|View Agenda for this meeting
View Action Summary for this meeting
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Nagy called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.
Present: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle, Shroyer, Sprague
Also Present: Barb McBeth, Planner; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Ben Croy, Engineer; Mike McGinnis, Landscape Architect; Tom Schultz, Attorney; Peter Albertson, Façade Consultant
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Markham led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Paul had requested at the last meeting that Mr. Evancoe report back what minutes pertaining to the Planning Commission discussions of the budget were provided to City Council for their consideration in the Budget FY 2003/04 process. She asked if this item could be placed on the June 11th Agenda under Matters for Discussion. Chair Nagy stated that the Planning Commission Officers are going to meet with Mr. Evancoe and she would ask him about it at that time and would relay the information to Member Paul, either personally or at an upcoming meeting.
Member Kocan asked whether, under Matters for Discussion, the Planning Commission could discuss adding another meeting date to the August calendar since only one meeting is currently scheduled.
Mr. Schultz suggested that the Special Report regarding Oakpointe Church be removed from the Agenda. Chair Nagy requested that the minutes reflect that the Petitioner made this request to be removed from the Agenda.
Member Paul asked if the Staff could report on the aluminum company that was cited in the Novi News. She asked that this be placed under Matters for Discussion.
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Shroyer:
Motion to approve the Agenda as amended.
Motion carried 9-0.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
There was no correspondence to share at this evening’s meeting.
Ms. McBeth informed the Planning Commission that David Evancoe, Darcy Schmitt and Lynne Paul attended a SEMCOG seminar earlier in the day regarding water resources’ protection in local plans, ordinances and programs. The attendees gave a favorable review to this, the first seminar of a three part series; the Planning Commission will be notified when the second in the series is accepting reservations.
Member Ruyle informed the Planning Commission that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee recently met to continue their work on the Master Plan Update. He speculated that with Member Markham chairing the Committee they should be able to complete the Master Plan Update and present it to the Planning Commission next year as planned.
There were no presentations at this evening’s meeting.
CONSENT AGENDA- REMOVALS AND APPROVALS
There was no Consent Agenda for consideration.
There were no Public Hearings scheduled for this meeting.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. TCF BANK, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-19
The Planning Commission considered the request of Robert Griffore of TCF Bank for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 16, in the Westmarket Square shopping center on the northwest corner of Grand River Avenue and Beck Road in the B-2 (Community Business) District. The developer is proposing a 6,000 square foot single-story bank branch with six drive-through transaction stations. The subject property is 2.5 acres.
Ms. McBeth used an overhead projection to locate the site on the northwest corner of Beck Road and Grand River. The property is zoned Community Business as are the surrounding properties. They are Master Planned Local Business. The parcel is currently vacant, as is the parcel just north of it. There is also a stormwater detention facility to the north. The parcel across Beck Road is currently in use as industrial, but is zoned and Master Planned for Office.
Ms. McBeth indicated that the bank would have six drive-through lanes and a 6,000 sf building. Banking is an acceptable use for the padsite. The Planning Review indicates that the building conforms to the Ordinance, and that the Petitioner will be providing more parking than required. The Planning Department recommends the deferral of the sidewalk installation along Beck Road until such time that the Beck Road Interchange is finalized and the need for pedestrian walkways in the area has been determined. The Planning Review indicated that there are minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
The Landscape Review noted the lack of a four-foot landscaped area along the building in the area of the drive-through banking. A Planning Commission waiver would be required for this design.
The Traffic, Engineering and Fire Department reviews all noted minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
Ms. McBeth showed the façade board. The building will be brick with lighter brick accent bands. The roof will be made of asphalt shingles. There are some EIFS and cast stone materials on the building.
The Applicant did write a letter to the City indicating that TCF Bank would comply with the items noted in the various review letters.
Mr. Michael Rein of Bowers and Rein Associates addressed the Planning Commission. He introduced Mr. Matt Slicker of Hubbell, Roth and Clark and Mr. Larry Czekaj of TCF Bank. Mr. Rein explained that as part of the Development Agreement between TCF Bank and the shopping center, this site plan must provide additional parking to accommodate future retail and restaurant uses.
Member Papp asked why this building is facing north when the other buildings in the area face south. Mr. Rein explained that by facing north they can keep the parking (rather than the drive-through windows) closer to the area of the proposed restaurant where it would be better suited. The TCF Bank building has acceptable elevations on all sides and ultimately the Petitioner decided on this design. The Bank will not add another access from Beck Road. Mr. Slicker explained that the original Beck Road interchange design was a cloverleaf but has since been modified to be a single point interchange. The Petitioner has confirmed with MDOT that this TCF Bank design is acceptable to them.
Member Papp asked whether it is standard for a bank building not to have a loading area. Mr. Rein explained that aside from their initial move in, TCF Bank will not have deliveries. Further, the money trucks prefer to park as close to the front door as possible. Ms. McBeth remarked that she has been working with the bank to remove two to four parking spaces near the back door and stripe the area for loading/unloading. It is an Ordinance requirement for the building to have a loading/unloading area.
Mr. Rein also noted that there is no dumpster, as it is standing operating procedure for TCF Bank to shred their garbage and dispose of it off the property on a daily basis.
Member Shroyer asked how it would be handled if a new tenant takes over the building and needs a dumpster. Ms. McBeth explained that it would be handled administratively and would require the new tenant to conform to the trash receptacle standards set forth in the Ordinance. Ms. McBeth commented that the Implementation Committee has new trash receptacle Ordinance language to share with the Planning Commission later in the evening.
Member Shroyer asked whether any bank provides landscaping along the drive-through side of their building. Ms. McBeth agreed that it wouldn’t be very functional. Mr. McGinnis also noted that the lane may also service the ATM machine. He was unaware of any bank that offered landscaping in that location.
Member Shroyer asked whether landbanking was ever considered. He also noted that if TCF Bank delayed the parking lot it would require additional landscaped islands when it does get installed to conform to the upcoming Landscape Ordinance revision. Ms. McBeth explained that because this is excessive parking and not required parking, the consideration of landbanking does not apply. The Petitioner prefers to put the parking in now to service the customers in that area. Mr. Rein also mentioned that there is a contractual obligation between the shopping center and TCF Bank to provide this parking as part of a phased plan. Even though it may seem like excessive parking now it will be considered appropriate at the time of shopping center buildout. Mr. Rein further explained that the design of the parking lot is meant to facilitate the movement of traffic throughout the entire parking area of the shopping center, both now and in the future.
Attorney Tom Schultz stated that this is yet another site plan designed with excessive parking. Currently the Ordinance provides minimum but not maximum parking space standards. He suggested that the Planning Commission may want to consider discussing that concept. He noted that only the Stormwater Management Ordinance addresses excess parking, and only then by requesting that the Petitioner minimize its runoff on the site. He doubted that this statement in the Stormwater Ordinance is powerful enough to change anything on this site plan, but at least the excess parking will be looked at administratively from that standpoint. Mr. Schultz confirmed that the Planning Commission can request that the parking be deferred but they can’t require it.
Ms. McBeth told Member Shroyer that the City has not received any plans yet for the restaurant site. The Petitioners’ representatives were not aware of any future plans for the restaurant site either.
Member Shroyer expressed that he does want some kind of sidewalk from the Petitioner, even if it only goes to the northern restaurant site. Ms. McBeth confirmed that the delay of the sidewalk portion of the project is meant to provide MDOT with enough time to determine whether this area will be pedestrian friendly in their final interchange design; if pedestrian traffic is not wanted there in the final design, it makes no sense to have this Petitioner provide a sidewalk now. Additionally, waiting for the interchange to be designed and completed would improve the sequencing of providing a sidewalk around the agreed-upon curb cuts.
Mr. McGinnis indicated that he has spoken with the Petitioner regarding the new Landscape Ordinance language, even though it doesn’t apply to his site plan. Member Shroyer noted that the Petitioner incorporated the new setbacks into his plan. Mr. Rein also agreed that the Petitioner would add the additional landscaped islands to interrupt runs of 15+ parking spaces in the parking lot in conformance with the new Landscape Ordinance language. Member Shroyer thanked him for his decision.
Member Avdoulos asked whether the entire project (Westmarket Square as a whole) met or exceeded their required shopping center parking standards. He noted that the Petitioner willingly offered to remove spaces for landscaped islands and loading areas. The Petitioner responded that prior to TCF Bank there was one additional space; with TCF Bank only requiring 40 spaces but providing 103 there are now 64 additional spaces. Member Avdoulos was also concerned that in the area of two-way traffic, parking, and drive-through banking traffic, too much congestion will result from this site plan design. He suggested that perhaps a landscaped island could be relocated. Mr. Rein responded that the (Ordinance required) need for six car-stacking lanes is unlikely; the banking industry would suggest that three car-stacking lanes are sufficient. However, the current placement of the landscaped island is meant to break up the expanse of pavement and channel the traffic as opposed to allowing a bigger area in which the traffic can disperse.
Member Avdoulos countered that perhaps the three parking spaces to the east could be used to provide an ell-shaped island. His suggestion was meant to alleviate the potential for stacked cars to get hit by cars leaving their parking stalls. Mr. Rein agreed that he could use two of the parking spaces for an ell-shaped landscaping design.
Member Avdoulos then asked for clarification on the loading zone. Ms. McBeth said that it would likely be on the west side of the building. Mr. Rein suggested that a combination loading/landscape area be designed that is a win-win situation for everybody. Member Avdoulos agreed that the four-foot landscaping on the drive-through side of the building is not necessary and he would support the Planning Commission granting a waiver. Member Avdoulos also approved of the building’s orientation based on the anticipation of a restaurant to the north.
Member Avdoulos also queried about the egress for the bank, and asked the Petitioner to respond to the Birchler Arroyo review letter, which seemed to suggest that the plan shows the proposed Beck Road rather than the existing Beck Road. Mr. Rein responded that they have moved an internal egress further west, and if the Traffic review is suggesting a turning radius greater than ten feet then TCF Bank will redesign this area. Member Avdoulos thought the comment referred to the Beck Road area. The Petitioner confirmed that the roadwork was designed using existing features and that they will adapt to the new Beck Road when it finally happens.
Member Avdoulos noted that the east entrance to the shopping center is difficult and deceiving for those traveling south on Beck Road. Drivers are likely to hit the shoulder and now there is a dangerous pot hole as well. He theorized that more traffic will use that entrance once the bank, restaurant and additional retail are built and that perhaps this entrance should be updated now for safety’s sake. Engineer Ben Croy responded that the City is involved in the redesign and that traffic and safety is being considered.
Member Kocan asked Ms. McBeth to clarify the handicapped parking for the bank. Ms. McBeth explained that the entire shopping center provides enough handicapped parking and that while it appears that the bank is deficient by one space, in effect there are enough appropriately located barrier-free parking spaces throughout the entire development.
Member Kocan asked Landscape Architect Mike McGinnis whether the Applicant over-landscaped in other areas to compensate for the proposed interior landscape waiver. He responded that they have provided a 15-foot strip along the west side of the building, and a ten-foot strip on the east, both of which exceed the requirements. Mr. McGinnis has also requested some additional planting on the east side. He believes the plan is adequate.
Member Kocan stated that the Landscape Plan and the general Site Plan do not both show a landscaped area in the parking lot along Beck Road. Additionally, Member Kocan wondered if the island shown on the Site Plan should be placed at 15 spaces rather than at 18 spaces. Later she confirmed with Mr. McGinnis that the City would request the island to be placed more at the halfway point.
Member Kocan asked the Petitioner how they dispose of their trash that is other than shredded financial information. Mr. Rein explained that their maintenance contract calls for the contractor to remove all of the garbage from the site on a nightly basis.
Member Kocan asked whether a bond is needed to ensure the future placement of the sidewalk/bike path. Mr. Schultz responded that the issue is going to be a City Council deferral (not a waiver) so the Planning Commission will not have to require a bond. Chair Nagy thought that the Planning Commission had previously acted in that capacity on a different site plan request. Mr. Schultz agreed to review his information, but he indicated that in any event it is a City Council action rather than a Planning Commission determination. Mr. Schmitt then recounted for Chair Nagy that the 14 Mile and Haggerty site that she referred to was denied site plan approval so there was never a bond request, waiver or deferral. Chair Nagy stated that she thought the Planning Commission did make an agreement with the developer. Mr. Schultz stated that there may have been a discussion, but the action is determined by the City Council. Member Kocan stated that she still wants the sidewalk/bike path deferral with a bond or escrow stipulation to be part of the Planning Commission motion. She prefers that the Planning Commission remain consistent with their previous actions in similar situations.
Member Sprague supported the landscaping waiver. He would prefer to see the west lot be deferred until such time that the developments come to fruition in that area. He questioned whether the additional parking spaces were really necessary at all. Mr. Rein explained that the excess parking will definitely function as overflow parking for the restaurant, and based on the success of the center, parking will be at a premium when the center is fully developed. The parking may also be designated as employee parking. Mr. Rein reiterated that the TCF Bank is contractually obligated to provide the parking.
Member Sprague asked whether the parking area that doesn’t truly function for the bank could be kept green until its future need. Mr. Rein answered that the bank, being first to develop in the area, will provide the parking now so that as other sections of the area become incapacitated with construction there will still be functional parking in the area. The Petitioner also stated that leaving a landscaped area out in no-man’s land without appropriate drainage could become an issue as well.
Member Markham supported the landscaping waiver. She directed her next comment to the City in regard to the sidewalk/bike path. She believes that it is conceivable that bicyclers would use a safe pathway to cross the expressway in the Beck Road area, which is closer to residential than the Novi Road interchange. She stated that a future pathway should be planned for and should be designed eight feet wide rather than five feet wide so as to accommodate bicycles. She asserted that Parks and Recreation would support this concept, and that City Council, in their review of this information, should consider this an opportunity to keep the two sides of our Community connected. She reiterated that now is the time to consider this pathway, during the design phase of the interchange. Ms. McBeth added that the Master Plan is the document that prescribes bike paths and sidewalks, and that perhaps during the Master Plan Update this information could be reviewed.
Member Paul liked the building but agreed with Member Papp’s assessment of the orientation. Jake’s Seafood is a restaurant that just went out of business in the center, and now two more restaurants are being proposed. Member Paul thinks that the bank building should be built for the here and now, as the future development of restaurants may never occur. She stated that constructing the bank as currently designed places the building backwards to the existing project as well as being backwards from the line of vision from Beck Road or Grand River. She noted that so far this evening the Planning Commission has altered the bank’s parking, they’ve discussed the landscaped islands, loading zones, and barrier-free parking. She wondered whether the Petitioner has gotten the gist that the Planning Commission is disappointed with the amount of parking that is being presented. Member Paul stated that she frequents this center, and that there is ample parking at Kroger and Home Depot. She stated that Blockbuster is full at night. She would like to see the Petitioner re-orient the building and landbank or abandon the unnecessary parking spaces.
Member Paul reiterated that placing the bank backwards is a big mistake. She cited the lush amenities at the TCF Bank on Ford Road (landscaping, decorative lamps) and compared it to the drive-through lanes of this project, which is what will be in the line of vision in what Member Paul considers the area that will function as the front of the building. She would hate to see the Petitioner put in all of this work and have it not work out. She fears that we are setting ourselves up for failure. She supports the bank coming to Novi but does not support the building configuration. She asked the Petitioner to comment.
Mr. Rein reiterated that they have looked at the physical relationships provided by the various designs. If the proposed restaurant sites are never developed as such, it is still the intent of the Master Plan to have two buildings develop in the area north of the bank. The thought process of both the Petitioner and the shopping center developer was to make use of the economy of scale by placing the parking in the proposed manner. This design also serves to buffer the drive-through traffic from the area. The Petitioner also contended that southbound Beck Road traffic will see the actual front of the building, despite the heavy landscape that the bank will be providing. The Petitioner does not see negativity to this site design.
Mr. Rein also asserted that the island landscaping is a new requirement that they just heard about this evening. They have agreed to work with the City in meeting these new standards. Member Paul stated that she appreciated his efforts. He went on to say that the landscaping changes agreed to at the meeting are not meant to address landscaping deficiencies; rather they represent the Applicant’s willingness to work with the City.
Mr. Rein also readdressed the direction that the proposed building will face. Citing their location among quite a few buildings, the bank is confident that their exposure makes use of the circulation within the center and the southbound Beck Road traffic.
Member Paul stated that she did not describe the property as having deficient parking but rather an abundance of parking.
Member Paul asked Mr. Slicker whether Hubbell, Roth and Clark was the overall designer of the site. He responded that his company did the overall engineering plans for the site in conjunction with an architect other than Bowers and Rein. She commented about the erosion in the grass on the site, and referred back to the seminar she just attended at which they encouraged bioretention areas. This concept involves the placement of aggregate and curb cuts that facilitates water "run-in" not "run-off." Member Paul counted several trees on the shopping center property that are dead, and she believes that the sea of asphalt is in part to blame for this condition. She recommended the use of bioretention areas instead of islands on this project to prevent a similar problem from occurring at the bank. She asked whether this is something to which the Applicant would be amenable. Mr. Slicker said this is the first he has heard of this concept but that they could look at the information. Member Paul stated that replacing landscaping is costly, but so is putting in all the asphalt. She stated that the Petitioner is not interested in landbanking, and she recommends that the Implementation Committee heed Mr. Schultz’s advice to consider a maximum parking space standard for an Ordinance revision.
Member Paul stated that since the Applicant has been agreeable in addressing the landscaping, she thought he may also agree to this bioretention concept, which is being used regularly in Washtenaw County. This method cleans the water, slows it down and saves the landscaping. It could be a win-win situation for everybody. Member Paul agreed to forward the information she received at the seminar to the Petitioner.
Member Paul asked who the owner of the building will be. Mr. Rein explained that it is a condominium pad site; therefore only the building will be owned by the bank, and the property is owned by Jonna and the hospital. Member Paul appreciated the Petitioner’s response letter that addressed the Fire Department and Façade reviews.
Member Paul asked how the air conditioning units, the gas meter and the water meter would be screened. The Petitioner has proposed using a hedge.
Member Ruyle commented that all of the reviews were positive. He does not have a problem with the building facing north. He supported a positive motion on the project.
Chair Nagy stated that the Fire Marshal’s letter be read into the record. Marshal Michael Evans’ letter states:
"The above plan has been reviewed and approval is recommended with the following items being corrected on the next plan submittal.
1. The proposed hydrant to be relocated that is northwest of the bank is shown with a 30’ long, 6" watermain. The maximum length of a 6" fire hydrant main stub is 25’. This watermain shall be increased to 8"."
Mr. Rein indicated that the change will be on the Final Site Plan.
Chair Nagy appreciated the Applicant’s willingness to work with the City on this project. She stated her concern about the Planning Commission being asked to approve a plan that hinges on other agreements to which the Planning Commission is not privileged. She wondered what will happen if the future developments never take place. She referred back to the excessive parking on the project and commented that if the future developments don’t materialize, the site is stuck with a great deal of impervious surface.
Chair Nagy is also concerned about the traffic on the site. From a safety standpoint, she stated that her preference would be for the bank to flip its drive-through to the other side and move the building further south. She asked the Petitioner to clarify why they didn’t go with such a design. Mr. Rein responded that if the building was flipped the stacking area would move and parking spaces would be lost or would not be useful to anyone other than the bank. Chair Nagy stated that flipping the drive-through to the north would still result in 28 spaces to the south, 18 on the east and with the spaces around the building, there is a total of 55 spaces. Mr. Rein explained that when you design a site you have to design the whole site. The Traffic Engineer requested that the stacking lanes be isolated from the main aisle. Once Beck Road is reconfigured, a majority of traffic will enter from Beck Road and the building will be exposed accordingly. All of these issues were used as rationale for the design of this site. Chair Nagy appreciated the Petitioner’s comments and his willingness to work with the City, but she stated that if nothing is built to the north the City is stuck with a sea of asphalt.
Chair Nagy asked Mr. Schultz if a Petitioner is required to meet the terms of our Ordinances even if an agreement exists between a Petitioner and another landowner. Mr. Schultz replied that if an Ordinance changed and required more landscaped islands, for example, the existing site would become non-conforming. The site wouldn’t need to be changed unless the area is included in a future site plan submitted after an Ordinance revision. Chair Nagy confirmed with Mr. Schultz that the upcoming Landscape Ordinance revision will have to be adhered to by the future developments in the shopping center.
Mr. Schultz further clarified that while Mr. Rein has pointed out that the site plan proposes a certain number of parking spaces in response to a contractual obligation, it should not be the Planning Commission’s focus. He continued that the City doesn’t normally ask why a developer is proposing a particular development or number of parking spaces. Chair Nagy stated that she disagreed. Mr. Schultz then said that perhaps asking whether these issues can figure into the ultimate decision is a different question. The City operates under an Ordinance bound by State law that says if a plan meets Ordinance Requirements we approve it. The question is really not whether the bank needs the spaces, since our Ordinance doesn’t allow us to make that inquiry. The question is, "Does the plan meet the Ordinance requirements?" Stated differently, is there an Ordinance provision that the Commission could point to that would uphold their denial of the plan, or could the Commission approve the plan under the condition that the Petitioner remove a certain number of spaces? Mr. Schultz’s point is nothing exists in the Ordinance that allows a denial or approval conditional upon the removal of parking spaces. Chair Nagy stated that she understood and that there will probably be future changes to the Ordinance.
Moved and amended by Member Kocan, supported by Member Shroyer:
In the matter of the request of Robert Griffore of TCF National Bank, SP 03-19, motion grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan with the following specifications: 1) Dedication of a loading zone area; 2) Planning Commission Waiver for Interior Building Landscaping on the drive-through side as additional landscaping is provided elsewhere; 3) Positive recommendation to City Council for deferral of an eight-foot bike path until interchange plans are finalized, with a bond or escrow as appropriate; 4) Without a re-orientation, the addition of two parking lot islands on the north side and one additional island along Beck Road; 5) Also without a re-orientation, the redesign of the island west of the drive-through lanes; and 6) Subject to comments in the Staff’s and Consultants’ reports and discussion at the table this evening.
Member Markham stated she was not comfortable with the first stipulation that Member Kocan listed in the motion, which was: "Strong encouragement of the Planning Commission to re-examine the configuration of the building to have it front Grand River for safety reasons." Member Markham believes that the developer has thought the project through, and she agrees with their assessment that the building is oriented properly. She does not want to support a motion that includes re-orienting the building. Member Ruyle agreed and will not support the motion for the same reason. Member Sprague agreed as well.
Member Avdoulos agreed too. He is confident that the Applicant has reviewed the traffic and stacking patterns, and whether there is development to the north or not, it is not up to the Planning Commission to decide which direction the building should face or speculate on the failure of the business. The elevations are appropriate and meet the Ordinance and the setbacks meet the Ordinance. He cannot support the motion with the stipulation that Member Kocan put in the motion.
Member Kocan as the maker of the motion, and Member Shroyer who seconded the motion, agreed to amend the motion to remove the stipulation, "Strong encouragement of the Planning Commission to re-examine the configuration of the building to have it front Grand River for safety reasons."
Member Paul asked whether the Planning Commission would consider putting a statement regarding bioretention areas into the motion, or were they satisfied with the information just being in the minutes of the meeting. Mr. Croy interjected that, asking for or even allowing bioretention as an option is not part of the City’s Ordinance at this time. Bioretention is a pretty involved process and the City would want to develop a rather extensive specification in order to allow its use. He concurred that it’s a good topic for discussion but to allow this concept now would require a waiver and he does not endorse the suggestion at this time. Member Paul thanked Mr. Croy for his input.
Motion carried 9-0.
Chair Nagy reconvened the meeting after a ten minute break.
2. WONDERLAND MUSIC PLAZA, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-16
The Planning Commission gave consideration to the request of Shiu Lew of Fortuna Corporation for approval of a Section Nine Façade Waiver for Wonderland Plaza. The subject property is located in Section 15, on the west side of Novi Road, north of Grand River Avenue in the T-C (Town Center) District. The applicant is proposing a façade change. The subject property is 1.39 acres.
Ms. McBeth displayed the aerial photo, locating the site on the west side of Novi Road just north of Grand River. To the north are the Wonderland Music store and the vacant House of Blinds. To the south are the Fidelity Investment Building and Napa Auto Parts store. To the west is the Baby and Kids Bedroom store, and to the east are a car wash and a restaurant. The Master Plan for this entire area recommends Town Center Commercial uses. Zoning for the area is TC (Town Center District) and the area southeast is TC-1 (Also Town Center).
The façade change is proposed along the front canopy. The elevation provided by the Applicant indicates the replacement of the existing wood siding with an EIFS material. Decorative accent bands are proposed along the top and bottom of the fascia. The area would be enlarged from four to six feet in height and would produce a two-foot projection over the existing roof line. Additionally, a diagonal overhang corner piece is also proposed.
The Planning Review approves of the plan, with minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. The Façade review determined that the plan is not in compliance with the façade Ordinance or the Town Center Ordinance regarding required façades for the district. The Façade Consultant described the Petitioner’s request as an updated appearance and would be considered an enhancement. The proposed change does not complement the adjacent developments or allow the Ordinance requirements to be met. Ms. McBeth passed the façade board around.
Mr. Tony Serra, the architect on the project, addressed the Planning Commission. He recounted how Mr. and Mrs. Lew have owned this property since 1995. When they told the City that they wanted to make some updates and repairs to the building, they were told at that time that the building required renovation because of the area in which it is located. This plan that the Planning Commission is reviewing tonight is what the owners have proposed.
Member Paul asked the Façade Consultant, Mr. Albertson, about the material used in this proposed renovation. He replied that the proposed EIFS material is an improvement over the existing material. However, in accordance with the Ordinance, the entire building had to be reviewed. Consequently, Mr. Albertson noted other items that need to be addressed in order for the building to be TC-1 compliant. The north and east elevations allow 25% EIFS, but the proposed plan is at 37% and 48%, respectively. Additionally, the base façade material is painted brick and Mr. Albertson would like feedback from the Planning Commission as to whether painted brick is acceptable. The perimeter materials along the east and north include a small amount of painted brick and exposed block. The major elevations to the south and west are all painted block, which is not an allowed material in the TC-1 District. Mr. Albertson reiterated that because the owner has come forward to upgrade his building’s façade, the rest of the building must also be reviewed.
Member Paul stated that the west exposure is not as important as the front of the center. She noted that the south border is visible from Grand River and asked whether there is any other material that Mr. Albertson would suggest for that wall. He agreed that the west wall is not immediately difficult. He suggested brick masonry as a reasonable but costly solution. A less expensive approach would be to provide more screening or some other kind of wall treatment that would be more in line with the Town Center District. He would also recommend something other than the painted brick on both the small north elevation and the small east elevation. Brick and up to 25% of another material is allowed under the Ordinance, and if the Applicant provided something along this line it would go a long way in Mr. Albertson’s review and approval of the façade.
Member Paul does not support granting a waiver for this project. She would be more lenient on the west side and the use of screening on the south side, but would not support the painted block on the front elevation. She asked Mr. Schultz how the Planning Commission could approve this plan but require neighboring sites to conform to the Town Center Ordinance without exposing itself to legal jeopardy. Mr. Schultz stated that Section 1602-9 supercedes the Façade Section in 2520 and therefore what the Applicant is seeking is not actually a Section 9 Façade Waiver. He continued that Member Paul’s question was a good one, and the answer lies in the Planning Commission’s evaluation of the four standards cited in 1602-9.
Member Paul appreciates any site that comes forward with improvements, especially a site like this that is highly visible. She noted that there is a store front becoming available on this site as well as many other locations within the City. She would hope that the Petitioner will follow through on a complete renovation so that they don’t lose any prospective tenants who find more appealing sites elsewhere in the City. She believes this is an opportunity for the Applicant to make less expensive improvements as suggested by Mr. Albertson and she supports the Applicant moving forward in that manner.
Member Kocan stated that she does want businesses to stay in the City, but she stated that the Planning Commission must make a finding with regard to Section 1602-9. She stated that the Commission is unable to grant this project because of three of the four stipulations in the Section. 1602-9.a is the only stipulation that is met: The material will enhance the building. However, in violation of 1602-9.b, the proposed materials exceed the percentage of allowed materials. With regard to 1602-9.c, because the materials are not compatible it cannot be determined that the design will not detract from future development. Finally, in violation of 1602-9.d, the Applicant did not submit a written statement describing how the selected materials will satisfy the other three requirements.
Member Kocan stated the Planning Commission can either deny the plan as presented or they can table the plan to provide the Applicant an opportunity to explore different options with the Façade Consultant. Member Kocan supports the latter of the two but she asked Mr. Serra what he preferred.
Mr. Schultz interjected that the only reason this plan came before the Planning Commission is that it did not meet the full brick and stone Ordinance requirement of the Town Center District. If there was a plan that met the Ordinance requirements it would be handled administratively. Chair Nagy clarified that if the Applicants worked with the Consultants to comply with the standards in Section 1602-9, it would not come back to the Commission for review. If they designed a compromise and Mr. Albertson determined that in effect it met the intent of the Ordinance it would have to come back to the table for Commission approval.
Mr. Serra said that his clients would prefer the tabling. He expressed to the Commission that this whole façade change began with a minor repair – replacement of one or two pieces of plywood. His clients are not really in a position to remodel the entire building. Chair Nagy empathized with the Applicant, but she encouraged them to work with Mr. Albertson to reach an acceptable compromise. She stated that the Planning Commission has no choice. She said that if the Applicant did so that it could be handled administratively and they would not have to return to the Planning Commission.
Member Markham clarified with Mr. Schultz that if the Applicant and Mr. Albertson come to a resolution with a design that complements the area but still does not meet the Ordinance requirements, it will still have to come back to the Planning Commission, even if Mr. Albertson gives a positive recommendation. Member Markham continued that she was happy to see the Applicant attempting to improve the center. She is sensitive to how the Applicant’s original request to make some minor repairs has turned into a complete renovation, and she hopes that the City and the Applicant can come to an acceptable resolution that enhances the City without breaking the bank.
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Markham:
Motion to table Wonderland Music Plaza, Site Plan 03-16.
Member Paul confirmed that no additional information is necessary for the motion. Chair Nagy commented that the Applicant should be placed on the first Agenda available if in fact they need to return for a final approval.
Member Avdoulos asked what the purpose was of the diagonal feature in the corner. Mr. Serra responded that it was just a method used to provide a finished corner. Member Avdoulos suggested that the Applicant consider using one color. On his personal visit to the property, he noted that this plan doesn’t complement the Music Wonderland building but that it does pick up a bit of the green cap on the Fidelity Investment building. He also noticed the T-111 siding on the jewelry store is different. He empathized with the Applicant having to consider a major change as a result of trying to make a simple repair.
Motion carried 9-0.
3. DISCUSSION OF POSSIBLE ZONING MAP AMENDMENT FOR THE PARAGON PROPERTY
Planner Tim Schmitt reminded the Planning Commission that in December 2002 Mr. Fisher brought forward a resolution pertaining to the property at the corner of 12 Mile and Napier Road. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee has discussed this property on at least two occasions and the Planning Department is finalizing their report on the property. The City’s attorney has also prepared a report on the property.
The resolution originally had a sunset provision, and a supplementary resolution was passed about two months ago that extended the timeframe in which this matter is to be completed. The City is looking to quickly bring this matter to an amicable conclusion to avoid any possible future litigation. Mr. Schmitt addressed the Planning Commission, requesting a motion from them for the purpose of holding a Public Hearing for the rezoning request at the next available meeting (the earliest being the June 25th meeting).
Chair Nagy asked Mr. Schmitt to clarify the role that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee played in this matter. It was her recollection that the Committee did make a recommendation as to how to proceed with this issue. She then asked whether the planning process of the Committee bringing this forward to the Planning Commission was being circumvented. Mr. Schmitt recounted that the Committee discussed the property in October of 2002 and also at their last meeting on May 21, 2003. His request at this evening’s meeting was meant to expedite the moving forward of this matter in accordance with the terms of the resolution, if in fact the Master Plan and Zoning Committee does not need additional time to review this property.
Mr. Schmitt continued that the likely course of action to be recommended by the Planning Department will be for a rezoning of the property rather than an amendment to the Master Plan. The rezoning would provide a more immediate relief and may prevent litigation. Member Kocan asked for clarification on the rezoning vs. amending the Master Plan. Mr. Schmitt responded that this property will be handled similar to other various rezoning requests that are active in the City at this time. Because amending the Master Plan under the new State guidelines is now a minimum four-month process (due to the notification requirements to surrounding communities), and since the City is currently in the process of updating the Master Plan, it is recommended that this property be handled as a rezoning request with the understanding that the change will be reflected in the anticipated amendment to the Master Plan currently under examination by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee.
Moved by Member Markham, supported by Member Ruyle:
Motion to set a Public Hearing on the issue of the Paragon Property at 12 Mile and Napier Road at the earliest possible future meeting date for a rezoning.
Motion carried 9-0.
4. DISCUSSION REGARDING PROPOSED LANGUAGE FOR THREE PROPOSED TEXT AMENDMENTS: RESIDENTIAL FACADES, LOADING IN INDUSTRIAL DISTRICTS, AND DUMPSTER ENCLOSURES
Ms. McBeth addressed the Planning Commission, and explained that the purpose of this item on the Agenda is also to seek a Planning Commission motion to schedule a Public Hearing for these three Ordinance revisions.
Ms. McBeth explained that these three items have been reviewed and discussed by the Implementation Committee. The text amendment on residential façades originated from the request to improve the aesthetic appearance of homes along major thoroughfares. This proposed language addresses the backs of homes in several situations, including major thoroughfares. This revision received a favorable recommendation from the Implementation Committee at their May 20th meeting for the scheduling of a Planning Commission Public Hearing and subsequent City Council adoption.
The text amendment for loading and unloading activities in Industrial Districts addresses the inconsistency in the Ordinance, namely that both rear loading areas abutting residential and loading areas being placed in the sideyards are prohibited, thereby nullifying any placement of a loading area for certain industrial buildings. This revision received a favorable recommendation from the Implementation Committee at their May 20th meeting for the scheduling of a Planning Commission Public Hearing and subsequent City Council adoption.
The text amendment for trash receptacles describes the different aspects of trash receptacle enclosures in greater detail. This revision received a favorable recommendation from the Implementation Committee at their May 20th meeting for the scheduling of a Planning Commission Public Hearing and subsequent City Council adoption.
Chair Nagy thanked Ms. McBeth for her hard work in preparing these text amendments. Member Kocan commented that the loading/unloading and trash receptacle text amendments are in final form. However, Member Kocan stated to the Planning Commission that there will be some additional changes made to the façade text amendment when they receive it for review prior to the Public Hearing.
Member Markham clarified with Chair Nagy that a comment she would like to make regarding one element of the façade text amendment should be made at the time of the Public Hearing.
Moved my Member Kocan, supported by Member Paul:
Motion to set a Public Hearing for the three Ordinance revisions. The first one is for Section 303, Residential Façades, the second one is for loading and unloading in industrial districts, and the third Public Hearing is for the proposed text amendment for dumpsters, to be scheduled at the first possible date.
Motion carried 9-0.
5. SCHEDULING OF JOINT PLANNING COMMISSION AND CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Chair Nagy stated that the City Council requested this meeting, and they will likely be setting the Agenda as well. The Planning Commission was provided with both a June and July calendar, and Chair Nagy suggested that they decide on three possible dates on which they might meet.
Member Markham suggested the first week of August, when neither Board has a meeting scheduled, either on Monday, August 4th at 7:30 or on Wednesday, August 6th at 7:30. She wondered whether the Planning Commission has an opportunity to recommend Agenda items. Chair Nagy stated that City Council would most likely be amenable to any suggestions the Commission had, and that as Chair she would forward those recommendations to the Council.
Member Shroyer stated that he previously submitted a list of possible Agenda items to the Planning Department, and while some may no longer be timely, he asked that the Staff review those items for possible inclusion.
Chair Nagy stated that recently the Implementation Committee has been bringing forward several Ordinance revisions, and she wondered whether a meeting could be planned for August 6, 2003 for the sole purpose of holding Public Hearings.
Member Ruyle asked whether the three Members whose commissions are expiring plan to seek another term on the Planning Commission. He then recommended that the joint meeting not be held until such time as the new Commission is determined.
Member Paul suggested, as reasonable dates, August 13th and July 2nd. The latter would take advantage of the additional Wednesday in July, assuming most people haven’t left yet for the holiday weekend. Some members expressed that they will be out of town for July 2nd. June 30th was also suggested but Chair Nagy stated that she agreed with Member Ruyle that it should be held after the new Commission is determined.
Moved by Member Kocan, supported by Member Ruyle:
Motion to recommend the following three dates to City Council for a joint meeting:
Monday, August 4, 2003; Wednesday, August 6, 2003; Wednesday, August 13, 2003.
Motion carried 9-0.
6. APPROVAL OF APRIL 30, 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commission provided their corrections for incorporation into the minutes.
Moved by Member Paul, seconded by Member Papp:
Motion to approve the minutes of April 30, 2003 as amended.
Motion carried 9-0.
7. APPROVAL OF MAY 14, 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commission provided their corrections for incorporation into the minutes.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Papp:
Motion to approve the minutes of May 14, 2003 as amended.
Motion carried 9-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no removals from the Consent Agenda for this meeting.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. SCHEDULING OF A SECOND AUGUST 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Because the Planning Commission just forwarded several August dates to City Council for consideration in scheduling a joint meeting, the Commission agreed to postpone this discussion until City Council responds to their scheduling request.
2. STAFF REPORT ON ALUMINUM COMPANY
Member Paul stated that the Planning Commission had approved a speculative site plan on Magellan Drive north of 12 Mile off of West Park Drive. Now it is reported that an aluminum company will be the new tenants at this site, where they will build bumpers and do some manufacturing. Member Paul questioned whether that is an acceptable use in that zoning district, stating that she did not believe it was. She wondered what the City’s recourse is. She stated her concern about Confederated Aluminum in Lyon Township, a company that has caused huge concerns regarding the environment. That company has had one fine after another, and they easily pay their fines but don’t rectify the problem. She does not want the same problem here in Novi. She stated that they cause both air and sound pollution, and those are very valid concerns.
Ms. McBeth responded that the City has met with Developer Amson Dembs regarding Lot 30 in Beck West (the southernmost building at the end of the street). The tenant has provided some information regarding their production to the City when they filed for building permits, and they have been asked to provide more. The Planning Department, Building Department, the Fire Marshal and all other interested parties anticipate a meeting with this tenant in the coming week. They will discuss whether this is a permitted use and what impacts they may cause to the surrounding properties. Per Ms. McBeth, Mr. Terry Morrone of the Building Department is aware that complaints have been received on other aluminum companies and he stated that the City has taken this information very seriously.
Member Paul asked what steps the City takes to research a company’s background when they are in an industry known for its infractions against the environment and the surrounding homeowners. Does the City research whether the company has been fined in other locations? Ms. McBeth was not prepared to answer that question in particular, but she did note that the Building Department takes a close look at any of the improvements that a Company is proposing. They determine whether any equipment listed may be in violation of or create a violation to the Ordinance standards (Noise, dust, fumes, vibration, etc.).
Chair Nagy stated that the City also employs Ordinance Officers who would confirm that the use is acceptable. She also stated that Mr. Evancoe, Mr. Klaver and Mr. Pearson would be meeting with the developer to discuss this proposed tenant. She stated that she did not think Ms. McBeth was in a position to answer the question Member Paul asked.
Member Paul stated that she believes that a Sound Engineer would have to report on this tenant to the Planning Commission. Ms. McBeth stated that the Code Enforcement Officers of the Neighborhood Services Department would take any complaints about the company (noise or any other type of violation) and they would follow up with any tests that may be needed. Member Paul thanked Ms. McBeth for her response and thanked the Novi News for their article.
Member Kocan asked whether this is the area that is under a Consent Judgment that requires I-1 development even though it is zoned I-2. She stated that she remembers specifically lots 32, 33 and 34 and if in fact this site is part of the Consent Judgment too, and is to be developed as I-1, then the tenant would be a Special Land Use in her opinion. Ms. McBeth stated that the zoning map indicates that it is I-2 but the Planning Department will continue looking into the matter.
1. STATUS REPORT REGARDING OAKPOINTE CHURCH PHASING PLAN BY MR. GENE CARROLL, AIA, PRINCIPAL, NEUMAN SMITH & ASSOCIATES
At the request of Mr. Carroll, this report was removed from the Agenda.
Mr. Wayne Hogan addressed the Planning Commission. His stated that in the Westmarket Square Shopping Center, where the TCF Bank project is located, the accessibility to barrier-free parking represents the good, the bad and the ugly. There is no consistent access from one place to another. When projects come forward to request outdoor café areas, Mr. Hogan stated that he thinks the City should again review the barrier-free access at the same time. The café at Caribou Coffee has an entire west bank of parking spaces that goes beyond the phone company store and the beauty parlor, all without curb cuts. The Outback Steakhouse has a bad curb area because the elevation was done improperly, but otherwise they offer some of the best parking for accessibility. Mr. Hogan prefers "Responsible Access", meaning that access is provided for both sides of a vehicle. This concept doesn’t take any more spaces, just better planning.
Mr. Hogan reiterated to the Planning Commission that when barrier-free parking is placed by dumpster areas, accessibility may be infringed upon by the gouges left by maneuvering garbage trucks. Chair Nagy stated that the Implementation Committee took this comment into consideration when they recently developed new language for trash receptacles for the City’s Ordinance. She thanked him for his input.
Mr. Hogan also stated that he has fought the Eaton Center for almost nine months for the replacement of adequate barrier-free parking spaces. The original spaces were removed during the resurfacing of the parking lot. They have since been replaced, a full 700 feet from the entrance, and no ramps were installed as the parking lot installation was never completed. Chair Nagy clarified that the location of Eaton Center was across from Whitehall. Member Ruyle informed Mr. Hogan that Eaton Center has a new owner who will be putting in a new parking lot and the area will be brought back up to code.
Pam Fleming introduced herself to the Planning Commission. She is the new reporter for the Novi News and she will be covering Novi and Northville’s business and community news. Chair Nagy welcomed her and thanked her for the article on the aluminum company.
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Paul:
Motion to adjourn the meeting.
Motion carried 9-0. The meeting adjourned at or about 10:30 p.m.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
WED 6/11/03 PLANNING COMMISSION 7:30 PM
MON 6/16/03 CITY COUNCIL 7:30 PM
WED 6/18/03 MASTER PLAN & ZONING COMMITTEE 7:00 PM
WED 6/25/03 PLANNING COMMISSION 7:30 PM
Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, June 4, 2003 Signature on File
Date approved: June 11, 2003 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant