|View Agenda for this meeting
View Action Summary for this meeting
NOVI PLANNING COMMISSION
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Nagy called the meeting to order at or about 7:30 p.m.
Present: Members Avdoulos (late), Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer
Staff Present: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Barb McBeth, Planner; Brian Coburn, Engineer;
Mike McGinnis, Landscape Architect; Kathy Smith-Roy, Finance Director;
Nancy McClain, Engineer
Also Present: Jane Tesner, Don Tilton & Associates; Gerald Fisher, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Ruyle led the Commission in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Paul requested that a discussion of Hanging Fire Reports be added to the Agenda under Matters for Discussion. Member Papp requested that a discussion on Preliminary Site Plan Approval also be added.
Moved by Ruyle, seconded by Markham:
Motion to approve the Agenda as amended.
Motion Carried 7-0.
No one wished to speak in the first Audience Participation segment of the meeting. No correspondence, communications or committee reports were presented.
Planning Director David Evancoe addressed the Commission to announce the Planning Basics Seminar offered by Oakland County and the Michigan Society of Planning. Any Commissioner that would like an informational package was asked to speak with Mr. Evancoe after the meeting. Currently one Commissioner is registered for this Seminar. The date is April 5, 2003 in Pontiac. There is also an April 10th date in Ann Arbor and an April 24th date in Clinton Township.
Mr. Evancoe introduced Jane Tesner, the Wetland Consultant from Don Tilton & Associates.
CONSENT AGENDA Ė REMOVALS AND APPROVALS
1. YOUNGSOFT SITE PLAN NUMBER 01-39
Consideration of the request of Youngsoft Inc, for approval of a one year Final Site Plan extension. The subject project is located in Section 4 on the northwest corner of West Road and Hudson Drive. The applicant proposes an office building. The property is zoned I-1.
Planner Beth McBarb confirmed that this is the first extension of the one-year Final Site Plan approval.
Moved by Ruyle, seconded by Kocan:
Motion to approve one-year extension of Final Site Plan 01-39.
Motion carried 7-0.
1. TRILLIUM VILLAGE, SITE PLAN NUMBER 02-39
Public Hearing on the request of Trillium Village for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 25 north of Nine Mile Road and west of Haggerty Road in the RM-1 (Low-Density Multiple Family) District. The subject property is 7.38 acres. The developer is proposing 34 two family attached condominium units and to retain the existing stone house on the property.
Ms. McBeth described the surrounding properties. To the north and west are Pavilion Court Apartments (RM-1). To the south are Highline Club Apartments and Crosswinds West Condominiums (RM-1). To the east are single family homes (R-3) and the Palushaj property (OS-1) which has been approved for an office building. This property is also zoned RM-1; in June 2002 the Planning Commission sent a favorable recommendation to the City Council to re-zone 4.73 acres from RM-3 to RM-1 and was approved in July 2002. In November 2002 the Planning Commission tabled this Preliminary Site Plan review for further study. Copies of previous Planning Commission requests, the recommended and applicable Interim Road Policy and information on the shared driveway were included in the Planning Commission packets.
The applicant has requested that the plan be reviewed under RT-2 which is allowed under RM-1 zoning districts. The new plan was reviewed as a general condominium. New lot lines are indicated on the parallel plan and the reshaped and/or removed detention basins are also indicated.
Two ZBA variances will be required with the new site plan: A thirty-foot setback from the stone house to the new Trillium Drive is required where only ten feet is proposed. Sidewalks are lacking along both private drives as well as along the western side of the stone house and along the western side of the driveway as it approaches the Palushaj property. There are no regulated woodlands on this site. Previous requests were addressed that called for modifications to preserve existing trees. Previous landscaping deficiencies have also been addressed, but additional changes (species variation) may be requested for the Final Site Plan. The proposed driveways appear to comply with the Interim Road Policy, and additional notes and details will be required for Final Site Plan. The highlighted Engineering and Fire Department items may be addressed at Final Site Plan, but no waivers or variances are necessary.
The FaÁade Consultant recommended that a Section 9 Waiver be issued to address the excessive percentage of trim, asphalt shingles and vinyl siding if the Sample Board presented to the Planning Commission confirms the aesthetic value of their design. Developer Anthony Randazzo indicated the red brick is the first choice but may be out of production soon so a second choice has also been provided. Associate Brad Byarski stated that the Consultant has reviewed this Sample Board as well as a first submittal that was lost in a JCK flood. The Consultantís waiver letter would be applicable if the recommendation for approval is contingent upon the developerís provision of materials consistent to ordinance standards.
Mr. Randazzo delivered a Power Point presentation that showed examples of his other work. He noted that, in response to Member Kocanís request, the ponds had been removed from the lots. He showed an example of a gold-leafed and applied stone sign that will be similar to the sign(s) placed at one or both entrances. He showed copies of neighborsí letters that support the developerís attempt to conserve the 1899 stone house as an historical asset to the community. In reference to the variance issues, Mr. Randazzo indicated that the reduced size of the townhouse design does provide for greater sideyard setbacks and that the sidewalk termination was included for safety reasons.
Member Kocan stated the Planning Commission was in receipt of the following correspondence relating to this project:
- Anne Marocco, 40006 Crosswinds, approves of the project as a good use for Novi.
- Marilyn Bledsoe, 40046 Crosswinds, objects to the project because of traffic congestion at the intersection reasons.
- Juliette and John Wagner, 22179 Pondview, object to the project for Haggerty traffic congestion reasons.
- Patricia and Leslie Stelzer, 22268 Pondview, object because there are too many condo sites in the area.
They recommend the site be used for a small shopping area with 7-Eleven, card shop, gifts that area residents could walk to.
- Sophie Sprowall, 22317 Peachtree, objects to the project for traffic congestion at the intersection reasons.
- Karen Kasanic, 22038 Edgewater, objects to the project because traffic is a hazard in that area.
- Unsigned Ė objects to project because of traffic congestion, limited size of property for a development of this size, egress from Haggerty will present a hazard because Haggerty will not be widened for some time. The writer suggests the property be used for a small office.
Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing. Member Paul stated that although the Palushaj office building is slated to share this propertyís Haggerty entrance, Walgreenís has a re-zoning request pending on the Palushaj property. Member Paul voiced concern about Trillium sharing the entrance with a use other than an office. Attorney Fisher stated that the Planning Commission could cite that its recommendation of this plan is subject to the confirmation of the existence of the necessary legal easement instruments that have been or will be recorded; City Engineer Brian Coburn stated that this is already cited in the in Palushaj plan approval. The Haggerty entrance is fully functional, which concerns Member Paul because of the slope on Haggerty. Mr. Coburn stated that the Palushaj Nine Mile entrance is "right-in, right-out"; doing so on Haggerty would be too limiting. Chair Nagy requested clarification on whether "right-in, right-out" on Haggerty was a City Council mandate for this property some years back. Mr. Fisher was not aware of this. Mr. Randazzo pointed out that the Trillium Nine Mile entrance was added at the request of the Traffic Engineer, Bill Stimpson.
Mr. Coburn explained that the storm sewer will move the westside water eastward through the system to Detention Basin "B", then on to Farmington Hills. Mr. Coburn will require as part of his in-house approval process that Farmington Hills accepts the impact of this propertyís runoff into their system
Mr. Randazzo explained to Member Paul that the project is estimated to cost $125-$150 psf and there are basements. Member Paul stated she doesnít support the use of vinyl siding Ė she prefers wood siding. Mr. Randazzo responded that vinyl siding is longer lasting.
Member Ruyle clarified that the drive to Haggerty goes into a turnlane that begins at the apartment buildings and goes to Haggerty. Mr. Randazzo stated that Bill Stimpson designed it so that the cars veer right as they exit. Mr. Randazzo concurred with Member Ruyle that there should be a right turn only sign at the Haggerty egress.
Member Ruyle stated that he disagrees that the property is a hindrance to Haggerty traffic and acknowledged that 35 housing units create far less traffic than the potential stemming from 84 apartments. His personal preference for the brick is the red and white sample since the neighboring apartments are already all red.
Member Shroyer confirmed that the stone house will be a condo and not a clubhouse. He stated that the developer should be able to meet the terms of the Cityís faÁade ordinance. Member Shroyer noted that although the townhomes have been downsized and one lot had been moved across the street he still feels the property is overbuilt and only adds to the Cityís deluge of condos. He is leaning away from support for this project.
Member Kocan indicated that this site plan is an improvement and the relocation of the basins is a significant improvement. She asked for safety and design clarification on the sidewalk issue.
George Norberg of Seiber, Keast & Associates designed it in such a way to put foot traffic on the east side before pedestrians got down to the office area. Mr. Coburn stated that since people expect to see pedestrians at stop signs and that incoming traffic should be slower at the entrance than by the detention basin he believes the sidewalk should be taken to the stop sign, which is a feasible design.
Planner Barb McBeth then responded to Member Kocanís parking concerns. While the City standard for parking space length is 19 feet, 17 feet is occasionally used. The driveways in this project are only 15 ft, but since the developer satisfies the two parking spaces per unit requirement (via 2Ĺ car garages) and also provides off-street parking, the driveway length is not a problem.
Member Kocan questioned the placement of the berm between this property and the Palushaj property. Mr. Fisher stated that the requirement to provide a berm is the responsibility of the second property to develop. The ordinance states that neither landowner has vested rights until actual work is performed pursuant to lawful permits. Mr. Palushaj may have pulled a foundation permit but hasnít started work and therefore has not acquired any vested rights.
Interim Landscape Architect Mike McGinnis clarified that the Palushaj site plan called for a north side retaining wall adjacent to the sediment basin and a wall was proposed for the west side. The detail was omitted from the blue print, so Mr. McGinnis could not state precisely whether a retaining wall and not a screening wall was required. Mr. Randazzo informed the Planning Commission that Mr. Palushaj agreed to provide a northern retaining wall with a brick screening wall atop and a western screening wall only. Mr. Randazzo also commented that Palushaj is in lease negotiations for the building so its construction seems likely.
Member Kocan confirmed with Planner McBeth that the streets (built under the Interim Road Policy) are not eligible for city dedication. She also cited that because there is no ordinance that stipulates that the developer must provide a privacy fence between his property and a neighboring home owner (The Barducca Family), the Planning Commission can not require it.
Member Markham opened her comments with a request for the staff to provide the Planning Commission with the Master Zoning Plan for the adjacent Farmington Hills parcels if in fact the Palushaj property comes back for a re-zoning request.
Member Markham read from Mr. Coburnís letter wherein the City Engineer suggested that all other options for a stormwater system be exhausted before the proposed surcharge system in the plans is used. Mr. Coburn explained that if Trillium develops first then they must produce plans and easements for an off-site sewer system as part of the Final Site Plan process. Mr. Randazzo stated that reciprocal easements are in place and that if Trillium develops first Mr. Palushaj is required to pay 50% of the storm sewer costs. Mr. Randazzo reiterated that his plan is based on the existence of an office building on the Palushaj site and that a change in land use is difficult and does not have zoning. Member Markham stated, and Mr. Fisher concurred, that the required easements are legally binding contracts and if they are in place for the Final Site Plan, the City is protected. She verified that the Planning Commissionís copy of the Easement Agreement was not a final copy. Member Markham then confirmed with Mr. Coburn that Trillium must provide a letter of approval from Farmington Hills indicating that they accept this siteís storm water into their municipality.
Member Papp opened his comments by confirming with Mr. Coburn that the detention basins were of adequate size. He confirmed his understanding of the egress functions of the two Palushaj drives and the necessity of this design. He stated that he is in favor of the sidewalk moving up to the detention basin area to reduce the traffic at the busy intersection.
Member Avdoulos opened his comments by stating his basic approval of the site design. He explained that the relocation of the detention basins work well on the site. He also prefers that the sidewalk remain near the basin to reduce traffic at the intersection and for better access to Nine Mile. He concurred with the other Commissioners that signage controls at the shared Haggerty entry is a good idea.
Member Avdoulos is satisfied with this site design, but would prefer a less dense approach that would improve upon the distance between units. He stated that the proposed land use is an appropriate segue for the area. Even though he would like to see the character of the stone house brought into the design, he does not favor the introduction of three faÁade materials. He suggested that the developer consider fiber cement board for its durability, flexibility, paint compatibility, rot and moisture resistance.
Chair Nagy completed the Commissionerís comments first by acknowledging Mr. Coburnís excellent report. She clarified with Mr. Coburn that the one-foot freeboard contour shown on the plans is a high water level requirement and is considered a safety factor.
Chair Nagy suggested that Haggertyís left turn lane north of Nine Mile be made more definitive. Mr. Coburn stated that since this project actually connects to the Palushaj property and not Haggerty this issue actually would be with Mr. Palushaj. He restated that Haggerty is a county road.
Chair Nagy supported the idea of an accel/decel lane for Trilliumís Nine Mile egress to assist in moving traffic past the south sideís Crosswinds, apartments and law firm, and the north sideís Palushaj entry, three private homes and Lakewood. According to the Traffic Engineerís trip generation survey, Trilliumís Nine Mile entrance only produces a seven-car count whereas it takes a 13-car count to necessitate an accel/decel lane. Mr. Fisher confirmed that the Planning Commission can only require it if the ordinance standards warrant it. Mr. Randazzo reminded the Planning Commission that his proposed development is at half the potential density for that site and that he would agree to an accel/decel lane only if the Traffic Engineer legally proposed the idea. Chair Nagy questioned whether an oversized radius area similar to the Crosswinds entrance could be required; Mr. Coburn stated that the ordinance only allows for a 25-35 foot radius and that the Trillium entrance is already designed at the maximum 35 feet.
Chair Nagy acknowledged the Planning Commissionís receipt of a recommendation letter from Novi Fire Marshal Michael Evans that reiterated the provision that all roads shall be paved prior to any construction above the foundation.
Chair Nagy expressed her approval of the brick choice but not the vinyl siding. Planner McBeth corrected an earlier statement, and acknowledged that on November 6, 2002 the FaÁade Consultant reviewed the vinyl and found that it met the intent of the ordinance. Mr. Evancoe stated that the 1/8" gauge does exist and satisfies the ordinance, but that the developer may want to consider Member Avdoulosí material suggestion. Mr. Randazzo responded that the joints on that material seeps water which then expands the joints. He finds that the vinyl is the superior choice for appearance and longevity. Mr. Evancoe also explained that the intent of the shingles ordinance is to ensure that the percentage of roofing material does not overwhelm the buildingís elevation.
Mr. Randazzo explained to Chair Nagy that the berm size will be reduced in the Final Site Plan approval process to correct a sight problem in the required clear vision triangle.
Mr. Fisher recommended to the Planning Commission that any motion that supports this Preliminary Site Plan should (1) clarify that the roads are not eligible for dedication to the City; and (2) require that the Master Deed discloses the obligation of the condo owners to comply with setback requirements based on the parallel plan on file with the City.
Member Paul confirmed with Mr. Coburn that he too, reviewed the calculations on the detention basins. Member Paul also stated that she endorses a "right-in, right-out" on the Haggerty entrance more so than on the Nine Mile entrance. Chair Nagy explained that because the Nine Mile entrance is closer to the intersection than the Haggerty entrance, the provision was placed on the Nine Mile entrance.
Member Kocan advised the Planning Commission that if the "right-in, right-out" provision is placed on the Haggerty entrance that the Palushaj clientele can not leave the property and travel north.
Moved by Member Kocan, Seconded by Member Markham, that:
In the matter of Trillium Village Site Plan 02-39A, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: Zoning Board of Appealís variance for the deficiency of the required sidewalk along the entire length of both sides of the private drive as proposed on the Plan but requiring striping of the crossing areas; Zoning Board of Appealís variance for a reduced setback of existing house from Trillium Drive (thirty feet required, ten feet provided) as the stone house provides history for the community; Section 9 FaÁade Waiver granted as long as the gauge required by the ordinance or a product of superior material is used and approved by the architectural consultant; The existing garage is updated as appropriate to be aesthetically similar to the development; A Master Deed shall provide that the streets are not eligible for dedication to the public; The Master Deed shall also contain a disclosure of the obligation of future owners to comply with the setback requirements based on the parallel plan on file with the City; All subject to the comments on the attached review letters being addressed on the Final and any other conditions that were stated on the record this evening.
Member Shroyer clarified with Mr. Fisher whether Trillium is responsible for the entrance on Haggerty Road if it is developed before the Palushaj property. Mr. Fisher stated that Trillium could not get a Certificate of Occupancy without that entrance.
Motion carried 7-1.
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. SEELY SANCTUARY, SITE PLAN NUMBER 02-42
Consideration of the request of Singh Development Company for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan, Wetland Permit, Woodland Permit, and a Special Land Use Permit. The subject property is located in Section 12 on the south side of 13 Mile Road between M-5 and Meadowbrook Roads in the RA (Residential Acreage) District. The developer is proposing a place of worship. The subject property is 9.659 acres.
Chair Nagy recessed the meeting for a ten minute break and then called the meeting to order and opened the discussion on Seely Sanctuary.
Planner McBeth described the property as currently vacant. Fox Run Village is to the north, Brightmoor Church to the northeast, single family homes fronting 13 Mile on the east, Meadowbrook Elementary to the south and single family homes fronting both 13 Mile and Meadowbrook to the west. The Master Plan calls for this property and areas to the west, east and northeast to be Single Family Residential, north to be PD-1 and south to be zoned for public use. Currently it is zoned R-A as is the west, northeast and south. The area north is currently zoned RM-1.
The proposed 29,203 sf building offers an 800-seat sanctuary, offices and conference rooms on the first floor. The lower level will house a multi-purpose room, kitchen, classrooms and living quarters for the church officials. Both driveways in the property enter from 13 Mile. The buildingís orientation is angled to 13 Mile and sits northeast of the large wetlands system on the property. Since the December 2002 review, the petitioner, City staff and consultants have worked together to eliminate the 7,200 sf administration building, parking spaces on the north side and in another area and the reconfiguration of the detention basins on the northwest corner. The property contains 3.08 acres of wetlands. There is a temporary wetland buffer disturbance area (shown in tan on print) and a permanent wetland disturbance area of .076 acres.
The buildingís overhang projects twelve feet into the required 75-foot frontyard setback along the north property line and will require a variance if not modified. The Planning Commission may consider making a finding that the proposed plans meet the intent of the Special Land Use section of the ordinance as outlined in the Planning Review Letter. A Noise Analysis was provided by a Sound Engineer which indicated that the predicted sound levels are within the decibel restrictions of the ordinance. A wetlands review indicated that a permit is recommended, with additional notes and requirements for the applicant to consider for Final Site Plan review. A woodlands review indicated that a permit is needed for the proposed plan. The permit is recommended only upon a finding by the Planning Commission that no other alternatives are feasible to preserve additional woodlands on the site.
The landscape review indicated that there are several waivers and variances necessary for this plan.
The Planning Commission may grant a waiver to eliminate the wall/berm on the east and south property lines because of the presence of woodlands.
The Planning Commission may/may not recommend a variance for the obscuring earth berm/wall on the west and south property lines where wetlands are present to the ZBA.
The Planning Commission may issue a waiver for a wall rather than a berm on the 13 Mile frontage.
The Planning Commission may/may not recommend a variance for the substitution of an ornamental fence in place of the wall/berm along 13 Mile in areas that contain woodlands and wetlands to the ZBA.
The traffic engineerís review found that two minimum opposite side driveway spacing waivers are required: The east access by Brightmoor proposes 360 feet of separation where 400 feet is required. The west access by Fox Run Village proposes 300 feet where 400 feet is required.
The engineering review indicated that the plan meets the ordinance requirements. It recommended that the Planning Commission approve the proposed storm water management plan. The Fire Marshal cited some minor items that can be addressed prior to Final Site Plan. The Building FaÁade review indicated that the proposal is in full compliance. The building will be brick with small areas of E.I.F.S on the front canopy and 15% trim materials.
Landscape Architect Mike McGinnis addressed the Commission to discuss the wetlands and woodlands. He showed a map that outlined the areas where waivers and variances are necessary. He noted that the red area on the map sits three to five feet higher than the centerline of 13 Mile, and the green area at the corner sits four and a half to eight feet higher than the grade. The nice maple in the woodlands will be saved in the northeast corner. The smaller trees along the east edge and south are not recorded in the woodlands inventory. Further south along the property line there are several small young ash, maple and cherry trees. The wetland area is tagged, and there is a continuation of the saplings going westward to the pond. Mr. McGinnis confirmed for the Commission that the existing chain link fence is along the south property line. He also stated that the tree count on the property is approximately 12% ash and 18% elm. The removal of the ash will actually be beneficial to the surrounding evergreens.
Wetlands Consultant Jane Tesner from Tilton & Associates stated that her firm has reviewed the plans and the February 19, 2003 letter from Aimee Kay of JCK. She agreed with Ms. Kay that the developer needs to decrease their impact on the wetlands and the wetland setback buffer zone.
Mr. Khanh Pham approached the Commission and stated that he took the Planning Commission comments back to the congregation and they acknowledged that they were all valid. They agreed to remove the administration building, work to reduce the wetlands disturbance and to landscape with minimum impact on the woodlands.
Member Shroyer opened his comments by stating that he likes the building and agrees with the changes that have been made to the Preliminary Site Plan. He confirmed the existence of the bike bath along 13 Mile, and that the gazebo will not be replaced on the property. Rather, Mr. Pham stated that a cantilever on the building will act as an observation area. Member Shroyer cited this property as an example of why the Planning Commission needs to review all surrounding areas when approving a new plan; had Erickson considered the wetlands on this parcel they could have chosen a better location for their drive and this petitioner would not need the driveway waivers.
Member Ruyle concurred that the petitioner has provided the best solution on this Preliminary Site Plan rework. He reminded the commission that there will be a traffic signal in the area at New Life Drive. He commented that the 10:30 Ė 1:00 Sunday services should not have an adverse impact on what is becoming "Church Corner."
(In response to Member Kocanís request that the recording secretary review the tapes for corrections to specific sections of the minutes, the following change has been inserted)
Member Kocan noted that she appreciated the elimination of the administration building, which was significant with respect to the Wetland impacts. She asked Mr. Pham whether it was the intent of the sanctuary to not put the administration building on the site, since she believes that its future inclusion would have a significant impact.
Mr. Pham stated that the intent of the Sanctuary is to put in an administration building, but to reduce its size so that it would not have Wetland impact. He believed that the last time the Planning Commission saw the plan the Developer had pushed the boundary and got caught. He commented that if they ever came back in they would change from the proposed 7200 sf building to something smaller. He doesnít think that a 6500 sf building would have an impact.
Member Kocan appreciated his comments and believes that the Planning Commission may be able to come to a consensus on this Plan given that the administration building is not on the Plan. She understands and hopes that if when this Plan does come back it will be with a much smaller administration building so that what has been preserved will remain preserved. Member Kocan asked about Woodlands replacement trees. She inquired whether the Developer has had any discussion to get a waiver for the Woodland Replacement trees or were they planning to replace as required by the Ordinance?
Mr. Pham stated that he just learned about the Waiver provision and that they are still planning on replacing the trees per the current Ordinance, either through the tree fund or somewhere off site.
Member Kocan also appreciated that decision by the Developer. She encouraged Mr. Pham to state any plan that he might have to the Planning Commission. She reminded Mr. Pham that there is a requirement in one of the Consultantís letters that states that at the time of Final Site Plan he would be required to state when and where those trees would be placed if theyíre placed off-site. She hoped that the Staff will follow up on that and ensure that the trees are replaced as required. (end)
Member Kocan noted that the woodlands area along the east property line is very deciduous and she confirmed that the developer will be working with the City to add more evergreens to the buffer area. She supported the need for a waiver on the south property line. Mr. McGinnis explained to Member Kocan that because of the brick wall on one side of the drive, a brick wall was necessary on the other side to provide balance. The change from brick to a fence is a transition that blends better with the vegetation.
Member Kocan questioned whether the traffic island could be reduced by five feet so as to reduce the driveway spacing variance request by five feet. Mr. Pham stated that the additional five feet on the island is meant to improve the plant survival during the snowplow season. He agreed to reduce the islandís size if necessary, but Member Kocan stated that she would take the other Commissionersí input under advisement before she made any decisions about the island.
Member Kocan stated for the record that an engineering letter regarding berms described a detention basin in the northeast but should have said northwest. She confirmed that the overhang of the building impacts the setback to a greater degree because the lot line steps down in that area. She expressed her approval of the building design and the developerís attempt to preserve the wetlands.
Member Avdoulos confirmed with Planner McBeth that the living area in the sanctuary is an acceptable use. Ms. McBeth explained that it is considered an accessory use similar to a parsonage. Member Avdoulos stated his approval of the building and the overhang, explaining that to remove the need for a variance the building footprint could be swiveled but that it would disrupt the 45-degree angle of the building. He supported the proposed 15-foot wide boulevard island, citing that it will improve the landscape survival odds, provide a wider visual for entry and the five feet in question will not be that effective if added back to the driveway.
Member Avdoulos conferred with Mr. McGinnis regarding the southeast retaining wall because its notation on the blueprint was not very visible. He approved of the brick wall-to-fence design, stating that it was a good transition from the building to the woodlands.
Member Avdoulos noted that 267 parking spaces are required, and that is what is provided; he questioned what will happen if an administration building is indeed built at a later date. Mr. Pham suggested that since the buildings would not function at the same time that shared parking could be considered versus the addition of more impervious surfaces.
Member Paul questioned whether the approval of a future second building is implied if the Planning Commission accepts the engineering plans wherein a sanitary sewer stub is noted. Mr. Fisher responded that the minutes of this meeting can reflect that the Planning Commissionís approval of this engineering design does not imply or provide any indication of a future site plan approval.
Member Paul questioned whether embellishing the projected member count to 800 instead of 792 was prudent since it adds more parking spaces to the site. The proposed plan indicates that two parking spaces encroach the north side of the wetland "A" buffer. Jane Tesner of Tilton and Associates explained that it is actually the bituminous sidewalk that impacts the buffer and the removal of the parking spaces isnít really necessary. She continued that placing a boardwalk-style sidewalk in the buffer will disrupt the intent of the walkway because it would have to be elevated. Member Paul verified with Mr. Pham that he intends to comply with items 1-9 cited in the Aimee Kay (JCK) letter of February 19, 2003. She also asked Mr. Pham for his commitment to the woodlands replacement project which, when projected as a monetary figure, (559 trees @ $325) is $181,675.
Member Papp stated that his questions have been answered throughout the nightís discussion and commended the developer on making the necessary revisions that resulted in a very nice site plan.
Chair Nagy completed the comment section by stating her appreciation for the preservation of the natural features on the site. She discussed the tree-funding procedure with Mr. Fisher, who indicated that the ordinance reads that the trees in question would first be relocated to other Singh properties, then other properties are considered, then they become a monetary transaction for the Cityís tree fund. The intentions of the developer must be stated at the time of Final Site Plan. Mr. Fisher also stated that he would review the ordinance to confirm this information. Chair Nagy asked for a motion from the Commission.
Moved by Member Kocan, Seconded by Member Ruyle that:
In the matter of Site Plan 02-42, Seely Sanctuary, motion to grant approval of a Special Land Use permit for the following reasons: Relative to other feasible uses of the site, the proposed use will not cause significant detrimental impact on existing thoroughfares and the driveway spacing waivers are minimal with respect to interlock problems; The proposed use is compatible with the natural features and characteristics of the land, including existing woodlands, wetlands, water courses and wildlife habitat; This design (without the administration building) minimizes wetland buffer disturbance; Untreated stormwater is being rerouted and replacement trees will be provided; The proposed use is compatible with adjacent uses and there is no negative impact on adjacent properties as the noise analysis indicates compliance with our noise ordinance; The proposed use is a church which is listed among the provision of uses requiring Special Land Use review.
No discussion followed.
Motion carried 8-0.
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer
Motion by Markham, seconded by Ruyle:
In the matter of Site Plan 02-42 Seely Sanctuary, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan Woodland Permit, Wetland Permit and Stormwater Management Plan subject to: The Planning Commission finding that the intent of the Woodland Ordinance has been met and no feasible alternatives to preserve additional woodlands are feasible and that tree replacement types and locations will be submitted with Final Site Plan; A Planning Commission waiver to eliminate the wall or berm along the east and the south property lines containing woodlands with the stipulation that additional buffering native evergreen trees be added along those property lines; A Planning Commission waiver to allow a wall in lieu of a berm along the western portion of 13 Mile Road because of the detention basin located there; A Planning Commission waiver of the opposite side driveway spacing standards Ė 360 feet proposed, 400 feet required for the east driveway because it is the maximum distance from New Life and from Fox Run and provides adequate spacing; A Planning Commission waiver of the opposite side driveway spacing standards for the west driveway, 300+/- feet proposed, 400 feet required as the potential for interlock across from Fox Run is small; a ZBA variance for frontyard building setback encroachment as the overhang is the only encroachment and does not add to square footage; a ZBA variance to eliminate wall or berm along the west and south property lines containing wetlands as those wetlands are significant and continuous on abutting properties; a ZBA variance to eliminate the wall or berm along the eastern portion of 13 Mile Road in areas of wetlands and to substitute an ornamental fence in lieu of a screen wall in the wetland and woodland areas in order to preserve additional woodlands and wetlands; The stipulation that the approval of the site plan in no way guarantees approval of an administration building and additional parking at a future time; All subject to the conditions in the Staffís and Consultantsí records, reports and stipulations made by the Petitioner and Planning Commissioners at this meeting.
No discussion followed.
Motion carried 8-0.
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer
2. CONSIDERATION OF 2003-2009 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMS
Chair Nagy called the meeting back to order after a five minute recess. She listed the Capital Improvement Plan Committee members as Louis Csordas and David Landry from City Council; Lowell Sprague and Tim Shroyer from the Planning Commission; Staff Liaisons are Kathy Smith-Roy and Clay Pearson.
Kathy Smith-Roy explained that the initial purpose of the Capital Improvement Programs Committee is to comply with Act 285. The City extended the application of the Capital Improvement Programs document for use as a prioritizing tool at budget time. Member Shroyer explained that the Capital Improvement Programs Committee designed the multi-year plan after prioritizing projects and reviewing past recommendations. The plan itself is funded through Discretionary Funds which at this time has no balance; however, the Capital Improvement Programs is in effect and will be activated upon the allocation of funds. Ms. Smith-Roy also explained that the 10% Fund Balance Minimum is an Administration Policy endorsed by the City Council and is maintained because it helps the Cityís Debt Rating and can be beneficial when unexpected events such as the reduction of state-shared revenue occur. Mr. Fisher explained that there is no statute that requires the financial support of this Fund.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that the Discretionary Fundís use is related to non-bond, non-enterprise, general fund or parks projects. Those offered for consideration are listed on pages 13 and 14 even though the funds are limited this year because the state-shared revenue was reduced. A new budget will be available for review on March 31. Other projects like roadway improvements receive their funds from bond proceeds, gas and weight and municipal street funds. The Capital Improvement Programs Committee did not rank all of these projects as many of them are already programmed; those without asterisks were ranked. The Enterprise Fund covers water and sewer projects and does have funds available. The Committee did not rank these items as the projects are already programmed.
Member Markham opened the discussion with questions about the proposed addition and necessity of six 1.5-million gallon elevated water storage tanks, citing three tanks already in existence. She is concerned that the City will have too many mushroom tanks, and while the Planning Commission reviews every development for their aesthetical contribution to the community she finds it somewhat ridiculous that the City would plan for this many water tanks.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that the Cityís main water feed is at 14 Mile and Haggerty so there are pressure problems in the southwest quadrant of the City. Novi receives no benefit from the 12 Oaks or Expo tanks. The DWSD ten-million gallon tank will assist in creating pressure and its design is an above-ground cylinder not a mushroom. There is also a re-pump underground option but neither of these styles enjoys the benefit of gravity for creating pressure. The Water Master Plan is being finalized at this time and these projects are spread over a warranted time frame. Only projects #48 and #52 are programmed but even so they havenít been finalized or to City Council yet.
Member Markham questioned why the City would eliminate a connection with Northville Township near Eight Mile and Beck Roads. Ms. Smith-Roy stated that even Maybury State Park canít get a reliable connection to the Township without adversely affecting the area residents. She stated that there are three other tap sites to DWSD but all have very low pressure. The DWSD once planned to bring a 72" main out to the Napier Road area some fifteen years ago, but now they estimate it will be another twenty years before this will be done. Ms. Smith-Roy defended the Cityís plan as looking at the big picture.
Member Markham then asked for clarification on the 3.5-million dollar Crescent Road improvement listed in the Plan. Ms. Smith-Roy indicated that the project is in litigation and that listing it is a legal requirement.
Member Paul concurred with Member Markham that she does not support the Planís outline for six water tanks. She questioned whether any money earmarked for these projects could just be shared with Detroit in an effort to extend the water main.
Ms. Smith-Roy then explained to Member Paul that item #51, upgrading a water main from 16" to 24" on Beck Road between Grand River and Eleven Mile will be done concurrently with the Beck Road widening project, #16 on page 6. She also explained that the 2003-04 sanitary relief sewer project for Lannyís Road is not actually on Lannyís Road, rather that sewer districtís name is Lannyís Road, and the work is expected to add capacity west of any 11 Mile and Wixom projects.
Member Paul questioned whether $700,000 for Westmont Village pavement repairs (#13) accurately addresses the needs of that project. Ms. Smith-Roy stated that the figure was preliminary and only an estimate, but it was based on the type of repair, length and width of the road so there is validity to the number. On this particular project the City is working with Mr. Fisherís office to determine how it will be funded.
Member Kocan asked whether the developer is in any way liable for this Westmont Village repair. Mr. Fisher responded that there are three or four complex issues involved that his office is reviewing. Member Kocan called for an overhaul to the system that will hold contractors responsible for repairs necessary on substandard product.
Member Kocan is also concerned about the water tanks and suggested that one or two significant water tanks be used to provide the same service as six smaller tanks. Ms. Roy-Smith stated that all of these projects are still just in the developmental stages right now and that each design and construction phase takes about two years.
Member Kocan discussed how the 2007 repair to Nine Mile (#24) is far more necessary and critical than the 2003 repair to Eleven Mile (#10). Further, the Nine Mile repair needs to address more than just reconstruction at the railroad track.
Member Kocan stated that the Meadowbrook Lake dredging (#62) is necessary now, not 2005. This is a retention and filtering system for the Rouge River and already people can walk across the intake. There will be a big problem in this area once development begins behind Orchard Hills.
Member Kocan closed by suggesting that perhaps the Master Plan and Zoning Committee needs an opportunity for a more extensive review of the Capital Improvement Programs prior to the Planning Commission finalizing their consideration of this Agenda item.
Member Ruyle then asked about the water tank near the post office. Ms. Smith-Roy indicated that the tank is also private, has a low volume and leaks. She explained that the 12 Oaks and Expo water tanks were originally provided for fire protection and that the new 10-million gallon tank will service Novi, Commerce Township, Walled Lake and Wixom. She stated to Member Ruyle that there is no need to enter into private agreements for water tanks in areas where the pressure is good; the problems are really on the west and southwest portions of the City.
Member Ruyle finished by stating that the need for a million-dollar bike path (now under construction between Novi and Meadowbrook Roads along Nine Mile) seems insignificant compared to the need for Nine Mile repair.
Member Papp asked for clarification on Novi Road improvements. Ms. Smith-Roy indicated that five lanes are slated for Novi between Grand River and Ten Mile (tape change) and that work is slated for the Trans-x/Gen-Mar Drive intersection in 2004-05.
Regarding Westmont, Ms. Smith-Roy also explained that the City always takes asphalt and cement samples for any road project in the City. The original Westmont air entrainment sample passed inspection but later samples were taken that indicated the air entrainment was low. The Westmont problem may stem from the fact that standards have improved dramatically since the time of Westmontís development Ė for example, no edge drains were required when Westmont was built.
Chair Nagy stated that the Capital Improvement Programs should be sent to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. She questioned some of the prioritizing of the plan and commented that both necessity and timeliness should be considered. As an example she cited the Beck Road Extension trunk for section 3132, Maybury Park Estates, is prioritized higher than the longstanding problems with the lakes in Village Oaks and Meadowbrook.
(In response to Member Kocanís request that the recording secretary review the tapes for corrections to specific sections of the minutes, the following change has been inserted)
Member Shroyer asked Mr. Fisher if, when the CIP Group reviewed the plan with the knowledge of the areas that were not previously set aside based on road bonds or federal funding, etc., whether the Planning Commission can go back and change the order or the rankings or the recommendations of all the other issues as well?
Mr. Fisher responded that for the Master Plan, to the extent that the Capital Improvement Plan will go into the Master Plan, the answer is yes because that is the Planning Commissionís document. He assumed that under the new statutory scheme the City Council will have some discussion about that. He reiterated that at this point in time the Master Plan is the Planning Commissionís document. He stated that whether or not some other form of a Capital Improvement Priority List is established outside of the Master Plan could be another question but is not sure if thatís even a discussion. He again stated that in terms of what is in the Master Plan, thatís the Planning Commissionís document.
Member Shroyerís concern was the hundred or so items that are listed in the report because only the ones that werenít asterisked in the report were ranked. At that point he didnít feel the Planning Commission had any control over the ones that were asterisked. Member Shroyer asked Mr. Fisher whether he was saying that the Planning Commission does have the ability to re-rank the asterisked items.
Mr. Fisher confirmed that, for purposes of the Master Plan, Yes. (end)
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that the goal was two-fold: to create one Master Plan document and to have it ready for the City Councilís March 31st budget package. This is not a mandate, rather a preference which has not been met in the last two years. Member Shroyer agreed with Chair Nagy that it should go to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for review.
Moved by Member Papp, seconded by Member Kocan:
Motion to table the consideration of the 2003-2009 Capital Improvement Programs plan until such time that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has had a chance to review and comment.DISCUSSION
Member Markham stated that this rushed situation is the same as last year, and at that time the Planning Commission said that it couldnít respond effectively. The plan should be looked at by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. Ms. Smith-Roy stated that the timing of the Capital Improvement Programs discussion at tonightís Planning Commission meeting is the result of full agendas for the previous two Planning Commission meetings.
Motion carried 7-1.
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Shroyer
Member Paul stated that future scheduling problems should be directed to the Chair. In this instance the Planning Commission would
have likely set aside a site plan in order for a more timely Capital Improvement Programs review. Chair Nagy confirmed that the Chair and Mr. Evancoe could figure out agenda issues.
3. PLANNING COMMISSION BUDGET REQUEST FOR FY 2003-2004
(In response to Member Kocanís request that the recording secretary review the tapes for corrections to specific sections of the minutes, the following change has been inserted)
Member Kocan explained that Mr. Evancoe and Clay Pearson met with the Budget Committee which is made up of members Paul, Ruyle and Sprague and Kocan. The cover letter they created itemizes those changes that were made since the Planning Commission saw this document two weeks ago. The first item changed was an increase of $2,000 to the training line to include monies for three Planning Commission members to attend the national conference.
Member Kocan stated that the Budget Committee added language in the narrative section to discuss and to take on the responsibility of things that come up in the Implementation Committee and with the Administrative Liaison Committee to talk about text discrepancies in the Zoning Ordinance and the Site Plan Review Manual. She encouraged the creation of a time table to track the clarifying of text discrepancies and to get that at least on the books though she noted the Committee didnít attach any numbers to that right now. She stated that this document is not only a document that has budget numbers associated with the objectives but it also is an outline or guideline for the Planning Commission to help determine what their projects should be.
With regard to the chart, Member Kocan stated that it was developed by Mr. Evancoe and the Planning Staff and was done to address those items associated with the Master Plan update. The staff looked at who might be able to do the work, when it should be completed, and whether it would be performed in-house or by outside consultants. The budget numbers reflect those decisions. Member Kocan stated that it was not the intent of the Budget Committee to tell the Master Plan Committee what projects and reports need to be done. It is their intent, she said, to table the approval of this document until the Master Plan Committee has had a chance to review it and determine whether all of the studies are covered.
Member Kocan explained that the Emerging Issues line is a catch-all line item thatís used for special or unforeseen projects. The Committee didnít really make the recommendation to move it out of the Planning Commission budget as much as Staff recommended that it be moved into the Planning Department budget to reduce the total amount of money requested for studies. However, Member Kocan stated that it seems the City Council moved it from the Planning Department a year ago and put it into the Planning Commission budget so the Committee feels as though they probably did that for a reason. She reiterated that it was a request from the Planning Department but itís not necessarily a request from the Planning Commission.
Member Kocan continued to list other budget amounts. The Land Use Analysis portion of the Master Plan was budgeted for $20,000 at the request of the Master Plan Committee, and Member Kocan thought that the Master Plan Committee will probably want to look at this again.
Member Kocan stated that last April a $42,100 Growth Management Plan was approved for four studies: The Economic Base Study, the Water/Sewer Master Plan, Transportation/Thorough Plan and Fiscal Analysis. She thought that $10,000 of that will be spent this year, so the Committee carried $32,100 over to this budget.
Member Kocan noted that the budget sheet also included monies for zoning map amendments, memberships and dues, and the $10,000 for the Natural Features, $20,000 for the Land Use. Money was also budgeted for Communications and Liaison, Education and Briefing, Printing and Publishing (which allows for the proper distribution of packets to the Planning Commission and any other site plan work that needs to be done), Conferences and Workshops, $9900. (end)
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Shroyer:
Motion to table the Planning Commission Budget request for FY 2003-04 until such time that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has had a chance to review and comment.
Member Paul commented to Ms. McClain that they would like to have Mr. Coburn continue working with them on the Thoroughfare Plan. She stated that heís worked with them quite a bit, has done really well and is a great addition to the Staff. She suggested that he be one of the main people to coordinate the Thoroughfare Plan so that he can continue to grow. She thought that this would be beneficial for everyone. Ms. McClain responded that Mr. Coburn is the Cityís Roads and Utilities Engineer so he will be quite involved.
Member Paul continued that she wrote a letter to Mr. Evancoe, stating that sheíd like [the letter] to be included when the budget package goes to City Council because she would like to say to the City Council that again, the Planning Commission was under the wire to get this document done. They had requested in November to meet but documents were not prepared for them so now the Planning Commission would formally like to have that done in the future so the City Council understands a little bit where theyíre coming from.
Member Paul also talked to Member Sprague and he really feels that the Emerging Issues line item be added to the Planning Commission budget, making the number $88,691 instead of $78,691. (end)
Chair Nagy asked Mr. Evancoe about the Master Plan and Zoning Committeeís requests for RFPs and RFQs. Mr. Evancoe stated that the timing isnít quite right because there is no funding for the projects at this time. Once there is funding, the scope of the projects can be determined. Chair Nagy thought that there was a budget of $42,100 for the Planning Commissionís use. Mr. Evancoe explained that the $42,100 was for the four components of the Growth Management Plan mandated by the City Council. Chair Nagy stressed that the Planning Commission needs those studies so that they can move the Master Plan forward. Mr. Evancoe agreed that the Master Plan is a priority and that this budget does intend to assist with the coinciding of the Master Plan and Growth Management Plan deliveries. Chair Nagy has previously requested a list of all studies performed (who, when, cost) in the last ten years so that the Planning Commission can reduce the potential for repetition of studies.
Motion carried 8-0.
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer
Chair Nagy thanked the staff and sub-committees for their hard work in preparing and delivering these documents.
Member Ruyle motioned that the meeting not be extended and that remaining Agenda items except audience participation be moved to the next meeting. There was no support.
Member Kocan moved, supported by Member Markham:
Motion to extend the meeting to cover the final items.
No discussion followed.
Motion carried 7-1.
Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Shroyer
4. APPROVAL OF DECEMBER 18, 2002 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Chair Nagy stated that the minutes are not good and Members Kocan and Markham concurred. The Commissioners provided their numerous corrections and chose to wait for the corrected version before voting to approve the minutes. Specifically Member Kocan asked whether any vote was taken on adding a third meeting to months with five Wednesdays because there was a break in the transcript at that point. The other Commissioners said that there was not a vote on the matter.
Mr. Evancoe stated that Jane Schimpf was hired as the new Planning Department steno clerk, and that her experience on the South Lyon Planning Commission and ZBA provides a solid foundation for the position.
5. APPROVAL OF JANUARY 15, 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Chair Nagy stated that because the Planning Commission only received every other page of these minutes this approval will also have to wait for the next meeting.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. HANGING FIRE REPORTS
Member Paul asked what the frequency of the Hanging Fire Report is. Mr. Evancoe explained that this report, along with the ZBA and Planning Commission summaries, will again be included in future Planning Commission packets. He apologized for this oversight.
Member Shroyer commented that the inclusion of Committee meeting synopses would also be beneficial.
2. PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVALS
(Please note that the following Agenda item has been provided here and to City Council in its entirety)
Nagy: The next item is the Preliminary Site Plan Approval, and I think that was Member Papp.
Papp: Iím going to give it a shot. Iíve been on the Commission for not quite a year, and I thought I understood the process and I thought I had a clear understanding of what goes on here, but I donít think I do. A Preliminary Site Plan comes before us, itís given to us on a Friday and we spend the weekend looking at it and we apply the ordinances to the site plan and we help the Petitioner with his designs and suggestions in looking at the ordinances. We then make a motion to approve it and then from what I see is that the Petitioner has the right to go to City Council and make a change to that Preliminary Site Plan or make a special request. We, in the motion, make a comment that the Final Site Plan has to come back to us. When it comes back to us do we have the right to reject it based on the changes that were made at the City Council meeting, or is what City Council says goes?
Nagy: I think that thatís a question for us to address to Mr. Fisher.
Papp: In other words, we say we make a motion and we say that the Final Site Plan comes back to us. In between the Preliminary and the Final they go to City Council and they make changes. Based on the changes, had I known about the changes, I probably wouldnít have approved the Preliminary. Now, when it comes back to us for Final, does this Planning Commission have the right to reject or turn it down?
Fisher: I think that youíd only have the right to reject or turn it down if the changes that were made, if they are made, by the City Council have a bearing on the balance of the Plan as youíve approved it.
Papp: Ordinance related. We enforce the ordinances as Planning Commissioners try to, and City Council can override that and give them a variance?
Fisher: No, City Council doesnít have the right to grant variances, thatís the ZBA.
Papp: Okay, Iím sorry. City Council has the right to override or change the ordinances?
Fisher: Change ordinances. Right.
Papp: Then when it comes back to Final, do we have the right to, once they change the ordinance or change their mind or change the Preliminary Site Plan, do we have the right to say no at the Final if it comes back to us?
Fisher: I think that would depend upon on how, if at all, the action of the Council had a bearing on what you had approved. You have to look at that in the context of what you have before you which would be Final Site Plan.
Nagy: Are you done?
Papp: Yes, Madam. Thankyou. Member Markham?
Markham: I think what Iím understanding Mr. Papp is getting at is that heís a little unhappy with what happened at City Council relative to the Catholic Central proposal, as am I. I am unhappy about what happened because I feel as if we were not dealt with in a forthright manner. If, as was indicated at the City Council meeting, it was always Catholic Centralís intention not to comply with the woodlands ordinance, we should have been told that because we sat right here and I asked the question, "How do you plan to comply with the ordinance?"
"Well, weíre not sure but that gets dealt with at Final." We even made some suggestions as to how they could do that. I left here that night believing that Catholic Central was going to comply with the woodlands permit and the woodlands ordinance as written and we granted a permit based on that. They would come up with a plan to meet that and the very next thing that happened within ten days, they were before City Council asking for the ordinance to be rewritten and very quickly moved through the system. I think that was completely and utterly dishonest on the part of an organization that has stood before us for months saying that they want to be part of our community. I think our City staff let us down. I think that we were misled. I do believe that if everybody had been honest with us we would have worked with Catholic Central to come up with some reasonable approach, whether it was a Development Agreement or some sort of waiver plan or whatever. To stand here and tell us, and everybody in the room evidently except the nine of us, knew that they never really intended to comply with that. I think that was completely and utterly wrong. I also think that as a corollary to this, that designing an ordinance around a specific site is never a good idea. In my experience all that buys us is trouble. I was a little uncomfortable looking at the Seely proposal and their woodlands issues after knowing that this happened. It just rang a little bell in my head like, oh my gosh, and then we heard their representative here tonight say, "Well, I just heard about the waiver."
To me, it was a big mistake to take that approach. I think Catholic Central had specific reasons. We should have been able to work with them and I think that we were treated badly. I really do. Thatís all Iíll say.
Fisher: Madam Chair may I address one point?
Nagy: Yes Mr. Fisher.
Fisher: Thank you. I think that the statement just made is laboring under a misconception. Itís a misstatement. That is the presumption, that statement was, that Catholic Central knew when they were before you that they did not intend to abide by the ordinance. Now Iím not here to take their side, but I do know that before the Planning Commission meeting I asked them what their intentions were with regard to the ordinance because I wanted to know. They said they didnít know. When I spoke to them even after the meeting they said they didnít know what they were going to do. They were looking at various alternatives. So I donít think that anybody was lying or here saying that they were going to do something when they knew they were going to do something else. I think thatís an important factor that is out there. The other important thing is that I donít think that anybody on staff, Mr. Evancoe or Barb McBeth or anybody else was aware that, at least directly aware behind the scenes, of any of this issue other than from Mr. Ryan and the other gentlemen in their representation, Father Elmer, who were here, saying that they had a big problem with the tree replacement issue.
Nagy: Excuse me. Member Kocan, go ahead.
Kocan: I donít want to get into an argument, but with all due respect Mr. Ryan is on the record as stating that he had been in discussion that had been taking place with the City of Novi since Fall of last year. That says to me that whoever knew about it in the City had a responsibility to share that information with us. As a matter of fact, I donít think it was the night of the meeting. I believe it was Mr. Schultz who stated that yes, he knew there was something in the works, something was being proposed but it wasnít finalized. We still deserve to have that information. Our charge as a Planning Commission is to hold public hearings and to grant special land use as well. As well as a woodlands permit for Catholic Central. Our ordinance states that everything thatís going to happen should be stated at this meeting. Itís part of 2516.e. It says the plan shall remain unchanged except upon mutual consent of the approving body and the landowner. We are the approving body of Catholic Centralís site plan, having issued the special land use. You can not appeal a special land use with the City Council in the City of Novi. I am greatly disappointed with the petitioner, with the, if itís the upper administrative staff, and I believe that the City Attorney knew that there was a possibility that there would be an ordinance change. We deserved to be told that they had no intent of replacing the woodland trees at the tune of 3,000 trees.
(Mumbled (Nagy?) voice: or 990Ö)
Kocan: The public hearing is the venue for all discussion to take place. Where thereís Planning Commission variances required we discuss them at this table, they are brought forward. They are noted for the record. Where there are City Council or ZBA variances or waivers required, they are also discussed, noted for the record, even though we have no control over the decision of either of those Boards. We just make a recommendation. We know that theyíre going to go to a higher body than us for a variance or a waiver. If in fact the onus of this lies just with the petitioner, shame on him because from now on we have to approach every developer as not being forthright with us. It has been a breach of confidence as far as Iím concerned. I feel that the mutual respect and trust that staff should have with the Planning Commission as well with being honest with the residents of Novi has certainly been diminished and I would hopeÖ (end of tape)
Ruyle: Öas the saying goes if it swims like a duck it must be a duck or if it smells like a duck it must be a duck. Iím a long time resident of this City. Mr. Fisher this is by no reflection upon you or your firm. Most of the stuff that took place in this City took place before you were hired as our consultant lawyer. But under the old Administration, and Iím not talking about the elected officials Iím talking about the governing Administration such as City Managers, etc, things used to get done in this City behind closed doors. Things were agreed to behind closed doors then brought to the governing bodies of the City and said okay, itís already here, vote on it, do it. We were told that when we got the new City management team that this wouldnít happen again. It would be in a City that would be above board and open. I do feel that you and your firm, even though you didnít make that statement, are the keeper of that statement. And if you did know about it back in last September, or if somebody on the City Admin-istration and Iím not saying Mr. Evancoe because I know he didnít, it should have been brought to this body. This body is a very important body to this City. If we are not charged to uphold the ordinances, which I know we are, then why do we function? Because the State statute says we have to have a Planning Commission? Thatís not fair. What Iím saying is, once bitten, twice shy. I know a lot of clichťs that Iím using but it means a lot. I sure donít want to be bit on the second time around. I donít think thereís a person on this Commission that wants to be bitten on the second time around. Iím putting it on record that somebody, and the buckís got to stop at the top in the City Administration, not the elected official, can not do this again. Thank you Madam Chair.
Fisher: Yes, thank you. And Iím not going to belabor this, Iím just going to tell you that, once again, there was nothing that either Mr. Helwig or Mr. Pearson or anybody else knew before that meeting in terms of what Catholic Central was going to do. They, we had discussions of alternatives that they might be able to explore and as I indicated before the meeting, I asked them before the meeting if there was anything that I could report to the Planning Commission in terms of what they were going to do and they said no. There was nothing that we could tell you was going to happen. As far as I know they didnít even make the decision of what they were going to do until afterward. There was nothing to report.
Nagy: Thank you. Member Paul?
Paul: This is a hot topic, and I just want to go into a few points. Many people in the public do not understand the function of this body, the Planning Commission. We as nine volunteers read and prepare for each meeting. Preparation for each meeting varies depending on the site plans that are presented in a meeting. Average preparation is ten hours, but may range from five to fifteen hours. The Planning Commission meetings run from 7:30 until whenever. The meetings are held twice a month. We also have two to three subcommittees we sit on each that also require meetings and preparation. This averages about forty hours per volunteer on this board.
Paul: Unpaid volunteers. Per month, exactly. As citizens in this community frequently ask, "Why do you sit on the Planning Commission?" Thatís a darn good question. There are many reasons for each of us, but there is one common thread between all nine of us. We have been given talents and energy that we want to share with our City to make this a better place. We must take facts, figures, blueprints, letters and apply them as lay people to our City ordinances and bring a good development to the City. We trust and hope that we are guided in the information that is presented to make a good discussion. Facts are the biggest part of this decision making process but often as humansí feelings play a part of this discussion. During our meeting with Catholic Central we had a Catholic priest shaking his head yes when Commissioners said he could tear down a woodland and put up a field as long as he replaced the 3,000 trees worth one million dollars. The lawyer sitting at this table gave a statement, "As part of your motion, include they need to follow the ordinance." They also agreed to that comment. These are facts. These are our laws. This is the truth. The feelings of all the Planning Commissioners was the developer and our lawyer and their lawyer were telling us the truth. I had many conversations with citizens of where to put these trees. They were so excited that 3,000 trees were going to come into our City because we are so unfortunately void of some of the trees we need in this area. With Ash and Elm disease going rampant through our City they had many street trees to be placed. Many other areas in the parks that were going to be placed. Everyone was excited about 3,000 trees. No one cared about the time frame of when they would be brought forward or who put the trees in as long as they were put in. Our City represents itself as a Tree City. If truly this is what and who we say we are, then the placement of 3,000 trees needs to be placed in the City of Novi by this developer. This is my feeling. This is also our law. We took valuable land off of our City books, as land that would generate tax dollars. We will also have traffic and parking issues with this site. Lighting and noise will also affect our residents in this area. We asked for the developer to follow the woodland ordinance that is in our laws. When we alter or change our laws we open ourselves for future lawsuits. This City knows how that feels as Council and Administration have worked so diligently to tackle the Sandstone litigation and they did so successfully. Why would we ever want to open ourselves up to another lawsuit? I have to just ask some very legal questions. I donít understand how we can look at this site again when it comes back to us at Final Site Plan with a clear mind and we have to look at and take all the information in and look at this and make responsible decisions. I would like to know if we are supposed to, in 2516 of our ordinance, letter (e), "Any conditions imposed shall be recorded in the record of approval of a site plan and shall remain unchanged except upon mutual consent of the approving body and the landowner." How can we look at that and say that we knew about all the conditions? Do you have an answer for me Mr. Fisher because Iíd really like to have an understanding of that one item. How did we know all of the conditions if our developer thatís coming before us does not include that as part of the conditions?
Fisher: I guess I donít understand the question exactly.
Paul: Do you have your ordinance book with you? Does anyone have an ordinance book over there?
Fisher: The Zoning Ordinance?
Paul: Yes. Turn to page 3345. Under the Zoning Ordinance, 2516, letter (e): "Any conditions imposed shall be recorded in the record of approval of a site plan and shall remain unchanged except upon mutual consent of the approving body", which is us, "Öand the landowner." How can we say that was met?
Fisher: You mean if thereís been a change in the law?
Paul: No, a change in the site plan. Weíre supposed to have all the conditionsÖ
Nagy: In order to, excuse me if I may interjectÖ
Paul: Go right ahead.
Nagy: If you look at item (c) on 3344 where it says, "When the site plan proposes the principle use permitted subject to special conditions or any other special land use." And you look all the way and you follow that whole ordinance section on site plan review, you come to letter (e). I think the Commissioner is asking how does this ordinance, letter (e), apply when we are approving a Preliminary Site Plan because with the approval of that Preliminary Site Plan and then in aftermath there was a change, or thereís a proposed ordinance change. Sheís saying how can we have approved this when, now the ordinance is proposed to be changedÖ after the factÖ after the Preliminary Site Plan was approved?
Fisher: Obviously, yes, this is something that may need to think through but the site plan is not going to change.
Nagy: But wait wait wait. It does. The woodland permit would change.
Fisher: The woodland permit, but thatís under a separate ordinance.
Paul: But it applies to the site plan.
Fisher: Pardon me?
Paul: It applies to the site plan.
Fisher: Well, no, I donít think there will be any change in the site plan.
Nagy: Youíre saying, okay, what youíre saying is, that because the woodland ordinance is applied to the woodlands we gave the permit based upon the woodland ordinance. Itís not based upon the special land use or permitted use or whatever is in this ordinance.
Fisher: Right and the number of trees that would be planted on the site and all the other improvements that would be made on the site would be in conformance with the site plan that you approved. The only issue is whether or not they paid money into a fund.
Nagy: Iím not going to ardentlyÖ
Fisher: Well as I say itís something you have to think through but thatís my seat of the pants reaction.
Nagy: Yeah, I know itís not the time to do it right now. Think it through.
Paul: Iíd like the floor back for a moment. I understand your comment. I still think thereís a lot of room for wiggle there and I donít think it really is truthful so weíll just go from there. In closing, I would formally request that these minutes be enclosed with the Catholic Central proposal to change the woodlands ordinance at the Council table. All of our comments. Secondly, Iíd like to mention the City of Noviís charter, Page 1, Sentence 1: "Preamble. We the people of the City of Novi, asking the blessings of almighty God and by virtue of authority granted by the Constitution and by Public Act 279 by laws pertaining to home rule cities of the State of Michigan, do hereby ordain and establish this rule charter for the City of Novi, Michigan." And I truly am labeled the treehugger. And I take that. Itís not a problem. But, I do take our laws very very very seriously. Thatís what we were charged to do. What happens at the Council table, we canít really control. But, why would an ordinance jump straight to City Council and be changed with one meeting and not come back through the Ordinance Committee, through Implementation, back to this body, and back up to City Council? It does not make sense. So if thereís a special agreement that Catholic Central is looking to work out with City Council thatís City Councilís purview. But, Father Elmer made mention that he spoke with Dr. Lippe. On the record, I spoke with Dr. Lippe. He said the idea was, that he was going to use Catholic Central as an educational facility for the wetlands and when I spoke with Dr. Lippe he said he has really no use for that because it was put in the RUD in Island Lakes and thatís the site that they would probably use. So, if thatís one of the things that is being used at City Council I just wanted to bring that to light. And I thank you.
Nagy: I can make a couple of comments. I appreciate the position that youíre in, Mr. Fisher, because I think that maybe some of the comments that weíve made I donít think you accept. I understand that. I think the disappointment for me lies not with the staff. I donít think that our staff has done anything. Mr. Evancoe, our staff, I think we have a fine staff in our Planning Department. My issue isnít necessarily with you either. My issue is the fact that I watched the City Council meeting and one of the City Council members asked Catholic Centralís attorney to list the events and the events were back in September, back in the Fall of last year, they had talked to members of the Administration, whom Mr. Thomas Ryan named, and there was knowledge that this is not something that they were necessarily going to do because it might be a hardship on them to either give the City of Novi, at the last count, 2,904 trees, or an approximate monetary value of $990,000. Thatís what I recall from the meeting. I think the issue that the Commission has is that they work very hard and they are always calling the staff and making sure theyíre getting the information, asking questions before so you know, nobody is blindsided with some ridiculous question we may have. It does not seem like a very good way of communicating. I think theyíre very disappointed in that and quite frankly so are residents of this City. Iíve received several calls from residents of the City who happened to watch the City Council meeting and who happened to flip through it at one point or another regarding Catholic Central. I think no one on the Commission is opposed to Catholic Central coming in. I think, I imagine in the future it will be a fine community, rather a good neighbor. I think we also have to remember not everyoneís child will be going to Catholic Central. We have a very fine school system here in Novi. The concern that the residents had is the fact of the trees. We have this Ash Borer disease within the City. I can count 150 trees in a half of mile of my area and theyíre looking for the amenities. And I think a lot of residents that called me, in excess of 27, are disappointed. They are afraid that we are not going to get what they think is due. I think the Commission this evening demonstrated the fact it is going to be, every time we have a site plan wherein we grant a woodland permit, are we going to have to make, or rather are we going to have to ask the applicant to comply verbally at the podium so that we can grant the permit? You know, that theyíre not going to do something else. I think it would be very disappointing if that did happen because, as we look at this Capital Improvements Plan, we have an awful lot of infrastructure thatís needed and one of them is trees. I think that one of the things I look at is in terms of other cities, is the amenities that some developers bring into certain cities. Namely one that is very close to us is Meijerís in Wixom. I think they got a million dollars worth of amenities from that developer. It seems oftentimes to many residents that I have spoken to within the City, that we as residents are giving the amenities to the developers. That doesnít mean that we do not like developers because we want to have a partnership. Thatís what itís all about. A partnership. Because all of us should be here to do what is necessary for the best interest of the City. I think in a way, whether you may agree or not, that best interest somehow got sidetracked. I think that itís very difficult for some people to accept that. I would hope that in the future that this doesnít happen and that we can go on to do good projects, good development. I think we have a lot of fine people in the City. An awful lot of them happen to be in the Planning Department. I just want the staff to understand, too, that I donít think any of the Commissioners are in any way referring to our Planning Director or any member of the staff in the Planning Department. Thatís all I have to say.
Member Ruyle indicated that he will be in surgery on March 26th. Chair Nagy excused him from the next meeting and wished him well.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Paul:
Motion to adjourn the meeting.
Motion carried 8-0. ______________________________
Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant
Transcribed by Jane Schimpf
Date Approved: April 16, 2003