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CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:30 p.m.
Present: Members Avdoulos, Kocan, Markham, Papp, Ruyle, Sprague
Absent: Member Shroyer (excused)
Also Present: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Barbara McBeth, Planner; Ben Croy, Civil Engineer; Tom Schultz, City Attorney; Peter Albertson, Façade Consultant
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Ruyle led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Kocan:
Motion to approve the Agenda of November 19, 2003 as written.
Motion carried 6-0.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Moved by Member Papp, seconded by Member Sprague, and accepted by Member Kocan:
Motion to elect Lynn Kocan Vice Chair of the Planning Commission.
Moved by Member Ruyle to close the nominations and elect Member Kocan by acclimation.
Motion carried 6-0.
Moved by Member Papp, seconded by Member Sprague and accepted by Member Avdoulos:
Motion to elect John Avdoulos Secretary of the Planning Commission.
The nominations were closed.
Motion carried 6-0.
It was noted that some vacancies would remain to allow the new Planning Commission members to join Committees after the December 8, 2003 interview process.
Administrative Liaison Committee
The Administrative Liaison Committee is made up of the three Planning Commission officers; the new Committee is Members Markham, Kocan and Avdoulos.
Planning Studies and Budget
Member Avdoulos noted that the Committee needs to have at least three members to make a quorum. Member Kocan said that she would re-join this Committee if someone would replace her on the CIP Committee. There is one vacancy remaining.
Chair Markham stated that she would re-join this Committee since she has been active on it in the past. There is still one vacancy.
Communication and Community Liaison Committee
This Committee was left as is, with Members Shroyer and Avdoulos and one vacancy.
This Committee was left as is, with Members Avdoulos, Kocan, Sprague and one vacancy.
Master Plan and Zoning Committee
Member Ruyle suggested that the more-experienced Members be placed on this Committee, in accordance with the rules. Both Members Avdoulos and Sprague indicated their interest in this Committee, which will continue to be rather active until the Master Plan update is complete.
Moved by Member Kocan, supported by Member Ruyle:
Motion to elect Member Sprague to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, with Member Avdoulos serving as the alternate.
Motion carried 6-0.
There was no change to this Committee.
Main Street Committee
Chair Markham suggested that this Committee has perhaps outlived its usefulness; Mr. Evancoe concurred. The Committee was kept on the books, in the event that the Committee becomes active again. The Committee was left as is, with Member Avdoulos and one vacancy.
Member Ruyle offered to replace Member Kocan on the CIP Committee so that she could re-join the Planning Studies and Budget Committee.
Summary, with new appointments in bold:
Administrative Liaison Committee: Members Markham, Kocan, Avdoulos
Planning Studies and Budget: Members Avdoulos, Sprague, Kocan, vacancy
Environmental Committee: Members Sprague, Markham, vacancy
Communication and Community Liaison: Members Shroyer, Avdoulos, vacancy
Implementation Committee: Members Avdoulos, Kocan, Sprague, vacancy
Master Plan and Zoning Committee: Members Ruyle, Shroyer, Markham, Sprague, Alternate-Avdoulos
Rules Committee: Members Shroyer, Ruyle, Kocan
Main Street Committee: Member Avdoulos, vacancy
CIP Committee: Members Sprague, Ruyle, Alternate-Markham
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Sprague:
Motion to accept the following Committee appointments: Member Kocan to the Planning Studies and Budget Committee; Chair Markham to the Environmental Committee; Member Sprague to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee with Member Avdoulos serving as alternate; Member Ruyle to the CIP Committee.
Motion carried 6-0.
There was no Correspondence to share at the meeting.
Member Ruyle said that the Rules Committee met prior to this meeting and they have asked for some changes to be made to the Planning Commission By-Laws. The City Attorney will review these changes prior to the Committee making a recommendation to the full Planning Commission. One notable change suggested is that the Rules will specifically state that an Officer’s term beginning prior to January 1st of any year will be considered a full year of service. The distinction was considered necessary to address the Rule that states a Planning Commission Member can only serve two consecutive terms in the same office.
There were no Presentations at the meeting.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
There was no Consent Agenda.
1. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 99-18.184
The Public Hearing was opened for possible recommendation to City Council to amendthe City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as previously amended, for the purpose of providing a procedure and standards for allowing a property owner to propose and allowing the City to approve a site specific development, including conditions in conjunction with a proposed rezoning, commonly referred to as the Planned Rezoning Overlay Ordinance.
Planner Barbara McBeth stated that this text amendment was drafted by the City Attorney following a City Council policy session in March 2003. City Council reviewed the proposed language and referred the matter to the Planning Commission for review, recommendation and a Public Hearing.
The proposed Ordinance language provides an opportunity for a property owner to make an application, in conjunction with a rezoning request, to voluntarily offer site-specific regulations.The Ordinance will specify the general requirements and standards under which an application would be reviewed and provides the process through which the Applicant would follow. The Ordinance would require the submission of these three items:
PRO Site Plan: The Applicant would provide a PRO Site Plan containing enough detail for review. This site plan would be reviewed by the Planning Commission during a Public Hearing. The Planning Commission would then make a recommendation to City Council regarding the proposal.
PRO Conditions: The Applicant would submit their request for the PRO Conditions for review by the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission would then make a recommendation to the City Council regarding these conditions. Ms. McBeth noted that the conditions will not authorize use or development that is not permitted in the zoning district of the subject property.
PRO Agreement: The PRO Agreement would be prepared by the Applicant and the City Attorney, and would be approved by City Council. The submittal would include both the PRO Site Plan and Conditions. If approved, the City’s zoning map would reference the PRO on the subject property. The use of the property would be restricted to the Conditions found in the Agreement and would also be subject to all the regulations that would govern the development within the zoning district that is being requested (such as permitted use, lot sizes, building setbacks, height limitations).
Ms. McBeth said that Member Kocan has asked for several modifications to the PRO Ordinance, a copy of which was provided to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is being asked to make a recommendation to the City Council regarding this proposed text amendment.
No one from the audience wished to speak, so Chair Markham closed the Public Hearing.
Member Kocan said that she hoped to ensure that the language of this proposed Ordinance change is very specific. She said that she worked with the City Attorney to clarify any ambiguous language.
Member Kocan said that the first pages of the Ordinance cover the PRO Agreement. Then the next section covers the Application Process, but the PRO Agreement is not mentioned. This section discusses the PRO Site Plan, which provides only as much detail as the Applicant wishes to divulge. Member Kocan was concerned that the PRO Site Plan may not be specific enough or it may be too detailed; in either case the PRO Agreement should not supercede the Preliminary Site Plan approval process; she wanted to make sure that the Planning Commission retains its right to approve the Preliminary Site Plan.
Mr. Schultz explained that the Planning Commission is involved in this process on two levels. The first level is the review of the rezoning that is normally done with a rezoning using the Public Hearing process. The concept of the PRO is to codify the development agreement process that has been occurring recently. The intention is not, at the point of rezoning, to have a final site plan or engineering review and the like, which is more appropriately done at the Preliminary Site Plan stage. The PRO Site Plan should be specific enough that the plan’s benefits to the City are identifiable. When the Applicant comes to the Planning Commission for their Preliminary Site Plan approval the benchmark is understood. The City Attorney’s point of view is that the difference between this and, for example, an RUD Plan that has gone through the concept stage and is returned to the Planning Commission in detailed form from City Council, is there are no deviations from the minimums. The Plan shows additions to what could otherwise be required in the new district to which the City Council is rezoning the property.
The second level occurs when the Plan comes back to the Planning Commission for its Preliminary Site Plan review. The Applicant is subject to the limitations offered and accepted during the PRO process. The Planning Commission’s authority is actually expanded to include not only their Preliminary Site Plan review but also their review of the implementation of the PRO Agreement terms. At the PRO stage, the Planning Commission is really completing the Public Hearing and legislative act of the rezoning.
Member Kocan explained that in the past the Planning Commission reviewed an RUD that had some variances but they couldn’t address them because of the process. She confirmed again for the record that the Planning Commission could still enforce the Ordinance with regard to setback, building height, etc.
Member Kocan said that the Ordinance first details the approval process, then it details the procedure for the application. She suggested that it seemed to follow that the procedure should be detailed first, then the approval process should be explained. However, Mr. Schultz said that most of the City’s Ordinance are written with the approval process first, then the procedure. She said that procedurally, she would prefer the procedure/approval order, but she understood that legally the other order may be preferred. Mr. Schultz said that if the Planning Commission would prefer to switch the order it could be done, but he said that the City Attorney’s response would be to keep the order the same as the rest of the Ordinance – the pattern is recognizable. Ultimately, as long as all the words are in tact, the order is the Planning Commission’s pleasure. Member Kocan preferred the standardization of the Ordinance and therefore would not want to change the order for this section of the Ordinance only.
Member Kocan said that the City Council’s comments included the need for measurable conditions. There was a discussion about quantifying things. This is a very discretionary document. She asked the City Attorney whether it was better for the document to be so discretionary, or should the City look at adding conditions. In this case everything is so site specific. She asked whether it was even possible to come up with measurable guidelines. She asked if something is discretionary and one plan is approved and one isn’t, can the rationale be substantiated? Mr. Schultz said that the reason that there are not more standards listed that the City Council might be looking for, it is because this is the rezoning phase, not the development phase. Every rezoning stands on its own – it is a legislative act.
The City Attorney’s position is that there is no standard in the Ordinance at all, other than the State statute, as to when a property can be rezoned. The courts are supposed to refer to legislative decisions; that is the most deferential review that a court will do; if it has any rationality, it’s supposed to stand unless it represents a taking of the property. With this process, the City does not want to make the court look more closely at the rezoning aspect. It is not a standard list, but it is a guideline mostly for the City Council (not the Applicant) to assist them in looking at all the elements if in fact, it decides to rezone a piece of property. It is meant to create a legislative action based on a set of promises made by the developer. If the process is made more detailed, then it starts to look like an administrative decision, which gets a lot closer look by the courts. At this stage it is still a legislative rezoning with a set of guidelines that tells the City Council what to look for. They are admittedly broad, but they are also clear enough that the process would withstand review.
Member Kocan noted that the new version of the Ordinance added the language, "following recommendation by the Planning Commission" in Sections 3402.D.1.a.i-iii. She supported the addition of that language. She said the added word "subsequent" in Section 3204.C.2 will improve the Applicant’s understanding of the procedure’s timeline. She supported the Ordinance.
Member Avdoulos felt that the Ordinance incorporated all the concerns and desires that have been expressed by the City whenever a project comes forward in this fashion. He said that the November 14th letter states that the PRO Site Plan is not a development site plan but is more of a concept plan. The Applicant will submit a site plan and the application for rezoning before the Planning Commission Public Hearing on the rezoning. He asked if the Applicant will think that he is only applying for a rezoning and not a rezoning with the PRO Agreement. Mr. Schultz responded that Mr. Fisher was trying to convey that once the process has started without a PRO Agreement, an Applicant wouldn’t have to start from the very beginning if City Council says they would consider the site plan with the PRO in place; the Applicant would just go back to the Planning Commission for that Public Hearing without refiling a new application with a new fee.
Mr. Schultz said that one of two things will happen. On one hand, the Applicant might know right away if he wants the PRO arrangement so that is how they approach the Planning Department. On the other hand, the additional language addresses those Applicants who submit plans that don’t qualify for the current zoning but may be acceptable plans that could be approved with the PRO. Additionally, plans may come before the Planning Commission and get approved at that level but may not be approved at the City Council level. These Applicants could return to the Planning Commission with the PRO request for another Public Hearing with the same plan. These Applicants could proceed without going all the way back to square one.
Member Avdoulos noted that several Applicants request Final Site Plan extensions throughout the year. He asked whether an Applicant could file for an extension to the PRO, since the Ordinance states that it expires after two years. Mr. Schultz responded that the language, "Unless extended by the City Council for good cause" was added to Section 3402.D.3 to address that situation. He continued that "good cause" was not defined because there may be some particular benefit in not doing so. Something could change in that two-year time frame that changes the City’s preference for the subject property.
Member Sprague appreciated the introduction of this Ordinance as he feels that it will fill a void. Mr. Schultz responded that the City could have reverted to the PUD Ordinance, but this PRO is more in line with what has been occurring in the City. He noted that this Ordinance has been built by extracting language from the various development agreements that have been signed in the past year or so. He said this is the codifying of that process, and the City Attorney believes there is statutory authority for the City to adopt this Ordinance. Member Sprague said he supported the Ordinance.
Chair Markham wondered whether the term "site plan" was being used in more than one way. She said that Mr. Fisher’s letter suggested that the PRO is a very basic PUD. She wondered if there was better terminology for the term "PRO Site Plan." Mr. Schultz thought that perhaps the term "PRO Plan" would suffice. He did not know whether that would be acceptable and he has not discussed the idea with Mr. Fisher. He offered to raise this question before the Ordinance went before City Council. He thought that perhaps the use of the term "Site Plan" was meant to imply that the plan is more than a "concept plan;" it is a promise.
Chair Markham confirmed that there is no minimum size for a property to be considered for the PRO, whereas the RUD requires a minimum of forty acres. Chair Markham asked whether the PRO replaces anything already in the Ordinance, but Mr. Schultz said that the PRO is an addition to anything that already exists in the Ordinance. He noted that the City no longer has a PUD Ordinance. He said that it is in many respects similar, but its emphasis is more on the rezoning aspect versus the development aspect.
Chair Markham had concerns about how loose the language seemed, but she understood the logic in the City’s doing so. She confirmed with Mr. Schultz that this PRO actually breaks the process into two steps, and that the Planning Commission will not lose its ability to review and approve a submitted site plan. He responded that he could reassure her that the Planning Commission would not be losing any of its review processes. He said that in a straight rezoning, the Planning Commission’s role is over once the property is rezoned other than reviewing the project for Ordinance compliance. This PRO does not change that; when the Applicant submits under this Ordinance, the Planning Commission will look to see if the plan meets the standards of the Ordinance and the additional promises that the Applicant made to the City Council. The PRO does not give any more authority to the Planning Commission, but it does not take anything away.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Sprague:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON TEXT AMENDMENT 99-18.184 RECOMMENDATION MADE BY MEMBER KOCAN, SECONDED BY MEMBER SPRAGUE:
With respect to Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 99-18.184, the Planning Commission makes a positive recommendation to the City Council to amend the City of Novi Ordinance as previously amended, with the addition of Section 3402, with the language that has been recommended by the City Attorney in the red-lined version presented at the Planning Commission table this evening. Also, the Planning Commission makes the recommendation that the term "PRO Plan" replace the term "PRO Site Plan" if that is found to be appropriate. As part of this Amendment, this Ordinance includes conditions in conjunction with the proposed rezoning, commonly referred to as the Planned Rezoning Overlay Ordinance, recognizing that a good deal of the property remaining to be developed in the City has environmental and other features which the City would find beneficial to protect but which present development challenges.
Motion carried 6-0.
2. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 99-18.185
The Public Hearing was opened for possible recommendation to City Council to amendthe City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Section 201 definitions: O - R of Ordinance no. 97-18, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as amended, in order to add a definition of "refuse bin (dumpster, trash receptacle)" and to add Subsection 2503.2.f, to modify the standards for trash enclosures within the City of Novi.
Ms. McBeth said that the Ordinance currently provides no written definition for dumpsters, which are also sometimes referred to as trash receptacles or refuse bins. Past practice has established that dumpster enclosures have been considered accessory structures and must therefore meet setback and location requirements of the accessory structure section of the Ordinance. However, several districts in the Ordinance allow location of trash receptacles in the interior side yard subject to certain findings. The enclosure walls are regulated by the façade requirements, and are also addressed in Chapter 16 of the City Code, wherein the screening requirements are specified.
In the review of the Ordinance, Staff and the Implementation Committee recommended modifications to the Ordinance to clarify the standards and provide a definition of trash receptacles, dumpsters and refuse bins. The definition is proposed to read, "A metal receptacle having an internal volume of one cubic yard or greater, which temporarily receives and holds refuse for ultimate disposal either by unloading into the body or loading hopper of a refuse collection vehicle or by other means."
The Ordinance changes propose to add a new section, 2502.3.F, under Accessory Structures, which will provide standards for the permitted location of new dumpster enclosures in the City of Novi. These standards are as follows:
Refuse bins shall be located in the rear yard, except where otherwise provided in the Ordinance.
If attached to a building, refuse bin enclosures shall be subject to the regulations applicable to the main building.
If not attached to the building, the refuse bin enclosure shall be located at least 10 feet from the main building.
The enclosure shall be setback from the property lines a distance equal to the parking lot setback or ten feet, if no setback is provided by Ordinance.
In those instances where the rear lot line abuts an alley right of way, the enclosure must be setback at least one foot from the rear lot line.
In those instances where the rear lot line abuts a street right of way (such as in a through lot), the enclosure shall be set back a distance equivalent to the front yard setback.
The refuse bin screening enclosure shall be located as far away as feasible from any barrier free parking spaces.
The Implementation Committee considered these text amendments and forwarded a favorable recommendation to the Planning Commission. The Commission is asked to review the language, hold the Public Hearing and forward a recommendation to the City Council on this text amendment.
Chair Markham determined that no one from the audience wished to speak and closed the Public Hearing.
Member Kocan said that she requested a review of this issue because she objected to dumpsters being placed within six feet of a property line. In looking at creating the ten-foot standard, the Implementation Committee found other standards that could also be included in the Ordinance. The text amendment also coordinates the use of various dumpster terms. She asked that Section 2503.2.F.7 be corrected to read, "Refuse bin screening enclosure shall be located as far away as possible from barrier free parking spaces." She thanked Ms. McBeth for all of her hard work.
Member Avdoulos also thanked Ms. McBeth. He said this was another attempt to clean up and organize the Ordinance so that the language is cohesive.
Moved by Member Avdoulos, seconded by Member Papp:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON TEXT AMENDMENT 99-18.185 RECOMMENDATION MADE BY MEMBER AVDOULOS, SECONDED BY MEMBER PAPP:
Motion to provide a positive recommendation to City Council to amend the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance Section 201 definitions: O - R of Ordinance no. 97-18, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, as amended, in order to add a definition of "refuse bin (dumpster, trash receptacle)" and to add Subsection 2503.2.F, to modify the standards for trash enclosures within the City, and to include the corrective grammar to Section 2503.2.F.7 (Refuse bin screening enclosure shall be located as far away as possible from barrier free parking spaces).
Motion carried 6-0.
Chair Markham thanked the Implementation Committee for their hard work.
Member Ruyle wished to recognize the efforts of Mr. Wayne Hogan, a Novi citizen who advocates for Americans with Disabilities. He was instrumental in ensuring that no dumpsters will be located near the handicapped parking areas.
3. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 99-18.186
The Public Hearing was opened for possible recommendation to City Council to amend the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Section 2507.3, of Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, in order amend the Ordinance relating to the off-street loading and unloading standards in any I (Industrial) District, Expo (Exposition) District, or Exo (Exposition Overlay) District abutting Residential Districts within the City of Novi.
Ms. McBeth said this is another clean-up issue. It has been noted that the Zoning Ordinance is not consistent as it relates to loading operations in the rear yard of Industrial Zoning Districts.
Section 2507.3, which relates to off-street loading and unloading, indicates that loading and unloading shall be conducted in the rear yard of industrial districts. However, Section 1905.4, which relates to required conditions in the I-1 district, states that no loading shall be permitted on the wall of a building which faces an abutting residential district, and truck traffic access shall be discouraged through the site design for any part of the site adjacent to a residential zoning district.
It was noted that these two sections may conflict if the rear of industrial property abuts residential zoning. Another requirement is that a ten foot tall berm is required where I-2 zoning abuts residential districts.
Therefore, it was suggested that Section 2507.3 (the off-street loading and unloading section), can be modified to eliminate this inconsistency by referencing Section 1905.4 in the requirements. This Section is proposed to read, as follows: "Within any I - Industrial District, EXPO - Exposition District, or EXO - Exposition Overlay District, all loading and unloading operations shall be conducted in the rear yard, except in those instances where the Industrial District abuts a residential district, in which case, the conditions of Section 1905.4 shall apply, or (the Ordinance continues unchanged) …"
The Implementation Committee recommended favorable consideration of this text amendment to the Planning Commission. The Commission has been asked to hold the advertised Public Hearing and forward a recommendation on to the City Council for further consideration.
Chair Markham saw no one in the audience who wished to speak so she closed the Public Hearing.
Member Papp asked if a recently approved site plan would have been affected by this new Ordinance language because its loading will be through the front door. Ms. McBeth replied that the property Member Papp was referring to was not zoned industrial but OST.
Chair Markham was concerned that this Ordinance applies to the EXO and EXPO districts because these properties abut the expressway. She doesn’t want the Expo Center dumpsters in that area, detracting from the viewshed from the expressway. Ms. McBeth responded that these districts can also have their loading in an interior side yard. She thought that the site plan for the Expo Center proposes loading operations in the interior side yards. Member Avdoulos also thought he remembered their design having a serrated, saw-tooth edge retaining wall facing the eastbound expressway traffic. He thought it was a nice job.
Moved by Member Papp, seconded by Member Avdoulos:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON TEXT AMENDMENT 99-18.186 RECOMMENDATION MADE BY MEMBER PAPP, SECONDED BY MEMBER AVDOULOS:
Regarding Zoning Text Amendment 99-18.186, motion that the Planning Commission send a positive recommendation to City Council to amend the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance Section 2507.3 of Ordinance 97-18 as amended, in order to amend the Ordinance relating to the off-street loading and unloading standards in any I-Industrial district, EXPO-Exposition or EXO-Exposition Overlay Districts abutting residential within the City of Novi.
Motion carried 6-0.
4. ALADDIN HEATING AND COOLING , SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-33A
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of J B Donaldson Company, for approval 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.
Ms. McBeth said that since the plans were last reviewed by the Planning Commission on October 1, 2003, the Applicant has modified the request to address the concerns raised at that meeting, The proposed retail area has been reduced to an amount allowed by the Ordinance. The Grand River Avenue improvements are now shown on the plan. The widening of the existing driveway on the east side of the property meets Ordinance standards. Also, the plan now more accurately represents the parking lot as it currently exists at the back of the property, and the plans now contain a number of additional notes requested by the professional staff and consultants in the previous review letters.
Ms. McBeth located the property on an aerial map - on the south side of Grand River Avenue, east of Beck Road. The property is currently developed with a building and parking lots. The previous tenant was A&M Label Manufacturing Company. The property to the west is vacant land, and 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 which fronts on Beck Road. As stated in the Planning Review letter, the Planning Department is in receipt of a rezoning request for this parcel to rezone it from single family residential to office, in conformance with the Master Plan recommendation for this property. Further to the south are the Visions Spa and Central Park Estates. To the east and north, is vacant land which fronts on Grand River Avenue.
The site is zoned I-1, Light Industrial, as are the properties 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. On the north side of Grand River the land is zoned OST, Office Service Technology. The site is master planned for office, as are the surrounding properties.
The submitted site plan shows the re-use of the existing building and parking lot for Aladdin Heating and Cooling. No changes are proposed to the parking lot or exterior of the building. The driveway is proposed to be widened along the east part of the existing drive. The Applicant proposes to re-use the part of former office space at the front of the building for displays of furnaces, air conditioners, fire places and wood stoves. The remainder of the front space is proposed for office space and restrooms. The Applicant has applied for Special Land Use Approval under two Sections of the Ordinance: first, for the primary use as a heating and cooling contractor on property that abuts residential, and secondly, for retail sales ancillary to the main use.
The Planning Review letter indicates that the show room is now approximately 1318 square feet. This size is permitted by the Ordinance so one of the Zoning Board of Appeals variances is no longer required. The Applicant will still need to apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance of the Ordinance requirement regarding the ancillary sales, since the ordinance specifies that ancillary sales are permitted when property does not abut a residential zoning district. In this case, the property does abut residential zoning, on the southwest and south sides of the property. Again, the property to the south is currently being reviewed for a rezoning request to office uses, as recommended by the Master Plan for Land Use. The Commission and ZBA may also note that the south part of the subject site does contain dense woodlands which are shown on the site plan and will remain even with the reuse of the building. Additionally, the Applicant is asked to clarify whether sales from the ancillary sales area of the building are expected to be to building contractors or walk-in customers.
The Applicant modified the plans to accurately show the Grand River Avenue improvements. The existing driveway on the east side of the property will be widened to 24 feet. This modification is expected to improve traffic maneuvers through the site, but will reduce the side yard parking setback to less than the ten feet required by the Ordinance. Therefore, Ms. McBeth said the Planning Commission may wish to modify the setback requirements since it will result in the improved use of the site and does not reduce the total area of setback on the site below the minimum required. The Planning Commission may note that the larger parts of the site will remain dense woodlands with this proposed reuse of the site, so more than adequate setback is provided on the site to justify this modification.
A Noise Analysis indicates the sound expected to be generated from the building will not exceed Ordinance standards. The Landscape and Fire Marshall’s reviews continue to recommend approval of the plan. The Engineering and Traffic Review recommend approval of the plan, subject to items being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
Bennett Donaldson of JB Donaldson Company addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of the Applicant. He said that Aladdin Heating and Cooling is a small company - this is their third location and they have a satellite office. They will generate a small amount of truck traffic – perhaps an occasional semi truck, which is far less traffic than what the previous occupant generated.
Mr. Donaldson said that the westerly residential property behind the B-3 zoning is a lake with free-standing water. The chance of that property being developed as residential is rather slim. He introduced Jim Westerman of A&M Label (also the building owner) and Ed Turowski of Aladdin Heating and Cooling.
Chair Markham closed the Public Hearing after determining that no one in the audience wished to speak.
Member Ruyle said that these plans are quite an improvement over the plans submitted in October.
Moved by Member Ruyle, supported by Member Avdoulos:
In the matter of the request of Aladdin Heating and Cooling, SP03-33A, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use request, subject to: 1) A Zoning Board of Appeals variance for ancillary sales on a property that abuts residential zoning; and 2) Subject to the comments on the attached review letters being addressed at the time of the Final Site Plan review.
Member Avdoulos asked the Applicant how this building would specifically be used. Mr. Turowski, 30 Spring Lake Drive, Oxford, MI, responded that the warehouse use will be used for the heating, cooling, air movement and fireplace products. He would prefer that the showroom area be larger, but he scaled it back to 1,300 square feet to comply with the Ordinance. He brought pictures of his last building to show what improvements he made. His plans for this location may someday include refacing the building. He said he would like to take this very nice building in a very nice community and make it nicer if the plan is approved. He apologized that this plan required a second review from the Planning Commission.
Member Avdoulos clarified that the October plans were not approved because they were somewhat vague. Now, the Planning Commission questions can be answered more effectively. He asked who the customer of this business will be. Mr. Turowski said that he is the heating contractor and he sells to building owners, builders (residential, commercial and industrial) and homeowners. Mr. Turowski showed "before and after" pictures of his Orion Township location. He showed pictures of his showroom merchandise. He preferred to have at least 2,400 square feet of showroom. He said that he does not sell a box of bricks and send them on their way; he needs the showroom space so that he can provide more than just a concept or words on a page – he needs to have the display area to help his customer adequately visualize what this business can do for him. Seeing the product is better than showing pictures. Mr. Turowski said that his cash and carry business represents less than 3% of his business. If he goes to a home and sells a furnace or air conditioner, he does expect the customer to occasionally return for filters, etc., but not to the extent that will require two cash registers and a check-out clerk. He is not competing with Home Depot.
Member Avdoulos confirmed that the store is open to the public and not just contractors. Mr. Turowski said that traffic-wise, he expects six to eight cars every hour or two on a busy day. There is not much fireplace traffic during the summer months, other than the business sent by a builder. He said that many customers prefer that Aladdin come to their home with factory brochures, at which time he can take measurements as well. Member Avdoulos said the images helped substantially in defining the function of this building and business. Even during the initial review Member Avdoulos had no problem with the increased retail space. He confirmed for the Applicant that he could go to the ZBA and ask for additional showroom space.
Member Avdoulos said that his initial concern with the plan was related more to the site’s approach issues, especially in light of the changes made to Grand River. He approved of the site’s drive being widened to 24 feet. His remaining issue is the location of the ADA parking space and he would prefer that the space be moved closer to the entrance. He recommended that the two required spaces be van accessible so that more maneuvering space was available. He also noted that people who park in the rear will have to walk up the drive to enter the offices. Mr. Turowski was told that the City wants a striped walkway within the building from the back door forward for pedestrian traffic. He said that if he does that, then the rear parking would actually be more accommodating for a handicapped patron. The area from the parking lot to the front door measures about 25 +/- feet, whereas the back door would abut the rear handicapped parking area. Mr. Turowski thought that was a requirement.
Member Avdoulos had no problem with Aladdin re-using this building. He needed to ensure that the egress was not a safety concern. Because there is accessibility into the building from the rear parking lot, he thought the ADA parking spaces in that area would be fine. He supported the plan.
Member Kocan said this is a difficult plan because it is the placement of retail in an office building. Mr. Turowski said that the building is actually light industrial. Member Kocan also said that the property abuts residential, and she understands the difficulty that can create. She hoped to find a way to keep this building in compliance while protecting those adjacent properties that are residential in nature. If this building had not already been built, there would be considerably more setback required – the parking setback would have to be 100 feet from the property line. The building would have to be 100 feet from the property line. Those are now the requirements in the City. She said that the fact that this Applicant is seeking to reuse a vacant building requires additional consideration. She considered how the surrounding residential properties are being used, and acknowledged that there is considerable buffering provided by the woodlands. She said the Applicant is not planning to remove any of those trees. The abutting resident did not respond to their Public Hearing notice. The western property is zoned B-3 in the front and R-A in the back. Ms. McBeth did confirm that that there are regulated wooded wetlands on that site, and it does not seem likely that any residential would be built on the land that would abut the parking area on the southwest portion of the subject property. If it were to develop she anticipated that any plan would provide for additional buffering in that area.
Member Kocan said that the motion should include findings. She said this is imperative because the use of the building is not in compliance with all the Ordinances in the area. She asked that the following language be added to the motion: The Planning Commission finds that relative to other uses of this site, 1) The proposed use will not cause any detrimental impact on existing thoroughfares as truck traffic is minimal; and 2) Manufacturing is listed as a provision of uses requiring Special Land Use review set forth in the various zoning districts. While this development does abut residential property it was stated that the ancillary retail sales represents approximately 3% of the business, thereby asserting that the building is more industrial than it is retail. The adjoining residential properties are in fact buffered by woodland and wetland areas and will most likely not be developed as residential. Member Ruyle accepted the language as part of his motion. Member Avdoulos agreed to the change as well.
Member Kocan asked whether anyone from the Master Plan and Zoning Committee had comments regarding this use not conforming to the Master Plan.
Member Ruyle confirmed with Ms. McBeth that the property owner to the south has requested a rezoning from residential to office. It is the long narrow parcel that fronts on Beck Road. Ms. McBeth did not have any information regarding the residential piece behind the B-3 piece. Member Ruyle said the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has committed this area for office/technology. He did not consider this use being in conflict with the adjacent zoning.
Chair Markham did not think that the conflict with the Master Plan was a good thing, although she did appreciate what the Applicant is planning to do with the property. She said the entire area has been master planned for office and now the Planning Commission must consider this use. Technically, she said, the Applicant is complying with the zoning, just not the Master Plan. If the Master Plan is where the City wants to be someday, she said that each plan must be considered in that context.
Chair Markham continued that she is not even sure that this section of Grand River should be master planned for office. When she considers the businesses that currently exist in that area and what those business owners have done in response to the Grand River improvements, it may make sense that the south side of Grand River remain industrial. She said the question is how to resolve all of these issues tonight so that the Planning Commission is doing the right thing in terms of zoning, master planning and reviewing the Applicant’s plan.
Mr. Schultz responded that from his perspective and in light of the findings that were added to the motion and the general comments made at the table, he thought it might benefit the Planning Commission if he reminded them that they have the right to place reasonable conditions on their approval of a Special Land Use. For instance, if the Planning Commission also finds that this business abuts B-3 more than it abuts any other zoning classification, which is acceptable and therefore appropriate, and because more than half of the site is undeveloped, he said that it would be appropriate for the Planning Commission to add the condition to the motion that indicates that the approval is for this use as described in the record. Any future different use or any further development of this site is not approved by virtue of this motion and future development plans would have to come back to the Planning Commission for review. This would be acceptable even though the use does not comply with the Master Plan. The standards for the Special Land Use approval includes one which considers whether the use would relate well to the other existing uses in the area. Chair Markham asked whether the maker of the motion would like that language added to the motion. Member Ruyle accepted the language as did Member Avdoulos.
Mr. Turowski said he disagreed with the Planning Commission’s concern about approving this plan despite the Master Plan for the site. He said the site plan must be considered in relationship to its zoning. He also wondered how this Master Plan issue affects him down the road if he wants to sell the building. Chair Markham responded that the future of the property is predicated on its zoning and Master Plan. This property happens to be located in an area where the two classifications don’t agree. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee is in the process of cleaning these issues up. The Master Plan is not meant to restrict what the Applicant can do. The Planning Commission is acting within legal conformance of what their documents say must be done.
Chair Markham asked Mr. Schultz whether the approval of this motion grants the Applicant what he wants and protects the City at the same time. He responded that if the Applicant sells his business to someone who will continue with the same use then there is no problem. If he sells the property to someone who wishes to use the building for another purpose, it will have to comply or get subsequent approval.
Member Ruyle stated that the Master Plan should be completed by May in accordance with the State statute. He is on the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and he is not adverse to revisiting this area of the City between now and May to reconsider the Master Plan classification. He said that the Master Plan is a living breathing document that can be changed.
Mr. Turowski was pleased to hear the foregoing comments. He said that some of the existing buildings in this Grand River area are rather bleak and the best way to keep prospective businesses interested in the area is for the Planning Commission to keep an open mind.
Ms. McBeth restated the motion. Chair Markham called for the vote.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON ALADDIN HEATING AND COOLING, SP03-33, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER RUYLE, SUPPORTED BY MEMBER AVDOULOS:
In the matter of the request of Aladdin Heating and Cooling, SP03-33A, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use request, subject to: 1) A Zoning Board of Appeals variance for ancillary sales on a property that abuts residential zoning; and 2) Subject to the comments on the attached review letters being addressed at the time of the Final Site Plan review. The Planning Commission finds that relative to other uses of this site, 1) The proposed use will not cause any detrimental impact on existing thoroughfares as truck traffic is minimal; 2) Manufacturing is listed as a provision of uses requiring Special Land Use review set forth in the various zoning districts. While this development does abut residential property it was stated that the ancillary retail sales represents approximately 3% of the business, thereby asserting that the building is more industrial than it is retail. The adjoining residential properties are in fact buffered by woodland and wetland areas and will most likely not be developed as residential; and 3) This business abuts B-3 more than it abuts any other zoning classification, which is acceptable and therefore appropriate, and more than half of the site is undeveloped. This approval is for this use as described in the record. Any future different use or any further development of this site is not approved by virtue of this motion and future development plans would have to come back to the Planning Commission for review.
Motion carried 6-0.
Chair Markham called for a ten minute break.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. WONDERLAND MUSIC PLAZA, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-16A
Consideration of the request of Shiu Lew of Fortuna Corporation for approval of a Section Nine Façade Waiver for Wonderland Plaza. The subject property is located in Section 15, on the west side of Novi Road, north of Grand River Avenue in the TC (Town Center) District. The Applicant is proposing façade change. The subject property is 1.39 acres.
Ms. McBeth said that this request last appeared before the Planning Commission in May 2003. The matter was postponed in order to allow the Applicant time to consider comments made at the May meeting. The Applicant has since met with the Plan Review Center and the Façade Consultant, Mr. Peter Albertson, in an attempt to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. The Applicant has contemplated the options for improving the shopping center’s appearance and submitted revised plans with substantial amounts of brick on the front building facades in an attempt to meet the standards for the Town Center Zoning District. While there are significant improvements over the previous submittal, a Section 9 Façade Waiver is still required.
Ms. McBeth located the property on an aerial map. She noted that the subject property is currently developed with an ell-shaped shopping center. To the north are the Wonderland Music store and the House of Blinds building. To the south are the Fidelity Investment building and Napa Auto Parts store. To the west is the Baby and Kids Bedroom store, and to the east across Novi Road are a car wash and a restaurant.
The Master Plan for Land Use recommends Town Center Commercial uses for the site and surrounding properties. The subject property is zoned TC, Town Center, as are the properties to the north, south, and east and west. To the southeast the property is zoned TC-1 Town Center.
The Applicant provided a site plan which showed the existing Wonderland Music Plaza and the ell-shaped building where the façade change is proposed. The proposal includes a small building addition consisting of a 350 square foot atrium/vestibule at the corner of the building that will benefit two tenant spaces in this area.
Ms. McBeth continued, stating that the existing wood siding that covers the front of the overhang is proposed to be removed and replaced with a new brick façade (the previous submittal proposed an EIFS material in these locations). The support pillars are also proposed to be brick. A decorative EIFS cap is proposed along the top of the building. The corner addition is proposed to be glass and brick with a metal roof cap consistent with adjacent newer buildings in the Town Center district, as suggested at the previous Planning Commission meeting.
The Planning Review indicates that the site plan does not meet Ordinance requirements since a Section 9 Façade Waiver is required. Additionally, the Town Center Zoning Ordinance allows the Planning Commission to make a finding regarding the building materials that are proposed to be retained, including the existing concrete block walls along the back walls of the building. Ms. McBeth said that if the Planning Commission chooses to approve the Section 9 Façade Waiver, they may make findings under Section 1602.9 of the Ordinance which allows alternative façade materials.
The Façade Review revealed that the request is in not in compliance with the Façade Ordinance, or the requirements for building façade detailed in the TC Town Center section of the Zoning Ordinance. The facade consultant’s review letter indicates that the new façade does provide a majority of brick on the north and west building elevations of the store fronts as well as the east wall facing Novi Road. A number of details still need to be provided to the Façade Consultant if the Section 9 façade Waiver is granted, but Section 9 approval of the project is recommended based on the latest submittal. Ms. McBeth showed the Planning Commission the façade board.
Architect Tony Serra, 189 East Big Beaver, Troy, MI, represented the Applicant at the Planning Commission. He stated that the new plan is a great improvement. He said the Applicant is committed to making the repairs to the building, such as removing the exposed wires and repainting the west wall. The plywood section will be replaced by glass and will complement the brick and block. He asked the Planning Commission for their approval of this new plan.
Member Avdoulos said this plan was a marked improvement. The addition of the arcade and façade extension is a good idea and will serve as a focal point. He asked about the roof color for the taller element; Mr. Serra responded that the color will match the façade. The owner has also considered a muted green.
Façade Consultant Peter Albertson said that in his meeting with the Applicant he found them to be very cooperative. The new addition is what the City hoped for in the courtyard. The Section 9 Waiver is meant to address the north wall facing the parking lot made of painted block. Because it faces a fully developed area and does not create a visual headache from the other sites Mr. Albertson said that it is a reasonable approach. The earlier submission did not have many architectural articulations along the east façade and the plan has now been approved. The façade characteristics are now being carried around to finish the east wall facing Grand River. The rest of the design ethic is a vast improvement. The items being added are well within the Town Center requirements. He does need to review the color board and related materials. The elevations show an appropriate color that would be complementary to the adjacent buildings. He thought the façade work was also complementary.
Mr. Albertson said that another Section 9 Waiver consideration is the east wall facing Grand River, which is a masonry wall. With input from the City’s Building Official (Don Saven), the Applicant has addressed the life-safety issues. Mr. Albertson said he has a comfort level with what the finished product will be, even though the block does not meet the Town Center requirements. He also noted that two to four air handling units on the roof are not intended to be screened with this proposal. The west wall will be repainted and is acceptable to Mr. Albertson, but he would like the Planning Commission to provide their approval of this feature. He felt that this plan will bring this site into compliance with its surroundings.
Member Avdoulos understood that there are structural difficulties relating to screening the rooftop units. He felt the improvements that the Applicant has proposed and his willingness to cooperate will add greatly to the corner. He supported the plan.
Member Kocan complimented the Applicant on their proposal. She thanked everyone for their efforts in making this a much nicer plan. She had no problems approving a Section 9 Façade Waiver with the findings stated by Mr. Albertson. The materials will be consistent with and enhance the building design concept and will be complementary to the existing buildings within the surrounding area.
Moved by Member Kocan, supported by Member Papp:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON WONDERLAND PLAZA, SP03-16, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER KOCAN, SUPPORTED BY MEMBER PAPP:
In the matter of the request of Shiu Lew of Fortuna Corporation for Wonderland Plaza, SP03-16A, motion to grant approval of a Section Nine Façade Waiver, with the necessary findings under Section 1602.9, and subject to the comments in the staff and consultant’s reports being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan approval, for the reason that the façade materials that are being used will be consistent and enhance the area and will complement the existing and proposed buildings within the surrounding area.
Motion carried 6-0.
Chair Markham appreciated the Applicant’s commitment to the City and looks forward to seeing the finished product.
2. APPROVAL OF NOVEMBER 5, 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commission turned in their grammatical corrections for incorporation into the minutes.
Moved by Member Papp, seconded by Member Ruyle:
Motion to approve the minutes of the November 5, 2003 minutes as amended.
Motion carried 6-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There was no consent Agenda.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
There were no Matters for Discussion.
There were no Special Reports.
Wayne Hogan, Novi: Reminded the Planning Commission about the new responsible handicapped parking area at the Library, and the southside and eastside City Hall parking lot areas. He would appreciate seeing more parking areas where there is direct access to the sidewalks similar to the design at these locations.
Member Kocan said that there is an Implementation Committee meeting from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 4, 2003.
Moved by Member Papp, seconded by Member Sprague:
Move to adjourn.
Motion carried 6-0.
The meeting adjourned at or about 10:05 p.m.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
MON 11/24/03 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
THURS & FRI 11/27/03 & 11/28/03 CITY OFFICES CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING
TUE 12/02/03 PLANNING STUDIES & BUDGET COMMITTEE 6:00 PM
MON 12/01/03 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
WED 12/10/03 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
MON 12/15/03 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
WED & THURS 12/24/03 &12/25/03 CITY OFFICES CLOSED CHRISTMAS EVE & CHRISTMAS DAY
Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, December 2, 2003 Signature on File
Approved December 10, 2003 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant