mr. Arroyo if it was correct that the applicant submitted a noise analysis was submitted and met the ordinance requirements?

Mr. Arroyo answered correct.




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Cassis, To grant Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use Permits for Novi Technology Center SP 00-18A conditional upon the petitioner executing the third amendment to the Master Deed as presented to us and conditional upon all of the recommendations of the consultants.




Member Piccinini asked if Member Koneda if he wanted to add to change to the Master Deed that all of the areas outside of the building be would become common general elements?


Mr. Schultz agreed that this was not included.


Mr. Myers felt that based on the discussion there was something worked out between he and Mr. Schultz. He stated that he understood the ordinance and that the documents would be due by Final.


Mr. Schultz stated that they have not reviewed and approved the language of the third amending. Therefore, he stated the motion would need to indicate the approval was subject to review and approval of an amended Master Deed, which included the offer by Mr. Myers to clarify the project, a general condominium and not a site condominium.


Member Piccinini asked Mr. Schultz to restate the information.


Mr. Schultz stated that the commissioners submit an amended Master Deed for review and approval by the city and that it include the amendment to the form of ownership to clarify that this project is a general traditional condominium and to remove the elements of the site condominium that were in the prior plan. He stated this would be subject to his review and Mr. Arroyo.


Member Mutch asked if there would be an ordinance requirement for frontage dedication since project was under review as a general condominium? He clarified that by including this, unlike a site condominium, there would not be a frontage dedication along Seeley Road due to it being a general condominium.


Mr. Arroyo stated if Seeley were included and this project was a site condominium, it could include access to Seeley Road. He stated if there was a secondary point of access, they may not have to have it and the frontage could be Grand River Avenue.


Member Mutch understood the intent of the site condominium being treated similar to a subdivision. He asked if there was a requirement for a roadway dedication with a general condominium?


Mr. Schultz stated there was not a similar requirement to that in the subdivision ordinance.


Member Mutch stated although it was not an issue for this phase, it could be an issue in the future. He asked if there was anything in the State Law that precluded a local ordinance requiring a general condominium having a frontage dedication?


Mr. Schultz stated it would not preclude the petitioner from dedicating the land.


Member Mutch felt this ordinance revision should be explored. He stated the intent of making site condominium like subdivisions was to have the roadway dedications to allow the road improvements. He asked because this was a general condominium with single ownership, would it be treated as a single site?


Mr. Schultz answered the individual units of the condominium could be sold. However, he stated the common element around there would remain in the ownership of the association.


Member Mutch stated the portion of the land to be developed was not part of the original plan of development, and is now being annexed into the development. He stated if the initial plan was designed with certain considerations as a whole single development, (tape ends). The overall site plan would create a problem in the future. He gave the example that there could be a number of developments in the city with a boundary with to vacant land. Although, the original development did not anticipate additional development being added, he asked would the entire site have to be reviewed and meet the current ordinances?


Mr. Schultz stated if the additional land was added to the development, it would meet ordinance requirements. He added that if the development met the ordinance requirement, then the question would become if the units were under a different form of ownership, would this change the way the development was reviewed?


Mr. Arroyo felt it should be kept in mind that if this was an industrial subdivision, there could be additional property added, a stubbed street or extended. He stated extensions of development could occur regardless of ownership. He stated if the development was expanded and extended to Seeley, then there would be the need to examine if they would tie in and have traffic go through the existing portion creating health, safety and welfare issues. He stated there would exist the need to examine the entire project to determine the impact.


Member Mutch asked what the impact on the rest of the development would be? He gave the example of the industrial parks with site condominium developments located on West Park Drive and Magellan. He stated each of these units develop individually and there is not an access issue. However, he felt when the project is treated as a single development, access to the back units becomes an issue. He asked if the landscaping along Grand River Avenue did not meet the current standard, could the additional development trigger the upgrade of the overall landscape development?


Mr. Schultz agreed.


Mr. Arroyo agreed.


Member Mutch asked if the plan has been reviewed as a single site or has it been reviewed as a separate phase?


Mr. Arroyo stated the access was reviewed as a total site. He stated there were potential modifications to improve the access due to the expansion.


Member Mutch stated the entire site was being treated legally as a single site. He felt the review should coincide.


Member Cassis asked Member Mutch what his main concerns were?


Member Mutch was concerned that if the development was a single site, it should meet the standards of the ordinance. He questioned if it met the standards from a landscape perspective? He was concerned that the project be reviewed as a single site to ensure these issues were addressed.


Member Cassis main concern was the additional access road for fire protection, which he felt the applicant had provided. He asked Member Mutch what situation he was looking to have the petitioner to address?


Member Mutch agreed that the access was important. He was concerned that mini phases would be submitted for review and the entire site would not be required to meet ordinance standards. He compared the situation to the shopping centers fixing up stores individually and not meeting standards with the overall site.


Member Piccinini asked Member Mutch if he would agree that these issues should be addressed at Implementation? She stated in past property reviews, she recalled Ms. Lemke reviewing previous phases during her review and recommendation.


Member Mutch stated that was not the same legal arrangement. He stated the applicant was asking to have the project treated as a single ownership, therefore, it should be reviewed as a single ownership. He restated the need to be consistent with the way the project is being treated.


Mr. Schultz stated he did not disagree with Member Mutch.


Ms. Lemke stated this could be reviewed at Final. She stated she was aware that the southerly three- (3) buildings were at current standard. However, she stated the first building at Grand River Avenue may not be at current standard.


Member Piccinini stated this could be added to the motion to have the landscaping reviewed upon Final to the current standards for building one (1). She asked Member Mutch if this would satisfy his concerns?




Moved by Koneda, seconded by Cassis, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use Permits for Novi Technology Center SP 00-18A conditional upon the petitioner executing the third amendment to the Master Deed as presented to us and conditional upon all of the recommendations of the consultants and to have the landscaping reviewed upon Final to the current standards for Building one (1).





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

No: None




Member Mutch asked Member Piccinini if the issue of roadway dedication for general condominiums could be referred to Implementation for review?

Mr. Schultz suggested referring Section 2407 to Implementation for review.




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Richards, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To send Section 2407 to Implementation with the issue of Roadway Dedication for general condominiums.




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

No: None









This condominium project is located in Section 4, south of Pontiac Trail and east of Beck Road. The 10.835 acre site is zoned Low-Density, Low-Rise Multiple-Family Residential. The applicant is requesting feedback on alternative methods in acquiring more green space.


Mark O’Rourke of Landmarc Building and Development. He stated when last before the commission there were concerns raised regarding green space, orientation of the building to meet the forty-five (45) degree angle requirement and other modifications. He reintroduced the Pointe Park Condominium project with revisions he felt would satisfy the concerns. He stated the project entrance was located on Beck Road. The project consists of ranch and townhouse buildings. He addressed comment that the site was overbuilt and too dense. He stated they had some solutions to address this concern. He stated they have attempted to create more open space by shrinking down one (1) building (Mr. O’Rourke points out building to commission), and turn the two (2) larger building at a forty-five (45) degree angle. He explained this would allow the buildings that are not buffed by trees to meet the forty-five (45) degree requirement. Therefore, the designated buildings would meet that requirement. However, he pointed out some buildings which he did not feel needed to meet the forty-five (45) degree requirement due to the trees on one side and the woodland buffer on the other side. Mr. O’Rourke stated they have created a large open space the size of half (1/2) of a football field. He felt this was a good amount of space to allow for soccer or running around. He added the tree ring would be moved to provide an open park yard. In the previous plan, the woods and trees took up most of the space. He stated turning the building enabled them to create a center open space where they have moved the gazebo. This area would be immediately accessible to all of the units in the center of the project. The impact of the wetland and woodland impact has also been changed. He stated in the previous plan the impact had a retaining wall as designated. However, in the new plan, the impact was reduced by changing one (1) unit as designated. He stated although the areas would not have a lot of grass, it would be a woodland natural feature around the site. He indicated the sidewalk would be moved over to provide for additional grass and yard area yet still maintains preservation of the woodland to the west and the south. He felt these changes would meet all of the requirements from the consultant review letters with the exception to the access road. He stated they would be over the required coverage of the side yard with the pavement. He stated this was because of the need for an emergency access road that would only be traveled for emergency purposes. He felt the impact of the pavement inside the setback area was less than the previous site plan. Mr. O’Rourke presented samples of the upgraded vinyl siding he proposed to use. He presented a Dutchlap vinyl siding, which would eliminate the wave that was mentioned in the review letter. He presented another Dutchlap vinyl that had more texture similar to wood and another that had both features. He stated with regard to the garage impact issue raised by Member Mutch at the last meeting, the revised plan would have five (5) garages removed from view placing the garages in the back.




Member Mutch recalled it being agreed that the sidewalk would be on an entrance drive.


Mr. O’Rourke stated he would be addressing in the actual plan.


Member Mutch asked the size of the site?


Mr. O’Rourke stated the site is 10.835 acres and the developed area is 3.6 and the open space is 7.2.


Member Mutch asked the number of units?


Mr. O’Rourke answered fifty-two (52).


Member Mutch asked the price range?


Mr. O’Rourke answered one hundred forty-five thousand ($145,000) to two hundred thousand ($200,000).


Member Mutch felt Mr. O’Rourke has gone above and beyond a number of developers who are building house and charging a lot more. He complimented Mr. O’Rourke on the creativity and emphasis on detail. He felt tremendous attention was given to the scale, pedestrian accessibility and amenities that they had not seen on larger projects submitted. He suggested that a pocket park, a place for neighborhoods or communities to gather, be incorporated in the development. He felt something of that sort would become an amenity for the development and the surrounding developments.


Member Richards complimented Mr. O’Rourke’s provision of green space. He stated the preference to the vinyl sample that most resembled wood.


Member Cassis complimented Mr. O’Rourke on a job well done.


Member Koneda complimented Mr. O’Rourke on his project. He asked if the number of units was increase by one (1) from the previous plan?


Mr. O’Rourke stated it was because the building type was a stacked type. He stated his preference was to have more of those units, however the overall scheme has provided for more open space.


Member Koneda asked if the two (2) story units without garages would be the lower end cost?


Mr. O’Rourke answered yes.


Member Koneda asked what the split was? Of the fifty-one (51) units, how many would be the two-story units?


Mr. O’Rourke stated all the units have at least a one (1) car garage.

Member Koneda clarified if the single story units would have two (2) car garages?


Mr. O’Rourke answered correct.

Member Koneda expressed his liking of the amenities. He asked Mr. Arroyo if the plan met the criteria for the forty-five (45) degree requirement?


Mr. Arroyo answered that it appeared to meet the criteria. However, he would need to review the plan.


Member Koneda asked if a variance could be granted to if needed?


Mr. Arroyo answered yes. He stated it would be a Planning Commission Waiver.


  • Pointe Park Condominiums presented to the Planning Commission the revisions they anticipated submitting with their revised site plan for approval. They sought feedback from the Commission. No motion was made at this presentation.




Presentation by Planning Consultant Rod Arroyo


Mr. Arroyo stated the Community Outreach Program was discussed last year and it is in the budget this year. He explained when a developer will hires a team of consultants, it allows them access to a lot of the information. However, a resident or builder in the community may not be able to access the information as easy. He stated the new product would be available on the city web site. The digital product places several maps, graphics and information and places it in one (1) location. He stated they have taken information about various topics and maps (including aerial photographs, Master Plan for Land Use, Zoning Map, Project Map, Existing Land Use, Water/Sanitary Sewer, Environmental Conditions, Wetland Map, Woodland Map, Topography, Floodplain, Wild Habitat, Soils, Historic and Archeological Features and School Districts) have been linked together in Adobe Acrobat. He stated the Acrobat reader is available as a free download although most people already have it on their computer due to the necessity when reading most files on the internet. He stated the program has been sent to the web master and is in the process of being placed on the web site. The map information is broken into square mile sections and allows the viewer to zoom in the specific selected areas. He stated there would also be an information link page for each section. For example, if the viewer had the Web Browser open, they would be able to read the entire ordinance or a specific ordinance. He stated the viewer would also have access to a one- (1) page brief description on how to use the reader. Mr. Arroyo explained that Environmental Data Resources collects information from the U.S. and Stated Government levels of all site listed on former contaminated sites or where there might be a minor spill. Any site that would show up on the list would be collected, mapped, detailed information would be provided and made available. He stated the Existing Land Use map could show the viewer how the land is being used in Novi. It enables the viewer to zoom into a specific area. He stated the Master Plan and Zoning Map would provide the same features. He pointed out that the environmental map would allow the viewer to zoom in, view the approximate size and print it out a color map. The U.S.G.S. (US Geological Survey) was the source for the topography information. He stated the Soil section would provide the viewer information about the soil and slopes. The Historic and Archeological Features map was obtained from Oakland County. It includes old Indian Trails and identifies burial grounds and additional Public Information. Water Mains and Sanitary Sewer could be located and the size determined. Projects Map will allow the viewer to see the location of the project and look up on a legend on each project submitted in the last five- (5) years.


Member Mutch asked if there would be an indication on the map informing the viewer of when it was processed? He gave the example of the Land Use or Zoning.


Mr. Arroyo stated the Zoning Map would have the effective date and the date the map was updated. He stated they have attempted to ensure that a date would be on all of the information. He felt there would simply need to be a regular program to update.


Member Piccinini asked who would be in charge of following up on these updates?


Mr. Arroyo stated it has not yet been determined if the responsibility would be Planning Consultants or a City Department. He stated whatever the administration felt would work best he would be in support of that.










Moved by Koneda, seconded by Cassis, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 8:45 p.m.




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

No: None




Sarah Marchioni - Planning Assistant


Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji

January 8, 2001


Date Approved: February 7, 2001