View Agenda for this meeting
View Action Summary for this meeting

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 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, Shroyer, Sprague

Also Present: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Barbara McBeth, Planner; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Darcy Schmitt, Planner; Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect; Ben Croy, City Engineer; Tom Schultz, City Attorney; Peter Albertson, Façade Consultant


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


Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Ruyle:

Motion to approve the Agenda of October 1, 2003.

Motion carried 9-0.


Chair Nagy asked the audience if anyone wished to address the Planning Commission.

Wayne Hogan, Novi: Asked the Applicants at the meeting to consider handicapped parking and safety issues as it relates to the design of their parking lots and sidewalks.


There was no Correspondence.


There were no communications or Committee Reports.


Mr. Evancoe reported that the Citizen Input Meeting held on September 29, 2003 in the City Council Chambers was a success.

Mr. Evancoe provided an update on the Woodlands Review Board. A change to the Woodlands Protection Ordinance is scheduled for consideration on the October 6, 2003 City Council Agenda. The new language reads, in part, "The granting or denying of all use permits shall be the responsibility of the Planning Commission." This change was proposed to address the fact that no citizens have expressed interest in becoming members of the Review Board. The first reading of two readings is scheduled for Monday.


There was no Consent Agenda.



The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Western United Life Assurance Company and Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, for possible recommendation to City Council for approval of a General Condominium, associated with the Main Street development. The subject property is located in Section 23 south of Grand River on Market and Main Streets in the TC-1 (Town Center) District. The Applicant is proposing a condominium. The property is 20.65 acres.

Planner Tim Schmitt said the Main Street project was first approved in 1997. Evergreen III, LLC filed a Condominium Plan with the Oakland Country Register of Deeds that was never reviewed by the City. Over the years the property taxes were not paid and it was foreclosed on by Wells Fargo and Western United Life Assurance Company. They need the City to recognize the Condominium Plan so that they can get a proper tax ID for the property.

Mr. Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. It includes both the north and south sides of Main Street. Unit 1 is the building and some of the parking behind it. Unit 2 is the remainder of the north side. Unit 3 is everything on the south side. It is zoned TC-1, as is everything south of Grand River in the area, and master planned for Town Center Commercial.

The General Condominium Plan is before the Planning Commission at this meeting. The Assessing Department has determined that until the Plan is approved by the Planning Commission and City Council that tax IDs cannot be assigned.

The project meets all the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance except for a parking lot that extends over the boundary line of Unit 1. With duel ownership in this area, each owner would have to place a ten-foot greenbelt on either side of the condominium line. The intent of the Main Street project was to have shared parking, and therefore the Planning Department supports the request for the variance. If there was only one owner this variance would be unnecessary.

There are issues that need clarification. Property Ownership has been clarified and that is no longer an issue. The Applicants are working on the remainder of the issues and they will be resolved prior to the City stamping the Document.

There are three alternatives that can be considered. The Planning Department does not recommend approving the Plan as it was filed with Oakland County. The Condominium Plan could be abandoned but for legal reasons, this option is far too complicated. (The third alternative is to accept this Condominium Plan with changes.)

Mr. Schmitt reiterated that the site plan was approved in 1997, and that no discussion of the Condominium Plan ever took place at that time. City Attorney Tom Schultz further clarified that Evergreen III brought the site in under one ownership with a phased plan. Sometime later Evergreen III recorded a Condominium Plan for three separate units and the County accepted it. When Evergreen lost the property the Applicants before you this evening received what they thought were three separate condominium units. When the City researched this situation they found that the only variance required for this project is one to address the parking lot. The Planning Department endorses the Planning Commission’s positive recommendation for a variance to the ZBA and their positive recommendation to City Council. Some of the issues regarding Paul Bunyan Drive and Blue Ox Drive are not planning issues but clean-up legal issues that were raised by the City Assessor.

Attorney Larry Griffis, 236 Suffield, Birmingham, addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of Western United Life Assurance Company. He said that his company foreclosed on Units 2 and 3 which together is about 18.356 acres, all of which is vacant land, save for an old building that would likely be torn down. He asked the Planning Commission to recommend approval of their request so that the taxes can get paid and ultimately enhance their ability to sell the property to a third property who would develop it.

James Cambridge, 500 Woodward Ave., Detroit, addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of Wells Fargo, the owner of Unit 1. They foreclosed on this mortgage and when they received the title to the property in March 2003 they determined that Western United Life Assurance Company took title on Units 2 and 3.

Chair Nagy asked if anyone from the audience would like to address the Commission during this Public Hearing.

Tom Marcus, Novi: Said that he was on the Town Center Steering Committee and he said that Mr. Chen was given the middle of Sixth Gate and they talked about Paul Bunyan. He said that one can see Sixth Gate from Tommy Tire. At the time of his serving on the Committee, he said that Sixth Gate would remain open into the center. Mr. Marcus has two properties there and one faces Sixth Gate. At the time they said they could condemn it and take half and Mr. Marcus said he’d like to see it open because he is a corner business and he wished to remain that way. Mr. Marcus asked that in the future he be shown development plans for the area. He is not against condominiums. He said that one time Mr. Chen said he would be putting an office in this area.

Wayne Hogan, Novi: Reiterated the need to take handicapped parking and safety into consideration. He thinks that the number of handicapped parking spaces has diminished and cited the Main Street Market corner as a location where those spaces have been removed. He said there is a dumpster in the existing handicapped parking space. He asked that the ratio of handicapped parking spaces be restored.

Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.

Member Kocan confirmed that this request was not for any development, just the approval of unit lines for the Condominium Plan. Future development will come before the Planning Commission and City Council for review and approval.

Mr. Schmitt said that two of the issues have been clarified. The only issue remaining is the vacation of Paul Bunyan Drive and that is a title issue that they are going to have to work out and provide the City with the outcome. Mr. Schultz further clarified that this is also an issue that will go before the City Council.

Member Kocan noted that it was recommended to remove the reference to the building timetable for Units 1, 2 and 3 from the Site Plans. Mr. Schmitt said that the language made him uncomfortable because it presumes a phasing plan, and this could become problematic with different ownership of Units 2 and 3. She confirmed this request has been brought forward so as to comply with Section 2407.2 regarding condominiums.

Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Ruyle:

In the matter of Main Market Condominium, SP 95-53M, motion to recommend approval to City Council of the General Condominium Plan, subject to: 1) A ZBA Variance for lack of parking lot setback in the parking lot between Fire Station 1 and the 300 Building due to the duel ownership of the property; 2) Final clarification of the property ownership issues presented in the Planning letter, along with any future items that are uncovered; 3) Recording of reciprocal cross access and parking easements between the units at such time as future development is proposed; 4) Removal of the reference to the building timetable for Units 1, 2 and 3 from the site plans; and 5) The conditions and items listed in the staff and consultant review letters; for the reason that inconsistencies on the original plan need to be clarified to be in compliance with Section 2407.2 regarding site condominiums.


Member Shroyer supported the motion. He asked for Paul Bunyan Drive and Blue Ox to be located on the plan. Paul Bunyan Drive has a curb cut onto Novi Road. At one time it extended to Sixth Gate. Mr. Schmitt indicated where clarification regarding Paul Bunyan Drive is still needed. Harmon Glass is to the south. Blue Ox Drive no longer exists; it was vacated and there are documents that support that statement.

Mr. Marcus was asked to clarify the situation as he has firsthand knowledge of the area. He said that the road alongside his property is Sixth Gate. Back further there was a pole that read Paul Bunyan Drive but the road was never there. There was a home on the street where the "road" turned. When Mr. Chen received the property the home was torn down. Mr. Schultz clarified that the City’s official records indicate that the road is Paul Bunyan Road from Novi Road, paved and unpaved to where Blue Ox once existed.

Member Shroyer clarified that thus far there is currently only one building in this Condominium Plan. The two future properties will have to adhere to the new Landscape Ordinance and Stormwater Management Plan but there is no recourse on the first property.

Member Paul asked who owns the easterly portion of Paul Bunyan. Mr. Schultz said that City Council will have to determine whether Paul Bunyan was vacated when the unit was created or, whether the City should vacate it because it may not serve any purpose for the City to retain ownership. Therefore at this time the answer is unclear but it will be clarified upon review by City Council.

Member Paul said there was an Agreement that was between the previous City Council and the owner of Evergreen. Evergreen no longer exists and the bank has foreclosed on the property. She said the previous Agreement is now null and void. She said Oakland County has reviewed this information and unfortunately they didn’t catch that they didn’t own all the property. Now it is being asked of the Planning Commission to give land that is possibly City-owned to this development. She asked what the assessed value of the property is, and should a licensed real estate appraiser look at the value of this land before the City just gives the property away. She questioned why this City resource should be handed over to a developer just because these areas need to be approved for this development; she said the Agreement was null and void to her.

Chair Nagy asked whether the Agreement is under the purview of the Planning Commission. Mr. Schultz responded that he assumed Member Paul meant the site plan, which did show that portion of Paul Bunyan Drive that everyone assumed at the time had been vacated and therefore went with the Evergreen Development Company. Glenn Lemmon, City Assessor, reviewed the records and he is unsure whether or not it was ever vacated or, if it was, to whom the ownership would go. It’s a question that has been raised and will have to be dealt with by City Council. It is not part of the development’s approval that the Planning Commission is going to recommend because if it is not vacated now it will be a policy decision for the City Council to make when it reviews the plans and decides whether to grant approval. As a practical matter, that road has never been paved or developed and there might be an argument that it was never accepted and used as a public road. Whether that happens or not, this Planning Commission is never going to resolve that question; it is not within their review authority.

Member Paul said she understands that policy is not set at the Planning Commission table, but she said the Planning Commission is being asked to review this and say that they approve it without knowing who the ownership is. Mr. Schultz responded by stating his understanding of the motion was that it recommended approval subject to the issue being resolved. If, for example, City Council decides it didn’t vacate that street and it wants to keep that property, then they would presumably approve that plan that didn’t show that as part of Unit 2.

Member Paul asked if the value, as determined by a licensed real estate assessor, could be provided to City Council. Mr. Schultz responded that Mr. Lemmon could be asked to convey that question to City Council. He said that this could be made part of the motion if the Planning Commission so desired.

Member Ruyle was concerned whether Sixth Gate would remain open. He assumed that this issue would be raised when future development comes forward and did not have to be addressed tonight. Mr. Schultz reiterated that only unit lines and ownership are being considered this evening. Mr. Marcus said that the road has been graded by the City. It has been in use the whole time. Member Ruyle supported the motion.

Member Sprague asked what the issue was regarding Lot 40, Novi Gardens Sub. Mr. Schmitt said that is an issue that has already been clarified. As Main Street intersects with Novi Road, ten feet to the south of the right-of-way of Main Street is the remainder of Lot 40. It was unclear, when City Council originally discussed the issue, whether or not the Deed had been formally recorded. There was a motion that said the City wanted to vacate this property and add it to the part of the Main Street right of way in the area. Internally, the City could not find a copy of the Deed. The Applicant has since provided a copy of the Deed to the City, signed by the Mayor of the City at the time. Mr. Lemmon is satisfied with the resolution of this matter.

Member Avdoulos thought there were some contradicting statements in the packet provided on this Agenda item. On page two of the report it states that, "After discussing the alternatives with the Applicants, the City Attorney and the City Assessor chose the first option, which was to approve the Condominium subject to minor changes and clarifications which would create amendments to the Condominium Plan on file with the County. The actual plan on File with Oakland County has some inconsistencies that need to be clarified. By approving this document the City would be endorsing the problems that may be associated with it in the future." Mr. Schmitt explained that approving the plan without the changes would be the problematic situation. Mr. Schmitt further clarified that a third option would be that the property owner could abandon the Condominium and the land would have reverted back to the underlying parcels. Given the fact that the new owners foreclosed on a Condominium Unit, it made more sense to bring the Condominium through with the necessary changes. It is always possible that the Condominium Plan could be abandoned. The Planning Department does not recommend this.

Member Avdoulos said when a site plan is created and the ownership is a condominium, to go back and change that decision is very difficult. The condominium is one ownership, but each person can come in and take one lot or unit and build it out.

Mr. Schultz restated that the motion on the floor is simply to approve the plan that is before the Planning Commission which shows three condominium units and existing lot lines. If the recommendation is accepted by City Council, it will accept this three-unit condominium and could be developed with two additional buildings or another development could be proposed down the road. The ZBA variance is required for the parking lot setback.

Chair Nagy reiterated that there are no physical changes being made to the area, and that when changes are made to the property or Sixth Gate, the plan will come before the Planning Commission. Chair Nagy called for the vote.


In the matter of Main Market Condominium, SP95-53M, motion to recommend approval to City Council of the General Condominium Plan, subject to: 1) A ZBA Variance for lack of parking lot setback in the parking lot between Fire Station 1 and the 300 Building due to the duel ownership of the property; 2) Final clarification of the property ownership issues presented in the Planning letter, along with any future items that are uncovered; 3) Recording of reciprocal cross access and parking easements between the units at such time as future development is proposed; 4) Removal of the reference to the building timetable for Units 1, 2 and 3 from the site plans; and 5) The conditions and items listed in the staff and consultant review letters; for the reason that inconsistencies on the original plan need to be clarified to be in compliance with Section 2407.2 regarding site condominiums.

Motion carried 9-0.


The Public Hearing was opened on the request of J B Donaldson Company, for approvals of a Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use Permit. The subject property is located in Section 16 on the south side of Grand River Avenue just east of Beck Road in the I-1 (Light Industrial) District. The Developer is proposing a change in use from a label company to a heating and cooling company. The property is approximately 3.0 acres.

Planner Barb McBeth located the property on an aerial photo. The site is zoned I-1, Light Industrial, as is the property to the east. To the west the property is zoned B-3, General Business and R-A, Residential Acreage. To the south the property is also zoned R-A, Residential Acreage, and further to the south the property is zoned OS-1, Office Service and RM-1 Low Density Multiple Family Residential. To the north, on the north side of Grand River, the property is zoned OST, Office Service Technology. The site is master planned for office uses, as are the recommended uses on the surrounding the properties.

The site is currently developed with a building and parking lot, and has been used as the A and M Label Manufacturing Company. The property to the west is vacant, further to the west the property was previously used as a gas station and a ceramics shop. To the south is a single family home on a long, narrow lot fronting on Beck Road, Further to the south is the Visions Spa and Central Park Estates. To the east and to the north, is vacant land fronting on Grand River Avenue.

The submitted site plan shows the existing building and parking lot, for the proposed re-use of the building for Aladdin Heating and Cooling. The Applicant has indicated that no changes are proposed to the parking lot or exterior of the building. The Applicant proposes to re-use the former office space at the front of the building for displays of furnaces, air conditioners, fire places and wood stoves. The Applicant has applied for Special Land Use approval under two sections of the Ordinance: first for the primary use as a heating and ventilating contractor on property that abuts residential, and secondly, for possible retail sales ancillary to the main use.

The Planning Review indicated that Special Land Use approval is required. Aladdin Heating and Cooling is considered a Special Land Use in the light industrial district when the property abuts residential. Zoning Board of Appeals action may be necessary for the associated retail sales, since the property abuts a residential district, and the sales area exceeds Ordinance requirements (1320 square feet permitted, 2400 square feet proposed). Ancillary sales are considered permitted when those sales are primarily to building contractors and not to the general public.

The submitted Noise Analysis concluded that the sound from the roof top air conditioning units will not cause the property to exceed allowable decibel levels of the Ordinance.

The Landscaping Review recommended approval of the plan, subject to submittal of an accurate site plan at the time of Final Site Plan Review. The Traffic review recommended approval of the site plan, subject to items being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan Review. The Engineer and Fire Marshal reviews both recommended approval of the submitted site plan.

Chair Nagy asked whether anyone from the audience wished to speak during the Public Hearing.

Wayne Hogan, Novi: Said that this business regularly has trucks blocking Grand River when they back in to the property. He said this is a hazardous situation on a 50 mph road.

Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.

Member Kocan said she could not support the request for a number of reasons. She said the Section 2516.2.c.7 states that the use has to be listed as a Special Land Use in the Ordinance. This use is not listed. This development has ancillary sales that are more for walk-in customers as opposed to primarily building contractors and the trades. The size of the sales floor exceeds the Ordinance by almost 1,000 square feet. She wondered why the developer didn’t request a rezoning. This is an I-1 District and this use is not allowed in I-1. It abuts a B-3 district and this property should be rezoned to a commercial zoning that allows commercial business.

It was Member Kocan’s understanding that this particular property is master planned for office, and therefore this use is not consistent with the Master Plan. The building use is not compatible with the area. She does not support the land use or the site plan.

Member Avdoulos thought this was a permitted use under 1902.9 wherein it states that manufacturing and repair of electrical neon lights, light sheet metal products including heating and ventilating equipment (which he assumed is what a heating and cooling company would sell) are acceptable uses.

Member Avdoulos thought there was a safety issue on Grand River. He was not aware of any changes submitted to the driveway approach. Ms. McBeth said the Applicant was requested to provide a more accurate site plan at the time of Final Site Plan review, and that was one of the requests they were asked to show. Member Avdoulos thought that should have already been submitted so the Planning Commission could see the ramifications of the plan. The driveway of twenty feet is very narrow for two-way truck traffic. Member Avdoulos said there was also an issue with their location of the handicapped parking near the entry. If the retail use is approved, customers will have to park in the back because the handicapped area is in the front. The information regarding the trees does not provide opacity information. The Ordinance allows for a waiver of the berm at the Planning Commission’s discretion if the area is heavily wooded and acceptable screening is provided. He thought more information should be forthcoming. He agreed that the area could be rezoned but noted that it is still master planned for OST. Member Avdoulos was not comfortable at this time giving a positive recommendation.

Member Paul looked at the Special Land Use information. She thought about the manufacturing portion of this business but thought there still would be a retail component. There is similar retail sales activity down the street but Member Paul thought she could support the request only if it included the manufacturing component and not the retail.

Member Markham thought this use is not any more intensive than the use that previously occupied the building. She noted that the cash-and-carry of this business represented about 1% of their sales. She thought that the retail use of this Applicant was more in line with showroom activity. Her concern was that the proposed use does not meet the intent of the Master Plan. She does not endorse a change to the Master Plan in this location at this time. She does not support the proposal. She also felt that something as important as the ingress to the property should have been addressed prior to the site coming before the Planning Commission for Preliminary Site Plan approval.

Chair Nagy was disappointed that the Applicant was not available at the meeting. She said this request does not meet the terms of the Master Plan. She does support the re-use of vacated buildings but this request is not consistent with the City’s vision. There are too many questions that remain unanswered. At this time, the importance of these remaining issues needs to be addressed – the depiction of handicapped parking, the access aisles, handicapped ramps, signage, the driveway design subsequent to the Grand River Ave widening. She cannot support the project at this time.

Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Paul:


In the matter of the request of Aladdin Heating and Cooling, SP03-33, motion to deny the Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use request for the following reasons: 1) While a manufacturing use is listed as a permitted use in the Ordinance, the ancillary sales portion violates Ordinance 1903.6; 2) The ancillary office size exceeds the Ordinance requirement of 2,000 square foot or 10%, whichever is less, per the same Ordinance number; 3) The proposed development does not comply with the current zoning and Master Plan.

Motion carried 9-0.


The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Singh Development for possible recommendation to City Council to rezone the subject property located in Section 30 south of Ten Mile and east of Napier Road, from R-A (Residential Acreage) to R-1 (One Family Residential) or any other appropriate zoning. The subject property is approximately 324.95 acres.

Ms. McBeth located the property on an aerial photo. The subject property contains approximately 325 acres, including the Links of Novi Golf Course with slightly less than 200 acres, two parcels to the west of the golf course owned by the Ciotta family with a ten-acre parcel fronting on Ten Mile and a twenty-acre parcel fronting on Napier Road. To the east are two more vacant parcels known as the Norman Steel properties with slightly less than 100 acres.

The property to the north is being developed with Island Lake of Novi. Also to the north are several vacant parcels as well as the proposed Oak Pointe Church property. The properties to the south are primarily vacant land, with a few home sites located along the north side of Nine Mile, approximately one-quarter to one-half mile away. The Plan Review Center had a pre-application meeting with an applicant in May of this year for a project called The Preserve. This development was for parcels to the south of the subject site on approximately 111 acres, for a possible RUD option for a total of 60 lots. However, the applicant has not provided a site plan following that pre-application meeting this spring. To the east is the City of Novi Fire Station Number 4, recently completed and now in use. Other land to the east is heavily wooded vacant land. To the west are single family homes fronting on Napier Road. The land is vacant on the west side of Napier Road in Lyon Township. Lyon Township was notified of this rezoning request. Ms. McBeth reminded the Planning Commission that Lyon Township recently considered a rezoning request for the southwest corner of Ten Mile and Napier of approximately twenty acres. In July 2003 the Lyon Township Planning Commission recommended denial of a rezoning request from residential to a business classification for that corner. Ms. McBeth confirmed with the Lyon Township Planner that the applicant asked the Lyon Township Board to indefinitely postpone hearing the rezoning request to the business classification for that property.

The subject property currently has a zoning classification of R-A, Residential Acreage. All of the surrounding land in Novi to the north, west, east and south is also zoned R-A, Residential Acreage. In Lyon Township, on the west side of Napier Road, the zoning is R-1.0, Residential Agricultural.

The Master Plan for Land Use reflects the golf course use for the part of the property currently used as the Links of Novi Golf Course, and recommends residential uses for the remainder of the subject property. The Master Plan for Land Use recommends single family residential uses for all of the surrounding properties. In Lyon Township, the Master Plan for that community recommends rural residential uses. The residential density patterns map recommends 0.8 dwelling units to the acre as a maximum for the subject property and all of the surrounding properties on the west side of Novi.

A map included in the Planning Commission packets shows areas of regulated wetlands on the site, including areas on the west side of the subject site, the south, and the east side of the subject site. The City’s Woodlands map was also included in the Planning Commission packets. The site is shown to contain extensive areas of light woodlands on the south side of the golf course property, medium density woodlands on the northwest, west and east sides of the site. Dense woodlands are shown to exist on the east side of the subject property.

The rezoning request is not recommended by the Planning Department for a number of reasons. The existing zoning of R-A, Residential Acreage is consistent with the Master Plan for Land Use designation of 0.8 dwelling units to the acre. The R-1 zoning that is requested would bring the possible density from a maximum of 0.8 units to the acre to 1.65 units to the acre, thereby doubling the possible density.

The Novi 2020 Master Plan for Land Use completed in 1999 recommends consideration of the development options available in the Zoning Ordinance for properties in the southwest quadrant of the City of Novi. This was recommended to allow the preservation of important natural features and open space and to allow flexibility in the design of residential developments. Several of the residential development options would be possible for the property as currently zoned, Residential Acreage, such as the Preservation Option, Subdivision Open Space Option, Open Space Preservation Option, and the Residential Unit Development Option. The Applicant has indicated that the proposed development of the property will be submitted for review under the Residential Unit Development Option.

Ms. McBeth said that a third finding was that the density allowed with the R-1 zoning (1.65 dwelling units per acre) would not be consistent with the overall density of the Island Lake Development to the north (0.97 units per acre). The Applicant has argued that the rezoning is needed to provide a development consistent with the Island Lake Development. The Planning Commission is aware that the Island Lake development to the north was approved under a Residential Unit Development plan, and consists of a maximum of 876 homes on 906 acres of land. The overall density of 0.97 units to the acre would allow significantly fewer units than allowed under the requested R-1 zoning of 1.65 units to the acre. The Planning Commission is also aware that a variety of lot sizes are provided throughout the Island Lake development, as required by Ordinance. Within Island Lake Phase 4B-1, immediately to the north of the subject site, the density is approximately 1.5 units to the acre.

The Traffic Review letter reflected the calculations for the subject property with the rezoning from R-A to R-1 One Family Residential. These calculations took into effect the elimination of the vehicle trips currently taking place with the golf course use of the property. Some of the key recommendations to improve the flow of traffic are:

Signalize the Napier and Ten Mile and the Links of Novi and Ten Mile intersections

Widen Ten Mile to a five lane section from west of Napier to east of Wixom Road

Add left turn phasing for the eastbound Ten Mile approach to Wixom Road.

The Traffic Engineer indicated that without a detailed site plan, it is difficult to confirm the assumptions in the traffic study regarding project access, but found that the recommended mitigation improvements do indicate what would be necessary to provide acceptable levels of service. Ms. McBeth said that the City’s Traffic Consultant, Rod Arroyo, was present at the meeting to answer any questions about the submitted traffic impact study’s finding and recommendations.

Ms. McBeth concluded that the Planning Commission’s role was to hold a Public Hearing on this rezoning and if desired, to make a recommendation for City Council’s consideration.

Attorney Robert Carson addressed the Planning Commission as a representative of Singh Development Company, 300 East Maple, Birmingham, MI. He said the proposed rezoning represents an exciting and appropriate plan. He sought a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission. He said the 325 acres of property on the west side of Novi is a low-density, high-value project that will bring credit to the City. He said it will enhance the City. He said that Singh Development is known in this Community and their developments are a credit to the City and to themselves. Their track record is such that Singh does what it says it will do. They build a high-quality product.

Mr. Carson noted that Singh is not requesting a change in use; they wish to use the property for residential purposes, open space and parks. The Master Plan shows "Quasi Public Golf Course". He said that the language suggests that if the City wants a golf-course they can acquire it and otherwise, the owner of the golf course can make the property available for sale and development when it behooves him to do so. Mr. Carson stated that there are 31 public golf courses in the area. There are eight to ten courses within six miles. He said most people have read articles regarding the overabundance of golf courses and the problems associated with maintaining them. In other municipalities golf courses are being used as part of their Downtown Development Authorities in the redevelopment of planned communities.

This plan would maintain approximately 47% open space. He asked Mr. Carmine Avantini, LSL Planning, 306 South Washington Avenue, Royal Oak, to address the planning issues. He said that the zoning designation of

R-A also provides for high-intensity uses other than large lot homes – mega churches, large churches, non-commercial recreational areas, institutional or community recreation centers, colleges and universities. Mr. Avantini said the area does indicate changing conditions – Island Lake does have 1.5 units per acres immediately opposite the subject property. He noted that Oak Pointe Church is planned for across the street, and it is a 200,000 square-foot building with 969 parking spaces. He said this is not a low-level single family development. Finally, he said that the Planning Commission recommended to City Council the R-1 rezoning (from R-A) of Conrad Stauch’s ten-acre property across Ten Mile.

Mr. Avantini said that the Applicant has submitted a traffic study that shows that the level of service on this portion of Ten Mile is Level F and, while this project would add traffic, it would not change the level of service; it will still be failing whether the project goes forward or not.

Mr. Avantini said that these properties currently generate approximately $27,000 in annual City tax revenue. After this project is built it would generate over $1,000,000 for the City of Novi.

Mr. Carson used the aerial photo to locate the fire station and city park land in two locations. He said the south park is essentially land-locked, but this proposal would create a park system by connecting the two parks with the dedication of an additional 65 acres of park land. He said this approach has tremendous benefit to the community. He reiterated the densities that exist across Ten Mile, the proposed Oak Pointe Church, and Lyon Township’s proposed rezoning on their southwest corner of Napier and Ten Mile. He noted that the density of .97 units per acres at Island Lake counts the lake area, and would not be calculated into a site’s density with an RUD Agreement today.

Mr. Carson asked the Planning Commission whether this use is indeed a rural, agricultural use. He said that the area is not rural, it is suburban in nature – fire station, large church, tremendous parking, 1.5-unit density per acre and commercial proposed to the west as well as the school land in the area. He said that the Planning Commission has the opportunity to recommend approval on this project which will reflect the changing conditions and will be of benefit to the City. The project will be environmentally sensitive and will provide great open space in the City and in the neighborhood.

Mr. Carson said that they are seeking a density of 1.32 units per acre under an RUD. The current situation as it relates to the Master Plan, specifically the Quasi-Public designation, yields churches, recreational facilities, Freedom Hill Amphitheatres, water parks, colleges and universities. If it is truly going to be public in nature it has to be acquired by the City. This land is too valuable to be acquired by Novi under these circumstances. Through this proposal the City can acquire a smart, developed property that will connect a park system. The use is residential and the density of this proposal of 1.32 units is under the 1.5 units per acre that exists immediately across Ten Mile.

Mr. Carson said this project would be a tremendous benefit to the City. He asked the Planning Commission to take action on this request tonight so that the unification of these parcels remains in place. If separate developments occur, such as the eastern parcel developing separately, the City will lose the ability to connect the land-locked park to the other park by the fire station. The City will lose the dedication of 65 acres of park land to the City. If the western parcels break off, those properties may go multiple or commercial to reflect what is happening in Lyon Township. The assemblage of this package is a benefit to Singh and the City.

Member Kocan read a Public Hearing response to the Planning Commission:

Lucille Ciotta, 7248 Green Hills Drive South, Saline, 48176: Said that parcel 22-30-100-007 has been in her family for sixty years. She said progress is inevitable and she wished for the wetlands and woodlands to remain intact. She said that clustering the homes would minimize the environmental impact and complement the golf course community.

Chair Nagy asked whether anyone from the audience wished to address the Planning Commission:

Danielle Schroeder, 50155 West Ten Mile: Lives at the property in front of the golf course. She said that she is not happy with the proposal. She figured that the 800 homes of Island Lake along with the 500 proposed homes at the Links of Novi, and 16-27 homes on the rezoned Ten Mile property equals over 1300 homes. The traffic is already out of control. She noted that when the traffic study was done there probably wasn’t an accident on I-96 that stopped traffic on Ten Mile and blocked her driveway for hours on end. She moved to her current location to escape having neighbors. She does not endorse the church across the street but preferred it to a strip mall. She said that it has been suggested that Ten Mile be widened to five lanes. Her front porch is 45 feet off of Ten Mile and she asked how this could be accomplished. She reminded the Planning Commission that their response to the Lyon Township rezoning request was that the area was rural in nature and the request did not complement the City’s Master Plan. She said that it would make no sense to widen Ten Mile in one location but not up the road. She asked what the timeframe is that the developer has in mind for the project. She said the South Lyon Board of Education, the school district for this property, is completely unaware of the developer’s plans that would add perhaps 1,000 students to their school system (she said the national average is 2.3 children per household). She noted that South Lyon already has six elementary schools and a seventh opening next year. She does not support the plan.

Tom Sales, 23920 Napier: Lives in the third house south of Ten Mile. He asked the developer whether an entrance would be designed for access onto Napier Road. He noted that there are already a number of accidents that occur at the intersection of Ten Mile and Napier due to the down-slope of eastbound traffic. He does not know how the roads can accommodate any additional traffic.

Andrew Mutch, 24740 Taft Road: Spoke on behalf of the Friends of Novi Parks, an organization dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of park land in Novi. He said this area is, in general, an area in need of attention where natural resources should be preserved. He said his organization is not taking an official position on the proposed rezoning, but they would like to state that any proposals in City Sections 29 and 30 should be mindful that the highest quality of wetlands and woodlands in the City exist in these sections. They want the core reserve areas protected as they are identified on the City’s Habitat Master Plan. They support a contiguous preservation area that would connect the two City parks. He said that the parcel identified as one of the Steel properties needs to be preserved as much as possible because it is the core of the reserve area. The established preservation area should be under public ownership with public access. They support public ownership and access to public and preservation areas wherever possible when it is consistent with serving the public interest. This organization has made their preservation requests known to the Planning Commission in the past. They have worked with developers and land conservancies to protect as much of the core reserve as possible. They want to maximize the amount of land that is preserved.

Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.

Member Papp thought that the amount of traffic already on Ten Mile is heavy. He noted that the proposed rezoning would increase the number of homes from 259 to 536. He asked if the Master Plan and Zoning Committee had forwarded a recommendation to the Planning Commission. Chair Nagy said that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has not seen this request.

Moved by Member Papp, supported by Member Markham:

In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.632 for Singh Development – Links of Novi to rezone the subject property from R-A to R-1, motion that since the rezoning does not comply with the present Master Plan, and a development of this magnitude with a proposed increase of density and the impact on water and sewer and a possibility of a major county road being redone, the request be sent back to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for further study and a recommendation be made from that Committee to this Planning Commission.


Member Markham wondered why the Master Plan and Zoning Committee did not review this request prior to its coming before the Planning Commission. It is a big development with a big impact on the west side of the City. Her primary concern is the density question. She asked whether a golf component was being maintained and the Applicant responded negatively. She asked about the property that would create the contiguous park land. Mr. Carson said that the Applicant’s intention would be to carve out and convey to the City the 65 acres in question. The City would have ownership. A parking lot is proposed on the City’s land in the area near the fire station. None of this will happen if the Planning Commission sends this request to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for review because time is of the essence. He would prefer that the Planning Commission send a negative recommendation to City Council.

Member Markham said the Master Plan and Zoning Committee is the right place for the dialogue to start regarding this project. She liked parts of the development. For example, putting the homes where the fairways are makes sense because the land has already been cleared. If the rezoning is granted, Member Markham wondered where the density trade-off would take place. She said that this developer always comes forward and asks for an increase in density. While sometimes these rezonings make sense, the Planning Commission must look at the impact as it relates to the entire City.

Member Markham would look for a mixture of lot sizes in an RUD of this magnitude. She would look for a reasonable number of large lot homes. This is an R-A part of town and this development should reflect that. Certainly the Planning Commission would expect some clustering and some smaller lots to preserve the natural features. There is a place in this Community for larger lot homes and she would like to see that addressed on this parcel – an area that has already been zoned in like manner. She would expect minimal tree removal and no tree removal in the core reserve area. She thought the Applicant was on the right track in designing the site plan with a park land connection. It could help the City achieve the connection of a regional trail system – connecting Northville, South Lyon, perhaps Kensington. She supported the motion.

Member Sprague agreed that the dedication of park land is on the right track. He noted that the rezoning would effectively double the density, and while the Applicant has provided a concept that does not double the density, a rezoning of this property to R-1 would not preclude him from changing his design to accommodate more homes.

Member Sprague said that the traffic on Ten Mile is terrible, and residents in that area would not be in favor of adding more traffic. He said that Wixom Road is much the same way. He supports this request being reviewed by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. He noted that this developer is continuing in his pattern of asking for increased density.

Member Ruyle confirmed with Mr. Schultz that the privilege of granting an RUD comes from City Council, and that the density of that RUD could be agreed upon to be less than the zoning would allow. Member Ruyle does not support the motion; he said that the R-A zoning of the Links of Novi is because it was a golf course. He said the Planning Commission has already given its approval of R-1 to a property north of the Links. He saw no problem with this request going forward to City Council.

Member Paul said that the core reserve is of great interest to the City. She said the Environmental Committee was asked by the State to look at its preservation. She likes the idea of contiguous parkland. The connective trail system is a positive addition for the City. At a seminar Member Paul listened to a Michigan planner discuss a directive that provides municipalities with information as to how many homes can be on a particular stretch of dirt road. Member Paul asked the Planning Department to review the traffic and infrastructure situation at Napier Road. There are drainage issues on Napier Road as well.

Member Paul would like increased density in the area to preserve the core reserve, parkland, woodlands and the natural features of the wetlands on the site. She would not look across Ten Mile to determine density for this piece of land, since the property south of the Links is developed with homes sitting on multiple acres. She said that if the developer stayed out of the wetlands they would have less sewer lines and water mains to run and less roadway to build. She said that people pay lot premiums for natural-feature abutting lots. She supported the motion.

Member Kocan believes in the process and therefore prefers that this request first be reviewed by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. She said that the developer has already been on the receiving end of additional density in the past, since she pushed for an issue to go before the Implementation Committee which ultimately resulted in a new Ordinance that benefited the Applicant. She does not expect the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to approve a specific site plan; they should concentrate on the density implications, traffic implications, water, sewer and the impact on total Novi build-out. She supported the motion.

Member Avdoulos cited a portion of Singh’s letter that stated the Ten Mile character has changed from rural to suburban. He said that may be true, but the Planning Commission has the responsibility to set balance and create balance, and help preserve areas that have some interest to the City. Member Avdoulos lives near the Links and he said that the entire area is zoned R-A specifically to keep large pieces of property for the lower density. He said the last pristine parcels of Novi land are in the southwest quadrant. Member Avdoulos said that the Applicant has done a lot of top quality work in Novi; however he said that he already knows what this subdivision will look like because of the Applicant’s request for increased density. He encouraged the Applicant, should he go forward, to create something that builds on the rural character and is not typical of the five-homestyle subdivision.

Member Avdoulos agreed that the Ten Mile traffic is terrible. He thought that using this area of Novi as a transition from Novi’s "suburban" to Lyon Township’s "rural" works well.

Member Shroyer’s first choice would be to maintain the golf course. He thought that the Applicant’s plan had some very good elements but it is a very large project that requires additional review by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. While he appreciated the Applicant’s request for expediency, Member Shroyer said that the parcel’s impact on the entire City is too great to forego a full review of the request.

He said that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee is currently reviewing all the sections in the City, but they have not yet reviewed sections 29 and 30. After this review, Member Shroyer would like to review the major corridors, and Ten Mile would be considered. The Applicant responded that it is designated as an arterial thoroughfare in the Master Plan. Member Shroyer nonetheless considered Ten Mile as a major road and requires further review.

Member Shroyer agreed that there are some nice features to the plan. He is not opposed to the rezoning. He prefers that the parts of the puzzle be put together prior to any recommendation going forward. He supported the motion.

Chair Nagy said that Ten Mile is a County road. At the present time the County has no intent on widening it, and should that change it would likely be so far down the road that it shouldn’t be considered. Chair Nagy stated that churches are allowed in single-family zonings, and the Planning Commission has no control over the size of a church; they can only confirm that the Ordinance is met.

Chair Nagy feels a great responsibility to the Planning Commission and the process that they follow. She said that if an Applicant wants a rezoning, they must first go to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. She said that she would not debate tonight whether the request did or did not come before the Master Plan and Zoning Committee before this meeting as she had missed some of the recent Committee meetings. She said she did not want to fast-track zone either. The Applicant’s urgency is not the Planning Commission’s emergency.

She appreciated the Applicant’s submittal of so much information. She said that Ms. McBeth did a wonderful job of reviewing the request, but the consultant reviews are lacking. The Traffic Review had a lot to say and a lot to consider. This is a huge project for Novi that requires time to review. She asked the Applicant why he was in such a rush. Mr. Carson responded that the Applicant has created a unique opportunity through parcel assemblage, but the five parcels owned by three different owners can only be brought under Singh’s control within a limited time frame. If the request is not acted upon quickly, the benefits of this plan will disappear. He said that wasn’t a threat, that’s the actual circumstance. The Applicant doesn’t mean to otherwise pressure the City, and one of the issues that concerns him is why the Planning Commission won’t recommend a denial if the Applicant is willing to accept that ruling from them at this meeting. He asked again for the Planning Commission to turn them down. He said that the Applicant will not be able to control the properties with the Planning Commission’s postponement of the request.

Chair Nagy appreciated what he was saying. Mr. Carson asked if the City Council says that the Planning Commission can still postpone their recommendation in spite of the Applicant’s request for a denial. Chair Nagy said that the Planning Commission has the right to follow a process. Mr. Schultz also responded that there is no requirement or particular time limit for action by the Planning Commission. The State statute says that at least one Public Hearing must be held and a recommendation may then come from the Planning Commission to the City Council. Because there is no specific time limit, what a reviewing body does in deciding whether or not they’ve acted correctly is to decide whether or not they’ve created a fair process. The two items that the Planning Commission needs to consider in deciding whether it’s a fair process to refer this to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee are first, the indications of factual statements made by Mr. Carson about the circumstances of their business arrangement; and second, the Staff Report appears to report that an informal inquiry of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee on whether they wanted to see this request back in August indicated that they declined to hold a review.

Mr. Schultz continued that if the Planning Commission as a whole still wants the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to review it despite that determination, the motion, in order to help defend this as a fair process, needs to indicate specifically what it is the Planning Commission wants the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to do in detail (and currently the motion does not specifically say that at this point), in light of the fact that what is being talked about is a change from R-A to R-1; and second, it would be appropriate in this circumstance for this Planning Commission to think about the scheduling. Is there some way for the Planning Commission to give the Applicant some assurance that this is not something that is going to be postponed two or four months because that begins to not look like a fair process under the circumstances.

Chair Nagy asked why everyone is in such a rush and she said that has never been answered. She does not know which person owns which parcel and she asked Mr. Carson again whether Singh Development owns all 325 acres. He responded that Singh Development controls all the property but does not have title to all of it. He said that the request did go to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee in August and its review was rejected. He did not believe that the Applicant’s request was a rush. In the interest of fairness to Singh over this issue, the City of Novi has adopted the State statute. The Statute refers these decisions to the Planning Commission. The Applicant went to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and was turned down. Chair Nagy said she appreciated that the Applicant was trying to make his case; he responded that he was just trying to have a fair record of the meeting. Chair Nagy appreciated that.

Chair Nagy said that nobody from the Master Plan and Zoning Committee remembers this at all. She said that there are no minutes available to confirm or deny the statement. Member Ruyle asked for point of order and he responded that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee did consider the request and its review was turned down. He confirmed that Chair Nagy was not at the meeting. She said she did not want to get into a debate. She wanted to look into the site plan and she’d like the Applicant to be succinct with the completion of his answer.

Mr. Schultz interjected and asked whether postponing the matter was fair. He said that was for the Planning Commission to decide. He was suggesting that if that was the sense of the whole Planning Commission, as opposed to the members of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, then the Planning Commission needs to articulate what it is they want and articulate a sense of schedule in light of the representations and in light of the fact that there appears to have been some effort to be at a prior Master Plan and Zoning Committee meeting. He thought that should call for some discussion about what kind of a time frame could be recommended for the Master Plan and Zoning Committee’s review and the issue brought back to the Planning Commission as a whole. Time is obviously significant.

Chair Nagy said that if she were truly not at the August meeting, she is disappointed that the members of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee would think that a project of this magnitude would not need a recommendation to the Planning Commission. She does not feel that this decision follows the process. Secondly, Chair Nagy believes the project should be looked at for all the reasons stated by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. Number one, they are updating the Master Plan. Two, this is a request for a density change. Three, this is about natural features: the core preserve. Four, it’s about traffic. Five, it’s about sewer. Six, it’s about water. This is a major project that encompasses a great deal of the southwest corner of the City. Chair Nagy said it is incumbent upon the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to take the recommendation of the Planning Commission, do their job, and bring back a recommendation answering all those questions.

Chair Nagy also told Mr. Carson that she understood what he was saying. As a member of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee she would be willing to accommodate an efficient scheduling. She felt it was incumbent upon her as a Planning Commissioner to do this City justice, and do Singh as the Applicant justice by performing a study on this project. She is not in favor of denying the project, because there is no reason to deny the project. It is basically something that the Applicant has to allow the City enough time to do their job. As much as the Planning Commission wants to help the Applicant, they need the ability to do their job. She will accommodate a scheduling within reason. She said this was the best course and that the Planning Commission is obligated to the City, the residents and the Applicant to thoroughly do their jobs.

Member Kocan said that the Planning Commission has set precedent in the past by sending things to Committee without voting for them at the table. The Rules Committee recently took a recommendation for review from the Planning Commission and upon the Committee’s review they actually found more options for consideration. As a non-member of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, Member Kocan said she is directing that Committee to perform exactly what is in the motion, that with a development of this magnitude, because of the proposed increase in density, because of the impact on water and sewer, because of the possibility of a major County road widening, it requires a separate study and recommendation from the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. That’s part of the motion and Member Kocan told Mr. Schultz that she found that to be pretty sufficient. Mr. Schultz responded that if that’s the direction that she wanted given to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, then that’s the motion.

Chair Nagy thought a reasonable time frame should be listed in the motion. Member Papp said that he would like to add to his motion the language, "This will be reviewed by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee within a reasonable amount of time to come up with a recommendation." After some discussion among the Planning Commission members, it was agreed that the Planning Commission set the timetable of 45 days.

Member Papp restated his change to the motion as, "The Master Plan and Zoning Committee will come back to the Planning Commission within 45 days with a recommendation." The seconder of the motion agreed to the change.

Member Ruyle recommended that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee review the project at their next meeting, which is scheduled for the following Tuesday.

Member Paul said that she requested a review of the dirt road, Napier Road. She did not know whether this would allow the Master Plan and Zoning Committee enough time for Ms. McBeth to get the available new study information done by the Michigan Planning Department. She’d like Ms. McBeth to look at that to see what information is available regarding density along this one-mile stretch. Ms. McBeth said that she would be able to accommodate the efficient scheduling of this meeting.

Member Paul asked Member Papp to add to the motion language that. "The Planning Commission asks the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to study the dirt road corridor to see if it can handle the density because there is very precise information to say what a dirt road can handle in regards to density." Member Papp said he would accept that language but there was no support from the seconder.

Chair Nagy interjected and said that there is supposedly a Master Plan and Zoning Committee on October 8, 2003. She talked to a couple of Planning Commissioners and they scheduled the Planning Commission meetings the way they are because some of the members have commitments. She asked other people if it could be changed to Tuesday and she hasn’t been able to call the Planner yet. She said that a date could be set as to when the Master Plan and Zoning Committee can re-review this on October 7, 2003. She thought that asking the Master Plan and Zoning Committee as well as the staff to try to get all of the information the Committee is going to be looking at by October 7, 2003 is beyond unreasonable. She said that they should keep in mind setting a date that works for everyone, not just some of the members.

Member Markham said that it makes sense to put together a plan at their next Committee meeting as to how they will be tackling this. But, there is already a full Agenda for the next meeting, and it includes issues that are pending from the previous meeting that are still incomplete. She said that there will have to be an extra meeting scheduled in order to make this review happen. She said that while she is willing to do that, she asked that it be remembered that everyone is busy. Member Markham, the seconder of the motion said that instead of the 45-day window, she would prefer the motion’s language to be, "The Master Plan and Zoning Committee will come back to the Planning Commission within 60 days with a recommendation."

The maker of the motion agreed to accept sixty days as the new language to the stipulation.

Mr. Carson asked that the record reflect that the Applicant does not want this request sent any place else. The request had been made for the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to look at this parcel and they turned it down. He said that this is October and that was in August. Mr. Carson said that they did not feel it was an appropriate act for the Applicant. They would prefer that the Planning Commission turn them down and the Applicant would take the risk of having been turned down. As far as the detail planning, any plan for this property will have to come before this Planning Commission a number of times. The Applicant does not want to be sent to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and they object to being referred to them. He said they believe it is inappropriate and illegal.

Mr. Schultz said that just like any property owner, the Applicant can go before the City Council and ask them if they would look at the request within a different time frame than what the Planning Commission has set. City Council, in that respect, while it doesn’t control anyone’s schedule, has the ability to indicate when it wants to see any particular item. Mr. Schultz said there was a motion on the table that is not illegal or inappropriate. If the Applicant doesn’t agree with it, they can move on to the next level. Chair Nagy agreed and called for the vote.


In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.632 for Singh Development – Links of Novi to rezone the subject property from R-A to R-1, motion that since the rezoning does not comply with the present Master Plan, and a development of this magnitude with a proposed increase of density and the impact on water and sewer and a possibility of a major county road being redone, the request be sent back to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for further study and a recommendation be made from that Committee to this Planning Commission. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee will come back to the Planning Commission within 60 days with a recommendation.

Motion carried 7-2 (Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Nagy, Papp, Paul, Sprague; No: Ruyle, Shroyer)

Chair Nagy called for a ten minute break.


The Public Hearing was opened for possible recommendation to City Council to amend Zoning Ordinance Subsections 303.2, 303.2.a, 303.2.a. (1) (b), 303.2.a (1) (c) and 303.2.a (1) (d), of Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, and to add Subsections 303.2.a (1) (e) and 303.2.a (1) (f) to said Ordinance, to modify the standards for Single-Family Detached Appearance Variation to also include the rear building elevations of single-family homes.

Ms. McBeth stated that the Implementation Committee has been reviewing possible text amendments to the Ordinance regulating building façades for single family detached structures. The Committee has forwarded a favorable recommendation to the Planning Commission for further consideration and a recommendation to City Council on the text amendment.

The section of the Ordinance being modified is commonly referred as the "Similar/Dissimilar Ordinance" and relates to detached single family homes. The intent of the Ordinance as it is currently written is to ensure that the fronts of the homes are neither too similar nor dissimilar to the homes in the immediately adjacent area. The standards in the Ordinance have primarily applied to the fronts of homes. The problem that was perceived that resulted in the proposed text amendment was the rear of homes along major thoroughfares can still have identical appearances from the street. It was suggested that these homes should also have this standard of dissimilarity applied so that the rear of exposed homes would not all be the same.

The Implementation Committee modified the Ordinance language to apply the standards to the rear of homes in the following situations: If the rears share a common property line/easement (figure d.1); If the rears share open space of up to 150 feet (figure d.2); if the homes are on through lots (figure e.1). The intent of these changes is meant to place at least two homes between identical homes. In the review standards, the Implementation Committee recommended that the diagrams be included in the proposed Ordinance changes. Mr. Peter Albertson, the City’s Façade Consultant, assisted with these recommendations and was present at the meeting.

Ms. McBeth stated that the Planning Commission was asked to hold this Public Hearing and make a recommendation to City Council.

Chair Nagy opened the floor to the public; no one wished to speak so Chair Nagy closed the Public Hearing.

Member Kocan stated that she chairs the Implementation Committee. She noted that Member Paul and Mr. Albertson were instrumental in working on this Ordinance revision. Member Kocan said that only Part III of the Ordinance was modified; the front façades were left as is. Member Kocan said that every home goes through an individual review. Mr. Albertson gave recommendations based on what he thought was reasonable.

Member Kocan said there was one change to the proposed language. She noted that on page three, diagram d.2 indicates the 150-foot maximum; Member Kocan suggested that the words be added to the language in addition to the diagram. Therefore her change is to Page 3, (d), line five and is shown in italics: …if located on lots that share "or are within 150 feet of" common property lines… Member Kocan said that responds to areas where variation was still necessary. Mr. Albertson thought that beyond 150 feet, the relationship begins to dissipate. It was a reasonable dimension from his perspective.

Member Ruyle asked if it could be more than 150 feet. Mr. Albertson said that once it goes beyond the distance of 150 feet, any similarity between two structures has dissipated.

Mr. Evancoe asked whether the Implementation Committee considered how deep the rear yard was. He gave an example of a home that abuts another home, but there is upwards of 200-yard deep back yards. Mr. Albertson said that from his perspective it was meant to be the common area that is not included in the homeowner’s property. A very deep property was not considered.

Chair Nagy said that she understood what his point was. Member Paul thought in that circumstance a waiver would be asked for from the Planning Commission. In most circumstances, the density in Novi is such that this situation would not happen. Member Paul stated that there are half-million dollar homes along Beck Road with identical rear façades that can be seen from the street. She said that she does not ever want to see that happen again in Novi. If the plan sticks with the 150 feet, it would prevent this error from happening.

Mr. Albertson said that the intent of the Ordinance from his perspective is that the City can eliminate the potential for similar rear façades. If a situation occurred as described by Mr. Evancoe, the Façade Consultant could respond by saying that the tremendous distance is an acceptable alternative to the 150-foot rule.

Mr. Schultz asked whether the change recommended by Member Kocan would read better if it was worded, "…lots that share common property lines…., or are separated by less than 150 feet of easement or open space."

Mr. Schultz went on to say the Mr. Evancoe’s concern could also be addressed by stating, "separated by less than 150 feet between structures" or something along those lines. Chair Nagy thought that was a valid point.

Motioned by Member Paul, seconded by Member Papp:

Motion to approve the Text Amendment for residential facades, Text Amendment 99-18.182, due to the fact that Part III is only looking at the rear façades, so the City can have variation within common rear yard dwellings and common rear yard property lines, with changes made [to Part VI(d)]: "…or are separated by less than 150 feet between structures or open space" [in line six of the text].


Member Papp confirmed that the Building Department polices this section of the Ordinance. Mr. Albertson said that as the Façade Consultant, his company would be working with the developers and contractors and the Building Department in making this new stipulation known. Mr. Albertson said that one or two sentences would likely be added to their review letters that would confirm that this new stipulation has been met. Member Papp confirmed that when a prospect goes to purchase a home, his options of façades will be limited to those that meet the intent of the Ordinance for both rear and front façades.

Member Ruyle said that the motion should reflect that the action is a positive recommendation to City Council. Member Paul agreed.


Motion to send a positive recommendation to City Council on the adoption of the Text Amendment for residential facades, Text Amendment 99-18.182, due to the fact that Part III is only looking at the rear façades, so the City can have variation within common rear yard dwellings and common rear yard property lines, with changes made [to Part VI(d)]: "…or are separated by less than 150 feet between structures or open space" [in line six of the text].

Motion carried 9-0.

Member Kocan asked to thank Ms. McBeth for her time and effort. Chair Nagy agreed that Ms. McBeth’s input, as well as Mr. Albertson’s, was appreciated.



Consideration of the request of Sami Harb of the Windmill Group LLC, for approvals of a Preliminary Site Plan, Site Condominium, Storm Water Management Plan, and Woodland Permit. The subject property is located in Section 4 on West Park Drive, North of West Road in the R-2 (One Family Residential) District. The developer is proposing a 15-unit condominium under the single-family residential cluster option. The property is 9.233 acres.

Ms. Schmitt stated that the request does not include the use of the cluster option; West Park Place is just a condominium site plan. She located the property on an aerial map. Bristol Corners West is north of the property (zoned R-2, master planned for Single Family Residential). To the east is a single family home (zoned R-A and master planned Single Family Residential). Further east the property is master planned for a Community park. To the south is property zoned R-A and master planned Single Family Residential. To the west is Beck North Corporate Park (zoned I-1 and master planned light industrial).

Ms. Schmitt said that the R-2 zoning allows for two units per gross acre. The property will incorporate 15 units and one existing home. The Planning Review, Woodland Review, Landscape Review, Traffic Review, Engineering Review and Fire Department Review all indicate the plan meets requirements, with minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. There are no regulated wetlands on the site. There is no required Façade Review at this time.

Mr. Stuart Michaelson spoke on behalf of the Windmill Group, LLC. He said that Sami Harb and Engineer Cliff Seiber were also present.

Mr. Michaelson said that the site plan was first before the Planning Commission on June 25, 2003 with a cluster option request. The Planning Department did not recommend the approval of the plan, stating that the project did not qualify for the cluster option. The Planning Commission postponed the matter. The Applicants believe that the project does indeed meet the intent of that Ordinance, however, they have redesigned the site plan for this submittal.

Mr. Michaelson said that the neighbors supported the cluster option because of the required 75-foot setback requirement versus the 35-foot setback shown on the submitted plan. The Applicant said that they would be willing to develop the property with the previously submitted (18-cluster) plan if the Planning Commission deemed that it was a superior design.

Member Ruyle complimented the Applicant for bringing the site plan back with the changes requested by the Planning Commission.

Moved by Member Ruyle, supported by Member Avdoulos:

In the matter of West Park Place Condominiums SP03-14B, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan, Woodland Permit and Stormwater Management Plan subject to conditions in the review letters for the reason that it meets the Master Plan and has come into compliance with everything the Planning Commission requested.


Member Shroyer liked the new plan, and thought that there was enough buffer. He noted that the Applicant saved a lot of the woodland areas. He liked the reduction of three units (from 18 to 15). He said the existing house, (#8 on the plan) is about twenty feet from the drive, and unit #13 is about the same from driveway #12. He suggested that the Applicant consider rotating the houses in order to increase these distances.

Member Papp liked the layout. He supported the motion.

Member Kocan said that she had a difficult time turning down the proposal with the 75-foot buffer and zero impact to the regulated woodlands. She determined through a discussion with Woodland Consultant Larry DeBrincat that there were 1.1 acres of regulated woodlands on this site. 190 trees will be removed but only 16 are regulated, because the Woodland map indicates only a narrow band along west and north property lines. It does not define any other regulated area. Member Kocan asked whether unit #5’s placement was reasonable. Mr. DeBrincat said that if the home were pushed back the cul-de-sac would be shortened and would adversely affect the overall development. Only three trees are impacted by Unit #5: two ash and one elm. The ash trees will likely be lost to the emerald ash borer, and unfortunately the understory vegetation will be lost as well.

Member Kocan asked for clarification on the number of regulated trees to be removed. Mr. DeBrincat apologized for the number found in the Woodland Review letter and confirmed that the number is 16 and requires 19 replacement trees (not 38 for removal and 29 replacements). He said the bond will be valued at $6,175. Member Kocan asked whether this information should be added to the motion since it is not found in any of the letters. Member Ruyle agreed as did the Member Avdoulos, to add the language, "The regulated trees to be removed have a replacement requirement of 19 trees at a bond value of $6,175." Mr. DeBrincat said that he preferred the first plan since there was no woodland impact.

Member Kocan asked about the sedimentation basin that was in the original plan but not in this plan. City Engineer Ben Croy responded that the Applicant has access to tapping into the sixty-inch storm sewer pipe running adjacent to the property that actually runs through City-owned property on an easement granted by the adjacent development. That storm sewer discharges into a local regional sedimentation basin. The Applicant will have to perform some minor alterations to that basin (enlarging and deepening it slightly) to accommodate for their site’s production of sedimentation. Mr. Croy said that he found no problem with that design.

Member Kocan asked Mr. Croy to address the extension of the sanitary sewer being extended further south. Mr. Croy responded that two or three parcels will not have sanitary sewer service in this area. The other parcels may be served. This developer was asked to extend the sanitary to West Park Drive and further south to run along the frontage and provide access to those parcels. Cliff Seiber, their engineer, provided a summary that indicated that the plan was not feasible because there is not the correct fall in the topography to allow that service to take place. The Applicant is no longer being asked to extend the service. Member Kocan supported the motion.

Member Avdoulos thought the plan worked well with the site. He asked whether decks would be offered to the prospects, are they built in conjunction with the construction, and do they become part of the common element or the building. Mr. Michaelson said that each homeowner can actually select their own builder, and that the lot is treated as a single-family lot.

Member Avdoulos asked Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect, about the use of evergreen trees as street trees. He responded that this design is not permitted and the Applicant has been asked to supply the City with an alternate species – a canopy type tree, which is more appropriate. Member Avdoulos said that this was an interesting grouping of trees – lindens, white oaks, gums, maples and ginkos. He appreciated the Applicant’s efforts and thought the plan was cleaner and addressed the previous issues.

Member Markham appreciated the Applicant working with the Planning Commission’s suggestions. She likes the cluster setbacks, but she thought this was a mutually-acceptable resolution that will ultimately translate into a fine development.

Member Paul thought that the tree bond had been eliminated with the new landscape Ordinance. The response was that this was not the street tree fund. She still thought that it was eliminated – that the Applicant had to plant the trees on site or pay an increased premium to address the maintenance and planting costs. Mr. Shipman asked Member Paul to clarify her question. Chair Nagy interjected that the tree bonding was for construction purposes and Mr. Shipman concurred. Member Paul thanked them for their clarification of the issue.

Member Paul thought that the detention basins had to be onsite based on the Stormwater Ordinance. Mr. Croy said that the City allows projects such as this to connect to regional basins if they are available. Member Paul asked if there was a regional basin; Mr. Croy responded that there was. She asked if it could handle this site’s water. Mr. Croy responded yes. Member Paul noted that Bristol Corners has had problems with flooding. Mr. Croy said that this is the largest regional basin in the City, and there have not been any flooding problems in this area. Member Paul appreciated the Applicant making the changes.

Chair Nagy thought the Applicant did a nice job. She clarified with Mr. Shipman that the ROW-required berm of four feet with a four-foot wide crest can be placed on the provided twenty feet of space (typically it would require 34 feet). Mr. Shipman said that the design has not been reworked, and Mr. Michaelson said they were aware of this issue. It would be addressed at the time of final site plan submittal.


In the matter of West Park Place Condominiums SP03-14B, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan, Woodland Permit and Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) Conditions in the review letters; and 2) The regulated trees to be removed have a replacement requirement of 19 trees at a bond value of $6,175; for the reason that it meets the Master Plan and has come into compliance with everything the Planning Commission requested.

Motion carried 9-0.


The Planning Commission provided their corrections to the minutes of September 3, 2003.

Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Sprague:

Motion to approve the minutes of September 3, 2003 as amended.

Motion carried 9-0.


There was no consent Agenda.


There were no Matters for Discussion.


Mr. Evancoe reminded the Budget Committee Members that they need to tell him their available meeting dates.

It was noted the Members Ruyle and Shroyer will be attending the Michigan Society of Planning Conference and will not be at the next Planning Commission meeting on October 15, 2003.

Member Markham asked the Master Plan and Zoning Committee Members to stay after this meeting to determine their next meeting date.


Wayne Hogan, Novi: Stated that in the Main Street development, from Market Street to Novi Road, the sidewalks are impassable for those wearing high heels, pushing strollers or using wheelchairs. The bases of the light poles are too large. The tree grates have too large of holes and are oversized. The curb cuts onto the sidewalk are rendered useless by the six-foot wide planters placed in their way. People are forced to walk along the road until they reach the mall doors. He said that even the snow plows can’t clean the curb cuts because of the placement of the planters.

Mr. Hogan also said that although handicapped parking spaces can be eight feet wide (as opposed to the universal size of ten feet wide), he would ask the City to actively request that spaces be larger than what the ADA handicapped-space guidelines require in order to accommodate full size, extended and equipped vans. Chair Nagy said that Mr. Hogan should take into consideration that there is a striped area that abuts these handicapped parking spaces. Mr. Hogan responded that those are only on one side of the space.

Chair Nagy appreciated Mr. Hogan’s comments and encouraged the appropriate people in the City to address the concerns he brought forth regarding the Main Street sidewalk issue. She said that the Planning Commission does not have any jurisdiction in policing that matter.

Member Papp said that the sidewalk in the Main Street area has not been constructed in its entirety, and it will be the full width and more accommodating upon its completion.


Moved by Member Ruyle:

Motion to adjourn.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:14 p.m.








MON 10/20/03 CITY COUNCIL 7:30 PM


MON 11/10/03 CITY COUNCIL 7:30 PM




Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, October 14, 2003 Signature on File

Approved: November 5, 2003 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant