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View Action Summary for this meeting

Amended Copy
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2003, 7:30 P.M.
NOVI, MI 48375 (248) 347-0475


The meeting was called to order at or about 7:30 p.m.


Present: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Sprague

Absent: Shroyer

Staff: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Barb McBeth, Planner; Darcy Schmitt, Planner; Mike McGinnis, Landscape Architect; Brian Coburn, Engineer; Elaine Grehl, Woodlands Consultant

Also Present: Tom Schultz, Attorney; Don Tilton, Landscape;


Member Ruyle led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.


Moved by Ruyle, seconded by Papp:

Motion to approve the Agenda.

Motion carried 9-0.



No one from the audience wished to speak.


Member Kocan discussed two letters that will be placed in City Council’s packet. She requested that Ms. McBeth copy the letters for the Planning Department as well.

The first letter was from the Implementation Committee Chair. It states that other than Ordinances sent from City Council, it is the Planning Commission’s policy that any Ordinance to be reviewed or revised must be discussed and voted upon by the Planning Commission as a whole before it is sent to the Implementation Committee. Details of the most recent assignments and those scheduled for review were attached. Most completed assignments were the result of a directive from the Special Work and Study Session held on April 17, 2002. The Implementation Committee will continue to work on the scheduled items unless City Council requests otherwise.

The second letter was submitted by Members Kocan and Papp regarding the Woodlands Review Board Ordinance. It addresses Craig Klaver’s proposed changes to the Ordinance and offered the following suggestions:

  1. The Planning Commission agrees that the notification zone should be changed to properties within 300 feet.
  2. The Planning Commission would like to continue being represented on the Board.
  3. The Ordinance does not specify that the City Forester and a Building Official will be included for discussion purposes.
  4. The Planning Commission would support the Three-resident Board provided that one member is a Planning Commissioner.
  5. The inclusion of the City Forester and a Planning Commissioner would bring expertise and consistency to the table, and their ability to answer potential questions about the City’s Wetland and Woodland Ordinances is a great advantage.


There were no communications or reports.


Mr. Evancoe announced the following:

  1. The City has paid for a registration to a Planning Basics Workshop in Pontiac on Saturday May 3, 2003 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.. Any Planning Commissioner interested in attending should speak with Mr. Evancoe.
  2. The Planning Staff attended a Planning Session hosted by SEMCOG and Urban Land Institute today. The topic was "Developing Win/Win Partnerships between Developers and Government" and was an excellent presentation. Examples of residential, commercial and park developments from Livonia, Southfield and Monroe were cited.
  3. On Friday, April 18, 2003 Mr. Evancoe will represent the City on a Panel that provides input to Governor Granholm’s Land Use Leadership Council.


There was no Consent Agenda tonight.

Chair Nagy held a moment of silence to honor our troops prior to the Public Hearing portion of the meeting.



The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Bennett Donaldson of J. B. Donaldson Company for approval of a Preliminary/Final Site Plan, and Special Land Use Permit. The subject property is located in Section 26 north of Nine Mile Road between Meadowbrook and Novi Roads in the I-1 (Light Industrial) District. The developer is proposing a change to a previously approved site plan. The subject property is 1.316 acres.

Mr. Schmitt stated that this request is a simple change to a parking lot previously approved by the Planning Commission on November 20, 2002 subject to a new sound analysis (excellent report subsequently provided) and a ZBA variance (4.91 feet variance granted January 7, 2003) for the deficient setback on the south property line. The Landscape review indicated no substantial changes; two minor comments will be addressed prior to the stamping set. Traffic and Engineer reports noted minor comments as well. The Façade Review confirmed that the addition of an overhead door did not adversely affect the building’s compliance with the Ordinance. The Fire Department had no comment.

Mr. Schmitt described the property on Venture Drive and 9 Mile, with the CSX railroad tracks to the south. The site is zoned and Master Planned for Light Industrial as is the whole park; residential is to the east. The previous parking lot plan called for 17 spaces. The new plan provides an overhead door that allows flow-through truck traffic. A door was added for employee entrance from the southern lot. Seven parking spaces were removed with these two changes.

Bennett Donaldson addressed the Planning Commission to explain that the change accommodates the trucks who pull in to unload deliveries of furniture.

Member Kocan stated the Planning Commission received letters from both Ron Salow and Elaine Salow of 22844 Balcombe Drive, Novi, in support of the new plan.

Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing. Attorney Tom Schultz explained that the inclusion of the Special Land Use recommendation is a reminder to the Planning Commission about the petitioner’s current Special Land User status.

Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Markham:

In the matter of Ventura Drive’s Spec Building, SP 99-53, motion to grant approval for the Preliminary and Final Site Plan, Special Land Use Permit with the following condition: Subject to comments on the attached review letters being addressed on the Final Stamping Sets.

Member Ruyle indicated that the other comments have been discussed and approved, and this motion is made upon the advice of the City Attorney to bring it into compliance.


Member Kocan asked whether considerable landscaping is being added to conceal the overhead door. Landscape Architect Mike McGinnis stated that in his letter he requested the Petitioner to add more landscaping to and lengthen the front berm around the existing catch basin toward the drive but not all the way to the transformer. He did not ask for additional landscaping along the property line. Member Kocan asked that additional pine trees be added to screen the look from Sunglo to the north. She noted that doors that open toward another development should be screened. Mr. Evancoe confirmed that her request was for additional pine trees to be added to the south property line – the parking line that goes directly south from the loading door. Mr. McGinnis explained that the existing arbor vitae row will be extended toward the road.

Mr. Donaldson stepped forward and asked Member Kocan how many arbor vitae she wanted added. She responded that he should provide a number that Mr. McGinnis would find adequate. Chair Nagy confirmed with Mr. Schultz that the berming requirement of 2509 dictates that when two adjoining properties are developed simultaneously (there is a new development going in next to this property) the first to develop is responsible for the screening.

Requested by Member Kocan, moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Markham:

In the matter of Ventura Drive’s Spec Building, SP 99-53, motion to amend the motion to grant approval for the Preliminary and Final Site Plan, Special Land Use Permit with the following conditions: Subject to comments on the attached review letters being addressed on the Final Stamping Sets; the Petitioner will provide additional arbor vitae just south of the loading door as deemed appropriate by the Landscape Architect.


Member Paul asked the Planning Staff if they try to coordinate the flow of landscaping between adjoining properties, especially in a case like this where a variance has been issued to address setback shortcomings. Mr. McGinnis responded that issues like this are reviewed on adjoining property lines, and in this instance the arbor vitae will provide a nice flow to the adjacent parcel. Mr. Schmitt stated that no plans have been submitted at this time on the neighboring parcel.

Motion carried 8-0.

Chair Nagy announced to the Planning Commission audience that a new rule has been enacted that requires all attendees to turn the ringers off on their pagers and cell phones.


The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Schonsheck Incorporated for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan, Woodland Permit, and Wetland Permit. The subject property is located in Section 12 between Haggerty Road and Cabot Drive and south of Thirteen Mile Road and north of Lewis Drive. The developer proposes a 2-story office building (81,206 sq ft) in the OST (Office Service Technology) District. The subject property is 9.67 acres.

Planner Darcy Schmitt explained that this project came before the Planning Commission on January 23, 2002 and received approval on their Preliminary Site Plan, Woodland Permit and a Wetland Permit, as well a Waiver for the OST berm wall requirement. This plan was modified and tonight the Petitioner is resubmitting for another Preliminary Site Plan approval; the Final Site Plan approval will come after comments from the review letters have been addressed. The proposed building will house 100% office and is speculative at this time.

Ridgeview Centre (to the north) recently received its Preliminary Site Plan approval, and Eberspacher Research Center (to the south) has been developed. The property and north, south and west surroundings are zoned and Master Planned for OST. To the east lies single-family residential in Farmington Hills. Entrance onto this property is from Haggerty and also via a shared driveway with Eberspacher from Cabot Drive.

The Planning review indicates the site plan meets Ordinance requirements and there are just minor comments to address. The Wetland review is satisfactory. There are no regulated Woodlands on the site, but the Petitioner has indicated he will save the few trees that are on the property. The Landscape Review indicates that a Planning Commission finding is required to determine whether additional screening is needed to the north; other comments will be addressed prior to Final Site Plan. The Traffic Engineer’s review also indicates that the Planning Commission will have to address an additional access point to the north; other minor items can be addressed at Final Site Plan. The Engineer Review indicates the plan meets the intent of the Ordinance but there are issues that will need to be addressed at Final Site Plan. The Fire Department found that the plan meets the requirements of the Ordinance. The Façade Review is also favorable. Ms. Schmitt displayed the façade board for the Planning Commission’s review.

Engineer Brian Coburn explained that his Preliminary Site Plan review determined the feasibility of the engineering design, but there are issues that must be addressed before the plan can receive its Final Site Plan approval. While the review letter looks lengthy, it is typical of a Final Site Plan review. Mr. Coburn discussed the issues with the Petitioner’s engineer earlier in the day, and they have agreed to comply with the City’s requirements.

Mr. Tom Reader, an architect from the Leedy Design Group, addressed the Planning Commission and stated that the Petitioner is prepared to comply with all the requirements, even the additional landscaping. He asked for clarification on the request for northern access; Chair Nagy confirmed for him that it is a request to work with his neighbor in developing a shared access. He indicated that the Petitioner has placed calls to the neighbor but none have been returned.

No one from the public wished to speak and no correspondence was received. Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.

Mr. McGinnis stated that his comment on the additional loading zone screening was prompted by the January 23, 2002 Planning Commission meeting wherein the request was first made. However, the loading area has shifted from the north to the west end of the building and there exists substantial screening now. He suggested that the Petitioner provide a little diversity in his landscape to satisfy the requirements. Mr. McGinnis explained to Member Paul that the existing evergreens are adequate but diversity would be better. The Petitioner is willing to make this change to the north property line, screen the transformer, and comply with the other landscape comments.

Member Paul supported the project and gave her nod for Preliminary Site Plan approval since the Petitioner has agreed to comply with the landscape requirements and is attempting to work on the north access route.

Member Kocan asked whether the open area is reserved for another building (similar to the original plan which showed two buildings) or a conservancy area. Mr. Reader stated the Petitioner is keeping his options open, but he would like to develop the property in the future.

Member Avdoulos confirmed that presently there is no tenant signed for the building. Since the site only requires 318 parking spaces but 368 have been provided, Mr. Avdoulos asked whether the additional 50 spaces can be landbanked until needed. Mr. Reader agreed to reduce the parking area; he was not aware that the parking plan was that excessive. Ms. Schmitt explained that the parking ratio is 100% accurate for an office-only building, since only the gross leasable area can be used in calculations (common areas are not used). Mr. Reader also explained to Member Avdoulos that the open area is no longer wetlands. The decision to go from two buildings to one was an economic decision to build more office and no warehouse space.

Member Sprague asked how, when and who decides that future Ridgeview/Millennium access road. Mr. Coburn explained that the point of access is already determined on the Ridgeview Plan and that the Engineering Department will work with this Petitioner to line his plan up with Ridgeview. Additionally, since the City is only requesting a Preliminary Site Plan approval tonight, the "when" will be part of the Final Site Plan process. He suggested that the Planning Commission make the stub street a condition of the approval.

Mr. Papp confirmed with Mr. Coburn that contact has been made between the City and Ridgeview about the shared access, and that the City will look into working with both developers on this design. Mr. Coburn explained to Chair Nagy that Mr. Arroyo’s traffic design lined Millennium’s drive up to Ridgeview’s.

Moved by Member Paul, seconded by Member Ruyle:

In the matter of Millennium Technology Center, Site Plan 03-08, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) The comments of the attached review letters being addressed at Final Site Plan approval; 2) Reasons for the number of parking spaces are in accordance with 2505.14.d.2 due to the site being an office use and not warehouse and due to the fact that the Applicant is meeting all of our Landscape Architect’s requirements; 3) The access drive will be added to the site plan at Final Site Plan approval; and 4) The 50 parking spaces will be land-banked at Final Site Plan approval.


Attorney Schultz added to the discussion that previously there were two granted permits for Wetlands and Woodlands and that the motion should reference their existence. Additionally, the motion should also reflect that the applicant has proposed and agreed to the shared drive.

Moved by Member Paul, seconded by Member Ruyle:

In the matter of Millennium Technology Center, Site Plan 03-08, motion to amend the motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) The comments of the attached review letters being addressed at Final Site Plan approval; 2) Reasons for the number of parking spaces are in accordance with 2505.14.d.2 due to the site being an office use and not warehouse and due to the fact that the Applicant is meeting all of our Landscape Architect’s requirements; 3) The access drive will be added to the site plan at Final Site Plan approval; 4) The 50 parking spaces will be land-banked at Final Site Plan approval; 5) Wetlands and Woodlands Permits have previously been granted and remain in effect; and 6) Applicant has agreed to put in the access with Ridgeview and has made attempts with the Applicant to the north.


Mr. Coburn also requested that the motion reflect approval for the Storm Water Management plan.

Moved by Member Paul, seconded by Member Ruyle:

In the matter of Millennium Technology Center, Site Plan 03-08, motion to amend the amended motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan and Storm Water Management Plan subject to: 1) The comments of the attached review letters being addressed at Final Site Plan approval; 2) Reasons for the number of parking spaces are in accordance with 2505.14.d.2 due to the site being an office use and not warehouse and due to the fact that the Applicant is meeting all of our Landscape Architect’s requirements; 3) The access drive will be added to the site plan at Final Site Plan approval; 4) The 50 parking spaces will be land-banked at Final Site Plan approval; 5) Wetlands and Woodlands Permits have previously been granted and remain in effect; and 6) Applicant has agreed to put in the access with Ridgeview and has made attempts with the Applicant to the north.

Motion carried 8-0.

Chair Nagy called for a five-minute break.


The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Ken Albers of Diversified Land Development, LLC for approval of a Woodland Permit and a recommendation to City Council for a Preliminary Site Plan with a PD-1 (Planned Development) Option, and Wetland Permit. The subject property is located in Section 10, on the south side of 12 ½ Mile Rd, west of Novi Road in the RM-1 (Low Density, Low Rise Multiple Family) District. The subject property is 4.633 acres. The developer is proposing residential condominium buildings.

Planner Barb McBeth described the property on the south side of 12 ½ Mile Road and west of Novi Road. The property currently has two single family homes and associated outbuildings. To the north is vacant land, to the east and south is also vacant land that has been approved for a Society Hill development of 301 apartments but is not under construction. The west is the 180-unit Carlton Forest Condominium project which is currently under construction. This parcel is Master Planned for Multiple Family with the PD-1 Planned Development an option. The surrounding east, south and west parcels have the same designation. They are all currently zoned RM-1, low density multiple family residential. The Master Plan recommends single family residential to the north, and is currently zoned R-A (Residential Acreage).

The proposed plan will eliminate the existing homes and outbuildings and provide for 28 units in five three-story buildings; each unit would have an attached garage. Also proposed are two access points from 12 ½ Mile, the east access designed with a boulevard. Both will be gated. The Planning Review was done under the PD-1 Option and requires the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the City Council for approval or denial.

Ms. McBeth noted the following Planning deficiencies with the proposed plan:

  • ZBA Variance for north property line. 75 feet required, 50 ft proposed.
  • ZBA Variance for parking space setbacks needed in the setback along the north property line.
  • ZBA Variance for deficient space between driveways and buildings where doors and windows exist. 25 feet required, 20-23 feet provided on various buildings.
  • ZBA Variance for excess pavement in east side setback. 30% hard surface allowed, 37% proposed.
  • ZBA Variance for Exterior Lighting Ordinance Standards. 4:1 ratio (average) for minimum light levels, 7.21:1 provided. Applicant can modify plan in absence of a Variance.
  • Planning Commission Modification for the south building. 45-degree angle to the property line is required, 18-degree angle proposed. The Planning Commission can approve this deficiency based on unusual lot shape or location of property.
  • ZBA Variance or deferral until Final Site Plan for a complete Noise Analysis.

The Wetlands Review did not recommend approval because the proposed plan impacts more wetlands and possibly buffer than necessary. The Woodlands and Landscaping reviews were favorable, with comments to be addressed at time of Final Site Plan review.

The Traffic Consultant had a number of concerns regarding the northeast entrance. Several considerations by the City Council would be necessary, or the Applicant can revise their plans. They are:

  • The sidewalk is typically placed within the future ROW line (at 43 feet). The proposed plan places it within the existing statutory ROW line at 33 feet. City Council could consider a Waiver of that requirement.
  • A City Council Waiver is necessary for both entrances’ boulevard islands. 30 feet with a minimum of 200 square foot area is required, 20 feet is provided.
  • A City Council Waiver is necessary for the width of the entrances. 22 feet is required, 20 feet is provided.

The Engineering Review recommends approval of the Storm Water Management Plan, and offered some comments that can be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan review.

The Fire Marshall’s Review indicated that a City Council Waiver is necessary for the Fire Prevention and Protection Chapter to allow the installation of the access-control gates at both driveways.

The Façade Review indicated that the elevations meet the intent of the Ordinance.

Mr. Ken Albers and his wife Charmaine are the owner-applicants of Charneth Fen. They have lived on the site since 1976. The size and shape of the property are unique, which makes the number of variances and waivers necessary in order to have an economically viable property. Mr. Albers noted that many constraints have been placed on the site since his taking ownership of it. He believes that his Preliminary Site Plan meets the intent of the PD-1 zoning district. Mr. Albers noted that neither the eastern portion of the site or the area in front of the Wetland Area A provided animal habitat protection because they are bare. The proposed plan enhances the area in front of Wetland Area A to allow for animal traversing between sites and nesting protection in the wetland area for migratory birds. The Landscape plan indicates that the u-shaped site will actually show a net gain of trees after development. Mr. Albers noted that if the surrounding properties were already built the need for such large setbacks, open space wouldn’t exist.

Mr. Matt Niles of Wah Yee Associates Architects addressed the Planning Commission to explain the project. He asked them to consider that the Ordinance’s density calculations allow for 25% building area on the site. With this proposal buildings only occupy 13%. Further, the Ordinance allows for 244 rooms on the site; the proposal provides for 122. Finally, the PD-1 allows for 5% efficiencies, 20% one-bedrooms, etc, for a site total of 34 units. 28 have been proposed.

Mr. Niles asked the Planning Commission to consider why this plan, which proposes a smaller density than the Ordinance allows, would require so many variances and waivers. He suggested that perhaps the Ordinance is more applicable to the larger developments like the ones surrounding the property. He also stated that those developments also required some of the same variances and waivers that this plan requires. For this 280-foot wide property, designing a plan that provides the 75 foot setbacks while leaving the wetlands undisturbed would be quite a task. Mr. Niles believes that the proposed plan meets the spirit of the PD-1 Option: The earth-tone buildings work with the sloping terrain, they’ve been moved as far north as possible to leave the Wetlands undisturbed and the buffer will be replanted and enhanced with additional trees. He commented that the property could be developed with 101 efficiency or 34 mixed sized apartments. He asked that Planning Commission consider this 28-unit plan in context with the surrounding properties’ plans.

Mr. Cliff Seiber of Seiber, Keast and Associates stood before the Planning Commission and offered comments on the property. He commented that the Engineer’s request for the sidewalk’s placement is determined by the future ROW; the City’s Ordinance 8.c requires its placement to be determined by the existing ROW.

Mr. Seiber stated that the 20-foot islands provide for turn-arounds when guests can’t get access via the speaker box. Also, the islands are set back 12 feet from the road in the current design but could be moved to within 6 feet from the road travel section according to the Ordinance, which would add an additional 6 feet to their length.

Finally, Mr. Seiber explained that the 20-foot wide boulevard (versus 22-foot required) is consistent with the Fire Marshall’s and the Traffic Engineer’s approved 20-foot wide one-way drive at the south end of the property. 22 Feet can be provided if the Planning Commission finds it necessary, but Mr. Seiber cautioned that the 20 feet works better with the gated entry.

Chair Nagy asked whether anyone from the public wished to speak. Mr. Andrew Mutch, 24541 Hampton Court, Novi, came forward and stated that in the past when he was on the Planning Commission he worked on reducing the impact to the Wetlands and Woodlands on the properties east and west of this property. He stated that the variances required for those sites were to reduce the impact of the development to the properties, not to allow the sites to be overdeveloped.

Mr. Mutch also stated that the Developer should demonstrate that it requires this much development in order to make this site economically viable. He suggested that the developer consider some of the alternative uses for this property to determine whether any other acceptable use such as a daycare would be economically viable.

Mr. Mutch stated that the PD-1 Option is available to assist Developers in maintaining more of the natural features of a site. He believes that in this case the Developer has not met the intent of the PD-1 option. Mr. Mutch would like to see the Developer consider other forms of development, like the R-T Option, so that the impact to the site is reduced.

Member Kocan stated that the Planning Commission received the following letters:


Ken and Charmaine Albers wrote that the development is well-planned, properly zoned and compatible with the surrounding developments.

Thomas and Noreen Perkins, 24407 Bashian Drive, wrote that the aesthetics will help generate more business in the area.

Doug and Penny Thomas, 42583 Whitman Way, wrote that the development would be a big improvement to 12 ½ Mile.

Gene Aldrich, 23632 Greening Drive, wrote that new construction brings new business and the value of properties increase.


Gary Findlay, 28089 Carlton Way, wrote that he objected but provided no reasons.

Andre Bidegare, 28296 Carlton Way, wrote that the Wetlands, wildlife, conservation and scenery need to be maintained.

Marla Bradlee, 28189 Carlton Way, wrote that the three-stories are too high and will be unsightly. Secondly, she also objects to the density. Thirdly and most salient, she asked about the trees.

Jeff Feierfeil, 28280 Carlton Way, wrote that the natural wildlife will be disrupted and it is an official bird sanctuary.

Chu Lee Ju, 28142 Carlton Way, wrote that the area is overbuilt and too many trees have been cut down. The remainder of the letter was not legible.

Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing. Member Avdoulos began the Commissioners’ comments by voicing his approval of the concept of the plan but his concern for the number of variances necessary. He stated that the general layout of the plan works, the road around the buildings works, but the south side of the plan has its problems: Building 1 encroaches on the Wetlands boundaries. The one-way road across the back accommodates cars that enter from the east, but does not accommodate those entering from the west. Member Avdoulos prefers that a loop road is designed to accommodate traffic from all directions.

Member Avdoulos agrees that the Applicant’s proposed density is acceptable but the setbacks, natural features and the Ordinance requirements dictate what can be developed. The front yard variance request is not based on hardship. The parking variance request is not based on hardship.

Mr. Seiber explained to Member Avdoulos that cars that enter the property first stop at a speaker where the passengers can contact residents for entry. There is no gate at that location. Further down past the turnaround area is the secured-entry gate. The turnaround allows the driver to leave the property without backing up onto 12½ Mile.

Member Avdoulos also asked about why the Petitioner didn’t want to sign a Conservation Easement to be secured over the remaining Wetlands. Dr. Donald Tilton of Tilton Associates explained that it is typically a condition of both the City and State Permits and is a routine request. Mr. Albers stated that his response was that he didn’t want to, not that he wouldn’t. Previously he has given the City a Sanitary Sewer Easement but the project never happened. Before he signs another easement with the City he prefers to have more information first. Mr. Albers stated that if this plan progresses to the Final Site Plan stage then he would certainly provide the easement.

Mr. Schultz reminded the Planning Commission that this proposed plan is an optional form of development and the Planning Commission’s approval is discretionary under the requirements and standards set forth in the Ordinance. Since the PD option is available to allow the Developer flexibility in conserving natural areas, it would be acceptable to include the Conservation Easement as a condition of an approval.

Dr. Tilton explained to Member Avdoulos that the Enhancement Plan cited in the Landscape Review typically calls out two or three elements. Altering the plant species mix is an enhancement, as is the removal of an invasive plant species. Dr. Tilton acknowledged that he has been working on this with the Applicant but it was not completed in time for tonight’s meeting.

Member Avdoulos agreed with the Traffic Consultant’s positions on the sidewalk and the need for 22-foot wide drives. Overall, he said, the plan and the façade are aesthetically pleasing and have a more substantial feel to them than the developments to the west and south. He questioned whether its entrance from a non-paved road will limit the development’s marketability. He finds that the plan is viable, but thinks the Developer needs to make alterations that will bring the site into conformity rather than "shoe-horning" the plan to make it fit.

Member Paul agreed with Member Avdoulos and Andrew Mutch. She thinks the plan is aesthetically pleasing and likes the idea of enhancing the north end. She is concerned about the number of variances. She looked at the PD-1 Option and one requirement states, the requirements for special land use are contained with Section 2516.2. She noted that several things fail regarding traffic and thoroughfare level of service. She stated that the proposed use will impact surrounding neighborhoods in conjunction with the impact to the environment. Also, the proposed use will not promote the use of the land in a socially and economically servable manner due to the fact that the driveway area is less than the Ordinance minimum of eight feet from another dwelling unit, primarily on the southwest sides of the building.

Member Paul stated on in 2516.2.c.(2), relative to other feasible uses of the site, the proposed use will cause a detrimental impact on the capacities of public services and facilities which includes stormwater disposal, fire protection and based on JCK’s Wetland letter, impacts number one and five. Novi’s Fire Department does not recommend approval due to the gated community; the gates for access in case of a fire will provide a slower access for the squad car to get through. Therefore if the fire was on the south part of the site there is a delay of time for response.

Member Paul continued with 2516.2.c.(3), wherein it is stated that the proposed use should be compatible with the natural features and characteristic of the land including woodlands, wetlands, water course and wildlife habitat. All four are impacted on the south end of this site. This is addressed in a JCK letter, impacts number 1,2 and 3, for buffer disturbance, wetland impact and surface hydrology in regards to the soil. A woodlands letter cites that the applicant is using woodlands replacement trees located in the parking lot to fulfill landscape requirements which is not in the City’s ordinance. Diversity of tree species is required and procedural issues need to be addressed when a site is close to a protected woodlands and wetlands.

Member Paul expressed her approval for the continued amount of work put into this plan, but when she looks at the number of variances that still exist she can not endorse it in its current form.

Motioned by Member Paul, seconded by Member Kocan:

Motion to table the Ken Albers of Diversified Land Development, LLC, SP 02-15, to give the Applicant the opportunity to make some amendments to the site plan to try to meet some of the requirements of our Ordinances, and come back to this Body at a later time.


Member Kocan stated that she is in 100% agreement with everything that’s been said so far. She stated that the PD-1 option is meant to preserve existing environmental resources on site to the development of multi-stored construction. She is looking for considerable preservation if she is going to negotiate with the Applicant. This would help substantiate the need for variances and waivers. Each site is looked at on its own merit. She does not approve of the 25-foot waiver along the front, the parking spaces in the front, the waiver on the 25-foot distance between the road and the buildings. She would consider the impervious surface waiver if she felt sure that additional preservation was taking place elsewhere on the site. Member Kocan is also concerned about the exterior lighting and would look for the Applicant to come into compliance. She understands why the Applicant might want to delay the Noise Analysis, but she would not be in favor of waiving its requirement altogether. She is not in support of the 20-foot islands or the fact that it is a gated community – for fire reasons and for the [lack of] community feel. She would like to see the boulevards modified.

Member Kocan was confused about the sidewalk issue. She questioned whether the problem was that this sidewalk couldn’t line up with either property on each end. Mr. Coburn stated that the sidewalk could indeed be transitioned to match up with the adjoining properties. She stated that she could work with some minor angling of the buildings. She would look for the Conservation Easement to be signed.

Member Markham concurred with Member Kocan. She fears that the Developer’s current plan is overbuilt. She does like the façade, brick, and the look of the units. Her important issues are the setbacks, the lighting, and the adjacencies between units. Member Markham stated that without the gate, there is not a problem with the boulevard. She prefers that the City build on the "Community feel", and that would preclude gated entrances. She suggested that the Petitioner offer a more detailed economic study that would support his position that 28 units are necessary for the property to be viable. Member Markham suggested that the Petitioner return with a plan that had less units or smaller units and required variances in issues that are, in fact, hardships.

Member Sprague agrees with most of what has been discussed. He stated that the property is an important and environmentally sensitive site. His opinion on the plan is that the Developer has placed too many units on this significant site.

Member Avdoulos wanted to clarify that the PD-1 requires a 45-degree angle of the building, but he does not agree with any Ordinance language which states that a Developer must do something in one particular way only. If the angles of the buildings can be adjusted to alleviate any of the variances, the Planning Commission will look at that in a positive light. He summed up that as a whole the Planning Commission endorsed the project but that its density should be reduced to be a better fit.

Member Ruyle agreed with the other Commissioners, especially about the gated community. He wondered what the Petitioner would like from the Planning Commission. Mr. Albers requested that any motion made by the Planning Commission would allow the developer to progress to the next level. He suggested that he has already conceded too much to the Planning Staff and that he should have brought the plan in to the Planning Commission prior to this time. He believes that he is at the point where the project is no longer economically feasible and he can provide documents to prove it. He took exception to Andrew Mutch’s generalities about what could work on the site and questioned whether he knows enough about all the alternative planning that the Developer has done to design this plan. He commented that his parcel is sandwiched between 400 units and that any proposed use for this property should be compatible. He would request a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission, but in any event, a recommendation should be made so as to allow the Developer to have access to the next planning level.

Chair Nagy explained that there is a motion pending on the table. Member Ruyle stated that if the plan is tabled the Developer can return with anything he wants. If the Planning Commission turns down the plan the Developer will have to return with a whole new plan. Attorney Schultz interjected that the Planning Commission’s motion would actually be either a recommendation to the City Council or a table. Mr. Albers understood this and he explained that this project will have to come back before the Planning Commission at the time of Final Site Plan with all of the pending issues addressed.

Chair Nagy stated to the Petitioner that it is not her place to address those comments that he just made. However, she believes the comments made by the other Commissioners were appropriate. The number of variances is an issue for her. She agrees that the PD Option is meant to preserve natural features. She is opposed to the gated entrance for health and safety reasons – if there’s a fire or the electricity is out, getting through the gate becomes a problem. Also, it is not reflective of the surrounding projects. Chair Nagy does not like the location of Building 1. She found that the issues raised in the Traffic Review would be alleviated by removing the gate. The issues in the Wetland Review letter from Ms. Kay should be complied with. She expressed disappointment in a plan that requires so many variances.

Motion carried 7-1.

Yes: Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Sprague, Avdoulos, Kocan

No: Ruyle

Chair Nagy told Mr. Albers that he now has the opportunity to return to the Planning Department to work out a plan that complies with the majority of the Ordinances.



Consideration of the request of Oxley Architects Engineers, Inc. for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 4, north of West Road at the southeast corner of Hudson Drive and Desoto Court in the I-1 (Light Industrial) District. The developer is proposing a building with speculative light industrial lease space. The subject property is 1.086 acres.

Planner Darcy Schmitt described the property off West Road at the southeast corner of Hudson Drive and Desoto Court. The proposed building is an 11,300 sf one-story building separated into four units. Precise Tool and Cutting and Grinding, Inc. is a speculative tenant for a 2,720 sf section and is a permitted use under Section 1902.16 of the Zoning Ordinance. The other tenants are unknown. SC Novi One is located north of this property; Design Research Engineers to the east; Novi Tech to the south; Youngsoft to the west. None of these sites is developed at this time. This and the surrounding properties are zoned and Master Planned I-1. The site design offers one entryway off Desoto Court and a driveway stub for connecting to the Novi Tech property to the south.

The Planning Review indicates that the plan meets Ordinance requirements and only minor items will need to be addressed prior to Final Site Plan approval. There are no regulated Wetlands or Woodlands. The Landscape Review noted some minor comments to be addressed by Final Site Plan. The Traffic Engineer’s Review states that the plan does not meet the Ordinance; the Planning Commission will need to discuss an additional driveway stub connecting to the Design Research Engineering property. The plan also requires a Driveway Spacing Waiver for the opposite side spacing requirement. 150 feet are required and 35 feet are proposed. Other minor items can be addressed at Final Site Plan. The Engineer Review finds the site to be in compliance, with minor adjustments to be made at the time of Final Site Plan. The Façade Review was also acceptable.

Ms. Schmitt explained to Member Kocan that Precise Tool sharpens and sells tools. They also make molds for creating tools. Their sharpening machinery is 1 HP, far less than the 4-20 HP machinery prevalent in this industry.

Ken Oxley, 1423 East 11 Mile, Royal Oak, MI, addressed the Commission and offered to answer any questions that the Planning Commission had. (tape ends)

(tape begins) [Landscape Architect Mike McGinnis misstated during the NMS Martone Concept Meeting] that the ROW berm was not needed in front of the building. When he discovered his error, he asked Mr. Oxley to resubmit a plan with the berm and additional plantings. Member Markham confirmed with Mr. McGinnis that the new plan, which was not available at this meeting, did in fact meet the intent of the Ordinance. Mr. Oxley asked to be put in the record as having no objection to replacing the berm. Member Markham assured Mr. Oxley that the Planning Commission’s motion for approval of the site plan could still be made with mention of the most recent landscape submittal cited as a condition.

Member Avdoulos asked for clarification on where these landscaping changes are necessary. Mr. Oxley confirmed that the berm will go along DeSoto Court and Hudson Drive.

Mr. Oxley pointed out that he does need a driveway waiver, and Chair Nagy stated that she had the list of waivers that he needed.

Mr. Oxley explained that his company is amenable to connecting to the existing Research Engineering driveway stub. He stated that the issue arose during the pre-app meeting, but that nothing more was said so he thought the matter was dropped. Member Avdoulos then confirmed that the site will have both a southern and eastern entrance.

Member Avdoulos verified that the building is being designed to house four tenants. He asked whether it was necessary to build 23 parking spaces at this time when only 16 are called for; he suggested that seven spaces be land banked for future use, although he conceded that only seven spaces isn’t too much to build on speculation. Mr. Oxley indicated two of those spaces will be lost with the proposed changes, but he would land bank the additional spaces if the Planning Commission thought it was necessary.

Member Papp confirmed that the anticipated tenant will sharpen tools during the normal dayshift hours.

Chair Nagy thanked Mr. Oxley for his efforts. She noted that the traffic was the Planning Commission’s greatest concern and she appreciated that he is willing to make the stub road connection. She commented that because the building doesn’t have a sprinkler system the additional egress enhances the safety and welfare of the building’s employees.

Moved by Member Kocan, supported by Member Papp:

In the matter of NMS Martone Company, Site Plan 03-01, motion to grant approval of the Final Site Plan subject to: 1) The addition of the driveway stub to the east property as proposed by Rod Arroyo and agreed to by the applicant; 2) The Planning Commission [Opposite Side] Driveway Spacing Waiver as interlock problems are minimal; 3) Landscape to comply with the ROW berm requirement as proposed in a more recent Landscape Plan than what was presented at the Commission [meeting]; and 4) subject to the comments on the attached review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan.

Motion carried 8-0.


The Planning Commission provided their corrections for the February 12, 2003 minutes.

Moved by Member Markham, seconded by Member Paul:

Motion to approve the Novi Planning Commission minutes of February 12, 2003 meeting with the corrections stated tonight as well as those provided in written form

Motion carried 8-0.


The Planning Commission provided their corrections for the February 26, 2003 minutes.

Moved by Member Ruyle, Seconded by Member Paul:

Move for approval [of the February 26, 2003 minutes] as amended.

Motion carried 8-0.


The Planning Commission minutes of March 12, 2003 were approved with a request that the recording secretary review the tapes for corrections to specific sections

This paragraph:

Member Kocan approved of the developer reducing his impact on the wetlands. She stated that some woodlands were sacrificed to save the wetlands. She confirmed with Mr. Pham that they still intend to construct an administration building; it will be smaller (6500 vs 7200 sf) which Member Kocan believes may work well on the site. Member Kocan also confirmed that the developer will replace trees via the wetlands ordinance either by tree fund or offsite replacement. She reminded Mr. Pham that he would need to indicate timeframe and location in the Final Site Plan process if they choose offsite replacement.

Was replaced with these paragraphs:

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 doesn’t 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 Consultant’s 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 they’re placed off-site. She hoped that the Staff will follow up on that and ensure that the trees are replaced as required.

This paragraph:

Member Shroyer asked Mr. Fisher whether the Planning Commission can change the order of the projects cited in the Capital Improvement Programs. Mr. Fisher explained that the Capital Improvement Programs is a tool for the Master Plan which is the Planning Commission’s document. He suggested that this may be a question for another discussion, and that the City Council will likely have a discussion too. Mr. Fisher confirmed that for the purpose of the Master Plan the Planning Commission can re-rank the asterisked items.

Was replaced with these paragraphs:

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 Commission’s 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 Commission’s 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 that’s even a discussion. He again stated that in terms of what is in the Master Plan, that’s the Planning Commission’s document.

Member Shroyer’s concern was the hundred or so items that are listed in the report because only the ones that weren’t asterisked in the report were ranked. At that point he didn’t 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.

This paragraph:

Member Kocan listed the members of the Budget Committee as Members Kocan, Paul, Ruyle and Sprague. After their meeting with Mr. Evancoe and Mr. Pearson a few changes were made to the Planning Commission budget. The training budget was increased to $2,000 to cover one (for a total of three) additional Planning Commissioners’ attendance to the national conference. The committee discussed a time frame in which the Implementation and Administration Liaison Committees could address text discrepancies between the Zoning Ordinance and the Site Plan Review Manual. She stated that this Committee does not supercede the Master Plan and Zoning Committee but provides a guideline for the Planning Commission. It outlines items such as Master Plan topics and updates or whether inside or outside staff will perform the work. She suggested that the approval of this document be tabled until such time that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee can review it. For example, one line item, Emerging Issues, is a catchall for special or unforeseen projects. The Staff has suggested that it be removed from the Planning Commission budget and put in the Department budget, but the City Council is the body that took this line from the department and gave it to the Planning Commission. Other items for review include the $20,000 line item for the Land Use Analysis, $10,000 for a Natural Feature Study, $9,900 for Conferences and Workshops, monies for Zoning Map Amendments, Membership Dues, Communications/Liaison, Education Briefing, and the Printing/Publishing line that ensures the continued distribution of comprehensive Planning Commission packets. Also, the Growth Management Plan provides $10,000 in 2003 and $32,000 in 2004 to complete these studies: Economic Base, Water Sewer Master Plan, Transportation and Thoroughfare Plan and Fiscal Analysis.


Was replaced with these paragraphs:

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 didn’t 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 that’s used for special or unforeseen projects. The Committee didn’t 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 it’s 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.

This paragraph:

Member Paul requested that Brian Coburn continue coordinating the Thoroughfare Plan. Nancy McClain said he would remain involved. Member Paul also stated that she wrote a letter to both the Chair and to Mr. Evancoe wherein she requests that she be included in representing the Planning Commission at the City Council meeting because she would like to impress upon them that again, the Planning Commission was under the wire to get this document done. The document was not prepared when the Planning Commission asked for this review in November 2002. She also wants to be sure that Mr. Sprague’s requests to keep the Emerging Issues line in the Planning Commission budget and increase that line item from $78,691 to $88,691 are known.

Was replaced with these paragraphs:

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 he’s 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 City’s Roads and Utilities Engineer so he will be quite involved.

Member Paul continued that she wrote a letter to Mr. Evancoe, stating that she’d 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 they’re 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.

Transcriber’s note: In reviewing the tape of the March 12, 2003 Planning Commission meeting, the following insert to the minutes was also found to be necessary:

(Transcriber’s note: At the time of transcription the technical comments were attributed to Finance Director Kathy Smith-Roy but are in fact, those of Engineer Nancy McClain)

Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Ruyle:

Motion to approve the minutes [of March 12, 2003] as being revised.

Motion carried 8-0.


There is no Consent Agenda.



Because of Mr. Shroyer’s absence, Chair Nagy postponed the matter until the next meeting.


There were not Special Reports.


No one from the audience wished to speak.


Moved by Member Ruyle:

Move for Adjournment.

Motion carried 8-0. The meeting adjourned at or about 10:30 p.m.





MON 4/21/03 CITY COUNCIL 7:30 PM




Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, April 22, 2003 Signature on File

Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant

Date Approved: May 14, 2003