View Agenda for this meeting

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2002 AT 7:30 P.M.

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

PRESENT: Members Churella, Kocan, Markham, Nagy (late arrival), Paul, Richards (late arrival), Ruyle, Shroyer.


ALSO PRESENT: City Attorney Tom Schultz, Staff Planner Beth Brock, Engineer Nancy McClain, Landscape Architect Lauren McGuire



Chairperson Churella asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda.

Member Kocan amended the agenda due to Member Nagy’s anticipated late arrival. She indicated that item 1 – Agendas/Review Letters Recommendations to Staff and Item 2 – Philosophies discussion regarding commissioner views, etc… were placed on the agenda by Member Nagy. Therefore, she motioned to move items 1 and Item 2 to item 2 and 3 and placed Ordinance Amendments as item 1.

Member Kocan added under Matters for Consideration - Recommendations to Committees the item of Planning Studies and Budget Committee - work program/yearly-type issues. She noted the Matters for Discussion would occur prior to the Matters for Consideration to allow for the commission’s discussion prior to action on the matters.

Member Paul asked if Member Kocan would consider having Matters for Consideration first. She felt the main purpose of the Commission was the Master Plan. She felt it was important to set a calendar to determine how to not be behind with the budget and other such items.

Member Kocan indicated there are approximately twenty Ordinance Amendments. However, the Commission may determine that only three should go to the Implementation Committee. Therefore, she felt the items should be discussed prior to making assignments to the committees. She agreed with the possibility of moving the Master Plan first under Philosophies for discussion. She noted the item – Master Bikeway was suggested by Member Shroyer and did not make it on the agenda. She questioned if the Commission wanted to add it under Philosophies. She suggested setting time limits for each item, such as 45-minutes for the Ordinance Amendments.

Chairperson Churella agreed that there should be a time limit. He stated the discussion for Ordinance Amendments will end at 8:30 p.m., Agendas/Review Letters Recommendations to Staff will end at 8:45 p.m. and Philosophies will end at 10:00 p.m.

Member Paul clarified that there would be one hour for the Matters for Consideration.

Chairperson Churella indicated that Matters for Consideration would end at 11:00 p.m.

Member Markham questioned if the topic of evaluating rezonings could be added under Philosophies. She specified commercial developments and their effect on the City and the established developments where the property is allowed to be rezoned to commercial. She noted the numerous vacant commercial properties in the City of Novi. Member Markham changed the item Subdivision to Sign Ordinance. She felt it was difficult for those that are not familiar with the community to find their way around the City of Novi.

Member Shroyer suggested the addition of discussion regarding the Commission’s expectations of the Planning Department and vice versa.

Chairperson Churella suggested that the matter be added under number two.


Moved by Kocan, seconded by Ruyle, CARRIED (7-0): To approve the agenda as Amended.


Member Richards noted the discussion for telecommunication towers, which appeared to be in "limbo". He added this to the agenda.

Chairperson Churella announced that Member Richards item would be added at the top of the list.

City Attorney Tom Schultz indicated that a Wireless Communication Ordinance has been submitted to the Ordinance Review Committee. He believed that included in the Ordinance would be a plan for area where it would be permitted.

Member Richards explained that he raised the issue because a year has passed since he saw the Master Plan for Telecommunication.

Chairperson Churella asked the commissioners to save their discussion for the appropriate section of the meeting.

Member Kocan suggested adding Member Richards topic to the Matters for Consideration Item #2 – Recommended Topics to Discuss with City Council.

Chairperson Churella amended the verbiage to Matters for Consideration #1 – Recommendations to Committees and City Council.

Member Kocan and Member Ruyle accepted the amendments to the agenda.


Yes: Churella, Kocan, Markham, Paul, Richards, Ruyle, Shroyer

No: None

*Member Nagy not present to vote.

















Member Richards announced that he recently attended the APA Conference (American Planning Association). The workshop discussed telecommunication tower antennae and the many virtual reality options that would be possible through the palm pilots and cell phones. A City could have a plan layout of the locations for these towers/antennas or act on each location separately as the industry arises with the proposal. He believed the City had a plan in motion and felt it would benefit the City to continue the pursuit of it. He asked for the status of the plan.

Ms. Brock stated the City Council sent the matter to the Ordinance Review Committee. She recalled the debate of whether or not the telecommunication towers should be a Principle Permitted Use or a Special Land Use on City-owned Property. At this time the Ordinance Review Committee has not brought the item back up as an agenda item.

Member Richards asked if a Radio Frequency Engineer reviewed the plan. He noted that any litigation with the telecommunication industry would involve their experts. He did not feel it would be substantial to simply deny a request because "it is not a nice place to have it". He suggested having documentation to support the location. He suggested that the Ordinance Committee consider this option.

Chairperson Churella asked if there was an existing Ordinance for towers.

Mr. Schultz indicated there is an Ordinance. However, it has not been updated since the Telecommunications Act.

Chairperson Churella stated the Ordinance identifies certain areas where the towers are allowed to be located.

Mr. Schultz stated the standards are upgraded and the new Ordinance and the new plan are needed. He explained the proposal is in levels. 1) The location they are permitted. 2) The locations they are permitted as a Special Land Use. He stated if their Radio Frequency Engineer proved the tower could not be placed in the designated location then there would be this second tier of locations. 3) He explained if the applicant’s Radio Frequency Engineer proved that they can not fit into the first level (where it is desired) or the second level (where it is reluctant), then there is a catch that they might be able to place it anywhere in the City if they are able to prove an inability. He stated the hope would be that a good plan would be laid out so that one would not reach the third level.

Member Markham asked how the action items would be complied.

Chairperson Churella suggested that telecommunications be added to the list.

Mr. Schultz advised that the Commission keep a running list of recommendations.

Member Kocan noted that she started a separate sheet for each Committee. She suggested placing Telecommunications under the Master Plan & Zoning Committee because they look and determine how to plan the whole City.

Chairperson Churella agreed. He announced Telecommunications would be added to the Master Plan & Zoning Committee for action.

Member Ruyle asked if the Ordinance was referring to City-owned property or the City of Novi.

Mr. Schultz believed that the proposal states that it is permitted, as of right now, in certain municipality property. The Ordinance Review level is to determine whether or not it should allowed up-front or if City-owned properties should be a second tier of Special Land Uses. As proposed, and In most communities, public properties are some of the first places that towers are desirable due to the revenue generated.

Member Ruyle noted that his church has entered into negotiations with a telecommunications tower. The tower would be placed on church property along M-5, which is the proper area for this type of communication. However he questioned if the City had the right to say "no" or "yes".

Mr. Schultz stated the City has the right to say where it could be located. However, under the Telecommunications Act, they have the right to place the tower where it would fill in their coverage. The idea is to make the two "mesh". He explained that if the City were to deny a proposed location and it is proven to be the only location that the tower could be placed, then the Petitioner will be able to place the tower under the Telecommunications Act.

Member Ruyle stated there are other Ordinances besides the Ordinance pertaining to the tower itself. He stated the Church would like to place the tower by M-5 but there is no road access. The Ordinance requires road access to support a fire truck. He noted that he has advised his Church to set the agreement aside until it complies with the Ordinance.

Chairperson Churella recalled serving on the Planning Commission with Member Markham when there were proposals to place towers. The hearings were filled with large crowds disputing the towers regardless of the location it is proposed. He understood the view that "everyone needs them, but don’t put it in my backyard." He suggested sending the matter to the Master Planning & Zoning Committee.

Member Richards stated the Ordinance takes into consideration the "fall zone". He noted a dispute that took place at the workshop in regard to whether or not the tower would completely fall over or collapse flat.

Chairperson Churella stated the new towers are designed to collapse.

Member Richards felt this should be addressed in the Ordinance.

Member Markham reiterated that the Master Planning & Zoning Committee would give that consideration.


Violations/Penalties: Monetary vs. circuit court; garbage pickup times; lighting, etc.

Member Kocan stated that an Ordinance violation is considered a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of not more than $500.00. In speaking to Neighborhood Service Coordinator Cindy Uglow, she believed that there was discussion with the City Attorney regarding changing the charge from a misdemeanor. She did not feel that a one-time violation fine was a deterrent. She suggested exploring to find out if other cities have a daily fine. She suggested that the Implementation Committee consider the fact that the Ordinance officers are on-call only during business office hours. Therefore, if there is a garbage pick up at 4:30am and the Police Department is contacted, they will not enforce the Ordinance because they are not Enforcement Officers. She suggested empowering the police to be able to ticket the garbage companies that are picking up garbage prior to 6:30am or 7:00am.

Member Nagy agreed with her comments. However, she questioned if this was a matter for the City Council to address.

Chairperson Churella noted that a recommendation could be sent to the Council.

Member Kocan indicated that all the Ordinances would be sent to Council.

Chairperson Churella asked for the Committee that the matter would be sent to.

Member Kocan stated it would be the Implementation Committee.

Member Shroyer recommended that the City Staff investigate and gather information from other communities to send to the Implementation Committee with the matter.

Mr. Schultz indicated that he had no knowledge of this District Court, opposed to other district courts, issuing a fine remotely approaching $500.00. He did not feel this District Court would expect to see a lot of zoning violations.

Chairperson Churella interjected and clarified that the fine would not be for zoning violations.

Mr. Schultz indicated that whether or not it is related to a zoning violation or another part of the City Code, it is misdemeanor violation and the Court might find itself more involved in "pressing matters". He did not feel there was a great history of zoning enforcement in the District Court. He explained the injunctive relief gives the court the ability to say "You are in violation and you are going to take that outdoor storage off your front porch, etc…" Only the Circuit Court has the ability under the Ordinance to do this. He stated a misdemeanor requires a trial and goes on one’s record. In 1997 the State enacted legislation that allows the nature of the violation to be changed to a civil infraction. The Civil Infraction process would include an informal hearing in front of a magistrate and eventually a formal hearing without a jury in front of a Judge. If the Judge found the individual responsible and the burden of proof is less on the City than it is in a misdemeanor, then the Judge could issue a fine and the City’s proposed Ordinance has its fine. He noted the proposed fine is $100 for the first offense and $200 or $250 for the second offense.

Chairperson Churella clarified that the matter was currently in process.

Mr. Schultz believed that ultimately it could involve the creation of a different relationship with the District Court Judges. They would need to be "on board" with the idea that these are significant violations. The hope would be that the Circuit Court would give the injunctive relief that it has the authority to do.

Member Kocan asked what committee is working on the matter.

Mr. Schultz indicated the matter is at the Administrative stage.

Member Kocan clarified that the matter would go before the Council and would not need to go to the Implementation Committee.

Mr. Schultz agreed.

Member Kocan restated Mr. Schultz’ comments that the matter did not need to go to the Implementation Committee and would go before Council.

Chairperson Churella recommended that the commissioners talk on items they find important and out of sequence if necessary.

Member Markham suggested that the meeting follow the list. The commissioner that placed the item on the list should do a one-minute summary on the reasons why and then the Commission would vote which Committee to send the matter. She felt this would avoid the discussion.


Ordinance contradictions: Loading/Unloading in the rear yard, not when next to residential

Member Kocan noted the materials she submitted to the commissioners titled Topic Sessions. She stated the matter was regarding the inconsistencies in the Zoning Ordinance, which she suggested making more consistent. The matter would go before the Implementation Committee.


Lighting requirements: adding requirements for subdivision entryways; lowering height on Light

Member Paul felt all subdivisions in the City should have an entryway with lighting and boulevards that come to a main entrance should have lighting. She suggested the entire lighting requirements should be reviewed. She stated the Fire Department should be able to access without a problem. She suggested that the lighting be decorative, possibly a decorative lamppost.

Chairperson Churella asked if this matter would go before the Implementation Committee.

Member Paul noted Member Markham’s suggestion to keep the lighting on the ground and not upward to allow a view of the night sky.

Member Markham added that a lot subdivisions do not have internal lighting. She stated several subdivisions only have front porch lights as their only lighting provided at night. She felt the City should provide this lighting.

Chairperson Churella noted that several subdivisions, such as his, do not want to have the large lights.

Member Nagy asked if subdivisions could be required to put in lampposts.

Chairperson Churella stated the City would not pay for lampposts and it would be at the cost of the residents of that subdivision.


Industrial abutting residential

Member Kocan wanted to explore the option of lowering the placement of lighting on the light industrial properties abutting residential properties. Currently they are permitted to have lights on their building at 25-feet high. She questioned why the lighting needed to be at this height. She stated the matter would go before the Implementation Committee.


Subdivision Signage and Sign Ordinance

Member Paul stated subdivision signage would include the front of the entry way where any adjoining road to a main entrance that should have some type of signage that is visible to the Fire Department, Police Department for safety issues. She stated her subdivision has only one sign that is covered by landscaping. She did not feel the sign would be visible in three years. Therefore, she felt the sign should be in the center of the main entrance boulevard or it should be higher on the two sides. She sent the matter to the Implementation Committee.

Chairperson Churella asked if her association handled the maintenance of the front entryway. He noted that his subdivision trims down the landscaping.

Member Paul stated the sign was placed on one side and too low. The sign is visible for one headed west however, there is not a sign for those headed east.

Chairperson Churella felt the sign should be elevated.

Member Kocan stated the Sign Ordinance does not standardize this.

Member Markham felt the sign height restrictions have been "overdone". She agreed that there is not a desire for large signs in the community. However, she felt the signs are too low, not well lit, setback from the road or a trees overgrows on one’s property. She felt the Sign Ordinance should be made more driver-friendly.

Member Nagy stated the signage seminar she attended noted that it takes 14 seconds to recognize a sign. Therefore, she agreed with the importance of the signage.

Member Kocan added that the aging population requires attention to the matter.

Member Nagy asked if the street signs could be considered also.


Color rendering requirement with site plan submittal and

Member Paul stated commercial use or condominium site should have a façade review and an actual color rendering. She did not feel it was acceptable for an applicant to give an artist rendering drawing. She stated color specs should be provided.

Chairperson Churella asked if this requirement was in the Ordinance.

Member Kocan stated the Façade Ordinance includes several items that are not coming before the Planning Commission. She suggested enforcing the Ordinance.

Member Paul did not feel site condominiums should be exempt.

Mr. Schultz explained that the Commission approves the lot layout and configuration. The individual builders submit the renderings to the Building Department in compliance with the Ordinance. He noted that the Commission does not see the buildings and theoretically should not care what the buildings look like.

Member Paul indicated that she does care.

Mr. Schultz explained to her that there is not basis in the Ordinance for her to make a decision on the layout based on how the buildings will look.

Member Paul stated if multiple homes are to be developed the same, then she felt there should be input from the Commission. She requested that this matter reviewed by the Implementation Committee.

Member Markham asked if it would be more appropriate to have a requirement in the Ordinance stating what could/could not be done and then the Building Department would enforce the Ordinance.

Chairperson Churella disagreed. He stated he moved into a subdivision that has all red and buffed brick. When he built his white house he was told to paint it black. However, he did not. He questioned why he should have to conform to the City’s color scheme in his own subdivision.

Member Paul stated that she was not indicating that each home should be exactly the same color. She wanted to avoid having the same back and the same frontage five or six houses in a row.

Chairperson Churella agreed with her comments.

Member Paul wanted the architecture submitted to allow the Commission to follow the like/dislike similarities that occur in the City in the front and the back of the homes. She did not want a repeat of the Broadmoor Park Subdivision where the backs of the homes are identical along Beck Road.

Member Markham stated this is a different issue. The Façade Ordinance states that the homes must be dissimilar if they are next to each other or across the street. However, the Ordinance does not have any specifics for the back of the home. She felt this was a "hole" in the Ordinance that should be fixed.

Chairperson Churella stated the matter would be sent to Implementation Committee.

Member Paul felt the replica of condominium sites should be explored also.

Mr. Schultz clarified if she was referring to multiple family.

Member Paul answered, yes.

Member Ruyle stated the Planning Commission is a Planning Commission and not Designers. He noted that he was tired of being told to bring matters to the table for the Commission to design.

Chairperson Churella stated that the design goes with planning hand in hand.

Member Ruyle stressed that the Commission is not the one putting the money out.

Chairperson Churella pointed out that there was not a desire in the subdivision to have someone to come in and construct something that would bring down the property values.

Member Nagy agreed with Chairperson Churella. She stated the Commission needs to remember that those that live in Novi are designing the character of the City and not those wanting to make an investment off of the City.

Chairperson Churella restated that the matter would go to the Implementation Committee.

Member Kocan pointed out to Member Ruyle that "color" is included in the Ordinance.


Distance of existing buildings with respect to architecture

Member Paul referred to the recently submitted Carrabbas and the concern(s) of how it fit in with the lay of the land. She noted that both the Commission and the Building Department review the architecture. She wanted to ensure that a distance was being followed. She suggested having the architecture the same within a 500-foot radius for industrial. She asked the Commission what they would consider as a distance for keeping the architecture similar in certain areas.

Chairperson Churella stated the consideration would need to be given to what amount could be "tweaked" and what is actually legal. He noted that Mr. Schultz could advise on this matter after the "tweaking". He sent the matter to the Implementation Committee.


Single and multiple condo projects and required façade review

Chairperson Churella announced this topic was covered during the discussion for "Color rendering requirement with site plan submittal".


Road widths for Public/Private roads

Member Shroyer felt the "serpentine roads" that weave in and out were dangerous. He felt the Developer should be required to widen the road at the time of construction as opposed to coming back to the taxpayers at a later date with a Road Bond request.

Chairperson Churella recalled five or six years ago there was enough money to widen Ten Mile Road. The City Council voted it down because the Public did not want the road widened. Monies were available to place a Bike Path along Nine Mile. However, the residents were completely opposed. Since these have failed, he was not certain how this would be handled in the future.

Member Shroyer stated it should be part of the Master Plan for Land Use.

Chairperson Churella asked Ms. McClain to comment.

Ms. McClain City Engineer indicated that the many options were discussed with the former Department of Public Services Director Tony Nowicki and the current Department of Public Works Director Benny McCusker. She believed the DPW Director has been in contact with the Attorneys. She agreed with Member Shroyer’s comments regarding the "serpentine roads".

Chairperson Churella stated the matter would be sent to the Master Planning & Zoning Committee.

Member Nagy referred to the workshop she attended which suggested that it was just as safe to narrow the road (with parking on one side) as to widen it. This option was less cost to the City during repairs and resurfacing. Studies show that it is safer to build a narrower road, such as 18 – 22 feet, with parking on one side.

Member Kocan requested feedback on the difference between a public road and private road and what would be better for the City.

Member Nagy stated it would be better for the City to have private roads because the cost of the road repairs and re-paving falls to the residents.

Member Kocan stated a bad road reflects negatively on the City.

Member Nagy felt that most of the bad roads that are private are not seen from the major streets. She stated a taxpayer would not pay for the road of the condominium complex.

Member Markham stated that she would not object if there were not subdivisions coming forward requesting City to take over their roads.

Chairperson Churella stated the City could turn down the offer.


Inclusion of parks within all future developments

Member Markham requested sending this matter to the Environmental Committee or the Master Planning & Zoning Committee. She felt a poor job was being done as far as placing parks in the subdivisions as they are constructed. She believed that residents support the parks if they already exist upon their moving in. However, they do not seem to support the addition of a park later. She felt that future developments needed to be addressed. She found Island Lake to be shameful because of its small amounts parks and greenspace.

Member Nagy suggested that they Environmental Committee and Master Planning & Zoning Committee have a joint meeting.

Member Richards suggested sending the Environmental Committee first to determine what is wanted. The matter would then proceed to the Master Plan & Zoning Committee to determine if the "wants" make sense for the Master Plan for Land Use.

Member Kocan noted that the recent survey contains a number of questions pertaining to Parks and Neighborhoods. She pointed out that the survey might determine there is not a desire from the residents for neighborhood parks.

Mr. Schultz explained that it would be difficult to tell a developer that they have to keep an amount of acreage open and not developed. He advised that communities typically handle these situations through discretionary optional development such as Open Space Developments. Historically, developers in the City of Novi do not utilize the Open Space Ordinance because there is not a large reduction in the lot sizes, which is where the developer would save the monies to provide open spaces. He felt this issue would have to come before the Commission due to the State Law for open space requirements.

Member Markham felt that if the developers want to develop in the City of Novi, then they would follow an ordinance that required "x" amount of park space.

Mr. Schultz explained that this was not possible because there needs to be an incentive to make the developer want to do this. Otherwise, the Court would make the determination that the developer is being told that they could not use a portion of their property.

Member Nagy recalled his comment regarding the Open Space State Law.

Mr. Schultz agreed.

Member Nagy suggested reviewing the State Law and then changing the Ordinance.

Mr. Schultz agreed.

Member Kocan indicated that "Open Space" is already being sent to the Implementation Committee.

Member Paul distributed two packets of information for the Commission. One dealing a greenbelt that runs through the entire community as part of the Master Plan for Land Use. The second dealt with the Subdivision Ordinance, which would request "give and take" between the developer and the City.

Member Markham indicated her subdivision, with over 300 homes, was constructed under the Preservation Option, which preserved the swamps. There was not a preservation of any land that the residents could utilize as a recreational area. She did not feel the developer was helping the community where they are placing families. She felt there needed to be a balance and she agreed the Preservation Option satisfies this.

Lauren McGuire, Landscape Architect stated the Planning Department is working with the Parks and Recreation Department to write a Greenways Initiative Grant (non-motorized grant) to study the issue(s) that the Commission has raised in their discussion. She believed that it would be submitted in June. Prior to the submission, she noted they would be working with the Farmington Hills and possibly West Bloomfield to tie the communities together through the grant.

Member Paul asked if the grant was the same as the Greenbelt proposal that she distributed.

Ms. McGuire indicated that it would be tied together and would be part of the whole Greenways Initiative Grant. She made the information available to the Commission.


Five (5) day notice: Recommend 5 business day notice

Member Kocan indicated that she raised the matter to Council on many occasions. Residents find it disconcerting to receive a Public Notice over a holiday weekend for a Wednesday Planning Commission meeting. She noted their frustration with the City offices and Library being closed, which does not allow for the opportunity to respond. She asked if there are other communities that have a five-business day as opposed to a five-day notice. If this were the case, then the public hearing notices would have to be mailed the Monday of the week prior to the public hearing to give residents the opportunity to contact the Department. She noted an occasion when Member Shroyer went to the Planning Department to pick up material for the day of the meeting and the material was not in the Planning Department. She did not feel this should be occurring.

Chairperson Churella stated five days is a seven-day notice.

Mr. Schultz stated five days is five days.

Chairperson Churella stated seven or eight calendar days includes all holidays.

Mr. Schultz suggested that it be handled as a policy as opposed to a rule.

Member Shroyer suggested that it could be a Council issue.

Mr. Schultz felt it should be less formal.

Member Kocan asked if it would be similar to the situation where the Ordinance requires notification within 300-feet of the proposed and yet there is a courtesy notice within 500-feet.

Mr. Schultz noted the five days comes from the State Statute. He suggested leaving the rule as five and establishing a policy of fifteen and seven days.

Member Shroyer suggested that the matter be sent to the Planning Department with the recommendation that other councils and committees consider the matter.

Mr. Schultz agreed with this suggestion.

Member Nagy asked the change to be clarified.

Mr. Schultz stated it would be a communication to the Planning Department to have the notice be a minimum of seven (7) calendar days.

Member Kocan suggested a policy to send the notices the Monday of the week prior to the meeting to provide ten days.

Member Nagy felt seven (7) days was reasonable.

Additional recommendations from Commissioners

Special Land Use appeal to City Council – Certified Sound Engineer

Member Kocan indicated she has been before the Council regarding this matter. There is no Special Land Use appeal within the City of Novi. She referenced her comments in 1997, during a time in which the Council was interested in pursuing the matter, however the idea was lost. She suggested exploring how other cities handling these situations. She was not certain if it would cause a streamline of developers to go before the Council with appeals. She was concerned more with the residents with the limited resources who are told their only resource is to go to Court. She found this to be an unequal burden for the residents. Member Kocan noted the possibility that the matter should be discussed in the joint meeting with the Commission and Council.

Member Nagy agreed.

Mr. Schultz noted his surprise that the Commission would want their decision reviewed by Council because of the tendency that developers would come before the Commission for formality.

Chairperson Churella noted the Commission would lose its authority.

Member Nagy agreed that it was a Planning Commission function and did not feel the Council should be overseeing what the Commission does. She pointed out that the Commission and the Council area separate entities. The Council is the legislative body and the Commission is the body to enforce the Ordinances. She was opposed to the idea of bring the matter to Council’s attention.

Chairperson Churella pointed out that Member Kocan would like to raise the matter with Council.

Member Kocan requested the other commissioners voice their support or lack thereof.

Chairperson Churella asked each commissioner to voice his or her support or lack of support for sending the matter to the Council.

Member Kocan asked if there should be research first prior to sending the matter to Council.

Mr. Schultz clarified further that the question at hand was whether or not the commissioners would like to study the option of sending Special Land Use to City Council.

Chairperson Churella was not in support of the study.

Member Kocan noted that Member Nagy did not want to give Council the option because they might say "yes".

Member Ruyle disagreed.

Member Nagy clarified her position. She stated that it is not within Council’s purview and it is within the Commission’s purview.

Member Kocan disagreed. She stated it could be within the City Council’s purview.

Member Nagy disagreed. She felt if the Commission relinquished its rights and allowed the petitioner to appeal to the Council then it could open the door to a lot of undesirable situations. She believed that from a legal standpoint, it could result in more lawsuits.

Mr. Schultz stated that legally, there is not a State Statue indicating who should be the deciding body for Special Land Uses. Some communities have Special Land Uses as a Planning Commission recommendation, other communities have it as the Planning Commission decision with an option to appeal to Council and other communities do not involve Council at all.

Member Richards agreed with Member Nagy’s comments regarding Special Land Use. He pointed out that the power resides in the ability to negotiate. If every matter went before the City Council, then the Commission has no part in the negotiating.

Member Markham asked what the sense would be in having the Commission do all of the work.

Member Richards agreed. He added the consideration of why the developer should do all the work with the Commission.

Chairperson Churella called for the commissioners’ census.

Member Paul asked where the items, that were not discussed, would be distributed.

Chairperson Churella stated they would be distributed to the next meeting.

Member Paul suggested sending the items to Committees. She suggested the following:

Implementation Committee:

Berms where there are substantially elevated or depressed sites

Steeple/spire definitions/heights

Definitions: Communitized, Road Highway, Net Site Area/Gross Site Area (cluster)

Parking requirements: Maximum allowed

General Condominium

Litter Ordinance

Commission agrees.

Mr. Schultz stated the Implementation Committee meetings are generally 30 to 45 minutes long.

Member Kocan noted the items would be prioritized.

Member Markham recalled when she served on the Implementation Committee previously. She found it efficient to gather information pertaining to the area of concern from other communities or publication, etc…to derive and bring a "straw document" to the meeting to work with. She did not agree with going to a meeting with "what ifs".


Planning Commission and Planning Department Expectations of one another

Member Nagy requested that there not be five or six Public Hearings on the Planning Commission Agenda. She felt there was enough foreknowledge of items that might require more discussion. She felt the long meetings result in every one being tired. She felt the Commission should be able to give every applicant their due process and time. She suggested limiting the number of public hearings per agenda. Secondly, she noted her discussion with Planners Amy Golke and Barbara McBeth regarding the letters of recommendation. She believed that they understood what the Commission was looking for. She informed Beth Brock that the format of the previous review letters was what the Commission was looking for. She noted that the commissioners did not find the photographs, pictures and diagrams necessary. She stated the onsite photographs are valuable with a presentation or for those on viewing on television. However, it does not give the commissioners a true sense of what the property looks like because the photos are directional photographs and not an entire piece of property.

Member Kocan suggested asking the other commissioners if they wanted these photos included in the packets. She suggested a summary for the coversheet.

Beth Brock Staff Planner showed the commissioners a sample of the most recent coversheet generated.

Member Kocan stated she would like a cover sheet to write on.

Member Nagy stated the previous coversheet had the Site Plan number/name, its recommendation information and ¾ of the sheet was blank to allow for room to write notes.

Member Kocan recalled one incident in which she was not aware, until reading the Engineer’s packet that the proposal was for a parking addition. She felt this information should be on the first page.

Member Paul recalled reviewing the outdoor skate park. She noted that she would have liked to have the information regarding the interior of the building that showed whether or not there was a first-aid area established. She found this to be an important feature.

Ms. Brock indicated that that verbiage on the previous coversheet was from the agenda.

Member Kocan requested that all information of what the Petitioner is doing is included in that "blurb".

Ms. Brock asked if the commissioners desired to have the required waivers or variances included on the front page.

Member Markham liked the sample coversheet. She liked the fact that there was not a recommendation on the first page.

Member Shroyer recalled the packet changes that were raised at the recent legal session. He recalled specifically the motions making steps.

Member Kocan stated the need to have the appropriate verbiage for the Special Land Use motions.

Ms. McGuire clarified if the Commission preferred to have a sample of the recommendation at the bottom. She noted that this is provided to the Council.

Commission agreed.

Member Paul requested the inclusion of any previous minutes and requirements that were recommended. For example, if a site plan is approve and the site built, then site plan requirements from that time of approval still have to be met even if the proposal if for a piece of the entire site. She gave the example of Center City’s proposal for an addition and the need to have the entire site brought into compliance with the current Ordinance. She noted this situation was not her focus of concern. Instead her concern lied more with "what the site should have been". She noted the recently reviewed veterinarian clinic site that was is not up to date or "what it should have been". There were issues with the dumpsters and the walls falling down, which was not the site requirement. She felt the previous site requirements should be brought up to date.

Mr. Schultz noted the difficulty of changing ordinances that make a site legally non-conforming. It is difficult to convince a court that every single thing on that site has to be brought up to Code because most likely it can not be. Typically, the Commission would have to determine what physically could be brought up to Code and attempt to tie it to the proposal. For example if there is a proposal for a parking addition and the parking on the site is deficient and there is area for it, then the Commission could clearly find a reasonable nexus between the two. Anything that physically possible that the Commission could relate to what is being proposed should be able to be brought up to date.

Member Markham requested the inclusion of the minutes containing the discussion for any matter that has been before the Commission or the Council, is tabled or denied and is returning for a re-review. She felt it would be beneficial for the new commissioners as well.

Member Kocan recalled a veterinarian report indicating a number of violations that needed to be addressed. She asked if it was possible to encourage the developer to "clean up his/her act" with regard to Ordinance violations prior to any future approvals.

Mr. Schultz stated that although it could not hold up the site plan approvals it could hold up the Building Department’s process.

Member Markham stated it would allow for negotiation.

Mr. Schultz advised that the commission could bring it up and make it a public issue and elicit the promise to fix it.

Member Nagy added that it would be on the record.

Ms. McGuire stated the Building Department regulates the interior of the building. Therefore, the Building Department regulates the interior portion, such as the first aid, of the outdoor skate park.

Member Paul stated that she was aware of this. However, she wanted the previously approved information available as part of the review resources.

Member Kocan explained that the skate park was not previously approved.

Member Markham stated the Planning Commission approved the larger development, but not the individual uses.

Chairperson Churella stated the Commission approved the exterior of the building.

Mr. Schultz stated that although the Commission might have an interest, it might not be relevant. He noted that Van’s Skate Park was a Special Land Use. Since it was a discretionary decision, the Commission had the ability to request the interior information. He stated the use of the interior portion of the building related logically to the outdoor park. In these situations, he advised the Commission to inform the petitioner of the need for information related to the interior of the building to avoid catching the petitioner off guard. He noted that this would avoid the possibility of tabling.

Chairperson Churella agreed with the suggestion to have the commissioners send their requests for additional information prior to the meeting because it would save a lot of time. He indicated that the commissioners receive a future agenda. He suggested that they inform the Consultants and Staff prior to the meeting their concerns/questions to allow them to gather the information prior to the meeting.

Member Kocan asked the reason that the Planning Department does not review the entire mall.

Mr. Schultz stated the footprint; building and the placement of things were reviewed on the Site Plan. Once the interior uses fall within the permitted use inside the building of the Ordinance then it goes through the Building Department.

Member Kocan indicated that this is because it is zoned RC (Regional Center District).

Mr. Schultz disagreed.

Ms. McClain explained further that likewise the Commission does not review the layout of the office or the layout of a machine shop and its bathrooms.

Member Kocan asked the Staff to share any expectations they might have from the Commission.

Member Shroyer indicated that he would take the initiative to contact each Commissioner and Staff member and gather their expectations.

Member Kocan stated that would be considered a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

Mr. Schultz agreed. He indicated that Member Shroyer could contact the Staff members.

Member Shroyer asked if the Staff could contact the commissioners.

Chairperson Churella answered, yes.

Ms. McClain advised that e-mail was the best way for the commissioners to get in contact with her.

Ms. Brock advised that the Commission use her be the first contact and then she would contact the appropriate staff members.

Member Nagy clarified if it was possible to limit the number of Public Hearings for each meeting.

Chairperson Churella recalled a full agenda that he had anticipated would be quick, which turned out to be a lengthy meeting. However, in contrast the more recent heavy agenda was handled quickly.

Member Nagy suggested having a number in mind.

Member Kocan felt discretion should be used.

Chairperson Churella indicated this was his reasoning for inviting the various commissioners to meet with him to go over the agenda.

Member Nagy indicated that the problem with lunch meetings is that other commissioners are working.

Chairperson Churella indicated that he was willing to accommodate her schedule and have the meeting over dinner.

Mr. Schultz advised the Commission to keep in mind the time requirements involved with the Public Hearings notices that have already been mailed.

Member Markham found it reasonable to expect more committee reports and committee discussions as a result of the numerous items that will be sent to each committee from this session. Therefore, she advised allowing reasonable time for these discussions on the upcoming agendas. She felt there should be an understanding that the time for Public Hearings would be balanced with these discussions. She suggested placing these discussions at the end of the meeting to accommodate those attending Public Hearings.

Member Kocan suggested the addition of another meeting every quarter for planning studies. She suggested sending the matter to the Planning Studies & Budget Committee. She recalled the former Planning Director Jim Wahl’s statements from the Planning Commission minutes of 1999, which stated, "Commissioners would have two regular meetings to develop, review and approval work program for the next fiscal year. It needs to be turned into the Administration. After the first meeting in January the Planning Studies & Budget Committee would meet to discuss work load".

(5 minute break)


Master Plan

Member Shroyer suggested a yearly calendar that contains everything on it.

Chairperson Churella asked if he was referring to the Master Plan for Land Use.

Member Shroyer stated that he was referring to the Planning Commission meetings, workshops, various conferences, budget and other items that the Commission would need to take action on. He felt this would allow the adequate time needed for the recommendations and reviews.

Chairperson Churella asked who currently handles this.

Member Shroyer stated that he was not aware that any one currently handled this.

Member Nagy suggested that the Commission as whole should handle this.

Member Shroyer preferred to have the Staff initially develop it and then Commission would review it and make recommendations and revisions as needed.

Member Markham agreed. She noted that often the Commission is asked to make decisions based on formality when they actually are not prepared with the appropriate knowledge on the matter. For example, the topic of how many water towers should be in the City. She agreed that the Staff members were the best source to generate the calendar because they have the knowledge of the process. She noted if the Commission could be made aware of the deadlines to discuss the Master Plan for Land Use then the Master Plan & Zoning Committee meeting dates could accommodate this deadline and reports could be prepared.

Chairperson Churella stated the responsibility to generate this calendar would be handled by the Staff members.

Member Shroyer indicated that he has notes prepared if the Staff would like to contact him for starting points.

Ms. Brock asked if Member Shroyer was referring to target dates for committee meetings and CIP.

Member Shroyer stated it should include everything that surrounds the Commission and would demand their time as volunteers.

Ms. Brock suggested the possibility to draft a calendar for the Commission’s review.

Member Richards clarified that it would be a calendar of events.

Chairperson Churella indicated that it could be amended at any time.

Ms. Brock asked if the calendar should begin July.

Member Markham agreed with July due to the commissioner appointments.

Chairperson Churella stated the calendar should be July to July.

Member Nagy asked for suggestions or input regarding the Master Plan for Land Use from those commissioners who are not on the Master Planning & Zoning Committee. She desired to coordinate the Master Plan for Utilities, Master Plan for Roads, Master Plan for Sewers etc… She asked Ms. McClain to comment.

Ms. McClain indicated there is a Master Plan for sewers and roads. She stated a meeting could be set up to specifically deal with all of these.

Member Nagy noted her desire to set up a meeting. She felt the infrastructure and the Master Plan are hand in hand.

Ms. McClain noted this leads back into the CIP for the six years and what will need to be done. She indicated that there would be a new Water Master Plan, which the Commission would determine its implementation through the CIP. She agreed that it tied into the zoning.

Member Richards pointed out the hypothetical scenario of the farthest west point of Novi having a rezoning request matching the Master Plan for Land Use and not having the infrastructure available. He believed that the request would have to be denied due to the lack of resources for their establishment.

Ms. McClain found this scenario believable because the already shown interest for the area along Napier Road. She noted that on several occasions she has had to tell individuals at concept meetings that there is neither water nor sewer available in these areas.

Ms. Brock noted the proposal currently before the Council for Road Management Plan, which would consider small aspects of infrastructure, verses the buildout. She was not certain if it would be approved at this point in time; however, it would address these questions.

Member Nagy found this matter crucial and felt it was appropriate to spend monies on fiscal impact studies. She felt the infrastructure should be in place. She recalled a comment from Member Richards’ with regard to churches and the fact that they do not provide the City with tax base. The described the churches as crystal palaces. She believed the Master Plan for Land Use needed to be update for many reasons.

Chairperson Churella clarified if she was referring to "mega-churches" with auditoriums that hold 5000 people.

Member Nagy stated that she was not opposed to churches in Novi. However, she felt they were factors that should be considered in the Master Plan for Land Use. She described the church on Ten Mile was too much building for too little land.

Chairperson Churella asked her to define her comment of "too much building for too little land".

Member Nagy stated that particular church was given variances, which she felt was obvious there was too much building for too little land.

Member Kocan stated the discussion regarding churches and their size raised the issue that the term "church" needed to be re-defined. Churches are an allowed use in a residential district. However, it is not defined when a church becomes a "mega-church". She compared the definition of childcare centers, which were originally defined to accommodate 20-30 children and not 120-130 children.

Mr. Schultz advised discussing the topic at a separate meeting due to the Federal Laws and other details involved. He noted that any distinguishing the ordinance would need to be handled carefully.

Member Nagy asked what would occur if the non-profit church proposed a use on their property that would generate a profit.

Mr. Schultz did not believe that type of situation would be a zoning issue that the Court would allow the Commission to consider.

Member Ruyle stated if the church sells the property then that property would go back to being taxable property.

Member Markham asked Member Nagy if she was referring to the church selling its property or the church constructing a profitable use on their property.

Member Nagy gave the example of a nursing home or a daycare center.

Member Ruyle indicated that his church plans to build senior housing, which he intends to buy. However, he would be subject to the property tax on the parcel he purchases.

Member Markham noted the number of churches running daycare service.

Member Ruyle stated the daycare is not run for profit.

Member Nagy summarized her intent to have the infrastructure considered and tied together in the Master Plan for Land Use.

Member Richards explained his comment(s). He recalled a State Planning Convention that discussed the new national law regarding religion. It appeared on the surface that the City could not say "you can not build a church wherever you want to". However, if this were the case, he wondered how this would be applied for the properties that could provide taxable monies that could go toward the City. He questioned if there was a restraint or if it was a free-for-all.

Mr. Schultz indicated that the Supreme Court struck down the earlier form of the Federal Legislation. This is the second attempt to try to restrict municipalities’ ability to regulate where churches can be located. Until 1980, the churches, as long as it is facially neutral, were treated like any other land use. They could be permitted in some places and not in others, the size and area could be regulated. Congress passed the law to make it more difficult for communities to do this by approaching the matter as a First Amendment issue with height and scrutiny and the need for proof of the specific governmental interest that is being furthered by the prevention of the religious use. However, the Supreme Court struck this down a few years ago. There is another attempt with new limiting legislation indicated that if churches are to be subject to Special Land Uses or other discretionary decisions, then it would be closely reviewed to ensure fairness and ensure there is not a burden preventing their ability to practice their religion. He did not believe there were any attempts to change any Ordinances to do this. However, he noted the issues would be raised in a situation where the church is not a permitted use and the petitioner goes before the ZBA for a variance and is turned down. The City would have to prove before the Circuit Court that the particular church, as proposed, would be harmful. The findings could not be based on the use and would need to be based facially neutral consideration such as the size, layout, parking, etc. Not many communities have revised their Ordinances due to the fair chance of challenging the Ordinance. The Supreme Court wants the churches reviewed as any other land use.

Member Nagy noted the "mega-church" being built on Ten Mile and Wixom. She noted their congregation would be using the City’s two lane roads, which would impact the residents. She stated the church use was not the issue, instead it was the impact it would have. Therefore, when updating the Master Plan for Land Use, she felt that the infrastructure considerations must be given.

Member Shroyer noted the Master Plan for Land Use does not show the zoning for Novi Township. He noted on several occasions, he has requested the zoning for the surrounding communities.

Chairperson Churella stated Novi Township is residential.

Member Shroyer indicated further that he was referring to all surround properties. He noted the four major intersections with two and three different zonings. He suggested a flow chart of the abutting properties.

Chairperson Churella suggested sending the matter to the Master Planning & Zoning Committee.

Member Markham suggested having the Master Planning & Zoning Committee meet on a regular basis. She suggested once a month or once every three weeks. She disagreed with the current practice of meeting at the request of a developer for a rezoning.

Chairperson Churella asked who serves on the Master Planning & Zoning Committee.

Member Nagy indicated the members include Member Markham, Member Canup, Member Richards and herself.

Mr. Schultz stated there could not be five commissioners at the meeting.

Chairperson Churella stated that they could meet with four.

Member Ruyle suggested having a special meeting, open to the public, once a month from 7pm to 7:30pm prior to the Planning Commission meeting. Commissioners who do not sit on the Master Planning & Zoning Committee could raise their issues at that time and the Committee could discuss the matter.

Chairperson Churella agreed.

Member Markham asked why there could not be a regularly scheduled Master Planning & Zoning Committee meeting.

Member Ruyle indicated that only four members could attend the meeting.

Member Markham asked why.

Mr. Schultz stated a fifth commissioner would create a quorum of a full Planning Commission and would require a public notice.

Member Markham stated it would be okay if the Master Planning & Zoning Committee meeting was published.

Mr. Schultz disagreed. He explained that if five commissioners were present, then the meeting would no longer be a Master Planning & Zoning meeting. Instead it would become a Planning Commission meeting.

Member Ruyle restated that a commissioner could not attend the Committee meeting as a commissioner or as an individual to express his/her desires because it would constitute a public meeting when it is not a public meeting.

Member Markham pointed out that there has not yet been a Committee meeting with all member present. She stated there have been numerous occasions where members miss the committee meeting.


Downtown Novi and

Vacancies; Recycling of buildings

Member Markham recalled a rezoning situation from when she previously served on the Commission. The office-zoned property was located near Twelve Mile Road and Novi Road. The petitioner was able to convince the Council to approve a rezoning to Commercial. Today that property is the Fountain Walk development. At the time of its approval, Main Street was not finished, Town Center was losing its business. Today, Main Street is still not finished, Town Center is losing business and West Oaks is losing business. She noted that Fountain Walk in and of itself might be a fine development. However she questioned if a commercial development was approved too soon. She asked how they could evaluate the whole impact of a development prior to its approval. She did not find it necessary to rezone that property, which was Master Planned for office. She noted that she was not aware of the discussion that ensued because that she was no longer serving on the Planning Commission when the property was finally rezoned. However, as a citizen she questioned if it was a good decision for the community.

Member Nagy stated this is a good example of where a fiscal impact study would be helpful. She agreed with Member Markham because Main Street is failing.

Chairperson Churella agreed that Main Street was a mistake. He felt that Main Street should have been a place where the community buildings should have been placed to create the Downtown.

Member Nagy agreed. However, she stated that it could not be redone now.

Chairperson Churella stated it could be redone if there is a willingness to spend the money. A Downtown area requires an attraction to bring people there. He noted that with Fountain Walk came the making of Twelve Mile Road into a boulevard at no cost to the City or its residents.

Member Nagy indicated that it was not done all the way.

Chairperson Churella indicated that is all the way to the railroad tracks. He disagreed with the comment that West Oaks was doing poorly. He noted that there was no knowledge of K-Mart going out of business.

Member Markham added that Service Merchandise went out of business also.

Member Richards stated there was no knowledge of Service Merchandise going out of business.

Member Markham indicated her only point was that there was too much commercial in the Novi community.

Chairperson Churella anticipated there would be more commercial unless the Commission decided to not approve the Gateway Ordinance.

Member Markham felt the timing of the developments was a critical issue. Maybe in the long run a lot of commercial seemed to make sense. When opening a new business, she noted the importance of foot traffic of the business next door. She felt the Commission did not do Main Street any favors by approving Fountain Walk. Past newspapers had references of commercial retail owners that were planning on leasing from Main Street but instead waiting for the opening of Fountain Walk. Downtown Novi was not becoming what the Main Street Committee planned for it to be. She asked how to evaluate a rezoning request of that nature to have a better picture of the impact on the entire community.

Member Nagy again suggested a fiscal impact study. The entire City would be studied. She agreed with Member Markham. She suggested raising the idea of a fiscal impact study with the City Council in the joint meeting.

Ms. Brock stated the Road Management program included a fiscal impact study.

Chairperson Churella stated that commercial buildings are recycled the same as homes.

Member Markham stated that although it was a reality that a retail business would have some empty space, she felt Novi had too much.

Chairperson Churella did not agree that there was a lot of empty space.

Member Markham stated Town Center was empty.

Chairperson Churella asked for the occupancy of Town Center.

Member Kocan felt the empty parking lot was a good indication that the businesses were not doing well.

Chairperson Churella stated Town Center was designed for as walking center.


Alternatives when something fails

Member Kocan suggested rezoning as a solution to slowing down the growth. The corner at Ten Mile and Novi Road is under special study, which the developer is not happy about. The developer is speaking of litigating the City because he did not feel it was lawful to change the zoning of his property. However, an attorney at a seminar she attended indicated that if a reasonable use of the person’s property is allowed, then it is not considered a taking. There needs to be considerable documentation and specifics as to why the action is taken. She informed the Master Planning & Zoning Committee that what they are doing needs to be justifiable. The economic impact statement could become very critical.

Chairperson Churella asked if the Ten Mile site she was referring to was commercial.

Member Kocan answered, no. She indicated that as part of the Novi Road Plan the property is under special study.

Member Markham indicated the property is located where the apple orchard was located.

Member Kocan stated the property is located behind Walgreens and is designed as SP on the map. She noted that most land uses are market-driven. Regardless of how good a plan is, she stated things would change. For example the Magna development came in under one premise and decided that they could not operate as a technical building and changed to office. She stated that although her statements were obvious she found it important to document the reasons for changes. Member Kocan stated that Planners believe that they are working for the ultimate good and a step down is a loss to the public. She did not find anything wrong with steep requirements.


What the City lacks; what other communities have that Novi doesn’t

Member Nagy stated that it would be necessary to gather information from other cities to discuss this topic.

Chairperson Churella asked if it would be appropriate to send the matter to the Master Planning & Zoning Committee.

Member Kocan suggested sending the matter to the Community Liaison Committee.

Member Richards suggested having the Planning Department gather the information.

Member Kocan stated this would be the Bus-Tour.

Member Nagy noted her preference to have the Master Planning & Zoning Committee start on the topic.

Chairperson Churella stated the matter would be sent to the Master Planning & Zoning Committee.


Parks: Neighborhood, Community; benefit sharing parks with adjoining communities

Member Markham indicated that it was determined to sent this matter to the Environmental Committee.

Member Ruyle expressed his desire to construct a band shell at Walled Lake. He noted the 15-acres that was previously the casino/amusement park.

Chairperson Churella suggested creating a committee to raise the money to build the band shell.

Member Nagy agreed with Member Ruyle’s suggestion.

Member Ruyle stated the surrounding communities would benefit from the amenity as well. He noted that Providence Hospital is considering building a band shell near their golf course.

Member Ruyle questioned the possibility of having a large company, such as GM, to fund the project. Also the possibility of grant monies.

Member Richards agreed with Member Ruyle’s point. However, he believed the matter might fall to the Planning Department or the Economic Development Department.

Ms. Brock advised the Commission to group the issue under the category, What the City lacks; what other communities have that Novi doesn’t.

The Parks and Recreation Commission has no authority and are an advisory commission. The new Parks and Recreation Director is looking at the same plans that the old director reviewed. He suggested redirecting the Director and using the Planning Commission’s authority, as a policy committee, to bring forward some of these ideas.

Member Kocan questioned if it would be appropriate for the Planning Commission to act on the matter. She noted the Parks and Recreation Commission addresses the Council.

Member Markham indicated that there is a Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

Member Kocan indicated that part of the Master Plan for Land Use is Parks and Recreation. Therefore, she stated that it would be ideal if it were a joint recommendation.

Member Markham noted her awareness that the Parks and Recreation Commission reviews other issues. She suggested the possibility of a joint meeting with the Environmental Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission. The meeting could cover bike paths, greenways, neighborhood parks, etc…

Chairperson Churella stated the matter would go to the Environmental Committee.


Sizes of houses on lots; setbacks

Ms. Brock stated the topic referred to setbacks and open space from the roadway. She indicated that Councilmember Capello directed the Implementation Committee to explore this.

Member Shroyer believed there was a 90-day response time and the request was made in January.

Member Richards noted that the Implementation Committee determined that there was not enough information. Inside the 90-days, the Committee requested more information from the Councilmember.

Member Shroyer indicated that the "inside 90-days" was 60-days later. He noted the information was not received until March.

Member Richards noted the resolution. He stated the Committee analyzed the information and reported back that there was still not an understanding of what they wanted.

Member Shroyer did not feel that they should have had to wait until March. He stated the time factor upset the Council and the Commission. He felt the situation was uncalled for.

Ms. Brock indicated that Mr. Evancoe met with Councilmember Capello and was able to gather more information. Councilmember Capello’s ideas would be presented to the Commission in May and then forwarded to the Implementation Committee for review.

Member Paul stated that it was unacceptable for the Staff to have waited two months. She stated it should have been brought forward to the Planning Commission at the meeting after the request was made by Councilmember Capello. She stated this matter would fall under expectations.

Ms. McGuire noted the Councilmember’s ideas that were raised at the meeting. 1) Improve major intersections, 2) to set buildings back farther from the roadways and possibly increase the easements and 3) improving the Similar/Dissimilar Ordinance so that it applies to the rear of the properties.

Chairperson Churella suggested that the matter go before the Ordinance Committee.

Member Markham stated if businesses and the housing were set back further then it would emphasized more so the importance of signage.

Member Kocan asked if there were problems in the City with the size of houses on the lots.

Member Ruyle noted an area on Nine Mile four block to the east of Beck Road where there is a house being constructed that is too large for the lot size. He noted the house is beautiful, however, he felt it would be better on a larger lot. He questioned who in the Building Department would approve this size house. He estimated the house to be approximately four or five thousand square feet on a lot intended for a two thousand square foot house.

Member Kocan stated the Ordinance requires twenty-five percent coverage.

Member Markham stated the house is three-stories with a bay coming out. She agreed that it was too large for the lot size.

Mr. Schultz stated the house size is regulated essentially by setback.

Member Ruyle stated the house appears to be fifty or seventy percent of the lot.

Member Kocan pointed out that the house located on Nine Mile and Meadowbrook Road is setback approximately twenty feet. She stated that although no other houses on Nine Mile Road are that close to the road, the house met the Ordinance. She recalled asking Council how they could permit this home to be constructed. Their response was that it was permitted by Ordinance.

Member Paul believed the reason for the item being placed on the agenda was related to the home located in Autumn Park with a four or five car garage.

Member Kocan noted that the site also had woodland issues.

Mr. Schultz stated it would be difficult to uphold the Ordinance when there is an aesthetic discretionary decision that a house would not fit into the neighborhood. The Judges view this as one’s imposition of their own standards and aesthetic values on the property owner. Judges like and are used to upholding technical objective standards. For example twenty-five percent coverage and thirty feet in height and setback of fifteen feet from the neighbor’s property.

Member Nagy suggested changing these numbers.

Mr. Schultz suggested finding out what other communities do in terms of setbacks and residential. He found these to be legitimate questions.

Member Nagy asked if this would be a Master Plan issue.

Member Markham felt it would be an Implementation Committee issue.

Chairperson Churella stated it would be an Ordinance issue.

Member Markham referred to Section 2400 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Chairperson Churella recalled that the Building Department previously participated in these types of meetings.

Member Markham agreed that the Building Department should be part of the discussion if there were to be changes to the standards. She noted three of her friends that have homes that were not built in the location where it was approved. She realized this was not a Planning Commission issue. She asked where the flaw was in the system that would allow this to happen.

Chairperson Churella stated the Building Department handles these matters.

Mr. Schultz stated that typically a plan would show the correct setback. He noted the possibility that the hole may not be dug where it should be dug.

Member Markham did not feel fifteen feet was acceptable.

Member Kocan pointed out that the inspector would need to catch the mistake prior to the basement being poured.

Member Markham felt the City needed to be aware that this was going on.

Mr. Schultz stated that there are only so many bodies in the Building Department. He pointed out that they are not there every day for every day of construction.

Mixed Use Developments

Chairperson Churella stated Gateway is a mixed-use development. He asked if the Gateway Ordinance was passed.

Ms. Brock indicated that it would be going back before Council for a second reading.

Chairperson Churella noted the Gateway Ordinance would have various setbacks, buildings closer to the road and front parking.

Member Markham stated if the Ordinance is written well, then there should not be any problems.

Chairperson Churella felt there would be a problem because some commissioners will not agree on what the Ordinance says. He recalled the differences of opinion with the Expo Center Ordinance.

Member Kocan noted another developer coming forward to the Implementation Committee and the Master Planning & Zoning Committee requesting a mixed-use development in an area that does not allow the mixed-used development. There are issues of the proposed being market- driven. However, an Ordinance should not be re-written for a particular piece of property. She noted that she was not happy with EXO Ordinance because it was custom written for one person.

Chairperson Churella disagreed.

Member Kocan noted the attempt to avoid this occurrence with the mixed-use development. She noted the need to take into consideration that walk-by traffic and drive-by traffic are needed for the mixed-used.

Chairperson Churella related her comments to the Downtown Main Street project. He felt this was an ideal location to have mixed-uses.

Member Markham agreed. She noted that this was the original idea.

Chairperson Churella suggested that the upper levels of the Main Street development should be lofts and not offices. He felt those individuals that reside in lofts are great for a downtown area and typically do not have children.

Member Kocan agreed with his point.

Member Ruyle noted the Commission just denied that type of request recently brought forward by Singh Development.

Chairperson Churella indicated that their proposal was not in the right area. He clarified further that he was referring to the Downtown Main Street area.

Member Ruyle asked the how that situation would differ from the Twelve Oaks Mall.

Chairperson Churella stated Twelve Oaks mall has plenty of businesses and the surrounding area is properly zoned. Main Street needs that type of mixture.

Member Ruyle stated there is a lot of residential located behind the Main Street Development.

Member Nagy explained that Chairperson Churella is referring to the possibility of having residential located above the businesses.

Member Ruyle argued that was Singh Development’s proposal. He noted that it may have not been proposed for Main Street but it was the same application.


Underground utilities, Sanitary sewers

Member Nagy stated this topic was covered in the discussion with Ms. McClain.

Chairperson Churella noted his desire to have underground utilities on Main Street.

Member Kocan asked if Novi had adequate sewers and utilities. She felt water and sewers were the critical point of the community.

Ms. McClain stated the City does not have the ability to provide a reliable water service, as far as pressure, during the high peak volume period to the southwest corner of the City. She noted that it was due to the elevation differences and the location of the connections. She noted that this being a reason for the request for the water towers in the CIP (Capital Improvements Program). She noted the connections to the water system are located along the eastern side of the City and the main connection is located on Fourteen Mile and Haggerty Road. She recalled the recent watermain break and the impact it had on the City. She noted that as the southwest corner builds out, the needed water pressure would not be able available because utilities are not being extended at this time.

Member Ruyle asked if Northville was an option.

Ms. McClain stated Northville has a pressure problem of their own. Therefore, Novi could not rely on buying water from Northville. Instead the City needs to work on establishing storage capacity in that area. There is one crossing at I-96. The second crossing would be located at the Novi Expo Center. If there were a problem with the watermain in the area of I-96, then the water pressure would not be able to get from Fourteen and Haggerty down into that part of the City. The City is currently working on obtaining these redundancies. The watermain on West Park Drive will help. However, until there is a second crossing and storage there would not be reliable service at the southwest corner of Novi.

Member Markham asked her to explain the crossing of I-96 and its location.

Ms. McClain stated the crossing is proposed for the western side of the new Expo’s property. There would be a bore and jack of a 24" watermain under the expressway.

Member Kocan clarified if this was in the proposal stages.

Ms. McClain stated the proposal is for the easement along the West Side of the Novi Expo Center to get to the portion where the connection will be located.


Roads, transportation system (trolley)

Chairperson Churella felt the merchants should buy their own trolley to communicate people around.

Member Shroyer asked the Staff to explore the trolley system in Michigan. He hoped to have a trolley system that would go to the various hotels and major shopping areas. He suggested the northeast corner of Grand River and Novi Road.

Member Markham noted there was parking at that location.

Member Shroyer believed it would be cost free to the City because the merchants would pay for it.

Chairperson Churella suggested sending the matter to the Downtown Development Committee.

Member Nagy recalled the Main Street Committee.

Member Kocan indicated that there was not a Main Street Committee yet and that it was still the Town Center Committee.

Chairperson Churella stated the Town Center Committee was dissolved.

Member Ruyle asked who served on the Main Street Committee.

Member Nagy indicated that Member Canup and she serve on the Committee.


Bosco property – schools uses vs. residential (June 6, 2001 PC meeting request)

Member Kocan felt this matter needed to be addressed in the Master Planning & Zoning Committee. She noted the school property located at Eleven Mile.

Ms. Brock indicated that the matter is scheduled on the upcoming Master Planning & Zoning Committee agenda.

Member Nagy noted that nothing was covered with regard to landscaping. She commended Ms. McGuire for doing a great job. She asked if there were any issues, such as berming, that she would like to discuss.

Ms. McGuire stated the Landscape Ordinance is currently undergoing a revision at the Ordinance Review Committee. She suggested waiting until these changes occur.

Member Richards noted the items that are continually identified as not being complied with. He noted that often several items are listed as non-compliant. However, in most instances, Ms. McGuire has discussed and often resolved the matters with the Petitioner. He requested that notation be included in the packets indicating the items that are resolved.

Ms. McGuire noted that her requests are more final than what was done in the past. Previously a conceptual plan was requested, however, she has requested more detail on the first submittal. She felt that it made the entire review process more quickly. She noted that each time there is a revision, the review period is another 20 days. She also wanted the Commission to have more information with the layout, which would give them the opportunity to have more input. She noted the italicized marks indicate items that are correctable.

Mr. Schultz noted that typically other communities have the landscape plans follow after the Planning Commission has approved the Site Plan. Therefore, often developers are not used to spending a lot of money up-front for landscape plans.

Member Richards asked why the items are included in the review letter if they are resolved.

Ms. McGuire noted the plans are submitted for review and the changes are typically shown on the final. She noted the cost involved in resubmitting only for showing the revision.

Member Richards asked if a comment could be included in the packet to indicated the items that were agreed upon or reviewed.

Ms. McGuire agreed to provide the Commission with this information.

Member Richards explained that otherwise it appears to the Commission that the petitioner is denying that there is a problem.

Ms. McGuire suggested pointing out the items that the petitioner and she were not able to resolve.

Ms. McGuire stated her preference to put the items of expectation up-front for the developer.

Member Kocan recalled a situation where a project had a number of issues and the developer wrote a three page letter addressing the traffic concerns, landscape concerns etc… and noted the items that were resolved. She understood the time limits involved; however, the letter was an excellent help. She suggested the possibility of Staff making the developer aware that the Planning Commission looks favorably upon working together and that having the concessions put together.



Master Plan and Zoning Committee – Master Plan issues

Chairperson Churella announced the topic was already covered.


Implementation Review Committee- Ordinance issues

Chairperson Churella announced the topic was already covered.


Communications and Community Liaison Committee- Parks, Roads, etc.

Chairperson Churella announced the topic was already covered.

Member Kocan indicated that no items were sent to the Committee. However, she noted that the items were sent to the Environmental Committee.

Planning Studies & Budget Committee - work program/yearly-type issues

Member Kocan stated the Staff would be coordinating the annual calendar. She asked if it would be appropriate for the Commission to work with the Staff.

Chairperson Churella stated the annual calendar should be submitted to the Commission in a draft form. The Commission would make revisions and send it back to the Department for finalizations.

Member Kocan did not think it would be possible to schedule all of the sub-committee meetings for the entire year.

Ms. Brock suggested having the Committees selecting set dates to meet such as Wednesdays or Tuesdays, etc…

Environment Committee- Parks and utilities issues

Chairperson Churella announced the topic was already covered.


Member Kocan stated the bus tour would be the Commission’s discretion. She did not feel the Commission was ready to "pin-point" something to focus on. She suggested items such as a façade tour, setback tour or abandoned buildings tour. She asked if there needed to be a topic.

Chairperson Churella answered, yes.

Member Markham recalled a previous tour where the commissioners looked at the available large parcels left in Novi. It was before Island Lake was proposed. She recalled looking at the wetlands mitigation area and property that became OST along M-5. Member Markham suggested a tour to look at the City parks.

Chairperson Churella agreed that the first tour could be the City Parks.

Member Markham felt City Parks should only be a part of the tour.

Member Shroyer suggested Parks, Wetlands and Woodlands.

Chairperson Churella stated the Wetland would involve going into a field to find where the wetland sits.

Member Markham felt that wetlands could be done as a drive-by.

Chairperson Churella disagreed. He noted the commissioners would have to walk onto the site to determine if it is an essential wetland.

Member Nagy noted that the Commission would be working on the Master Plan for Land Use Update. Therefore she suggested combining the City Parks with the Zoning to determine what exists.

Member Shroyer suggested touring the border of the City and the perimeter zoning.

Member Kocan agreed that touring the perimeter zoning and how it ties in with the surrounding communities was a good idea. She stated it would need to be done for the Coordinated Planning Act.

Member Nagy felt the bus tour could encompass more than one topic.

Mr. Schultz stated the tour would need to be noticed as a meeting.

Member Nagy asked why.

Mr. Schultz explained that the Commission would be deliberating toward the potential decision about "something".

Member Kocan questioned how it would be different than a legal training session. She noted that the commissioners would not be looking at any specific projects.

Mr. Schultz stated the Commission would be looking at items that they would be ultimately planning to take action on.

Member Nagy asked if public notice would be required if the tour was combined with the Council as a joint meeting.

Mr. Schultz answered, yes.







Moved by Kocan, seconded by Nagy, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 10:50 p.m.


Yes: Churella, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Paul, Richards, Ruyle, Shroyer

No: None



Donna Howe - Planning Assistant

Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji

May 28, 2002

Date Approved: June 5, 2002