View Agenda for this meeting
View Action Summary for this meeting

WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2003, 7:30 P.M.
45175 W. TEN MILE, NOVI, MI 48375 (248) 347-0475


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


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

Absent: Member Shroyer (excused)

Also Present: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Barbara McBeth, Planner; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect; Ben Croy, Engineer; Tom Shultz, Attorney; Peter Albertson, Façade Consultant; Dr. John Freeland, Tilton & Associates


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


Member Markham asked that the annual election of Officers follow the approval of the Agenda. Additionally, she asked that the Planning Commission discuss the Rules change regarding holiday schedules and Public Hearings.

Member Avdoulos asked if he could make a short statement during the Presentations portion of the meeting.

Moved by Member Ruyle, supported by Member Kocan:

Motion to approve the Agenda of July 16, 2003 as amended.

Motion carried 8-0.



Moved by Member Markham, seconded by Member Papp and accepted by Chair Nagy:

Motion to reelect Toni Nagy as Chairperson of the Planning Commission.

Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Kocan:

Move for acclamation.

Motion carried 8-0.


Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Paul and accepted by Member Markham:

Motion to reelect Gwen Markham as Vice Chairperson of the Planning Commission.

Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Paul:

Move for acclamation.

Motion carried 8-0.


Moved by Member Paul, seconded by Member Sprague and accepted by Member Kocan:

Motion to reelect Lynn Kocan as Secretary of the Planning Commission.

Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Sprague:

Move for acclamation.

Motion carried 8-0.


No one from the audience wished to speak.


Member Kocan read a letter from Joann Pritchard, 25843 Mulberry Lane. This letter was mailed to the attention of Novi News, City Council, Planning Commission and Dr. Emmett Lippe. She expressed her concern regarding parking and ash trees on the Catholic Central property. She feels that Catholic Central has misrepresented themselves with regard to sports, trees and parking. She encouraged both the City Council and Planning Commission to protect its citizens’ interests first and foremost. She requested that Catholic Central be held to the same standards as everyone else: Environmental, ecological, ethical, building and otherwise. She believes that they must come into the community self-contained and self-sustaining. Any plan contingent upon Novi’s schools or facilities is not acceptable to her. She noted that Catholic Central charged its patrons for parking last fall during football season, and she asked whether they will charge Novi citizens to park in their own school lots (through a potential shared parking arrangement). She requested that Catholic Central prove their contribution to this Community before they act like vested owners in Novi. She voiced her disdain for Catholic Central.

Chair Nagy stated that the parking issue with Catholic Central has been settled with an arrangement between the school and Providence Hospital. No Novi schools are part of their parking plan for the football season.


Member Kocan shared with the Planning Commission that the Liaison Committee met with Mr. Evancoe to prioritize the possible Agenda items for the upcoming joint meeting with City Council. The items suggested were all planning issues, and the final Agenda will be decided upon by City Council.


Member Avdoulos reminded the Planning Commission about their recent review of the Toll Brothers Barn at Island Lake. He then shared some information from an architectural magazine that he received earlier in the week at his work regarding a Maryland barn that was converted into an art gallery. Much of the rural character of the original barn was incorporated. A glass panel separated the new "barn" from a segment of the old barn so that onlookers could see the building from an historical perspective. Member Avdoulos wanted the City, Planning Commission, Implementation Committee and the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to understand from this presentation that nothing is too difficult. The City is looking for developers to provide not only quality projects but also something of interest. Chair Nagy suggested that Member Avdoulos present this information to City Council.


There was no Consent Agenda for tonight’s Planning Commission meeting.



The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Alan and Kathy Bond to rezone the subject properties located in Section 18 on the west side of Wixom Road and south of Grand River Avenue from R-1 (One Family Residential) to B-2 (Community Business). The subject properties are approximately 4 acres.


Planner Tim Schmitt addressed the Planning Commission and introduced Alan and Kathy Bond, Mr. Richard Herbel and Chris and Sylvia Walsh. Because the properties are close in proximity and offer the same features, it was the Planning Department’s suggestion that the property owners apply for the rezoning together.

Mr. Schmitt located the properties on an aerial photo. They are zoned R-1 and master planned for Office. To the east across Wixom is the Novi Promenade (zoned I-1 although developed under a Consent Judgment; master planned for Community Commercial). To the north is Cadillac Asphalt (zoned I-2. Further north is zoned I-1 and B-2; the north properties are master planned Community Commercial and Light Industrial). To the south is Island Lake (northernmost portion zoned R-1 and master planned Single Family Residential). The surrounding property is Catholic Central (zoned R-1 and master planned for Single Family Residential). To the southeast there are also properties master planned for Light Industrial.

On February 26, 2003 the Planning Commission received a letter requesting that the Traffic Study for the rezoning be waived. The Planning Commission voted 5-1 that evening to delay that study for a period of nine months. The Applicants are here this evening ahead of this nine-month schedule. The Traffic Review in the packets does include some basic trip generation information.

The Planning Review does not recommend approval of this rezoning to B-2. It appears to be a spot-zoning amongst a large group of single family residential homes. Previous efforts in the Community have limited the extension of Commercial outside of the City’s main corridors. The Staff recommends the parcel be rezoned to OS-1, an office use that is consistent with the current Master Plan. OS-1 uses include medical and professional buildings, banks and personal services. Special Land Uses include daycares and mortuaries. B-2 is the request of the Applicant, and permitted uses include personal retail, drycleaners, sit down restaurants, theaters, daycares, and office uses. Special Land Uses would include gasoline stations. B-1 and R-1 are other possibilities that the Planning Commission might wish to consider.

An impetus behind this request is the anticipated arrival of Catholic Central. The Planning Commission, City Council, City Staff and Catholic Central have all worked diligently for two years on the school’s plan and Mr. Schmitt asked the Planning Commission to determine what zoning best fits the area. He reiterated that OS-1 is the Staff’s recommendation; it is a zoning classification meant to provide a transition between residential uses and a thoroughfare. He cited Visions Spa on Beck Road as an example that depicts the intent of the OS-1 zoning. The corner of Ten Mile and Taft is another example within the City where the property is zoned OS-1 and is meant to buffer the residential properties from a busy intersection.

Mr. Schmitt continued that the City’s citizen perception surveys have indicated that there is very little desire to have additional commercial zoning in the City beyond what currently exists. The City is not interested in expanding commercial down corridors away from the main intersections, like the Grand River/Novi Road corridor. This request tonight extends the commercial further down the Wixom Road Corridor. Mr. Schmitt reminded the Planning Commission that the Novi Promenade is a commercial use but is such based on a Consent Judgment.

Mr. Schmitt concluded that the B-1 classification would offer less intense commercial uses, such as grocery and drug stores, drycleaners, banks, medical offices, etc. It would not allow gas stations or automobile establishments and is more neighborhood-oriented than the B-2 zoning. Pine Ridge Shopping Center at the northwest corner of Novi Road and Ten Mile is an example of a B-1 property on 4.83 acres with a 38,000 sf building.


Alan Bond, 27047 Wixom Road, introduced himself and his wife. He represented the Bond’s, the Walsh’s and Mr. Herbel’s interests at this meeting. He explained that their properties are across from Novi Promenade and regardless of how it is zoned it still operates as a retail establishment. The properties are also surrounded by Catholic Central and that their residential quality will soon become non-existent. Even though Catholic Central is zoned residential, Mr. Bond maintained that a school use is not a residential use, but a high impact use with a lot of traffic, lighting and so on.

Mr. Bond believes that these homes have lost their residential property values and therefore they are here tonight to request the rezoning so that they can get some value out of their properties. They believe that the B-2 zoning gives them maximum flexibility and brings a tax base into the City. Whatever development decides to purchase these properties – retail or office – it will service Catholic Central as well as Island Lake. The south boundary of the Novi Promenade is approximately as far south as these properties, and Mr. Bond suggested that this makes a natural boundary between the retail and residential environments.

Mr. Bond reminded the Planning Commission that they are property owners, not developers. Whoever buys these properties will be required to come before the Planning Commission with their proposal for the properties. He stated that this is a safety valve for the Planning Commission.

Mr. Bond believes that the OS-1 designation is too limiting. Mr. Bond stated that they have been put into this position to sell their properties because of the encroaching development in the surrounding area. He suggested that it is up to the Planning Commission to determine what the appropriate zoning for these properties is. Mr. Bond would accept a B-1 Zoning as well as a B-2 zoning, but he reiterated that the OS-1 is too limiting.

Chair Nagy asked if anyone else from the audience wished to speak. No one did, so Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing and asked for the Planning Commission’s input.

Member Kocan appreciated the position that the Bonds are in. She believes that the retail use across the street is completely incompatible, and that the driveway design allows for headlights to shine right into the Walsh’s home. She stated that typically a developer is involved with a rezoning because there are certain designs already in the making. She wondered how Mr. Bond came to follow this path in the rezoning process. She confirmed with Mr. Schultz that if a developer purchases the land he still has the opportunity to come back to the Planning Commission and request whatever zoning he prefers for the site. She believes that Catholic Central is more of a commercial than residential use. She noted the size of the subject properties and she doesn’t believe that they will provide too much traffic, but nonetheless it is something that must be considered because Wixom Road is becoming burdened. It is important, she said, for the intensity of the zoning to be considered.

Member Kocan liked the concept of B-2 because it provides for additional setbacks, allows sit-down restaurants which could be an asset to the area. Hotels and motels would not be allowed, and gas stations would only be a Special Land Use, which she doesn’t believe any Planning Commissioner would approve for a site that abuts a school.

Member Kocan found that the biggest disadvantage associated with B-2 is that in Section 1402 or 1403.7 it states that, "No truckwell, loading dock or overhead door or any other service-type bay door shall face a major thoroughfare (Wixom Road) nor an abutting residential district. Member Kocan noted that these properties are surrounded by a residential district.

She continued, "Pedestrian exits or emergency doors are permitted on such building facades." Her problem with the B-2 zoning is that any kind of restaurant (a permitted use in B-2) would be serviced from the rear or the side of the building. This sets the property owner up for the need to seek variances to accommodate that use. She would prefer to seek a zoning that provide relief for the property without creating other problems.

Member Kocan stated that the OS-1 and B-1 seem very similar. She determined that the difference is B-1 allows retail, and Mr. Schmitt confirmed that in essence her statement was correct. She does not have a problem with a retail use, in light of Novi Promenade’s existence, and therefore she would support a B-1 rezoning. Member Kocan noted that the OS-1 designation might make more sense if there were a developer already interested in these properties for the purpose of developing a personal-use establishment like Visions Spa. She concluded by stating that she would listen to the rest of the Planning Commission discuss how to make these properties more compatible with their surroundings.

Chair Nagy asked Mr. Schultz how Catholic Central can be considered residential once it has been built. Mr. Schultz responded that because the Ordinance reads "residential DISTRICT" and not "residential USE" that it would still apply to the Catholic Central property.

Member Ruyle stated that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has considered this problem in the past. He stated that Member Markham has made a suggestion for the Master Plan that would address this situation. He explained that the decision tonight will be in compliance with the updated Master Plan that will be finalized in the coming year.

Member Ruyle reminded the Planning Commission that another neighboring resident came before the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and he was offered commercial zoning to complement the Novi Promenade use but he turned it down. Member Ruyle said that this area must go to commercial. He concurred with Member Kocan that while the area is zoned residential, Catholic Central is not a residential use and common sense dicates that the Master Plan be brought into line. He agreed with granting these property owners either a B-1 or B-2 rezoning. He stated that, as a Planning Commissioner, he would not approve a gas station for a Special Land Use for these properties. He believes that B-1 and B-2 are both appropriate for the area, including the parcels across the street.

Member Sprague appreciated the timeliness of this rezoning request. He agreed that this is the appropriate use for the area as it is compatible. He asked what the deciding factor was in the Master Plan and Zoning Committee’s decision to recommend B-2 over B-1. Chair Nagy responded that they were looking at the parcel for the broadest range of uses from the perspective of neighboring parcels. From the perspective of Island Lake, for example, the need for daycare was considered. They also looked at what types of business were lacking in the area.

Member Markham concurred, and stated that both Target and Catholic Central were considered. Additionally, the completion of Island Lake brings one thousand new residences into the area. Establishments like dry cleaners, Walgreen’s and small in-and-out businesses made sense for the area. The "Coming Home" feature is not represented in the existing area businesses, and therefore the Master Plan and Zoning Committee found that the B-2 provided the most flexibility for the future use of these properties. The ultimate use is limited by the parcels’ combined size of four acres.

Member Sprague asked whether the recommendation for B-2 without the gas station option could be made. Chair Nagy replied that a gas station would have to come before the Planning Commission for a Special Land Use, and that because of the wetlands that surround Catholic Central and Island Lake, a gas station would likely not fit because of the area’s environmental factors. Member Sprague agreed that a gas station use wouldn’t have any support from the Planning Commission, but thought that if it were precluded now it could prevent a potential future request for a gas station use. Mr. Schultz indicated that it is not possible to make the recommendation with such a stipulation.

Member Papp agreed that the B-2 zoning is appropriate. He looked at the current uses in the area and surmised that "Commercial" describes the area completely. The additional traffic generated from a B-2 use would be traffic that is already on Wixom Road, namely the Island Lake residents. Time and time again the traffic reviews on Wixom Road indicate that the road does not suffer from a traffic problem, although Member Papp reminded the Planning Commission that 22 roads funnel into it. He supported the B-2 option which would complement the Target and other local businesses.

Member Paul felt for the remaining residents in this corridor, but she considered the request to be spot-zoning and would prefer that a more extensive study of this corridor be performed to ascertain what the best use really would be for these parcels. She acknowledged that this luxury is just not available at this time.

Member Paul stated that these property owners would have to endure about two years of construction surrounding them if they chose to stay in their homes. She mentioned that the Target across the street also came with some drawbacks – the lighting and truck nuisances to name a few. She continued that when a property owner gets backed into a corner they can sometimes get a Consent Judgment. She considered these properties for the B-2 zoning request but is bothered by the fact that both gas stations and service stations are Special Land Use options under this zoning. Her concern is that a future applicant can stretch the B-2 zoning into a Consent Judgment that allows these uses, regardless of the Planning Commission’s desire to restrict these options. The remaining resident in the area would be surrounded by refrigerated trucks at the retail store, a gas station and the light industrial uses.

Member Paul reviewed the site to determine what the best use for the site is that would not provide difficulties for the remaining parcels in the area. She also looked at Island Lake and thought that a gas station in the vicinity of all that residential was a deplorable situation. She thought a child care center would be a better use than a daycare center because it could service approximately one hundred people. Island Lake would feed the center as there are so many young families moving there. She also thought a nice sit-down restaurant would be terrific there but that could also mean a coney island with sit down areas. She thought the B-2 gives too much leeway and would ultimately make it difficult for the remaining homeowner in the area.

Member Paul also considered both Island Lake and Catholic Central and believes that both OS-1 and B-1 are better suited for the area. She asked Mr. Schmitt about the 470-foot north-south measurement behind the three sites. She asked what the east-west measurements were. Mr. Schmitt responded that the Bond site was 435 feet deep and 170 feet wide; the Herbel’s is 302 feet deep and 234 feet wide and the Walsh property is 302 feet deep and 62 feet wide (depths are east-west measurements and widths are north-south measurements). Member Paul noted that a six-foot berm will be required around this property, which will require about 38-40 horizontal feet to accommodate this height. Mr. Schmitt agreed that was an important calculation for these properties, but the Planning Staff has no site plan proposal before it that would necessitate considering the implications of the berm requirement. With changes to the Landscape Ordinance looming, and the fact that an undulating berm with a flat top would be preferred, the exact horizontal measurement required for a site plan on these properties would be difficult to determine at this time.

Member Paul confirmed that a minimum of forty feet would be required along the back side of the property. Mr. Schmitt then stated that in the OS-1 and B-1 zoning there would likely be a 20-foot frontyard setback. The B-2 requires a 40-foot frontyard setback, although some conditions may reduce that number. An OS-1 designation would only require the berm to be 4.5 feet tall and would only require a 30-foot horizontal measurement. To summarize, the horizontal measurements associated with the berm requirements of the various districts are: B-2 requires 80 feet, B-1 requires 60 feet and OS-1 requires 50 feet. Member Paul favored the B-1 or OS-1 zoning because it provides more land for a future development and precludes the possibility of a gas station being built on the site.

Member Avdoulos suggested that with a school full of boys planned for the abutting parcel, the Applicants should consider contacting 7-Eleven. He also noted that there are four gas stations on the corner of Grand River and Wixom Road and he doesn’t think that these parcels would be considered for a gas station use. He considered all three of the zonings – B-1, B-2 and OS-1 – for this property. He also considered a condominium use similar to the project at Grand River and Meadowbrook for a transitional use for these parcels. He does not want to be reactionary in his role as a Planning Commissioner but he believes these landowners have been placed into a predicament. He believes that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has put a lot of effort into reviewing these parcels before they came forth with their recommendation for B-2. He commented that he thinks that another big-box user will be built across the street but he is unsure whether there will be additional store fronts available for smaller retail shops like the West Market Square shopping center. With the B-2 zoning the property is going to be tight from the setbacks and will limit what can be done to the property; ultimately, Member Avdoulos agreed with the Master Plan and Zoning Committee’s conclusion, and he is comfortable with their effort in reviewing all possibilities for this property.

Member Markham endorsed the B-2 zoning because of the setback requirement and the possibility for a restaurant. She suggested that a coney island may actually be a good use for a property that abuts a high school. Ultimately, it should be left to the development community to decide what makes sense in this location. This zoning would keep something outrageous from being built on the site and takes into consideration the needs of the Island Lake residents. She supported the B-2 request. The issue of truck doors will be addressed with requests for variances if indeed the development calls for that style of design.

Chair Nagy stated that she is a member of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and when they discussed this parcel, they looked at it within the context of its entire Section. In fact, she said, the entire Master Plan is being updated in a manner by which the Committee studies each Section as a whole and then by its relationship to the surrounding area.

Chair Nagy considers the B-2 zoning to be the most flexible. She reminded the Planning Commission that if they are uncomfortable with that designation, the Bonds have stated that they would also accept the B-1 designation. In the end, she said, whoever buys the property still has the opportunity to come and request a different zoning if they so choose. She does not favor the OS-1 zoning. She also believes that this would be a nice location for a daycare and would be convenient for parents in the Island Lake area. Based on what already exists in this area, and the fact that the remaining neighbor was offered commercial zoning for his property, she believes this is a good transitional use for the property. She doesn’t believe the property is close enough to Island Lake to warrant its use as a residential parcel.

Chair Nagy asked for a motion from the Planning Commission.

Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded Member Papp:

In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.626 for Alan and Kathy Bond, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject properties from R-1 (One Family Residential) to B-2 (Community Business) based upon the recommendation of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee.


Member Papp asked whether the motion should be amended to include the names of Chris and Silvia Walsh and Richard Herbel. Mr. Schmitt responded that they are indeed covered by the Zoning Map Amendment numbered 18.626.

Member Kocan asked whether a future variance request relating to overhead doors and the like would be granted by the Planning Commission or the ZBA. Mr. Schultz responded that it is a site plan standard and would therefore go to the ZBA. Her concern is that future applicants may get themselves into a situation where they think something is allowed when in fact the surrounding zoning may affect their ability to develop in some way. She also asked whether a two-thirds majority was required for a rezoning request, but Chair Nagy said it only required a simple majority.

Member Paul asked Mr. Schultz whether the Planning Commission could recommend B-1 zoning with restaurant potential. He responded that the zoning districts are uniform and that the Planning Commission must choose a complete district for their recommendation. She asked whether there was any avenue that could provide for the

B-1 zoning and a restaurant use. Mr. Schultz stated that if a restaurant owner and the City were both amenable to a Development Agreement for a B-1 Zoning District, that the request she presented could be achieved in that manner. She then asked whether it could be done now or must this request wait until a site plan is submitted. Mr. Schultz responded that City Council has approved Development Agreements in conjunction with rezonings but it’s not a typical process.

Member Markham asked whether the Planning Commission should at some point consider rezoning the Novi Promenade property from industrial to commercial. Mr. Schultz replied that the Consent Judgment has already been entered, and at least in other communities, typically only a notation is made on the Zoning District map and the Land Use map.


In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.626 for Alan and Kathy Bond, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject properties from R-1 (One Family Residential) to B-2 (Community Business) based upon the recommendation of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee.

Motion carried 6-2; (Yes: Avdoulos, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Ruyle, Sprague; No: Kocan, Paul)



The Public Hearing was opened on the request of RSM Development, LLC. to rezone the subject property located in Section 16 on the south side of Twelve Mile and west of Taft Road from R-A (Residential Acreage) to OST (Office Service Technology). The subject property is approximately 9.86 acres.

Planner Barbara McBeth located the property on an aerial photo. There is an existing home and associated outbuilding on the property. To the north are a landscape company, single family homes and vacant land (zoned light industrial and master planned for Light Industrial). To the east are single family homes (zoned R-1 and master planned for Office). To the south the property houses electrical transmission lines (zoned R-A and master planned for Office). To the west is a single family home (zoned R-A and master planned for Office). The subject property is currently zoned R-A and master planned for Office.

The Applicant has requested this rezoning for the purpose of his submitting a site plan for two medical office buildings, a copy of which was provided in the Planning Commission packet. There would be two office buildings on the approximate ten acres of land.

The Planning Review and the Traffic Review, as well as the OST Study completed in 1998 all support this rezoning request. The request is in conformance with the Master Plan. The text for the Master Plan for Land Use stated that this is another area of the City that is conducive to the OST zoning. There have been several infrastructure improvements since the 1990s that increase the feasibility for OST zoning in this area, including the Twelve Mile boulevard improvement, the West Park improvements, the water main extensions and the expected full-service interchange which is proposed for the Beck Road/I-96 interchange.

Ms. McBeth stated that the Planning Commission may wish to consider in its recommendation to City Council that the OST district has been fairly successful in Novi since it was instituted in the late 1990s. Preliminary calculations being prepared for the 2004 Master Plan Update indicate that 435 of the 1,100 acres zoned OST is vacant. Additionally, some land that was originally zoned OST has been rezoned or removed from the expected OST uses. Approximately 49 acres were removed from OST and placed in Single Family Residential (Catholic Central) and 55 acres are expected to be used for the relocated Expo Center, which is almost due south of the subject property.

Ms. McBeth explained the various uses in the office zoning districts. The OS-1 uses include offices, banks, human care uses and personal care uses. This zone can be used between residential and commercial or between a major thoroughfare and residential. Professional and medical uses are allowed. Building heights are limited to thirty feet and the setbacks are minimal, comparatively.

The OS-2 uses include medical and various office uses. The design should promote pedestrian friendly movement and should not conflict with the traffic on abutting major thoroughfares. Building heights are limited to 42 feet, and generally speaking the setbacks are fifty feet on all sides.

The OSC is designed to accommodate large office buildings, and more particularly a planned complex of buildings. Related commercial and retail establishments that service the complex (and beyond) are permitted. This district provides for a greater intensity of land use in an otherwise low density community. Because of the size of the buildings and the development and the amount of traffic an OSC complex can generate, this district is meant to be located in proximity of major commercial or civic development and would have direct access to a major thoroughfare. Building heights can be 65 feet tall and building setbacks are a minimum of 35 feet.

The OST zoning, which is the request of this Applicant, allows all the OS-2 uses. This district allows hi-tech multiple use offices, laboratory and production uses. Accessory warehousing, manufacturing and assembly is also allowed. This district allows building heights of 46 feet (three stories) with building setbacks of 50 feet from all the property lines.

Ms. McBeth explained that a water main extension is expected to cross I-96 and will soon be available for this parcel along the west side. The sanitary sewer will have to be extended.

Ms. McBeth remarked that this parcel does not appear to have regulated woodlands. There are regulated wetlands. This site is not designated as a wildlife habitat area.

Ms. McBeth stated that the Traffic Engineer did review the traffic impact study and additional traffic estimates relating to a seven-unit residential development were provided for comparative reasons. An additional traffic study would also be required at the time of Preliminary Site Plan review.

Ms. McBeth closed in asking the Planning Commission to consider the request of the Applicant for the purpose of making a recommendation to City Council regarding the subject property’s zoning classification.

Mark Schafer of Schonsheck Inc., 51331 West Pontiac Trail, Wixom addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of RSM Development. They have a detailed report on their proposal for this site. Specifically, they anticipate developing a complex in phases. Phase I would be to the north. Their request for OST instead of OS-2 is because of the height restriction. Access into the building from as many directions as possible is important and creates very large setbacks in excess of the Ordinance requirements. There is also a possibility that Phase II could be a three-story building which would not be allowed in OS-2 zoning. Mr. Schafer stated that the OST zoning is very consistent with Husky and other projects in the Twelve Mile area.

Member Kocan read three responses to the Public Notices into the record:

Edwin Bozian, Marleon Associates, 3775 Terrybrook Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48322: stated he had no objections.

John DeMattia, 4836 Pelican, West Bloomfield, MI: stated that all land along Twelve Mile should be rezoned from residential all at once rather than in increments. There are no residential homes along this stretch of Twelve Mile anymore.

Carl Follmer, 46695 Twelve Mile, Novi: approved of the rezoning as a natural continuation of the growth in the area.

Andrew Mutch of Novi said he did not know how much planning has gone into this area as a whole, looking at the area between Beck Road interchange and the CSX railroad. He is concerned about infrastructure and access roads. He suggested some kind of loop road that connects the properties to the east, west and south. If this project moves forward and has inadequate access, the City is stuck with where these access points may have been prematurely placed. He does not believe that the City is prepared for development in this area. He agreed that the area should be looked at as a whole and not piece-meal rezoned. He thought that previously the residents in the area did not want to be rezoned because it would affect their tax rate. He encouraged the City to look at the big picture in the area.

Member Kocan asked Mr. Mutch to clarify his concept of a road network. She questioned whether this was different than a required secondary access easement between lots. He responded that the infrastructure of the entire area confined by Twelve Mile, I-96, Beck Road and the CSX railroad should be planned before development starts. He stated that perhaps this proposed development will end up fitting perfectly, but it also may end up that the building is right where a planned road should have gone. He reiterated that advanced planning should be done that encapsulates the big picture.

Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing and turned the proposal over to the Planning Commission.

Member Kocan wished to make it very clear that even though a site plan was submitted with this rezoning request, tonight’s review of the subject property is only on the zoning and does not give any approvals to the site plan. She asked that Master Plan and Zoning Committee state the results of their review of this request.

Member Markham responded that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee reviewed the entire area between Beck Road and the CSX railroad and determined that OST gives the best flexibility for the future development of this area. She continued that OST has been applied in other locations in the City where there is close proximity to the expressway interchanges. She stated that the Committee did not review this project individually; rather they reviewed it in terms of the area and found that OST is consistent with their vision for land use near the expressway(s).

Moved by Member Kocan, supported by Member Paul:

In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.629 for RSM Development, LLC, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject property from R-A (Residential Acreage) to OST (Office Service Technology), for the following reasons: 1) It is compatible with the Master Plan; 2) It is compatible with current and future planned developments and zoning in the immediate area; 3) The property is in close proximity to the expressway; and 4) the infrastructure is in place or planned to support OST development in this corridor. Also, the proposed site plan is not approved as part of this rezoning request and any future development needs to be sensitive to the two existing regulated woodlands on the property as well as the elevation changes.


Member Ruyle supports any Applicant who requests to rezone their property in a manner consistent with the Master Plan. He also stated that the City does not have enough OST zoning in Novi, especially in light of the potential of losing the OST zoning along Meadowbrook. Member Ruyle vowed to fight to keep that area OST and he concluded that he wants more OST in Novi.

Member Sprague asked what tools were in place to look at this entire area (between Beck Road, Twelve Mile, I-96 and CSX Railroad) and rezone it accordingly, thereby removing the risk that the area be rezoned in spots that become problematic. From the perspective of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, Member Markham agreed that Member Sprague has a good question. She noted that some recently-approved industrial parks have had the problem that Member Sprague described. Those developments have inferior accesses and driveways don’t line up, and so on.

Chair Nagy added that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has not brought any rezonings forward from the ongoing Master Plan Update because they are still in the study portion of the process. The Committee is also reviewing the effect on the tax base associated with that kind development in the City. Also, the Committee is cognizant of the fact that the west side of the City will be developed more residentially. She stated that all of these issues are being taken into consideration and that while they seem to be heading toward the OST zoning for that entire area, they are still not ready to come forward with that recommendation.

Mr. Evancoe also responded that with the Beck Road interchange project back on schedule, that piece of the infrastructure puzzle, along with the Twelve Mile improvements and availability of utilities, the Planning Department sees this area as being ready for this type of development. He explained that with multiple owners associated with this area, the ability to rezone or develop a road network becomes more difficult. Unless a developer comes in and purchases the various lots, the rezoning will unfortunately, be done on a parcel-by-parcel basis. The Planning Department and Planning Commission will have to do their best to keep the future in mind as they review individual site plans.

Member Sprague said that the answer seems to suggest that the City is going to have a mess on its hands in five years. He asked again, what can the City do from both planning and legal perspectives, to ensure that development in this area results in a well-planned program. He concurred that OST is the appropriate zoning, but he is concerned that without a better plan in place there will be too many curb cuts onto Twelve Mile and that some parcels may have problems getting curb cuts if there is not some kind of pre-design in place. He suggested that now is the time to decide that a frontage road must be in place to service this area, and he asked if this is a requirement that the Planning Commission can make. He asked for clarification and reiterated that it shouldn’t be handled on a case-by-case basis because this kind of planning has gotten the City in trouble in the past.

Ms. McBeth interjected that, although the site plan submitted is not under review at this time, she did wish to point out that the Applicant has designed its driveway to line up with West Park Drive on the west side of the site. She suggested that at least this Applicant is cognizant of the importance of site plan design. She stated that the Planning Department would look at this issue with each incoming site plan as well. Member Sprague asked whether the City will say no to the next developer if he brings in a plan wherein the roads are not lined up to the City’s expectations.

Mr. Schultz responded that there is not much more to be said beyond the comments made by Mr. Evancoe because there are multiple owners associated with this area. He stated that there are no mechanisms in place that would provide for the Planning Commission to make any demands for road designs, for example, for this area. He suggested that perhaps the Master Plan and Zoning Committee or some other Committee may wish to make this area a special study area for consideration, but there is nothing that can be resolved on this issue at tonight’s meeting, like limiting the amount of curb cuts on Twelve Mile.

Member Sprague asked the Applicant how soon they anticipated going forward with this site plan. Scott Marcus, 631 Ruffner, Birmingham, responded that pre-leasing is a big factor in determining when exactly this plan would move forward. He said however, that with the Beck Road interchange and Providence Hospital obtaining their beds, their hope is to break ground within a year, or as soon as possible. He noted that within the City of Novi there are no existing buildings available for medical use, and that they are looking forward to providing this service.

Mr. Schafer stated that if this project goes well, they plan on working with the City and the surrounding landowners to coordinate the rezoning of the remaining land to OST. This effort will assist in developing the area with respect to existing and proposed infrastructure plans, in terms of access and utilities.

Member Sprague supported that rezoning issue and requested that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee look at this corridor to address the issues that were discussed at the table during this meeting.

Member Avdoulos noted that the Twelve Mile expansion extends just west of Fountain Park. He asked whether future plans include widening Twelve Mile all the way to Beck Road. Ms. McBeth responded that Engineering told her that the boulevard design is not expected to extend beyond the railroad tracks (or where it currently ends). There are other road improvement projects scheduled for this area but she is not aware of the scope or timing of them.

Member Avdoulos asked whether Taft Road will ever be extended across the expressway. Ms. McBeth said she was not sure whether there are any plans for that extension at this time. Member Avdoulos supported the rezoning to OST. He noted that in other communities where he has worked, some projects that abut major thoroughfares have been designed to allow egress through a rear service drive only. He stated that typically the first developer in the project is responsible for creating the access road.

Member Avdoulos commented to the Applicant that although the submitted site plan is not before the Planning Commission for approval tonight, he wanted to make him aware that the parking in Phase II seems to be inappropriate and that if the building footprint needs to be reduced in order to accommodate the necessary amount of parking spaces, he may wish to review that now.

Member Paul supported the rezoning of this project. She believes that medical buildings and facilities are necessary in this area and that OST is a viable option with the expressway so close. She asked the Applicant and the Staff if there is enough room for a five-lane road to be built in this area of Twelve Mile, as she believes it’s only a matter of time before this becomes necessary. Mr. Evancoe responded that Birchler Arroyo will be considering this as part of their Thoroughfare Plan update. A long-range plan noting the City’s future ROW widths and possibly pavement widths will be produced as part of this update. He explained that ROW acquisition is something that is done after there is a viable project in the works. The ultimate alignment of this project may or may not encroach evenly on the abutting parcels. Member Paul reiterated that her concern is meant to relieve both the Applicant and the City from future problems relating to a possible road widening.

The Applicant responded that Ms. McBeth’s review letter indicated that the established ROW is a statutory ROW of 66 feet and he understands that up to a 60-foot half ROW could be a future reality with the widening of Twelve Mile. The Applicant’s preliminary sketch of their future project took that in consideration.

Chair Nagy stated that it is a difficult situation when multiple landowners exist in an area where a large rezoning is recommended. There are viable solutions to creating an area that is accommodating. She supported this rezoning request, and she feels that OST is important to the future of this City. For this site, it works with the expressway, the interchange improvements and even in terms of visibility. She called for the vote.


In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.629 for RSM Development, LLC, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject property from R-A (Residential Acreage) to OST (Office Service Technology), for the following reasons: 1) It is compatible with the Master Plan; 2) It is compatible with current and future planned developments and zoning in the immediate area; 3) The property is in close proximity to the expressway; and 4) the infrastructure is in place or planned to support OST development in this corridor. Also, the proposed site plan is not approved as part of this rezoning request and any future development needs to be sensitive to the two existing regulated woodlands on the property as well as the elevation changes.


Motion carried 8-0.

Chair Nagy reconvened the meeting after a five minute break.


The Public Hearing was opened on the request of DS Novi Ten Development, LLC. to rezone the subject property located in Section 19 on the north side of Ten Mile and west of Wixom Road from R-A (Residential Acreage) to R-3 (One Family Residential). The subject property is approximately 10 acres.


Member Ruyle disclosed that he has had a personal and business relationship with this developer. He did not offer to be recused, instead he left it up to the Planning Commission for their consideration. Mr. Schultz clarified that his understanding of Member Ruyle’s relationship with this developer is that it is no longer a business relationship but there is still a personal relationship between the two. Because Member Ruyle does not believe that this relationship affects his ability to be impartial in this matter, Mr. Schultz believes that the Planning Commission can move on without recusing Member Ruyle.

Planner Tim Schmitt located the subject property on the aerial photo. It is currently zoned R-A and master planned for Single Family Residential. To the east is the possible future home of Oak Pointe Church (zoned R-A and master planned for Single Family Residential). To the north and west is Island Lake (zoned R-1 but developed under an RUD Agreement and master planned for Single Family Residential). To the south is the Links of Novi golf course (zoned R-A and master planned to be a golf course). The Single Family Residential for this area is designed with a density of .8 units per acre.

The Applicant has provided a Traffic Study and a written statement describing the proposed use of the property. The packet information was updated at the request of Birchler Arroyo. The Planning Review indicated some items that the Planning Commission should consider. The Staff does not recommend the rezoning to R-3. The Applicant and the Master Plan and Zoning Committee have discussed a Development Agreement for this parcel. Mr. Schmitt stated that as a general rule, Development Agreements are used on specific, unique parcels that are difficult to develop, or when the City is trying to achieve a specific goal that is outside the limitations of the code. This parcel does not appear to meet those standards, rather this is a case where the Planning Commission and the City Council must determine what kind of development they would like to see here.

Mr. Schmitt explained that the Island Lake lots in the vicinity of this parcel range between 14,000 and 16,000 sf. Their lot widths are between 95 and 105 feet. These lots (abutting both the east and west sides of the subject property and the Oak Pointe Church parcel) were developed under the terms of an RUD Agreement, and their size falls approximately between the R-2 and R-3 designations.

Mr. Schmitt explained that the main differences between R-A, R-2 and R-3 are the lot sizes and widths. As a general rule their use will be for Single Family Residential, however Special Land Uses include churches, public and private secondary schools and daycares.

The minimum lot size for R-A is 43,560 sf (one acre). The R-2 lot size minimum is 18,000 sf and the R-3 minimum is 12,000 sf. The minimum lot widths are 90 feet for R-3, 110 feet for R-2. There is no infrastructure currently available on the site, but is planned to be served in the future either by a water stub from the Oak Pointe church site or the Island Lake site. Sanitary sewer would come from an Island Lake stub, as Oak Pointe is not stubbing their site on the west side. The ultimate plan is to bring the utilities along the frontage. None of the options are available at this time, and with the lawsuit pending on the Oak Pointe Church, there is no future timeframe on the availability of their water stub.

One justification for the Applicant’s request is that the surrounding Island Lake lots are indeed smaller than the

R-A zoning. The terms of the RUD Agreement include approximately 15% of the Island Lake (originally Harvest Lake) property as well as the lake, be maintained in its natural state. This, in addition to their dedication of some land to the school system, were concessions made by that developer in order to get the smaller lot sizes that encase the subject property.

Another qualification of entering into an RUD Agreement is that the parcel must be a minimum of eighty acres in size. Therefore, the subject property cannot be developed under the terms of an RUD Agreement in order to achieve approval on the smaller lot sizes.

The Open Space Preservation Option could be considered for the subject property. Mr. Schmitt stated that this Applicant is more than welcome to submit a plan utilizing the Open Space option; in fact, the Applicant did submit a plan with this rezoning package that may be in compliance with this option but the Planning Department has not reviewed it at this time.

Mr. Schmitt continued that if a Development Agreement were to be developed for this property it would provide limitations on the number of units allowed on the site. Previously the Applicant and the Master Plan and Zoning Committee discussed that sixteen units was reasonable. An Agreement would state the minimum lot size requirement, which would hinge on whether the classification of this property would be R-2 or R-3. An Agreement may also require the Developer to, in some way, incorporate the Open Space Option.

Mr. Schmitt explained that because the property is surrounded by Single Family Residential, there really isn’t any other option for this land. If it were developed under its current R-A designation it would yield somewhere between seven and eight lots, possibly only six. This would involve a single loaded road as opposed to running the road down the middle of the property. Under a theoretical R-2 zoning, the parcel would be allowed 2.0 units per acre and would yield about twenty units. Under R-3 zoning the property could have 2.7 units per acre for a total of 27 units. These numbers do not take into consideration required setbacks, ROW needs and required buffering.

Konrad Stauch, 43000 West Nine Mile, Suite 100, Novi, addressed the Planning Commission and represented DS Novi Ten Development, LLC. His plan for this property had certain goals in mind. First, he wanted the development to complement the surrounding Island Lake development with consistent lot sizes. Second, he wanted to assure there was adequate park land. Mr. Stauch noted that at the Master Plan and Zoning Committee meeting he attended he heard a presentation regarding the lack of park land in this section of Novi, and subsequently he changed his plan from 21 units to 16. He enlarged the park area that abuts Ten Mile to approximately two acres or about 20% of the entire parcel.

Mr. Stauch calculated the various sizes of lots in the Island Lake area surrounding this parcel and found that the average size was about 13,000 sf. Therefore, his development was designed with 14,000 sf lots. Mr. Stauch reiterated that he would agree to sign a Development Agreement that included this information and capped the number of units at 16. He believes that the subject property is limited because of the lot dimensions and the location of the Island Lake stub streets. He commented that he does not want his property to create another egress onto Ten Mile; rather, he would create access to this development from the Island Lake interior roads.

Chair Nagy asked whether any one from the audience wished to speak.

Andrew Mutch, Novi, stated that he thought Mr. Stauch’s comments were interesting because the issue of parks is something that Mr. Mutch himself brought up. However, he is concerned about the proposal for several reasons. First, he asked whether this constitutes spots zoning, which can be described as a zoning that is completely different than the surrounding zoning and is inconsistent with the Master Plan. He stated that only commercial zoning would be more drastic than what has been proposed. Secondly, he is concerned about the density issue. He explained that several years ago the build-out population was estimated at 74,000 but now it’s going to exceed 80,000 because of developments like this. Across the road is the Links of Novi, but Mr. Mutch said the reality is that the property will not remain as a golf course. If this rezoning is granted, it sets a precedent for the Links of Novi property to request a zoning classification with increased density as well. Mr. Mutch said a distinction can be made between Island Lake and this property, because Island Lake is being developed under an RUD Agreement where an exchange of benefits was made. He stated that he’d prefer to see the zoning remain the same, and if the Applicant can come forward with a site plan that makes use of an option that increases the density, that’s great. However, if the Planning Commission approves the higher density zoning they are potentially opening the door for other high density uses. He was reminded of the Aspen Group requesting R-3 on their Ten Mile and Beck Road R-1-zoned parcel and suing the City for the right to develop their property as such. By agreeing to this rezoning the City could potentially lose Ten Mile and Beck, as well as the Links of Novi, to higher density zoning. Chair Nagy thanked Mr. Mutch for his input and indicated to him that the City prevailed in the lawsuit concerning Aspen Hill. Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.

Member Markham stated that as a member of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee she has watched Mr. Stauch’s plan evolve into something more along the lines of what the Committee wanted to see. She disagreed with the concern that this rezoning would be considered spot zoning, in light of the surrounding development and that similar-sized parcels that surround the subject property. She disagrees that putting houses by houses could be classified as spot zoning. In fact, Member Markham believes that this Developer is trying to maintain a consistency with the Island Lake development. When these properties are built out, the homes will look similar. She appreciated that the Developer has tied into the Island Lake stub streets and avoided Ten Mile for an egress. She also appreciated his placement of the large park area alongside of the greenspace that Island Lake has also provided in the area.

Member Markham does not believe that this sixteen-unit development takes the City down a slippery slope toward higher density projects. Instead, she sees its merits in complementing Island Lake. The neighboring church property, while it qualifies as a Special Land Use in residential, will not be developed in a fashion resembling low density residential. She noted that if the Applicant developed under R-A, he could put a horse farm in there, and that wouldn’t complement the area at all. She believes the subject property should be reviewed in terms of what will look appropriate on the site rather than if the zoning districts match, because the Island Lake homes abutting the property won’t look like R-A homes. She assumes that Toll Brothers would also prefer that this parcel be developed similarly to the surrounding portion of Island Lake.

Member Markham supported the request made by the Applicant, with the stipulation that a Development Agreement require a minimum of 14,000 sf lots and a maximum of 16 units. She said the plan makes sense and will fit nicely.

Member Paul stated that the development of this parcel must take the surrounding environment into consideration. Island Lake abuts this property, and the Island Lake lots that she looked at in this area averaged 16,785 sf. She appreciated the Applicant’s decision to place a nice park instead of an egress along Ten Mile. Member Paul does not believe that this property qualifies to be developed under the Open Space option. She continued that the size of Oak Pointe Church has created a hardship for both this parcel and Island Lake.

Member Paul returned to her lot size calculations and noted that if the property were developed with 16,785 sf lots, the Applicant would be able to place approximately 15 units on the site, just one lot short of his current plan. She believes that if one lot was removed between lots 10 and 16, a variation of lot sizes could be designed that brings the project more into conformance with the surrounding Island Lake. She supported the rezoning of the parcel to R-2 and the Applicant keeping a similar plan to what he has submitted. She also supported a Development Agreement outlining the plans for the property.

Member Ruyle agreed with both Members Paul and Markham. He specifically appreciates the Applicant’s site plan design without a Ten Mile curb cut. He supported an R-3 rezoning because the Applicant has demonstrated an acceptable use that is even less dense than the R-2 zoning that would enable him to build twenty houses. He stated that this project and density is what the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, on which he serves, is looking for.

Member Avdoulos reviewed this request by first considering the subject property and then considering the subject within the context of its surroundings. The current zoning of the area is R-A, and in light of the development immediately surrounding the property, it would be difficult to design with the R-A zoning and make it complement the neighboring parcel. This request is both compatible and contextual in terms of the existing surroundings and in architecture.

Member Avdoulos questioned whether the Applicant’s design precludes the development from having its own identity. Further, he also doesn’t believe that the development should be able to take such advantage of Island Lake’s effort to create such a unique development. He stated there should be some kind of separation or differentiation between the two developments.

Member Avdoulos supports maintaining the Master Plan, but in this instance, the RUD style surrounding this property changes the game. Member Avdoulos was not aware whether the Applicant’s site plan meets the intent of the Open Space Option, but he believes that the density and design is moving in the direction that the Planning Commission wants for this property.

Member Sprague asked whether approving this request from R-A to R-3 would also include the Planning Commission approving the Development Agreement. Mr. Schultz responded that this is only a recommendation to City Council, and that the rezoning request and the Development Agreement can be approved at the same time, but it is done on the City Council level.

Member Sprague asked what would happen if the Planning Commission approved the R-3 zoning but the density and architectural similarity to Island Lake stipulations are not cited in a Development Agreement. He asked if this approval technically gives the developer the right to build 29 units. Mr. Schultz responded that the Planning Commission has a lot of latitude in terms of what is recommended to City Council. Any stipulations that become part of the Development Agreement would have to be acceptable to both parties. Ultimately, if the R-3 appeals to the Planning Commission with the limitations of the Development Agreement, and if the Planning Commission gets past the notion of whether they even want a Development Agreement, then the recommendation can also reflect what terms the Planning Commission wants in the Development Agreement as part of the motion.

Member Sprague asked what the legal ramifications were for not recommending for approval the higher density and not coming to a reasonable compromise with an Applicant. Mr. Schultz responded that he couldn’t answer the question as it was asked, but he disclosed that no one has reviewed this parcel to determine what the return on the property would be if it were zoned R-A. He stated that the Planning Commission should focus on whether the plan before them is consistent with the Master Plan and a good plan in relationship with the surrounding properties, rather than the potential for litigation.

Member Sprague stated that "spot zoning" does not apply to this proposal, since the submitted plan resembles what is already there. He appreciated the large park and the "no egress on Ten Mile" components of the plan.

Member Kocan stated that she did not want to look at the site plan as part of the rezoning request. She reminded the Planning Commission that just a few weeks prior they reviewed a site that abutted Beck North that was a great plan but did not fit the Ordinance – it did not qualify for the Cluster Option and the additional density. When she reviewed this request she looked at what exists on this property that preempts the Applicant from developing it as it is currently zoned. She considered the size of the parcel and she assumed that an R-A development would have an eastern road with homes to the west of the property. She has not heard the comment this evening that the property cannot be developed as an R-A parcel.

Member Kocan asked whether this parcel had to be consistent with Island Lake, but determined that even Island Lake is not consistent throughout its entire parcel. She pointed to her own subdivision which has homes ranging from R-A to R-4. She therefore reviewed the property not from the perspective of its fitting in, but in terms of density.

Member Kocan stated that as far back as 1990 the line was drawn in the sand that the City wanted R-A development to the west. If the Planning Commission makes the drastic recommendation for this property to be rezoned from R-A to R-3, they are setting a precedent that is difficult to undo with any other developer that comes in. Member Kocan does not necessarily support the use of Development Agreements that go along with rezonings. She acknowledged that Oak Pointe Church does abut this property and the value of these homes may be impacted; the developer will need screening. The largest Oak Pointe buildings are a considerable distance to the east of this development. She recalled that sporting fields will abut the subject property. The Oak Pointe Church property impacts the Island Lake development far more than this parcel.

Member Kocan stated her hesitance in considering R-3 for this property. She stated that the R-1 allows 16.5 units, though she acknowledged the site would have to change to permit for the different setback requirements and lot sizes. She does not believe she can support anything more dense than the R-1 zoning because of the precedent that would be set in recommending a higher density use, especially in light of the various developers whose similar requests have been turned down.

Member Papp concurred with Member Kocan’s position. He felt the review should have been looked at in terms of the parcel and not the submitted site plan. He stated that an R-3 zoning for this property could spell trouble if in the future, the golf course came forward and requested a high-density zoning. He possibly would support an R-1 rezoning recommendation.

Chair Nagy stated that she is a member of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and she explained that their position on this parcel (R-3 with a Development Agreement) is based on the fact that the developer has been working with the Planning Department on several occasions regarding this narrow parcel. She does not agree with the notion that this is spot zoning. She noted that she was on the Planning Commission when Oak Pointe Church was approved; she voted against it because she felt that it was an example of spot zoning.

Chair Nagy stated her concern for the amount of building that is placed on a piece of land. She does not like to see the parcel stretched to the max or squeezed in. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee was looking for the best viable option within the framework of where this property is. In terms of this section of Novi, they looked for a park area, the no-egress onto Ten Mile, and they considered the church anticipated for the neighboring parcel. Chair Nagy stated that this developer must have an agreement with Island Lakes relating to the road connections.

Chair Nagy stated that an R-A development could be built on this parcel but she questioned whether it would work. She asked where the legal burden was on this decision. She preferred that every decision made in the past by the Planning Commission was not analyzed as to whether or not this site may result in a lawsuit. She stated that the fact that an Applicant has a court reporter present must mean they are looking to have a verbatim record of something. However, she doesn’t consider this Applicant’s request to be similar to the Aspen Group request.

Chair Nagy stated that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee hoped to limit the density in some manner if they were going to accept the request for a higher density use. Therefore, they supported the Applicant’s plan in exchange for a density of only 16 units and the existence of the adjoining park space (to Island Lake’s park). She acknowledged that City Council may not like Development Agreements but since the terms limit the density it also restricts the possibility for a higher density in this area.

Mr. Schmitt explained that if the Planning Commission recommends a Development Agreement, a motion sheet will be brought to the next available City Council meeting and will authorize the City Attorneys to begin working on the Agreement. The rezoning would not be a part of that meeting. Once the Agreement is drafted, both it and the rezoning request would go before City Council for approval. Theoretically, the Development Agreement could be denied by City Council and the rezoning request could be approved.

Chair Nagy concurred but stated if the Planning Commission motion were positive but contingent on the stipulations, it’s still up to the City Council to make the final ruling. Chair Nagy stated that the City Council could approve any zoning classification, and that if they approved the R-3, the property would be developed with far more than 16 units. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee took into consideration that things change, and they were comfortable with the Development Agreement for this property because it limited the developer’s options. She noted that twice in the past the Planning Commission has recommended a certain rezoning and the City Council changed it. Therefore, the Master Plan and Zoning Committee felt this avenue was the best to take to ensure the consistency of the area, reducing traffic onto Ten Mile, providing more open space – which is something this Planning Commission always looks at.

Member Kocan clarified that in the minutes of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee meeting, there was talk about incorporating the Open Space option. She cited Ordinance number 2505 and asked whether the committee’s intent was to have this parcel meet the intent of this Ordinance, or whether they were just interested in having open space, period. Mr. Schmitt responded that the intent was to attempt to incorporate the new Open Space Preservation Option because it provides the Applicant the opportunity to reduce lot widths and lot sizes without necessarily giving them the R-3 zoning. There was an idea that the property could be zoned R-2 with the Open Space if indeed the Applicant needed to reduce his lot sizes.

Chair Nagy interjected that at the time, the Implementation Committee was not finished with the Open Space Ordinance but some of the members on the Master Plan and Zoning Committee were aware of its language and intent. Her recollection is that Member Shroyer was the Member who stated that he was looking for open space.

Mr. Schmitt further clarified that the City was statutorily obligated to have the Ordinance on the books on the first of the year, and therefore the Ordinance has just been adopted. In fact, Mr. Schmitt stated that this parcel was actually used in an example of how to incorporate the Open Space Preservation Option.

Member Markham asked if this development, as currently designed, meets the intent of the Open Space Option. Mr. Schmitt stated that the plan has not been reviewed because the Planning Department has not received a formal site plan submittal. Member Markham clarified that the motion should include language supporting an Open Space plan, citing a minimum lot size, and a statement limiting the number of units for the development. Both Chair Nagy and Mr. Schmitt agreed that those could be things named in the motion.

Mr. Evancoe reminded the Planning Commission that the State Statute and the local Open Space Ordinance is written such that its use is the option of the developer not an option of the City. In other words, the developer would have to offer the use the option, the City cannot make them choose the option.

Member Sprague summarized what he has heard to be that the Planning Commission is willing to trade density for certain specific features in a development. He asked if that is an appropriate use of the Development Agreement concept; is the intent of this tool meant to allow the City to strike a deal and trade for certain attributes? Secondly, Member Sprague asked if this is an appropriate use of the Development Agreement concept, does the Planning Commission want to make this trade of density for the park land, no access onto Ten Mile, and conformity with Island Lake?

Mr. Evancoe responded that the Development Agreement’s purpose is essentially to record the agreement about how a development should be done. Typically the developer receives certain benefits and the City receives certain benefits. Mr. Evancoe noted that the Novi Agreements he has seen typically relate to something on the developer’s property that would benefit the City to keep, namely natural features. This site does not necessarily have anything in and of itself that the City wants, however, the developer has offered some amenities that are of interest to the City, namely the park. If the Planning Commission were inclined to recommend a Development Agreement, Mr. Evancoe suggested that they not limit themselves not only to what the Developer has already suggested, but to consider whether there are more amenities that could be offered. The Agreement would then provide him with the higher density he seeks, but it could also offer the City more as well.


Mr. Schultz stated that there is no formal policy relating to the use of a Development Agreement. City Council actually authorized Jerry Fisher, the City Attorney, to write standards for what is essentially an Overlay District that would address this kind of situation. Mr. Schultz agreed that this developer is not here tonight saying that he can’t develop the property under its current zoning, nor has he ever represented that position with the City. This really has become the trade-off situation described by Mr. Evancoe, and the Planning Commission must decide what is best and what the City Council would like to see.

Member Sprague responded that if the Planning Commission recommends the developer’s plan for approval because the City is getting something in exchange for the density concession, a precedent is indeed being set. In the past, Development Agreements were executed in an effort to preserve natural features; with this request the preservation of the open space could be argued, but the no-access to Ten Mile cannot be construed as a natural feature. This approval would signal that the City is willing to make Development Agreements for concessions and trade-offs other than the preservation of natural features. Other developers could then come in and argue for an Agreement beneficial to them. Mr. Schultz concurred, stating that this Agreement is different than the other Agreements made with the City, but every community has its own mechanisms in place to allow for flexibility. In this City, the Development Agreement is the tool available to achieve certain desired results.

Member Sprague asked whether a recommendation along this route tonight renders the anticipated "Overlay District" discussion a moot point. Mr. Schultz stated that because every property is different, the Overlay District will just help define the parameters for the developers, property owners, the City, the Planning Commission and everyone else. Each decision will be made case by case, but with the terms defined in an Ordinance the process won’t be as difficult.

Chair Nagy asked Mr. Schultz if "Overlay" was the wrong terminology, but Mr. Evancoe responded that the actual term is "Planned Rezoning Overlay", or the PRO Ordinance. Member Sprague asked Mr. Schultz whether the precedent this possible recommendation sets would then only have merit until such time that this PRO Ordinance was approved. Mr. Schultz responded that the Planning Commission only needs to make clear what their objective is that they are trying to meet, that they are not setting a precedent with their recommendation to City Council. What Mr. Schultz believes is the Planning Commission’s desire is to recommend a higher density zoning to City Council that if found acceptable by that Body, would also entail certain parameters that the Planning Commission would cite in their motion. He stated that any precedent-setting move would actually be more prevalent in City Council’s actions than in the Planning Commission’s. Mr. Schultz conceded that every decision made by the Planning Commission or the City Council sets, in some way, a precedent.

Member Paul hypothesized that if the Planning Commission recommended the R-3 rezoning with the Development Agreement stipulation, and City Council agrees with the rezoning but not the Agreement, then the Applicant has a hardship. Subsequently, if the Applicant sells his land, the next owner could potentially place 29 units on the site. Mr. Schmitt responded that 29 is the theoretical maximum, and that number would likely be diminished by setbacks and ROW issues.

Member Paul continued that the parcel would then not resemble the Island Lake development, which seems to be what the other Commissioners are taking into their consideration of the request. Utilizing the Open Space Act provides two things: 1) The open park area would abut all properties and all properties would therefore benefit; and 2) The change would adjust the zoning classification by one rank, e.g., R-A to R-1. In this request, the zoning is jumping three ranks, which concerns her. She supported the rezoning to R-1, considered R-2 questionable and rests on whether the park land is provided, but she did not support the rezoning to R-3 in light of her concern for the economic times which may cause a possible hardship on the properties surrounding this parcel. She asked whether the Planning Commission should disregard the current zoning and make the (positive or negative) recommendation for R-3, or could they make the recommendation for approval of an R-1 rezoning.

Mr. Schmitt responded that although he did not provide the impact information of an R-1 rezoning because it did not correspond with the comments made by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, it is indeed an option that the Planning Commission can consider. He explained that the Planning Commission could make a recommendation for the approval of any zoning classification, or they can simply make a negative recommendation on the R-3 rezoning request and leave it up to the City Council to determine which of the zoning classifications is most appropriate.

Moved by Member Paul, supported by Member Kocan:

In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.627 for DS Novi Ten Development, LLC, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject property from R-A (Residential Acreage) to R-1 (One Family Residential), for the following reasons: 1) It is more consistent with the Master Plan; 2) It takes into account the variations in surrounding property sizes; and 3) It is a feasible alternative for this parcel’s development.


Member Markham did not wish to support the recommendation for rezoning to R-1 because it does not represent in any way what the developer has asked for. She understands the other Members’ concerns relating to an R-3 rezoning. She suggested that it makes more sense to make a negative recommendation on the R-3 and then let City Council decide how they want to accommodate this request by the developer. In general, her overall sense of the situation is that there is a positive feeling for the proposed site plan, but the Planning Commission doesn’t know how to make it meet the intent of the Ordinance. She commented that perhaps City Council can be a little more flexible in their review. She reiterated that she does not support the R-1 rezoning and suggested again that a negative recommendation on an R-3 rezoning be considered.

Member Ruyle stated that he won’t support the motion. He commented that Mr. Stauch indicated he has already drafted a Development Agreement that is under review with the City’s attorney. Whether or not the City Attorney approves of the proposed language is one thing, but it is already agreed upon by the Applicant that he is willing to sign such a document. The subject property could remain R-A and the Applicant does have a site plan proposal with a Ten Mile curb cut and a smaller park that could be submitted. Member Ruyle restated that the Applicant has provided an appealing site plan that reflects what the Master Plan and Zoning Committee recommended he submit. He won’t support this motion, but would consider a motion for the R-2 zoning with the Applicant’s acceptance of that suggestion.

Chair Nagy asked Mr. Evancoe who pays for the preparation of the Development Agreement. Mr. Evancoe stated that the City Council would first have to approve of the City Attorney’s review of the document. Mr. Schultz responded that he was aware of City Council’s recent passage of an Ordinance relating to the payment of attorneys’ fees in connection with planning reviews, but is not sure whether this service would fall under this category. In the past the City paid for this service.

Chair Nagy stated that she saw no value in the Planning Commission not approving the original recommendation made by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. The decision was based on a specific density and specific reasons and a Development Agreement, all of which can be recommended to City Council. Assuming that a subsequent developer of this property could try to develop the property in a different manner, she stated that the City’s interest can still be protected by attaching a caveat or proviso. Mr. Schultz stated that Mr. Fisher was very clear with his response to City Council to this question, that if the City reaches a written agreement with a property owner, it is recorded at the Register of Deeds and it could possibly be difficult for the landowner to violate the land use approved thereof. This mechanism is not often used and shouldn’t be. Mr. Schultz reiterated that a caveat cannot be attached, the conditional rezoning just doesn’t work. The Development Agreement is the best option available until the PRO Ordinance is available.

Member Avdoulos stated that the initial review made by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee with the stipulation of the property being rezoned to R-2 or R-3, incorporating the Open Space Preservation Option and a Development Agreement and limiting the number of lots to 16 actually leaves the Applicant vulnerable to being able to build less than 16 homes. Member Avdoulos reiterated that the Bond property was reviewed in the context of those properties and their relationship to their surroundings. The Twelve Mile rezoning was reviewed and approved based on the fact that it was compatible with what was master planned for the area. This site plan provides even more specific detail. Unfortunately, when a request goes from R-A down to an R-2 or an R-3 and stipulations have to be added for the Open Space Option (which really doesn’t apply since the only natural feature that could be salvaged through the Option is its open space) the decision then becomes too far removed from the Master Plan and the rural character of the area. If the developer can design a beneficial plan using the R-2 zoning then so be it, but if stipulations have to be added to assist in that pursuit, the request becomes more difficult to grant. The Open Space Option was keeping Member Avdoulos interested in considering the possibility of this rezoning request because there are certain restrictions that accompany its use. However, because this is merely a rezoning request and not a site plan approval, Member Avdoulos prefers to offer a positive recommendation without attachments or a negative recommendation on the R-3 as Member Markham suggested. However, he prefers that a positive recommendation of some kind be made because of the time spent on this request by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee.

Member Markham asked whether the Planning Commission can recommend an "either/or" zoning as the Master Plan and Zoning Committee recommended to Planning Commission. Mr. Schultz responded that the Planning Commission can in fact do that. The statute says that the Planning Commission must hold the Public Hearing and they must make a recommendation to City Council. If the recommendation is either R-1 or R-2, that is their prerogative to do so.

Chair Nagy asked if this parcel were brought to the Planning Department for review under the Open Space Option, would it meet the intent of the Ordinance based on the amount of park land proposed in the submitted plan. Ms. McBeth could not address the question because she is unfamiliar with the site plan, but she stated that the Open Space Option was brought about so that an Applicant could preserve 20% of the land and build the same number of homes (at the next zoning density) on the remainder of the land while preserving that minimum of 20% open space. Thus far the submitted plan has not been reviewed under the Open Space Option.

Chair Nagy asked Mr. Stauch if he knew whether this parcel would qualify under the Open Space Option. R-2 is acceptable to him, because he can still build the 16 lots under the R-2 designation. The reason this request came forward was the concern over the park land. The larger he makes the lots, the smaller he makes the park. They designed their plan using the 14,000 sf number because they found it to be compatible to the Island Lake parcels. They decided to request the R-3 because this allowed the park to be bigger. The R-2 will also provide the 16 lots but the park will be smaller. Mr. Stauch also stated that he hadn’t considered the Open Space Option because it wasn’t available at the time he began this project, but even so every lot does not front the park land so the submitted site plan does not meet the intent of the Ordinance. Chair Nagy clarified for him that as long as the park is accessible to every home that would be sufficient. Mr. Stauch also said that the park is 90,000 sf which is real close to 20% of the site.

Mr. Schultz thought that the Planning Commission might be struggling with the whole concept of the Development Agreement and what their role in that might be. Chair Nagy disagreed, stated that the Planning Commission is struggling with the idea that the request is for a rezoning not a site plan. They are trying to protect that parcel from going to some unreasonable density under R-3, which could go up to 27 lots. Mr. Schultz does not see a problem with the Planning Commission denying the R-3 with the indication to City Council that if there were a Development Agreement with the parameters outlined by the Commission they would support that. All of the Commissioner’s comments will be in the record. That motion would fulfill their obligation. The Planning Commission would have held the Public Hearing, made their recommendation, and made, as part of the motion, a recommendation on something that is ultimately the decision of the City Council.

Chair Nagy stated that was the whole point, that the Planning Commission is spending too much time on this request. Whether a positive motion is made with stipulations, or they take the suggestion made by Mr. Schultz, the outcome is the same: City Council has the ultimate authority.

Member Kocan has reviewed the Open Space Option. The R-1 zoning increases the density by 100% over the

R-A zoning which is considerable but a compromise that Member Kocan would agree to. The R-1 zoning also provides the developer an opportunity to reduce the lot size down to 14,375 sf using the Open Space Option. If he were to remove one lot he would easily fall within the guidelines of the Ordinance. The 110-foot lot widths could also be attained. The Applicant would be able to develop 80% and 20% would be the 90,000 sf park. Member Kocan would be amenable to this arrangement because if the Applicant proposes a Development Agreement or an Open Space Preservation project, the City still has control of the number of parcels put on the property. She preferred not to make that part of the motion.

Member Sprague stated that he could not support a motion to change the density without the Development Agreement. Mr. Schultz stated that the motion could include language that the Applicant would have to agree to the terms of a Development Agreement. Member Sprague said that if the motion doesn’t reflect that information he would not support it, but he would support a motion for a negative recommendation on the R-3 rezoning.

Mr. Schultz wished to comment on Member Kocan’s calculations. He wanted to make clear to the Planning Commission that the Option Space Ordinance works in a manner such that the density is not increased in the reduction of the lot sizes. Member Kocan responded that with a rezoning to R-1, the Applicant could develop the parcel with 16 lots and no park land.

Member Avdoulos further clarified that the R-1 rezoning would allow the Applicant to use the Open Space Option and that will allow the developer to get to the appropriate lot size and maintains what the Planning Commission wants in terms of open space. The Ordinance has an agricultural or equestrian component, scenic views, etc., and depending on what the Applicant wants, this provides an avenue on which to proceed.


In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.627 for DS Novi Ten Development, LLC, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject property from R-A (Residential Acreage) to R-1 (One Family Residential), for the following reasons: 1) It is more consistent with the Master Plan; 2) It takes into account the variations in surrounding property sizes; and 3) It is a feasible alternative for this parcel’s development.

Motion carried 6-2; Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul; No: Ruyle, Sprague.


The Public Hearing was opened on the request of the Singh Development Company to rezone the subject property located in Section 14 on the north side of Eleven Mile and east of Town Center Drive, from OSC (Office Service Commercial) to RM-2 (High Density, Mid Rise Multiple Family Residential). The subject property is approximately 4.04 acres.


Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial map. It is currently zoned OSC and master planned for office. To the west is Novi Town Center (zoned TC and master planned for Town Center Commercial). To the south are Grand River and the Main Street Development (zoned OSC and master planned for Town Center Gateway). To the east are two hotels (zoned OSC and master planned master planned for office). To the north is a large office building (zoned OSC and master planned for office).

The Traffic Review provided comments and additional data for consideration.

The Planning Review does not recommend the rezoning request at this time for a variety of reasons. The surrounding uses are office in nature. The two hotels to the east are permitted uses in the OSC District and the Lake Pointe Office building is to the north. Under the OSC zoning both professional office and medical buildings are allowed – hospital, hotel and motel, and as Special Land Uses, retail, sit down restaurants and daycares that service the building are also allowed. Under the proposed RM-2, single- and two-family homes and multiple family dwellings are allowed, as are independent and congregate care facilities. Special Land Uses include retail, commercial services and offices serving the needs of the residents on site.

Information on the Town Center zoning classification was also provided to the Planning Commission. Uses allowed in this district include retail, dry cleaners, personal service establishments and multiple family residential at a slightly lower density than what is allowed in the RM-1 and RM-2 districts. The maximum building height is the same in all districts, which is five stories or 65 feet. The building setbacks are substantially higher than the current OSC district.

There are no natural features on the site. Water and sewer are currently available for the parcel. There are no road changes proposed, although Eleven Mile is master planned to be a two- or three-lane road. The impetus behind the proposal is to provide more residential units within close proximity to the Novi Town Center area, most notably Main Street. This is an integral item behind the eventual survival of Main Street. More residents will provide a more constant appearance of people, which will help the City achieve a sense of place and being in this area. A similar type of development can be found further down Grand River at the Gateway Village.

The Planning Department is concerned about this location being the proper place to locate residents in the area. Given that Grand River is a major thoroughfare and there is a substantial amount of traffic entering the Novi Town Center, this may not be the appropriate place for residential. But certainly, the concept behind bringing more residential to the area is a good idea, Mr. Schmitt said.

One other alternative for the Planning Commission to consider is the use of the Gateway East District. Although the district is not formally in place, it is slated for the area south of this parcel. If the Planning Commission finds this to be an acceptable alternative, they may wish to ask City Council to revise the final boundaries of the Gateway East District to include this parcel.

Attorney Robert Jacobs, 121 Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI, represented Singh Development. He introduced Khanh Pham of Singh Development and Carmine Evantini of Lang Worthy Straither and LaBlanc. Mr. Jacobs stated that Singh Development has been in business for over 25 years. Singh Development enthusiastically supported the concept of Main Street, and as such developed a plan for 400 residential units to help support the project. Currently the Main Street development is experiencing a reversal of fortune in both the retail and office segments. Singh Development is dedicated to protecting their assets in this community and they wish to maintain the Main Street vision by supporting it.

Mr. Jacobs stated that the changes in the economy have possibly affected the viability of the Main Street area as it was once envisioned. A Master Plan is meant to help shape a community; Singh Development believes that this property would be more effective if it were rezoned, because it does not work as OSC. In the tri-county area, office vacancy ratios are at approximately 28%. Going down Eleven Mile there are vacant office or industrial buildings. The concept of supporting the Main Street project is one of maintaining rooftops and providing residents who will utilize the services on a 24/7 basis. This area does not have enough surrounding residential to support it. The Master Plan is a living plan and is meant to be altered to meet existing circumstances and planning objectives. The surrounding vacant office space is forecasted to have a ten-year absorption period without any new office space coming on the market. Mr. Jacobs said that to suggest that OSC is a viable and economic means of dealing with this area is closing one’s eyes to the current conditions. The City doesn’t need another vacant office building. The City doesn’t need another Town Center project with an office component.

Mr. Jacobs stated that Singh Development is not asking for a high density. A maximum of 68-72 units is envisioned for this development. It is compatible with the surrounding structures. It would not be higher than four stories. Singh Development commits to doing everything in its power to pursue and maintain the economic integrity of its investment in this City. People continue to rent apartments in the area on the premise that the Main Street development is going to remain viable. Singh is committed to the integrity of the Main Street project. The Gateway Village project would be an extension of Main Street but would not serve the purposes of feeding Main Street. More Single Family Residential communities are needed in the Main Street area.

Mr. Jacobs thinks that reliance on the previous Master Plan fails to take into account the current situation. He stated that Birchler Arroyo did not find a negative traffic impact by this project on the surrounding area. There is adequate water, utilities and infrastructure to service this property. The traffic generated by this proposal is less than what would be generated by a 60,000 sf office building.

Mr. Carmine Evantini, 309 South Washington Street, Royal Oak, also represented Singh Development. He stated that this proposal is really about the Main Street area, a section of Novi that has not done well because it doesn’t have the "street wall" effect provided by an emulating building on the other side of the street. This will not happen until, at minimum, the existing project fills up and is fully developed. A residential development within a five-minute walking distance will create a 24-hour presence in this area. The Staff report recommended residential for the south side of Grand River, but unfortunately there is not enough land available in that area. Whatever land that is there that could be used for residential is not enough to support the Main Street area.

Mr. Evantini also quoted from the Master Plan that one of the City’s goals is to provide incentives for residential development to be provided in the Town Center area. There is a limited amount of area that could be developed residential. The subject property can be, as can the property just south of it, on the corner of Grand River. The area designated for future office use does not reflect the fact that only one Town Center office development has come forward since the inception of the Town Center. Everything else is residential. The extended-stay hotels in the area are really more long-term residential. It is not as transient as one might think. People who stay there live there for months at a time, which is not greatly dissimilar from what Singh is proposing for the subject property. The demand for office space is further diluted by the new office development at Eleven Mile and Meadowbrook. Additionally, office development is an acceptable use in every zoning classification in the city except residential.

Mr. Evantini conceded that Grand River is a five-lane road, but noted that pedestrian crossing signals are present. Therefore, it is intended to be a crossing. The original intent of the Town Center area was for it to be pedestrian-accessible. There are sidewalks throughout the development.

Mr. Evantini also stated that although the Planning Review indicated the project could be five stories, it is limited to just four stories by new floor height standards in the industry. This would match exactly the two Marriott projects in close proximity to this parcel.

Mr. Jacobs concluded the Singh presentation by stating the proposed use is an appropriate, reasonable and lawful use. They also believe that there is a need for moderate housing in the area. The vitality and viability of the Main Street project is dependent upon residential in the area. He asked the Planning Commission to consider the rezoning in light of what exists today.

Mr. Schmitt clarified that the Birchler Arroyo review only provided data and did not comment either negatively or positively on the proposed project’s impact to the area.

Member Kocan read response forms received by the Planning Commission into the record:

Bryan Saad, Post Six, 42875 Grand River: Represented this new entertainment establishment located at the corner of Main and Market streets. He is encouraged by the introduction of new residential in the area.

Floyd Peterson, Ecco Tool Company, 42525 W. Eleven Mile: Has no strong objections but feels that apartments may look out of place. He noted that each weekday morning the parking lots of both hotels are filled to capacity and suggested that perhaps the parcel should be developed with another hotel.

No one from the audience wished to speak so Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.

Member Paul thought that previously this parcel was looked at for a potential condominium use. She believes the area is already too dense and does not support residential for this parcel. She is concerned about the traffic, health, safety and welfare of the City.

Member Paul stated that there are several vacancies in the apartment communities on Ten Mile. She does not think this is a good use of the land. She believes the land is highly desirable with many alternatives available. She won’t support the rezoning of the property from OSC.

Moved by Member Paul, supported by Member Ruyle:

In the matter of zoning Map Amendment 18.628 for the Singh Development Company, motion to recommend denial to the City Council to rezone the subject properties from OSC (Office Service Commercial) to RM-2 (High Density, Mid Rise Multiple Family), for the following reasons: 1) The high density is inconsistent with the Master Plan; 2) Increased density in the already overstressed area will cause difficulty with traffic, health, safety and welfare; 3) Residential zoning is out of character with the surrounding property; and 4) OSC zoning can further support more people to the Town Center and the Main Street as it is already zoned.


Member Ruyle stated that he has lived in Novi for 23 years and has seen economic downturns and upturns. During the last downturn people claimed that there was too much office space that would never get filled. The economy changed and it filled up. Member Ruyle sees the economy turning now and he thinks that Novi is losing too much office space – OST, OSC, etc.

Member Ruyle said that this developer wanted to rezone a northern parcel from OST for condominium use, and the Planning Commission voted 9-0 against it. They went to City Council and were granted the rezoning, which is the prerogative of the City Council. As a Commission, he believes they should stand fast and stay with an office zoning for this area, which is a viable location for this use.

Member Kocan supported the motion. Everything allowed in the OSC is compatible with the surrounding properties and the intent of the area. A residential use may sound valid to feed Main Street, but it is like an island all by itself amongst a sea of concrete across from a shopping area. She thinks that compatibility must be kept between areas. She does not want to increase the density from zero in OSC to 24.132 units per acre. The economy may be down, but there is nothing that says the parcel can’t be developed the way it is currently zoned.

Member Kocan stated that Singh has previously commented that they can put people in residential and immediately increase the City’s tax base. If that were the only concern, Member Kocan said the whole City could be developed with residential. Member Kocan supported the current Master Plan for the area.

Member Avdoulos disagreed. He stated that areas have been created throughout the City for pedestrian access which allows people to support the area in which they live. He noted that the Gateway Village residents travel westbound along Grand River to Town Center Drive, which makes the area somewhat urbanized in its appeal. There would be residential to the south, east and some residential to the north.

If Member Avdoulos were single or without children, he would consider living in this location for its amenities. He referenced the vacant store fronts on the south side of Novi Town Center and suggested that if residential were in the area it could spur more activity for the center. He does not have concerns about the density or traffic issues. A unique effort has already been started in this area. If something can unite the land between Gateway Village and this proposed residential project then the area becomes viable and can potentially create an image for the City.

Member Avdoulos commented that Fountain Walk is a conglomeration of retail, office and residential (hotel) that has generated pedestrian activity. He has determined that the anticipated Gateway East District would be well served by two residential bookends – Gateway Village and the subject property. He concluded by reiterating his support for the proposal.

Member Sprague supported the proposal as well. He commented that the Lake Pointe office building has always had significant vacancies in it. The Novi Town Center area by the theater has always had vacancies. He thinks that if the Developer believes that residential can work on this parcel, he would support him because it will spur activity in the area. While it may seem like spot zoning, this is where the City has chosen to create a community and residential must be a component of that concept. The existing residential in the area does not feed the Novi Town Center. This parcel is more centrally located and would provide a better base.

Member Sprague thought that TC orTC-1 zoning is more compatible than RM-2, but he supported the concept of residential for the property.

Member Markham thought the request for residential was an example of spot zoning. She had concerns about density. She believes that more foot traffic would benefit the Novi Town Center and Main Street. She suggested that Main Street has not flourished, not because of the absence of residential in the area, but for reasons she chose not to state at the meeting.

Member Markham thinks that the proposal is just sitting out there, and that there are better parcels to put residential on, some of which would be closer to the commercial aspects of the area. She suggested that residential be put in the parking lot of the Novi Town Center, a retail project she has been concerned about since she moved to the area. She appreciated the Applicant’s desire to support the existing area, but she does not feel this is the right location for it. She supported the motion.

Member Papp agreed. He does not think that the use fits the area, and he doesn’t see how it would benefit the Main Street area. People who would live there would probably drive to their destination anyway. He supported the motion.

Chair Nagy commented that Singh Development has again taken another OST property and turned it into residential just recently. She said that was the prerogative of City Council. She sees all sides of the argument, but she does not support this request at this time because, as a member of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, she has not yet studied this Section of the City. They are in the process of updating the Master Plan and will have it completed by May 2004. The previous rezonings have been done in areas that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has already studied.

Chair Nagy also stated that the Gateway East Ordinance is currently under review by City Council. She wondered whether the boundaries of the area would be extended to include this Town Center area. Chair Nagy appreciated the economic information that the Applicant provided; however, Chair Nagy stated that this City already has a tremendous amount of multiple residential. The City must consider the tax base when reviewing a multiple residential project. She noted that one member of City Council just recently reviewed this tax information from the tax assessor.

Chair Nagy did not want to discourage the Applicant, but she wants the City to have an opportunity to study this section as part of the Master Plan Update. There is a lot to look at in this area. It is not just that the City wants to support Main Street – it’s a question of what does Main Street want to become. At this point it is a building with two bars coming in. There is a lot of information for the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to review. Chair Nagy is uncomfortable reviewing this rezoning at the present time until all the variables are looked at and studied.

Additionally, Chair Nagy commented that although the City is young, it has already experienced the re-use of buildings. When the various buildings are looked at along the corridor between Gateway Village and Town Center Drive, some may be sold and some may stay. These decisions will impact how the Master Plan and Zoning Committee looks at updating the Master Plan in terms of that whole area. At this time, Chair Nagy thinks the rezoning is premature. She cannot support the request, although she did not find their concept objectionable. She understood what the Applicant was trying to achieve, but she thinks that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee must come to a decision as to what it wants to see in that corridor. She would rather not have someone dictate that to the Committee or the Commission.


In the matter of zoning Map Amendment 18.628 for the Singh Development Company, motion to recommend denial to the City Council to rezone the subject properties from OSC (Office Service Commercial) to RM-2 (High Density, Mid Rise Multiple Family), for the following reasons: 1) The high density is inconsistent with the Master Plan; 2) Increased density in the already overstressed area will cause difficulty with traffic, health, safety and welfare; 3) Residential zoning is out of character with the surrounding property; and 4) OSC zoning can further support more people to the Town Center and the Main Street as it is already zoned.

Motion carried 6-2; Yes: Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Ruyle; No: Avdoulos, Sprague.



Consideration of the request of Toll Brothers for approval of a Final Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 19 on Wixom Road between Ten and Eleven Mile roads in the R-A (Residential Acreage) District under an RUD Agreement. The Applicant is proposing multiple family residential site condominiums, totaling fifty-two units in thirteen buildings. The subject property is approximately 23.23 acres out of a total of 907 acres in the development.


Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. This portion of the development is in the southeast corner of the property. The proposed Oak Pointe church is to the southwest of this phase. The entire area is zoned

R-A, although Island Lake is being developed under an RUD Agreement. The entire area is also master planned for residential uses.


The Planning Commission heard this case on April 30, 2003 and recommended Preliminary Site Plan approval. They requested to review the Final Site Plan because of various pending issues noted at the previous meeting.

Mr. Schmitt stated that an updated Birchler Arroyo letter was provided to the Planning Commission. The floor plan issue has been resolved. The bike path issue is also resolved, as the RUD Agreement states that they may be constructed of asphalt rather than concrete.

Mr. Schmitt referred to the overhead and pointed out the condominium units along the lake and the three buildings in the woods.

The Planning Review does not specify any pending items. The Wetlands Review has indicated approval with three minor items to be addressed prior to the issuance of the Wetland Permit. The Woodlands Review recommended approval with minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal. One item was to move the tree fencing away from the units. That issue has already been completed.

The Landscape Review indicated that Mr. Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect for the City, has requested more plant diversity along the Wixom Road ROW. Previously the Applicant designed the area with a hedgerow as called for in the RUD Agreement, but the Planning Commission chose to exercise the alternative request for small clusters of varying plants. The ZBA variance for the berm removal along Wixom Road is not required; page 42 of the RUD Agreement allows an open space easement along Wixom Road. In other areas where the berm has been placed the Applicant has chosen to do so of their own volition. This is most notable along Napier Road and the berm provides protection to the condos along the north side of the lake.

The Traffic Review noted several items that must be addressed at the time of Final Stamping Set submittal. Mr. Schmitt reiterated that comment #6 (the request for concrete bike paths) in the Traffic Review is no longer applicable. The Engineering Review indicated there are minor items to be addressed. The Fire Department Review indicated two outstanding issues. Upon further review it appears that the changes made to this plan addressed the original comments made by the Fire Department but created new issues that must be corrected. These are minor items that must be addressed prior to Final Stamping Set submittal.

Kevin Sullivan, 35000 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 400, Farmington Hills, represented Toll Brothers. He stated that they have been working with the various consultants to address all of the pending issues. They believe that all that is left is the landscape issue and they are working with Mr. Shipman on bringing the plan into conformance.

Mr. Sullivan stated that the previous issue with the Fire Department was the spacing of the hydrants. That has been resolved by adding two more hydrants.

Mr. Shipman told the Planning Commission that he has an appointment set with the Applicant for the following week to accomplish two goals: providing a buffer between the residential units and the Wixom Road traffic; and providing views or vistas out to the lake.

Member Paul called Mr. Arroyo prior to the meeting and appreciated his responding with such immediacy. She talked to him about the length of the left turn lane being at the minimum acceptable standard. Mr. Arroyo stated that the Applicant could have had a center turn lane down the entire part of Wixom Road. Since Wixom Road dead ends at Ten Mile and it is unlikely that it would ever be extended to Eight or even Nine Mile, Mr. Arroyo is comfortable with the turn at Delmont being designed without a left turn lane. Member Paul stated that Mr. Arroyo commented that it would be costly to do the asphalt and she stated that he wanted to know if there was any way to redesign the road without the turn lane, and divert the funds for that asphalt to possibly pave part of Delmont; those were his initial thoughts. Member Paul thought that part of the deferred cost could also be applied to a sidewalk from Delmont Drive to the middle school. Currently the sidewalk is only on the west side of Wixom Road. The children on the east side of the road will be required to walk to school and will have to cross Wixom Road. The westerly sidewalk is also inconvenient for the pedestrians who live on the east side of the road. She asked the Applicant if he were amenable to either of these suggestions if the Planning Commission were to waive the turn lane.

Mr. Sullivan asked what portion of the road project was Member Paul offering to waive – was it the entire left lane? She responded that she thought there would have to be some left turn lane that remained, but not the center lane. Mr. McCusker, the Engineer and Birchler Arroyo had previously discussed an alternative traffic pattern in the area to possibly defer some of the costs. Member Paul was looking at different things that could be done if this change were made to the area.

Chair Nagy appreciated Member Paul’s attempts, but she reminded her that this is the Final Site Plan and that this submitted plan has already been approved. Member Paul stated that it has already been discussed that this design is going to be changed, and she is just trying to determine whether there was any possibility to work with the Applicant to provide more for the area. Mr. Sullivan said that they would work with the City if indeed they want to eliminate something to provide a betterment somewhere else. He commented that it was their traffic engineer who had suggested the left turn lane to begin with.

Member Paul complimented the Applicant for always agreeing to work with the City to accomplish certain goals.

Moved by Member Paul, supported by Member Ruyle:

In the matter of the request of Toll Brothers for Phase 3D, SP03-09A, motion to grant approval of the Final Site Plan subject to: 1) The Applicant correcting the hydrant-to-hydrant spacing to a minimum of 300 feet between hydrants; and 2) The comments on the attached review letters being addressed at the time of the Stamping Set submittal, for the reasons that the City needs to have the Wetlands Review letter detailed and also the Woodlands Permit.


Member Sprague clarified that no comment was necessary to address the outstanding landscaping issues.


In the matter of the request of Toll Brothers for Phase 3D, SP03-09A, motion to grant approval of the Final Site Plan subject to: 1) The Applicant correcting the hydrant-to-hydrant spacing to a minimum of 300 feet between hydrants; and 2) The comments on the attached review letters being addressed at the time of the Stamping Set submittal, for the reasons that the City needs to have the Wetlands Review letter detailed and also the Woodlands Permit.

Motion carried 8-0.



Consideration of the request of Amarjit Chawney for approval of a Section Nine Façade Waiver. The subject property is located in Section 27 on the west side of Novi Road, south of Ten Mile in the OS-1 (Office Service) District. The developer is proposing a façade change from the originally approved facade. The subject property is 16.71 acres.

Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial map. This request is on Phase I of the project; Phase II will be located directly west of this phase. The Applicant is proposing a change to the façade. Mr. Schmitt explained that when percentages of materials are calculated, the amount of glass on the building is removed from the calculation. Because the Applicant’s building has a lot of glass, the trim calculation exceeds 25% of the calculated façade. Mr. Schmitt stated that the first building has already been built in this fashion, and that Mr. Peter Albertson of Nordstrom Samson Associates was present at the meeting to discuss this façade.

Mr. Albertson stated that the design matches the adjacent building, is appropriate materials, and its use is a reasonable interpretation of the Façade Ordinance. His only concern is that there are other options that the Applicant should consider (not necessarily choose, but at least consider) for the remaining buildings so that they are in conformance with the Ordinance. He reiterated that there is a reasonable relationship between buildings one and two and that he was comfortable with the design. However, the buildings further back on the site may be redesigned so as to conform to the Ordinance.

Amarjit Chawney addressed the Planning Commission. He stated that the first building was built prior to a change in the Façade Ordinance. He has agreed to make some changes requested by Mr. Albertson. He also agreed to conform with the Ordinance when the other buildings are built.

Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Markham:

In the matter of the request of Amarjit Chawney for Hampton Woods Phase II, SP95-12N, motion to grant approval of a Section Nine Façade Waiver, subject to the comments in staff and consultant’s reports being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan approval, because it is in compliance with the existing building.


Member Kocan supported the motion but she wanted to comment that the original site plan was approved for a congregate care facility. There was a change of use and the site plan was also modified. Member Kocan wanted to know at what point does the Planning Department stop making administrative changes and start requesting the Applicant to return to the Planning Commission. Mr. Evancoe explained that there are benchmarks noted in the Ordinance which dictates what can be approved administratively. He stated that when a site plan changes to a great extent, the Planning Department prefers to have the Planning Commission review the plan. A previous change made administratively to this plan was a modification to the parking lot.

Chair Nagy commented that she would prefer that the buildings continue to resemble one another rather than the Applicant changing their appearance on the subsequent additions to the site. She stated that this design is fine and in conformity with the area. She did encourage the Applicant to provide a little more landscaping.


In the matter of the request of Amarjit Chawney for Hampton Woods Phase II, SP95-12N, motion to grant approval of a Section Nine Façade Waiver, subject to the comments in staff and consultant’s reports being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan approval, because it is in compliance with the existing building.

Motion carried 8-0.


The Planning Commission provided various grammatical corrections for incorporation into the Minutes. Additionally, Member Kocan asked that the following changes be noted in the Minutes:

1. Additional language should be added to the Minutes regarding Ms. Halloran’s Public Hearing statement regarding pictures that she pointed to and a development brochure that she had, wherein pictures were printed of where the roads were going to be located (page four).

2. A correction should be made to Member Kocan’s comments on page eight, paragraph three, "Member Kocan is concerned about the road directed at Bristol Corners, and she recommended moving the cul-de-sac further west."

Moved by Member Ruyle, supported by Member Papp:

Motion to approve the Minutes of June 11, 2003 as amended.

Motion carried 8-0.


Member Ruyle stated that he did not like the Minutes. He stated that he was specifically concerned about the manner in which the Catholic Central motion was written in the Minutes. He believes that because of the situation the Minutes should have been more verbatim in nature.

Moved by Member Ruyle:

Motion to not approve the Minutes of June 25, 2003 as written and request that the Minutes be re-transcribed and corrected and brought back for approval at the next meeting.


Various Commissioners gave their recommendations for how the Minutes should be written. There was no support for the motion.

Moved by Member Kocan:

Motion to revise the minutes of June 25, 2003 as instructed at the table and have Mr. Schmitt or Mr. Evancoe confirm that the Minutes are changed based upon our discussion this evening.

Motion carried 8-0.


There was no Consent Agenda for this evening’s meeting.


1. Rules change regarding holiday schedules and Public Hearings

Member Markham stated that recently the rules were changed to prohibit a Public Hearing from being held within a certain timeframe surrounding a holiday. She stated that there was an unattended consequence of this rule change, namely that the Agenda is backing up. She understood the Planning Commission’s desire was, in part, to ensure that the residents would receive proper notification. However, she said that the Commission must keep things moving. She asked if the other Members or the Staff had comments or suggestions to make regarding this issue.

Chair Nagy stated the Planning Commission has also added to their own work load by occasionally requesting to review and approve Final Site Plan submittals. This, along with Public Hearings being restricted, the meetings are becoming longer and the Planning Commission Members are becoming less sharp as the meetings carry into the late evening. She too, appreciated that the change was made to accommodate the residents. However, when the meetings do go late into the evening, members of the viewing audience may be precluded from watching the entire meeting on television.

Member Kocan stated that as general information, the Planning Commission would have to have a published recommendation in the packet prior to changing the rules. She does not prefer to change the rules. She suggested that the issue be sent to the Rules Committee for discussion. She stated that as far back as five years ago she told the City Council that it was inappropriate to hold Public Hearings after a Labor Day holiday, since the City offices and the Library are closed and people are going back to work on a Tuesday and don’t have time to review the information.

Chair Nagy stated that because she makes the Agenda, she will occasionally get comments from other Planning Commissioners that an Agenda is so long. She stated that the Members also put time in to their Committees and she respects all of them for being so dedicated. She feels however, that the reality is that very few citizens can watch these meetings until the early hours of the morning. She does not suggest the rule change so as to inconvenience the Public. She stated that they are notified of Public Hearings via first class mail and through the local newspaper. Chair Nagy is just being cognizant of the backlog that they are creating, especially in light of the fact that they have been tabling more plans and requesting more Final Site Plan reviews. She wondered whether, in the culmination of these many issues, the Planning Commission has created a monster. She suggested that the Planning Commission think about it and determine whether there may be any alternatives.

Chair Nagy also questioned whether prohibiting a Public Hearing from being held in close proximity to a holiday could be challenged in a court of law. Mr. Schultz responded that, if this issue is going to be turned over to the Rules Committee for review, they may wish to consider asking the Staff what the timeframe is between their completion of the administrative site plan review and the actual placement of that site plan on the Planning Commission Agenda. He believes that is an issue worthy of discussion. Losing meetings and Public Hearings because of holiday timeframes is relevant to that consideration.

Chair Nagy stated that the Planning Commission must try to increase the number of days for review. She stated that for a while they were not going with the number of days that are in the manual. She has spoken with Planning Assistant Donna Jernigan and is aware that they are very backlogged. Mr. Evancoe appreciated the matter being brought up for discussion, as it is a concern of the Staff. Currently, the Staff is telling Applicants that if they submit a site plan in mid-July, for example, they would not be heard by the Planning Commission until October, and that depends on whether their site plan submittal is perfect and no revisions are needed.

Mr. Evancoe stated the Site Plan Manual, which is adopted by Ordinance, states that an Applicant will come before the Planning Commission within three meeting dates of their site plan submission. This is an important issue. Mr. Evancoe continued that the Staff has not received any complaints from residents stating that a holiday caused a hardship in terms of being able to come to the Planning Commission meeting.

Chair Nagy preferred to have the issue return to the Rules Committee. She reiterated that while the Planning Commission was trying to do a good thing, in some regards they are not accomplishing that goal.

Member Avdoulos preferred to review issues once. The Rules Committee recommended this change and the Planning Commission accepted it. He suggested that the Planning Commission look at months where there are five Wednesdays and add meetings in those instances to help clear the Agendas. He reminded the Members that they are volunteers who also work, and that the Staff can only do so much to prepare the sites plans for review; if the Planning Commission has to table a difficult review because of the hasty manner in which it was submitted, then that is the appropriate thing to do. He stated that Planning Commission cannot be reactionary because they have a backlog of twenty items that must be accomplished within a certain timeframe. That is not fair to the developers nor is it fair to the Planning Commission or anyone for that matter. He suggested that the Planning Commission consider adding the meetings to the five-Wednesday months. He also noted that the Staff is also busy preparing things for City Council as well. He recommended that the Rule stay in place.

Chair Nagy stated that the Rules were left alone for such a long time, and then this change was made. Unfortunately it is not working and is actually creating more work for everyone and is backlogging the system.

Member Ruyle abstained because he is the one who made the Rule. He then stated that he does not mind having the Rule sent back to the Rules Committee for review.

Member Papp had no problem sending the Rule back to the Rules Committee for review.

Member Kocan stated that she would abide by the majority.

Member Markham wants to send the Rule back to the Rules Committee for review.

Member Paul stated that she would send it back to the Rules Committee for review.

Member Sprague stated that he would send it back to the Rules Committee for review.

Chair Nagy stated that she would like the Rules Committee to revisit the Rule.

Member Kocan asked whether the Rule really had to go back to the Committee, if in fact the consensus just showed that the majority of the Planning Commission wanted the Rule to be reviewed. Chair Nagy stated that she did not want to infringe on the Rules Committee’s position. Member Markham agreed, stating that her original comment was just a request to have the Rule evaluated. Therefore, Chair Nagy stated that the Rule would return to the Rules Committee for review.

Mr. Evancoe asked if this issue could be resolved prior to Labor Day so that the City could take advantage of a possible change to the Rule.

Member Ruyle stated that Member Markham was correct in asking the Planning Commission to vote on Officers this evening. He stated that Committees must also be determined. Chair Nagy stated that item would be on the next Agenda.

Member Ruyle also stated that he was interested in attending the Citizen Planner Program. He directed Mr. Evancoe to ascertain whether the Novi Planning Commission can be exempt from the first two meetings and still get their certificate, because the first two meetings cover the basics and most of the Commissioners have served long enough to know the basics of how a Planning Commission works. He recommended that the Planning Commission send four or five Commissioners through this program.


There were no Special Reports.


Wayne Hogan addressed the Planning Commission. He stated that the Planning Commission needs to come into the digital age. Placing an Agenda on a kiosk and inserting a blurb in the newspaper is archaic. These issues need to be placed on the Internet. The public has the right to review all the documents and materials on the Internet. City Council is finally placing their material on the Internet or on CD, and the CDs will be available for someone to do with them what they wish – print out a certain portion that is important to what their topics are and leaving the rest behind, and reducing the extra paper and saving some trees. Additionally, those City Council items will also be placed on the Internet and will be reviewable from a home computer. He would like to see the Planning Commission work toward that end. Simply having something on the kiosk is not acceptable, not to mention the fact that the information is placed on the kiosk in a hodge podge order and is oftentimes outdated.

Chair Nagy stated that the information is also available on Channel 13. She stated that although she is not a techie, she’s guessing that Mr. Hogan is, and that perhaps he can assist the Planning Department in getting the information on the Internet.


Moved by Ruyle:

Motion to adjourn the meeting.

Motion carried 8-0. The meeting adjourned at 12:32 a.m.




MON 8/11/03 CITY COUNCIL 7:30 PM


MON 8/25/03 CITY COUNCIL 7:30 PM

Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, July 24, 2003 Signature on File

Dated Approved: July 30, 2003 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant