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CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:30 p.m. Member Markham served as Chair in Member Nagy’s absence.
Present: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Papp, Paul (arrived 7:35 p.m.), Ruyle, Shroyer, Sprague (arrived 7:36 p.m.)
Absent: Nagy (excused)
Also Attending: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Barbara McBeth, Planner; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Darcy Schmitt, Planner; Ben Croy, Engineer; Tom Schultz, Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Shroyer led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chair Markham requested that Item 1 under Special Reports, "Status Report regarding Oakpointe Church Phasing Plan by Mr. Gene Carroll, AIA, Principal, Neuman Smith & Associates," be removed from the Agenda. She also requested that under Matters for Discussion, a brief synopsis be given regarding City Council’s changes to the Planning Commission budget for FY 2003/04.
Moved by Member Ruyle:
Motion to approve the Agenda of May 14, 2003 as amended.
Motion carried 8-0.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
Member Kocan indicated that that the Planning Commission had received the following letter:
The Windmill Group regarding West Park Drive Condominiums: They expressed their disappointment in not being placed on the May 28, 2003 meeting Agenda. They had been told they would be on the May 14th Agenda unless it was filled, in which case they would be on the May 28th Agenda. They have since been advised that they will be on the June 11th Agenda. They believe that since all of their review letters had been received by April 30th they should be on the May 28th Agenda. Member Kocan explained that the Planning Commission Rules dictate that no Public Hearings shall be held at meetings that fall within the same week as a City-observed holiday, and that unfortunately for The Windmill Group, this precludes their placement on the May 28th Agenda. She suggested that the City make an effort to let developers know about this Public Hearing stipulation.
There were no Communications or Committee Reports for this meeting.
Mr. Evancoe reminded the Planning Commission about Lyon Township’s request for rezoning from residential to B-2 Business District for a parcel at the corner of Napier Road and Ten Mile. The Public Hearing has now been scheduled for July 14, 2003. Mr. Evancoe asked if a determination of what position a Staff member should take in representing the City at this Public Hearing could be made at an upcoming Master Plan and Zoning Committee meeting. Member Shroyer spoke on behalf of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, recommending that the Planning Commission’s position also be delivered to Lyon Township in written form to ensure that Novi is represented. Mr. Evancoe further suggested that this could be placed under Matters for Discussion at a future Planning Commission meeting so that the final position is a representation of the Planning Commission as a whole. Chair Markham confirmed that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee will discuss it at their next meeting (May 21st ) and then it will be placed on the Planning Commission Agenda.
Member Paul discussed a memo from the GIS Department regarding the upcoming Friends of the Rouge Program for Planning Commissioners, City Council members and Stormwater Management Committee members. She listed the date as Saturday, May 17, 2003 from 8:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The group will start their day here in Novi and follow the waterflow to where it discharges in Dearborn. They will also discuss the various plants that are invading our Wetlands. Members Nagy and Paul are attending and there two more spots available for Planning Commissioners; if anyone is interested they should let Member Paul know.
CONSENT AGENDA- REMOVALS AND APPROVALS
There was no Consent Agenda.
1. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 99-18.180
The Public Hearing was opened to amend an Ordinance to add a definition of "Adult Day Care Center" to Section 201 Definitions: A - C of Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to add a definition of "Day Care Center" to Section 201 Definitions: D - F of said Ordinance, to add a definition of "Family Day Care Home" to Section 201 Definitions: D - F of said Ordinance, to add a definition of "Group Day Care Home" to Section 201 Definitions: G - K of said Ordinance, to amend Subsections 402.4, 902.2, 1102.4, 1202.5, 1401.3, 1601.11 and to add Subsections 301.8, 401.8 and 2302.6, to said Ordinance, to modify the standards for child day care and adult day care establishments within the City of Novi.
Ms. McBeth has been working with the Implementation Committee on this new proposed language. In recent years a number of requests have come before the City for Daycare and therefore it seemed appropriate that the Implementation Committee should review the existing language to determine that it was up to date and applicable. The Committee has forwarded a favorable recommendation for the Planning Commission to support for the adoption of this new language. Ms. McBeth used the overhead to display the same charts that were provided to the Planning Commissioners in their packets and also shown below.
Draft Comparison Chart 5/7/03
-Chart continued on following page –
Reduction in outdoor recreation space in TC and TC-1 districts may be allowed with Planning Commission determination provided certain conditions are met.
Draft Comparison Chart
Ms. McBeth carefully described each column. Some of the specific points that she made were:
The Family Daycare Home is for 1-6 children in a state-licensed private home.
The Group Daycare Home is for up to 12 children and must abut a major thoroughfare or section line collector road, or have access from a local street. Cars must be able to turn around in driveway. Hours of operation are limited and no is signage allowed. Parcel size must be at least ½ acre. Outdoor play area minimums required.
The Daycare Centers are located in an actual establishment (not a residence) and may have up to 50 children in a residential district and a number limited by size in other districts. Parcel size must be at least 1 acre. Must provide 150 sf of outdoor play area per child.
The Adult Daycare Center may have up to 30 persons and is not in a private residence. The language is somewhat consistent with Daycare Centers.
Residential Districts may have different standards than Districts other than Residential.
Ms. McBeth requested that the Planning Commission send a positive recommendation to City Council for the adoption of this new Daycare language.
Chair Markham determined that no one from the audience wished to speak so she closed the Public Hearing.
Member Kocan informed the Planning Commission that the Implementation Committee has been working on this language since January. She reported that Daycare Ordinances from Farmington Hills, Plymouth, West Bloomfield, Canton Township and Birmingham were reviewed for ideas. The main goal was to address Daycare Centers that are completely encircled by a subdivision. While it is important to have Daycare Centers next to residential, the Implementation Committee felt that Daycare Centers within subdivisions needed to be limited in size so as to maintain the character of the neighborhood.
Member Kocan also described how the Implementation Committee discussed dumpster locations for Daycares that abut residential, but no language was inserted into this revision to address the issue. She asked that a Number 5 be added to Section 402.4.b that states in essence, that dumpsters shall be located as far from residential properties as possible. She explained to the Commission that the Implementation Committee will soon be reviewing the Ordinance language as it pertains to dumpsters but that it may not be ready for some time. She recommended that this dumpster language be added now to the Daycare Ordinance.
Member Paul concurred with Member Kocan, stating that she too was on the Implementation Committee and that dumpsters were a debated topic during their review of Daycares. She cited the Children’s World Daycare on 10 Mile, where the dumpster is right upon the neighbors’ back yards and the diaper smell is at best difficult during the summer months.
Member Paul also informed the Planning Commission of the future preschool/daycare plans in the educational system. In Northville, Daycares will be offered in each school. This will also be offered for the first year in Novi at several sites. This is something for the Planning Commission to be aware of so that they can better understand the needs of the City.
Secondly, Member Paul divulged that the Implementation Committee considered adding possible language to address the minimum distance allowed between Daycare facilities. Ultimately the Committee decided to forego the inclusion of such language to this revision, but Member Paul wanted the Planning Commission to know that it was a topic they did in fact review. She still has concerns about the influx of residents to certain quadrants of the City, and how changes to the population over time may or may not affect established Daycares within the City. She would prefer to avoid future "darkened storefronts" by properly planning for Daycare facilities today.
Member Paul appreciated Ms. McBeth’s hard work in putting all this revision language onto paper. She also supports Member Kocan’s request for the inclusion of dumpster language into this Daycare Ordinance. She asked the Planning Commission to also give their views on whether they support the inclusion of minimum distance allowed between Daycare facilities. She noted that Birmingham requires a minimum of 750 feet between facilities.
Member Avdoulos concurred with both Members Paul and Kocan. He explained that the Implementation Committee’s revisions to the Ordinance allow flexibility with regard to zoning district locations and took into consideration how Novi’s residents were going to use Daycare centers. He cited how Daycares adapt to the various zoning districts – Children’s World in Residential, 8 Mile’s Rainbow Daycare in Office and everything in between. This revision to the Ordinance provides a sound basis to differentiate between acceptable standards for each zoning district. His personal review was not concerned with limiting the distance between facilities, as he finds that to be a business decision to be made by the owner/operator. He did find that the inclusion of Daycare at the public school level was important knowledge for the Planning Commission to have. He believes that residency on the east side of Novi will turn over to younger families in the future years, so that would create another need for Daycare in that area. He understands the implication of limiting the distance between daycares, but he doesn’t believe that Daycare owners look to build right on top of existing Daycares. He does support adding language for dumpster placement. In summary, Member Avdoulos felt that the Implementation Committee’s total review of the surrounding communities’ ordinances helped them to create a sound Ordinance that is unique to Novi and addresses the City’s character.
Member Kocan read aloud the portion of the Birmingham Daycare Ordinance that stated, "…no family daycare home or group daycare home shall be located less than 750 feet except the Planning Board may approve the location if the Board finds that the concentration of uses will not generate traffic, noise or other nuisances in a volume greater than would be normally expected in a residential neighborhood." Member Kocan said there were also some other issues listed but she did not elaborate. She offered to add this language to the Novi Ordinance, but she noted that traffic, noise and other nuisances are taken into consideration for Special Land Use requests, so it may be a moot point to add this language.
Chair Markham asked how the Ordinance revision addresses daycares that are integral to a business. She noted that some larger businesses offer daycare in facilities attached to the company site, yet the Ordinance revision does not provide for this use in the OST District. Her point was that Technology is a line of work that is teeming with young professionals who may be interested or even enticed by Daycare at their work. Ms. McBeth responded that the current Ordinance allows that use in certain Office Districts and the Implementation Committee did not feel the need to adjust that portion of the existing language. They did briefly discuss whether to add OST to the acceptable location list but ultimately it was not included. Chair Markham thinks it is appropriate to add OST to the list.
Chair Markham’s response to the proximity language is that she doesn’t want to see the City’s Ordinance become so restrictive in its language. She concurs with Member Kocan that certain concerns will be addressed solely by an applicant’s request for a Special Land Use. She does not support its inclusion.
Member Kocan thought that perhaps that the attorney could review the OST insertion. She noted that in the OST District, all uses permitted or otherwise regulated in the OS-2 District are principle uses permitted in OST. She suggested that it may automatically be included based on that language. Then Member Kocan noted that in OS-2 it is not a Principle Land Use; it is a Special Land Use. Chair Markham just thinks OST should be listed in this revision.
Mr. Schultz interjected that if the Planning Commission would like to add the OST to this revision it could be done in the motion that sends this Ordinance to City Council.
Member Paul asked Ms. McBeth
Moved and amended by Member Kocan, supported by Member Paul:
In the matter of the request of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 99-18.180, motion to recommend to City Council the amendment of the Zoning Ordinance to: 1) Add a definition of Adult Daycare Center to Section 201 Definitions: A - C of Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance; 2) Add a definition of "Daycare Center" to Section 201 Definitions: D - F of said Ordinance; 3) Add a definition of "Family Daycare Home" to Section 201 Definitions: D - F of said Ordinance; 4) Add a definition of "Group Daycare Home" to Section 201 Definitions: G - K of said Ordinance; 5) Amend Subsections 402.4, 902.2, 1102.4, 1202.5, 1401.3, 1601.11 and add Subsections 301.8, 401.8 and 2302.6 to said Ordinance, to modify the standards for Child Daycare and Adult Daycare establishments within the City of Novi, subject to the following modifications: A) Add to Section 402.4.b(5) a statement that dumpsters shall be located as far from residential properties as possible or other appropriate language as determined by the City Attorney; and B) Include Special Land Use requirements listed in 1102.4 for the OST section of the Ordinance, in light of the hard work performed by the Implementation Committee and Planning Department to revise the areas in need of modification.
Member Paul asked Mr. Schultz whether "c" on page 4 satisfactorily provides for Daycare in OST. He responded that the verbiage cited by Member Paul only relates to the occasions on which larger Daycares are permitted next to residential.
Member Shroyer asked whether the maker of the motion would amend it to include reference to the hard work that the Implementation Committee and the Planning Department performed in order to revise those areas in need of modification. He believes that this group of people deserve credit for a job well done and deserve the credit for same. Member Kocan accepted the amendment on behalf of the Committee.
Motion carried 8-0.
2. ART VAN, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-12
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Art Van Furniture for a recommendation to City Council for a Preliminary Site Plan approval with a PD-2 (Planned Development) Option. The subject property is located in Section 15 in the West Oaks Shopping Plaza on west side of Novi Road south of Twelve Mile Road in the RC (Regional Center) District. The subject property is 9.96 acres. The developer is proposing no construction but to re-establish its parking requirements under the revised city parking ordinance to allow the property to be split.
Ms. McBeth reiterated that this request is atypical and is only requesting that the Planning Commission reconsider the parking standards for this property. The owner is seeking to adjust the parking configuration so that the parcel can be split and the "Scott Shuptrine" portion can be sold to ABC Warehouse.
Ms. McBeth showed the aerial view of the property via the overhead projector. Surrounding the property to the north, west and south is the West Oaks Shopping Center; to the east are commercial developments and 12 Oaks Mall; the entire area is zoned R-C (Regional Center). Regional Commercial with the PD-2 option uses are Master Planned for the site. There is a similar designation for the north, west and south. Parcels to the east and some to the south are also Master Planned Regional Commercial without the PD-2 Option.
Ms. McBeth indicated on the overhead where the new property boundaries would be, and restated that there would not be any new construction. The new property line runs through the middle of the parking lot and extends to the west. The northwest corner of the parcel could become a parking lot but is currently landbanked for future parking needs.
Ms. McBeth continued with her report, explaining that the two existing buildings were approved in three phases: first was Art Van "South" at 48,000 sf, then Art Van "North" at 54,000 sf and finally the "Scott Shuptrine" building at 34,000 sf. Parking standards for furniture store uses were used at the time of development, but the City has modified those standards over time to address the use of the furniture buildings in future years when they could possibly be used for something other than furniture sales. For this current site plan, the applicant has asked for the Planning Commission to consider using the original parking standard (1:800 sf usable floor area plus 1:2 employees = a total of 58 spaces) for the original Art Van building. For the Art Van addition and the ABC Warehouse space, the Petitioner proposes the application of the current ordinance (1:200 sf of Gross Leasable Area), for a total of 271 and 170 spaces, respectively. The landbanked parking area does satisfy the Ordinance for minimum amount of spaces available.
Because this property was planned originally under the PD-2, the Planning Commission must make a recommendation to City Council on this proposed site plan.
The Planning Review recommends approval of this Preliminary Site Plan with modification of the parking lot setback requirements. The lot does not meet setback requirements (10 feet) where new property line is located. However, an additional setback has been provided on the north side of the Art Van property line and the ABC Warehouse west property line. The Ordinance does allow the Planning Commission to modify setback requirements to provide for improved use of the site or improved landscaping, provided the modification does not reduce the total area of setback on the site to below the minimum setback requirements.
Ms. McBeth said that the Planning Commission may also wish to make a finding that the landbanked parking area meets the Standards of 2505.16.g, as detailed on page four of the Planning letter. Finally, the Planning Review proposes that the Planning Commission make a positive recommendation to City Council.
The Landscape Review recommends approval of the Preliminary Site Plan but reminded the Applicant that he should submit another Landscape Plan with any future parking lot installation.
The Traffic, Engineer and Fire Department Reviews all recommend approval with minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan.
Corporate Architect Michael Rupert spoke on behalf of Art Van. He also introduced Mark Young from Seiber Keast Engineering, and Jim Minorhagen and Ron Cashman from ABC Warehouse. He had nothing more to add to the presentation made by Ms. McBeth but offered to answer any questions the Planning Commission had.
No one from the audience wished to speak and Chair Markham closed the Public Hearing.
Member Paul asked a legal question to Mr. Schultz regarding the Planning Commission acting on this proposed change prior to the Applicant seeking an actual split of the property through the Assessor’s Office. Mr. Schultz responded that this footwork is necessary prior to the request going to the Assessor; otherwise the split would have to be denied by that department. He commented that the parcel split does not come from City Council but from the Assessor’s Office. Member Paul referred to Chapter 32 regarding lot splits, but Mr. Schultz explained that the Planning Commission is not reviewing a lot split; they are reviewing a proposed site plan change. Member Paul then referred to page six of the December 4, 1996 City Council minutes when the process was actually tabled for a time to allow the Applicant to consider alternatives that would reduce their deficiency in parking. A Waiver was subsequently given and now, just a few years later, the Planning Commission is being asked to look at the situation again. She believes that the lot split should come first and asked for clarification. Mr. Schultz remarked that the only thing the Assessor’s Office could have done was deny the lot split, which the Applicant then could appeal the decision to City Council under the terms of the Land Division Ordinance. However, City Council would not have the ability to grant relief in a manner which could satisfy the Applicant. The Assessor would have to ask whether the split meets the intent of the Zoning Ordinance, and the answer would have been no, until such time that the Planning Commission gives an approval to the amended site plan. Potentially this process could have started at the ZBA, although even then the ZBA must act on some kind of denial from the Planning Commission or Building Department. Ms. McBeth interjected that Assessor Glenn Lemmon was asked to join the Planning Department at the Pre-Application Meeting as a safety measure to ensure that the proper chain of events was taking place.
When Member Paul performed the parking calculations based on 102,520 sf, she found that her numbers did not add up to the numbers provided tonight. Ms. McBeth replied that she checked the numbers and determined that the landbanked parking spaces are correct, as are the other numbers in the report.
Member Paul noted that the greenspace setbacks were waived on the south border of Art Van (Council member Bononi’s comments in the December 4, 1996 City Council minutes) Member Paul cautioned that when Waivers are given, ensuing issues seem to make their way back to the Planning Commission – setbacks, driveway spacing, parking requirements. In this regard, Member Paul stated that sometimes we are our own worst enemy.
Member Paul asserted that the "Scott Shuptrine" building is beautiful but does not have visibility from the road, nor does its architecture seem to correspond with an ABC Warehouse. She hopes that this new tenant does not set itself up for failure, and that they should consider other vacant retail buildings (with roadside visibility) in the area that may be more appropriate.
Member Paul appreciated the Applicant’s provision of excess barrier-free parking places. She then asked Mr. Evancoe what is being proposed to replace the site’s ash trees. He responded that he does not have the accurate count on how many ashes there are, and he has not yet been informed of the new policy regarding ash trees. His understanding is that the City cannot require their removal on private property. The Landscape Review states that in the event the ash trees do die on this site, the Applicant must replace them as a condition of the site plan approval. She then asked the Applicant if he were amenable to having their landscapers replace the ash trees during this lot splitting process. The Applicant responded that there wouldn’t be any landscaping changes made to the site. Mr. Rupert did comment though, that Art Van typically maintains its own properties, and they plan to keep their site up to the City’s standards. During spring cleanup they do replace dead shrubs and trees, which would include any dead ashes (but they would not be replaced with ashes).
Member Paul asked Engineer Ben Croy to explain comment number three in the Traffic Review Letter. Mr. Croy reported that Mr. Arroyo’s opinion, though not backed by any scientific data, is that an appliance store will generate slightly more traffic than an upscale furniture store, but that the increase is likely insignificant.
Member Paul then asked for Mr. Croy to explain the third bullet in his Engineering Review. Mr. Croy responded that the Applicant has proposed additional catch basins and described how they integrate into the existing stormwater system; they would also provide some kind of sedimentation subservice chamber. Mr. Croy was satisfied with the information provided.
Member Sprague asked for an update on item seven on page three of the Planning Review. Ms. McBeth responded that the City has not yet seen the Proposed Shared Driveway Agreement, and likely wouldn’t until the parcel has been split. Mr. Rupert interjected that both parties have agreed to the Agreement but neither have signed it as doing so would be premature. He indicated that the Engineering Department should have received a copy already. Ms. McBeth said that the City will get a copy of the Agreement because they need to confirm that access to the properties remain intact. Member Sprague asked whether this should be a condition of the motion and Ms. McBeth suggested that it should.
Member Shroyer asked when the new Landscape Ordinance goes into effect. Mr. Evancoe responded that the second City Council reading is slated for June 6, 2003 and if adopted, would become effective 15 days after publication in the local paper. Mr. Schultz explained to Member Shroyer that the Landscape Ordinance does not address landbanking. Member Shroyer restated himself, explaining that the new Landscape Ordinance requires more landscaped islands and the number of available parking spaces associated with the proposed landbanking may be less than what was calculated for the purpose of this site plan. Mr. Schultz said that the Applicant is not grandfathered in, and that the Planning Commission has the right to make additional requirements for the parking as part of the Landbank Agreement. Member Shroyer explained to the Applicant that the revised Landscape Ordinance language requires a landscaped island for every run of 15 parking spaces. The proposed landbanks each have a run of 19 and a run of 30 spaces and each would require three islands under the terms of the revised Landscape Ordinance. Member Shroyer made a rough sketch of the area and determined that this could easily be accommodated; he just wanted the Applicant to be aware of this new landscape requirement and he wanted to confirm that application of the revised Landscape Ordinance could be required as part of the Planning Commission recommendation for approval. Member Shroyer welcomed ABC Warehouse to the City.
Member Kocan referred to the chart on page three of the Planning Review and believes that the Applicant has provided three additional spaces in each of the landbanked areas already. (Art Van: 329 required, 332 provided and ABC Warehouse: 170 required, 173 provided). She believes the Applicant will be able to comply.
Member Kocan expressed concern that these two businesses cannot make use of shared parking with the rest of West Oaks II because it lies on the other side of a well-traveled road. She understands that the minimum amount of parking required is still about 300 shy of what those buildings should actually have if in fact, the uses for the buildings change in the future. She echoed Member Paul’s fear that the Planning Commission’s approval of this site plan somehow is counterproductive planning as it does not address future needs. Ms. McBeth responded that the ABC Warehouse parking ratio is designed at 1:197 sf which is close to 1:200 – the standard ratio for any retail use. The Art Van building could house furniture or appliances in its current state. Other uses that could exist within the current ratio (1:307 sf) are a plant/nursery (1:300 sf), hardware/building supply with warehouse space (1:240 sf), libraries, museums, post office (all 1:350 sf).
Member Kocan said that the Planning Commission needs to confirm that the
landbank adheres to the Ordinance language found in Section 2505.16.g, which
confirms the Applicant is not proposing parking along side of the road,
there won’t be any deficiencies of off-street parking, etc. In Subsection h,
Member Kocan read that the Planning Commission can prescribe such
conditions regarding the character, location, landscaping, etc. with respect
to the landbanked parking area. She is disappointed that the Planning
Commission is asked to approve the landbanked area but they are also
supposed to approve the Landscape Plan which won’t be put into place until
the landbanked area is installed. She asked how
Ms. McBeth suggested that the Planning Commission state in their motion that, at the time of parking lot installation the Applicant must submit their Landscape Plan that meets all Ordinance requirements then in effect. Ms. McBeth reiterated that at this time the parking lot is not planned for installation, nor is the landscape slated for change unless there is a big tree die-off. She again stated that the Planning Commission could safely prescribe a condition that the Landscape Plan must be reviewed and approved by the City’s Landscape Architect prior to the installation of the landbanked parking area. Member Kocan asked for clarification, because a "landbanked parking area" is not installed – it exists in landscaped form. She wondered if Ms. McBeth meant at the time of Final Site Plan.
Member Avdoulos explained that his understanding is the landbanked area shown is more of an example of what may be provided if and when needed. For this site plan, the landbanked area in question will remain as is. Nothing is going to be done to it. The Planning Commission’s motion will signify that the intent of the Ordinance can be met based on the description of the landbanked parking area set forth on the plan. Member Avdoulos reminded the Planning Commission that if or when the Applicant ever needs to build out this parking lot, the submitted plan may be entirely different that what is proposed on this site plan. The Applicant can be required to bring forth a Preliminary Site Plan, a Landscape Plan and a Final Site Plan for the future installation of the parking lot.
Mr. Schultz explained that the Planning Commission can impose more landscaping requirements on this area right now if they so choose. Chair Markham confirmed with Ms. McBeth that the existing landscaping was installed pursuant to the previously approved site plan. She then confirmed that the Planning Commission can make the Applicant augment the landscaping in this area. Mr. Schultz stated that if the Planning Commission can find a relationship between the putting off of the parking and some additional landscaping the Commission would like to see, then that is allowed under the Ordinance. Restated, in return for the Planning Commission’s break in parking requirements, the Planning Commission gets some discretionary authority with respect to additional landscaping.
Member Kocan affirmed that her understanding was the landscaping was two-fold on this site: The landscaping of the landbank and the future landscaping of the parking lot. She said that she heard through conversations with the Planning Department that Mr. McGinnis wanted more landscaping, but unfortunately no plans are available for the Planning Commission to review. She would like to incorporate a stipulation in the motion that the landbank area must be augmented to a level satisfactory to the Landscape Architect. Mr. Schultz remarked that the condition was fair and appropriate. Furthermore, he stated that the plans can be required prior to the time this Plan goes before City Council for approval.
Member Kocan reflected back on a recent site plan that had a similar shared lot problem. She asked whether the Planning Department was asking the Planning Commission to provide language in the motion that infers that should the developer split the site, the Planning Commission would grant a waiver for the parking setback for the two sites. Ms. McBeth thought that was a reasonable suggestion. The Planning Commission has the right to make modifications to those strict requirements and therefore it is reasonable to make the recommendation to City Council subject to the Applicant submitting the paperwork for the lot split.
Member Kocan’s final comment was that she believes the parking lot is not properly located with respect to the building entrance. She counted only 30 spaces in the front and the rest are a considerable distance away. She declared that the decision and the risk belong to the Applicant, but her personal opinion is they should look at the entrance area and consider designing something better.
Member Ruyle likes both businesses. He suggested that in the future if more parking is necessary, the Applicant should consider sharing parking with Toys R Us and designing a walkway to accommodate those patrons. His opinion is that the available parking is sufficient now and the need for more parking is unlikely. He agreed with Member Kocan that landbanking is important and that adding landscaping to that area should be a stipulation of the motion. He is in favor of recommending the site plan to City Council.
Member Papp agreed with the comments made regarding this site plan. His one concern is that Art Van’s left turn lane is right on top of Doubletree’s left turn lane which makes for a very congested area. The additional landscaping is a favorable idea, but it may become obsolete in the future if the landbank becomes a parking lot. He asked whether the Planning Commission is asking the Applicant to invest money and time on a project that may only have a shelf-life of one or two years. He is more in favor of asking the Applicant to clean the area up than asking him to landscape it.
Member Avdoulos clarified that this is a Preliminary Site Plan and he asked whether the Planning Commission would see the Final Site Plan. Mr. Schultz responded that they would only if they asked to. His assessed the situation and agreed with Member Shroyer that the motion should reflect a stipulation that the landbanked parking area must meet the intent of the Ordinance that is in effect at the time of its construction. Member Avdoulos would have liked to have heard Mr. McGinnis’ opinion on the landscaping of the landbank. He does not support the Planning Commission requiring more landscaping of the landbank, citing it as unfair. He would support requiring something in writing that states that the Landscape Architect is comfortable with the Applicant’s proposal and that the landscape required by the Ordinance has been provided. Member Avdoulos welcomed the idea that ABC Warehouse would be joining Circuit City at West Oaks – stating that those tenants feed off of one another. He believes that ABC Warehouse will do fine even without roadside visibility. He cited JoAnn Fabrics and Value City as having done a fine job recycling their sites. He believes that a tenant will succeed based on what they are. And if they fail then something else will come along and move into the building. This was the point that Member Avdoulos was trying to make about requiring the landscape – it’s difficult to predict the future. He commented to the representatives of ABC Warehouse that he hopes they will respect the building when choosing their signage, as he was an integral part of the original design of the building and has a certain sentimental attachment to it.
Member Avdoulos explained that the idea of the Regional Commercial Center and the Town Center was meant to provide an identity for the City and that the Master Plan process assists the City in helping businesses and residents find the right location. He noted that the building has been dormant for a while and he welcomes the new tenant. He doesn’t have the problem with where the parking is located. He did caution that there is one very dangerous intersection in West Oaks that the tenant should be aware of. Member Avdoulos did state that he will encourage the Planning Commission to require the new tenant for the K-mart space to redesign the parking lot to improve the flow of traffic. He commented that the proposed new property line was placed so as not to cut the drive in two and he understood the value of that decision. He supports the project.
Member Paul stated that the Landscape Architect has given the Planning Commission information requesting a landscape plan for this project. In his absence Member Paul supported the idea of requiring this Plan to come back for Final Site Plan approval or adding language to the motion that requires Mr. McGinnis to approve the Landscape Plan. Her opinion of what Mr. McGinnis would approve is landscaping in the area of the building, not out in the area that could someday be torn up for parking spaces. She cited his practicality in the past as the reason for her opinion. She believes the Planning Commission would be correct in enhancing the site with acceptable landscaping and the removal of ash trees. She would support a landscape stipulation.
Member Sprague respectfully disagreed with Member Paul. He found the plan to be satisfactory in its current form. He welcomed ABC Warehouse to the community. He said that although the Planning Commission has this opportunity to ask for more from the Applicant, he is not convinced it’s the fair thing to do. He asserted that the landscape plan necessary for the future parking lot would be approved at the time of its construction. He supports the site plan without a landscape stipulation.
Chair Markham divulged that throughout the evening all of her questions and concerns had been addressed. She is happy that the tenant has come forth to redevelop the site. She agreed with Member Sprague in that the Planning Commission should not present the motion with a landscape stipulation. She would like to see something more creative around the northwest corner but does not think it’s fair to make it a requirement of the approval process. She asked that the Applicant work with Mr. McGinnis to design something that enhances the whole look of the building. She is in favor of the project without the stipulation.
Chair Markham recounted the members’ positions and found that while there was a split on requiring additional landscape, there seemed to be a consensus that perhaps an enhancement to the existing landscape would be nice on the part of the new tenant. She does not think that fairness is an issue; it’s actual language taken from Section 2505.16.h that allows the Planning Commission to make this requirement. She chose words for the motion that makes the position of the Planning Commission clear: enhancement of the landscape without burdening the Applicant is required for the site, and not necessarily on the landbanked area which may or may not be developed for a parking lot in the future.
Motioned by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Paul:
In the matter of Art Van, Site Plan 03-12, motion to recommend approval to City Council of the Preliminary Site Plan with a PD-2, Planned Development Option, subject to: 1) Should the site be split as identified on the Preliminary Site Plan, a Planning Commission Waiver of the parking lot setback requirement along the north/south lot line with a finding that the proposed site design results in an improved use of the site and improved landscaping with the understanding that the total area of setback is not reduced below the minimum setback required; 2) A Planning Commission finding that the landbanked parking meets the standards of Section 2505.16.g(1-8); 3) City Council acceptance of revised parking standards as requested by the Applicant; 4) The Landscape Plan is to be submitted for installation of the landbanked parking lot subject to Section 2505.16.h, including additional enhancing landscaping which is to be determined and approved by the City Landscape Architect prior to submission to the City Council; 5) To include a Shared Driveway Access Agreement with a future development of the landbanked area; 6) The interior parking landscape shall comply with any applicable Landscape Ordinance or site plan provisions at the time of Landscape Plan and parking lot development approval; 6) The lot split paperwork is to be submitted to the City prior to going to City Council; and 7) Subject to the comments on the attached review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan.
Mr. Evancoe asked whether the Planning Commission’s desire is that additional landscaping be required around the perimeter of the proposed landbank parking, up against the building, or wherever the Landscape Architect deems acceptable. Chair Markham clarified that the placement of enhancing landscape is dependent upon the recommendation of the City’s Landscape Architect. Mr. Schultz interjected that the language of the discretionary element does require the Planning Commission to relate the requirement for additional landscaping to the whole idea of landbanking. He understood the Commission to say that the enhancements would have to relate to the improvements that come later. The idea behind the language is to circumvent the possibility of the building having a future parking lot with no landscaping; the request by the Planning Commission is that the enhancing landscaping has to relate to the fact that the Applicant is landbanking now and that the maturation of this landscape will enhance the potential future parking area.
Member Paul and Chair Markham discussed briefly Member Paul’s comment about the landscaping being placed up against the building. Member Paul recounted that the Landscape Architect is practical in his approach, and that she is sure that he won’t require the enhancements to be placed in what would become the center of the parking lot. She expressed confidence in allowing the Landscape Architect to determine what is a sufficient plan for the site.
Chair Markham asked Member Kocan to recite that portion of the motion pertaining to the enhancements. Member Kocan responded with, "additional enhancing landscaping which is to be determined and approved by the City Landscape Architect." Mr. Schultz confirmed that the language of the motion works with the comments made by the Commission.
Member Avdoulos suggested that the Plan be required to come back before the Planning Commission if there is too great of concern. He doesn’t necessarily support that idea, but he put it on the table for the Planning Commission to consider.
Mr. Rupert informed the Planning Commission that the conversation with Mr. McGinnis regarding the landscaping was to address the winter die-off. He continued that Mr. McGinnis actually went out to the site to inventory the property about six or eight weeks ago. He returned with the request that the winter die-off be addressed in more appropriate weather. Mr. Rupert conceded that winter die-off occurs naturally every year, but he said he is willing to meet with the Landscape Architect to discuss any other additional things he might need.
Member Kocan determined that she would not require the Plan to come back before the Planning Commission in her motion because the request has been made that the landscape be addressed and it will go to City Council. She believes that to be a sufficient review of the landscape.
Motion carried 7-1. (Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer; No: Sprague)
Chair Markham called for a ten minute break. She then called the meeting back to order.
3. HUDSON COMMERCE CENTER, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-04
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Channel Partners III, LLC for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan and Woodland Permit. The subject property is located in Section 4 on Hudson Drive in the Beck North Corporate Park in the I-1(Light Industrial) District. The subject property is 2.27 acres. The developer is proposing a 22,000 square foot multi-tenant building.
Mr. Schmitt used the overhead to describe the property at the northeast corner of Hudson Drive and Peary Court in the Beck North Phase 1 Corporate Park. Across the street is another project of Channel Partners called KM Investments of Novi. To the south is SC Novi 1; further to the south is West Park Drive. Further east is Bristol Corners subdivision, but this subject property does not abut this or any other residential. The zoning and Master Planning of the property and its surroundings is I-1. Mr. Schmitt reminded the Planning Commission that one year ago they approved the Magellan Centre (Beck West Corporate Park) which is virtually the same building.
The Planning Review indicated two items that should be addressed by the Planning Commission. The first is the condominium unit boundaries on units 23 and 24 will be combined and the paperwork revised upon the formal approval of the site plan. Mr. Schmitt suggested that the completion of this revision prior to Final Site Plan approval should be listed as a stipulation in the motion. The Planning Commission should also consider finding that the front yard parking is compatible with the other projects in the area.
Wetlands Review showed that the project has a minor encroachment of some Wetlands and requires a Minor Use Permit which will be approved administratively.
Woodlands Review identified some regulated Woodlands on the site, and Ms. Grehl’s minor comments will be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan.
The Planning Department has determined that the berm originally required in the Landscape Review is not necessary. The plans provided to the Planning Commission are updated and reflect the cooperative effort put forth between the Landscape Architect and the Applicant.
The Traffic Review indicated that an Opposite Side Driveway Spacing Waiver is necessary to address the 31 ft. provided, 150 ft. required. Mr. Schmitt showed the view of the property again so that the Planning Commissioners could see the future location of Peary Court A and B and its drive. Given the minimal amount of left turn interlocks expected on a cul de sac, the Waiver is acceptable.
The Engineering Review indicated minor comments that can be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan.
The Façade Review indicated that the percentage of CMU on the building is excessive and requires a Section 9 Façade Waiver. This request is consistent with the other buildings in the corporate park; the Planning Commission can grant the Waiver or ask the Applicant to address and correct this issue.
The Fire Department had no comment.
Brad Klintworth of Channel Partners stated that this is his company’s fifth development in the Beck West/North Corporate Park to be brought before the Planning Commission. His product works well for his company and is very leasable. He asked the Commission for their approval.
Chair Markham closed the Public Hearing as no one from the audience wished to speak.
Member Shroyer asked Mr. Evancoe whether the new Planning Commission Bylaws require the Applicant to provide a letter to the Commission that addresses the need for variances and waivers on their project. Mr. Schmitt interjected that the letter was received after the Planning Commission packets were delivered. He further stated that the Staff’s interpretation of the Bylaws was different than what the Planning Commission may have intended.
Mr. Schultz explained that the Planning Commission’s request is a substantive requirement rather than a procedural requirement and if the Planning Commission is intent on implementing this step in the process it would require a change to the Ordinance. The Applicant tried to respond to the Planning Commission request. This should not be considered an issue that can table the project’s approval; it is more of a deferential, respectful kind of thing. Mr. Schultz concluded that if this is what the Planning Commission really wants then they should consider amending the Ordinance.
Chair Markham appreciates the Applicant’s "Waiver and Variance" response as it provides a smoother transition from the review stage to the Commission stage. Member Shroyer concurred. The Applicant then read his response aloud. In summary, it stated that:
Engineering Review: Comments have been addressed and agreed to on current plans.
Fire Department: Required no changes.
Planning Review: The Applicant indicated that the combination of units 23 and 24 is underway. It will be filed after the Planning Commission approves the Site Plan.
Traffic Review: The Waiver is necessary because 150 feet is not achievable and the traffic volume on Peary Court will not be detrimentally affected by the Waiver. Other minor comments have already been addressed.
Façade Review: The Section 9 Waiver is similar to those requested on four other buildings. The brick look of the CMU material provides a nice appearance to the building.
Landscape Review: The Applicant revised their Plan to address Mr. McGinnis’ comments.
Mr. Klintworth pointed to the red material on the façade board and identified it as the CMU material. It is a 4"x 60" cement block that looks like a jumbo brick. It is precolored and provides a range of color. The other material is cast stone and is too expensive for use on the entire building. Mr. Evancoe explained that a concrete masonry like CMU is often used as a substitute for brick and is less expensive. It is not generally regarded as a high-end product. Member Shroyer approves of its use in industrial parks. He pondered whether the use of CMU in industrial parks may be a change made in the Façade Ordinance Revision.
Member Papp thinks that the building is outstanding and that the Opposite Side Driveway Spacing Waiver is acceptable, especially because of the project’s location on a cul de sac. He supports the project.
Member Paul concurred with Member Papp. She did voice her disapproval of the ongoing need to grant Waivers on driveway locations. She declared that if the Ordinance were worded properly originally these recurring requests for Waivers would not be necessary. She suggested that corporate park driveway issues be addressed up front rather than as the park is built. Mr. Schmitt explained that nothing in the code allows for the pre-approval of driveway locations, especially in the instances of site condominiums. He informed the Planning Commission that the Staff discusses the surrounding corporate park areas with the Applicants at the pre-application meeting and they do try to visualize where the various drives will go so as to minimize this spacing issue if possible. Mr. Schmitt then remarked that had the Applicant not combined units 23 and 24 a total of three or four Waivers would have been necessary. Member Paul stated that other municipalities have written their code to insist driveway locations in corporate parks are predetermined based on meeting the spacing requirements.
Mr. Schultz stated that in Novi there are no minimum lot sizes in commercial or industrial and this may be a root of the spacing problem. He doesn’t discourage the review of that issue, but did concede that it would be a huge change to the Ordinance.
Member Paul approves of the façade materials suggested based upon the project’s location in an industrial park. She is in favor of the project moving forward.
Member Ruyle approves of the project and the Spacing Waiver. He noted that the City has not had any problems with the Applicant’s four other buildings and believes the fifth will fall into place.
Member Avdoulos determined that no tenant has been identified for this project yet. The Applicant’s last project is just now filling up, and his company is realizing increased leasing activity in recent months. They do not anticipate a leasing problem. Member Avdoulos’ comment was triggered by the 75-foot wide asphalt loading area and the paved area to its east. He prefers to minimize the amount of impervious surface on a project. Mr. Klintworth divulged that his company has built over 5,000,000 sf of building throughout the US and they too prefer to limit the costly paving on a site. They have determined that their original design using 90 feet of paving was just as effective when the amount was reduced to 75 feet. He explained that, just as the Planning Commission considers the future usability of a building, his company does too. This building is considered a "flex building" and can accommodate up to four tenants and can be adjusted in response to a tenant’s growth or downsizing.
Member Avdoulos suggested that the dumpster location would be better placed where the east access point is located. He is concerned that the proposed location may not provide turnaround maneuverability. Mr. Klintworth explained that Magellan is laid out the same and that it is functional. The garbage trucks can turn around.
Mr. Klintworth went on to say that he doesn’t support the City’s request for the cross-access driveway stub because he questions the likelihood of its future use. He has suggested that a company be required to give an easement but the actual construction of the stub would be delayed until its use is determined necessary. Member Avdoulos asserted that stubs have been delayed in the past on projects where the best location for them is undeterminable at the time of construction. He remarked that the cross-access feature is meant to reduce the traffic on the road and is therefore considered a safety measure.
Member Avdoulos found that the façade material is appropriate for an industrial building. The Applicant explained that the 12" in 4"x12" refers to the depth of the product, and these will be bearing walls. This material provides for efficient construction. Mr. Klintworth confirmed that rooftop units will be screened by a wall that starts about 20 feet from each end of the building. The wall is set 12 feet out from the center of the building.
Member Avdoulos found the project an appropriate use for the site and
acknowledged the corner landscaping that hugs the corner. He also commented
Member Kocan concurred with Member Avdoulos that there is a lot of impervious land on the project but that the Applicant did offset it to some extent with considerable landscaping in the southwest corner of the building. Mr. Klintworth confirmed that the loading area will be screened with less deciduous trees. Pine trees will be used that will block the view of the loading area and they are shown on a Plan that was just designed and did not make the Planning Commission packets.
Mr. Klintworth expressed that the calculations on the parking lot area have been corrected. Per Mr. Schmitt, Mr. McGinnis will be confirming those calculations at the time of Final Site Plan.
Member Kocan determined that the front yard parking is compatible with the surrounding areas and the Applicant has provided considerable landscaping that reduces the impact of the design. Mr. Schmitt explained to Member Kocan that the likely height of the project’s lighting will be 20 feet tall with 400-watt cutoff fixtures and the building lights will be 90-degree cutoff fixtures. However, this information typically is provided at the time of Final Site Plan. Member Kocan expressed the Implementation Committee’s goal to reduce the current standard in the Ordinance from 25- to perhaps 20-feet.
Member Paul asked why the Planning Commission needs to make a finding that the lighting is acceptable during the Preliminary Site Plan process if the information is typically not provided until the Final Site Plan submittal. Mr. Schmitt explained that the finding is necessary to address the front yard parking and that the inclusion of the word "lighting" in the comment is somewhat misleading. Member Paul asked Mr. Schultz how that segment of the motion should read.
Mr. Schultz told Member Paul that the Planning Commission should focus on the parking issue and indicate that the Applicant has offered a fairly standard lighting package.
Member Sprague will be supporting the Plan. He understands the need for the Waivers and encouraged the Planning Commission to address the variance and waiver issues during the next year of their commission.
Chair Markham’s issues with the site plan have already been addressed. She suggests that the Ordinance should be revised for corporate park driveway spacing standards.
Moved and amended by Member Shroyer, supported by Member Ruyle:
In the matter of Hudson Commerce Center, Site Plan 03-04, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan and the Landscape Plan dated 04-08-03 and included in the packet and a Woodlands Permit subject to: 1) Planning Commission Waiver of Opposite Side Driveway Spacing for south driveway, 31 feet proposed vs. 150 feet required; 2) Section 9 Waiver for excessive percentage of split-faced CMU; 3) Completion of lot combination and condominium documents; 4) Planning Commission finding that the parking areas are compatible with surrounding development; 5) A standard lighting plan be submitted that meets the City’s Ordinances; and 6) The conditions and items in the Staff and Consultant Review Letters be met; for the following reasons: The facility adds to the aesthetics of the Beck North Corporate Park and the Applicant has worked with the City to satisfactorily address the minor comments as listed in the Review Letters, and the landscaping opacity issue on the eastern border has been met.
Member Ruyle asked Member Shroyer to restate the second provision. Member Shroyer responded, "Section 9 Waiver for excessive percentage of split-faced CMU." Member Ruyle confirmed that the Staff’s recommended language for an approving motion called for a berm waiver but the waiver is not necessary.
Member Kocan asked whether a friendly amendment was necessary that included acknowledgement of a different Landscape Plan submittal. Mr. Evancoe stated that the Landscape Plan reviewed by the Planning Commission is the updated plan. Chair Markham clarified that the Landscape Review reflects the old plan but the Planning Commission did receive and review the new plan. Mr. Schultz confirmed for the Commission that as long as they are clear that the motion references the Plan that was in the packet, the motion is fine. Member Kocan confirmed that fifteen pines are indeed on the new plan.
Motion carried 8-0.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. OMNI AUTO CENTER, SITE PLAN NUMBER 02-56
Consideration of the request of J. D. Dinan Company for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 23, on the east side of Novi Road, north of Ten Mile Road in the I-1 (Light Industrial) District. The developer is proposing a 6,000 square foot addition to the existing Collex Collision business. The subject property is 4.217 acres.
Ms. Schmitt addressed the Commission and explained that the Applicant will return for an approval of the Stormwater Management Plan at a later date. She described the project on Novi Road, noting that Catherine Industrial Drive is behind and 10 Mile is south of the property. The properties in the area are zoned I-2 to the north, I-1 to the east and south, and B-3 and OS-1 to the west. This parcel is zoned and Master Planned I-1. Ms. Schmitt stated that body repair and collision shops are not permitted in the I-1 District, and this issue was originally addressed on September 7, 1993 when Pro-tec Collision received a use variance from the ZBA to allow the auto body and paint shop in the shopping center. The variance was limited to specific users and the ZBA retained jurisdiction over the case for future owners. On May 7, 2002 Collex Collision went before the ZBA to request an amendment to the variance to allow for a 6,000 sf addition for the purpose of dismantled vehicle storage.
The Plan Review indicates that the plan meets the intent of the Ordinance and only minor items need to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan.
There are no Wetlands or Woodlands.
The Landscape Review approved the plan, with minor items noted for correction at the time of Final Site Plan.
The Traffic Review also approved the plan, with minor comments to be addressed at Final Site Plan.
The Engineering Review cites that the Stormwater Management Plan is not approved. The Applicant would like to bring an acceptable plan back at a later date.
The Fire Department Review provided an acceptable recommendation.
The Façade Review indicated that the materials are acceptable and a determination must be made that the addition matches the elements on the existing building. The façade board was shared with the Planning Commission.
Lee Mamola of Mamola Associates Architects represented the Applicant at the meeting. He stated that they are not the design professionals who prepared the documents given to the Planning Commission for this site plan. He was the professional that secured the ZBA variances some years back. The applicant, Mr. Dinan, was unable to attend this meeting, so Mr. Mamola came in his stead. He is familiar with the materials that were provided to the Planning Commission, and offered to answer any questions the members have.
Member Paul asked Mr. Mamola what the use of this building will be. He explained that the Collex Collision Company plans to use the space to shield the auto parts from view. This, he said, was a condition of the variance that car parts and stripped-down cars remain out of view. The building is ell-shaped due to some questionable soil conditions in the area. Therefore, when the overhead doors are opened, the contents therein are visible to the adjacent industrial development. The addition will allow for inside vehicle storage. Mr. Mamola also noted that recent infractions received by Collex were for parked cars that were not theirs or their responsibility; the storage addition will help clarify the issue of responsibility.
Member Paul is pleased that the Applicant is trying to comply and is doing well. She does however, have concerns about the building. She has contacted the Ordinance Officers and the Building Department and noted that the issue was addressed on September 7, 1993. Mr. Morrone was concerned that wrecked vehicles were being stored outside and he also had issues with fumes and noise. Concern over the latter two issues seemed to have subsided but the vehicles are still an issue.
Member Paul is not ready to move this site plan forward without the Stormwater Management Plan. The presence of oil and paint on the site and the fact that the operators have received notices of violation, she believes that the Planning Commission has no choice but wait to review this plan with the Stormwater Management Plan intact. Mr. Mamola responded that the violations issue was brought up at the ZBA in 2002 and a Collex representative testified at that time that said violations could not be attributed to the Collex business. The painting process on the site is contained within a pre-engineered booth; paint particles are sucked into a ventilation system. The oil is contained by oil interceptors before it (or even oily slush or snow) can reach the storm system.
Member Paul recited sections from the September 1993 ZBA meeting minutes, wherein Mr. Mamola spoke about the Collex business cleaning itself up. Member Paul sees tonight’s meeting as an opportunity to ensure that all of the City’s Ordinances are being met. She does not support this plan without review of the Stormwater Management Plan. She relinquished the floor.
Mr. Schmitt asked to speak regarding the violations. He originally was the Planner assigned to this project, but it was turned over to Ms. Schmitt when she arrived. Even so, Mr. Schmitt spoke with Code Enforcement Office Alan Amolsch and found out that indeed, the last violation cited on Collex included cars that were not their responsibility. Of the five cars that were theirs, three were drivable and were on their way to being fixed, and two had just been dropped off. Mr. Schmitt reiterated that the proposed addition would clearly identify those cars belonging to the Collex business.
Member Ruyle thought that the tail end of the property was once slated for dedication to the City for a park, based on his recollection of his service on the Parks and Recreation Commission. He asked if the soil issues that Mr. Mamola alluded to were in fact based on the presence of a landfill in that area. Mr. Mamola replied that he was unaware of the park dedication but that the landfill was part of the soil issue he brought up. He also said that the area is stable. Member Ruyle still believes that the Stormwater Plan is necessary for review, especially in light of the fact that a landfill is on the property. He supports the project but he wants to see the Plan. Mr. Mamola reiterated that his client is seeking in effect, a partial approval for site.
Mr. Schultz commented that in reviewing the Stormwater Ordinance, he did not find any language that would prohibit the Planning Commission from approving the plan subject to the Stormwater Plan coming back at a later date. If the Plan would for some reason require site plan changes, then the Applicant would have to come back for that as well. He chose not to speculate on the Stormwater Plan until the City has had a chance to review it.
Member Sprague was pleased that so much of the site plan met with City Ordinance standards. He also is fully aware that this type of business is highly regulated and assumes that this Applicant is compliant with respect to those regulations and therefore the site is probably satisfactory. He asked whether there was any real benefit to approving this Plan prior to the submittal of the Stormwater Plan. Mr. Mamola explained that the addition was initiated by the Collex Collision. There are some ongoing negotiations between this tenant and the landlord; if the Applicant could demonstrate that movement has been made toward garnering the approvals necessary for this addition, those negotiations would probably proceed more efficiently.
Mr. Schmitt reminded the Planning Commission that just a few weeks ago they approved the Henderson Glass remodel without the Stormwater Plan in place. Ultimately no work moves forward without the existence of an approved Stormwater Plan or a waiver. His point was that there is precedent in place.
Member Kocan sees no purpose in approving this Plan and then requesting the Applicant’s return for an approval on a Stormwater Plan. She said that this use and site are considerably larger and more intense than the Henderson Glass remodel. She sees this approval as an opportunity for the Planning Commission to address the environmental issues on the site. She noted there are pending issues, like handicapped parking and striping, which do need to be addressed. The cross-access easement to the east or south can be addressed. A discussion can ensue regarding moving the eastern connection to lot five instead of it running into lot six. Member Kocan drove the site earlier in the day and did not see any loading areas on the north side of the building. Ms. Schmitt concurred, explaining that the loading area is to be done as part of this site plan approval. Member Kocan is in favor of tabling this request until the Stormwater Plan can be reviewed.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Paul:
In the matter of Omni Auto Center Addition, Site Plan SP 02-56A, motion to table the Preliminary Site Plan until the Stormwater Management Plan can accompany the Preliminary Site Plan and the developer can address any additional issues that were brought forward at the table this evening.
Member Avdoulos addressed Mr. Mamola and remarked that it seems the Planning Commission is in favor of the addition but the issue remains that the Stormwater Plan must be reviewed. Member Avdoulos confirmed that the site plan will have to be updated with the Stormwater information, and while he sees the perceived benefit of the Applicant for the approval of the Site Plan only this evening, he does not see where the Planning Commission benefits from such a motion. He supports the tabling.
Member Shroyer agreed with the other Planning Commissioners. He suggested that the tenant be given a copy of the Planning Commission meeting minutes as a testament that the addition is proceeding through the various City channels, but he cautioned that nothing is approved as of yet. Member Shroyer had a few comments to share now so that the Applicant has time to consider them before he returns with a full plan. Member Shroyer is in favor of the addition because he finds the parking area is currently a big mess. He wondered if the northern access road is used as a cut-through for impatient people. He thought the Applicant should consider more closely the tying in to the south as opposed to the east. He would like to see the property landscaped and that hill behind the building removed. He asked if the eastern side of the building was going to be paved. Mr. Mamola indicated it would be, along with the necessary landscape buffer being provided. Member Shroyer reiterated that in general the area needs cleaning up and that he looks to the addition to assist the Applicant in maintaining the exterior cleanliness. He is in favor of the plan providing the Stormwater Plan is acceptable.
Member Papp cited the significance of the Stormwater Plan, but he also doesn’t want to facilitate another vacant storefront. He posed the question to the Planning Commission, what would it hurt to approve this plan subject to a viable Stormwater Plan? The Applicant could go back to his tenant and prove that the process is moving along, and in the mean time, no work on the project would move forward because the Stormwater Plan has to be reviewed first. If the Applicant returns to the tenant without proof of movement, who’s to say the tenant won’t just give up and look for somewhere else to run his business. Member Papp will not support the tabling.
Member Sprague wondered whether an affirmative nod made in the motion that suggests that the Preliminary Site Plan will be approved subject to an acceptable Stormwater Plan would bode well for the Applicant. He concurred with Member Papp that the Planning Commission is going to see the Plan again either way. Mr. Mamola agreed that something to that effect would be helpful. He reminded the Planning Commission that the ZBA variance was granted back in 2002 and the tenant is getting antsy. At minimum Member Sprague would like to see affirming language added to the motion.
Mr. Schultz doesn’t see any real difference between approving the Site Plan contingent on a viable Stormwater Plan, and tabling the Site Plan with affirming language. The Applicant has provided a plan that meets the intent of the Ordinance and Mr. Schultz sees no harm in approving it with the contingency. Either method – tabling or approving – is defensible. Mr. Schultz said the question remains what does the Planning Commission want to do for this Applicant? Member Sprague stated that he is on the fence.
Member Ruyle agrees with Member Papp and will not support the motion to table. The Applicant has met the requirements and the Planning Commission will have an opportunity to disapprove the Plan when the site plan returns with its Stormwater Plan.
Member Avdoulos appreciates the good discussion that is coming from the Commission, but he does not want to get into a position that Applicants start bringing plans forth for partial approvals. He does not want to start a precedent. There is a precedent that the Stormwater Plan must accompany the site plan. While he agrees with members Papp and Sprague that the plan cannot move forward without the Stormwater Plan, Member Avdoulos prefers that the site plan return intact for consideration.
Chair Markham asked how far off the Stormwater Plan is from being ready to submit. Mr. Mamola thought it was at least several weeks away. Mr. Mamola expressed that timing is a concern and that the Applicant will have to come back regardless. He asked whether an Applicant continues through the review process at a faster pace if the plan has been tabled. Chair Markham asked Mr. Evancoe to elaborate.
Mr. Evancoe thought that there are a couple of changes that the Applicant has to make for resubmittal. The Planning Department pledges to move projects along in a manner that is fair to everybody.
Chair Markham indicated that she has needed to use the services of the Collex Collision Company in the past. Her impression of the operation, the painting of vehicles, is that it is clean. She also supported the notion that the company does their best to keep cars from piling up in the lot; she returned just two hours later after dropping off her car to retrieve something and her car had already been moved to inside the building.
Chair Markham does not support the approval of this plan as part of a piece-meal process. She could vote either way on this plan, but she tended to think that tabling would be better to give the Applicant the chance to make his changes. Mr. Evancoe interjected that in essence this Plan would go back to the end of the line as it would be unfair to the other applicants if this plan was "pushed" through. Chair Markham recounted that one upcoming meeting falls within a holiday time frame, which means that no public hearings will be on that Agenda. She asked Mr. Evancoe if, for the purposes of Agenda placement, the plan comes in at a lever higher than a brand new plan. Mr. Evancoe indicated that it did not; the Staff would have to solicit all new review letters on a resubmitted plan.
Member Ruyle confirmed first that he could ask, then he asked Mr. Mamola when the Collex lease expired. Mr. Mamola asked Ms. Kim Patterson of J.D. Dinan Company to answer. She responded that they are currently in negotiations and the lease expires in spring of 2004. Member Ruyle does not want the City to have another empty building so he supports moving the project forward.
Member Paul agrees that she doesn’t want more vacant space. She agrees more with Member Avdoulos, that the Planning Commission cannot approve partial plans. She asked hypothetically if the Commission would approve the plan without a parking agreement or façade review. This site contains gasoline and oil, among other things, which makes it environmentally sensitive. She feels that the Planning Commission is being asked to do the planning part for the Applicant. She believes the Applicant can show the minutes from this meeting to the lessee explain that they need to come up with a Stormwater Plan. She will not support approving this Plan in its current form.
Chair Markham was reminded of the poster that exclaims,
"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an
Member Shroyer asked that the motion be reread.
Mr. Schmitt stated that the motion is to table the project until the Stormwater Management Plan is ready and the Applicant is able to bring the project back to the Planning Commission.
Motion carried 6-2. (Yes: Paul, Shroyer, Sprague, Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham; No: Papp, Ruyle)
2. APPROVAL OF MARCH 26, 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commissioners provided their suggestions for corrections to the minutes. Member Paul also asked Mr. Evancoe whether it was too late for these minutes to be forwarded to City Council for their consideration during their FY 2003/04 Budget review process. She stated that sub-committee meetings were oftentimes scheduled quickly so as to accommodate the timeframe in which the Planning Commission was given to prepare their Budget request. She stated that she was concerned that this documentation was not provided to City Council for their review. She asked Mr. Evancoe to report back to the Planning Commission at the next meeting as to whether the City Council was given the opportunity to review the Planning Commission minutes pertaining to the FY 2003/04 Budget process.
Motioned by Member Kocan, supported by Member Paul:
Motion to approve the March 26, 2003 minutes with revisions stated at the table as well as Member Paul’s comments to be relayed to Staff to finalize these minutes.
Motion carried 7-0. Member Ruyle abstained, indicating his absence from this meeting.
3. APPROVAL OF APRIL 16, 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Motioned by Member Kocan, supported by Member Paul:
Motion to approve the April 16, 2003 minutes as supplied at the table.
Motion carried 7-0. Member Shroyer abstained, indicating his absence from this meeting.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals for Commission Action.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. DISCUSSION REGARDING PROPOSED TEXT AMENDMENT LANGUAGE, "SPECIAL ACCOMMODATION USE"
Mr. Schultz reported that a few years ago an issue came before City Council regarding State Licensed Residential Facilities that were just discussed in the Daycare Ordinance segment of this evening’s meeting. Mr. Fisher discussed with City Council the general requirements of the Federal Fair Housing Act which ties into the State Act that oversees those uses.
Mr. Fisher had mentioned an Ordinance provision that was developed in response to the various Federal Fair Housing suits filed involving the elderly and disabled. It was an Ordinance form that was adopted to deal with accommodating those kinds of uses. Typically there is a denial of a rezoning request followed by a lawsuit and there is never an appropriate resolution in anybody’s favor. This Ordinance revision sets up a process for when one of these users considers moving into the community. It essentially acts as a Special Land Use, and has been brought forward in conjunction with the Daycare Ordinance. It directs the Applicant to apply for an approval other than a rezoning request. The form requires the Applicant to provide the details on their use and a study that supports the need for the use (this is the main issue in any kind of challenge). This process allows the community the ability to impose conditions and standards to ensure the use is as compatible as it can be with the surrounding uses, because usually it is a deviation. It allows for a give-and-take process in the development of a project’s fruition rather than the City just denying a rezoning request. It establishes a record that serves as proof that a City did make an effort to review the proposed use; without this procedure the City’s attempt to accommodate an Applicant is less clear, especially in those cases that result in a rezoning denial or ZBA use variance. With this process the City Council is the ruling authority. A longer written explanation can be provided if the Planning Commission deems it necessary, in the event they decide to hold a Public Hearing on the issue.
Mr. Schultz confirmed that the information has already been before the Implementation Committee, though no changes were recommended. Member Kocan agreed that this information was reviewed by the Implementation Committee but because it was dated 2001 they asked Mr. Schultz to review the information to confirm all the contents contained therein still applied. Per Member Kocan, Mr. Schultz felt that it was the right thing for the City to do, to put this on the books because it supports the codes legally and the City allows for the special accommodation. It needs a section number and to be scheduled for a Public Hearing at a future date. Mr. Schultz asked again whether the Planning Commission wants some further presentation on the background and the purpose. Member Kocan suggested he provide background material at the time of the Public Hearing, as this is being done to comply with the State mandate or regulation. She indicated that Mr. Schultz’s material may be rather intense but he clarified that it is not a book.
Motioned by Member Kocan, supported by Member Paul:
Motion to schedule a Special Accommodation Use Ordinance for a Public Hearing at a future date as appropriate.
Member Papp asked whether any such homes currently exist in Novi. Mr. Schultz responded none that would have gone through this kind of a process.
Motion carried 8-0.
2. SYNOPSIS OF CITY COUNCIL’S CHANGES TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION BUDGET FOR FY 2003/04.
Chair Markham requested this discussion for the benefit of the entire Planning Commission. She noticed that City Council cut funding for the Greenways Plan, the Natural Features Study and the Demographic Profile. She asked whether the intent is for the Planning Commission to perform those studies in house or not at all. Mr. Evancoe replied that the Greenways Plan is a study that the City Council does not want done. His understanding was that a past plan was underway but that the process did not go well and therefore the City Council was clear in requesting that the plan be removed from this budget. The other two studies are anticipated but are not funded, implying that the work would be performed in house. Mr. Evancoe did express his concern that the Department has a lack of human resources necessary to perform that much work.
Member Shroyer asked whether Mr. Evancoe wanted further guidance from the Master Plan and Zoning Committee in determining a prioritization of the in house studies. Mr. Evancoe answered that the prioritization will become clear in future meetings and that the members’ input is more than welcome. Member Shroyer commented that their next meeting is May 21, 2003 and it will be discussed at that time.
Member Ruyle explained that he was not made aware that the City Council budget meeting was taking place. Had he known, he would have been present for the proceeding to lend support to the Planning Department. He suggested that in the future the Planning Commission be told about budget meetings so that the Planning Commission can turn out in force. As citizens of the City they have the right to address the City Council in support of the Department.
Mr. Evancoe responded that he understood the spirit in which Member Ruyle’s comments were made and it is appreciated. Mr. Evancoe noted that all of the budget meeting dates were set in February and had he been aware that any of the Planning Commission members wanted to be reminded of those dates he would have made the effort to keep them informed. He described standing before the City Council and defending the Planning Commission budget. He tried to explain the intentions of the Commission and scope of the various studies. He fielded numerous questions and his presence before the Council was about a half-hour in length.
Member Paul asked if those studies that have been approved for consultant completion (Thoroughfare Plan, Landscape Plan) can be delivered to them now in order to free up the Department to work on the Natural Features Study or the Demographic Profile. She suggested that creative ways be considered to address some of the Master Plan goals to be accomplished prior to the end of the budget session. Mr. Evancoe said that some shuffling can be done, and that the RFP has already gone out for the Transportation and Thoroughfare Plan. A mandatory meeting will be held with all respondents to the RFP to discuss the project and its parameters. The contract will be awarded shortly thereafter. Mr. Evancoe stated that the Department will provide some input and involvement but generally the Plan will be developed by the Contractor.
Member Paul reminded the Planning Commission that Engineer Brian Coburn was slated to be involved in the development of the Thoroughfare Plan. She asked if, since some parts may be done by the Staff and others by the Consultant and the budget is not yet finalized, the Planning Commission and Department can be creative in a presentation at the final City Council budget meeting and actually ask for more money for the studies that City Council gave partial approval on. She suggested that the Planning Commission goals be re-represented. Mr. Evancoe thought that the decision to send a representative should be up to the Commission, but from the Staff’s perspective, the presentation has been made and the City Council has made its decision. The purpose of Monday’s meeting is largely to adopt what has been previously determined. Mr. Evancoe did concur that nothing is over until it’s over; he gave his best shot but if the Planning Commission wants a representative to make another pitch they are certainly free to do so. Member Paul stated that in the past members of the Budget and CIP Committees have gone before the City Council. This year that was not done nor was it ever represented as a possibility to this Planning Commission.
Member Paul suggested that if there are any studies that City Council may support being performed completely by a Consultant, maybe it is worth going back in front of City Council to make the pitch. She considered Member Sprague for the job, as this is his area of expertise and he sits on both the Budget and CIP Committees. She suggested that the Planning Commission open up a dialogue on the subject.
Member Ruyle briefly told the Planning Commission that on Sunday May 25, 2003 at the 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services the Brightmoor Church will honor members of the Armed Forces. He also clarified that the days were improperly listed in the schedule of anticipated meetings.
Member Kocan also advised Mr. Evancoe that the Planning Commission minutes are supposed to be on the website. Mr. Evancoe responded that the minutes were expected to be placed on the web by Sheryl Walsh.
The item, "Status Report regarding Oakpointe Church phasing Plan by Mr. Gene Carroll, AIA, Principal, Neuman Smith & Associates" was removed from the Agenda." There were no other Special Reports.
Mr. Wayne Hogan addressed the Planning Commission and announced that he had just returned from a Senate Meeting in Lansing that dealt with the Special Accommodation topic that was discussed earlier in the evening. He said the meeting dealt with parity in mental health insurance being the same as medical health insurance. This is the root of the problem that causes senior citizens with Alzheimer’s and dementia to live in poor conditions. There are 780 group homes in Oakland County, several of which are in Novi. In most situations the public does not know about them. There are no police runs that go to them and they are docile situations. He asked the Planning Commission to take the opportunity to clamp down on the licensee because that’s the only way the condition of a nursing home can be monitored. The Federal Government (Health and Human Services) has a federal rating system that classifies every nursing home in America. Those ratings show that there is quite a bit of work that needs to be done. Mr. Hogan’s point is cities need to keep aware that the living conditions remain appropriate in their communities’ group homes.
Mr. Hogan continued that he volunteers in the Rights Department of the Community Mental Health Authority, and they regularly monitor group homes, nursing homes and day programs, both licensed and unlicensed. He asked that if the Planning Commission hears of any issues relating to these sites they should contact the above-referenced Authority as they have the right to monitor them 24 hours per day. He concluded by stressing that it is important that everyone assist in monitoring these businesses.
Chair Markham closed the Audience Participation segment of the meeting.
Motioned by Member Paul, seconded by Member Ruyle:
Motion to adjourn the meeting.
Motion carried 8-0. The meeting adjourned at or about 11:30 p.m.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
WED 5/28/03 PLANNING COMMISSION 7:30 PM
MON 6/02/03 CITY COUNCIL 7:30 PM
Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, May 21, 2003
Signature on File
Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant
Date Approved: May 28, 2003
Amended areas shown in gray