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CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 7:36 p.m. Chair Nagy stated that the meeting was being videotaped for a later airing because the City was experiencing some technical difficulties that prevented it from being simulcast.
Present: Members Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul (left early), Ruyle, Shroyer
Absent: Member Sprague (excused)
Also Present: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Barbara McBeth, Planner; Darcy Schmitt, Planner; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect; Brian Coburn, Engineer; Ben Croy, Engineer; Tom Schultz, Attorney; Larry DeBrincat, Vilican-Leman; Dr. John Freeland, Tilton & Associates
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Paul led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Markham asked that "Lyon Town Rezoning" be added under Items for Discussion.
Motioned by Member Kocan, supported by Member Paul:
Motion to approve the Agenda as amended.
Motion carried 8-0.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
There was no correspondence to share with the Planning Commission.
Member Ruyle welcomed Members Kocan, Nagy and Paul back to the Commission, as they were recently recommissioned.
There were no presentations for the Planning Commission.
CONSENT AGENDA- REMOVALS AND APPROVALS
There was no Consent Agenda.
1. ISLAND LAKE OF NOVI, PHASE 5A, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-15
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Toll Brothers Inc. for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan, Woodland Permit and determination of whether an amendment to the RUD Agreement is required. The subject property is located in Section 19, east of Napier Road between Ten and Eleven Mile roads in the R-A (Residential Acreage) District under an RUD Agreement. The subject property is approximately 2.53 acres out of a total of 907 acres in the overall development. The Applicant is proposing a waterfront park with a boat launch.
City Planner Mr. Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. The southern portion of Island Lake is zoned
R-A and is the location of phases 5A and 4B. The northern section of Island Lake is zoned R-1. The entire area is designated for single family residential development. Directly west of this property is Lyon Township (zoned for large lot single family residential). North is Novi Meadows mobile home park (zoned and master planned for mobile homes). The proposed boat launch was envisioned as part of the RUD, and the Applicant is not subject to the terms of the Keyhole Ordinance in the City of Novi. This proposal is for a parking area, trailer parking area, boat launch and dock.
The Planning Review noted two variances required for this project. A sideyard setback of eighty feet is required along the parking lot; 55 feet is proposed. The rearyard setback requirement is also eighty feet; 16 feet is proposed. This project is designed for a very narrow parcel and there are few options available for parking that wouldn’t require these variances.
Additionally, the Planning Commission must determine whether the removal of the barn constitutes a major or minor amendment to the RUD Agreement. Mr. Schmitt referred to the two sections of the RUD Agreement wherein the barn is mentioned - once briefly on page 43 and then again on page 45, where notation is made of the preservation of historical and/or cultural structures on site, specifically the 1860s era barn. Originally the Applicant considered adapting the barn for use as a community center or as a visual piece near the main entrance. The Applicant has recently reached an agreement with Maybury State Park to relocate the barn to replace their barn lost in a fire earlier this year. They consider this an acceptable re-use of the barn as it will remain in close proximity to the City and will continue to benefit the community.
The Landscape Review noted multiple items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. There were berms missing from this site plan and the Applicant has agreed to place those berms accordingly; therefore no variances are anticipated within this discipline.
The remaining review letters all indicated minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
Mr. Schmitt showed the Planning Commission some pictures of the barn. It is somewhat dilapidated and the Applicant’s structural engineer has indicated that the barn is structurally unsound to house people in its current state.
Kevin Sullivan represented Island Lake. He called the proposed boat launch area West Park. He noted on the maps that there are neighboring areas being paved and they expect to be opening up sales there in the coming months. The north side is developed and sales have gone well. Island Park is under development now, and the clubhouse is being built with an August completion date in mind. The North Park was completed last year and the beach is now open. There will be additional parks in the southern section.
Chair Nagy asked whether anyone from the audience wished to speak. Seeing no one, Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.
Member Avdoulos stated that the Planning Commission’s only charge on this site plan is to determine whether the removal of the barn constitutes a minor or major amendment to the RUD Agreement, because the other issues will be determined by the ZBA. He believes that the removal of the barn is a major change. He believes that when the RUD Agreement was in the development stages there must have been a consensus that the barn should be salvaged in homage to the history of the area. Member Avdoulos thought that the barn could be used for many things, even a boat storage area. He acknowledged that it is a nice idea to consider replacing Maybury’s petting barn, but noted the burden associated with moving it and improving its structure will fall upon the shoulders of the recipient. In essence, the Applicant will skate free of responsibility.
Member Avdoulos believes that the rural character of the area should have been better preserved. To say that the barn does not work with the nautical theme of the project does not accurately reflect this residential project situated around a man-made lake. He suggested that the Applicant provide more information to either the Planning Commission or City Council on what other options they have considered for the barn’s use. Member Avdoulos did not believe that the adaptive re-use of the barn cited in the RUD Agreement provided for the relocation of the barn to a site other than Island Lake.
Chair Nagy asked City Attorney Tom Schultz whether this proposed site plan is moot if the Planning Commission finds the removal of the barn to be a major amendment to the RUD Agreement. Mr. Schultz responded that the Planning Commission has two options. The first is to make the finding that the removal of the barn is a major amendment, but approve the plan subject to an amendment to the RUD Agreement by City Council. The Planning Commission approval would become null and void if City Council does not amend the RUD Agreement. Second, the Planning Commission could decide not to review the site plan until such time that City Council has reviewed the proposed amendment to the RUD Agreement. He continued that there is nothing wrong with reviewing the site plan on its own merits prior to the City Council RUD Agreement ruling.
Chair Nagy thought that it would be in the Applicant’s best interest and the most expedient manner in which to proceed if the Planning Commission would make two separate rulings. The first would determine the Planning Commission’s position on whether the removal of the barn constitutes a major or minor amendment to the RUD Agreement. The second determination would be the result of the site plan review.
Member Ruyle agreed with Member Avdoulos and he offered to make a motion finding the barn issue to be a major amendment to the RUD Agreement.
Moved by Member Ruyle, supported by Member Kocan:
In the matter of Island Lake of Novi, Phase 5A, Site Plan 03-15, motion to refer this major amendment request back to the governing body of this City because the RUD Agreement is with City Council and not with this body.
When Member Kocan seconded the motion, she asked that it be amended to include the verbiage from the RUD Agreement that states, "…the private water park will incorporate the existing barn." That would be the Planning Commission’s reason for considering this request as a major change to the RUD Agreement. Member Ruyle accepted the amendment.
Member Markham also quoted from the RUD Agreement. She read, "The private water park off Napier Road will contain picnic areas, play equipment, bike paths, walkways, landscaping, lighting, entrance signage and parking." Member Markham noted that the submitted plans do not show entrance signage, picnic areas or play equipment. She would expect those features to be submitted on the plan or the RUD Agreement should reflect those changes as well.
Member Markham is concerned about the length of the driveway down to the boat dock. It is approximately one hundred feet and does not have a turn around area that would be more accommodating to vehicles pulling boats. She also thought the documentation on the walkway should address the encroachment of the woodlands. She concurred that the RUD Agreement decision belongs with the City Council.
Member Kocan does not believe that the Planning Commission should make a decision on the site plan without the City Council ruling on the RUD Agreement. She stated that she cannot support the waiver for the setback on the sideyard. She cannot support the trailer parking being placed to front the residential home that is adjacent to the area. She does not like the site plan. Her original concern regarded the Planning Commission’s prior approval of additional dredging of the lake without a site plan. At that time, she questioned if the Planning Commission approves the concept of the boat dock and the Applicant returns with an unacceptable site plan, are they then in a position to say that they have a hardship because now they can’t fit everything in? Member Kocan asked that the record reflect that she is not happy with the site plan or way the plans have come before the Planning Commission.
Member Ruyle asked to amend his motion to state that no further discussion of the site plan take place until such time that the City Council has ruled on the RUD Agreement. Member Kocan did not want to second that amendment. Chair Nagy thought that two motions were more appropriate. Member Ruyle rescinded his request.
Member Papp supported the motion and believes the 143-year-old barn should stay because it means a lot to Novi. He concurred with Member Markham that backing up a vehicle and boat one hundred feet is most difficult. He asked if this was a non-powered boat lake and the response was yes. He asked if it would remain as such and Mr. Sullivan explained that the RUD Agreement allows for electric motors, sailboats, canoes and kayaks.
Mr. Sullivan commented that a vehicle connected by a hitch to a 25-foot boat is already about 45 feet in length. Backing up the additional length on a 16-foot wide road would not be as difficult as imagined. Member Papp disagreed, stating that forty to sixty feet is a considerable distance to back up. He confirmed with Mr. Sullivan that the maximum size for a boat on the lake is twenty feet. Member Papp closed by voicing his support for the motion.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE ISLAND LAKE OF NOVI PHASE 5A SITE PLAN 03-15 AMENDED MOTION MADE BY MEMBER RUYLE, SUPPORTED BY MEMBER KOCAN:
In the matter of Island Lake of Novi, Phase 5A, Site Plan 03-15, motion to refer this major amendment request back to the governing body of this City because the RUD Agreement is with City Council and not with this body. The RUD Agreement states that, "…the private water park will incorporate the existing barn."
Motion carried 8-0.
Chair Nagy asked whether the Planning Commission had any other motions they would like to put on the table. Mr. Schultz interjected that Member Ruyle’s comments made earlier in the meeting suggested that he was proposing to table the site plan until the City Council rules on the amendment to the RUD Agreement. Chair Nagy agreed that tabling the site plan was in order.
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Shroyer:
In the matter of Island Lake of Novi, Phase 5A, Site Plan 03-15, motion to table the request for Preliminary Site Plan and Woodland Permit approval until after the RUD Agreement decision by City Council.
Chair Nagy asked if the Planning Commission had any more issues for discussion. No one did so Chair Nagy called for the vote.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE ISLAND LAKE OF NOVI PHASE 5A SITE PLAN MOTION MADE BY MEMBER RUYLE, SECONDED BY MEMBER SHROYER:
In the matter of Island Lake of Novi, Phase 5A, Site Plan 03-15, motion to table the request for Preliminary Site Plan and Woodland Permit approval until after the RUD Agreement decision by City Council.
Motion carried 8-0.
2. CATHOLIC CENTRAL, SITE PLAN NUMBER 02-61
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Father Richard Elmer for approval of a Final Site Plan and Woodland Permit. The subject property is located in Section 18 on the west side of Wixom Road south of Grand River Avenue in the R-1 (One Family Residential) District. The developer is proposing a private college preparatory high school. The subject property is approximately 60 acres.
City Planner Tim Schmitt showed aerial photos of the property. The property is zoned and master planned R-1. To the north is Cadillac Asphalt (zoned I-2 and master planned industrial), along with other I-1 industrial property; to the south is Island Lake (zoned and master planned R-1); to the immediate west are residential properties (zoned R-1 and R-A and master planned residential); further west is property zoned and master planned office; to the east is Novi Promenade (zoned I-1 but developed as commercial as a condition of a consent judgment) with other sites also zoned for community business.
Mr. Schmitt showed the layout of the Catholic Central site and noted the locations of the building, football stadium, baseball diamond and parking on the north side. This plan received its Preliminary Site Plan approval on February 12, 2003 and the Planning Commission motioned at that time to have the plan return to their table for Final Site Plan approval.
At the Preliminary Site Plan level, the Planning Department requested that Catholic Central develop a Parking Lot Management Plan. The Applicant has since submitted this plan, along with a letter from Providence Park, the hospital site that will share their Grand River and Beck Road location for satellite parking. According to Section 2505.14.b.11 of the Ordinance Code, 1,174 parking spaces are required for the stadium and another forty spaces are required for staff, students and stadium personnel. The Catholic Central site will provide 613 spaces and the remainder will be at Providence, from which spectators will be shuttled to the stadium. Other satellite parking locations were considered: The local Novi middle and elementary schools declined to be considered; the Planning Department preferred not to mix special event parking with commercial parking at either the Meijer or Target locations to reduce the possibility of parking conflicts. Providence Hospital, whose use of parking is greatest during the day, is a far more compatible site for a nighttime-use satellite lot.
The Wetland, Landscape and Engineering Reviews each approved of the Final Site Plan with minor comments to be addressed at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal. Bill Stimpson, Traffic Engineer for Birchler Arroyo, spoke with Mr. Schmitt on the phone today and said that Catholic Central had successfully addressed all major traffic issues and only a few minor items remain that must be addressed at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal. The Fire Department and Façade Review also gave approval to this site plan.
Mr. Schmitt reminded the Planning Commission that the Woodland Ordinance was previously modified and that applicants who must replace more than 2,000 trees may request from City Council up to ten years to complete the process. City Council may choose to implement financial guaranties or bonding clauses for any plan that encompasses more than five years. At this time Catholic Central is proposing to replant 430 trees on-site in the first year, then 233 trees per year for the next nine, for a total replacement of 2,522 (there are slight number variations between Catholic Central’s tree count and the count from the City’s landscape consulting firm, Vilican-Leman). Additionally, Catholic Central has documented a number of trees damaged by a winter ice storm and two distinct areas of emerald ash borer infestation on the site; in accordance with the City’s Ordinance, they have removed those trees from their replacement schedule. Mr. Schmitt suggested that the Planning Commission and City Council may wish to review how the Ordinance addresses woodland diseases and infestations like the emerald ash borer.
Attorney Tom Ryan, 2055 Orchard Lake Road, Sylvan Lake, MI, represented Catholic Central at the meeting. He asked the Planning Commission to review and comment on the parking plan, the woodland bonding/guaranty issue and the removal of the site’s 500-600 ash trees.
Wayne Hogan addressed the Planning Commission during this Public Hearing and asked that Catholic Central place all handicapped parking at the stadium site rather than allocating them according to the numbers at the on-site and off-site locations. He suggested that if roll-out signs were used, then the number of handicapped parking spaces could return to a reasonable proportion on non-major event days.
Member Kocan did not have any letters to share with the Planning Commission and no one else from the audience wished to speak, so Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.
Member Markham noted that the Catholic Central site listed a total of 777ash trees with 269 planned for removal on the original plan, leaving a remainder of 508 trees. Member Markham stated that it would be unreasonable to ask for any of those ash trees to be replaced. She acknowledged that Catholic Central worked hard to develop a creative plan for the site’s tree replacement plan, and while she wishes the timeframe were shorter, it does show that they are willing to work with the community.
Member Markham commented that she would be far more comfortable with the availability of satellite parking on the Novi school sites because of their proximity. Father Elmer explained that the Novi School Board met and determined that because they can’t predict when potentially-conflicting events will be planned at the Novi school sites, they were in no position to enter into a parking agreement with Catholic Central. Member Markham asked how parking would be addressed on Wixom Road. Mr. Ryan responded that the Dad’s Club provides parking patrols and security for their games and that they would prevent on-street parking because they too, believe that is not an acceptable alternative. Member Markham closed by encouraging further conversation between Novi Schools and Catholic Central regarding the parking issue; she does not want to think that it is a black and white issue for eternity because she sees the value in the two schools working together on Catholic Central parking when there are no conflicting events at the Novi schools. She supported the Catholic Central plan.
Member Ruyle expressed his disappointment in the tree issue and, while he did wish for this to be reflected in the minutes, he did not wish to belabor the point any further.
Motioned by Member Ruyle, supported by Member Markham:
In the matter of Catholic Central, Site Plan 02-61B, motion to grant approval of the Final Site Plan and Woodland Permit, subject to: 1) City Council approval of the extended time period for the replacement of the tree plantings; and 2) The conditions and items listed in the staff and consultant review letters.
Member Ruyle offered to add language to his motion to address the trees affected by the ash borer.
Member Paul addressed wetland questions to Dr. John Freeland of Tilton and Associates. He explained that some of the boundaries of the facilities were slightly different on the Final Site Plan than what was provided for the State MDEQ Permit. Member Paul thinks the Catholic Central site has sensitive wetland issues. She cited Ordinance Section 25-16.4.f.1 and said that this plan must have its actual State Wetland Permit at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. She asked why having the permit in hand wasn’t necessary for this site plan. Dr. Freeland responded that some sites may have different stipulations, but what is true of all sites is that the City can proceed while the State MDEQ Permit is being procured, with the stipulation that no construction commences on the site until the permit is actually secured.
Mr. Schultz clarified for Member Paul that her question actually relates to an applicant’s ability to clear and grub the site between Preliminary Site Plan and the administrative Final Site Plan approval by the Planning Department. During this timeframe it is not necessary for the actual permit to be in hand. Mr. Evancoe then noted that a copy of the MDEQ permit was provided to the Planning Commission in the Catholic Central notebook under tab number seven. It was in draft form as the final form is currently being routed for the appropriate signatures. Dr. Freeland confirmed that he still has to review the Preliminary Site Plan and Final Site Plan information against the actual MDEQ permit.
Member Paul asked about the wetland mitigation plan. She noted the site’s vulnerability since the property’s natural flow is from east to west, and she is concerned that the wetlands may dry up. Dr. Freeland responded that the topography and the gutters will direct the water from the impervious surfaces to catch basins and into the stormwater system prior to its heading into the wetlands. He indicated that the stormwater calculations were verified to determine that a sufficient amount of water will be directed to the wetlands to keep them from drying up.
Member Paul asked about the soil erosion on the site. City Engineer Brian Coburn clarified for her that before a contractor is allowed to work on the site an applicant must secure a soil erosion permit as well as City and MDEQ woodland permits. The language found in the various review letters is boilerplate and oftentimes does not reflect that the permits have already been issued. These issues are handled through the Building and Engineering Departments. Member Paul commented that with so many wetlands on the site, this Applicant should bring forward information regarding this issue for City review on any future changes to the site. Member Paul also confirmed with Dr. Freeland that his company received Vilican-Leman’s response to the downspouts and gutter information in letter form and not just by a phone call.
Mr. Coburn described the proposed Stormwater Management Plan as having a standpipe with one inch holes that leads to a sedimentation area. This was referenced on page four in items 20 and 21 of the Engineering review. He explained that the "dirty water" from the parking lot, oil and sedimentation would be routed through the system to the sedimentation basin and, after being treated, would then be routed to the wetlands. Member Paul asked if Mr. Coburn was comfortable with the one inch holes, to which he replied that this design is typical, he just wanted clarification from the Applicant on how many holes there will be and where they will be placed.
Member Paul asked for Mr. Coburn’s input on the paving and grading of the Wixom Road ROW. Mr. Coburn explained that the City Standard requires the thickness of the driveway approach to match the road, which in this case is an arterial road. Therefore, Catholic Central must provide either a nine-inch concrete or a five-inch bituminous covered with a twelve-inch aggregate base driveway approach.
Member Paul asked about the Irrigation sprinklers on the landscaped islands and common areas. City Landscape Architect Lance Shipman explained that the exact plan will be required at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal. Particularly with irrigation systems, Mr. Shipman explained that as-built drawings are far more helpful than conceptual plans and therefore preferred.
Member Paul commented that the Landscape Plan did not seem ready for submittal as no planting and screening plans for the transformer locations were provided. Mr. Shipman responded that he would research that issue, and that the original review of this project was performed by the interim landscape architect for the City. Later in the meeting Mr. Shipman told Member Paul that the Landscape Review letter only requested that the Applicant provide the typical detail and location of the transformer pads by the time of Final Stamping Set submittal.
Member Paul also suggested that if the ash trees are not part of the tree replacement program, then the replacement timeframe should be reduced by two years. Member Paul does not support Catholic Central’s request for such a lengthy replacement process. Member Paul asked what the warranty timeframe was on the replacement trees (two years was the response from an unidentified speaker). She asked whether an amendment could be made to the motion that would extend the warranty for all of the trees through the expiration date of the final year’s tree warranty. Mr. Evancoe commented later in the meeting that while he understood the spirit in which Member Paul’s comment was offered, the Ordinance states the warranty period is a two-year timeframe, and therefore requesting a longer timeframe would require a change to the Ordinance.
Member Paul agreed with Mr. Hogan’s request that all handicapped parking spaces should be placed at the stadium site and not split between there and the satellite parking lot.
Member Paul asked whether it has been determined where the trees relating to the tree replacement program are going to be planted, and who would be doing the planting. She stated that she has no problem with the young men of Catholic Central and their parents doing the planting, but she asked what the City’s liability is relating to this work being performed on non-Catholic Central property. She stated there was no good rationale for that.
Member Paul also asked Mr. Schultz whether the City can readdress Catholic Central’s tree replacement guaranty because she thinks the language of the Ordinance is very vague. She read, "…if the replanting period approved by the City will extend over five years or more, the applicant may propose and City Council may approve a form of security other than the mechanisms specified in the following Section 3." She continued that Section 3 requires a bond or money. She asked what the Applicant is agreeing to, and what is the City asking for. She acknowledged that the City is looking for the replacement of somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 trees. She asked if the warranty is extended for the full nine years would their money be held that long, or would Catholic Central be able to say that they don’t have to post the money because this Section of the Ordinance alleviates that burden.
Mr. Schultz responded that he doesn’t know what the Applicant is proposing under the terms of Section 3. Mr. Ryan interjected that the Applicant will be asking City Council for a rolling two-year bond or Letter of- Credit. Because the Ordinance only requires a two-year warranty, the Applicant wants to submit for the first two years and leave it in escrow as a rolling commitment until such time that the guaranty period has expired. He stated that posting bond for 2,500 trees would be an astronomical amount of money. He concluded by saying that Catholic Central is here to stay and plans on being good neighbors. They prefer to use their money on their site to provide diversity to the City’s forest, and that by spreading the replacement timeframe over a period of time, Catholic Central’s replacement trees may actually help the City combat future tree diseases and insect infestations.
Member Paul reiterated that she has a problem with the proposed two-year warranty. She acknowledged that City Council will have to look at working out the financial situation. Member Paul felt obligated to ask these questions because she said that in the past the Applicant was less than forthcoming with their plans.
Member Paul voiced her concern regarding the fact that the Planning Commission has not had the chance to review the Conservation Easements for the property. Specifically, she wanted to ensure that the neighboring residents (in Island Lake and the mobile home park) are not obligated to pay for the removal of trees in the conservation easements near their home that die off from construction, disease or water runoff. Mr. Schmitt responded that the proposed wetland and woodland conservation easements are in the book provided; they are the second set of folded pages. He noted that they contain extensive information and that the legal descriptions of the easements will be verified. Virtually every preserved area as well as the wetland mitigation area is covered. Mr. Schultz said that typically these agreements are negotiated between the Applicant and City Council through the attorney’s office, but if the Planning Commission wants a copy of the document that he’d be happy to supply it.
Member Paul is not in support of the motion because more warranty coverage is necessary. She stated that ash trees are dying even on City property and must be replaced by the City. Because the Applicant will be taking advantage of City services, i.e., snow removal, fire, police, sewer and water, the City can ask for trees.
Member Ruyle asked for point of order.
Mr. Schmitt asked to respond to Member Paul about the possibility of the trees dying in the conservation easement areas. Upon the advice of the last wetland consultant, the Planning Commission previously required a $70,000 bond on one of the largest conservation easements adjacent to Island Lake to ensure the survival of the trees throughout the construction process.
Chair Nagy stated that the rolling bond makes sense, because the warranty remains in effect on those trees for only two years once they have been planted. The bond will cover a two-year timeframe and can roll over to cover the subsequent years of tree planting. Mr. Ryan stated that Catholic Central is putting its roots in this community and they will be here for a long time and plan on taking care of any issues that require resolve.
Member Ruyle asked again for a point of order. He stated that when he made his motion, it did not cover the replacement of ash trees and therefore that issue shouldn’t be discussed at this time. Mr. Schultz responded that it could be discussed. Member Ruyle reiterated that it wasn’t part of his motion. Chair Nagy encouraged the Planning Commission to continue with the meeting.
Member Shroyer voiced his support for the project. He noted that the Planning Commission’s interest in the minute details reflects the fact that this is their final review of this site plan. Member Shroyer clarified with the Applicant that their request is that all ash trees be removed from the site. Member Shroyer asked Mr. Schultz if this would be setting a precedent in the City.
Mr. Schultz responded that yes, it would be setting a precedent in some respect. The bases for this decision include the facts that the Planning Commission has reviewed letters that support the request and secondly, Novi is somewhat obligated to take this position since they are near the epicenter of the infestation. Mr. Schultz concurred that the decision made by the Planning Commission tonight is indeed relevant.
Member Shroyer asked hypothetically what would happen if two years from now a chemical is discovered that can save the ash trees. If the Planning Commission gives a carte blanche approval for the removal of all the ash trees now, it negates any future possibility of saving the trees that are currently healthy. He asked whether the removal of the ash trees could be scheduled on a rolling basis just like the bond issue, so that each year the health of the remaining trees could be reviewed. Mr. Schultz said it could probably be done, but questioned whether there is a practical mechanism in place to facilitate this process.
Chair Nagy commented that the trees near her home are infested, and that the infestation just keeps moving forward. She stated that if all the Catholic Central ash trees don’t come down, without question the neighbors’ trees will become infected. Mr. Ryan concurred, emphasizing that it is in the best interest of the City’s public health and safety to remove all of the trees now. He stated that today’s technology can’t save these trees and that Catholic Central can’t wait.
Mr. Shipman clarified that the Applicant’s intention is to remove all of these trees at once. Because that is their plan, Mr. Shipman concluded that there is no health issue down the road and no way to evaluate the health of the trees at a later date.
Larry DeBrincat, the Woodland Consultant from Vilican-Leman, recounted that 80-90% of the Catholic Central ash trees surveyed by Steve Printz, the City Forester, show signs of infestation. He continued that the likelihood of saving these trees in this City, and really in all of southeast Michigan, is really quite low. His professional opinion on the matter is that this infestation will move very quickly through this City, as he has witnessed its rapid progression in the Plymouth area. Member Shroyer conceded that perhaps removing all the ash trees could save others, but Mr. DeBrincat cautioned that because the disease is already established in the area, it may be too late to save the ash trees in this City. Member Shroyer voiced his support of the motion and, in light of the evidence, would also support an amended motion that addresses the removal of the ash trees.
Member Markham added another comment regarding the Planning Commission setting a precedent. She explained that later in the evening another site plan will come forward that includes a woodland summary wherein the dead and dying trees have been removed from the calculations. She asserted that although Catholic Central is a bigger site with more trees, it is standing operating procedure to remove non-viable trees from the woodland calculations, and nothing unique is being offered to this Applicant. Mr. Schultz responded that his understanding of the precedent question was whether this approval will allow other developers to also remove currently healthy ash trees solely on the presumption that because they’re ash trees, their survival against the emerald ash borer is improbable.
Member Kocan stated that while she served on the Woodlands Review Board, they reviewed Section 37.2 of the Ordinance to determine whether the language pertaining to dutch elm disease was also applicable to the emerald ash borer infestation. They determined that if MSU Extension decided that the ash trees were in fact diseased and dying, then the Ordinance could be interpreted such that replacements for those trees were not necessary. The letter citing an 80-90% infestation is critical documentation that supports the recommendation to City Council that these trees are exempt from replacement. She supported the recommendation to City Council.
Member Kocan cited that the Ordinance limits lighting in residential districts to 25 feet, and therefore the Catholic Central entry lighting can not be thirty feet as shown on the plan. Mr. Schmitt responded that the Applicant has agreed to lower the lighting, and is actually working with the Planning Department to improve the entire lighting scheme.
Member Kocan supported the request that all handicapped spaces be provided at the stadium site, which could easily be accommodated with roll-out signs. She noted that there was no dumpster location in the stadium area. Mr. Ryan stated that his understanding was the trash from the stadium would be carted to the dumpster area near the bus parking lot. Member Kocan reminded them that if the plan changes they need to place the dumpster as far away from the handicapped parking as possible.
Member Kocan offered several amendments to the motion for the Planning Commission’s consideration:The positive recommendation from the Planning Commission be added to the language, "City Council’s approval of an extended time period". The City Council approval of the Stormwater Maintenance Agreement prior to any construction. The positive recommendation for a determination by the City Council that the emerald ash borer infestation, as documented, is significant enough to warrant a general waiver of the replacement requirements per Ordinance 37-2; otherwise the tree replacement requirement would revert to the 3,140 trees. Approval of the Woodland Conservation Easements. Completion of the MDEQ Permit. Signal reconstruction plans to be reviewed and found acceptable by Birchler Arroyo. Increase in the number of handicapped parking spaces at the stadium gate relative to the projected 1,200 cars for large events on an as-needed basis. All lighting to be restricted to 25 feet Additional City effort to approach the school district on behalf of Catholic Central for off-site athletic event parking when appropriate.
Member Ruyle asked that the stadium lighting be removed from the 25 foot restriction and then he accepted Member Kocan’s amendment, as did Member Markham.
Mr. Ryan asked whether the Planning Commission cared to weigh in on the two-year rolling bond request. Member Kocan responded that she wasn’t entirely clear on the concept. Mr. Ryan explained that if 300 trees are slated for replacement each year, Catholic Central would provide a two-year rolling bond covering 600 trees. Mr. Schultz interjected that he had no objections to the proposal, but ultimately this is a City Council determination, and the Ordinance doesn’t even call for a Planning Commission recommendation, although they may offer it if they desire. Chair Nagy agreed that the Planning Commission should comment only on those issues that are within its purview.
Mr. Ryan noted that the Planning Commission is taking a stand regarding the emerald ash borer. Mr. Schultz further clarified that the issue of how many replacement trees are required really is for the Planning Commission to determine and not City Council. He continued that in terms of going forward, the Planning Commission might want the City Council’s input regarding the emerald ash borer, but he suggested that the motion be reworded because it is a Planning Commission decision as to how many trees must be replaced. The Planning Commission may ask the City Council for their review and comment but they should maintain jurisdiction. Chair Nagy offered that it is the Planning Commission that approves the woodland permit, so the decision belongs at this table.
Mr. Schultz said that the City Council opinion is significant to the question just as a general proposition. It is appropriate for the Planning Commission to make this determination and retain the jurisdiction. They can revisit the issue if, for some reason, the City Council has a policy objection. He reiterated that it is a Planning Commission call. Mr. Schultz suggested that the Planning Commission make a determination as to how many trees are required to be replaced. The recommendation from the Commission to City Council is only going to relate to the term of years for the replacement schedule. He continued that City Council will read the minutes and find out the issue of the waiver was discussed. If City Council has a comment or concern, the Planning Commission can retain the authority to address it after the comment is made known.
Member Kocan thought that the way she worded it addressed the language provided in the Planning Commission packets (that it had to be a City Council determination on that particular Ordinance). Mr. Schultz responded that it only applies to the term of years - nine years, seven years, whatever the recommendation is to City Council. He restated that the number of trees to be replaced, or whether or not they need to be replaced under the meaning of the Ordinance, is typically a woodland permit decision made by the Planning Commission. He wanted to make sure that the Planning Commission understood the distinction: if they want input from City Council, it’s not inappropriate but the jurisdiction is with them.
Mr. Schmitt said that City Council will be asked to weigh in at some point regarding the emerald ash borer, pursuant to the Staff’s conversation with Mr. DeBrincat. In their discussion they decided that this is a large enough decision that some clarification should be made on the City Council level. Mr. Schmitt affirmed that Mr. Schultz is correct in stating that the actual number of replacement trees needs to be determined at this time.
Member Markham clarified that the appropriate language for the motion is the waiving of the replacement requirement of a certain number of infected ash trees in the protected woodlands area. Mr. Schultz responded that he did not wish to belittle the issue of City Council weighing in, and he said that there is a way to state the motion without doing so. Member Markham asked what was determined to be the exact number of trees. Mr. Evancoe stated that the new total number of replacements without the ash trees would become 2,531.
Member Avdoulos said that 2,531 is the number recommended by Vilican-Leman in their letter: "Should the City determine that a general waiver of replacement requirements for ash trees is acceptable, the number of replacement trees would be 2,531." Member Markham agreed that the Planning Commission could rephrase the language to reflect the total number of replacement trees. Member Avdoulos continued that the original recommendation was 3,140.
Chair Nagy asked the maker of the motion whether he would accept this language for the ash tree portion of the motion. Member Ruyle accepted and Member Markham also accepted.
Member Papp noted that the Providence letter gave Catholic Central permission to use their parking lot on Friday nights. He asked whether there would be any other activities that would require the use of Providence’s parking lot. Mr. Ryan said no; only the football games produce the need for additional parking.
Member Papp also commented that Novi Providence is planning to expand to include a facility with 200 beds. He asked what will happen if, for some reason, Providence rescinds their permission to use their lot for satellite parking. Mr. Ryan replied that the lawsuit has already been filed to prohibit Providence from expanding, so the length of time involved in that expansion is unknown. However, Catholic Central will be forwarding a letter to the City acknowledging Providence’s verbal commitment to always provide satellite parking.
Member Papp suggested that the two-year tree warranty should be changed to three years and that this portion of the Ordinance should be reviewed. In his four years in Novi he has witnessed a countless loss of trees – locations where residents have just given up and chopped them down. The Ordinance should require the planter to inspect after one year and inspect after two years. He noted that he is working with City Forester Steve Printz on this issue.
Member Avdoulos commended the City and Catholic Central for their progress in spite of the hiccups in the road. He thought their binder really helped define and address the various pending issues. Member Avdoulos noted Father Elmer’s letter regarding the Parking Management Plan and their proposal to work closely with the Police Department to control the traffic. He suggested that the Fire Department be considered as well, and reminded Father Elmer that no lanes can be blocked that would disrupt the Fire Department in any way.
Member Avdoulos reminded the Planning Commission of his comment made during the Preliminary Site Plan process, that sometimes a site plan review must be performed by stepping back and looking at the site globally; then the issues and the areas that are really affected can be cued in on. Based on the complexity that came before the Planning Commission originally, he agreed there were warranted concerns. Drawing on his own background and experience, Member Avdoulos conceded that all of the sensitive issues on this site have been well-addressed. The architecture fits with the character of this institution. The discussion at tonight’s table echoes that the City wants to welcome Catholic Central to the community. He applauded Providence for working with Catholic Central on the satellite parking plan. Catholic Central is a positive attribute to the City, and Member Avdoulos will support the motion.
Member Paul asked the Planning Commission whether they would like to reconsider the length of tree replacement time since the number of trees to be replaced has been reduced. She supports the idea of reducing the years from nine to seven, which results in basically the same level of annual commitment that a nine-year plan with 3,140 trees required.
Chair Nagy stated that, having watched the development of this issue at the City Council meetings, she believes that the plan has already been designed to an extent that a different recommendation from the Planning Commission would be futile. She stated that the site is nice and the architect has done a good job. She stated that she is glad to bring this approval process to a close so Catholic Central can move forward.
Chair Nagy stated that she has researched the emerald ash borer and ash tree issues and she readily supports that portion of the motion. She prefers not to comment on the rolling bond as it is an issue under the purview of City Council. She asked Mr. Schmitt whether Mr. Stimpson’s comments have also been provided in written form. Mr. Schmitt responded that it would be put into writing shortly. Upon the approval of this motion, Chair Nagy wishes to welcome Catholic Central to the community and looks forward to a successful partnership.
The Planning Commission requested that the motion be reread prior to the vote.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE CATHOLIC CENTRAL SITE PLAN 02-61B AMENDED MOTION MADE BY MEMBER RUYLE, SECONDED BY MEMBER MARKHAM:
In the matter of Catholic Central, Site Plan 02-61B, motion to grant approval of the Final Site Plan and Woodland Permit, subject to: 1) City Council approval of the extended time period for the replacement of the tree plantings; 2) The conditions and items listed in the staff and consultant review letters; 3) An increase in handicapped parking spaces at the stadium for large events; 4) Lighting not to exceed 25 feet, excluding the stadium lighting which has been granted a variance; 5) Stormwater Maintenance Agreement approval by City Council; 6) Additional City effort to approach the school district on behalf of Catholic Central for off-site athletic event parking when appropriate; 7) The Conservation Easements being approved; 8) Securing of the MDEQ Permit; and 9) Signal reconstruction to be reviewed and found acceptable by Birchler Arroyo Associates. The Planning Commission gives a positive recommendation to City Council for: 1) Extending the length of time for the woodland replacement timetable; and 2) A general Waiver regarding the Emerald Ash Borer infestation because as documented, it appears significant enough to warrant the Waiver, which will make the tree replacement number equal to 2,531 instead of 3,140.
Motion carried 8-0.
Father Elmer thanked the Planning Commission. Mr. Ryan apologized for any misunderstandings for which the Applicant was responsible, and commented that although there have been ups and downs throughout the approval process, he looks forward to moving on, providing a beautiful campus, and Catholic Central being good stewards and good citizens in the City of Novi. He thanked the Planning Commission for their interest and cooperation.
Chair Nagy reconvened the meeting after a ten minute break.
3. WEST PARK PLACE CONDOMINIUM, SITE PLAN 03-14
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Sami Harb, of the Windmill Group LLC, for approvals of a Preliminary Site Plan, Site Condominium, Stormwater Management Plan and Woodland Permit. The subject property is located in Section 4 on West Park Drive, North of West Road in the R-2 (One Family Residential) District. The developer is proposing an 18-unit condominium under the single family residential cluster option.
City Planner Darcy Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. It is zoned R-2 and master planned Single Family Use. To the north and east is Bristol Corners (zoned R-2 and master planned Single Family); to the south are single family homes (zoned R-A and master planned Single Family); to the west is Beck Corporate Park (zoned I-1 and master planned Light Industrial).
The Planning Review indicated that the property does not meet the intent of the Cluster Option Ordinance unless the Planning Commission makes a finding that it does. If so, then a Waiver would be necessary for the distance between buildings six and seven (75 feet required, fifty feet proposed).
There are no regulated wetlands on the site. The Woodlands Review indicates that the regulated woodlands boundary needs to be amended and corrections must be made to the location of the protective tree fencing.
The Landscape, Traffic, Engineering and Fire Reviews indicate that there are minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
Mr. Stuart Michaelson, a partner of Sami Harb, represented the Windmill Group. They are presently developing Kirkway Place on Beck Road between Ten and Eleven Mile. The site proposed for West Park Place is a small odd-shaped parcel with many trees. Their plan is to provide 17 detached single family condos and keep the existing home in tact. An association will be set up to handle maintenance issues, including landscaping and the snow plowing of the 28-foot wide private road. They plan to set up a tree preserve to protect woodlands; they aim to keep the residents out of the woods to help maintain its wildlife habitat status. Through the Cluster Option, the required 75-foot setbacks would provide ample room between this project and the neighboring communities. Mr. Michaelson explained that this home style is perfect for empty-nesters who want to stay in Novi but don’t want the burden of their full-sized homes. This site, he maintained, is the perfect location for this kind of community.
Mr. Ralph Nuñez, principal of the Design Team, 17255 West Ten Mile, Southfield, MI, also represented the Windmill Group. He explained that this R-2 Property is 9.23 gross acres, of which 5.69 acres are open space, 5.44 acres are usable open space. 60% of the site will be preserved as usable open space. The gross density allowed on this site is two dwelling units per acre. The request for a variance between lots six and seven can be alleviated by reducing the space between other units from 15 to ten feet, and removing a portion of the deck of the existing home. Advantages of the Cluster Option for this property include the private drive being forty feet away from the adjacent homes which allows for additional landscaping, the 75-foot setback requirements (as opposed to the 35-feet required by single family homes), and the luxury of the open space vs. traditional private yards.
Mr. Nuñez asserted that designing this site with the Cluster Option was suggested by the City Staff, even though this property does not meet the Ordinance requirement of providing a transitional use for a location between a freeway and a major thoroughfare. The Applicant believes the intent of this Ordinance is meant to provide an alternative to conventional housing when there is a potentially negative feature adjacent to the property. In this case, the property abuts an industrial area that has been bermed for privacy. The Cluster Option for this site would also provide the 75-foot setback from the industrial park.
Mr. Nuñez continued that a conventional subdivision could not be built without tremendous woodlands impact. The current woodlands map indicates regulated areas running along both the north and west property lines, as well as some additional regulated trees within the property. The current homeowners have noted that there is a deer migration pattern through this property from across West Road, past the stormwater basin and up through the northern wetlands and woodlands. Mr. Nuñez also pointed to a second migration path on the aerial photo. He explained that the use of the Cluster Option on this property provides for those corridors to remain. He continued that the open areas would be improved with plantings, and the perimeter areas would remain naturalized but would be upgraded to maintain the property’s wildlife habitat.
Mr. Nuñez also stated that this site plan was planned to accommodate the proposed future ROW setbacks for West Park Blvd. He described the 17 proposed condos as one-story homes with side-loading two- or three-car garages. Of the 92 trees on the site, approximately 84% will be saved. Among the trees that will be removed are one ash, two apple, two boxwood, two cherry and various elms. Six of the replacement trees will be planted in one area. A berm and mature evergreen trees will be located at the entrance, and the street trees meet the Ordinance requirements. The Applicant has proposed an additional twenty deciduous trees above the City’s requirements. Although they must leave room for utilities, even more trees can probably be added. The site plan meets the 75-foot setback requirements and he noted that the Applicant has proposed 64.5 feet between two clusters of three, although only sixty feet is required.
Mr. Nuñez agreed with the Traffic Review comment about eliminating a section of asphalt and straightening out the road while still providing an adequate turning radius. This change would provide additional green space and save two cherry trees. He noted that this irregular shaped site has eleven sides. The proposed design offers a central common area with sidewalks and a gazebo – a focal point to meet.
Mr. Michaelson readdressed the Planning Commission and told them that his company has built four of these small communities in Farmington Hills; the most recent is The Forest at Orchard Lake, a 21-unit development across the street from Oakland Community College. Mr. Michaelson showed pictures of that property so that the Planning Commission could see what the West Park Place project might look like. He mentioned that this Orchard Lake property was involved in a lawsuit and the zoning was changed from residential to office. The city bought the land, held on to it for a few years, and then approached the Windmill Group and asked them to develop a cluster community similar to their other successful sites within the city.
Mr. Michaelson stated that the Windmill Group specializes in special entrances with lots of landscaping. They find that their greatest appeal is to long-term residents who want to stay in their own community but want to downsize to smaller homes.
Chair Nagy opened the floor to members of the public who wished to speak regarding West Park Place:Marilyn Bach, 46120 West Park Drive: Thought it was a good plan for the city because it saves over 50% of the land for open space. It’s a different option for people other than big-house subdivisions. Brad Bach, 46120 West Park Drive: Has lived on this property for the past eleven years. They started this process of taking the property from R-A to R-3 because the frontage requirements and setbacks needed were difficult to attain on a plan using the R-2 Master Plan designation. They were one City Council vote short of rezoning the property to R-3, so they accepted the R-2 designation. He felt that there was good support for their plan, and after listening to repetitive recommendations and suggestions, the Bachs came back with the Cluster Option design. He believes the outcome of this design is outstanding and the merits have been demonstrated. The wildlife will continue to thrive on the site from the protection of the 75-foot perimeter. The cluster design minimizes the impact. He praised The Windmill Group for being fair and open developers; he is pleased with their design. Paulette Brodbeck, 46050 West Park Drive: Neighbor who now supports plan, although she was against it two years ago. She loves trees and believes this plan will save them. Bryan Cyr, 46140 West Park Drive: Has been enjoying the R-A lifestyle and asked the Planning Commission to deny this request. He believes the density of the project takes away from the area. Brooks Decker, 46130 West Park Drive: Lives on the southern border of this property. He is a builder himself so he is acquainted with the Windmill Group. He has no doubt that they will build a quality development, but he is concerned that he bought his property when it was zoned R-A (17 years ago), but when he sells it in the future it reverts to R-2. He was pleased to see the upscale homes of Bristol Corners go in near his home. He is afraid that this proposed Cluster Option will isolate the tip of the triangle, including the Deptula’s, Sears’ and Decker’s homes. It is not consistent with the structure, style or lot size of Bristol Corners, so the tip of the pie-shaped lots is isolated. He commented that the deer in the area are not shy and they will find their way to the hundreds of acres in North Novi Park and the wetlands regardless of whether the property is built with 14 single family homes or 18 single family clusters. He does not know how marketing these homes to empty nesters would affect this area that is teeming with kids. He does not know if 18 dwelling units would be a detriment, but he would feel more comfortable with only 14, even with smaller setbacks. He noted the gross dissimilarity between the height of the proposed residences (one story) and the existing two-story home with full walkout, which looks like a three-story house from his home. He reiterated that he would prefer 14 single family homes over 18 clusters. Rick Katterman, 46090 West Park Drive: Has lived in the area for ten years, when there were only seven neighbors in a half-mile radius. He agreed that larger setbacks means more trees will be saved, but he asked that some level of uniformity be considered for the project. Dana Howe, 46050 West Park Drive: Abuts Bristol corners. She attended a meeting with the neighbors, Stuart Michaelson and Sami Harb and reviewed the plans for the property. She is in favor of the cluster project because it would provide a better buffer between the homes and the industrial park and would have larger setbacks. She asked about sewer service for her neighbors and herself. She stated that Bristol Corners brought sewers into the area, and that Brad Bach paid $6,000 to get a sewer line to his property. The Windmill Group is expected to give sewer service to the neighbors on the south and east sides of this property. Because a little more property is needed for the 18-unit density, Rick Katterman is providing the necessary acreage. She explained that the sewer service line would be adequate for these neighbors, but that Mr. Katterman wants them to share in cost of this provided property for the sewer line installation. She asserted that the neighbors to the east have an imbalance of cost, more than the property in question and the neighbors to the south. She requested that the City give a variance to allow the development to proceed without the additional Katterman property. Her intent is not to delay the project. She believes it is the City’s obligation to provide services whenever possible, and they can do so by honoring this request. She suggested that the necessary easement be stipulated in the plan. The neighbors would still pay for the cost of running the sewer line. Their tax rate is the same as everyone else’s in the City who already has sewer and cable services. The irony of living within few hundred feet of the waste water plant but not having service is not lost on this resident, and she hopes it’s not lost on the Planning Commission. She said she is a humble taxpaying voter of this City and she supports this development. She asked that the variance be expedited through the intervening process, and for the forbearers of the development to help make that available. She urged the Planning Commission to make their decision so that the developers and the Bachs can consummate their deal.
Member Kocan read a letter from Katherine Hoffmaster, 46066 West Park Drive: In favor of the project because it is a better option that will preserve the trees and wildlife.
No one else from the audience wished to speak and there was no additional correspondence so Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.
Member Kocan considered this project difficult to review. She noted the positives of the Applicant’s plan, but questioned whether the property qualifies for review under the Cluster Option. She acknowledged the abutting industrial development, the advantage of the 75-foot vs. 35-foot setback, and the cul-de-sac that meets Ordinance standards. However, there are four conditions that qualify a site for the Cluster Option and she stated that this site meets none. The Planning Commission would have to justify why the property qualifies for the Cluster Option. She looked through the zoning Ordinance to find another option that the Developer might consider using, and wondered whether the Staff and Applicant considered the Open Space option.
Member Kocan stated that the four criteria of the Cluster Option are: unusual shape that causes a hardship for the property to be designed for residential, which Member Kocan said was not the case; undevelopable soils which the Applicant has not stated is the case; elevations and slopes exceed 15%, which is not the case; and the majority of the land’s net site area are within the jurisdiction of the Woodlands protection Ordinance, which is not the case.
Member Kocan stated that the property is 9.223 acres, meaning that the majority which has to be woodlands area must be greater than 4.5 acres – the site has approximately two acres of woodlands. She stated that the problem is the plan looks like a good idea, but should the Planning Commission throw the four criteria of the Cluster Option aside? She suggested that the Applicant look at other options. She again asked if the Staff considered the Open Space option. Ms. Schmitt responded affirmatively, but concluded that it wouldn’t be any better for the Applicant, although it would have been feasible.
Member Kocan then said requesting the Applicant to design the property with the Open Space option would be justifiable. She stated that this option, reducing the property’s status from R-A to R-3 and preserving the woodland areas, may yield the same amount of units. She suggested the Applicant design a parallel plan to determine the allowable density. This option also takes into consideration that the Applicant is buffering from major thoroughfares and more intensive land uses. The Applicant would have to work on a recreation area and providing access to all the open areas. She does not believe the property is close enough to the requirements of the Cluster Option to consider it as an option.
Member Shroyer agreed with Member Kocan. He liked the plan and especially liked the preservation of the trees and the additional proposed landscaping. However, the Cluster Option must be met on all four requirements, not just one. He does not see how the Planning Commission can approve this plan. He asked why the plan is to keep the current house. Mr. Michaelson responded that it is beautiful. Member Shroyer replied that the colors don’t match or complement the proposed units. He stated that it’s a two-story home, almost considered three-story, and if it were removed there wouldn’t be an issue on meeting setbacks.
Chair Nagy interjected a point of clarification, namely that only one requirement must be met in order for a property to qualify for consideration of the Cluster Option.
Member Avdoulos also looked to see which of the four criteria this property came closest to in meeting, and he determined that the property’s odd shape may be the best – or only – option available. He approved of the layout, but he sees a self-created hardship in the 50-foot separation between clusters six and seven. Chair Nagy interjected that the Applicant has already stated that he can meet the 75-foot requirement with some adjustments to the plan. Mr. Michaelson reiterated that the other buildings will be shifted closer together and would provide for the appropriate spacing.
Member Avdoulos asked about the 64.5-foot setback in the one area of the plan. Mr. Michaelson responded that the Ordinance requires sixty feet between two clusters of three, and the proposed plan provides for 64.5 feet. Member Avdoulos was concerned how unit ten in the corner was facing the side of a building. He suggested a cluster of three units in that area rather than four, and rotating unit ten to face the road a little more. To maintain consistency on the site, he suggested that the driveways be redesigned more uniformly. He liked the idea of pulling the island out, removing one unit and rotating another to create more green space and consequently more open space. He also had concerns about the location of unit 18, in spite of the 25-foot setback.
Member Avdoulos thought the layout was decent, and the topography is rather simple. The odd-shape of the lot was the only criteria that could potentially be considered but it is a marginal call because there is still a 300-foot frontage with which to work.
Member Markham thought there were nice features to the development but can’t fit the project into the Cluster Option. The intent of this option is to permit flexibility in the development of a one-family housing patterns, where the conventional subdivision approach would destroy the unique environmental features of the site or would not be as desirable as a more transitional use of the property. The property does not have unique environmental significance, like a dense woodland or wetland. Member Markham did not think this property could be considered transitional as it is surrounded by residential except for the westerly industrial park which has met its screening obligation for industrial properties that abut residential. It does not abut a major thoroughfare or freeway. Under Section 2403.1.b there is no environmental significance. The unique shape of the lot was caused by adding the triangle on the northeast corner but is not unusual or unconventional.
Member Markham stated that if Member Avdoulos’ suggestions were implemented, the design begins to fit more into the Open Space Section 2402 of the Ordinance. The preservation of the open space and common areas meet the intent of the Ordinance better. She liked what the Applicant was proposing for the site, she appreciated the preservation of the trees, but she can’t support reviewing this project under the Cluster Option.
Member Markham asked what happens to the Woodlands map if the Applicant adds more trees to the woodlands area. A different developer may say those trees weren’t regulated and shouldn’t be included in the protection. Mr. DeBrincat responded that the City has extended additional areas into regulation since the map was prepared. In this instance, the area has extended beyond the scope of the map and that’s why they are being included in the protection. Member Markham thought this was a very grey area. Mr. Evancoe replied that the woodlands map is drawn at a 1:2000-foot ratio and it is understood that it is not precise. Recognizing its scale, there is a provision that allows the Woodland Consultant to make field interpretations of the exact boundaries.
Member Markham can not support the plan because it does not meet the Cluster Option requirements, but in general she likes the plan.
Member Ruyle agreed with the other Commissioners. He agreed that the shape of the lot is the only criteria that comes close to being met for the Cluster Option. He asked Mr. Schultz if the project could be tabled so the Applicant does not have to start from scratch and has an opportunity to bring the plan back under the Open Space option. Mr. Schultz responded that if the site plan keeps the same number, then the Planning Commission can table this plan for the Applicant. He did not know whether the applicant would be interested, because the number of units they are trying to achieve may not be attained with that option. Mr. Michaelson stated that they looked at the Open Space and they felt it didn’t provide any relief beyond what is available through a platted subdivision. Therefore, they would likely return with a platted subdivision.
Chair Nagy asked for clarification from the Applicant as to whether he would prefer to be tabled. Mr. Michaelson said that they hope to save as many trees as possible, and if there is a plan that they can design that would be suitable, then being tabled is acceptable to them.
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Kocan:
In the matter of West Park Place Condominium, Site Plan 03-14, motion to table the project to provide Applicant time to come back with another option development other than the Single Family Cluster Option.
Mr. Evancoe explained that the word "option" has specific meaning in the planning process (it means something other than a platted subdivision) and asked whether the motion could be reworded to remove the term "option". Member Ruyle agreed and Member Kocan suggested the word "optional" replace the word "option". The amendment was accepted.
Member Markham did not fully understand Mrs. Howe’s description of the sewer situation. She asked whether there was anyone in the City who could work with these citizens to resolve this matter. Ben Croy, City Engineer, offered to speak to them regarding this issue, of which he was not aware. He cautioned that he did not know to what extent the Developer could be burdened aside from putting sewer lines across their frontage, but it appears that they are amenable to going the extra step to assist the nearby neighbors.
Chair Nagy restated Benjamin Croy’s name for Mrs. Howe. She agreed that the design was nice but she must uphold the Ordinances. She believes that tabling this plan is a good idea.
Member Kocan quoted from the Ordinance for the Applicant to clarify the "odd-shape" criteria. She read, "This unusual shape would cause peculiar or exceptional practical difficulties or exceptional undue hardship."
Member Avdoulos commented that the Planning Commission appreciates when Applicants meet with the neighbors to discuss site developments. He thanked the Windmill Group for doing so. Chair Nagy agreed.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE WEST PARK PLACE CONDOMINIUM SITE PLAN 03-14 AMENDED MOTION MADE BY MEMBER RUYLE, SECONDED BY MEMBER KOCAN:
In the matter of West Park Place Condominium, Site Plan 03-14, motion to table the project to provide Applicant time to come back with another optional development other than the Single Family Cluster Option.
Motion carried 7-0. (Member Paul was excused from the meeting during this Public Hearing.)
Mr. Michaelson thanked the Planning Commission for giving them another opportunity. He closed in reiterating that the existing home is beautiful and that the appropriately colored brick (rosewood), matching gables and similar architecture would be used for this development. He stated that they are professionals and are very cognizant of the need for similarity.
Chair Nagy reconvened the meeting after a five minute break.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
Moved by Member Ruyle, supported by Member Kocan:
Motion to reverse the order of consideration of Site Plans 03-20 and 01-63.
Motion carried 7-0.
1. SCENIC PINES ESTATES, SITE PLAN NUMBER 01-63
Consideration of the request of Marvin Daitch of Danovi LLC, for approval of a Final Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 3 and south of Pembine between Buffington and Henning. The developer proposes a 24-unit condominium under the Single-Family Cluster Option in the R-4 (One Family Residential) District. The subject property is 8.93 acres.
Barbara McBeth, City Planner, located the property on an aerial map. The land is undeveloped with the exception of two existing single-family homes and garages on the north end; it is zoned R-4 and master planned for Single Family. To the West are single family homes and vacant land (zoned R-4 and master planned for Single Family). To the north are the Lakewoods and Lilley Pond subdivisions (zoned R-4 an master planned for Single Family). To the east are the South Pointe Condos (zoned R-A and master planned for Single Family). To the south is vacant land (Zoned R-1 and R-A and designated for a community park).
Last September the Planning Commission approved a Preliminary Site Plan for this property with several conditions, one of which was that it return to the Planning Commission table for its Final Site Plan approval. The Staff and Consultants have worked on this site plan and they appreciate the Applicant’s efforts in helping to resolve the remaining issues. The plan is for 24 units reviewed under the one-family Cluster Option. Each home will be detached and clustered in groups of three or four on either side of White Pine Trail that runs north and south, and on Pine Cone Court. In excess of 50% of the site are wetlands and woodlands and will be preserved. The existing homes will be removed.
The Planning Review noted minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal. A chart was provided to the Planning Commissioners to assist them in reviewing the changes made as a result of the Preliminary Site Plan approval.
The Wetlands Review noted that two issues are outstanding. Previously the Applicant was told that the MDEQ Permit must be secured. It is currently under review for approval according to the Applicant. Additionally, lots seven and ten encroach the wetland buffer and the Applicant is asking the Planning Commission to reconsider approving this design.
The Woodlands Review noted minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal. The Landscape Review noted that the Applicant has not satisfactorily moved the detention pond a distance equivalent to what a berm would occupy (roughly 17 feet). Moving the pond south was not possible because of the woodlands. Moving the pond east was impractical. The Applicant is asking the Planning Commission to reconsider this stipulation made during the Preliminary Site Plan approval process.
Artistic renderings were provided to the Planning Commission for their review. The wall detail indicates a low wall with wrought iron detail above, which is different than what was provided in the landscaping packet. The Applicant asked that the Planning Commission consider the new design.
The Traffic Review and Fire Marshal approved of the plan. The Engineering Review noted minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal. The Façade Review is not required until such time as the building permits are sought.
Attorney Robert Carson of Birmingham represented the Applicant. He asked to clarify that none of the lots are in the buffer, and believes that the Woodland Consultant will confirm that. There may be some question regarding the grading, but the resolution made by the Planning Commission in the previous September only required that no lot be in the buffer zone.
Mr. Carson stated that one issue not accommodated by this new plan is the retention pond. The alternative currently shown on the plan is the best available and the most aesthetically pleasing. The original concern was the setback and the placement of the wall near the streetscape. A meeting took place in December between Novi, JCK, Birchler Arroyo and the Applicant’s consultants wherein this issue was discussed. They determined jointly that this was the best plan. There was some discussion of moving the wall back and putting the trees in front of the wall. The wall would be used as a retaining feature of the pond. No one felt that this was a good plan. Mr. Carson stressed that the Applicant did not just ignore the request of the Planning Commission; the design did not change because the consensus was the design could not be improved. Mr. Carson said the result is a very pleasing entryway. The wall runs along the entire entry and is a focal point as well as the site’s signage.
The other concern was the securing of the MDEQ Permit. The Applicant acknowledges that the permit will be issued prior to any work being done on the site. Mr. Carson stated that tonight’s approval of the Final Site Plan will allow the Applicant to move forward on the detailed engineering drawings so as not to lose this building season.
Mr. Carson noted that the variance was not allowed for the outbuilding and that the issue is gone. The other variances have been secured.
Member Shroyer asked John Freeland of Tilton and Associates if lots seven and ten encroach the wetland buffer. He responded that he interpreted the minutes in a broad manner. The plan showed limits of grading for lots seven and ten. His opinion is that if an area is graded outside of the lot, it opens the door to a casual annexation of that specific area. He does believe that the encroachment is avoidable. Only the corners of the lots are encroaching the buffer, and he asked the Applicant why the grading can’t just be rounded around the corners rather than performed at a right angle. Mr. Carson responded that the lots don’t encroach the buffer, but the Applicant does not wish to portray the situation as no disturbance occurring inside the buffer when it is likely that minimal impact will occur in the corners of those lots in a manner expected from bulldozing. It will not impose on the wetland itself. Tion Sujac of Mickalich and Associates, the design consultants for the property, explained that previously JCK asked the Applicant to show grading limits ten feet from the buildings’ envelopes. It is not so much an area of grading, but an area of disturbance. Dr. Freeland stated that the wording on the plan is "limits of grading" and if the terminology is incorrect he recommended that it be corrected. Dr. Freeland agreed that there is no reason that the grading would have to extend that far out.
Member Shroyer asked what negative impact would result in disturbing the buffer. Dr. Freeland explained that the 25-foot setback is to protect the wetland and although the impact is small, they could be avoided. Member Shroyer commented that he did not believe anyone on the Commission expected grading outside of the lot area.
Member Shroyer asked Mr. DeBrincat about a bond for the at-risk trees. He responded that there were 67 trees within close proximity of the buildings. The roots may become impacted during the normal course of construction and some are very close to the protective fence. Some of these trees may succumb to the disturbance and therefore are bonded to ensure that the tree count remains consistent throughout the development of this property. If the trees do not die the bond is released. Mr. Carson said the Applicant is favorable to this request. He also wished the record to reflect that two separate Consultants have been a part of this review which has added a level of confusion to the process.
Member Shroyer noted that the reviews indicated that there is no room to add native plantings to the detention pond without the 17-foot buffer. Mr. Shipman explained that the plantings are placed along the fringe or slightly above the freeboard level of the pond. Without the 17 feet, this cannot be done. Mr. Evancoe further clarified that the pond will hold a certain amount of water at all times.
Member Shroyer asked about the rendering. Mr. Carson explained that the neighbor has asked for a location to park his car and that is what is indicated in the drawing. Mark Robinson of the Aprecis Group helped explained the rendering and how the neighbor will have a parking area provided on this site.
Member Shroyer asked which of the two depicted walls will be used on the site. Mr. Carson explained that the wall with wrought iron will be used if the Planning Commission agrees to the detention pond design. If the design must change, the less ornate wall will be used. Mr. Carson explained that the Ordinance requires a solid wall, but the aesthetics of the new design is better, and it is within the Planning Commission’s purview to review and accept the new design as it is substantially within the terms of the Ordinance.
Member Shroyer asked Mr. Schultz if the Planning Commission can approve this design. He responded that the Ordinance provides for the Planning Commission’s ability to grant a waiver of the berm in favor of the use of an obscuring wall. If there is relief it would have to come from the ZBA.
Member Markham asked Mr. DeBrincat about the 376 replacement trees. He responded that this number supercedes the Applicant’s number of 367, and the Applicant agreed. Member Markham continued that there are 67 "at-risk" trees to be bonded; she asked whether there is a guaranty timeframe involved with the release of the bond. Mr. DeBrincat assumed that the release of the bond would coincide with the replacement tree inspection.
Member Markham asked about the deficit of 184 trees. Mr. DeBrincat explained that 236 trees would be replaced on the site, some of which are evergreens so the replacement value is only 192. There would be a deficit of 184 for planting around the City or their associated costs paid to the tree fund. Mr. Carson stated that the Applicant is aware that he must plant them on-site, off-site or contribute to the fund. He recommended to them that they plant on-site to gain the value.
Member Markham asked about the street name. There is an existing White Pines Drive in the City. Mr. Evancoe responded that it is unlikely that this name would be approved by the Street Naming Committee. Ms. McBeth interjected that the Applicant is aware of this and has already provided an alternative list for consideration.
Member Markham asked how the Applicant would explain to the future homeowners that their decks must not encroach the wetland boundaries, which will in some cases limit the size of their deck to ten feet. Mr. Carson responded that the restrictions will be placed in the Master Deed. This document also will explain to the homeowners how the wetlands and woodlands are taxed. Once the Applicant has drafted the document it will go to the City attorneys and City Council for their review. Mr. Carson explained that when someone purchases a condominium, they are given a full nine days to review the Master Deed.
Member Markham asked about the common-area irrigation. Pat Conroy of Conroy Associates will be performing the irrigation work on this property. He explained that the common area and the landscaped islands will be irrigated and that his plan will be submitted at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal.
Member Papp asked whether this parcel creates a land-locked situation for an adjoining parcel. Ms. McBeth responded that both 208 and 210 Buffington have access. A third parcel is landlocked, however, this landowner gave his support for this site plan during a previous meeting, and therefore has full knowledge of the plan for this property. Mr. Schultz replied to Member Papp that this landowner is not responsible for providing the other landowner with access. He continued that the Applicant is obligated to make the improvements cited on their plans, and if for some reason a private rights issue surfaces, it will be the Applicant’s responsibility to resolve that privately. Member Papp thanked the Applicant for responding to the various questions that were still on the table from the last meeting.
Member Avdoulos expressed his concern for the northwest corner. There is a water feature planned at the elevation of 934.50, and the finished elevation of one of the condos is only at 940.00. He also asked the engineers for their explanation of how this elevated water feature will react to a heavy rain. Mr. Croy responded that the pond has an additional capacity of two feet over the static level. Member Avdoulos questioned whether it would be a better design to remove some units and allow more buffer room for this pond. Mr. Carson responded that the design of the pond addresses the concerns that Member Avdoulos expressed. The pond will not be overgrown and the water will not be stagnant. He continued that he would think there would be a greater threat of mosquitoes associated with the wetlands and woodlands than from this pond.
Mr. Conroy clarified that Member Avdoulos’ questions referred to the potential for flooding at units 21 through 24, and the flooding of Pembine Road. Member Avdoulos replied that he has concern for any issues that might arise outside the site boundary lines. Mr. Conroy explained that a standard gravity overflow was added to the design. In the event that a one hundred year storm event came, the gravity overflow would alleviate the water prior to any units flooding. Pembine Road has no drainage structures, and it appears that Pembine does occasionally have drainage problems. Mr. Conroy has added structures at the entrance that will divert the water from the road to the pond. Mr. Conroy asserted that the design will improve the condition of the drainage in the area.
Member Avdoulos appreciated the design of this plan, and noted that the plan makes use of the natural features of the property. The front entry enhances the area. Mr. Carson responded that the Ordinance requires a thirty-inch obscuring wall but the one submitted for approval is only 24 inches of concrete topped by the wrought iron. He suggested that the Applicant could add more obscuring material to the detriment of the design. Member Avdoulos replied that he was satisfied with the submitted plan.
Member Kocan explained that the semantics of section 2509.7.d is "screening wall" because the property is abutting a ROW. She read, "…such screening walls shall be face brick on both sides with a suitable cap." She stated that she will listen to the Planning Commissioners to ascertain whether they think the proposed design meets the intent of the Ordinance.
Member Kocan did not see the calculations that reflected the percentage of open space on the property. Ms. McBeth responded that it is 50.01%. Member Kocan stated that the Ordinance requires a majority of the property to be open space for the Cluster Option. She stated that 13 of the 24 houses directly abut the Cluster Option setback of 75 feet. She stated that it is obvious to her that several homeowners will have to come before the Woodlands Review Board just to get a patio. Member Kocan asked whether these landowners will be granted a certain number of feet before they will have to go before the Board. Ms. McBeth explained that the statement that homeowners will be limited to ten-foot patios addresses this issue. Since that is the distance of the tree protection fence from the buildings’ envelopes, it seemed reasonable to limit the homeowners to that same area. Member Kocan thought the Applicant said the decks would be limited to 18 feet, and if that is the case that change needs to be made immediately at this table. Member Kocan continued that if homeowners need to take down trees to accommodate their patios, this property will immediately fall below the 50% of open space required by the Cluster Option. Therefore, she finds this site plan to be overbuilt.
Member Kocan previously requested in her motion that the detention pond be moved back 17 feet regardless if that meant the Applicant would have to remove unit 24. She is not pleased that the Applicant just came back with the same design. She stated that the landowners that abut the property are right on top of that water. She believes that this plan restricts those people to just stay within their homes. Member Kocan asked about the MDEQ Permit. She determined that the Applicant is waiting for the permit.
Member Kocan stated that some of the neighboring residents were concerned that some of these homes would end up being three or three and one-half stories tall. She understood that the building height is determined by the average grade on all four sides and it also takes into consideration whether the ground floor is counted as a basement or as a story. She wanted to confirm that the Applicant takes those definitions very seriously and complies with the Ordinance.
Mr. Carson asked to respond to Member Kocan’s concern about the detention pond. He explained that the Applicant worked diligently with the Staff regarding the design. The pond could have been moved back and the number of units could have been preserved, but the proposed design is better for the site, the City, the residents, the neighbors and the development. Mr. Carson maintained that the request of the Planning Commission was not ignored. Member Kocan stated that it was a personal opinion.
Chair Nagy stated that she reviewed the motion made at the time of Preliminary Site Plan, and it included the 17-foot buffer at the pond. She referred to the pictures in the room and stated that the first design is less friendly. The area is not formal in design. The second picture shows a much better design and while it is not in keeping with the area, it is more appealing and friendly.
Chair Nagy asked again about how the Master Deed will address the decks. Mr. Carson responded that the units closest to the buffer will be restricted from building their decks in the buffer zone. Units that are farther away will be able to build larger decks and that all these options will be spelled out in the Master Deed. Chair Nagy concurred that the document can specifically list individual units and their limitations. Chair Nagy supported the plan at the table. She approved of the new fence design. She asked for a motion from the Planning Commission.
Moved by Member Shroyer, supported by Member Ruyle:
In the matter of the request of Marvin Daitch of Danovi LLC, Site Plan 01-63E, motion to grant approval of the Final Site Plan, subject to: 1) Reconsideration of the Planning Commission condition that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit is needed prior to Final Site Plan approval, as it is on its way; 2) Reconsideration of the Planning Commission condition that no grading of the wetland buffer will take place in lots 7 and 10; 3) Reconsideration of the Planning Commission condition to set back the detention pond a distance equivalent to what a berm would occupy; 4) The replacement of the thirty-inch-brick wall with a thirty-inch-stone wall capped by a wrought iron fence similar to what is depicted in the rendering because that is in compliance with the Ordinance; and 5) Subject to the comments on the attached review letters being addressed at the time of Stamping Set review; Because the Applicant has worked diligently with the City, and has taken into consideration the comments from the surrounding neighbors.
Mr. Schultz commented about the use of the word "reconsideration" with regard to the grading of the wetland buffer in lots 7 and 10. Member Shroyer confirmed that the motion removes the condition imposed during the Preliminary Site Plan approval.
Mr. Schultz asked whether the motion now reflected that the screening portion of the wall must be thirty inches without the inclusion of the wrought iron measurement. Member Shroyer responded that the motion approves of the wall measurement being attained by the combination of the stone wall and wrought iron components. Member Ruyle then withdrew his seconding of the motion because he supports a thirty-inch screening wall that would not include the wrought iron in its measurement. Member Shroyer was open to that recommendation and restated the motion to require that the obscuring portion of the wall be thirty inches, so Member Ruyle then re-seconded the motion.
Member Kocan asked whether any of the conditions of the Preliminary Site Plan approval need to be restated in this motion. Mr. Schultz told the Planning Commission that this motion could reflect that any pending items from the Preliminary Site Plan motion are still in effect with this approval. Member Shroyer accepted that as an amendment to his motion and Member Ruyle agreed.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE DANOVI LLC SITE PLAN 01-63E AMENDED MOTION MADE BY MEMBER SHROYER, SECONDED BY MEMBER RUYLE:
In the matter of the request of Marvin Daitch of Danovi LLC, Site Plan 01-63E, motion to grant approval of the Final Site Plan, subject to: 1) Reconsideration of the Planning Commission condition that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit is needed prior to Final Site Plan approval, as it is on its way; 2) Reconsideration of the Planning Commission condition that no grading of the wetland buffer will take place in lots 7 and 10; 3) Reconsideration of the Planning Commission condition to set back the detention pond a distance equivalent to what a berm would occupy; 4) The replacement of the thirty-inch-brick wall with a thirty-inch-stone wall capped by a wrought iron fence similar to what is depicted in the rendering because that is in compliance with the Ordinance; 5) Subject to the comments on the attached review letters being addressed at the time of Stamping Set review; and 6) the remaining conditions from the Preliminary Site Plan remain in effect with Final Site Plan approval; Because the Applicant has worked diligently with the City, and has taken into consideration the comments from the surrounding neighbors.
Motion carried 5-2. (Yes: Papp, Ruyle, Shroyer, Markham, Nagy; No: Avdoulos, Kocan).
2. SANITARY SEWER/PUMP EXTENSION, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-20
Consideration of the request of the City of Novi for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 1 on north side of Thirteen Mile between Haggerty and M-5 in the OST (Office Service Technology) District. The site plan includes a 342 square foot generator building to serve the sanitary sewage pumping station. The subject property is on an 0.0574 acre easement.
Ms. McBeth showed the property on an aerial photo. The properties to the north, west and south are vacant but may someday be turned into a corporate park similar to the Haggerty Road Corporate Park. This site and the surrounding sites are master planned for office and zoned OST – planned Office Service Technology.
The plan shows the generator building, a wet well, a valve pit, perimeter landscaping and an access drive to 13 Mile. The improvements are on a 50-foot square easement negotiated between the City and the property owner following the City Council’s approval of a sanitary sewer extension in November 2001. It is expected that the City will receive an application for a corporate park in the surrounding area similar to the project south of 13 Mile. The Cabot Drive extension is shown on the plan as well.
The Plan Review approves of the plan but it still requires Planning Commission’s approval because of the proposed generator building. Additional detail regarding lighting and noise that the generator may cause will be required at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
The Landscape Review gave its recommendation of the plan subject to a variance being granted for the absence of a landscape irrigation system. The Staff has since learned that this system will be provided and the variance is not necessary, provided this is depicted on the Final Site Plan.
Traffic and Engineering reviews approved of the plan. The Façade Review is not necessary on a building less than 1,000 sf. The building will be primarily brick with a small amount of siding near the roof. The Façade Consultant suggested they use metal siding as it is approved in Region 1 and in areas near a major thoroughfare; the Applicant will consider this prior to their Final Site Plan submittal.
City Engineer Nancy McClain represented the City on this request.
by Member Papp, supported by Member Shroyer:
In the matter of the request of the City of Novi for a generator building to serve the sanitary sewage pumping station, Site Plan 03-20, motion to grant approval of a Preliminary Site Plan subject to the comments in the staff and consultant reports that are attached.
Member Kocan asked whether the motion could reflect that the approval is subject to the receipt of the noise analysis with respect to the generator. Ms. McBeth responded that although it was a comment in the staff letter, it could be specified in the motion if the Planning Commission preferred. She asked and Member Papp accepted the amendment as did Member Shroyer.
Member Ruyle stated that the proposed building was ugly, and Member Avdoulos dovetailed that opinion. He suggested that the triangular vent be kept but suggested they hip the roof up to it so as to create a more appealing design.
Member Avdoulos suggested that this building would be visible for some time before surrounding construction commences. Ms. McClain responded that the building will be in a clearing and will indeed be visible. Member Avdoulos suggested that the building be cleaned up and Ms. McClain accepted his comments.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE NOVI GENERATOR BUILDING SITE PLAN 03-20 AMENDED MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PAPP, SECONDED BY MEMBER SHROYER:
In the matter of the request of the City of Novi for a generator building to serve the sanitary sewage pumping station, Site Plan 03-20, motion to grant approval of a Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) Receipt of the noise analysis with respect to the generator; and 2) The comments in the staff and consultant reports that are attached.
Motion carried 7-0.
Chair Nagy asked Ms. McClain about when the sign and landscaping will be restored on Cranbrook for Village Oaks Crossing. Ms. McClain replied that it will completed approximately in the next month.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There was no Consent Agenda on this meeting.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. DISCUSSION OF AGENDA ITEMS FOR JOINT CITY COUNCIL MEETING. MEETING IS SCHEDULED
FOR AUGUST 6, 2003 AT 7:00 P.M.
Chair Nagy informed the Planning Commission that she will be unable to attend the meeting because her condominium’s Board of Directors meeting is also that night, and was so planned to accommodate her schedule.
Member Markham wanted to suggest some items to be considered for the meeting. Member Ruyle interjected that the City Council agreed to an adjournment time of 10:00 p.m. and that the Planning Commission should consider that when making suggestions for discussion items. Member Markham voiced concern that the meeting would degenerate to minutia very quickly. She suggested that broad generalities that address the future be the issues that the Planning Commission recommend for discussion. She suggested:
·Visibility of retail establishments in the City: discussions of the Landscape Ordinance and the Sign Ordinance. She stated that from the corner of Grand River and Novi Road a passerby cannot see the Novi Town Center, where half the stores are empty. Those businesses may be failing because they are not visible and overall, the visibility of retail establishments in the City should be reexamined. Mr. Evancoe informed that Planning Commission that the Ordinance Review Committee is looking at monument signage, and that Novi Town Center in particular is part of that review. Mr. Evancoe wondered if knowledge of that might change the Planning Commission’s choosing to suggest it as an agenda item. Member Markham responded that her suggestion also included the Landscape Ordinance as well, because big trees are being placed right in front of stores and their signage, so she really thinks a broader discussion of visibility is in order.
·Regional trail system: Member Markham believes that Novi should be a part of the southeast Michigan trail system. She suggested that they at least discuss linking this City to the existing trails, like the 14 mile trail between Milford and South Lyon and the 28 mile trail between Northville and Dearborn.
·Water storage on the west side of Novi: Member Markham would specifically like to discuss the six storage units that could potentially be mushroom designs and not underground tanks.
·Corporate Partnerships: How can the City be more creative in partnering with businesses to provide infrastructure improvements? She cited ideas like recreation centers or a bandshell as potential developments that the City could unite with its corporate citizens to provide. She mentioned the sponsoring (naming rights) of the ice arena as a fund raising possibility. She reminded the Planning Commission how Ford donated one million dollars to Dearborn’s Performing Arts Center.
Member Shroyer provided his list, namely these three:City Theme: What are we and what do we want to be? Member Shroyer stated that we are approaching buildout and we still don’t have an identity. He believes this is critical for the Master Plan and Zoning Committee in order to move forward with their Master Plan Update. Providing housing within the City in the $100,000 to $200,000 range: Member Shroyer noted that everything coming into the City is upscale or condos. Ordinance Revisions: As an example Member Shroyer cited tonight’s discussion regarding the emerald ash borer and the Woodlands Ordinance. He asked how does the Planning Commission go about these issues if the City Council is the authority that orders review. Chair Nagy asked whether an issue like this would go to the Implementation Committee, and Member Shroyer explained that he is looking for process clarification.
Member Kocan thought it was important to discuss the following:Gateway. Status of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee reviews. Status of Ordinances – an update, not an item to spend an awful lot of time on. Clarification from City Council of the Ordinance review process. Review from the Ordinance Review Committee as to the items they are looking at. A discussion defining the difference between Conceptual Plans and Site Plans. Member Kocan noted that the Planning Commission once sent a conceptual plan to City Council and because it was so detailed, the City Council acted on it as though it were a Site Plan. Open Items Issue: A discussion of the items that the Planning Commission has sent to City Council. Member Kocan cited the Landscape Ordinance as an example. The Plan Review Center: Member Kocan asked if there were any Staff or Consultant needs the Planning Commission should be aware of so that the Planning Commission can go to bat for them with City Council. Mr. Evancoe clarified that she wants to talk about that with City Council. Member Kocan responded that a proposed Agenda will be finalized by the Planning Commission officers, at the request of Mr. Richard Helwig, the City Manager. She then asked Mr. Evancoe if there was anything that the Staff would like added they should let the Planning Commission know. She commented that timing issues and transitions are taking care of themselves.
Member Papp voiced his concern regarding:The Ordinance that prohibited Wonderland Plaza from performing a necessary repair to its façade and now may result in the whole building going downhill. Member Papp clarified for Mr. Evancoe that perhaps there could be a simplification to the process that would allow changes like this to be made. Discussion regarding the nurseries that the City uses for tree replacement. Member Papp explained that the current company(ies) plant in the fall, dismiss the next leaf-less summer as shock, and the next year the tree is dead. By the time the City has the company return with a replacement, about two years’ growth is lost. Direction of the Woodland Review Board. Member Papp stated that no residents came forward to comprise that Board and he is interested in knowing what direction the City is going to take.
Member Avdoulos suggested the following:City image and identity: Member Avdoulos was not sure whether the goal of "Novi 2020" was to determine this, but he thinks the City needs to set a tone that provides guidance so that decisions don’t seem so reactionary. With 12 Mile near completion, the Grand River and City beautification projects underway he believes the timing is right. Conceptual Plan reviews: Member Avdoulos cited West Park Place as an example of an applicant who would have benefited from the extra step of a conceptual plan before the time and expense of a Preliminary Site Plan submittal. While he acknowledges that this would add a step in the process, it would be worth it to help the City maintain the "image and identity" tone that they ultimately set.
Chair Nagy stated that this is a meeting that the City Council is requesting and it would have been nice if they would come up with their agenda. She agreed that some of these items might be worthy of discussion between the two bodies. She stated that she doubts that ten or twelve items can be discussed during this time. She reiterated that she will not be in attendance but she hopes the meeting goes well.
Mr. Evancoe reminded the Planning Commission that City Council will also be submitting a list of agenda items to Mr. Helwig. Once the Executive Committee agrees on what should go forward, Mr. Evancoe will coordinate that effort with Mr. Helwig.
2. DISCUSSION REGARDING SCHEDULING AN ADDITIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING OUTSIDE THE REGULAR MEETING DATES
Chair Nagy stated that she cannot schedule another meeting in August. Member Kocan stated that since City Council scheduled the joint meeting on the available Wednesday, she does not support adding another Planning Commission meeting. Member Markham concurred. Member Kocan withdrew her request to add an additional meeting in August, but she did remark if they ever are to add a special meeting that taping it for viewing must be coordinated. She commented that a recent meeting was not taped and it should have been watched by City Council.
Ms. McBeth reminded the Planning Commission that Public Hearings cannot be held in the weeks of holidays and there will be a holiday in September. The Members felt that the additional joint meeting in August was enough for their schedule. Mr. Evancoe interjected that it was never anyone’s intention that special meetings must be held to accommodate Public Hearings around the holiday schedule; rather, it just needs to become an issue that everyone remains aware of in the City’s planning process.
3. LYON TOWNSHIP REZONING
Member Markham referred to the Lyon Township information that was provided to the Planning Commission. The rezoning request is for a twenty-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Ten Mile and Napier to be rezoned from
R-1 Residential Acreage to B-2 Community Commercial. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee has reviewed the request and recommends that City of Novi respond to Lyon Township, informing them that the City does not support the request for the following reasons:It is not consistent with the Lyon Township Master Plan. It will increase traffic and there are no plans to widen Ten Mile. Novi’s police and fire would have to respond to incoming calls because they are closer than Lyon Township’s services. The change could potentially change the character of Ten Mile in an area where the City has been trying to maintain the rural character. Developments have been turned down in Novi for the immediate area that threatened to change the character. Lyon Township Planning Staff does not support the rezoning.
Member Markham explained that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee is looking for the Planning Commission’s approval of sending a letter to the Lyon Township Planning Commission stating why the Novi Planning Commission does not support the rezoning request. Member Kocan asked whether a motion can be made if this item is under the Agenda heading, "Matters for Discussion."
Motioned by Member Kocan, supported by Member Shroyer:
Motion to support the sending of the letter to Lyon Township objecting to their rezoning request from R-1.0 (Residential-Agricultural) to B-2 (Community Commercial District) for the southwest corner of Napier and Ten Mile.
Member Ruyle noted that Member Shroyer was absent from the Master Plan and Zoning Committee where this was discussed but his seconding of the motion demonstrated his support. Mr. Evancoe offered to draft the letter for Chair Nagy to sign.
Motion carried 7-0.
There were no Special Reports.
Wayne Hogan addressed the Planning Commission. He stayed at the meeting to hear what items the Planning Commission considered for the joint meeting with City Council. He also wanted to speak about the signage at the Novi Town Center. He said the Novi Town Center people came to the City with a brushed aluminum sign complete with attractive lighting but the City shot it down roughly and immediately. Two days later there was a plastic ten-by-ten foot sign listing the store names. Chair Nagy stated that the denial came from the ZBA. Mr. Hogan noted that when he filmed the various West Bloomfield meetings for their cable station, he found out that the sign restrictions were so tight there that many businesses wouldn’t even consider locating to West Bloomfield because of it.
Mr. Hogan continued that the Community Mental Health building in Auburn Hills is going to offer naming rights to their new building. He noted that there are marketing firms who specialize in locating foundations to pay for naming rights and that it is a very lucrative idea.
Finally Mr. Hogan asked the Planning Commission to consider electronically posting the meeting times of its committees. He stated that just placing their agendas on the kiosk in the City Hall lobby is not sufficient.
Member Kocan told the Planning Commission that she met a Special Assistant to the Governor at a training session she attended earlier in the day, and she plugged the City’s need to reinstate the Beck Road/I-96 interchange project. She told the Assistant that, "You just don’t turn down money from the feds."
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Markham:
Motion to adjourn the meeting.
Motion carried 7-0. The meeting adjourned at 1:01 a.m.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
WED 7/16/03 PLANNING COMMISSION 7:30 PM
MON 7/21/03 CITY COUNCIL 7:30 PM
WED 7/30/03 PLANNING COMMISSION 7:30 PM
MON 8/01/03 ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE 7:30 AM
Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, July 7, 2003 Signature on File
Amended July 16, 2003 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant
Date Approved: July 30, 2003