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REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI
Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairperson Nagy.
PRESENT: Members Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer.
ABSENT/EXCUSED: Member Sprague (absence excused)
ALSO PRESENT: Planning Director David Evancoe, City Attorney Gerald Fisher, Staff Planner Beth Brock, Planner Barbara McBeth, Planner Timothy Schmitt, City Engineer Nancy McClain, Landscape Architect Lauren McGuire, Planning/Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo, Senior Environmental Specialist Aimee Kay, Façade Consultant Doug Necci
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairperson Nagy asked if there were any additions or changes to the Agenda.
Member Ruyle added Matters for Discussion Item #2 – Next Scheduled Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting.
PM-02-10-226 TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS AMENDED WITH THE ADDITION OF MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION ITEM #2 – NEXT SCHEDULED ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MEETING.
Moved by Ruyle, seconded by Kocan, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended with the addition of Matters for Discussion Item #2 – Next Scheduled Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting.
VOTE ON PM-02-10-226 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer
David Evancoe Planning Director introduced Elaine Grehl, City’s Woodland Technician to assist with woodland inspections and Landscape Architect Mike McGinnis to assist as an interim consultant reviewing landscape plans.
1. NOVI EXPOSITION CENTER, SITE PLAN NUMBER 02-25
Public Hearing on the request of Blair Bowmen of TBON LLC, for approval of a Woodland Permit and for a recommendation to City Council for Preliminary Site Plan and Wetland Permit approvals. The subject property is located in Section 16, north of Grand River Avenue and west of Taft Road. The developer proposes an exposition convention and conference center in the EXO (Overlay) District. The subject property is 54.82 acres.
Barbara McBeth, Planner introduced the request of Blair Bowmen of TBON LLC. The site is primarily vacant land, and is developed with two industrial buildings: one on the west side of the property and one on the east side of the property. To the north, across I-96, are single-family homes and undeveloped land. To the east are industrial uses. Directly to the south, as well as across Grand River Avenue to the south is a variety of industrial, commercial, residential, restaurant, retail, office and motel uses. To the west are various industrial uses fronting on Grand River Avenue. The master plan for land use designates the property as office with the Expo overlay. To the west, and southeast the properties are designated for office uses. To the north, across the I-96 expressway the properties are designated for office uses. To the east, across Taft Road, and to the south, across Grand River, the master plan designates the properties for light industrial uses. The Zoning Maps shows the subject site is zoned for OST Office Service Technology with the EXO Exposition Overlay District zoning. To the west, the properties are zoned OST, Office Service Technology. To the north, across I-96 the properties are zoned R-A Residential Acreage. To the southeast, the properties are zoned OST and I-l Light Industrial. To the east, across Taft Road, the properties are zoned I-l Light Industrial. To the south, on the south side of Grand River, the properties are zoned I-l Light Industrial. The Preliminary Site Plan shows the development of an exposition, convention and conference center containing a total of 318,900 square feet in exposition halls, banquet facilities, administrative offices and warehouse space. The existing 20,350 square foot building on the west side of the property would be retained and reused as part of the Exposition Facility for administrative offices and warehouse space. The proposed development would provide three driveways from Grand River Avenue, with the most easterly driveway being provided with a traffic signal. A total of 2600 spaces are provided on the site plan, with an additional 400 spaces shown in a future parking lot. The Zoning Ordinance requires 2575 parking spaces for the uses proposed within the building. The plan proposes 25 more spaces than required by Ordinance. The plans that are before the Planning Commission this evening are the second revised plans reviewed by Staff and Consultants. The first review, completed earlier in the summer, raised a number of important issues and the staff and consultants have met with the applicant numerous times to attempt to resolve these issues. The applicant chose to continue to work with the City Staff and Consultants to resolve a number of these issues and submitted a revised plan for review by the Planning Commission this evening. The following items were identified in the staff and consultant’s review letters that need further review or action by the Planning Commission, City Council or Zoning Board of Appeals. Three items may need action by the Zoning Board of Appeals or the plans must be revised: First, the proposed location of the parking attendant building is within the required front yard building setback of the district. The applicant may want to address the functionality of the parking attendant building in its current location and indicate whether it would be possible to move the building to a conforming location on the property or whether the applicant intends to seek a Zoning Board of Appeals variance for its location. Secondly, the EXO overlay ordinance requires a minimum of ten tractor-trailer truck parking spaces to be provided on the site. The plan shows five possible spaces located on the west side of the building. The plan should be modified to show ten truck parking spaces or the applicant must seek a ZBA variance for the required additional five spaces that would need to be provided. Thirdly, the loading areas near the northeast side of the building will require a ZBA variance for being located in the exterior side yard. This loading area is technically located in the exterior side yard, although it faces the rear of the property and is screened from Taft Road side by a landscaped area. The Planning Commission may choose to take action on an additional two items mentioned in the Planning letter or the plans may be modified. The Planning Commission may modify the requirements for the required 20-foot parking lot setback if it is found that modification of the strict requirements of the ordinance result in improved use of the site or in improved landscaping. She indicated 17-feet of landscaped setback is provided and 20-feet is required. Alternatively, the applicant may modify the plans to shift the driveway over approximately 3-feet. The second planning Commission finding relates to the proposed loading area on the west side of the building. The ordinance allows loading areas in the interior side yard, where the loading areas are located near the rear of the building. The loading area is shown approximately in the middle of the west side of the building, and will be effectively screened from Grand River Avenue by the existing building along the south side of the loading area. Landscape screening is proposed along the west property line in an area approximately 55-feet in width. Finally, from the Planning Report was the indication that the required bicycle and pedestrian safety path has not been shown along Taft Road as would be required. There is an existing wetland in this area, so it is likely that a boardwalk would need to be installed for a certain length through this area, if the path is to be installed. The applicant has indicated to staff that he will pursue a City Council waiver of the required bike and pedestrian safety path. Wetland review indicated that the Planning Commission recommendation to City Council is needed for approval of a non-minor use wetlands permit. Seven wetlands were identified on the property. While the wetlands review recognized that the location of the building has been chosen due to the unique use of the building that requires the particular layout of the building, the applicant is encouraged to explore the use of a parking structure to avoid filling of Wetland number 2. A Wetland Permit is recommended subject to conditions listed in the wetlands review letter. The Woodlands review indicated that Woodlands permit is not recommended based on the current development configuration. Approval could be recommended contingent on the applicant reviewing alternative designs that conserve additional areas of existing woodlands on the property. The Landscaping review indicated only minor items which may be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan Review. The Traffic Engineering review indicated several City Council waivers that will be required for the design of the driveways on the Preliminary Site Plan. A City Council waiver is required for the proposed 64-foot wide easterly driveway. The Design and Construction Standards limit driveway width to 40 feet. A City Council waiver of the minimum same-side driveway spacing requirement for the easterly driveway as 230-feet of separation is required and the proposed is 200-feet between the east driveway and an existing driveway to the east. There are two City Council waivers of the minimum opposite-side driveway spacing requirements: 1) the proposed east driveway relative to the next two commercial drives to the west (220-feet and 360-feet proposed, while 400-feet is required). A greater separation is required here because of the expected number of vehicles using this driveway. The other opposite-side driveway spacing waiver is for the proposed center drive relative to the next two commercial driveways to the east (41-feet and 147-feet proposed, while 150-feet is required). She indicated comment 14 and comment 16 of the Traffic Review Letter seem to address some possible solutions for these problems. A City Council waiver is required for the proposed angle of westerly driveway as it approaches Grand River. The Design and Construction Standards require a 90-degree or right angle of the driveway to Grand River and a 73-degree angle is proposed. The Engineering review and Fire Marshall Reviews indicated that the site plan meets the requirements for Preliminary Site Plan approval. Additional information will be needed prior to Final Site Plan approval. The Façade review indicated that the proposed Pre-cast Panels as the dominant façade material is not consistent with the intent and purpose of the Façade Chart which was created for the EXO Overlay District, and is not suitable as the predominant material on this highly visible building.
Blair Bowmen of TBON LLC recapped the history of the project and its progress. The operation opened in 1992 with fourteen events the first year. He recalled 250,000 visitors that year. Currently there are over 70 major events and 150 total annual events. He anticipated approximately 1,500,000 visitors over the next annual period. Although growth is a positive aspect, it has created some issues. The location on Novi Road is a congested area. The facility was already there and was utilized in the best way possible. A strategic planning process was entered into with both current and potential customers to determine the best options to improve the Expo’s operations. In conclusion, it was determined that the current center is strong in many areas; however, there are several physical limitations with infrastructure setbacks. It was determined that improved parking was necessary, access and traffic flow was a major concern, ceiling height limitations and the need for better and improved meeting room facilities with convention, conferences and food services were top priorities. The City of Novi approached him through a City Council Resolution and asked him to stay within the City limits. As a result Mr. Bowman gave his commitment back to the Community 2½–year ago to explore and exhaust every alternative within the City of Novi before looking at other alternatives. Mr. Bowman indicated that he is before the Commission in that spirit of cooperation. There was a need to find a site of appropriate size suitable to handle the project in a location along the interstate with accessibility and visibility. The proposed site is that ideal location. Literally ideal, when the Wixom and Beck road interchanges are improved, the placement of the Expo Center along the new and improved Grand River Avenue in the middle of three expressway interchanges, not adjacent to residential and near under utilized/undeveloped heavy industrial related uses. Working with the City of Novi, Oakland County Road Commission and State of Michigan the further advancement of the major road improvement were possible, such as Beck Road interchange, Grand River Avenue widening and funding/improving. These projects have started and will hopefully be completed in the next two to three years and provide for a much better and improved access for the Expo operations. The passage of a Tax Abatement was the next consideration, which was approved. Economic information was provided to demonstrate that the project in 1999 produced nearing $190,000,000 worth of economic spin-off activity. In the first year of operation of the new facility, Michigan Consultants estimated it would near a quarter of a billion dollars. The next step required the installation of an Ordinance for the site, which was approved. Over the process of l8-month, text was developed to ensure an appropriate ordinance was put into place, which is known as the EXO Overlay Ordinance. The revisions addressed building material, potential for a future hotel construction, signage issues and parking issues. The current stage is for the approval of concepts and site plans. There have been a number of different concept plans through the years. He showed the Commission the 208,000 square feet of exposition space, 26-foot clear ceiling height and 30,000 square foot clear span banquet and conference center. The final steps will come in the construction of the new facility, which he hoped to begin with the approvals with the community in spring or early summer 2003. He showed the Commission the design revisions of the Expo Building since its first submittal.
Chris Cedargreen from Forum Studios presented his vision for the proposed building and how it could be incorporated into the Novi Community and the proposed site. The focus of the approach to the building from Grand River Avenue is wetlands with the entrance of the building beyond. The exhibit hall can be broken into three smaller halls totaling 209,000 square feet. The exterior wall have been tilted to create a façade opportunities from the north and south rather than a box-like structure/enclosure. Semi-trucks will be stored in this buffered area. The southern exposure has tilted walls to create opportunities for ingress and egress. The ballroom conference facility is located at the far right. The main walls are highlighted to create a sense of arrival. The placement of the shipping/receiving dock is due to the size of the sites, however it is sufficiently screened and far from Taft Road. There are more than five opportunities for storage of dumpsters, truck storage and RVs. Therefore, when they are not in need of being used as a shipping/receiving component, they could be used for storage. He stated the exterior treatment of the architectural panels, such as coloring, is an excellent way to deal with large façade issues. The existing building, although lower, has been completely refaced and will be done in similar color and surface treatment the will tie into the new larger building. There is an issue with semantics with the proposed building as the façade material is not listed in the permitted materials; however, it is also not listed as not permitted. The façade consultants have determined that the material is pre-cast concrete because it is the only category that falls close; however, it is not pre-cast concrete. Pre-cast concrete is a material that is most often cast in a factory setting in a casting bed. It is limited in a unit size of 8 to 10-feet wide to allow transportation to the site. Concrete masonry units (CMU)/split-face block is also pre-cast material, however it is identified separately from pre-cast. The proposed material was developed to supercede split-face concrete block and smaller units of masonry. It is better than metal panel and CMU. He felt semantics was causing the unique material to not be considered as allowable material because it is not addressed in the Ordinance. He showed the Commission other projects, such as hotels, warehouses, sports facilities, that were constructed with the proposed material. He showed the Commission a sample board. He described the building as conservative and a signature to the City. He asked the Façade Consultant to reconsider the material and its building opportunities.
Mr. Bowman indicated the amount of hard work and effort involved to bring together what he described as an extraordinary project. He hoped the Commission would grant a positive recommendation to the City Council. He understood that there were numerous issues to be addressed and he and his disciplines were prepared to answer any questions.
Chairperson Nagy referenced the Engineering review, which indicated that the Stormwater management plan must comply with the recently passed Stormwater Management Ordinance 168 and must be submitted with the Final Site Plan. According to Article III of the General Provision Section 3.01 Applicability, there should be a stormwater management or engineer site grading plan submitted, however, there was no mention of it in the review letters. She asked if the Commission should have received a proposal for the stormwater management plan as part of the review process.
Gerald Fisher, City Attorney stated in determining the applicability of the new ordinance to various projects, which were in progress, the City Council determined, after some deliberation, that projects that were submitted by a particular date would be required to meet the Ordinance to the extent feasible as determined by the City Engineer. The City Engineer has been well aware of the requirements and has focused on them as it relates to this project.
Chairperson Nagy stated since there is a new Ordinance; she wanted to ensure that everything is covered.
Nancy McClain, City Engineer stated the project falls under the new Ordinance to comply with the extent feasible. The decisions that are "yet to be made" tonight and at the City Council level might change the way the stormwater will need to be done. Therefore, no decision has been determined as to the extent they can comply. In effect, the Applicant has a preliminary version, however it is not labeled. It will need to be completed at Final.
Chairperson Nagy asked the site plan number she was referencing.
Ms. McClain explained that the sheets were not separated out and it is part of the utility plan. Additional information will need to be submitted.
Chairperson Nagy asked if a Stormwater management plan affected the site layout.
Ms. McClain stated the site layout has more effect on the Stormwater plan than vice versa, such as detention locations and where they lead. The depth of the detention areas is reviewed with the Final engineering approval. In this case, she anticipated the site layout would strongly dictate the Stormwater management.
Chairperson Nagy asked for a clearer answer next time. She found their comments were not in conformity with the Ordinance. She stated other sites in the same situation will be coming forward. Clarification is necessary to allow the correct application of the Ordinance and the Commission has the benefit of the Ordinance and its application. The Ordinance reads, approval of the final development plan, site plans and preliminary subdivision and condominium plans shall not be granted prior to approval of the stormwater management plan.
Chairperson Nagy announced it was a Public Hearing and opened the matter to the Public.
Seeing no one, she closed the Public Hearing and turned the matter over to the Commission for discussion.
Member Avdoulos thanked the Staff for the well-organized information. Additionally, he thanked the Petitioner for the informative presentation. He noted the traffic light at the main entry. He asked if all three driveways will be active and the use of the parking booth.
Mr. Bowman stated the easterly entrance is the main entrance. It will be signalized and the traffic flow will be gravitated to this entrance. There are two additional points of access; the center and an existing point of access located on the west side of the site design. The current site has one entrance, which causes congestion issues. He anticipated traffic and parking operations would be better managed with the three points of access off Grand River Avenue. The westerly and center entrance will be utilized less, however will be utilized and managed during peak periods to inlet traffic. These points of ingress will be closed after the initial rush of traffic subsides and will be utilized mostly for egress.
Member Avdoulos asked if there would be an attendant at each entrance when fees are being collected for an event.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes. He was aware of the concerns with the booth and noted his willingness to relocate it. The intent was to avoid the use of a mobile structure and instead provide a structure consistent with the façade of the building. The booth is mainly to provide a space for security and operational perspectives. No attendants will be sitting inside the booth collecting parking fees. The flexibility is needed, as with any other substantial venue, for mobile parking attendants.
Member Avdoulos referenced the Plymouth Arena with two points of access He was concerned that a third point of access could cause confusion.
Mr. Bowman stated in order of priority and merit the main entrance will be the easterly entrance; the westerly is anticipated to be the second most active; and the center entrance will be the least utilized. He reminded that the main entrance will be used for the vast majority of the events and on occasion, the secondary entrances will be used with management by personnel.
Member Avdoulos supported the preservation of the wetland. He noted his concern with locating the entire lot of handicapped parking spaces at the front door of the main entrance to the building. He agreed with the recommendation to spread the spaces out to provide adequate handicap spaces for each entrance and the image of the building. He agreed with the recommendation to add more emphasis to the front entry. Due to inclement weather, he suggested an entrance canopy and a larger drop off drive. He was concerned with the amount of asphalt that would be used to provide 2600 parking spaces. He suggested the use of islands to soften up and allow for landscaping. He understood the lighting submittal is not required at this stage, however he stressed that he did not want 80-foot tall light poles making the site appear like a football field from the expressway. He supported the idea of a parking garage to the east of the building (preserving wetland #2) but he also recognized the expense involved. He agreed with the recommendation to utilize the roof drainage to supplement the wetlands or drain into the storm sewer basin. Visitors parked at the far northwest corner of the site would have a long walk to get to the point of entry. He asked if the main entrance was the main access point to everything.
Mr. Bowman stated the southern elevation, portion facing Grand River Avenue, is the main entrance point. The lobby and access areas extend along the face of that. The new facility will have the ability to have pre-functionaries such as registration and lobby-type of situations. The walk from the most northwestern tip into the western point of access around the front side of the building is approximately a third of the longest walk on the current site and a tenth of the longest walk at the Silverdome or other major venue. Vendor and exhibitor parking will be located on site at the rear of the building and through the exhibitor entrance with the use of ID-badges. The general public entrance is located at the front of the building.
Concerning the lot setback requirements, Member Avdoulos stated it is short of the requirement by three-feet.
Mr. Bowman indicated the area is located at the very corner edge where the entrance drive is located. He noted to his understanding, the drive in could be adjusted.
Member Avdoulos stated he did not have any problem with the three-feet if it could not be adjusted, however he asked the applicant if he was amenable to try.
Mr. Bowman indicated that he was flexible and would serve the best interest, whether it is environmental or planning.
Member Avdoulos like the sighting of the building itself as it is probably the optimum space for the building. The site is very visible from Novi Road when traveling over the expressway. Therefore, he requested the screening of any rooftop equipment used. He liked the skewing of the walls to break up the façade as the entire building is almost 1000-feet long. He asked if the interior side yard is located west of the building.
Ms. McBeth answered, yes.
Member Avdoulos asked if this area is needed for loading. He noted the overhead door behind the existing building.
Mr. Bowman indicated this is the largest hall of the three proposed. He believed the proposed areas for loading and truck docks were sensitive and critical for each hall to have. He understood the technical determination that this area might be considered a side yard, however, it is located behind an existing building and is located more to the rear as opposed to the middle. Additionally, it is screened by natural existing feature and proposed landscaped areas and is located a considerable distance from the adjacent site. The proposed dock at the far west side of the building along with the other dock provides two points of access for 100,000 square foot hall. The expressway view was taken into consideration with the proposal of the two docks. Originally, the plan proposed docks facing the expressway all along the back of the building; however, extensive design efforts were made to find a solution that was good aesthetically and functionally.
Member Avdoulos liked the fact that there was not a continuous berm on Grand River Avenue. He requested continuing the screening with a brick wall to connect or serpentine through the berms. He asked whether the accent bands are recessed or flush.
Mr. Cedargreen stated the conference center ballroom building has a highlighted accent band. Typically, the highlight color is at the same face in another reveal. It is almost a double reveal, however the entire depth is not revealed. The intent is to articulate more and create another shadow line.
Concerning the façade, Member Avdoulos asked if other materials, such as a brick element, could be introduced with the use of site cast panels.
Mr. Cedargreen stated the brick tile feature is a substantial cost. Applying the material to small areas on such a large building would not do the material or the building justice. He stated from an architectural point of view, he found the plainer walls a good solution. The cost to accommodate this feature could not be accommodated.
Member Avdoulos stated on a personal note, other than his earlier comments regarding highlighting the entry, he did not find a problem with what has been presented. He liked the glass and introduction of metal panels. He stated the City Ordinance dictates the percentage of materials. He did not want to set precedence as other proposals could come forward with similar requests. Although the images were helpful in depicting the appearance of the facility, the Commission makes its determination according to the Ordinance. He understood the process and the material, however at this point in the meeting; he was not able to make a determination.
Mr. Cedargreen indicated that Mr. Bowman and the team are willing and committed to work out the details.
Member Paul described the impact of the project as enormous. Grand River Avenue is a main thoroughfare through the City. She agreed with its relocation from Novi Road and supported having the Expo Center in Novi. More importantly, she stated the Ordinances need to be upheld. She asked if breaking up the façade with brick material would help.
Mr. Cedargreen answered, no. Brick was considered at one point, however due to the elevation, it only created an e-wall, which did not fit the architectural style. Although it is possible, he indicated that there is an implication of cost and how to succeed with a building of the proposed size.
Member Paul understood the factor of cost; however, the building will be the City for many years. Therefore, she felt there were perspectives other than cost to be considered. She preferred some solution in the "middle" that would benefit the community and business partner. She asked Mr. Bowman to comment on the Fire Marshall’s review.
Mr. Bowman indicated his willingness to work with the Fire Department to conform the site to meet any issues related to public safety health issues.
Member Paul clarified that he would comply with all the comments included in the Fire review letter.
Mr. Bowman did not anticipate any concerns with the items listed and agreed to work with the Fire Department.
Member Paul asked Mr. Bowman to explain why it is not feasible to make shared drive with 46400 a 90-angle drive.
Mr. Bowman stated the existing drive extends back along the very west portion of the site. There are easement implications and modification of this, although possible, would be difficult from a legal standpoint. From a practical standpoint, the entire westerly end of the front parking lot and the parking lot beyond it would be altered. He indicated the angle is in non-conformance by 17-degrees and further non-conforming condition exists there currently. He realized the amount of additional traffic the Expo would bring, however with the additional turning lane along the frontage, Grand River Avenue improvements and signalization it will flow well.
Member Paul asked the legal concerns with the shared drive.
Mr. Bowman believed the property is currently for sale. In discussion, it was determined that the property did not fit with the overall plan; however, he anticipated that ultimately it could be worked into the overall plan. He stressed that he was not making any representations because he did not have any control of that site; however, there is a relationship. He indicated that he owns all the property that the drive is on. It is not so much as a shared drive in the effect that it is an easement back to that particular property. Additionally, there is access directly to Grand River Avenue. He agreed to work with the property owner to find an access that best works for that property owner. Further, he hoped the owner would be willing to participate and use the drive to avoid an additional curb cut.
Member Paul asked the hours of the neighboring business.
Mr. Bowman stated the Expo’s major consumer shows would be held on the weekend. He anticipated the hours of function would be counter trend to the neighboring business operation, which is an industrial/warehousing repair facility. He hoped the Expo would be a catalyst for bringing more positive upward-types of development to the area.
Member Paul agreed the medium would be greatly impacted. Thereby, raising concerns with the façade.
Mr. Bowman stressed that there is not an intent to get by "cheap" as enormous amounts of money will be spent on the construction of the facility. The cost is already substantially over the projected budget. Overwhelmingly through customer base, 88% chose the proposed building over the previous more conventional/industrial buildings. He stated what is being discussed is the difference between block and steel panel-type of construction, which does present a fire code/rating issue that is in the new codes more stringent on these types of assembly style A-use group type of buildings. These types of construction methods help to address the public safety issues.
Member Paul suggested elevating the main entrance to steer visitors to the main entrance.
Mr. Bowman noted the angled panel jetting out of the entrance point creating a separate feel on the banquet, convention and conference center component. Separate entrances were previously proposed on an earlier rendering; however, a main entrance for the Expo Center was created. He anticipated an opportunity from a landscaping and site perspective to enhance the main entrance with the maneuvering of the handicapped parking spaces.
Member Paul asked where he anticipated trailer parking since only five spaces are proposed. Further, the Staff has recommended ten spaces.
Mr. Bowman stated the Ordinance is addressing longer storage issues. Most of the exhibitors bring a vehicle, unload, park in regular parking spaces and move their vehicles off site while the show is active. The key item the ordinance addresses is the vehicles that would come with the intent to stay overnight. He believed the Staff’s recommendation for ten spaces was generated from Expo’s desire to not have more than ten. The west and the north side of the site for exhibitor vehicles will be screened from the majority of the view from the expressway with natural features, from Grand River Avenue with the building and around the back side of the building with the preserved area and landscaping. Most of the loading activities should be out of the attending public’s eye and most of the motoring public’s eye.
Member Paul recalled Mr. Bowman’s comments during the EXO overlay review, that there would not be a sea of asphalt.
John Bowan representing the Expo Center found the term "sea of asphalt" to be a relative term. He stated the present rendering it is a significant improvement from the previous renderings, which had asphalt to the far west side of the site.
Member Paul stated a parking garage with an underground portion for the RV’s would be more beneficial. The parking garage on Nine Mile and Haggerty is well screened.
In regard to the "sea of asphalt", Mr. Bowman indicated when the plans to relocate were first brought forward; one key issue was parking and availability of parking. The terms used then were "large unrestricted areas of parking". At that time, he showed the conceptual renderings, which received strong support and encouragement from the community to move forward with the full understanding that from many different aspects such as safety, traffic management, etc. that the asphalt surfaced parking areas was critical in order to park safely to allow customers to exit their vehicles and obtain access to the building and obtain access to a parking space. Amazingly, 2600 parking spaces are considered by many customers to be too few. Parking structures were considered at the time of starting the current Expo Center, however at that time parking structures in the State of Michigan were costing between $7500 and $10,000 a space. Presently the cost is between $10,000 and $20,000 a space. In order to construct a parking structure in Michigan along with maintenance is another issue and difficult to do. The mass and structure would consist of multiple stories and expense that would be "times-and-a-half" the original budget to place half of the parking in a structure. Mr. Bowman stated the proposed surface parking is consistent with other the developments in the community, which he felt made sense.
Member Paul asked if there was an option to allow the parking attendant structure to conform to the Ordinance.
Ms. McBeth stated the structure could be moved back behind the required building setback line. There is an island to the north, outside of the 100-foot setback line, that would comply with Ordinance standards. She indicated the Applicant may wish to consider whether or not this would work with the functioning of his operations. She indicated that there were other location options for the placement of the structure.
Concerning parking and wetlands, Member Paul asked if the heated water from the impervious surface would affect Wetland #2 or the wetland closest to Grand River Avenue.
Ms. Kay recommended approval subject to several conditions; one being the provision of a parking structure, whether it is multi-level, two-story, some underground or a combination. The reasoning for this recommendation was due to the footprint of the building being in its optimum location. Wetland #1 will be impacted regardless of where the building footprint was shifted. Wetland #2 is the only high quality wetland on the site. The Applicant has proposed mitigation to the south and given the wetland location at the eastern portion of the site, a design alternative of a multi-level parking structure was recommended to reduce the area of asphalt and parking. This option would eliminate the need to fill in Wetland #2; however, the applicant has proposed to fill in Wetland #2. Although the rendering shows the area as wooded with ponds and a detention basin, she believed the area would be used for future parking. Concerning the overall impact of heated water, she indicated that she was only able to give a short answer as she did not review the plan in the spirit of the newly adopted Stormwater ordinance. The current and proposed conditions were reviewed; however, there was no hydrologic analysis to give a sense of where the majority of the water would flow. She stated some of the water would flow to the detention basin located at the far northeast corner, some to the detention basin prior to out letting into the mitigation area. Although there were general concerns with the stormwater, she was not indicating that it could not mitigate for, however she required the addition of water quality prior to the ultimate discharge to the mitigation area. She believed the detention basin was a naturalized detention basin.
Member Paul asked if heated water caused algae in the wetland.
Ms. Kay stated the heated water would degrade the system. She used Wetland #4 (located directly west of the entrance road) as an example of the effects of an urbanized area on a wetland over time. Wetland #4 is 98% Cattail Marsh because there is no shoulder on Grand River Avenue. The untreated stormwater from Grand River Avenue dumps directly into this wetland. A wetland system that was once a high quality water system would over time become established with the monoculture of cattails to filter the sediments and pollutants. There is no discharge into any natural wetlands on the site because Wetland #1 and Wetland #7 is being filled and Wetland #2 is proposed to be filled. Although there is a discharge to Wetland #4, in its current state, it is already functioning as a filtering basin, which she did not believe could be further degraded. Initial conversations included restoration of some of the areas in lieu of area for mitigation; however, it was not seen as a feasible alternative given the location of asphalt around that system.
Member Paul asked if Mr. Bowman was agreeable to not fill Wetland #2 and lose the 25-parking spaces.
Mr. Bowman agreed to explore the option; however, he was certain that all the alternatives were considered. He realized Wetland #2 is a smaller, high quality, isolated pocket of wetland, however to allow a 0.2-acre area of wetland control the design of the entire site again, he was more inclined to what is proposed. He felt the site has come along in terms of wetland issues, from having little ability to address the concerns to being able to address many of the concerns. He identified his argument that the site plan is shows the usage of the fore bay solutions, treatment and pre-treatment approaches to the stormwater. He favored the use of these factors in an environmentally sensitive manner, to handle and hydrate the wetland mitigation areas and create a larger wetland area that would function for the future, as opposed to trying to save a small isolated pocket. He noted the use of pure less effective water from roof runoff to help improve the quality of wetland and not degrade it any further than it currently is. He hoped to work with the wetlands that could be saved and not micromanage the design of the site for a smaller isolated pocket.
Member Paul indicated that although Wetland #1 is not the highest quality, it is the largest at over 3-acres, which will be filled. She indicated the wetland existed on the site when he purchased the property. She felt the recommendation to not fill the small wetland was a reasonable request because he proposed to fill more than 4-acres.
Mr. Bowman agreed with the comments regarding the configuration and location of the building and development on the site. There was no feasible alternative that did not impact Wetland #1 to the point of which it was not prudent to try to preserve it. The reason is due to the wetlands odd location, the expanse of it and how it extends over the site. He agreed that it existed when he purchased the property; however, he was operating under the assumption and indicated that a good portion of it was a barrow pit created by others when the state constructed the highway system. It was at the highest point of the site and therefore is a perched wetland situation. He considered what would be left from a practical standpoint as it would have been difficult to preserve. In turn it raised the question where else could it be placed on site to try to preserve and create a larger area that would function and be feasible for the long term. Mr. Bowman explained that this is the reasoning that the proposed future parking extends on to the east. Currently, he did not believe they proposed to fill all of wetland #2; however, his intent was to be honest and upfront that it is a future possibility. He agreed to consider the option, however he could not commit to redesign the entire eastern configuration of parking and what it would mean for the future potential development and the plans for a future hotel on site.
Member Paul felt Wetland #2 was a small item that would improve the project by softening the area. She stated the boardwalk along Taft Road is important. She asked if it is difficult to create a boardwalk/sidewalk along a wetland.
Ms. McClain stated it would depend on the wetland itself. For example, the wetland on Ten Mile Road is regulated and it was a long permitting process to create the boardwalk. She asked Ms. Kay if it is completely regulated by the City.
Ms. Kay stated the Ten Mile Road project is A-typical as it is a MDOT project and the requirement were above and beyond and there was a 100-feet of peat. Therefore, the pilings that were put in there took a long time. In spite of that, the result was one of the nicer boardwalks in the City. Wetland #6 and Wetland #7 along Taft Road are severely degraded and there were discussions with the applicant regarding the possibility of their restoration when there was a deficit of the mitigation area. Boardwalks are for situations with a lot of standing water mostly of a permanent basis or high floodwaters associated with a stream. She noted a network of drainage ways, which are believed to be tributaries to the Middle Rouge River and may not be a bonafide stream per se. Therefore, the hydraulics associated with it are unknown at this time. She advised that there would be further information to determine whether something in the nature of a boardwalk would be needed. Otherwise, a simpler option would be recommended, such as an asphalt path or flush with the ground that would be less intrusive although there would be a minimum impact to the wetland. Although she did not typically speak for the State wetland personnel, in this case she believed they would concur with her comments.
Member Paul asked Ms. McGuire to comment on how a prettier more calming entryway could be created.
Concerning the boardwalk, Ms. McGuire stated the original Bike Master Plan intended for the path to go across the expressway; however, it does not appear possible. Therefore, the boardwalk would go nowhere. She suggested the possibility of bonding for it in the future.
Ms. McGuire stated more could be done with the entryway as well as in front of the main entry (near the barrier free parking space). Since the site is not far from the Town Center area, pedestrian space would assist the aesthetics of the entry and give space to those attending the expositions. She recommended the relocation of the barrier free parking spaces and the provision of an entry feature in that location. Several fountain-type features sink into the pavement and would not create any standing water. It would be a nice feature in the summer with no maintenance in the winter.
Member Paul asked if Mr. Bowman was amenable to any of Ms. McGuire’s suggestions.
Mr. Bowman thought the plaza-style atmosphere in front of the building was already created. He noted the proposed planting beds along the entrance points. Concerning fountains, the Expo’s busiest season is January 15th through the winter months. He hoped to have more conventional and social style business to even out the summer schedule, however at this time the Expo is the slowest in the summer. From a practical standpoint, pathways and pedestrian areas integrated into the Town Center development are not heavily utilized. Likewise, they would not be utilized heavily outside the Expo Facility as visitors come to see a show. The entrance should be attractive, functional and move people in an out of the building safely. He stated he is cognizant of the fact that often there are outside features. He found it to be a major compromise as far as the approach to the exterior and the frontage and the landscaping of the building.
Member Paul recognized and appreciated that the efforts and progress of the landscaping to this point, however she still felt it could be further enhanced. Her perspective was to create the most pleasant experience for his visitors.
Mr. Bowman encouraged her to consider that the visitors will attend the current facility next year. This proposal is with the intent to improve exponentially. The proposal is made in such a way that the next step is needed. Major improvements have been made to the plan and he described the proposed is extremely nice. Concerning major changes to the plan, he indicated they are at the limit. He sought the community’s approval if it is incline to be given. He understood if there is an interest to give a negative recommendation and Council could deny the plan, which is their prerogative, however, he believed the proposed plan was one of excellence with huge improvements to Expo’s current location and current presentation of itself to the outside world. Mr. Bowman indicated his intent to continue to make improvements to the new location as it progresses.
Member Paul asked who will bear the cost for the traffic lights.
Mr. Bowman indicated the cost for the traffic lane and signalization is his responsibility.
Member Paul asked Mr. Bowman what his long-term intentions were for Taft Road.
Mr. Bowman did not foresee Taft Road as ever being a traffic issue for Expo. Taft Road dead ends at the expressway. The first phase is the major phase of the development for the site with the concentration of ingress and egress off Grand River Avenue. There is a proposal for an asphalt driveway to the existing concrete driveway that exists to Taft Road, which would be used to outlet traffic during for peak periods. On the long term as the Expo progresses and develops, a review with the Traffic Consultants will determine whether something further would need to be done with Taft Road. Currently, the intention is to keep Taft Road as it is and not emphasize any major traffic movements in or out from that. Further, the traffic study does not consider the utilization of Taft Road.
Member Paul stated if it became necessary to utilize Taft Road, she preferred to have it used as right and left traffic only with no straight traffic permitted. She stated Taft Road leads to many schools, residential areas and then dead ends at Eight Mile Road. She was opposed to any asphalt roads on Taft Road.
Ms. McClain stated for this reason, it is proposed to be gated at either end for emergency access only. In the event there is a future need for the use of the Taft Road entrance, additional site plan review and traffic review will be done at the intersection and along Taft Road. She did not anticipate this occurring in the near future.
(10 Minute Break)
Member Papp thanked the Planning Department for the helpful information. He asked if there are two points of emergency access as required by the Ordinance.
Ms. McBeth indicated the Ordinance requires at least two points for emergency access that could be unrestricted open access or restricted access such as there might be on Taft Road. The site has three points of access on Grand River Avenue and possibly one on Taft Road.
Member Papp was concerned with the handling of the traffic between Beck Road and Novi Road. More traffic will be created on side streets as drivers learn of the short cut going north on Taft Road and Beck Road going north. He asked the traffic flow anticipation for Grand River Avenue.
Mr. Bowman asked him to clarify where the short cuts are located.
Member Papp stated I-275 travels will exit on Eight Mile to Taft Road or Beck Road and travel north as opposed to utilizing Grand River.
Mr. Bowman indicated the traffic consultants could give more details that are specific. Mr. Bowman noted the alternative locations that were considered. He believed Grand River Avenue should be improved, as it will be, and should and could be the business corridor for the community. He felt the improvements to the road system were over due. Currently, that area of Grand River Avenue is not heavily traveled. He agreed that there will be additional traffic flow; however, Grand River Avenue’s five-lane improvement from Wixom Road to Novi Road will absorb much of the additional traffic. He personally did not find Taft Road to be utilized nor would it be encourage in any manner. The majority of the traffic would flow east and west from expressway. There are three points of egress from the I-96 expressway; Novi Road, Beck Road and Wixom Road.
Member Papp stated he could not stop people from using Beck Road or Taft Road.
Mr. Bowman agreed. He preferred a reasonable dispersion amongst all of the roads. Clearly, Grand River Avenue will be the heavy access and major thoroughfare for access to the property.
Member Papp asked when the Beck Road interchange would be completed.
Ms. McClain stated Beck Road interchange is expected to begin work on the bridge March of 2003, followed by the ramps in 2004 and completed at the end of 2004. The Wixom Road interchange will be constructed in 2005.
Member Papp asked when the Expo facility would be constructed and operating.
Mr. Bowman hoped to see the continuation of the infrastructure improvement to occur. He hoped to move to the site and operate after the completion of Grand River Avenue and not more than a year from the ramp systems installed on the Beck Road interchange. He anticipated opening in 2004 and having the Beck Road interchange completed the same year.
Member Papp asked when Grand River Avenue would be completed.
Ms. McClain stated Grand River Avenue is scheduled to be bid in December, which is also true for the CSX Bridge. Its construction is anticipated to begin in March 2003 and continue through the next construction season with possibly some of the restoration following over into the following spring.
Member Papp asked the area of Grand River that will be completed.
Ms. McClain stated it includes Novi Road to Beck Road.
Member Papp asked the area for snow removal.
Mr. Bowman noted his awareness of the difficulties with the working around landscaping areas. Parking lots are designed to accommodate a maintenance idea where there would be some windrowing done and storage capabilities at the corner of the site for snow. There are additional areas at the eastern end of the site that will not be developed and could be used for snow storage.
Member Papp asked if he anticipated the use of salt.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes. He noted the suggestion of utilizing grass pavers, however these types of winter maintenance operations made the alternative materials very difficult feasibly consider.
Member Papp indicated he was in favor of a parking structure due to the amount of asphalt, snow removal and the amount of salt that would flow into the wetland.
Member Kocan agreed that the Expo Center is in need of redesign. The Commission’s charge is to keep it within the Ordinance requirements. She commented on the ZBA variance for five tractor-trailer parking spaces. The Ordinance requires ten spaces therefore; she recommended that five more spaces be designed into the plan. Concerning the Taft walkway, although there are no plans today to extend the road across the expressway, she did anticipate it would take place in the future. Therefore, she requested and escrow for a possible future extension across the expressway. There seems to be considerable screening with the interior side yards and exterior side yards. She did not have a problem with these items; however, they are open to interpretation by the ZBA. She found traffic to be problem. Section 1003A.1 - vehicular access the plan can require no unreasonable traffic impacts. She found a problem with the same-side driveway spacing waiver, however her main concern was with the opposite-side driveway spacing wavier. There are three curb cut across from the entrances, (east and center), that will be significantly impacted by the traffic light. As the traffic engineer stated, cars that will be in the left-hand turn lane to turn into that one entrance will be backed up so that industrial traffic will not be able to get into their sites. Although Grand River Avenue will be widened, she suggested marginal access road. To her understanding, there would then be one curb cut and other business could come off that road. She asked if this was correct.
Ms. McClain agreed. She stated the buildings on Grand River Avenue can be seen on the site plan. Grand River Avenue is Master Planned to have 120-foot right-of-way, however, due to the right-of-way impacts the width of the amenities outside the roadway (within the right-of-way, greenbelt and sidewalk) were scaled back to take 100-feet across there on Grand River Avenue due to the close proximity of many of the building along Grand River Avenue. It would be difficult to have a marginal access road on this side. In order to serve those properties there would need to be an elimination of the property that they were trying to serve. At this time, it is impractical from a right-of-way standpoint.
Member Kocan asked for her solution because she found the situation unacceptable.
Ms. McClain indicated that work has been done with the driveways on the south side of Grand River Avenue with the Grand River Project. Additionally, to the west of the project, driveways were relocated to help eliminate some of the problems; however, the lots are very narrow with existing curb cuts. They cannot be combined together more than they already have under the project. In effect, she indicated what is shown on the plan is what was able to be done on the project. They have coordinated with JCK and obtained the information. The driveways on the south side of the road do not meet the driveways spacing standards nor could they under the existing regulations and be able to have their driveways on their properties.
Member Kocan asked if the industries were contacted with regard to this particular site plan.
Ms. McClain indicated that they were noticed.
Member Kocan asked if there was any response.
Mr. Bowman indicated his traffic consultants were present at the meeting. Although there were technical solutions, he indicated that it was not possible to eliminate the problem. Regardless of where the driveways are located, a technical waiver is required. Mr. Bowman indicated the amount of effort in working with the neighbors, the City and consultants working with the Grand River Project to optimize the location with the natural features and the traffic features.
Jeff Healed represented Tetra Tech whom conducted the traffic study impacts associated with the development. As a mitigation measure, a traffic signal was proposed at the east entrance. The report used and estimated traffic cycle length of 120-seconds. A cycle is the length of time it takes a signal to turn green in all direction. This estimation was used because the two signals on either side also use 120-second cycles. The 120-second cycle determined the range of 13 to 14 cars attempting to make a left-turn into the site. If the cycle is reduced to 60-seconds, the cues could be reduced to fewer than five cars; however, it would not completely address the problem. It would decrease the impact of the cues that might be expected at the peak times of the peak hour and there would be a maximum of five yield in the cue. The 60-second cycle would allow for both east and west bound through movements on Grand River Avenue.
Member Kocan stated often what is seen on paper and is not always, what is seen in "real life". She stated she was still concerned with the entrances and suggested exploring the option of cross access easement across the asphalt drives. She encouraged the City or Mr. Bowman to alleviate traffic problems as there will be a considerable flow of traffic. Although 2600 cars will not be going into the site at the same time, they might be exiting the site at the same time.
Mr. Bowman added that there was an emphasis placed on using a peak event for the traffic study. He understood the concern and did not find it unreasonable. The traffic study is based on a weekend event with peak period being 12:00pm to 2:00pm. He stated most of the businesses along Grand River Avenue will not be peakly active during that period. Therefore, he found that to be a counter balance and counter cycle to the Expo traffic flow.
Member Kocan asked for clarification on the center entrance. She referenced the proposal that it may or may not be barricaded, may or may not be used as an entrance.
Mr. Bowman stated it is all of the above. He explained that the plans indicate a gate. Outlet traffic as opposed to inlet traffic will likely occur more at this entrance. The entrance would be manned and traffic would be directed into their parking spaces.
Member Kocan apologized as she over looked the gate. She clarified that there will be no use of orange construction barrels.
Mr. Bowman answered, correct. He stated a gate system will be used.
Member Kocan asked if certain lanes would be blocked to help traffic flow better through the front parking lot and steer traffic a certain direction.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes.
Member Kocan asked if he anticipated the use of orange construction barrels.
Mr. Bowman anticipated flag personnel and the use of sawhorses and cones. Honestly speaking, he stated at some point in time, there could be the use of barrels, however he did not anticipate a need for orange barrels.
Member Kocan understood they might be used in the lot; however, she did not want them visible from the street.
Mr. Bowman agreed that it is critical that Expo has the ability to manage the traffic inside the lots.
Member Kocan asked if the setback from where the parking starts to Grand River Avenue is deep enough to stack three or four cars.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes. He stated it is approximately 64-feet. He disagreed with the suggestion to barricade the east and west access lane to force traffic to go all the way up. He stressed that the need to have the ability to direct traffic. He did not want cars and pedestrians interacting. The idea is to fill the lots and flow back to allow the pedestrians walk safely down the traffic aisles.
Member Kocan asked if there is any reason the entrance that is 73-degrees could not be make 90-degrees and then curve. She suspected it is an Ordinance requirement because it is a safety issue.
Ms. McClain stated it is a safety issue and a traffic management issue. It is much easier to handle intersections that are square than those that are at an angle. The turn would be similar to the Grand River Avenue and Novi Road intersection.
Member Kocan asked if the entrance could be redesigned to create the 90-degrees.
Ms. McClain answered, yes.
Mr. Bowman pointed out that every intersection along Grand River Avenue is at this angle. It is an existing access point. Changing the angle would affect the design of the parking lot. He did not want to be placed in a position to have to obtain property rights from someone else.
Member Kocan understood his comments. She anticipated that it might affect a couple of parking spaces. The Best Buy parking lot is the worst parking lot in Novi and therefore, she desired to mitigate problems. She stated there are serious problems when a vehicle is required to park immediately after turning into a parking lot. The corners are too tight, vehicles will hesitate as to whether they should park or continue to drive. Therefore, she found problems with the turning into the west drive as drivers can immediately turn right or go straight. She did not like this cut for exiting the parking lot as drivers may attempt to merge from traffic from the other parking lot at the northwest section. She found this situation unsafe and not well planned. She did not even agree with moving it across from the current access. In contrast to Mr. Bowman’s comments, she wanted people coming up to the building on that particular corner and then driving down a row.
Mr. Bowman indicated it would create the same situation that exists at the current facility. He stated in his experience, he has learned that people and vehicles do not mix. He agreed to explore her suggestion to move the cut to the north and line it up with existing industrial access point. He strongly requested that traffic not be forced up toward the building. Although it might not seem that way on paper, he found it important in practice to mange the traffic. Additionally, the site has been designed for his issue.
Member Kocan clarified that he agreed to consider making a curb cut directly across from the existing concrete drive would be a solution and closing it off at the far south.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes.
Concerning a parking structure, Member Kocan understood the considerable cost involved, however the woodlands and wetlands are also. She asked him to consider the possibly of a two-story parking structure on the east side of the building. She was opposed to a parking structure for 2600 cars in front of the building. She felt a bi-level parking structure would help preserve an additional 2-acres of woodlands and lessen the need to shuttle visitors that park off site. The parking lot in the front has a large amount of impervious surface. Member Kocan felt the picture presented was misleading as it showed a lot of green, however there will not be a lot of green in front of the building. She recommended the provision of additional islands in the parking in the front and lighting of the parking lot that does not consist of 80 to 100-foot lights. She anticipated a considerable number of lights in the front lot. She recommended placement of the lights on parking islands because it aesthetically makes sense, particularly in the front of the building as it is visible from Grand River Avenue.
Concerning the façade, Member Kocan clarified that the negative recommendation is due to the look the material will have on the building and not the material being used. The rendering seems to depict large un-scored blocks with a "flat no interest" look, which is the look the Ordinance is trying to avoid. She asked if there were options that would give the developer a positive recommendation or consideration for a wavier.
Doug Necci Façade Consultant explained the product of pre-cast concrete is the only material listed in the façade chart that has zeros across. It was specifically listed as unacceptable due to a bad experience in the City with that product. The proposed product is not that type of pre-cast. He agreed with the presentation of the applicant that the material is unique. All of the problems associated with the pre-cast that were envisioned with the writing of the façade chart are not present with the proposed material. He agreed with the product is very simple, very flat and painted surface. They were able to give it an excellent amount of precision because of the manner in which they are cast on site. The trueness to surface of the product is excellent. The painted material gives excellent color uniformity; however, again it is very simple. The examples of other buildings shown in their presentation derive their interest from the composition and form of the building. He indicated that he visited the building in Troy and agreed that they were well-done and sleek contemporary styles of architecture. People typically like the buildings due to their geometric proportions. He believed there was a balance that needed to be struck. The proposed material is approvable and a Section Nine Waiver could be recommended provided there is a level of interest in the composition of the building. The rendering is excellent and provides a welcoming feeling with the driveway pointing to the front entrance. He noted the new site plan has lost this focal point and instead the driveway points at the very corner of the building. The entrances are somewhat under-spoken given the scale and size of the building. There is an overhang but it is not very big. The height of the building at the entrance is not defined with respect to the height, which would be an excellent way to enhance the proportions. He was looking for a balance of the simple material with a more interesting composition. He liked the use of planters in front of the truck docks to hide any parked trucks. He indicated the north side of the building will be visible from the expressway and could likely be delineated more than it is currently. There is currently one material on that side and the south side has several materials.
Member Kocan noted the Ordinance allows brick, natural clay or limestone. She asked if this was the effect, he was looked for.
Mr. Necci agreed with the point made by the architect that "too little brick would not be worth the effort". The building is very large and if incorporating a material, such as brick, then it should be a significant amount and possibly 25%. He suggested that all of the entrances that are accentuated with the flush metal panels, which are very flat and sleek, be replaced with brick. Brick would be an improvement; however, it would need to be done on all of areas around the two main entrances. He liked that the design placed the emphasis at the two front entrances. The first impression coming up the driveway and the next impression into the first entrance doors are the most important. He noted that it is a big challenge on a building of this size to create that strong visual impact and they have done an excellent job.
Member Kocan asked if he was suggesting actual brick or could it be stamped to give the appearance of brick. She asked him to clarify if he preferred limestone or brick.
Mr. Necci was aware of the brick option the applicant referenced. It is a tile that is cast into the panel itself making it iatrical with the panel. He noted this would be an excellent option; however, unless it is done over a significant area it is not worth doing.
Member Kocan was also looking to increase the level of interest in the building.
Mr. Evancoe asked Mr. Necci to comment on the longevity of the painted surface and whether or not it will properly adhere to the concrete and last over time with the climate.
Mr. Necci indicated his concern was based on the simple fact that paint looks good when it is new and not so good when it is old. He anticipated that the manufacture had solved the problem. He suspected that the paint used would be high-tech. The samples indicate excellent thickness and presence. He advised the Commission to have the applicant comment on their plan to maintain, on the building, the level of quality that is shown on the sample.
Member Ruyle asked other than aesthetics is the material inferior or the same as brick.
In respect to durability, Mr. Necci stated the degree of precision achieved is impressive. He stated with respect to every aspect other than aesthetics, the material would be equal to masonry.
Member Kocan asked if the recommendation to redesign for preserving two additional acres of woodlands was discussed with the Petitioner.
Ms. McGuire answered, yes. She felt the redesign was feasible.
Paul Lewsley of Environmental Engineer stated the preliminary site engineering plan should have been labeled as preliminary site engineering plan and stormwater management plan as it meet the criteria with respect to the new Stormwater Management Ordinance. It addresses fore bays and water treatment prior to discharge into the detention basin. He indicated the new 100-year storm will be met with a combination of the volume that is stored in the detention basin along with the overflow that goes into the created mitigation area. The new plan has a refocus of the stormwater management and wetlands mitigation to compliment one another. The downside was that it pushed it toward the southeast corner of the site, which is the lowest portion of the site and the logical way it should occur. This is the area of discussion where there are trees that are preferable to save. As a solution, he stated the mitigation area would be given more contour and wrap it around some of the woodland stands to in essence they would remain in the mitigation area.
Member Kocan asked the location of construction access.
Ms. McClain indicated the construction access is planned to be located off Grand River Avenue as the site would construct during the Grand River Avenue project construction. This will avoid the concerns of the road being torn up. There will be auxiliary access off Taft Road during the mitigation, however the large vehicles will access from Grand River Avenue.
Member Kocan did not want cement trucks or 2-ton 18-wheelers utilizing Taft Road. In the future, she suggested exploring the option to reduce the speed on Taft Road to avoid it becoming a speedway.
Ms. McClain anticipated that most vehicles would travel from the expressway and use Grand River Avenue for access. She did not feel Taft Road would become a problem; however, restrictions can be placed on the use of Taft Road.
Member Shroyer looked forward to having the Expo Center as it is good for the City, its citizens, the surrounding communities, the participants, businesses and economic growth. He noted his disappointment of the request for six waivers and three variances and the two findings after the amount of teamwork put into the project. He opposed the sea of asphalt, however supported the idea of additional islands and canopy areas as it would help with the heat, air quality, environment and stormwater management. He understood the cons in terms of snow removal and maintenance, however he found aesthetics important. He suggested a combination to use the eastern most lot, which is large and not very visible from the road, for pitching tents for outdoor events and then aesthetically enhancing the highly visible lot such as the southern lot. He supported the idea of a parking structure; however, he understood the cost involved. The parking structure could serve both the hotel and the convention center. He asked if there were still plans to have a hotel.
Mr. Bowman stated in concept, the ultimate intention is to have a hotel on the site; however, the hotel world has changed dramatically. There was never a specific hotel leading into the planning efforts and the hopes to put forth a feasible hotel program consistent with the first phase is not practical at this point. Currently, the major hotel companies are concerned with keeping the hotels that they have versus building new ones at this stage. Ultimately, he envisioned the site to have as many hotel constructed as possible as they will be needed to support the facility and vice versa. Mr. Bowman did not recall plans for a parking structure. Although it would be a nice feature, it is not feasible. He stated if there was a funding mechanism the City could explore (public/private partnership aspects), and then he was more than willing to discuss the provision of a parking structure. From a practical standpoint, the site will have to have surface parking.
Member Shroyer understood his comments. He explained the Commission responsibility is to pursue all existing possibilities to eliminate a "sea of asphalt" and the problem that could/would occur. He asked the location the anticipated hotel.
Mr. Bowman indicated it would be attached to the conference and banquet center portion on the east side of the site. The utilities installed on the site are designed in such a way that there is not a need to relocate them. The feature development opportunities are another reason it would be very difficult to reconfigure the parking plans for that area.
Member Shroyer asked Mr. Fisher the proper procedure for handling a future request for a hotel located on an area designated on the site plan as a "sea of asphalt".
Mr. Fisher stated an amended site plan would be required. Therefore, the modified or amended site plan would require the Commission’s approval.
Member Shroyer clarified that a future proposal of a hotel could be pursued and it would not become a "dead issue".
Mr. Fisher stated as long as the other aspects/specifications of the Ordinance were met.
Member Shroyer asked him to comment on the tractor/trailers tenants per the Ordinance.
Mr. Bowman indicated a solution has been determined during discussion with Staff, which would be proposed on the Final Site Plan.
Member Shroyer asked if the 26-inch oak tree (Tree #585) and Tree #584 can be saved.
Ms. McGuire answered, no. The trees are located in the north part of the building.
Member Shroyer clarified that there were not options.
Ms. McGuire disagreed. She pointed out the area where the parking lot could be reconfigured to remove some asphalt and preserve the Tree #585 and Tree #584.
Member Shroyer clarified that the trees were not located in the building and instead were located in the lot.
Ms. McGuire answered, correct. She stated the trees are located on the north side of the building.
Member Shroyer asked the size and species of Tree #584.
Ms. McGuire indicated Tree #584 is a sugar maple and 24-inches.
Member Shroyer supported the preservation of these trees. Member Shroyer noted the recommendation for the additional RV/Truck parking spaces. He asked if this issue was discussed further.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes. There is an interest in placing large vehicle parking areas on the site. He stated RV’s will be able to park in the loading areas and in front of the loading areas because tractor trailer parking at that location would not be likely during an active show. Therefore, he did not desire to double or triple up on those types of spaces. He hoped to resolve the issue with the provision of three new tractor/trailer spaces and utilizing the eight spaces as RV/Camper large vehicle parking as well.
Member Shroyer explained the caution that needs to be taken with various activities and the agreements because there are only 25 parking spaces to work with.
Mr. Bowman agreed. He stated a reconfiguration of the parking lot to save Tree #585 and Tree #584 would have a dramatic impact on the truck vehicle movements and regular vehicle movements along the back side of that building.
Member Shroyer clarified that Mr. Bowman agreed to work with the City to find a possible solution to preserve the trees.
Mr. Bowman did not feel comfortable giving any encouragement to that option. He agreed to explore the option. He indicated it might be possible if a single island could be isolated and the critical traffic movements around the back side of the building could still be maintained. He restated that he did not hold a lot of encouragement to that option.
Member Shroyer noted that the site plan did not show designed parking for compact cars.
Ms. McClain stated the requirement is not within the City Ordinance. Typically, compact car spaces end up being used by every vehicle, including sport utility vehicles. Therefore, it is not worthwhile.
Member Shroyer suggested that it might be an option to save trees. Member Shroyer agreed with Member Kocan’s comments regarding the boardwalk/bike path. A bonding for future use should be established as it is currently included in the Master Plan. He understood the concerns with the west loading area. He found the shielding and landscaping is critical, even though the majority of the vendors and employees will park in that area, because the area is in site of several hundred parking spaces. Therefore, it should be aesthetically pleasing as possible. He clarified that almost 14-acres of regulated woodlands would be removed and 5.5-acres undisturbed.
Ms. McGuire indicated that although it sounds like much of the woodlands are being lost, a lot of the woodland is not high quality. The area that is an old orchard is not high quality and is not located in the regulated woodland boundary. The location of the current rest area is the nicest area of woodlands, which is being preserved. A permit would be appropriate after the preservation of the high quality area, which she deemed feasible.
Member Shroyer clarified that the center exit on Grand River Avenue and Taft Road entrance would be gated and there are no plans to have a gate on either of the two entrances onto Grand River Avenue.
Mr. Bowman answered, no. He stated they are primary points. The main entrance will be the main and the westerly entrance would be the secondary.
Member Shroyer asked if the proposed gates are decorated in nature.
Mr. Bowman stated they will be typical swing arm gates utilized to close off entranceways.
Member Shroyer asked if it would be similar to the gates used at the current Expo Center.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes.
Member Shroyer found them unattractive. He was not concerned with the Taft gate; however, he preferred a more attractive gate for Grand River Avenue as it is a focal point.
Ms. McClain suggested rot iron.
Mr. Bowman indicated the "unattractive" gate is expensive and typically more durable than a decorative gate, however he would explore the option.
Member Shroyer noted the current pursuit of a Transportation Enhancement Grant and he clarified that it would provide some of the required landscaping plantings.
Mr. Bowman answered, correct.
Member Shroyer asked if he already applied or if he is in the process.
Mr. Bowman indicated that the grant is Federal monies administered through State agencies. There have been ongoing discussions with the Department of Transportation. Most recently, an initial formal meeting discussed the potential for applying. He felt the meeting was positive. It might worthwhile enough and of enough interest to the State to have the State make the application. As the private party, he indicated at the meeting that on those areas that are adjacent to the site and where a meaningful role can be played with plantings as well as maintenance issues of concern, he was please to do that. He understood that the City may or may not be more interested in doing anything more global than that, however, there is the opportunity.
Member Shroyer hoped he received the grant; however, he asked the provisions in the event that the grant is not granted.
Mr. Bowman indicated that he can provide and do the number of plantings and replacements as the plan indicates. He had no doubt that they could plant in front of plantings; however, it would vary in the extent that a "win win" situation could be produced, small as such as enhancement of the right-of-way, work within the States’ property as opposed to only clustering within the Expo site. He believed their thought included areas further along the ramp system near Beck Road. In short, he would meet the requirements regardless of how it is funded and it could be done off site or all on site.
Member Shroyer asked if there were other areas of concern with regard to landscaping.
Ms. McGuire answered, no.
Member Shroyer noted his concern of the driveway spacing waiver. He questioned why the middle one was needed. The one to the west would have traffic exiting at the same time. He compared the chaos to Compu-ware Arena in Plymouth.
Mr. Bowman indicated the purpose is for traffic management situation during the course of an event day with a specific start and stop time. Compu-ware Arena and the Expo are two different traffic management issues. The traffic models are based upon having the third entrance to inlet and outlet traffic at the times necessary.
Member Shroyer stated a concert situation could be similar to the Compu-ware Arena.
Mr. Bowman agreed.
Ms. McClain clarified that the center drive waiver is a driveway spacing waiver. The east drive waiver is for the width of 64-feet because by Ordinance it is limited to 40-feet. The center drive meets standards and no size waiver needed.
Member Shroyer indicated that he did not have a problem with either one of those waivers. Concerning the façade, he stated the pre-cast panels exceed the City maximum for façade compliance by 100%, 92%, 94% and 100% for the north, south, east and west façades respectively. The Applicant is seeking a waiver. Personally, he liked the previous designs better particularly the design with a lot of glass and the design with the brick. He wanted to see a more aesthetically pleasing design. He was not concerned with the view from I-96; however, he was concerned with the view from Grand River Avenue. He requested an upgrade to the entryway. He understood the economic concerns and therefore was not concerned with all four sides, but asked that he focused on the Grand River Avenue view. As the project moves forward, he looked to have recommendations to approve waivers from the City Council; several items that need to comply with City requirements such as the location for parking attendant structure, modification of the plan for the additional tractor/trailer parking spaces, compliance with exterior side yard loading, bonding for bike path, RV/Truck parking spaces, possible preservation of the trees and compliance with Fire Marshall requirements. Due to the number of concerns and issues, he asked that the site plan return to the Commission for Final Site plan approval.
Member Markham stated the Ordinance was written for ten tractor/trailer spaces, however now the developer states that they are not needed. Further, the Ordinance was written in detail with input from Mr. Bowman and the City. Therefore, she did not understand why the proposal did not meet the Ordinance, specifically concerning the façade and the tractor/trailer spaces.
Mr. Bowman stated there is a general difference in opinion as to where the tractor/trailer spaces are in the plan. He contended that with each loading area there is a considerable excess of ten tractor/trailer spaces. They are designed to be similar to a loading area. The design accommodates both the need for free flowing large areas for the trailers to park and for the docks to be accessible by trucks etc. The area can accommodate all of these activities. The plan specifically designated additional RV/large vehicle spaces were identified on the site, however through a pure technicality these will now be designated as tractor/trailer spaces with the addition of three more spaces. He noted his willingness to provide this, however from a practical and operational standpoint the site is well in excess of ten tractor/trailer spaces.
Member Markham asked if a truck dock, occupied with a truck constitutes having the truck being parked in a space.
Ms. McBeth interpreted the Ordinance as requiring three specific items; the parking requirements require ten tractor/trailer spaces in the parking lot, the loading requirements are separate and require five loading spaces, the spaces for RV/Truck are separate. She understood the interpretation that the two could coincide, however she felt five additional spaces should be designated on the site plan. She stated the applicant has been cooperative in working with Staff to address this item at Final.
Member Markham clarified that Mr. Bowman would comply with the Staff’s interpretation of the required spaces.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes.
Member Markham supported the gated exit at Taft Road. She did not support a bike path/boardwalk from Grand River Avenue to the expressway unless it goes across at some point. She did not want it known that the entry comes out from Taft Road. Additionally, she did not support anything that would draw attention to Taft Road. She asked if the building has two relatively different functions in that there could be a wedding reception at one end and a gun show at the other.
Mr. Bowman agreed that it is separate in distinct areas, however with complimentary types of operations. The social business aspect, such as a wedding reception, would occur at a different time than a gun show. The peak flows of a gun or boat show have by far died down in time to accommodate a 7:00pm wedding reception, however, the site is planned to have enough parking spaces to handle both events going on at the same time.
Member Markham stated the east end of the building has a more sophisticated nature than the west side. She understood his utter reluctance to consider a parking structure; however, there are no accommodations such as covered walkways, to accommodate those parked far from the entrance. She felt he should consider a compromise on the east end of the building for the clientele that would utilize the building for formal events such as a wedding reception. She compared the building to the Hilton, which has a covered walkway at the drop off area.
Mr. Bowman stated the Expo entrance is three times the size of the Hilton’s entrance. It has a large covered area with a large drop off point leading to double doors to the lobby. He felt her comments were getting lost the scale.
Member Markham apologized and indicated that it is not easily seen on the rendition. She agreed that the front façade should be enhanced. Traffic flow entering the east drive to the west parking lot seemed to create a "bottle neck" in front of the building and entrance.
Mr. Bowman stated this was the reasoning for dedicating those spaces to handicapped parking. Although those spaces would be accessed, they would not be as active as a typical parking space. Once set, the traffic flow could be directed out of the way of the main aisle way and spaces could be filled working backwards. A full building event would allow the segregation of traffic flow from the main entrance in both east and west directions. Traffic could also be flagged in the west entrance from Grand River Avenue directly filling the lot located there.
Member Markham still felt parking in front of the building would create a "bottle neck".
Mr. Bowman shared the same concern. Again, this is the reasoning for utilizing the area for handicapped parking spaces. He agreed distribute the handicapped spaces and as they are eliminated and spread around the site, there might be other possibilities for that area.
Member Markham liked the façade. She liked that the building is not square in the front. She was concerned with the back of the building and its view from I-96. She encouraged him to consider the different view angles from the I-96. Member Markham asked what he proposed for signage.
Mr. Bowman stated the sign will require a variance due to the size.
Member Markham disagreed with the Sign Ordinance and therefore was open to his ideas.
Mr. Bowman stated there were nicer designs proposed for the existing center; however, they were scaled back due to size. He was disappointed that it turned out to be mostly reader panels. He desired to propose a state of the art sign for the expressway with computer generated text and a smaller version on Grand River Avenue. He hoped to make the signs consistent with the look and the feel of the building.
Member Markham did not like the current Expo Center sign as it is difficult to read. She realized its appearance is due to the ordinance. She asked what would happen to the Novi Expo signage on the water tower.
Mr. Bowman indicated that it is part of the existing site and would be dealt with when the existing site is dealt with. He stated there are landlord issues and other issues being worked on, however he felt comfortable that it would be put to reuse. He noted his awareness of importance of the issue to the City and the potential future occupant of that facility. The entire structure was recently painted. He noted his intention to maintain the existing site prior to relocation.
Member Markham stated the plan indicated operations at 75 decibels maximum during the day and 70 at night. She asked if a noise analysis is needed.
Ms. McBeth stated since it is not a Special Land Use a noise study was not required prior to the site plan review or approval. If there was a complaint, then the appropriate Code Enforcement would handle the situation.
Member Markham asked if there was an intention to do anything in anticipation of meeting the requirement.
Mr. Bowman indicated that the site currently exceeds those decibel levels with the noise from the expressway. He stated he would abide by the Ordinance and place the notation on the site plan as requested.
Member Ruyle clarified that sewer and water are available to the site.
Ms. McClain stated the site has water and sewer access. A water line will be down the west side of the property with the second connection across under I-96.
Member Ruyle asked her to comment on the possibility of a parking structure.
Ms. McClain showed the Commission pictures of a 721-parkiing space facility that is 250-feet by 270-feet and approximately 60-feet in height. A parking structure of this type would be needed to replace the eastern parking lot. A 1000 parking space facility measures 285-feet by 195-feet with a range of 45-feet to 90-feet in height. Additionally she showed a photo of a parking structure with 800-parking spaces.
Chairperson Nagy did not feel the Commission was suggesting a five or six story parking structure.
Ms. McClain agreed, however she was providing the Commission with scale ideas. In order to handle 600-parking spaces at two-stories, she noted speculated structure size would not necessarily take half of the parking space and would be a slightly more due to ramps and the turning radius. A three-story structure would be approximately the same height as the building. She pointed out issues to address with a parking structure; fire and safety access, traffic is not as easily routed as there is a limit of two accesses to a parking area and Michigan requirement to have it sprinkled for fire safety. She stated going underground is not an option due to the water table.
Member Ruyle asked the location of the two building in the Metropolitan area referenced earlier.
Mr. Cedargreen stated one building is located in Troy on Fourteen Mile Road and I-75 and Highland Park on Davidson and Oakland Avenue.
Member Ruyle indicated he saw the building on Fourteen Mile Road. He did not have any problem granting a Façade Waiver. Mr. Necci indicated that the material is not inferior. He did not feel Mr. Bowman should have to spend millions of dollars on something that would not benefit him or the City.
Member Ruyle asked if additional phases would be proposed.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes. He anticipated additional phases and development opportunities. He hoped the future held opportunities for a hotel and possible expansion.
Member Ruyle clarified that the proposed is an EXO Overlay District.
Ms. McClain answered, yes.
Member Ruyle asked the height requirement.
Ms. McBeth indicated the maximum height is 65-feet.
Member Ruyle asked if this is five or six stories.
Ms. McBeth indicated there is a five-story maximum.
Member Ruyle clarified that the hotel would then be limited to five-stories.
Mr. Bowman indicated the hotel is the only exception due to the type and the number of rooms. The hotel is permitted to 100-feet.
Member Ruyle clarified that the hotel could be nine-stories.
Mr. Bowman agreed.
Member Ruyle figured ten-feet per story. Thereby, resulting in nine to ten-stories. He thanked Mr. Bowman for his commitment and dedication to keep the Expo Center in Novi. He asked the number of parking spaces at the current Expo Center.
Mr. Bowman stated there are 1961-parking spaces owned/controlled by Expo. On occasional weekends, there is opportunity to use neighbors’ parking, which provides up to 400 additional spaces. Additional parking for the busiest events is off site at Town Center and shuttles are used.
Member Ruyle did not have any problem with the additional 25-parking spaces, however he did support the preservation of the large tree #585. He asked if he planned for off-site parking with the new facility.
Mr. Bowman hoped to accommodate the vast majority of the events within the 2600-parking spaces. If there is a need for additional parking, then off-site arrangements can be put into place with the surrounding property owners.
Member Ruyle asked if he has spoken with the school system as there are three schools nearby, which would not be utilized during the Expo’s peak times.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes. Additionally, there have been cooperative arrangements where the school system can conduct bus training in the Expo’s parking lot as well.
(Pause in discussion for motion to extend meeting)
PM-02-10-227 TO EXTEND THE MEETING TIME
Moved by Paul, seconded by Ruyle, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To extend the meeting time.
VOTE ON PM-02-10-227 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer
Member Ruyle asked the amount of revenue the Expo Center would generate to the City.
Mr. Bowman indicated based on a Study from 1999, the direct economic spin off is $189,000,000.
Member Ruyle asked the maximum.
Mr. Bowman stated based on conservative estimates he anticipated a quarter billion dollars.
Member Ruyle stated he agreed with the Tax Abatement. He asked the approximate amount that would be paid in taxes.
Mr. Bowman estimated four to five times what the property is currently generating and still well in excess of what is currently being paid.
Member Ruyle stated 60% to 70% will go to the Novi School District.
Chairperson Nagy interjected and stated his comments are straying beyond the site plan.
Member Ruyle indicated that he wanted to ensure certain items were included on the record. He asked if outside generators would be used.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes.
Member Ruyle clarified that he would supply the decibel ratings of the generators.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes. It would be provided at the Final.
Member Ruyle concurred with Member Markham’s comments regarding the bike path/boardwalk. He asked the maximum capacity of the building.
Mr. Bowman stated due to the unique nature of the operations in the building, there is a need to work with the Building Department to identify some occupancy loads. There will be parking constraints. He anticipated the Expo Facility would be in the 5000 person range and a 2000 person range for the banquet/conference facilities.
Chairperson Nagy thanked Mr. Bowman for the informative presentation. She stated the EXO Overlay Ordinance was written in conjunction with his help, particularly the façade. She noted there are expansive buildings along the Sixteen Mile Road and I-75, however there is also a three or four lane road with a median. Therefore, the scale of the buildings do not impact in the same manner that the Expo’s size will impact the surrounding area. She did support the façade as it doe not meet the Ordinance and she wanted to avoid setting precedence for other projects coming into the City. Although there is not a requirement to submit an exterior lighting plan at this point, she felt the intent of the Ordinance should be met. She clarified that the placement of the lighting would be at the perimeter of the site and parking areas.
Mr. Bowman answered, correct.
Chairperson Nagy noted the lighting at the car dealer located on Haggerty and Grand River Avenue is similar to a football field. She asked the type of lighting that would be used as she was concerned with the impact to the area.
Mr. Bowman stated the parking lots will be well lit and safe.
Chairperson Nagy stated she understood the safety issues. She asked if he anticipated the use of large lights.
Mr. Bowman did not intend to use several small lights. It is large parking area and a large facility; however, he intended to be sensitive in the lighting design. There are requirements to shielding, which he agreed to meet. He stressed that his main concern is to have a well-lit parking area. He restated that the proposed location is the perfect location.
Chairperson Nagy interjected and stated her appreciation of his hard worked on the site plan. She indicated that she has listened to him "sell" his plan to the Commission all night. She asked specifically what kind of lighting will be placed in the parking lot along Grand River Avenue.
Mr. Bowman indicated it will be parking lot lighting.
Chairperson Nagy asked the height.
Mr. Bowman indicated it would be the standard and reasonable parking lot lighting at approximately thirty to forty-feet.
Chairperson Nagy was disappointed because a lighting plan should have been submitted due to the scale of the project. She pointed out that the verbiage of the Ordinance is may defer. Chairperson Nagy noted that the Woodland Permit was not recommended. She recognized that Mr. Bowman has seemed to indicate that he would not be putting up a parking structure of any sort. She referenced the woodland review letter; the parking lot size shall be a minimized to preserve the woodland on the site. Revised plans need to be submitted that propose saving Tree #585. She asked if it is the same tree Member Shroyer referenced.
Ms. McGuire answered, correct.
Chairperson Nagy asked Mr. Bowman if he planned to preserve the tree.
Mr. Bowman stated he did not hold out much hope for preserving the tree. If there is a way that the circulation pattern along the back side of the building could be kept (for the two aisles) and a way to make a separate island without creating a hazard, then he was amenable. He would not design the entire project over one tree when there are replacement requirement options.
Chairperson Nagy stated the Woodlands review also states, currently some of the proposed replacement species are not found on the woodland replacement chart and are therefore unacceptable. She asked how the review is being conducted if the proposed replacement species are not found on the chart.
Ms. McGuire indicated that it is a technicality and the species would be changed out at Final.
Chairperson Nagy clarified that to maintain diversity there would not be more than 10% of each species.
Ms. McGuire answered, correct.
Chairperson Nagy understood the need for parking; however, she was concerned with the amount of impervious surface because 53% of the runoff (according to statistics) is from parking lots. She asked how the water running into the pond would be treated.
Ms. McGuire stated the water that would flow into the wetland in front of the building would flow from the roof. The water from the parking lot would route around to the series of detention basins, to the wetland mitigation and out through the wetland. The drainage from the front of the building is not going into the wetland because it is going over and being pre-treated in the sedimentation and detention areas.
Chairperson Nagy agreed with the recommendation to increase the landscaping by 10%. Additionally, she liked the berming wall recommendation. She asked Mr. Bowman if he agreed to provide this.
Mr. Bowman indicated that he was not clear on the recommendation.
Ms. McGuire stated there is a 36-inch berm provided along Grand River Avenue, which is required. The berm is contained within the two driveways and there is quite a bit of distance to the driveways on either end. In order to accomplish the screening of the parking lot, she suggested extending the berm or use several additional plantings or walls. She stated the clear vision corners would need to be kept open.
Mr. Bowman agreed with the importance of site distance issues.
Chairperson Nagy asked if he was amenable to her recommendation.
Mr. Bowman answered, yes.
Chairperson Nagy did not support a Façade Waiver. She did view the building in Troy.
Member Shroyer asked the color and the brand of the paint that would be used on the surface of the building.
Randy Deruiter of Clayco Construction Representative indicated that the sample is the color tone that would be achieved. He indicated that he would prepare larger samples (that have been viewed outside) for when the project returns to the Commission for Final.
Member Shroyer asked the name.
Mr. Deruiter stated it is Modac and it is a customer color. He stated more specifics could be given later.
Member Shroyer asked if the color is intended to match the color on rendering that was provided tonight.
Mr. Deruiter answered, yes.
Member Avdoulos asked if 2600-parking spaces are shown on the site plan.
Ms. McBeth answered, yes.
Member Avdoulos asked if 24-parking spaces could be removed to allow more flexibility with the landscaping and parking area. He explained that if 24-spaces (12 back-to-back) could be eliminated, then a row of islands could be created in the main area to split the "sea of asphalt" in two.
Mr. Bowman indicated that with the relocation of the handicapped parking spaces and the possible adjustments to save the trees, he was not sure what additional spaces would remain.
Member Avdoulos showed the Commission and Applicant a design sketch he created.
Member Kocan prefaced her motion with the statement that the Planning Commission is charged with Ordinance enforcement. Therefore, her motion in no manner reflects an opinion that the Commission does not want the Expo Center in the proposed location, however if there are waivers and variances then there should not be a positive recommendation, which is something the Planning Commission strives to adhere to.
PM-02-10-228 IN THE MATTER OF NOVI EXPOSITION CENTER SP02-25A, MOTION TO DENY A WOODLAND PERMIT AND RECOMMEND DENIAL TO CITY COUNCIL OF THE PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN AND NON-MINOR USE WETLAND PERMIT BECAUSE THE PROJECT REQUIRES EXCESSIVE NUMBER OF WAIVERS AND VARIANCES, SPECIFICALLY WITH RESPECT TO SECTION 1003A.6A – THE PROPOSED PARKING ATTENDANT STRUCTURE IS NOT ALLOWED IN THE FRONT SETBACK AND THE SOUTHEAST SECTION OF THE PROPERTY NEAR THE PROPOSED PARKING STRUCTURE DOES NOT HAVE THE REQUIRED PARKING SETBACK OF 20-FEET; MODIFICATIONS WOULD NEED TO BE MADE TO THE PLAN, SECTION 2505.14.C.19 – THE ORDINANCE REQUIRES 10 TRACTOR-TRAILER PARKING SPACES, AND ONLY 5 ARE DESIGNATED ON THE PLAN; MODIFICATIONS WOULD NEED TO BE MADE TO THE PLAN, DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS, ARTICLE XI, SECTION 11.256 – SAFETY PATH ALONG TAFT ROAD IS REQUIRED OR MONEY MUST BE ESCROWED OR BONDED TO PROVIDE PATH AT A LATER DATE, SECTION 2507 – LOADING DOES NOT COMPLY WITH ORDINANCE IN INTERIOR OR EXTERIOR SIDE YARDS, ALTHOUGH CITY COUNCIL DOES HAVE THE OPTION TO GRANT THE WAIVER, SECTION 1003.A.1 – VEHICULAR ACCESS REQUIRES NO "UNREASONABLE TRAFFIC IMPACTS", HOWEVER THERE ARE ACCESS PROBLEMS, WITH REGARD TO DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS 11216.D.D – SAME-SIDE DRIVEWAY SPACING OF EAST DRIVE IS ONLY 200-FEET VS. 230-FEET REQUIRED, DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS FIGURE IX.12 – OPPOSITE DRIVEWAY SPACING OF EAST DRIVE IS 220-FEET AND 360-FEET VS. 400-FEET REQUIRED; OPPOSITE DRIVEWAY SPACING OF CENTER DRIVE IS 41-FEET AND 147-FEET VS. 150-FEET REQUIRED; RECOMMEND A SHARED ACCESS ROAD OR SOME OTHER ARRANGEMENT OR DESIGN ALTERNATIVE TO MITIGATE OBSTRUCTION OF NEIGHBORING BUSINESS ENTRANCES, DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS FIGURE IX.1 – THE WEST DRIVE PROPOSED ANGLE IS 73 DEGREES VS. REQUIRED 90 DEGREES; NEEDS TO BE REDESIGNED ALSO WITH REGARD TO THAT SECTION, THE EAST DRIVE WIDTH EXCEEDS THE STANDARDS BY 24-FEET THE REQUEST FOR 64-FEET VS. 40-FEET, WITH REGARD TO THE SECTION 2520 AND 1003A.7 – SECTION NINE FAÇADE WAVIER IS NOT RECOMMENDED; PLAN MUST BE UPGRADED TO COMPLY WITH THE INTENT OF THE ORDINANCE, ORDINANCE 168 – STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PLAN REQUIREMENTS MUST BE COMPLIED WITH TO THE EXTENT FEASIBLE. IN ADDITION TO THE COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE STAFF AND THE CONSULTANTS, THE PLANNING COMMISSION WOULD LIKE THE FOLLOWING ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED BEFORE A POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION CAN BE MADE TO THE CITY COUNCIL: WETLAND MITIGATION RATIO FOR WETLAND #7 MUST BE DECIDED BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE APPLICANT WITH RESPECT TO THE 24-INCH WATER MAIN CONSTRUCTION ALONG THE WEST SIDE OF THE PROPERTY, THE GOALS AND CONTOURS OF THE MITIGATION, EXPECTED HYDROLOGIC REGIME, PLANTINGS ZONES, PLANT LIST, CROSS SECTIONS, TIMING AND SEQUENCE OF CONSTRUCTION AND MONITORING REQUIREMENTS SHALL BE DETAILED ON THE NEXT WETLAND PLAN SUBMITTAL, MITIGATION SHALL BE COMPLETED PER ORDINANCE REQUIREMENTS, THE DETENTION POND IN SOUTHEAST CORNER SHOULD BE REDESIGNED TO PRESERVE AN ADDITIONAL 2-ACRES OF WOODLANDS, ADDITIONAL PARKING LANDSCAPE ISLANDS SHOULD BE CONSTRUCTED THROUGHOUT THE FRONT PARKING LOT TO BREAK UP EXCESSIVE IMPERVIOUS SURFACE AS WELL AS TO PROVIDE FOR LOWER LIGHTING POLES REALIZING THAT THERE IS AN EXCESS OF 25 PARKING SPACES, THE FRONT ENTRANCE SHOULD BE ENHANCED, POSSIBLY MOVING THE HANDICAPPED SPACES FROM THEIR MASS LOCATION AND PROVIDE SPACES ACROSS THE FRONT OF EACH PARKING ROW, PARKING LOT ACCESS TO THE WEST DRIVE NEEDS TO BE RELOCATED ACROSS FROM THE EXISTING CONCRETE DRIVE, RV/TRUCK PARKING NEEDS TO BE IDENTIFIED ON THE PLAN, EXPLORE THE ALTERNATIVE OF PARKING STRUCTURE TO PRESERVE ADDITIONAL WOODLANDS AND WETLANDS ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE BUILDING, EXPLORE THE PRESERVATION OF THE 36-INCH TREE #585, PROVIDE ROOF DRAINAGE DESIGN AND ROOFTOP SCREENING, REQUIRE AN ADDITIONAL 10% LANDSCAPING GIVEN THE EXCESSIVE LENGTH OF THE BUILDING AS WELL AS EXTENDING THE BERM ON GRAND RIVER AVENUE, REMOVE THE FUTURE PARKING AREA FROM THE SITE PLAN, CONSIDER AN UPGRADE OF THE GATE AT THE CENTER ENTRANCE, WITH THE REQUEST THAT THE SITE PLAN RETURN TO THE COMMISSION FOR FINAL SITE PLAN APPROVAL.
Moved by Kocan, seconded by Papp, CARRIED (6-2):In the matter of Novi Exposition Center SP02-25A, motion to deny a Woodland Permit and recommend denial to City Council of the Preliminary Site Plan and non-minor use wetland permit because the project requires excessive number of waivers and variances, specifically with respect to Section 1003A.6A – the proposed parking attendant structure is not allowed in the front setback and the southeast section of the property near the proposed parking structure does not have the required parking setback of 20-feet; modifications would need to be made to the plan, Section 2505.14.c.19 – the ordinance requires 10 tractor-trailer parking spaces, and only 5 are designated on the plan; modifications would need to be made to the plan, Design and Construction Standards, Article XI, Section 11.256 – Safety path along Taft road is required or money must be escrowed or bonded to provide path at a later date, Section 2507 – Loading does not comply with ordinance in interior or exterior side yards, although City Council does have the option to grant the waiver, Section 1003.A.1 – vehicular access requires no "unreasonable traffic impacts", however there are access problems, with regard to Design and Construction Standards 11216.d.d – same-side driveway spacing of east drive is only 200-feet vs. 230-feet required, Design and Construction Standards Figure IX.12 – opposite driveway spacing of east drive is 220-feet and 360-feet vs. 400-feet required; opposite driveway spacing of center drive is 41-feet and 147-feet vs. 150-feet required; recommend a shared access road or some other arrangement or design alternative to mitigate obstruction of neighboring business entrances, Design and Construction Standards Figure IX.1 – the west drive proposed angle is 73 degrees vs. required 90 degrees; needs to be redesigned also with regard to that section, the east drive width exceeds the standards by 24-feet the request for 64-feet vs. 40-feet, with regard to the Section 2520 and 1003A.7 – Section Nine Façade Wavier is not recommended; plan must be upgraded to comply with the intent of the ordinance, Ordinance 168 – Stormwater Management Plan requirements must be complied with to the extent feasible. In addition to the comments and recommendation of the Staff and the Consultants, the Planning Commission would like the following issues to be addressed before a positive recommendation can be made to the City Council: Wetland mitigation ratio for Wetland #7 must be decided between the City and the applicant with respect to the 24-inch water main construction along the west side of the property, the goals and contours of the mitigation, expected hydrologic regime, plantings zones, plant list, cross sections, timing and sequence of construction and monitoring requirements shall be detailed on the next wetland plan submittal, mitigation shall be completed per ordinance requirements, the detention pond in southeast corner should be redesigned to preserve an additional 2-acres of woodlands, additional parking landscape islands should be constructed throughout the front parking lot to break up excessive impervious surface as well as to provide for lower lighting poles realizing that there is an excess of 25 parking spaces, the front entrance should be enhanced, possibly moving the handicapped spaces from their mass location and provide spaces across the front of each parking row, parking lot access to the west drive needs to be relocated across from the existing concrete drive, RV/Truck parking needs to be identified on the plan, explore the alternative of parking structure to preserve additional woodlands and wetlands on the east side of the building, explore the preservation of the 36-inch tree #585, provide roof drainage design and rooftop screening, require an additional 10% landscaping given the excessive length of the building as well as extending the berm on Grand River Avenue, remove the future parking area from the site plan, consider an upgrade of the gate at the center entrance, with the request that the site plan return to the Commission for Final Site Plan Approval.
VOTE ON PM-02-10-228 CARRIED
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul
No: Ruyle, Shroyer
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. SET OCTOBER 16, 2002 PUBLIC HEARING DATE FOR OPEN SPACE ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT 18.174
PM-02-10-228 TO SET THE PUBLIC HEARING DATE FOR OPEN SPACE ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT 18.174 AS OCTOBER 16, 2002.
Moved by Kocan, seconded by Ruyle, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To set the Public Hearing date for Open Space Zoning Ordinance Amendment 18.174 as October 16, 2002.
VOTE ON PM-02-10-228 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer
2. APPROVAL OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2002 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Member Kocan indicated there was an excess of approximately twenty correspondences that were included in the minutes; however, were not on the Commission table the night of the Planning Commission meeting. Therefore, they were not read into the record. She appreciated their inclusion in the minutes; however, she asked for an explanation.
Ms. Brock indicated they were the previous correspondence received from the August 21, 2002 meeting.
Member Kocan disagreed. She did not recall reading that many correspondences into the record at the August 21, 2002 meeting. She had three (3) correspondences for both public hearings. She indicated neighboring property owners questioned why their comments were not read into the record.
Ms. Brock indicated that she would look into the matter.
Member Kocan noted her concern that they were on someone’s desk instead at the table the night of the meeting. She indicated the letter from Mr. Morroni needed to be added to the record along with his attachments. It is important to have this information included prior to the matter going before the City Council.
Member Kocan and Chairperson Nagy made corrections to the minutes.
Ms. Brock requested the Commission to postpone the approval of the minutes to allow her the opportunity to verify the inclusion of the public hearing notices.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. STARTING TIME FOR 2002 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETINGS
Member Markham indicated that her schedule did not permit her to attend a meeting starting prior to 7:30 pm. Additionally, she did not feel an early start time would necessarily mean an earlier end time.
Member Kocan preferred to keep the start time at 7:30 pm.
Commission agreed with the 7:30 pm start time.
2. NEXT SCHEDULED ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MEETING
Member Ruyle indicated that the Chairperson was remiss in admonishing him at tonight’s meeting. He requested an apology. He stated every commissioner has the right to contribute his/her comments during the commissioner discussion. He stated he typically speaks five to seven minutes; not thirty minutes or forty-five minutes. Therefore, should he desire to make a statement, then he should be allowed to make his statement and should not be chastised from the Chairperson. Member Ruyle stated he took offense to her action. He indicated that he was not concerned whether she liked him or not. He indicated he serves on the Commission and has a vote.
Chairperson Nagy requested that the matter not be come a personal matter. She clarified that she did not dislike Member Ruyle. She redirected the conversation to the Matter for Discussion.
Member Kocan indicated that the role of the Chairperson is to keep the meeting on point and it was her discretion that the discussion was going off the point. It was not meant to be personal and it should have not been made personal.
Member Ruyle indicated that he planned to attend the next ZBA meeting as a commissioner. He asked the consensus of the Commission regarding Scenic Pines Estates and the removal of the accessory building (garage). He intended to inform the ZBA on behalf of the Planning Commission that the accessory building should be removed. He requested permission from the Commission to represent the Commission at the ZBA meeting.
Chairperson Nagy deferred to Mr. Fisher.
Mr. Fisher stated it is his opinion that the commissioner can attend the ZBA meeting and express their own views; however, the minutes of the Planning Commission meeting on that subject should speak for the Commission rather than a commissioner attempting to describe the meaning of the minutes. This should be a general rule in this type of context.
PM-02-10-229 TO ADJOURN THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AT 12:20 A.M.
Moved by Kocan, seconded by Shroyer, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission at 12:20 a.m.
VOTE ON PM-02-10-229 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer
Donna Howe - Planning Assistant
Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji
October 11, 2002
Date Approved: November 6, 2002