View Agenda for this meeting

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2001 AT 7:30 P.M.

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

PRESENT: Members Canup (Acting Chair), Churella, Kocan, Koneda, Landry, Mutch, Nagy, Richards

ABSENT/EXCUSED: Piccinini (absence excused)

ALSO PRESENT: Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Staff Planner Beth Brock, Planning Director David Evancoe, City Attorney Gerald Fisher, Façade Consultant Christian Fox, Landscape Architect Linda Lemke, Engineering Consultant Victoria Weber



Chairperson Canup announced the changes to the agenda. Public Hearing Item #3 Proposed Gas Station P 00-52A and Public Hearing #4 Vision Spa & Salon SP 01-23A will be heard at the next scheduled meeting. Matters for Consideration Item #2 Approval of Planning Commission Bylaw Amendment to Section 2.1 (b) and Item #3 Approval of Planning Commission Bylaw Amendment to Section 2.3 (a) will be postponed to the next meeting. He asked if there were any additional changes to the Agenda?

Member Kocan added to Matters for Discussion Conference Attendance. She indicated the discussion to include the budget and the recommendations. She added that if the materials were not available for discussion then it could be postponed to a future meeting date.

Member Nagy added to Matters for Discussion Planning Commission Minutes.




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




Yes: Canup, Churella, Kocan, Koneda, Landry, Mutch, Nagy, Richards

No: None












Chairperson Canup announced there were two (2) items on the Consent Agenda.

Approval of the minutes of the Regular Planning Commission Meeting of June 12, 2001 and Regular Planning Commission Meeting of June 20, 2001 He asked if there were any corrections to the minutes.


Member Kocan indicated changes to the minutes of June 12, 2001 on page 37 to read "Member Kocan stated that a determination of what is or is not required constitutes finalization or resolution of an issue."


Member Churella requested that his absence be recorded as excused on the minutes of June 12, 2001.


Member Kocan indicated corrections to the minutes from the June 20, 2001 Planning Commission stating that the word "not" needed to be added to page 13.




Moved by Mutch, seconded by Churella, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the minutes of the Regular Planning Commission Meeting of June 12, 2001 and June 20, 2001 as amended.




Yes: Canup, Churella, Kocan, Koneda, Landry, Mutch, Nagy, Richards

No: None





An Ordinance to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance; footnote (u), subparagraph (1), of the Schedule of Regulations contained within Section 2400 of said Ordinance, relating to height requirements in an OST District; and to amend subpart 2509.6(g), relating to berms, in order to clarify the requirements of the OST District when adjacent to residential districts.


Rod Arroyo, Planning and Traffic Consultant recalled a previous meeting with discussion regarding the issue of rezoning. The discussion included the issue of impacts to the surrounding properties. Currently, the OST District could potentially allows a building to be built up to sixty-five (65) feet in height, which is only permitted in the area south of Twelve Mile Road and north of Grand River Avenue providing it is not adjacent to a residential district. The proposed ordinance would change the term Residential Zoning District to One-family Residential or Mobile Home District. Therefore, if there were an OST District adjacent to a Multiple-family District (which could have more dense development and potentially taller structures) the OST Development could be allowed potentially up to sixty-five (65) feet in height. The second change relates to the treatment of berming requirements with a residential use adjacent to a non-residential use. Currently, the Ordinance requires a berm where residential is adjacent to non-residential. A waiver could be granted if a wooded area is in place with the same screening and noise buffering impacts of the required berm. The current Ordinance indicates the wooded area needs to be located on the subject’s property (the non-residential property). The amendment suggests that a wooded area located on the residential property could also enable the petitioner to qualify for the waiver of the earth berm, providing the wooded area is preserved through a Preservation Easement in a form acceptable to the City Attorney. He noted that this would provide flexibility in terms of dealing with natural features and would remove the issue if the berm were located on the subject site or adjacent to the subject site.


Ms. Weber, Engineering Consultant stated that she did not have any comments to add.


Linda Lemke, Landscape Architect indicated that the changes would be a good addition to the berm requirements.


Chairperson Canup 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 Nagy asked why the Ordinance would allow any structure over five (5) stories next to any residential development. She questioned the possibility of a cell tower being placed on top of the roof.


Mr. Arroyo indicated that this is the reasoning for the matter being brought before the Commission. The Commission should determine if this amendment would be appropriate. He noted the current districts adjacent to residential, which allow five (5) story buildings. He gave the example of Orchard Hills Place, which is zoned OSC and adjacent to residential. He stated this district could potentially allow a five (5) story, sixty-five ((65) foot building. The amendment would specifically address the OST District. The Commission would need to determine if they would allow the additional height in the OST District when adjacent to residential. He suggested the reasoning for the proposed change being that a Multiple-Family District might be more appropriate than the Single-Family District. He advised the Commission to consider if it would be appropriate next to a RM-1 or RM-2 District. RM-2 District allows a maximum of five (5) stories where as RM-1 is a lower level and generally permits a two-story maximum. He indicated that the additional height could be appropriate when the Residential District adjoining it allowed a similar height. He noted that there are different options to consider with the Zoning Amendments.


Member Nagy indicated that she was aware of the area at Eight Mile and Haggerty that Mr. Arroyo was referencing. However, she did not feel the placement of a five (5) story building next to residential was appropriate. She agreed with Mr. Arroyo’s suggestion regarding the RM-2 District because it would look better aesthetically.


Member Landry asked the Commission if there was a history of applicants making this type of request in the OST District. He questioned the issues of height and if the amendment were a response to businesses proposing to relocate to Novi, which would be an appropriate reason. However, he asked if there was a history of requests.


Mr. Arroyo referenced the Husky Project, which he believed was not adjacent to residential at that time. He was not certain if Husky obtained a variance for their special situation with the type of equipment they were bringing in. He noted that this was an example of a high-tech user requiring additional height due to the type of equipment needed.


Member Canup clarified that this was the only incident with this problem.


Mr. Arroyo answered that to his knowledge, there has only been one that he could recall.


Member Richards asked if the applicant in the mentioned situation requested a waiver from the Zoning Board of Appeals.


Mr. Arroyo answered, it is possible. He recalled another case, Mr. Minasian’s office building located on the West Side of Meadowbrook Road, which is a taller structure.


Member Richards questioned if there was a procedure available for the applicant to apply for a variance for their building if there is a hardship in place.


Mr. Arroyo indicated that the applicant could approach the Zoning Board of Appeals.


Member Richards questioned why there was a need to modify the Ordinance if there is an option already in place. He added that a Multi-Residential area might not be in support of the "brick wall" view. The proposed change in the ordinance would preclude the ability to have a nice view.


Member Koneda felt it would be appropriate to change the Ordinance. Currently in the OST District permits a building at forty-two (42) feet.


Mr. Arroyo indicated that the correct height is forty-six (46) feet.


Member Koneda believed the Ordinance stated forty-two (42) feet.


Mr. Arroyo indicated that the Zoning Ordinance has some typos.


Member Koneda stated that the proposed is for an increase to sixty-five (65) feet, which he felt would be a remedy for a possible problem later in the meeting with an action on the other zoning request. He questioned the permitted height in an Office Service District when adjacent to residential, specifically Summit Place development.


Mr. Arroyo stated that this development is OSC and is permitted to sixty-five (65) feet.


Member Koneda stated that Single-Family Residential could be ranch style homes. The Zoning Text Amendment would allow an OST buildings to be higher when adjacent to Multiple-Family homes and not Single-Family Residential or Mobile Home District, which are lower levels. He did not feel that it would be any worse than what currently exists. The purpose is to allow the transition between the different zoning districts. He explained the step down that would exist with an OST District then a Multiple-Family development and then another residential. He did not find a reason to not approve the Zoning Text.


Member Koneda felt the text change relating to the berming was appropriate. The problem is to provide the berming and it should not matter whose property it is located on, providing there is a Conservation Easement. He stated his support of the increase to sixty-five (65) feet.


Member Churella indicated the Implementation Committee’s attempt to streamline the process for the developers to go through the procedure without having to go before the ZBA for some items. There was an attempt to cover the entire basis in the meetings through evaluations. The Implementation Committee did not want high buildings next to Single-Family homes. The setback requirements would not be changed. Therefore, he supported the change.


Member Kocan read the wording in the text; "to protect abutting Residential Districts by building height and location limitations". This is the second multiple inference in the Ordinance, which would remove the multiples with the determination that they would not have the protection as Single-Family Residential. Ordinance 1902 was changed to remove multiples from the Special Land Use Requirements for Light Industrial developments, which typically requires Special Land Use when abutting residential. This was done to allow the sport centers to be constructed behind the apartments without Special Land Use approval. She stated that the apartment managers were upset with the lack of notification. Her concern was the targeting the satisfaction of one developer because there could be an adverse impact. She stated she was not in a position to give a positive recommendation to the City Council for the height.


Member Kocan indicated her concerns with the berm requirement change. There is no designation of how wide the preserved areas need to be. Ordinance 2509.6.g indicates the Planning Commission would determine if the wooded area would provide effective screening. She stated her support for this portion of the Ordinance recommendation because of the Commission’s authority to determine whether or not any given section of woods is adequate.


Member Mutch indicated that he approaches to the proposed change from an issue of equity. He noted the attempt was to resolve an unequal situation. He felt that the Commission needed to keep in mind the context with which the change was being proposed. Specifically an area, south of Twelve Mile Road and generally along the freeway, that is currently strictly defined within the Zoning Ordinance. Therefore, the proposed would not be a change that would impact numerous Residential Zoning Districts. The Zoning Map indicates two (2) residential projects, zoned residential areas, which are P-1 and adjacent to the Twelve Oaks Mall. These projects are multiple stories. He was certain that the Enclave development was sixty-five (65) feet and possibly five (5) stories. With the change in the Ordinance, the high-intensity multi-story developments/uses, (retail, office or Multi-Family), in this area would be treated equally. All uses would have the opportunity to build to the maximum height of the district. In contrast, if the change were not made, certain property owners in the district would be encumbered with the restrictions of being adjacent to residential and not allowed to build over the current limit of the district. In a sense, this would punish one property owner. He noted the existing residential multi-story developments and comments from Member Churella regarding the existing setback requirements when adjacent to residential. This would provide the level of protection to address the concern raised by Member Richards regarding the view. The limited area and the area(s) that the change would effect could be found to be strictly limited with the intent and purpose to provide applicable treatment to all property owners in that area. He felt that it was clear in Master Plan and the planning efforts over the years, that the area around Twelve Oaks Mall and along the freeway would be a high-intensity area, which would allow the multi-story buildings. It would not make sense to have a select number of properties limited and other properties allowed up to sixty-five (65) feet. The change in the context would bring everything back into line. Therefore, he felt that a positive recommendation would be in order.




Moved by Churella, seconded by Koneda, FAILED (4-4): In the matter of Zoning Text Amendment 01-18.170 to send a positive recommendation to the City Council




Member Landry clarified if the change would apply south of Twelve Mile Road north of the freeway and that all of the properties in that area, other than OST, are currently permitted to sixty-five (65) feet.


Mr. Arroyo answered, no. He indicated that it is permitted in certain Zoning Districts.


Member Landry asked Member Mutch to clarify his comments regarding the punishing of the OST Districts.


Member Mutch noted that he was careful with his choice of language due to the recognition that not all of the zoning districts would go to sixty-five (65) feet. For example the R-C District (Regional Center District) is fifty (50) feet. All would not go to sixty-five (65) feet; however, no other property in that area has a limitation of height based on its adjacency to residential. The R-C District is not limited to thirty (30) feet in the PD-1 properties and could build to sixty-five (65) feet. The surrounding properties would be fifty (50) feet and sixty-five (65) feet. There is a small differential, however it is not extreme. In this case, there are a select number of properties that are treated unequally relation to the other properties in that area.


Member Nagy stated that she understood Member Mutch’s view. She agreed with Member Kocan’s comments regarding better defining the berming text. She gave the possibility that an applicant could have a ten (10) feet width for Evergreens at the back of their property, which was not a lot. The wooded area should be further defined as to how much would be required should additional planting material be required outside of what exists. She questioned if the area was restricted to the area south Twelve Mile Road.


Member Canup stated it would be the area between Twelve Mile Road and the expressway.


Member Nagy felt the amendment would be appropriate for this area. She supported the change but requested further clarification and specification with the berming.


Member Canup indicated that this should be clarified before the vote on the motion.


Member Koneda asked Ms. Lemke if the berming applied to that area only or if it was berming in general.


Ms. Lemke clarified that it referred to the berming next to residential in that district.


Member Koneda read from the Ordinance "The Planning Commission may require during construction phases or as a condition to the waiver, additional plantings and/or the erection of a temporary chainlink fence within or adjacent to the preserved wooded area." Typically the additional planting are required as a condition with the granting of the waiver. Therefore, he felt that Member Nagy’s concerns were addressed. When the Planning Commission acts to permit wooded areas to remain or existing vegetation in lieu of the berming, there have been additional supplementary plantings. The only change would be the condition that it would be allowed to occur on the adjacent property and not necessarily on the petitioner’s property. He asked Ms. Lemke if this was correct.


Ms. Lemke indicated that she did not have the actual draft wording available that indicated "unchanged". However, it should be indicated in the unchanged areas "consistent with the opacity requirement".


Member Koneda indicated that it did have this wording.


Ms. Lemke indicated that supplemental plantings could be added to meet the opacity requirement. However, the supplemental plantings would have to meet the opacity requirements.


Member Koneda clarified the only berm amendment change is to take into consideration that it could be located on the adjacent property and not only on the petitioner’s property.


Ms. Lemke answered, correct. She added the same requirements would apply both to off-site and on-site.




Yes: Churella, Koneda, Landry, Mutch

No: Canup, Kocan, Nagy, Richards




Member Canup asked the City Attorney for direction.


Mr. Fisher asked if the amendment was Planning Commission initiated.


Member Canup answered, yes.

Mr. Fisher continued that if the Planning Commission made an amendment, he did not believe it went forward to the City Council.


Member Richards stated that it would be a recommendation.


Mr. Fisher indicated that there is not a recommendation for a change.


Member Canup stated that it would die at this point.


Mr. Fisher stated that it would die at this point unless there is a motion made for example to only do the berm.


Member Churella stated that the berm is already there.


Ms. Lemke corrected her earlier comment and indicated that the change would apply to all districts and not only the OST District.


Mr. Arroyo suggested another option for consideration. He recalled that Commission has postponed action in previous circumstances with tie votes, until there could be a full Planning Commission.


Member Canup stated that there has already been a vote.


Mr. Arroyo indicated that the motion did not pass.


Mr. Fisher stated that the Planning Commission would need to make an interpretation. Some commissioners may determine this to be a failure and require a motion for reconsideration by a commissioner that voted against.


Member Canup asked the commission if there would be a motion for reconsideration by someone who voted against the motion.


Mr. Fisher explained further that at this point, the effect of the vote taken has been a negative recommendation because a motion to approve has failed to pass. At this meeting or at the next meeting with a full commission, a motion for reconsideration could be made. A commissioner who voted in favor of the prevailing side, which was a negative vote at this meeting, must make the motion.


Member Canup asked if any commissioner, who voted negative, would like to make a motion to hear the matter at the next meeting. Hearing no response, Member Canup indicated that the case would be closed.


Mr. Fisher indicated that the case would be closed unless someone brings it up at the next meeting. It would have to be at the very next meeting.


Member Canup indicated that this would need to be indicated clearly in the minutes.


Ms. Brock agreed.



The proposed rezoning of 45.616 acres in Section 14 located south of Twelve Mile Road and west of Meadowbrook Road. The applicant is seeking a positive recommendation from Office Service Technology (OST) to High Density Multiple Family Residential (RM-2) or any other appropriate district.



Matt Quinn appeared on behalf of Singh Development. He requested a rezoning for approximately 36-acres of property located east of Crescent Lake. He noted that the property is outlined in red. The petitioner notified the commission by letter of the withdraw of their rezoning request for the property fronting Meadowbrook Road. The proposed rezoning line is currently a straight line through the property on the East Side. He indicated that the Planning Commission should approach the request with no preconceptions of what has occurred previously with the proposed parcel. The commission’s decision should be made on the written information and the facts presented at the meeting. He indicated that the book, Uptown Park Planned Residential Community, in its entirety, is part of the presentation. Three different presentations would outline the informational materials in the book. These include the history of the site, market study presented by Tom Burnier (representative of the former Green Group) and an environmental concern presentation by Land Use Planner Brook Williamson. The Master Plan is a projection over a five or ten year period. The proposed site will never be reasonably developed for OST, however a reasonable use would be a RM-2. Singh is proposing an exclusive and luxury rental townhouse complex with 250 units in the proposed area. Rental rates would range from $1800 - $2300 per month, with two and three car garages. A similar project in West Bloomfield is developing in the same format and was pre-signed and out before construction began. There is no other development similar to its exclusive nature in the City of Novi. A development of this nature would be more upscale than the gated rental community River Oaks or the Main Street Townhouses. Singh is willing to preserve the entire southerly woods in a Preservation Easement verses an OST development that would be spread out due to the parking requirements. In contrast the RM-2 height allows the townhouse apartment units to fit around the Woodland and Wetland giving enough density to preserve.

Member Canup indicated to the applicant that their presentation comments needed to be limited to the issue of Zoning Map Amendment and not a Site Plan.

Brooks Williamson, Land Use Planner outlined the history of the property. He referred to Appendix A Historical Analysis. As Mr. Quinn pointed out, there is a 45-acre parcel to the East of Crescent Lake. Historically, there are numerous inconsistencies on the parcel. An aerial photograph depicts the balance of the property as an agricultural use since 1940. He noted the small entry drive on the West Side of the property. A 1957 photograph depicts the same property lines with the entry drive expanded. Records indicated a peat and gravel operation in the area currently named Crescent Lake. This activity started prior to 1957 and continued for a considerable amount of time. The property appears to have remained an agricultural use with the exception of the area of the entry drive and what appears to be the equipment turn around area. In 1964 the entry on the West Side of the property. The lake size depicts extracted materials and the remaining area intact in an active or a semi-idle agricultural use. In 1970, a portion of the Lake is in place and growing. The southern portion of the lake has been disturbed considerably more with gravel removed and the peat pulled out in a linear pattern. He noted the proposed property has remained intact with a house at the northeast. Wetlands have developed and the Woodland remains intact. For comparison purposes, Mr. Williamson found a topographical map from 1970 indicating two (2) lakes, one to the north and the slow development of the lake to the south. Paralleling the topographical map a 1972 aerial shows the lake to the west of the property, development to the south, disturbance on the West Side of the parcel, agricultural idle on the front field, northeast corner under development and the woods remain intact. In 1980 showing the time period toward the end of the construction of the Twelve Oaks Mall. Engineering determined a significant amount of poor soil on the property of the Twelve Oaks site, which would not support the facility of the nature being proposed. He found a series of clay dykes constructed on the proposed site and the site to the west. He noted the evidence in the roads, which are haul roads for dump trucks/travel trains around the property. Materials removed from the Twelve Oaks Site by way of Twelve Mile Road were dumped into the "contained disposal facility" located on the proposed site. The dykes vary in height from 10 feet to 15 feet from the original grade, which have been continually packed with the truck traffic. These poor soils remained intact with no development or drainage. A 1982 City Topographical map shows a Crescent Lake and Twelve Oaks Lake to the west. A comparison of the 1970 and the 1982 maps indicate a significant topographic elevation difference throughout the property. Everything north of the wood lot has been filled as shown on the City Map. The contractor kept record of the location(s) of the material(s) disposed. The records indicate the haul road berm configuration throughout the property along with a description of the materials.

Member Canup asked Mr. Williamson how the presented information related to the changing of the Master Plan.

Mr. Quinn stated that they were not requesting a Master Plan Change, but a zoning change. He stated that this information would show the commission that it is impossible and unreasonably expensive to attempt to construct any type of OST development on the poor soils. It would only be reasonable for the commission to support a wooden structure on these types of ground materials.

Member Canup inquired if the Board members wanted the applicant to continue.

Mr. Williamson continued with a 1991 aerial photograph made available by Oakland County. Patterns of the property indicate the woodlands to the south continue to remain intact. The area has re-vegetated to a substantial degree, poor soil conditions, low load supporting capacity, dykes around the perimeter, some water holding areas within the interior. In 1995 almost duplicates the 1991 photo with better vegetative development, no activity in the interior of the property and the wood lot to the south intact. Singh Development requested more detail on the property, which required examining the natural features. Therefore, the wetlands were flagged and surveyed as they currently exist. He indicated the wetlands on the site and the draining water into Crescent Lake. The larger mature Woodland remains intact at the southern end of the property. An area of medium mixed cover of a lower quality species is located on top of the old fill material. An additional soil exploration determined fill over native soils, which compliments the information that was tracked through the aerial photographs and Taubman Historical information. Wetland areas are indicated with the maroon color, undisturbed ground indicated by the tan color, high density and higher quality woodlands to the south. He stated the information shows that the soils specifically in the areas where development may be desired are have been historically recognized as poor.

Tom Burnier, Vice President of the market insight group formerly known as Green Group. The business has consulted municipalities, developers and lenders for approximately 35-years in site location research. Primarily the company determines the viability of the properties for their intended uses. Singh Development requested an evaluation on the subject property in terms of its viability for the OST designation. He noted that the request was to determine if the OST designation would be a reasonable use of the property and to determine if the subject property could support the luxury multi-family rental units proposed by Singh. He noted his understanding of rental rates ranging from $1800 - $2500 a month. A detailed site evaluation was conducted. This included looking at the site, the market, visibility, regional access, surrounding land uses, traffic generators, surrounding influencing competitive areas, the projected demand for office and housing in the market. In conclusion, it was found that the subject property would not be reasonable use as an OST designation. The development of an OST would not be likely due to the cost in addition to other issues. He added that it would be very risky for the developer and the City if it were to occur. He explained that the site has poor visibility for a commercial development, which would limit corporate exposure along a major roadway. He continued that the hidden site would be difficult for clients to locate, deliveries would be difficult due to the access, marketing would be difficult and there is no regional access. Research determined that the market, in terms of Farmington Hills and Novi, is projected to be over-saturated with office space in the future. Projections indicate that the vacancy rates would sky rocket over twelve percent (12%). If development was to occur on the proposed property, he anticipated the vacancy rates to be higher than the other area for the same reasons as mentioned. He added that the developer would need to offer lower rental rates to attract commercial users. He believed that Multi-Family Residential would be affordable at this market. Unlike the commercial developments, residential would not need the regional accessibility or the exposure. He added that most of the higher end residential areas are located in hidden areas, which would increase desirability. The use would be consistent with the surrounding developments, Waltonwoods and Enclaves. The population growth for the City of Novi should be accounted for. He speculated within a 5-mile radius there would be 8,000 more people placing a demand on housing.

Carmine Aventini of Langworthy, Strater, Le Blanc & Associates indicated his findings in his review. He addressed the comments that were made at the public hearing with regard to the Master Plan Amendment. He noted the attempt to address the concern of buffering with the proposed Text Amendments. The elimination of a portion of the rezoning request would exclude the frontage properties along Meadowbrook Road. He understood the amount of effort that went into the preparation of the OST District Study. He suggested the idea that conditions have changed since the Master Plan was adopted and the study created. He stated that there is more knowledge of the office market, the soil conditions and environmental features, which is newly presented information that was not available before. He noted that planners review four (4) criteria when reviewing a rezoning request. 1) Consistency with the Master Plan. 2) Capability of land to accommodate the uses in the Zoning District. 3) The compatibility of the adjacent land uses. 4) The capacity of the infrastructure. He noted at this point in time there is not a consistency with the Master Plan. He felt that more specific site analysis might be needed for the foundation for which the Master Plan is based and translated into the zoning designation. He felt that the more detailed information provided would allow an appropriate zoning determination to be made. He stated the reasonable use of the property was shown to not be a good office location with the poor soil conditions, lack of exposure on a major thoroughfare, sensitive environmental features and the market conditions. The information provided clearly demonstrates that an OST office use could not be supported on the site. He noted the possibility that some consideration might have been give to the parcel being consolidated with the frontage properties along Meadowbrook Road. This would provide a single site with the access to Meadowbrook Road. However, this is no longer the case and the properties are owned separately. Site Plans have come before the Commission for the frontage properties along Meadowbrook Road. The frontage property along Meadowbrook Road is more office oriented as opposed to the OST Development along the M-5 Connector. He assumed the earlier Planning Commission might have felt that the rear OST property would not need this exposure. He pointed out that the other OST Developments have a corporate identity, such as an exposure on Twelve Mile Road and Thirteen Mile Road, which extends to Haggerty Road and the M-5 Connector. Major entrances exist into a corporate park to attract the OST uses unlike the proposed site. He added that there would not be the potential to add this identity to the site. The Planning Consultant’s review letter indicates the similar residential land uses around the lake meeting the criteria of compatibility with the surrounding land uses. He indicated that Mr. Quinn would be speaking to their consideration of a lower density than what is permitted under the RM-2 District. He indicated the adequate infrastructure for Multiple-Family development on the site. He noted the proposed connecting loop road between the Twelve Oaks Mall and Meadowbrook Road to access the proposed property and provide relief from the mall traffic during peak hours. He reiterated that the conditions of the site have change giving the commission the justification for a recommendation of the rezoning. He stated that the provided information supports the rezoning. He felt that the current OST zoning was not a reasonable use of the property.

Mr. Quinn thanked the commission for their time. He indicated the large amount of information on the proposed site and the investment made by the landowner to prove that the property could not be reasonable used as OST. He felt that a reasonable use of the property would be a RM-2. He reminded the commission that the project would occur upon the rezoning, which would immediately create an additional tax base as opposed to an unknown and indefinite developed OST development. He indicated that the tax based at the reduced rate other than what is allowed by the RM-2 zoning district would be substantial to the City at two hundred fifty (250) units. He noted his appreciation for the opportunity to present his request.


Mr. Arroyo referred to the current Master Plan. He outlined the subject’s site with Meadowbrook Road and Twelve Mile Road, which is Master Planned for office use. The Regional Center District is located to the west along with Residential PD-1 (Waltonwoods and Enclave) in two locations. He presented key maps from the City in addition to the information that was already provided to the commissioners. The City Woodland Map indicates the varying degrees of intensity of woodlands on the site. He noted the subject property and the dense, medium and light woodlands. The City Wetland Map indicates open water and wetlands running through the subject property. The subject property was recently before the commission for a Master Plan Amendment. At that time the Commission voted to not approve the Master Plan Amendment, which would have changed the Master Plan from an Office designation to Multiple-Family Residential. He explained that because the commission has acted on the Master Plan and the proposed is before the commission as a rezoning, which was not heard at the previous meeting, it would impact they way the site if reviewed. The applicant has presented the opinion with evidence that the property could not be used as currently zoned. He stated that a lot of the evidence centers on the claim that the soils of the property (due to activity on the site in the past) could not support the structures that would be found in an OST Development. There are consistent uses in the surrounding area, particularly the existing residential developments to the west. There is higher density residential development located around the lake. The development of the property as Multiple-Family would continue the pattern around the lake establishing a Multiple-Family enclosure of a significant amount of the lake. However, it this would be in conflict with the Master Plan. Therefore, he stated it would be a serious consideration for the commission to determine. If the commission chose to move forward in a positive manner he noted some further considerations that the commission should keep in mind. He noted that the applicant has proposed to maintain a RM-1 Density in the RM-2 District. He explained their reasoning is to obtain the additional height needed due their indication of the soil conditions. The applicant is requesting additional height and not additional density. He questioned if it would be feasible to consider a development agreement to accompany any action on the property to limit the density to the density in the RM-1 District with the RM-2 rezoning. He suggested that the Planning Commission discuss the detail with City Attorney Mr. Fisher if they felt inclined to explore this idea. He outlined the alternatives included in the rezoning review letter (page 2) dated May 31, 2001. A) To deny the request. B) To rezone the parcel consistent with the applicant request. C) To rezone the western portion of the parcel consistent with the applicant’s request, leaving the pig-tail parcels (parcels fronting Meadowbrook Road) in an OST classification to allow consistent manner of development. D) To rezone the parcel to RM-1 with a PD-1 Option. This would involved the amending of the Master Plan to allow the PD-1 Option. He added if there was not a PD-1 Option added the applicant would be limited the site to RM-1 height and RM-1 density. If the commission chose to move forward with the rezoning, he suggested Option C.


Ms. Lemke stated that the applicant’s presentation answered many of her questions regarding the fieldwork. She noted the validity of the applicant’s comments regarding the high quality woodlands to the south, which continue off of the proposed site.


Gerald Fisher, City Attorney questioned if the easterly border of the property was squared off for the purpose of the proposed request.


Mr. Quinn answered, correct. His letter to the Planning Department modified the request to make a straight line across the easterly boundary to allow the properties to remain as currently zoned OST.


Mr. Fisher clarified if the indication of no Meadowbrook Road exposure would change if the two (2) parcels were retained.

Mr. Quinn answered, no. He stated that with or without the parcels, there would no Meadowbrook exposure. He explained that any building built back in the area would not be built on Meadowbrook frontage, as the other office buildings would be in the future.


Mr. Fisher questioned how the parcel would be accessed.


Mr. Quinn explained the location of the roadway, which would be the access. The road would then swing around and come out to Twelve Oaks Mall driveway. This would create access off of Twelve Mile Road and Meadowbrook Road.


Mr. Fisher clarified that the access to the residential would be through the OST parcel.


Mr. Quinn stated that would be one (1) access and he noted the other location of access.


Mr. Fisher clarified that Marketing Representative’s opinions of viability of the use of the property as OST was in part based on the soil conditions on the property.


Tom Burnier explained that in terms of looking at the likely rental rates on the market and the improvements to be made on the land, the cost does not justify what the rental rates would be.


Mr. Fisher questioned if his opinion would change if a determination were made that the soil condition would not add significant cost.


Mr. Burnier explained that these were two (2) different issues. The characteristics of the site fall in the face of a legitimate commercial development. The site has no visibility and no accessibility.


Mr. Fisher clarified if Mr. Burnier supported Mr. Quinn’s view that substantial signage placed on Meadowbrook Road for OST would not be sufficient.


Mr. Burnier answered, correct. He added that there would be no regional accessibility to the site.


Mr. Fisher asked if a formal soil suitability analysis was prepared for an OST development.


Mr. Quinn referred to the book, which includes a soil analysis and soil boring analysis. He added that the presentation was based on the actual fieldwork.


Mr. Fisher questioned if an engineer’s opinion would be appropriate between the steps of the analysis to suitability.


Mr. Quinn stated that part of the step is Brook’s opinion, who is an expert with history in the areas dealing with these matters. Mike Kahm of Singh Development would be the expert dealing with construction cost and the differences between cement and wooden structures. He noted the letter from NTH that was included in the packets indicating that it is not suitable.


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


Ted Manasian, representing Beechforest Park LLC and Beech Lake LLC who together own four (4) parcels of land along the West Side of Meadowbrook Road south of Twelve Mile Road. He noted that the parcels abut the proposed property owned by Singh Development. He objected to the rezoning. He stated that a rezoning would lower the maximum height of all adjacent OST properties from five (5) stories to three (3) stories. The rezoning would effect the berming or the screening requirements for the adjacent property. (He added that the text amendment was not changed.) Beechforest Park has received Preliminary Site Plan Approval for a sixty-five (65) foot high, one hundred fifty thousand (150,000) square foot office building. A rezoning of the property would place his property nineteen (19) feet taller that what is permitted. The OST zoning Districts in Novi have been a tremendous success. He felt that the success was due to the large massing of OST zoned properties. He gave the example of Meadowbrook Corporate Park located west of Haggerty Road. He noted his concern with the minimizing of the mass of OST land impacting the remaining OST properties in the Twelve Mile Road location. He commented on the soil issue. He stated the owner of the property/developer of the Twelve Oaks Mall placed the soils. The developer made an economic decision to place the soils on his property. He did not feel that the City should have the responsibility to help mitigate the cost associated with the owner’s actions. He noted that Haggerty Corporate Park incorporated its woodland and wetlands. He stated the marketing consultant made some good points. However, he stated that the past and current owners of the property created several of the conditions/circumstances mentioned. The owner placed the poor soil on the property and the decision was made to not purchase the property fronting Meadowbrook Road. He stated that he managed to find the money to purchase four (4) lots. He felt that the parcels could have been purchased to create a larger assembly. Therefore, he did not feel it would be valid to use the created circumstances to request a rezoning.


D.J. Diamond L.L.C. stated that he has purchased property in the area based on the Master Plan. He planned on developing a fifty thousand (50,000) square foot office. He did not feel this use would be appropriate in the middle of an office complex.


Chairperson Canup asked if there were any other audience participants to speak to the matter. Seeing no one he closed the Public Hearing and turned the Matter over to the Commission for Discussion.




Member Nagy indicated her difficulty with supporting the rezoning. She felt that the land owners around the property needed to be taken into consideration. She did not feel that it would be incumbent upon the City make up for the soil conditions. She did not recall the ordinance permitting an entranceway to the RM-1 from an OST.




Moved by Nagy, seconded by Churella, CARRIED (7-1): In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.605 to make a negative recommendation to the City Council.




Member Mutch noted that the issues presented were issues that were heard previously at the June 6, 2001 Planning Commission meeting with the exception of the marketing study. At the June 6, 2001 meeting Member Mutch recalled his argument in favor of the Master Plan Amendment for the Site. However, only three (3) members supported the change. He stated his support for the negative recommendation unless the commissioners who previously voted against the change now expressed that the change would be in the best interest of the City. He stated the rezoning is not consistent with the Master Plan. Approximately two (2) months ago, the commission reviewed the presented information and concluded that RM-2 would not be appropriate for the proposed location. The commission concluded that the OST designation continued to be appropriate. He indicated that the conclusion was derived with the same information that was presented at tonight’s meeting. Therefore, he felt it was an informed decision. He did not feel it would be prudent to send forward a rezoning amendment without the Master Plan being consistent. There were conditions that were to be part of the Master Plan Amendment directly relating to the rezoning. He did not feel that enough information was presented to indicate that the property could not be reasonably used under the OST zoning district. The OST zoning supports the high tech uses, principle permitted uses in the OS-2 (Planned Office-Service District) and permitted uses subject to special conditions in the OS-2 District. He stated his support for the motion based on the reasons he outlined.

Member Richards agreed that the proposed was not consistent with the Master Plan. He noted his concern of the soil conditions. The presentation seemed to indicated why the soils would be permissible for the RM-2 (High-Density, Multiple-Family Residential District), however it did not indicate if there was a permissibility for OST zoning. He indicated that as a Land Use issue, both sides of the soil condition should be reviewed. Member Richards stated that the property could be accessed from M-5 to Twelve Mile Road down Meadowbrook Road. He noted his concern of a road through the OST to the Singh development because it would become a short cut to the mall increasing the traffic.


Member Churella stated there was a lot of discussion at the June 6, 2001 meeting. He indicated that he would be voting for the motion.


Member Koneda stated that he would not support the motion. He questioned Mr. Fisher regarding zoning map amendment recommendations to the City Council. He clarified if one reason a positive recommendation would be based on its compliance with the Master Plan.


Mr. Fisher answered, correct.


Member Koneda asked Mr. Fisher if there were any reasons that a rezoning request could be granted if it was not in compliance with the Master Plan.


Mr. Fisher stated that although the Master Plan is intended to be a guide, he strongly advised the commission to follow the Master Plan where feasible. In this case, if the commission were to make a positive recommendation, he suggested that they also conduct a new public hearing and conform the Master Plan.


Member Koneda gave two (2) examples of areas where he felt that the commission could vote against the Master Plan. 1) Has the petitioner presented evidence indicating the current Master Plan designation is wrong. (If the property is not viable as a commercial development.) If the Commission can determine in their findings that the conditions were met then, they could go against the Master Plan.


Mr. Fisher answered, correct.


Member Koneda stated a second reason to go against the Master Plan would be if there was evidence presented indicating that the rezoning would be a better use of the site than the current zoning.


Mr. Fisher indicated this would be taking into consideration the surrounding properties.


Member Koneda agreed. He clarified that either one (1) of these reasons would be legitimate for the Commission to go against the Master Plan.


Mr. Fisher agreed.


Member Koneda stated that the development hardship is not taken into consideration with the rezoning level. He recalled the developer’s opinions of soil quality and construction issues. He added that the City consultants were not asked to give an opinion concerning these issues. Therefore, hardship was not discussed.


Mr. Fisher stated that if development under the current zoning were unfeasible then Member Koenda’s comment would be a relevant consideration in terms of zoning classification.


Member Koneda commented on the Master Plan. He believed the Master Plan & Zoning Committee reviewed the OST zoning because of the M-5 Connector and other changes going through the City. The Committee considered setting aside large tracks of land that could be acquired in large parcels to be developed as OST. For example, the Twelve Mile Road and Haggerty Road Corridor, which is being developed as a large track. In this case, the land along Meadowbrook Road is being developed with 5-acre, 2-acre and 10-acre developments. He noted that the commission has not heard an applicant who was attempting to acquire the entire track of land to develop it as OST. Therefore, there is an isolated parcel sitting behind the site. There is a negative impact that would come from the rezoning of this proposed property; due to the action taken earlier, which is the limited height for future OST developments along Meadowbrook Road. If the site were rezoned, the developments would be limited to the three-stories instead of five (5). The applicant presented information indicating that there would be no significant impact on traffic, utilities and City services with the rezoning request. The also presented information indicating that the rezoning request would most likely have a less detrimental impact on the natural features of the site than the current zoning. The zoning would be a continuation of the existing higher density residential land use that currently exists around the lake. He noted the comments made regarding the secondary road creating a cut through road to the Twelve Oaks Mall. He found this to be a benefit to the City and not a negative impact. He stated that it has been "on the books" for a long time to connect the road as a benefit to the City of Novi residents. For these reasons, he felt that the zoning request is justified. Therefore, Member Koneda indicated that he would be voting against the motion.


Member Landry noted his concern of the four (4) issues raised by the professional planner. In looking at these four (4) issues, he felt that the zoning request would be inconsistent with the Master Plan. The current zoning classification is compatible with adjacent uses, because the adjacent uses to the east are zoned OST. He felt that because the adjacent uses to the west are zoned residential the argument could be used to benefit either side. He felt that the infrastructure is capable of dealing with the current OST classification. Therefore the remaining issues would be the capability of the land to accommodate the use. Member Landry noted the presentation of "what may be called" evidence and arguments from professionals regarding the soil conditions abode against an OST use. However, he was aware that any landowner would not be entitled to the highest and best use. He also was aware that a mere diminution in value, as a result in a land use regulation, would not mean that an invalid land use regulation. He agreed with Mr. Arroyo’s suggestion. He noted his support for the motion. He encouraged the City Council to look at the soils themselves to obtain a more neutral report on the soil conditions. He felt that an expert, prior to a definitive decision being made should further explore the soil. He stated that he was not impressed with the visibility argument or the other presented. Member Landry agreed with Mr. Arroyo and Member Richards’ suggestion.


Member Kocan agreed with Member Landry with regard to having a neutral report. She felt that this was important because it would be the basis for determining if the property could be developed. A reasonable use of the property should be determined and not necessarily the highest expected use. She did not understand why the property allowed to be used as a dumpsite. She suspected that the property was purchased with the knowledge its history. She recalled being bothered by the rezoning sign placed on Meadowbrook Road and those that had to move. She was not in agreement to revert the zoning back to residential. Member Kocan voted to increase density at Thirteen Mile Road and Meadowbrook Road, however she not looking to increase density at Twelve Mile Road and Meadowbrook Road. Therefore, she would support the motion.


Chairperson Canup asked Mr. Arroyo if he was aware of the percentage of residential facilities/homes/apartment verses single-family home units in the City of Novi.


Mr. Arroyo stated that he did not have the percentage available off hand.


Chairperson Canup asked if he would guess it could be fifty percent (50%).


Mr. Arroyo clarified if he was referring to all housing.


Chairperson Canup clarified that it would be a percent for rental units verses Single-Family Residential owned units. He added that he was not in doubt of the poor soil conditions on the proposed property. He recalled the property being a dumping ground for the peat that was pulled out of the mall area reaching fifty (50) to seventy-five (75) feet deep. The peat was extracted from underneath building portion of the mall. There were not laws governing this action as there are today.


Mr. Arroyo based the percentage on a 1998 survey of existing and pending dwelling units in the City of Novi. The survey determined nine thousand one hundred eighty (9,180) Single-Family, which he felt the vast majority were owner occupied verses rental occupied. Attached condominiums and apartment were surveyed at eight thousand two hundred eighty-one (8,281), with the majority likely being rentals. Mobile Home park units were surveyed at one thousand nine hundred twenty-eight (1,928) with the majority likely being owner occupied on leased land. He added that there could also be rentals in the mobile home park.


Chairperson Canup estimated this percentage to be in the range of 60% and 40%. Therefore, he did not feel that it would be a true statement to claim that there is a shortage of rental units in Novi.




Yes: Canup, Churella, Kocan, Landry, Mutch, Nagy, Richards

No: Koneda





An ordinance to add article 10A to Ordinance No. 97-18, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance; to add the designation for the Exo "Exposition Overlay" District to the Schedule of Regulations contained within Section 2400 of said ordinance; to amend footnote (h) to the Schedule of Regulations contained within Section 2400 of said ordinance, relating to off-street parking; to amend subsection 2507.3 of said ordinance, relating to off-street loading and unloading; to amend subparts 2509.6a and 2509.8b of said ordinance, relating to berming and landscaping; and to amend subsection 2519 of said ordinance, relating to performance standards, for the purpose of creating the Exo "Exposition Overlay" Zoning District, which is intended to encourage the development of an exposition, conference, and convention center, and supporting uses, in an appropriate area of the city.


David Evancoe re-introduced the Expo Overlay District. He indicated that a number of changes have been made since it last came before the Planning Commission. He highlighted some of the key provisions of the proposed ordinance. The intent is broken down in two (2) ways: 1) How it is designed to accommodated the development of a planned exposition, convention and conference facility. 2) The intent to encourage the development of such a center with description of where this type of overlay district might be located. The proposed is an overlay district, which means that the underlying zoning district, OST, would remain in tact. The provisions of the overlay district would be placed on top of the existing provisions. They are not a Special Land Use with OST and instead they are an overlay district that would be designated on the Zoning Map. One primary reason is it would give the applicant more certainty of what they are proposing in the area is permitted. He noted the discussion on the rezoning petition in this case would not center around whether the uses are permitted, but rather does the petitioner meet the various stipulations and conditions provided within the ordinance for those uses. He directed the Commission to page 2 – Principle Uses Permitted, which states "All uses permitted in the OST Planned Office Service Technology District, Sections 2301A and 2302A, subject to the standards, regulations and required conditions for such district." He noted that Section 1002A lists the Expo use with a number of other uses that would be permitted as "Overlay" uses.


Mr. Evancoe referred to Section 1003A – Supplemental Required Conditions for the Overlay Uses. 1) Vehicular Access"An exposition, conference and convention facility must have a least two (2) points of external access available at all times for emergency vehicles. A single, boulevard single boulevard entrance from a public road shall not satisfy this requirement. At least one point of access shall be to a major thoroughfare or private roadway, built to City standards for public roads, having access thereto…" He noted that it also includes "Uses described in subsections (b) – (i) of Section 1002A shall have access onto an internal roadway or roadway other than a major thoroughfare…" Mr. Evancoe indicated that the intention is to eliminate the number of curb cuts that such a development might have onto a major thoroughfare. 2) Floor Space"An exposition, conference and convention facility must have at least one hundred and fifty thousand square feet of exposition floor space." 3) Density"total floor space of all overlay uses permitted under Section 1002A in gross square feet shall not exceed fifty (50%) percent of the total lot area as measured in square feet…" He stated that the buildings can not take up more than fifty percent (50%) of the land area in question. 4) Building Height"Height of buildings for overlay uses permitted under Section 1002A shall be regulated by the permitted FAR established in Section 1002.3, but no building including the roof appurtenances (e.g., elevator towers and climate control equipment) shall exceed sixty-five feet or five (5) stories in height, whichever is less." 5) Pedestrian Ways – indicates that the pedestrians are required within a development and must provide access to the public right-of-way. He explained that the pedestrian would be able to walk within the development and also walk to the major thoroughfare that it fronts on. 6) Minimum Setback Requirements – speaks to the front property line stating that it would need to be setback one hundred (100) feet. He stated this would keep the buildings of substantial size set back from the major thoroughfare. The minimum yard setback would be required to be not less thirty (30) feet from an interstate freeway if certain conditions are met. These conditions would include: "1) an existing wooded or landscaped area is provided on- or off-site that provides effective screening of the exposition building from the adjacent interstate freeway; 2) the required area is permanently preserved through a preservation easement or similar legal instrument approved by the City Attorney’s office, and 3) the area is augmented, where determined to be necessary by the City, by additional landscaping or other screening techniques that reduce the visual impact of the bulk of the exposition facility." He indicated that it has been questioned if the frontage along the highway (I-96) could potentially be regarded as a front yard and therefore, requires a one hundred foot (100) setback. Upon further investigation of the Zoning Ordinance, it was found that it would not be regarded as a front yard due to its definition. He stated the only front yard for the parcel, along Grand River Avenue, would be the Grand River Avenue frontage. 7) Building Design – He indicated a typographical error in the text. He stated the front elevation CMU is 60% and not 50%. He stated his concern that this table might give the indication that these are the only building materials that would be allowed or expected. Therefore, he suggested that the other materials currently found under the Region 1 Standards be added to this section of the ordinance. He stated this would allow the petitioner to select from a larger "pallet" of building materials. These standards would be amendments to the Region 1 Standards. 8) Outside Storage"All uses, except for off-street parking, loading/unloading space, and the outside uses allowed in connection with the uses permitted in Sec. 1002A, shall be conducted within a completely enclosed building, except that shipping or storage containers, pallets, or other items related to an exposition function occurring in an exposition facility may be stored outside in an area designated on the site plan, provided that areas for such storage shall be screened from view from adjacent properties.  Recreational vehicles (RVs) and trucks used in transporting exhibit materials at scheduled exposition functions occurring in on exposition facility may be parked on site during the term of the exposition and five (5) days preceding or following said exposition, provided they are parked in a location which is designed and striped for oversize vehicle parking and screened from view from public roadways." He stated that 9) Approval Process addresses the previous comments/questions of Member Mutch. 9) Approval Process – "Prior to submission of a site plan within the EXO district, the applicant must first obtain approval of rezoning the subject property to place the EXO district over the underlying zoning district. This overlay area shall be designated on the Zoning Map by a dashed line showing the perimeter of the overlay district and a "EXO" label near the center of the Overlay district. A rezoning petition shall be submitted to the City pursuant to the City’s Site Plan and Development Manual procedures. Site plan determinations for overlay uses permitted under Sec. 1002A shall be by the City Council following review and recommendation by the Planning Commission."


Mr. Evancoe briefly outlined the remainder of the proposed ordinance. He indicated that the remainder is existing language already included in the Zoning Ordinance Schedule of Regulation with the addition of the term "EXO Expo Overlay District" to include the district as a part of the Schedule of Regulations. He outlined the remaining portions: Part III relates to parking; Part IV relates to loading and unloading (Including side yard loading and unloading would be allowed per certain conditions.); Part V relates to berming requirements; Part VI relates to interior parking lot landscaping (Including additional language to the existing requirements stating a site with a natural feature area located within the interior of the parking lot or protrudes into the interior of the parking lot, then that area could be used to meet up to forty percent (40%) of the interior parking lot landscaping requirements.); Part VII relates to sound levels; Part VIII – Savings Clause; and Part IX – Effective Date : Publication. Mr. Evancoe hoped that his brief outline answered some of the questions.


Gerald Fisher stated that to his understanding at the last meeting, (which he was not in attendance), there was a direction to give consideration to making the uses Special Land Use to secure some greater control. He heard of Mr. Bowman’s concern with the large investment that he would need to make "up front". He understood Mr. Bowman’s view that if he was not aware of what uses would be permitted through the process from one point to the next, then the investment might not be justified. He suggested that it might be appropriate in this situation, that a conceptual plan be submitted as part of the Overlay Approval. This conceptual plan could show the various locations of buildings, road layouts/items of this nature and general approximate areas of parking to provide additional comfort. He stated then it would be known in advance what was being bought into verses the provision of a blanket approval of an overlay with additional uses throughout the site without the knowledge of the degree of the uses on the property.


Blair Bowman represented Novi Expo Center Inc. He felt that the proposed draft addressed the issues that were raised at the last meeting. He was in agreement with Mr. Fisher’s suggestion providing that the plan could be in general schematic form with the understanding that in the Final planning stages there could be flexibility with the uses providing that they are the allowed uses. He asked the Commission to consider the allowable height of one hundred (100) feet for a hotel use only. He noted the findings in the final designs of a hotel reflecting one hundred and ten feet (110) feet. The hotel would be a particular type of use that would blend in with the overall campus approach with Tier 1 and Region 1 façades. He added that the hotel could be set back further due to the height of the structure, etc… He indicated that these types of facilities are in this type of development typically of a higher nature. He felt it would be consistent with some of the other zoning currently in the City, such as hotel properties along Eight Mile and I-275 with exceeding and in this height range. Mr. Bowman requested clarification of the natural feature aspect to the landscape parking requirements to ensure that the features of the Expo Overlay Area would protrude into the area verses inside the parking area. He felt that this could be clarified further in the language of the Ordinance. He distributed to the Commission a document of "word pictures" of the progressions of the design progress of the façades and the design of the building. He felt the Commission would be pleased with the design.




Member Mutch indicated at the previous meeting he raised the question of how the Overlay District would be implemented. At an Implementation Committee meeting, Mr. Schultz, City Attorney indicated that it would be implemented through the rezoning process due to it being a separate zoning district. He noted the language in the ordinance reflecting this, however, he was interpreting from Mr. Fisher that it would not be a rezoning and it would be another process outlined "here". Therefore, he questioned Mr. Fisher if the Overlay District is a separate zoning district and if it would go through the normal rezoning process.


Mr. Fisher explained that it is a different zoning district. He added that it is a special kind of zoning district in the sense that it is an overlay that would go over the OST District. The uses in the OST become permissible uses, but in addition to this there would be other uses that are authorized along with some additional regulations.


Member Mutch question how the implementation of this district would be different than a rezoning from B-1 to B-2 in which B-2 would incorporate uses from another district. He realized that this was not an "exact" correlation, however it was the best analogy that he could compare it to. He questioned how the process would be different. He clarified further if there would be a Public Hearing and the same steps of the rezoning process.


Mr. Fisher stated with a rezoning that is a legislative process it would have Planning Commission Public Hearing recommendation to the City Council and final action at the City Council.


Member Mutch clarified if process-wise the primary difference would be the functions in terms of the underlying use still being available.


Mr. Fisher indicated a relevant difference being that a B-2 zoning could be requested for property zoned office. However, in this situation, they could only request the EXO Overlay District over the OST.


Member Mutch stated in terms of the process, the Planning Commission would see it as a rezoning.


Mr. Fisher answered, yes.


Member Mutch questioned if the text under Section 9 would be necessary.


Member Mutch pointed out that the recreational facilities would not be appropriate in the Expo District or in the context as it functions with the OST District. He asked for clarification for this reasoning. He also questioned if the current written language would permit both points of access to be off of the Taft Road entrance. He did not feel that the language was defined enough to avoid this. He stated his support of the building height of sixty-five (65) feet. He understood Mr. Bowman’s conditions regarding the setback issues, however, he stated the language (as currently written) leaves open the potential that another use could "slip though the cracks". He stated that he would not support this. As a custom ordinance, he did not feel that the building design section or the parking lot area was appropriate. He stated that he was very concerned with the opening of the provision for the interior parking lot landscape on page 9. He stated that although it was written specifically for this use, it is in one of the general Zoning Ordinance Sections and would open this up for every project that could qualify. He did not feel that the ramifications of this change were clearly recognized.


Member Mutch indicated that the City could not make requirements "above and beyond" what is outline in the Ordinance. He did not feel that the ordinance outlined the level of requirements that the use would need to function properly. He stated that he was not questioning Mr. Bowman, the Expo Center or their commitment to the City. However, he did recognize that owners change and uses change and he did not want to have an ordinance that benefits primarily the Expo Center. He felt that it should benefit the residents and the community first. He stated that he would not support moving the Ordinance forward until the Special Land Use provision are included.


Member Landry asked if there was reversionary language that states that when the use seizes it would return to OST. He recalled the issue being raised at the last meeting.


Mr. Evancoe stated that OST will remain. If the property were to be developed differently, the OST would still exist and therefore, a reversion would not be necessary. He clarified further that the OST would not "go away" with the Overlay.


Mr. Fisher questioned Member Landry’s concern.


Member Landry explained if a parcel of property in this OST area applied for and is granted an Expo Overlay, such as a theater. He questioned if it could be a theater because theaters are not allowed in OST.


Mr. Fisher answered, probably not and there would be no need to put it in here.


Member Landry continued to question if an applicant desired to build in OST, a theater or financial institution adjacent to the Expo Center. If the use were to cease and the theater discontinue their business would the building revert back to OST or could the use continue with another applicant.


Mr. Fisher stated if there was a zoning, (as the zoning for the Overlay), the zoning would continue. If the use were to cease, nothing would prevent the City from rezoning or removing the Expo Overlay, meaning the OST would continue to exist. Prior to the use being abandoned, it would be a non-conforming use. However if the use were to be abandoned then it would be a non-conforming structure.


Member Nagy questioned how the overlay would be removed. She gave the example of the unsuccessful theater that sells the property. She stated with the structure existing, would the new owner request a rezoning to OST.


Mr. Fisher stated there would be two (2) ways to remove the overlay. 1) The applicant (new purchaser or new owner) could request the removal. 2) If the full development had never been realized on the property, then the Planning Commission may initiate the removal of all or a portion (with regard to the uncompleted portion) of the overlay if it did not go forward.


Member Nagy questioned whom the applicant would request the removal from.


Mr. Fisher stated that it would through a rezoning application. He explained that it is established by a legislative act and the only way to remove it would be through a legislative act.


Member Nagy expressed her concerns regarding this process. She suggested the creation of an entire list of uses to be considered retail because of the possibilities of the area becoming an unneeded commercial area, which would compete with other areas of the City. She was also concerned with the outdoor facilities. She noted Member Mutch’s comments at the previous meeting regarding noise. She felt that the Expo Center would be what it currently is "ten fold". Therefore, she assumed the concert area outdoors would be significantly larger than it is at the current Expo Center. She requested a list of all the property owners along the Corridor with information regarding their business intentions - if they would be continuing, selling or optioning out. She stated this information would enable her to better understand the entire concept. She expressed her objection to 60% CMU because the Expo Center is supposed to be a "jewel of the City". She stated there are other materials that are more attractive than CMU. Member Nagy expressed her concern that the application process may cause conflict. She explained that one site could be rezoned with the EXO Overlay and another use being turned down could cause conflict. This is the reasoning that she requested the items in Section 1002A (a-i) more detailed. She questioned the need for "activities including but not limited to document reproduction facilities, financial institutions and sign stores". She assumed that reproduction facilities would include a business similar to Kinko’s, however, she did not understand financial institutions or sign stores. She requested that this be defined more specific to prevent uses "slipping through" that would not be good for the corridor.

Member Koneda clarified that the Planning Commission would initiate the Master Plan with a "PD Bug". He stated the difference in the proposed situation would be the reliance on the petitioner to acquire land and request the EXO Overlay District to be attached. Therefore, the applicant would request the "EXO Bug" to be attached and define the areas.


Mr. Arroyo stated that this could be done as City initiated.


Member Koneda added that there would not be a reason to do this.


Mr. Arroyo stated that more likely it would be applicant initiated.


Member Koneda agreed with Member Mutch in that there should be Special Land Use conditions attached. He stated that he was concerned with the missing information and the infrastructure to address traffic issues. He agreed that the schedule of materials seemed to be tailored to this project and felt the text should be more general, similar to the original. He commented on the parking lot screening. He referred to Ms. Lemke regarding the issue of including 40% of retained natural areas to count as interior landscaping. He questioned if this was to break up the expansive parking lot. He stated that he understood that the Expo would prefer to have more parking flexibility as opposed to the OST District. Therefore, he questioned if adequate screening is provided for in the ordinance to screen the public way from the large expansive parking lots from the roadway. Member Koneda stated that he did not have any problem granting relief for the interior parking lot landscape to break up the expansive parking lot providing that there is adequate screening from the surrounding


Ms. Lemke referred to page 4 item #6 stating "Off-street parking and vehicular use areas shall be set back not less than twenty (20) feet from all perimeter property lines so as to permit landscape/berming screening per the requirements of Section 2509."


Member Koneda questioned if this is currently an OST District.


Ms. Lemke answered, yes.


Member Koneda clarified that in an OST District, there is a requirement for interior parking lot landscaping.


Ms. Lemke answered, yes. She stated this is provided in Item #5, which is an extra area. She stated that above it would be the parking lot plantings.


Member Koneda stated that since the interior landscape would be given up, he would like to see something in addition for the parking lot setbacks. He noted that many times there is the trade of setbacks and green space for other items. He added that he would like to have additional green space included in this situation.


Mr. Arroyo explained that they would not be giving up any interior landscaping. He stated the ordinance would allow a person under this scenario to take 40% of the interior landscape requirement, use an existing interior feature (such as a wooded wetland inside the parking lot) and surround it by parking on at least three (3) sides. This would enable them to use it toward the interior landscape credit. He stated the total area would remain the same internal area required for the formula.


Member Koneda stated that he understood this. However, the applicant would not be able to build on that land because it is a wetland. Therefore, it seemed as if they were granting relief for a feature on land that has already been purchased. He added that he would have to leave it alone regardless and agreed with allowing it to be counted as landscaping.


Mr. Arroyo explained that in order to qualify, it would need to meet the finding that it has the same visual effect as a standard landscaped area within a parking field. He noted that this is where the supplemental plantings and additional trees would need to be put in place.


Member Koneda still felt that this area would need to be reworked.


Member Churella stated that he would have like to have the sixty-five (65) feet / five (5) stories to permit a hotel to eight (8) stories at one hundred and four (104) feet. He indicated that all of the Commissioners sent in their comments, which were added. Therefore, he did not agree with the amount of "tweaking" that the Commission was placing on the text. He felt that the Commission should vote and not hold up the applicant any longer. He stated that the commission’s actions could "tweak" Expo Center out of Novi.





Moved by Churella, MOTION DIES FOR LACK OF SUPPORT: In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 01-18.169 (Expo Overlay District) to accept the ordinance as written and send a positive recommendation to the City Council.




Chairperson Canup asked Mr. Fisher if this was the proper step(s) to taking.


Mr. Fisher stated it would be a lawful step to take however, the properness would be another matter.


Chairperson Canup clarified that it would be lawful.


Mr. Fisher answered, yes.


Member Richards questioned how variances to the Overlay District would be addressed. He gave the example of a hotel coming before the Commission with a variance request for 104 feet. He asked if this situation would be addressed as a ZBA or an Overlay District zoning condition brought before the Planning Commission.


Mr. Fisher stated that there is no mechanism built in that would allow the Planning Commission to grant deviations such as Member Richards’ example. Therefore, it would be a customary ZBA function.


Member Richards questioned why there would not be Special Land Uses included in the Expo District if the same mechanism would be used for required variances.


Mr. Fisher clarified if he was asking regarding a Special Land Use to authorize a deviation or a Special Land Use for particular uses.


Member Richards answered, both.


Mr. Fisher referred to the Committee meeting. He felt that Mr. Bowman was concerned with the Special Land Uses for the basic uses after the investment has been made without the knowledge if he would be able to have an Exposition or conference facility.


Member Richards questioned if the uses (a-i) would be defined as OST uses. He noted that some of the uses listed are not applicable to the OST District. Therefore, he questioned the possibility of a request to build a museum by 40 ft by 40 ft by 40 ft, because there is not a defined size with "x" number of parking spaces, etc…


Mr. Fisher stated this was the reasoning for his suggestion to have a conceptual plan as part of the Overlay. The conceptual plan would not be rigid in the sense of detailed specifications, however, it would indicated the uses and their approximate location and road patterns, etc…


Member Richards referred to his example and questioned if he recommended a variance for the "museum" for setbacks or height, etc… would the issue be addressed at ZBA.


Mr. Fisher answered, sure.


Member Richards felt that this process could go on for the uses listed in (a-i). Therefore, he did not find the benefit of having the uses defined because of the need to go before ZBA if a variance is required.


Mr. Fisher explained that with a conceptual plan, the assumption would need to be made that the uses would all conform to the specifications of the ordinance. If there were a deviation, it would be up to Mr. Bowman to request, which he could request in conjunction with the overlay approval.


Member Richards clarified the scenario that Mr. Bowman would submit a conceptual plan with the hotel of one hundred and ten (110) feet. Then the Planning Commission would indicate that a variance would be required for the hotel, because they could not approve it.


Mr. Fisher answered, correct.


Member Richards questioned what is this saving Mr. Bowman. He explained that he was attempting to save an extra step, however, it appears that the extra step would need to be made regardless.


Mr. Fisher answered that the extra step would be taken unless there is a mechanism that would allow the Planning Commission or the City Council to do as part of the Overlay.


Member Richards did not agree with this. He felt that language should be included to allow it to be more robust for the applicant to avoid him having to go before ZBA with each plan submittal. He gave the example that the hotel should be an OST function. Therefore, he questioned how to "get around" the different requirement that the use has in the EXO Overlay.


Mr. Fisher asked him to clarify his question further.


Member Richards stated that it appears that with the (a-i) uses, if there were a use that is not permitted in the OST District a variance would be required.


Mr. Fisher clarified if the use would be permitted in the Overlay.


Member Richards answered, correct. He continued that it would be permitted in the Overlay and there is not the knowledge if the structure meets the City Ordinances.


Mr. Evancoe interjected. He stated that the Site Plan Review Process would continue to exist. He stated the uses would be proposed on a Site Plan and would need to meet ordinance requirements. Therefore, he did not believe that the handling of variances would differ from another situation. He stated that they would still need to show a hardship and seek the variance.


Member Richards stated that although Mr. Evancoe addressed his question, he felt that the largeness of the project would bring it before the Commission multiple times.


Mr. Evancoe agreed with this possibility. He stated that it would be likely that there would be a process with each Site Plan Review Process with each addition. However, he added that the uses themselves would not be in question as the text is currently written.


Member Richards questioned if this was the process that Mr. Bowman understood.


Mr. Bowman answered, yes. He stated that he understood that the Site Plan Process would apply when components of the plan are brought forth in a phased approach. He felt that the gain is the understanding of an ordinance "on the books" that could be applied for and placed upon the properties in question. This would allow the understanding that within certain standards outlined in the ordinance a particular project could be built in that location. He added that there are a number of uses that would be allowed. He stated the uses came from the existing Expo District and they are not a new grouping of uses being proposed. He stated the idea of the program is to continue to improve. He encouraged the community and the Commission to consider where the Expo currently is; how far it has come in its present location and how much better it could be in the new location. Mr. Bowman indicated that from the beginning of the process, he has been up front with the type of flexibility that would be needed within the ordinance structures and the City requirements. He felt that an attractive building could be built with the proposed materials. He added if the commission chose to include the other materials included in the Tier 1, then he would select and chose from that as well. He noted the time that has been taken to work in advance with the infrastructure, traffic etc… prior to coming to the Commission for consideration. He added that the infrastructure improvements are underway. He stated his intention to continue this approach and noted the need to maintain the element of feasibility.


Member Richards clarified that Mr. Bowman understood that he might have to go through the process more than once.


Mr. Bowman answered, yes. He gave the example that if the one hundred four (104) feet or eight (8) stories (sixty-five feet) is not included and passed in the text to allow for a hotel then he would be required to apply for a variance. He stated the benefit is that he has the knowledge that a hotel would be allowed.


Member Kocan noted that the Implementation Committee has worked hard. However, the comments she submitted did not consider comments made by the other commissioners, which she felt were clear and apparent in the minutes. She felt that although it was close, she also felt that the City Council deserved all of their knowledge and concerns to be addressed by the ordinance. She indicated that in order for her to give a positive recommendation, she would like the text to include a Special Land Use or the text in Section 1002.10 "The City Council may require appropriate conditions and safeguards to minimize adverse impacts on the character of the surrounding area including requirements for sound proofing of arenas, malls or auditoriums shielding of flood lights and surfacing of access roads or driveways." She noted that she continued to disagree with the thirty (30) foot setback from the expressway in Section 1003A 6 Minimum Setback Requirements. She understood the possibility of existing properties between the Expo building and the expressway. In this case, she suggested that the setback be at fifty (50) feet from the freeway or a minimum of thirty (30) feet from buffering property. She stated if there were a piece of property between the Exposition and the expressway, then she would be more amenable to the thirty (30) foot setback. Regarding the building design (Section 1003A 7), she did not think that it would be in best interest of the City to be as specific. Member Kocan read the text of the Approval Process of Section 1003A 9 – "Prior to submission of a site plan within the EXO District, to applicant must first obtain approval of rezoning the subject property…" She questioned if this should read the OST District or EXO District. She commented that the District is OST and has not yet been rezoned.


Mr. Fisher indicated the rezoning of the land prior to the submission of a site plan for a development permitted within EXO.


Member Kocan agreed with his comment.


Member Kocan continued to read "…the applicant must first obtain approval of rezoning the subject property to place the EXO district…" She suggested including the verbiage "this would include a conceptual plan" as recommended by Mr. Fisher.


Mr. Fisher agreed.


Member Kocan noted her previous request for additional verbiage on Part IV regarding Light Industrial abutting residential. She suggested the addition of the text "which does not abut a residential district" to then read "Within any I Industrial District, EXPO Exposition District, or EXO Exposition Overlay District, which does not abut a residential district…" She understood that if this was not the appropriate time for this addition, then she would request that it be sent to the Implementation Committee. She assumed the included DG designation on page 8 was for the Downtown Gateway, which she did not feel should be included at this time. She felt the ordinance should be consistent throughout and because the DG designation is not included anywhere else in the ordinance, she felt it should be removed. Member Kocan referred to the text in Part VI (2) "Measure the vehicular use areas which would include the access aisles, driveways and loading areas." She stated that it is not a sentence and she questioned its meaning. She suggested the possibility of it reading "Measurement of the vehicular use areas would include the access aisles, driveways and loading areas."


Ms. Lemke answered, yes.


Member Kocan continued that Part VI (4) appeared to have missing words. She read "The parking spaces and vehicular use areas shall be distinguished for the purpose of determining landscaped island area requirements so that the required landscaping is calculated" She suggested the possibility of the text to read "The parking spaces and vehicular use areas shall be distinguished for the purpose of determining landscaped island area requirements so that the required landscaping is calculated separately for each area." She felt that either the word "qualifying" or "qualified" should be used consistently throughout all three (3) sections of Part VI (5) (a) (b) and (c). She noted her preference of "qualifying".


Chairperson Canup questioned the course of action at this time.


Mr. Evancoe suggested a motion to send it back to the Implementation Committee.


Chairperson Canup felt that it should be sent back once more and then voted on. He did not agree with the amount of times that it has already been sent back.


Mr. Evancoe felt that this would be helpful. He noted the number of comments, however, he explain there was not the knowledge of a consensus of the suggestions made. He stated the Implementation Committee might be able to assist with this.


Member Landry suggested that the Implementation Committee meeting be at a time when the commissioners could attend.


Member Churella stated that it would have to be a public meeting.


Chairperson Canup stated that all of the meetings are public meetings.


Member Landry added that all of the sub committee meetings are public.


Mr. Fisher suggested noticing the meeting as a Special Planning Commission meeting in addition to the Implementation Committee.


Chairperson Canup stated it would be similar to a "study session".


Member Landry agreed. He clarified that he was not suggesting the televising of the meeting.


Chairperson Canup asked Ms. Brock if this meeting could be coordinated with the Board Members and the Implementation Committee.


Ms. Brock asked if the preference would be for an off-Wednesday to keep the meeting on a Wednesday.


Chairperson Canup stated there was not a preference. However, he stressed that it should be the date that most of the people could attend.




Moved by Canup, seconded by Landry, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 01-18.169 (Expo Overlay District) to send it to Implementation Committee and a Special Planning Commission Meeting.




Yes: Canup, Churella, Kocan, Koneda, Landry, Mutch, Nagy, Richards

No: None




Member Churella indicated the need to elect one (1) officer. He stated that the Commission could make a determination if the other two (2) officers should continue their position. According to the Bylaws, he would be the only member who has served out his term. To avoid being in violation of the Bylaws, he suggested either a complete re-election of officers or an election of a new secretary. He nominated Member Richards for Secretary.


Member Landry felt that it would be appropriate for the Commission to address the Bylaw Amendments prior to election of officers, because it would bear on the timing of the elections. Therefore, he was not in favor of the election of officers until after the proposed Bylaws Amendments are addressed. He stated that the Bylaws indicate that any officer could resign at any time if he/she chooses. If Member Churella chose to step down, the Commission could accept or reject it. He felt it would be more prudent to address the Bylaws and conduct the election under the ultimate Bylaws would be.


Member Churella asked the City Attorney for an opinion.


Mr. Fisher stated that if Member Churella’s concern is a violation of the Bylaws, then he could resign.


Member Churella agreed. He felt that the Commission should follow the Bylaws. He stated that there should be an election if the Bylaws indicate that there should be an election. If the Board is not in agreement to have the election, he noted that he could not overrule them. He stated that he would not sit in violation of the Bylaws.


Chairperson Canup asked the Commission if they were in favor of having an election at this meeting under the Bylaws as they are currently written.


Member Nagy answered, no.


Chairperson Canup counted four (4) yeas and four (4) nays. He then called for a motion.




Moved by Churella, seconded by Richards, CARRIED (6-2): To postpone Election of Officers under Matters for Consideration to the next Regular Planning Commission meeting after discussion of the Bylaw Amendment Section 2.1(b) and Bylaw Amendment Section 2.3 (a).




Yes: Canup, Koneda, Landry, Mutch, Nagy, Richards,

No: Churella, Kocan,






Member Kocan recalled discussion regarding the upcoming Planning Conference in Mackinaw Island in October and Chicago next year. She requested a recommendation from the Planning Department indicating the available funds and how many commissioners could attend.


Member Churella expressed the importance of the new commissioners to attend the conferences. He noted that when the City did not have funds available, he covered his expenses to attend conferences because he felt it is the responsibility of the commissioner. He expressed the benefit of attending the conferences regardless if the City pays. He stated that it is part of the responsibility of being a commissioner. Each commissioner has made a commitment and should learn about the process. He encouraged the commissioners to attend.


Ms. Brock indicated the conference budget is approximately six thousand ($6,000).


Member Mutch requested information on the two (2) conferences to be brought to the next meeting.


Ms. Brock stated that lodging and conference prices are not available at this time. However, she indicated if she received it prior to the next meeting, she would provide it to the commissioners.


Member Mutch commented that the cost of the conference would impact how many commissioners could attend.


Chairperson Canup asked how many commissioners would like to attend the conference at Mackinaw Island. Six (6) commissioners responded, yes.




Member Nagy commented on the audio taping issue. She did not feel that the taping of the meetings was working properly. She stated that many of the comments are cut off. She noted her understanding of the difficulty involved with the transcription of minutes. However, she felt that the meeting was being lost and not being transcribed appropriately. She requested that improvements be made with the process.






Mr. Evancoe introduced Amy Golke Staff Planner. Amy Golke has a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Michigan State University. She previously worked for Beck and Raider in Ann Arbor and the City of East Lansing. She has been highly recommended by her previous employers. Ms. Golke will be working in the Plan Review Center.


Amy Golke expressed her enthusiasm to work with the City and the Commission in her future.










Moved by Koneda, seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 10:54 p.m.




Yes: Canup, Churella, Kocan, Koneda, Landry, Mutch, Nagy, Richards

No: None




Donna Howe - Planning Assistant


Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji

October 2, 2001


Date Approved: October 17, 2001