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COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER
45175 W. TEN MILE, NOVI, MI 48375 (248) 347-0475
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:30 p.m.
Present: Members Avdoulos, Cassis, Gaul, Kocan, Markham, Pehrson, Shroyer, Sprague
Absent: Member Ruyle (excused)
Also Present: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect; Ben Croy, Civil Engineer; Tom Schultz, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Avdoulos led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Kocan added "Legal Training" to Matters for Discussion.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Pehrson:
Motion to approve the Agenda of February 25, 2004 as amended.
Motion carried 8-0.
Mark Carlson, 49843 Leyland: Spoke on behalf of lot owners 16-23 of Island Lake Vineyards. He stated they didn’t receive notification of the Island Lake 2B proposal before the Planning Commission on January 14, 2004, and they are within the 500-foot courtesy notification distance. He stated that Toll Brothers told them four years ago that the subject property (Island Lake 2B) would remain untouched, and said they were told that the plan was rejected by the City three years ago. He said that Toll Brothers collected premiums for their lots based on this information. He requested that the Public Hearing be re-opened.
Ward Dietrich, 49829 Leyland Circle. Owner of lot 16. He read the January 14, 2004 minutes and said that the paragraph describing Island Lake 2B is incorrect and misleading and should be corrected. He said that their property is not in Section 19. Chair Markham explained that Section 19 was the location of the Island Lake RUD.
Chair Markham closed the Audience Participation. She said the Planning Commission will be discussing this issue under Matters for Consideration.
Member Avdoulos noted that letters were received from Deanna Dubois, 49852 Leyland Circle; Ward and Denise Dietrich, 49829 Leyland Circle; Stephen and Maria Nicholas, 49899 Leyland Circle; Timothy and Rhonda Rush, 49871 Leyland Circle; Carlene and Robert Lunsford. All letters were expressing concern about the Island Lake 2B development and requesting a new Public Hearing.
Member Shroyer said that the Rules Committee meeting will be held on March 24, 2004 at 6:15 p.m.
Member Kocan said that the Implementation Committee will meet on March 4, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. and on March 18, 2004 at 6:00 p.m.
Mr. Evancoe said that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee will meet on March 3, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
There were no presentations.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
There was no Consent Agenda.
1. HAGGERTY CORRIDOR CORPORATE PARK PHASE I CONDOMINIUM, SITE PLAN 03-58
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Northern Equities for approval of a Site Condominium. The subject property is located in Section 12, on both sides of Cabot Drive between Twelve Mile and Thirteen Mile in the OST (Office Service Technology) District. The subject property is approximately 34.67 acres. The Applicant is proposing an office condominium.
Planner Tim Schmitt located the project on an aerial photo. He said other projects in this corridor are HCOC Buildings 1 through 5, Cabot Tech and Cabot North. The area is zoned OST in all directions. Two small parcels to the south are zoned B-3 and one is zoned B-2. To the west of M-5 the properties are zoned R-A, residential acreage. The area is master planned for an office development and single-family development is master planned for the other side of M-5. He pointed out the various wetlands and woodlands.
The Engineering Review indicated some legal descriptions need to be cleaned up. The Planning Review asked for an overall legal description as well as the descriptions for each of the units, so they can be matched up with the parcels that have been previously approved for development. There are no minimum lot area or widths for properties in the OST District, therefore all of the lots do comply. The parks in this condominium are to be preserved in some way, either through a conservation easement or through notation in the Condominium Documents. This includes the area between Cabot South Technology Center and the northern property line for Parcel 22-12-400-027 (Siemens). This was the area that the Applicant agreed to preserve in perpetuity in their negotiations with the Planning Commission for Cabot South approval. The language for the conserved areas and the Master Deed are subject to review by the City Attorney, Planning and Engineering Departments at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
No one from the public wished to speak. Member Avdoulos noted that a letter was received by Vincent Lee, 28455 Haggerty Road, who voiced support for the project. Chair Markham closed the Public Hearing.
Member Sprague asked what the best way to document the preservation would be. City Attorney Tom Schultz said that his colleague, Beth Kudla, will review the language and they will accept the preservation language being placed in the Master Deed and on the plan as opposed to a separate conservation easement if that can’t be done. Northern Equities has stated that they don’t want a separate easement.
Member Sprague asked whether the motion should be subject to the City Attorney’s approval of the language. Mr. Schultz responded yes.
Moved by Member Sprague, seconded by Member Cassis:
In the matter of Haggerty Corridor Corporate Park Phase I Condominium, SP03-58, motion to grant approval of a site condominium subject to: 1) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; 2) The Applicant’s agreement to permanently preserve the area between Siemens and Cabot South in its natural state, with a Master Deed amended as per the language on page three of three of the Plan Review Center report dated February 9, 2004; for the reason that the proposal meets the requirements of the City Ordinances and is in compliance with the Master Plan.
Member Shroyer confirmed that ten sites are proposed for this park. Three are under construction now. There is an expansion area next to M-5. It is also anticipated that the park will extend north of Thirteen Mile and possibly east on Lewis Drive. The existing Siemens and Cabot Tech will be part of the condominium complex for a total of fifteen units. Matt Sosin, Northern Equities, stated that PayChex and Omron are not part of the condominium complex. It would have been too difficult to add them as they already have permanent loans.
Member Shroyer asked when the proper time is to design a road system that will reduce or eliminate the need for spacing waivers. Mr. Schmitt said that the Planning Department has been proactive in requiring the Applicant to demonstrate their ability to provide driveways in locations where issues may arise. The "penciled-in" driveways will likely become official as the sites come forward.
Member Kocan asked for clarification on the preservation language. Mr. Schultz responded that the conservation easement is typically a stand-alone document. The Master Deed is also a recorded document that can house the preservation language; the City Attorney asked that the language also be put on the plans so that the information doesn’t get buried in a lengthy Master Deed. The easement can provide the City with access and cover maintenance issues or it can be just preservation language. It can require the Applicant to maintain the property but give the City the right to maintain the property if the Applicant fails to do so. Mr. Schultz said that the agreement to maintain the property in its natural state is the language this City uses to say that the property is not going to be developed without further City approval. The Applicant may not actually do any physical maintenance. If the City needed access to the area for stormwater drainage, for example, that could be written into the language. At this time it does not seem necessary to add that kind of language. Mr. Schultz said that Ms. Kudla will confer with the engineers and planners to ensure that all the necessary language has been provided.
Member Sprague added, "...subject to…the City Attorney’s review of the documents." to the motion. Member Cassis agreed to the addition.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON HAGGERTY CORRIDOR CORPORATE PARK PHASE I CONDOMINIUM, SP03-58, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER SPRAGUE AND SECONDED BY MEMBER CASSIS:
In the matter of Haggerty Corridor Corporate Park Phase I Condominium, SP03-58, motion to grant approval of a site condominium subject to: 1) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; 2) The Applicant’s agreement to permanently preserve the area between Siemens and Cabot South in its natural state, with a Master Deed amended as per the language on page three of three of the Plan Review Center report dated February 9, 2004; and 3) The City Attorney’s review of the documents; for the reason that the proposal meets the requirements of the City Ordinances and is in compliance with the Master Plan.
Motion carried 8-0.
2. NOVI FAMILY FUN PARK, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-57
Public Hearing on the request of Jeffrey Wainwright, for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan, Special Land Use Permit, and Storm Water Management Plan. The subject property is located in Section 16, on the south side of Grand River Avenue and west of Taft Road in the I-1 (Light Industrial) and OST (Office Service Technology) Districts. The subject property is approximately 10.05 acres. The developer is proposing an indoor/outdoor entertainment complex.
Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. He said the property is in proximity to the new Novi Expo Center. To the east is the Andes Hills subdivision, zoned R-2 and master planned for Single Family Residential. The subject property is zoned I-1 on the front two-thirds of the property and OST in the rear of the property, and master planned for light industrial uses. The OST does extend ten feet to the north of the Andes Hills property line. The southerly properties are zoned R-A and master planned for Single Family Residential. To the east and west of the subject property it is zoned I-1 and master planned for light industrial. The north side of Grand River Avenue is master planned for Office uses and Office with the EXO Overlay.
Mr. Schmitt said there are light woodlands on the southerly third of the property, mostly along the perimeter of the property. There is a small wetland depression that is part of the stormwater plan for this property and Gatsby’s, and is part of a system that includes three nearby off-site wetlands.
Mr. Schmitt said that the north portion of the site will house a miniature golf course, a water feature, a go-cart track and a bumper boat area. The center of the property will house an activity center, small go-cart building, trampoline, climbing wall, soccer cages, mini go-cart track, parking and a family picnic area. The Applicant has stated that the southerly property will remain in its natural state to the extent that is possible.
Mr. Schmitt said this project is considered a Special Land Use, as determined by the Planning Department in October 2003. On December 2, 2003 the ZBA asked the Planning Department to formalize their response in a letter; the December 8, 2003 letter satisfied this requirement. On January 6, 2004 the ZBA agreed with the Planning Department for reasons which included the fact that the property abuts residential.
Mr. Schmitt said no Woodland Permit is required for this project as the regulated woodlands will not be impacted. The Wetland Review, Engineering Review and Fire Department Review indicated minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. The Façade Review indicated that a Section Nine Waiver is required for the cart building, or a redesign is necessary to meet the Ordinance requirements. The building is currently designed to be architecturally compatible with the main activity center. It is substantially smaller and therefore the percentages of certain materials do not meet the Ordinance.
The Traffic Review indicated two driveway spacing waivers – one same side waiver relative to Gatsby’s (125 feet provided vs. 275 feet required) and one opposite side waiver relative to both motel drives (69 feet and 145 feet provided vs. 200 feet required). Mr. Schmitt said that given the fact that there are many narrow parcels along Grand River Avenue, these waivers are not surprising. Both he and Bill Stimpson of Birchler Arroyo Associates (Traffic Engineers) believe that the current placement of these driveways is the best suggestion for the project. The left-turn interlock problem is with the motel, but that business is a relatively light traffic generator.
The Landscape Review indicated that waivers for the berms are necessary for the land that is adjacent to residential (easterly Andes Hills, southerly Eleven Mile parcels and the westerly Babinchak parcel); the berms were not provided because of the wetlands and woodlands in the area. The Applicant has now proposed a small berm in one section abutting the Andes Hills residents but it is not on the plan before the Planning Commission at the meeting. A ZBA variance is necessary for the lack of interior building landscaping, approximately 5,700 feet of landscaping are required and only 3,100 feet were provided.
The Planning Review indicated that the plan technically has front yard parking. The Planning Commission must make the finding that the parking and lighting are compatible with the surrounding areas, according to Section 2400 of the Ordinance. The lighting plan does not meet Ordinance, but can be corrected by Final Site Plan. The parking lot closer to Andes Hills is more in compliance than the go-cart/wall/golf area. A ZBA variance for parking setback on the residential-abutting side of the project is required. A 100-foot setback is required under I-1 zoning; 36 feet has been provided.
The Applicant has proposed 122 parking spaces; the Ordinance does not provide a formula for determining parking for this unique use. The Planning Department noted that the miniature golf requires three spaces per hole plus one space per employee (54+ spaces). Additionally, per 2505.c.13, indoor recreation uses requires one space per every two people allowed under the occupancy load (conservatively 155 spaces). The Planning Department would therefore recommend 209 spaces be required for the property. In looking at other communities, the calculation is typically one space per 45 square feet of usable floor area (arcade uses), which would equal a 154-space requirement. Under 2505.10, the Planning Commission can make a determination on what standard will be used to determine the requirement when no specific requirement is listed in the Ordinance. The Planning Commission may also direct the Traffic Consultant to determine the adequate standard.
Mr. Schmitt said that because this is a Special Land Use, special consideration of the project must be made.
The Applicant has supplied a Community Impact Statement (Tab 4 of the packet) that addresses these questions -
Relative to other feasible uses:
Will this use impact traffic to a greater extent?
Will it impact City Services to a greater extent?
Is it compatible with the natural features?
Is it compatible with adjacent uses?
Is it compatible with the goals of the Master Plan?
Will it promote the use of the land in a socially and economically desirable manner?
Is the project a listed Special Land Use and is it in harmony with the requirements of the zoning district?
Director of Planning David Evancoe stated that under Tab Five, page four, the Applicant’s Landscape Architect, Karen Gorman, has depicted the berm along the property line adjacent to Andes Hills. The Applicant has agreed to provide this berm. Mr. Evancoe asked for clarification on the mini-go cart attraction.
Jeffrey Wainwright, Applicant, 49232 Hunt Club Court, addressed the Planning Commission. He stated that the "kiddie track" uses small electric carts like the Barbie cars and is designed for children under six.
Joe Galvan addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of the Applicant. He explained how he came to represent Mr. Wainwright at the meeting. Mr. Wainwright told him that he had ten acres in Novi that he wanted to develop: four acres would remain in its natural state, a detention basin would be on site, and the rest would be a family fun park (miniature golf, go-cart track, trampoline, and wall climbing). Mr. Wainwright told him it is a Special Land Use and many waivers and variances are necessary. Mr. Galvin did not think this was a Special Land Use, but a "very special land use" that provides for the community. Mr. Galvin said that the Applicant now has a revised lighting plan that meets the Ordinance. The other physical impacts are not detrimental, and are lesser impacts than the other uses that could go on this parcel.
Mr. Galvin said that the driveways have been located where everyone agrees are the best locations. He said the Section Nine Waiver will provide for architectural conformity. He said that the request for an interior landscaping variance can be addressed and will no longer be needed. The berm waiver is necessary, although the Applicant has now provided one berm in a section by Andes Hills. Mr. Galvin said that family fun is important to the City.
Chair Markham told Mr. Wainwright that his group is only afforded ten minutes. Mr. Wainwright said that this project is designed for a community that is rich with families. He showed a picture of the proposed entrance. He showed a picture of a park in Tennessee that is similar to what he is proposing. He said his plan provides a comfortable environment and was designed as such after visiting over one hundred parks. Landscaping is the primary theme of this park. There are water features in the miniature golf area. They create the atmosphere during the day and at night. Safety is the number one issue in a park like this. A beauty fence will run along Grand River Avenue. The proposed plan is ADA compliant. The trampoline center will be ground mounted. Each trampoline is isolated from the other and one jumper is allowed at a time. The maximum age is 15 years old for the trampoline. The mini go-carts will go 3 mph. The family carts feature aluminum Honda engines. They vary from 5½ to 9 horsepower and are very quiet. This is not a "race" track. The bumper boats provide family fun. There are water cannons for spectators to shoot at the boats. The climbing walls are becoming very popular. This wall will be three-sided and will be overseen by two attendants. This is a business for fun for families; the target market is 4-15 years of age, and 22-102 years of age. The gap from 16-21 years old is intentional. Mr. Wainwright said that the two picnic areas will be open for everyone. Indoors, there is a laser tag area for up to twenty people at a time. The game room will have a maximum of 39 games. The food will be edible and items like cappuccino will be available. Wireless connections for parents will be available. The main activity center has an open ceiling, and insulation and dampening factors will reduce the noise. All employees will be trained in safety and emergency procedures. This will be a great place for kids’ birthday parties. Each day every item in the park will be inspected for safety.
Lee Mammola of Mammola and Associates Architects addressed the more technical aspects of the Planning Review. He had an updated plan that indicated the lighting no longer spilled onto the adjacent property. He said that the parking calculation that the Applicant is proposing is based on a different type of Maximum Occupant Load than what the Building Code recognizes. The Applicant can provide an affidavit that states the maximum is based on all the venues on the property. Based of Mr. Wainwright’s calculations of 300+ people for maximum operating load, and using the ratio in the Ordinance (for certain uses) of 2:1, 160+ would be required. However, this is a family fun center, meaning that the marketed audience does not drive, and a more logical determination is to consider this project more along the lines of a stadium-type facility, which is calculated at a ratio of 3:1. This would suggest that this project should have 110 spaces; the Applicant has provided 122. An outdoor public swimming area, he noted, is calculated at a ratio of 4:1.
Mr. Mammola said that the 100-foot parking setback in the Ordinance pertains to industrial abutting residential. He showed on the plan that the parking area for this project does not abut the residential area. It is offset by about ten feet. The closest parking spot to a residential structure is 160 feet. In an R-2 District, a 135-foot setback would be required. He said that the proposal meets the intent of the Ordinance. The use of parking in the industrially-zoned land does not abut residential.
Chair Markham opened the floor for public comment:
Matt Rozek, 45950 Eleven Mile: Lives southwest of the proposed fun center. He purchased his lot in Novi for the country-style living and wildlife habitat. He is concerned that the noise and lighting may affect his environment. He said that the Grand River Corridor Study (1997-98) identified the south side of Grand River between Taft and Beck roads as a habitat area that needs to be protected. He said that Asbury Park is affecting the woods already in Section 16. He said now the only other woods in this section may be jeopardized. He said the park is not in harmony with the area – hours of operation and outdoors. Noise and lights are an issue. He doesn’t want the value of his home negatively affected. He does not want a problem with the storm drainage. He said the park may provide easier access to his backyard and therefore the potential for vandalism increases.
Steve Babinchak, 45900 Eleven Mile: Lives adjacent to the OST-zoned property where the stormwater will drain. He said that this issue is about an individual who wants to make money off of people with children, and while that is not a problem, he said that the picture Mr. Wainwright painted was just a little too rosy. He took exception to Mr. Wainwright stating that this project is a "beautiful fit" because it does not fit into the area. It is an industrial area. The Novi Expo Center is going to increase the traffic substantially. The ADA requirements are mandatory, not optional. He was also concerned about the lighting, sound, and the potential for people moving through the woods, thereby increasing vandalism. He said that the Planning Commission is charged with protecting the residents and he hoped that they recognize this. He requested at minimum that a berm or fence be placed between this project and the homes.
Jane Gardner, Walden Woods Subdivision: Felt that her subdivision was being overlooked in the discussions. Her property is adjacent to Mr. Rozek’s. She is concerned about the noise and whether the Sound Analysis is reliable. She said that the decibels are expected to reach 65 at the property’s edge (though she questioned that number as a normal speaking voice is considered 50 decibels). Since she can occasionally hear the expressway truck traffic she believes that she may occasionally hear the Family Fun Park as well. She wondered whether the park is a seasonal operation and what the hours would be. She is concerned that the wildlife that frequents her property will be driven away. The drainage is an issue as the area is on a high water table. She said the wetlands are dying in Novi. She is also concerned about safety; she noted that there are elementary schools in the immediate area and the increase in the traffic (from this and the Expo Center) could be detrimental. She does not want Novi to be some big rat race.
Rick Birdsahl, Signature Associates: Broker for Mr. Wainwright and a Planning Commission member in his own community. He said that Mr. Wainwright searched all of western metro-Detroit. He said that Mr. Wainwright first came to the Planning Commission to determine where this use would fit. The Planning Department gave him zoning requirements and locations where it could and would fit. They were specifically directed to this zoning and therefore this property was purchased.
Wayne Hogan, Novi: Thought that it should be taken into consideration that Grand River is the commercial corridor in Novi. He said that Mr. Wainwright approached him for assistance in designing the entire site ADA-friendly. He said that Mr. Wainwright was being responsible where safety was concerned, specifically in designing parking spaces that don’t require the disabled person going into the flow of traffic when exiting their vehicle. He said that it was commendable that additional ADA items were being added to the inside of the building as well.
Leon Doolin, 23918 Heartwood (Echo Valley Estates): Supported the project. He said that Mr. Wainwright is a man of integrity and the interests of the Novi residents are important to them. He said the project was a commercial use.
Dan Smith, 960 McDonald Drive, Northville: Met Mr. Wainwright for the reason that his company could potentially finance the project. He drove up and down Grand River and found the area to be an ideal location for this project, mixed in with the new businesses and taking advantage of the Grand River expansion project. He agreed to become an equity investor in this project. He said that the Wainwrights are outstanding individuals and encouraged the City to move forward with this project.
Felix Valbuena, Jr., 45505 Andes Hills Court: Has previously spoken with Mr. Wainwright. For the record he said that the sound analysis stated that the go-cart noise near his home will be 40 decibels. He said he was told that the parking lot lights would be lowered from 24 to 18 feet and the dispersal of light would not meet his back yard. He said that he was told that if additional parking were required it would not come back into the four acres of OST near his home.
Phillip Rice, 45139 Roundview (Dunbarton Pines), Novi: Thought this was a nice project for Novi and will draw from ten miles. He said he thought the first speakers were selfish property owners that are unduly trying to influence the Planning Commission. The decision to be made is broader than just three people who abut this property. He appreciated Mr. Valbuena’s comments. He noted that Taft Road is only a 2.5 miles long and he did not see how this project created a safety issue. He asked the Planning Commission to support the project.
Karen Carlson, 49843 Leyland Circle: Wants to protect the wildlife in her back yard. She said her children love to have fun and love deer and love to be outdoors. She said that Novi is becoming a city of excess. Her kids don’t need to be driven from one arcade to another golfing area to indoor skating to outdoor this and that. She said those activities are for Orlando and not what most homeowners want their children being a part of. She said there is more to life for her children than spending money at arcades and driving around in go-carts. She does not want this type of project coming to Novi.
Ward Dietrich, 49829 Leyland Circle: Stated that the City is slowly changing over time. He came to speak on another issue but wished to state for the record that the direction of Novi has changed from what he had anticipated for its future.
Member Avdoulos read the written comments into the record:
Robert Merrell, 46210 Eleven Mile: Objected to the plan. He thought that the Master Plan was leaning toward adding more traffic, noise and density to the City. He thought that big developers were being favored. He did not think this was a 9-5 use like the office and light industrial uses in the area.
Tom and Dora Greaves, 23745 E. LeBost: Supported the plan. They thought this was a good quality recreation location for families.
Mark Guidobono, Cambridge Homes, 47795 Bellagio Drive, Northville: Supported the plan because it promotes family activities.
Daniel B. Smith, 960 McDonald Drive, Northville: Supported this plan for the Grand River corridor.
Leon Doolin, 23918 Heartwood, Novi: Supported the plan and felt that it would help dress up an area of the City that needs attention.
Adorno and Karen Piccinini, 21600 Novi Road, Suite 700, Novi: Thought the plan was ideal and will complement the surrounding businesses.
Hugh Crawford, 46275 Eleven Mile, Novi: Supported the plan and said that the plan exceeds the City’s requirements. He thought the plan was compatible with the area.
Paul Root, 23828 East LeBost Drive, and Harold and Audrey Ortwine, 44100 Stassser, Novi: Supported the plan for its entertainment value and thought the plan was harmonious with its surroundings. They thought it was a major improvement to the Grand River corridor.
Jeffrey Vos, 16715 Dundalk, Northville: Supported the plan for its family orientation.
Eugene and Kathy Obrizak, 24703 Venice, Novi: Supported the plan, especially for its placement within the Novi area.
Joseph Johnson, 45701 Grand River (Gatsby’s): Supported the family-oriented project.
Beata Gioutsos, 45455 Andes Hills Ct., Novi, and Cynthia Irimescu, 45425 Andes Hills Ct., Novi, and Gladys Broxie, 45485 Andes Hills Ct., Novi: Supported the project as presented. They requested that the parking lot not be enlarged.
Art Johnson, Johnson Printing Services, 45525 Grand River, Novi: Thought the project was sound and well thought-out. He supported the landscaping enhancements between their properties.
Liz Lanni, 41467 Burroughs Ave., Novi: Supported the proposal. She thought it was beautiful and hopes that other developers will follow.
Chair Markham said that the Planning Commission’s job is to evaluate a development as to whether it meets the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. She hoped that the questions posed by the public would be answered throughout this review. The Public Hearing was closed as the Planning Commission took a ten minute break.
Member Kocan said the Planning Commission was considering the Special Land Use element and whether the plan met the intent of the Ordinance. She said a Special Land Use indicates that the use may not be totally compatible with the surroundings. When industrial is next to residential this may be an issue. This allows the Planning Commission to be more diligent in reviewing the development. Member Kocan repeated the seven criteria for this review:
Will this use impact traffic to a greater extent?
Will it impact City Services to a greater extent?
Is it compatible with the natural features?
Is it compatible with adjacent uses?
(Is it compatible with the goals of the Master Plan?)
Will it promote the use of the land in a socially and economically desirable manner?
Is the project a listed Special Land Use and is it in harmony with the requirements of the zoning district?
Member Kocan said she looked at the Ordinance (Section 1902) regarding industrial abutting residential; outdoor facilities (play fields, play grounds, soccer fields, swimming pools, tennis and racquetball courts and ice skating facilities) are listed. She said they are non-mechanical. She said the Ordinance lists similar, no-more-objectionable uses as well. She thought go-carts were more intensive, therefore she felt obligated to protect the surrounding residents.
Member Kocan reviewed Ordinance 1905.5.a, which states that the size, scale, building design, façade materials, landscaping and activity of the use are such that current and future adjacent residential owners will be protected from any adverse impacts. She asked for more information on the gas-powered go-carts. She said she understood that the boats would be electric. The mini-carts would be electric. Mr. Wainwright said the bigger go-carts have two styles – one holds one child/adult and the other holds an adult with child. The top speed is 18 mph with a governor and by a condition set forth by the entertainment insurance organization. They can be radio controlled by the management. It is a 900-foot track. The horsepower is from 5.5 to 9.0 horsepower. They are Honda aluminum engines with a classification of a super-quiet muffler, plus they have a spark arrestor. They are safe and are sound controlled.
Member Kocan said that slow carts won’t appeal to teenagers. She said laser tag and miniature golf could be for the teen group, so they aren’t totally cut out from the fun park audience. Mr. Wainwright responded that the park will be attractive in the evening, specifically the golf course. The teens will be less interested in the trampolines and rock climbing wall. The Laser tag is a small room. The game room has redemption games for the younger audience; there aren’t enough video games to entertain an older teen.
Member Kocan said parks have loud speakers and she did not see where this was taken into consideration in the sound analysis. Mr. Wainwright responded that the park is designed so that the noise-inducing areas are strategically located to minimize their impact on the surroundings. The music would play in the gazebo seating area and the golf course. The front and rear picnic areas will not have music. The enunciator system for the go-cart track is manageable; Darren Brown, sound engineer, said the enunciator is a discretionary noise source. It is up to the management to determine the loudness of these speakers, which will face Grand River Avenue. The building will also block the noise. The go-cart workers will be able to perform without the use of the system as well. The designer from California took "neighbor issues" into consideration when designing the park. Member Kocan confirmed that the noise issue will continue to be reviewed. Member Kocan asked about adding an additional wall around the carts; Mr. Brown said that could be done if necessary, but when his analysis was done on the maximum noise, which is a highly unlikely scenario, the level reached slightly higher than the nighttime limit.
Member Shroyer asked if all of the noises were considered as a whole. Mr. Brown said that determining a compound noise depends on the noise source and if their frequencies are similar. He gave an example that two 90-decibel sources equal a compound decibel of 93; it would take four noise sources to noticeably change the decibel level. He said there are variables to noise that are not easily predicted.
Member Cassis said that he is aware that arborvitae can conceal noise. He asked whether the noise would be favorably mitigated if the Applicant planted similar plantings. Mr. Brown said that moving trees to the perimeter of the property would not make a significant difference in the noise unless they are deep and dense.
Chair Markham asked whether conditions change the outcome of a sound analysis. Mr. Brown responded that for the go-carts, they measured the noise source and created a sound power level. There is a value determined that is not relative to the distance from the source. By putting the sound power level into an acoustic-predictive model an engineer can predict what sound will be produced at property lines. It is reasonably accurate.
Member Sprague confirmed with Mr. Schmitt that this sound analysis is acceptable. Kolano and Saha is a very reputable firm. He said the report was complete. Member Sprague asked how these carts compare to the Farmington carts. Mr. Wainwright responded that those carts are 10-15 years old and don’t meet today’s standards. Without a governor his carts could reach speeds of 20-25 mph. Older carts can reach 30-40 mph. Mr. Wainwright cannot get insurance for carts that go faster than 18 mph.
Member Sprague thought that the golf-area music and the enunciator system could both be a problem. He agreed that the speakers should be directed at Grand River Avenue. Mr. Schmitt said that Section 2519 lists the performance standards and explains nighttime and daytime decibels. Enforcement is handled by Neighborhood Services. There is no specific requirement for music. City Attorney Tom Schultz interjected that for a Special Land Use everything is discretionary, and the Planning Commission can impose conditions as long as a reasonable relationship exists between the condition and what is being prevented. He confirmed for Member Sprague that it would be acceptable to put a reasonable condition in place to limit the noise.
Member Gaul said that "super-quiet" Honda generators are indeed super quiet – about the same as an idling car engine.
Member Pehrson asked Mr. Wainwright what the hours were. Mr. Wainwright responded that they anticipate the summer hours being from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., adjustable by market demand. The demographics may not support an early morning start-up. Member Pehrson asked if the wall were extended to the south side of the go-cart building, would there be a positive affect on the noise for the southerly residents. Mr. Brown responded that 45-46 decibels would be reached at the back of the property in the most conservative case. Toward the residents, the decibel level is 35-36. He said neighbors would not likely hear this noise from the outsides of their homes. The wall would attenuate the sound, but not to a noticeable extent by the neighbors.
Member Kocan asked about cutting noise. Mr. Brown said that from a perception standpoint, cutting the noise in half could be attained by decreasing the decibels by 10 in a 70 decibel example. From a physical standpoint it would have to be decreased by 6 decibels. It is not a straight progression; noise is determined by a logarithmic scale of sound pressure.
Member Kocan discussed lighting. She said the Applicant planned to meet the Ordinance requirement of 25 feet in the light industrial district. The Applicant’s architect, Lee Mammola, said that the Applicant would reduce the lighting to 18 feet. He said that this plan was designed without the understanding that this plan would go forward as a Special Land Use. The plan has since been redesigned to afford less than one foot candle off of the property line. Mr. Wainwright met with the Andes Hills residents and agreed to reduce the parking lights to 18 feet and they have been relocated to the interior islands. The landscaping has also been designed to cut off the light source. The light that reaches Andes Hills is an area of 30x30 feet and reaches a level of .15 foot candle and .08 foot candle. The light in the cart area will also comply with the Ordinance and will maintain a safe environment. He said the lights will turn on via a light sensor and will go off by timer based on management’s decision. Mr. Wainwright said that he agreed to allow the Andes Hills residents to determine how many safety lights would remain on all night.
Member Avdoulos confirmed that the cart lights and golf area are 25 feet tall. North of the main building are the 25-foot lights and the parking area is 18 feet. Mr. Mammola said the higher lights are required for safety and view as it reduces dark corners. The Applicant will use the same style fixture throughout the project.
Member Sprague asked whether the Staff had seen the new lighting plan. Mr. Schmitt said no. It is required at Preliminary Site Plan submittal because the property abuts residential. Member Sprague confirmed that if the plan went forward it would have to be subject to the lighting plan meeting the Ordinance standards, and should be stated as such in the motion.
Member Kocan asked whether a full perimeter fence was ever discussed. Mr. Wainwright responded that the fencing has to balance with safety and be architecturally attractive. He has provided an ornamental "secure fence" (three- or four-foot tall) that will prohibit children from leaving the property. It goes around the golf course, bumper boats and then to the first fire entrance coming into the building. Fire Marshal Mike Evans had asked for this design which includes a break-away fence. It will be possible to walk into the park from the back. It is a very wooded lot and it is unlikely that someone would come through that wetland. Mr. Wainwright did not have a solution to ensure that people don’t walk through the neighbors’ lots. He said that an ornamental fence would prohibit trespassing in the parking lot area. There is a safety gate in the front. The go-carts will be surrounded by a safety (rubber-coated) chain-link fence. Mr. Wainwright said the fence along the front is a 3.5 inch bar centered fence.
Mr. Wainwright showed the aerial photo of the site again and discussed where the trees were. He said that the land slopes from the northwest to southeast. The Friends of River Rouge have inspected the property and determined that the watershed is appropriate.
Member Sprague thought security in the rear of the property was deficient. He said that the property is creating an opportunity for more traffic back there. He did not think the neighbors should have to bear that consequence. Mr. Wainwright said that an ornamental fence could be placed back there, but he cautioned that a fence could be detrimental to the established wildlife in the area, and would have little effect on dishonest people. Member Sprague thought that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. Mr. Evancoe said the Planning Commission should clearly define what goal they would like accomplished, in terms of the front and back sections of the parcels, the City’s Landscape Architect could work with the Applicant on a solution that might entail landscaping, fencing, berming or something along that line. Mr. Evancoe said that the best solution may be to leave it open; otherwise policing the area may become more difficult.
Member Cassis confirmed with Mr. Wainwright that he would have twenty employees on staff. Member Cassis said that the solution could include the park’s employees keeping their eye on the perimeter of the property. Mr. Wainwright responded that there is also a twenty-camera surveillance system that will run 24-7. The most southerly camera will be mounted on the front side of picnic area number two, aiming at the picnic area and on to the back of the lot. He said that the difference in ground cover in the back area will truly define the park area from the woods.
Member Kocan said that parking was a touchy subject for this project. Member Avdoulos said that the Zoning Ordinance should be weighed against the parking requirement, as well as the Building Code. Member Avdoulos recommended that Mr. Mammola’s parking count be used in this design, and the Applicant can sign an Affidavit stating that their provided parking is based on their studies. This can be done in lieu of providing parking that will never be used. If the Applicant finds out that the parking need was underestimated, then they can move forward in correcting that mistake. Since there is nothing concrete in the City’s Ordinance to address this type of use this would be an acceptable solution.
Member Sprague agreed but did not want to see additional parking added to the south. He asked where more parking could go.
Member Cassis noted how much effort Mr. Wainwright has already put into this project. He agreed with the other Planning Commission members that the neighbors should not be intruded upon.
Member Sprague asked about bus traffic. Mr. Wainwright responded that a southerly section of the parking lot would be cordoned off for anticipated bus traffic. This area would not block the dumpster.
Member Kocan said that the interior landscape plan provided to the Planning Commission was deficient by 46%. Karen Gorman, the Applicant’s Landscape Architect, said that she was working on a plan in conjunction with the City. They plan to increase the depths of their bed adjacent to the building where they can. They will add planters to the wood deck. They will try to meet as much of the requirement as possible. The submitted plan should be recalculated for a more accurate deficiency percentage, and they will add more landscaping. Mr. Shipman said he has not yet seen an updated plan. He said the issue is providing landscaping along the perimeter of the building. In particular, the deck prevents landscaping from being provided against the building. Providing planters will help but will not likely alleviate the need for the variance.
Member Kocan asked if the Planning Commission can grant a waiver conditional upon the preservation of natural features elsewhere on the property. Mr. Shipman did not believe there was a condition as such for interior landscape requirements. Mr. Shipman believed that with the current site layout only the interior landscaping requirements are not resolvable issues. There are other deficiencies that can be resolved prior to Final Site Plan submittal.
Member Kocan said it made sense to place a berm between the condos and the parking. She said that the neighbors seem happy about the size of the berm although it does not meet the Ordinance requirement of 4’6" to 6". Mr. Shipman agreed that in this case the requirement the Ordinance application is for OST adjacent to residential, which is 4’6" to 6"; the proposed berm which has not been reviewed apparently meets that requirement. Mr. Shipman said that requirement is for the berm’s location along the property line; the proposed berm is somewhat different than that, although it does provide some screening. He said there are caveats for waiving the berm but there are specific requirements that may need to be met in order for the berm to be waived. These requirements are stated in the review letter.
Member Kocan asked how high the proposed berm was designed. Ms. Gorman said it was designed at three feet high, but they will expand it to four feet high with a crest of 4’6". They don’t have any more room to expand it further between the south end of the parking lot and the stormwater detention area. They can use as much space as possible. They were planning to plant 12- to 16-foot evergreens on top of the berm to help screen the views of the lampposts. She noted that Andes Hills is two feet lower than the subject property. This berm will create a strong screen. Mr. Shipman said that the detention basin is an existing use that also serves Gatsby’s; moving it is not the best idea.
Member Avdoulos wondered if this use belongs near the new expo center. He thought that there were more appropriate sites that would have less controversy. Grand River has always been a major thoroughfare and has just been widened. Different venues will be planned for this area. This type of family entertainment facility will be marketed to a different demographic (younger) than the similar uses found at Fountainwalk. The Applicant has done an admirable job in collecting his information and presenting it. He said that four of the Applicant’s ten acres will be left in its natural state to buffer the use from its neighbors. The go-cart track is about 610 feet from the back of the property line that abuts the other residents. This design puts the activity closer to Grand River. This park will operate mostly in the summer when most of the trees are fully leaved. Grand River will likely be noisier than the park itself. The Applicant has addressed noise, lighting, traffic, parking, emergency access and entry issues. This use could benefit Gatsby’s customer count as well as provide them with a sewer line if they wish to connect. Member Avdoulos said that if the noise is an issue after the park is built that the Applicant can look at adding another wall. The building placements have addressed the noise issues as well. The placement of the entrance is in its optimal location. Mr. Wainwright has been diligent.
Member Avdoulos stated that no one will be forced to bring their children to this park. He said that another developer could have purchased this parcel and taken their building or parking all the way to the back of the property and done away with the natural features that currently exist. He was comfortable with this project and felt the Applicant has put forth great effort in working with the City and its residents. He reiterated that Grand River is a major corridor and the local residents should anticipate future projects along this road.
Member Avdoulos did not find the façade issues to be contentious. He was amenable to the Applicant working with the Façade Consultant to arrive at a mutually acceptable design.
Member Shroyer asked when the park would open. Mr. Wainwright responded that each venue will be constructed by a different company. The golf course would be first, the building second, and the rest would follow. Their goal is to be open in June with phases I and II.
Member Shroyer did not see any bike racks on the plan. Mr. Wainwright responded that they will add bike racks.
Member Shroyer asked whether concrete is required anywhere in the Ordinance for the parking lot (to accommodate motorcycles and their kickstands). Civil Engineer Ben Croy responded that the Ordinance allows both asphalt and concrete and it is the choice of the developer. Member Shroyer said that perhaps the Implementation Committee might want to look at that.
Member Shroyer noted that the City’s daytime hours end at 10:00 p.m., and therefore there are different Ordinance limitations (decibel levels) associated with 10:00-11:00 p.m. that the Applicant may wish to review. He said that the Applicant could put up "No Trespassing" signs on the OST property. Mr. Wainwright responded that he offered to do so although the residents acknowledged it may not prove to be much of a deterrent.
Member Shroyer asked whether the Applicant looked into a shared driveway with Gatsby’s. Mr. Wainwright responded that Seiber Keast designed a complete boulevard entrance to share with Gatsby’s and the two companies met, but at this point in time Gatsby’s was not able to commit to that entrance.
Member Kocan asked about the façade. Mr. Mammola said that the Applicant cannot meet the Ordinance because of a quirk in the structure of the Ordinance language. The openings in the building cannot be used in the calculations; the very nature of the building calls for those openings to exist. The gabled ends of the building create the problem. The main building has the same gabled ends, and the Applicant believes the complementary character of the building is far superior to providing a different design. If the brick were extended over the openings there would be structural problems and it would not be as aesthetically pleasing. Mr. Schmitt confirmed for Member Kocan that the Planning Commission would need to issue a Section Nine Façade Waiver if the building as designed was acceptable.
Member Kocan said she wanted Mr. Shipman to state the conditions for the berm waiver around the entire OST property. The Planning Commission would have to find that the five conditions were met – the retained wooded area provides screening consistent with (the berm) opacity and is of a depth and height (that is acceptable). She said the Planning Commission can waive the berm around the whole property if the Applicant provides a permanent preservation easement on that property. Mr. Shipman concurred, stating that in order to issue a waiver for that standard the primary thing that must happen is a permanent preservation easement must be provided. It must include maintenance as well as other documentation that goes along with that. He said there are five criteria that must be met. Some of those may be applicable; others may have to be reviewed. In particular, he said, there is a screening requirement that the retained woodlands must provide; perhaps the area may require supplemental plantings. He said the plants in the area should be evaluated and a determination made as to whether the plants are valuable and should be saved.
Member Kocan stated that the Planning Commission cannot yet issue the waiver because the determination of these five criteria has not been done. She asked whether the Planning Commission could take the next step and state that no development can ever be proposed on this section of the property. If a preservation easement is required to satisfy the Ordinance requirement for the waiver, then future development cannot be considered. She asked if there is any future development under consideration for this section of the property. Mr. Galvin responded that there are no current plans. The notion of placing of preservation easement on the entire four acres is not something that Mr. Wainwright has yet considered. Mr. Galvin suggested that, as part of the motion, the Planning Commission state that compliance with the requirements for granting of the waiver must be met, or compliance with the Ordinance must be met. In this manner, the Applicant has a choice to look at the entire situation and make up his mind how he wants to proceed, and the forward progress of this plan is still in motion. This option would not have a down side for the City.
Mr. Schultz stated that he did not disagree with Mr. Galvin ’s statements with regard to the berm. He said that Member Kocan’s question encompasses a bigger issue. He said that he heard Member Avdoulos state that the back section of land was going to be a buffer and remain undeveloped. Mr. Schultz said this is not a statement in the plans; Mr. Galvin also said that it’s never been discussed that this land will never be developed. It becomes a significant issue when one considers that the back land was zoned OST with the understanding that the land would be developed as a whole with the industrial land in the front along Grand River. The way this plan is currently designed, the entry does not meet the Ordinance requirements for a road leading to a different development.
Mr. Schultz said that one of the requirements of granting a Special Land Use is whether the plan is consistent with the Master Plan and is an orderly development of the property. Mr. Schultz said that the Master Plan suggests that the rear of the property is master planned industrial but it is zoned OST; can it really be accessed and developed the way the front portion of the property is set up? Mr. Schultz said that is something that the Planning Commission should think about – should they discuss a conservation easement or something else that will help them in the future if the Applicant comes forward with an office building proposal for the rear property that will require some kind of variance for the inadequate entry design? He said that the Planning Commission should consider this possibility in their motion.
Mr. Schultz reiterated that Mr. Galvin ’s answer responded to the berm issue but touched on the larger question of what is the future of the rear of this property. How does this layout affect the future of the rear property? Member Kocan asked whether there were enough woodlands on the rear parcel (or sections of woodlands) that the Planning Commission could require its preservation. Mr. Shipman responded that the easement would represent the same amount of land that would otherwise have the berm upon it. Then it would have to be determined whether the plant material met the criteria. Typically the berm would be placed along the boundaries and the Applicant would likely apply for the easement in that location, although he could propose interior land if he chose to do so. Member Kocan confirmed that this was the 4’6" to 6’ berm, so the easement would encompass 6’ x 318’ (Mr. Shipman said it was a forty-foot berm) around the perimeter, but she said that the Planning Commission could use their discretion. Mr. Schmitt said that the Planning Commission has previously granted waivers and the easement covered the entire woodland area. Presumably, the measurement could follow the woodland line, which is essentially the entire western half of the back portion, and runs along the southern property line. That would preserve all of the regulated woodlands.
Member Kocan said that if there was a deficiency in the interior landscaping, the preservation of the woodlands in that area could be used as a reason for the deficiency in the interior landscaping being allowed. However, Mr. Shipman did not believe that was the case. The variance would be sought from the ZBA; it would fall under their purview as to how they would choose to handle it.
Member Kocan asked about the parking setback from the residential property. She was concerned that if additional parking is someday required she wondered where it would go. She understood that the I-1 did not touch the residential but the OST does. If it were measured from the parking space to the actual residential property line it is 39 feet away. Mr. Schmitt added that the Ordinance does not speak to the district, but to the property abutting the residential. It does not speak to the use or the zoning district abutting the residential. This is an important distinction to make because there is an I-1 use on a property that does abut residential, which is why the 100-foot setback does apply. The Planning Department and the Planning Commission have consistently applied the concept from the nearest residential property line. The ten-foot OST can therefore be included in the setback as it is in the straight-line path to the nearest residential district. The hundred-foot setback is from the corner of the Andes Hills subdivision measuring northwest.
Mr. Galvin said there is no compelling necessity for the Planning Commission to find adjacency with respect to this requirement. The Planning Commission can interpret the Ordinance, that in order for the 100-foot requirement to be applicable, there must be adjacency and it is clear that there is no physical adjacency. There is adjacency of the property at large. He said that if the parking were moved ten feet to the south, the 35 feet would be met. Mr. Mammola showed the exhibit that demonstrated that the physical limitation was outside what would exist and therefore Mr. Galvin offered the Planning Commission some rationale. He said that the 100-foot setback is designed for what is traditionally viewed as "industrial traffic" but this traffic is not industrial. This parking lot will accommodate what an OST parking lot would accommodate. Therefore, the Applicant would ask the Planning Commission to construe their Ordinance’s intent, with respect to the parking setback only, to require an adjacency which meets the dictionary’s definition of adjacency or abutting, that it means "it comes together."
Chair Markham said that Mr. Freeland of Tilton and Associates wrote a review letter stating that the Applicant had not complied with certain issues. Mr. Wainwright said he would comply with all of the issues cited in the review letter. Some voluntary adjustments have also been made to protect some of the wetland buffer.
Chair Markham confirmed that there are two lots, two sidwell numbers and two zoning classifications.
Mr. Schmitt said that the setback requirement between OST and residential is twenty feet. The Planning Department would not necessarily look favorably on the Applicant moving his parking over to the OST-zoned property. He said that the setback requirement has always been applied to the residential property line, regardless of the zoning district, which is why the setback applies even though there may sometimes be intervening circumstances such as a wildlife corridor.
Member Kocan asked whether the plan would change if the Applicant was asked to meet the 100-foot setback requirement. Mr. Schmitt responded that there are about 20-25 spaces within the 100-foot arc of Andes Hills. The loading zone would become a stub to the south and the parking lot would extend into the OST portion, or some other configuration of the northern property would have to occur. Ultimately, with the Affidavit signed by the Applicant, there would have to be parking spilling onto the OST parcel. Member Kocan did not see a problem with parking spilling onto that area. Mr. Schmitt said that from a planning perspective they have never viewed the OST parcel as industrial because a variety of uses have been suggested for that land throughout this process. After the December ZBA meeting, the plan evolved into one that did not have any development proposed on the OST land. The Planning Department now believes that the Applicant is not proposing anything for the OST. Presumably they maintained the argument that they were not adjacent; now that the ZBA has made their decision, the argument could be made that the parking lot should be extended to the south onto the OST parcel. The only change that may result is there was no woodland permit noticed for the Public Hearing tonight. If the parking lot ends up affecting the woodlands, which it likely will, the project would require another Public Hearing for a Woodland Permit. He reiterated that if the Planning Commission requests the parking be relocated to the south to avoid the 100-foot setback then the plan will likely need to be re-noticed for a Woodland Permit Public Hearing.
Mr. Schultz said that the Applicant has done his best to keep his entire project on the industrial property and perhaps the Planning Commission should ask him what his intentions for the OST property is. Chair Markham asked the question. Mr. Wainwright said that a water park was a bad idea that was nixed. He has no current plans for the OST property. He said it is developable and beautiful. It has access from Grand River. He does not plan to sell it. He said they have an ethical obligation to the people of Andes Hills. They do not want asphalt going back there. They like the proposed plan for aesthetic reasons. The setback reasoning is applicable. This plan is currently mutually beneficial. The woodland area in the rear is in good shape. The grass line area is not. Dr. Tilton has suggested things, and Mr. Shipman has suggested things, to return that area back to its original plant base. One year ago the Applicant had a plan for a nature trail on the OST property, and the Friends of River Rouge were going to add signage for the various species of plants. Andes Hills’ residents asked Mr. Wainwright not to do that. It was then removed from the plans.
Mr. Schultz said that the Applicant made the comment that the OST was accessible from Grand River. Mr. Schultz said that statement should be explored and determined whether it is correct. Mr. Evancoe said that if the driveway was designed as a private street meeting the standards of a public road, then the OST would have access. However because it is a driveway for a particular business the back property really is landlocked.
Member Sprague said that his intention at this meeting was to ensure that whatever motion approves this plan, it would have to be subject to the OST property being left alone. The Applicant has gone to great lengths to work with the neighbors. There are difficult issues that can be resolved for this project, but he would like permanent protection on the southerly land. He told the Applicant to state his intention if it is such that he is willing to provide a permanent preservation easement on the southerly property. Member Sprague said that the proposal could also be postponed to give the Applicant time to decide what he would like to do.
Chair Markham asked Mr. Wainwright if he were willing to state that he would permanently preserve the southerly parcel. Mr. Schmitt interjected that a conservation easement is not an option, it’s a requirement of the berm waiver. Additionally, under the Special Land Use, the easement can be expanded to a greater extent. Mr. Schultz also said that the problem stems from a more intrusive use having to use the driveway for access. There may be a less intrusive way of dealing with this, such as limiting what kind of access can go through this development. It is difficult to determine at this moment what language would most appropriately address this matter. He said that another recreational use might be appropriate; an office use may not. Mr. Galvin said that the Applicant does not want to be postponed. Mr. Galvin said that, with respect to the granting of the waiver of the berm, he would request that the Planning Commission state that the Applicant must either get the waiver (meeting the requirements set forth in the Ordinance) or meet the berm requirement. He said that this would solve the problem on the usage. It doesn’t deal with the access issue about which Mr. Schultz spoke.
Mr. Galvin also suggested that a condition be imposed that because a Special Land Use is being granted on this property, any future development of this property would require the Applicant dealing with the access issue. This provides flexibility to the owners but doesn’t suggest that the access is adequate beyond what has already been determined. He said that Applicant needs time to think about what it is he wants to do without holding up the progress on this plan.
Member Pehrson did not want see the Applicant’s flexibility limited.
Moved by Member Shroyer, seconded by Member Avdoulos:
In the matter of Family Fun Park, SP03-57, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan, Special Land Use permit and Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) A ZBA variance for lack of parking lot setback adjacent to the residentially-zoned property; 2) Resolution of parking space requirements - Planning Commission’s determination under Section 2505.10 that the Applicant’s recommendation as to what the parking standards are shall be applied to this use; 3) Planning Commission’s Section Nine Waiver for the cart building or a redesign of the building to meet Ordinance requirements, to allow for a more uniform architectural appearance to the site; 4) A Planning Commission Waiver for Same Side Driveway Spacing requirements relative to the existing Gatsby’s Restaurant driveway; 5) A Planning Commission Waiver for Opposite Side Driveway Spacing requirements relative to the existing motel driveways; 6) A Planning Commission determination that parking and lighting are compatible with surrounding properties; 7) Loading areas meeting the intent of Section 2507.3; 8) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; for the reasons that the proposed use will promote the use of the land in a socially and economically desirable manner and the Applicant has made a significant effort to work with surrounding property owners to minimize their lighting and address the noise concerns and provide them within the Ordinance requirements.
Member Sprague offered the following additions to the motion:
A lighting plan being submitted that is in compliance with City Ordinance.
A limitation that music can only be available on the miniature golf course.
If an enunciator system is installed it will comply with a sound study and will be found acceptable by City Staff and that it will not be disruptive.
The number of safety lights that run for 24 hours will be subject to the Andes Hills Condominium Association’s review, not to be less than one or as required by whichever City Department oversees that particular function.
Vinyl coated fencing being used.
The security system along the south border of the park (pointed at the south property) containing signage as mentioned by the Applicant.
The landscaping plan being submitted is acceptable to the City Landscape Architect but not stricter than City Ordinance requirements.
The berm at the southeast corner of the parking lot against the Andes Hills Condominium property being installed with a four-foot height and 4’6" crest and a contour per page four of February 19, 2004 Design Resource Associates’ letter, with evergreens as per the Applicant’s consultant’s comments.
Both members Shroyer and Avdoulos accepted those changes to the motion.
Member Kocan asked about adding this condition:
Placement of a four-foot barrier wall west of the bumper cars that would make the design comply with the Noise Ordinance and would help mitigate the noise.
Members Shroyer and Avdoulos accepted the addition.
Member Kocan said that there must be verbiage stating:
Waiving of the berm around the OST with the condition of permanent preservation of the woodlands on the entire back lot, or compliance with the berming requirements on the OST portion of the property.
Later in the meeting, this requirement was restated by Lance Shipman as:
The Applicant must meet the conditions of achieving the waiver in the rear or they will provide a berm as required by the Ordinance.
Member Kocan noted that bike racks were also discussed. She asked to include in the motion:
The plan must come back to the Planning Commission for Final Site Plan approval.
Member Shroyer asked whether there are additional costs to the Applicant if the plan was to come back before the Planning Commission. Mr. Schmitt said that the costs associated with this condition would be the additional 13 sets of prints for the Planning Commission. Member Shroyer and Member Avdoulos accepted those changes to the motion.
Member Cassis asked what would happen if the Applicant came back in the future and asked to do something on the back portion of the property. He asked whether this request would be considered a Special Land Use. Mr. Schultz responded that this can be covered by stating this plan as presented is approved, but anything that is proposed in the rear is going to have to return to the Planning Commission. Without the condition that would have to happen. One way that the inaccessibility to the rear of the parcel can be dealt with is to indicate that this plan is approved as a single parcel, with the rear space shown as undeveloped, and that any development of that rear portion would come back as a Special Land Use because it will necessarily affect the front Special Land Use area that is being approved tonight. Though Mr. Schultz would have preferred for the plan to be postponed so that more thought could go into this situation, he felt this language protects the City. There is a fair amount of green space back behind the proposed site plan and its future development could and should be considered a Special Land Use since it will affect this plan. Mr. Schultz said that in order for the Applicant to get the Special Land Use for the front of the parcel, the Planning Commission can require a Special Land Use designation for the rear of the parcel. The OST designation allows for several uses that wouldn’t be Special Land Use items without the Special Land Use in the front. Member Cassis asked Mr. Galvin whether the Applicant would accept this condition.
Mr. Galvin responded that if administrative approval was acceptable for the Final Site Plan submittal then the condition proposed by Mr. Schultz would give the Planning Commission the authority they are seeking. He reminded the Commission that time is of the essence, and if anything is changed on the plan it would require the plan coming back to the Planning Commission anyway. Member Cassis proposed that this change be made to the motion.
Chair Markham repeated the condition as:
Special Land Use approval on the OST property if it is ever proposed for future development.
Mr. Schultz said this was a reasonable condition for granting the Special Land Use on the front half of the parcel. Mr. Schultz said he thought Mr. Galvin agreed to that condition, although they preferred not to come back for final site plan approval. Member Cassis suggested that Mr. Galvin work with Mr. Schultz and they can draft the appropriate language for this issue. Member Shroyer agreed to the change, and he agreed that the plan did not need to come back to the Planning Commission for Final Site Plan approval. Member Kocan withdrew her request to add language to the motion for the plan’s return to the Planning Commission for Final Site Plan approval. Members Shroyer and Avdoulos agreed to these changes.
Mr. Shipman asked for clarification on the rear berm and the variance for interior landscape requirements. Both Member Kocan and Member Shroyer said that the Applicant agreed to comply, and that a variance was not necessary. Member Kocan said that it could be made part of the motion, that the Applicant agreed to comply with the interior landscape. Mr. Galvin concurred, stating that they understood that they would have to comply or go to the ZBA.
Mr. Schmitt said that the Planning Department did not think there was any way to comply with the interior requirements, given the amount of paving on the site. Mr. Shipman said that currently the Applicant is proposing a deck on the rear of the activity center. This would not meet the requirements. Also, they would have to apply some treatment to the service building in order for that area to comply. They have the ability to get closer to the requirement by adding more plantings. If the Applicant proposes the deck along the rear they cannot meet the requirements. Member Shroyer confirmed that they cannot meet the requirements if the deck was the entire length of the building, but they could make the deck smaller. The Applicant’s landscape architect said that more plantings and planting beds could be added. She also remembered Mr. Shipman’s comment about surrounding the property with an eight-foot greenbelt. Mr. Shipman said that the current calculation uses an eight-foot measurement multiplied by the perimeter of the building. The minimum requirement is a four-foot strip around the perimeter, save for entrances. He said that there are creative ways to manipulate that measurement, but that greenspace must be provided around the building or the drip line of the building.
Mr. Schultz said that it could be stated in the motion that the Applicant must work with the Landscape Architect to reduce the amount of variance. Member Sprague interjected that his addition to the motion stated, "…subject to the landscaping plan being submitted that is acceptable to the Landscape Architect."
Member Cassis asked if the Applicant could use a mixture of planters and natural landscaping. Mr. Shipman said that there probably is a creative solution that can be found.
Mr. Shipman restated that the berm issue as:
The Applicant must meet the conditions of achieving the waiver in the rear or they will provide a berm as required by the Ordinance.
Chair Markham called for the vote.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON NOVI FAMILY FUN PARK, SP03-57, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER SHROYER AND SECONDED BY MEMBER AVDOULOS:
In the matter of Family Fun Park, SP03-57, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan, Special Land Use permit and Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) A ZBA variance for lack of parking lot setback adjacent to the residentially-zoned property; 2) Resolution of parking space requirements - Planning Commission’s determination under Section 2505.10 that the Applicant’s recommendation as to what the parking standards are shall be applied to this use; 3) Planning Commission’s Section Nine Waiver for the cart building or a redesign of the building to meet Ordinance requirements, to allow for a more uniform architectural appearance to the site; 4) A Planning Commission Waiver for Same Side Driveway Spacing requirements relative to the existing Gatsby’s Restaurant driveway; 5) A Planning Commission Waiver for Opposite Side Driveway Spacing requirements relative to the existing motel driveways; 6) A Planning Commission determination that parking and lighting are compatible with surrounding properties; 7) Loading areas meeting the intent of Section 2507.3; 8) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; 9) A lighting plan being submitted that is in compliance with City Ordinance; 10) A limitation that music can only be available on the miniature golf course; 11) If an enunciator system is installed it will comply with a sound study and will be found acceptable by City Staff and that it will not be disruptive; 12) The number of safety lights that run for 24 hours will be subject to the Andes Hills Condominium Association’s review, not to be less than one or as required by whichever City Department oversees that particular function; 13) Vinyl coated fencing being used; 14)The security system along the south border of the park (pointed at the south property) containing signage as mentioned by the Applicant; 14) The landscaping plan being submitted is acceptable to the City Landscape Architect but not stricter than City Ordinance requirements; 15) The berm at the southeast corner of the parking lot against the Andes Hills Condominium property being installed with a four-foot height and 4’6" crest and a contour per page four of February 19, 2004 Design Resource Associates’ letter, with evergreens as per the Applicant’s consultant’s comments; 16) Placement of a four-foot barrier wall west of the bumper cars that would make the design comply with the Noise Ordinance and would help mitigate the noise; 17) The Applicant must meet the conditions of achieving the waiver in the rear or they will provide a berm as required by the Ordinance; and 18) Special Land Use approval on the OST property if it is ever proposed for future development; for the reasons that the proposed use will promote the use of the land in a socially and economically desirable manner and the Applicant has made a significant effort to work with surrounding property owners to minimize their lighting and address the noise concerns and provide them within the Ordinance requirements.
Motion carried 8-0.
The Planning Commission took a ten minute break. Member Gaul left at midnight.
3. ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.633
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Ivanhoe Huntley for possible recommendation to City Council for rezoning on property in Section 22 located east of Novi Road and north of Twelve Mile and Twelve Oaks Shopping Center from R-A (Residential Acreage) and OS-1 (Office Service) to RM-1 (Low-Density Multiple Family Residential). The subject property is 13.21 acres.
Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. It includes a portion of the Oakland Hills Cemetery, which stretches west to Novi Road (and is zoned R-4 and master planned for a cemetery). The parcel is zoned R-A to the north and OS-1 along Twelve Mile and master planned as part of the cemetery and for office along Twelve Mile. The Tollgate Center - Leased by Michigan State and owned by the Americana Foundation - is further east (zoned R-A and master planned for a quasi-public use). To the south is Twelve Oaks Mall (zoned R-C and master planned Regional Commercial) and the proposed Uptown Place is to the southeast (master planned Regional Commercial with the PD-2 Option).
There are dense woodlands along the eastern property line and light woodlands to the north. There are likely no wetlands on the property, except for perhaps a small portion on the northern end.
The Planning Commission saw this proposal on December 10, 2003, at which time the request was postponed until there was a full Planning Commission. The Public Hearing was noticed for a rezoning to RM-1, low density, low rise multiple family. A recommendation to City Council to any other zoning would require an additional Public Hearing to be held by the Planning Commission prior to sending the recommendation forward to City Council. The Planning Department recommends denial of the request because it is not in compliance with the Master Plan. He said that residential is out of character with the surrounding land uses. The Twelve Mile corridor has been split in half, with the north side maintained as large open space areas – more rural in nature – and the south is the high intensity commercial district for the City. Mr. Schmitt said that the proposal does not provide a true transition between the uses in the area, current or future. It sets a precedent for the development of the Americana Foundation property and even the land where Michigan State is located.
The zoning of the surrounding parcels is notably mixed. OS-1 and Single Family Residential are both adjacent to this parcel. The density should be considered for this request. Given a maximum dwelling unit mix allowed under RM-1 (20% 1 BR, 80% 2 BR), approximately 8.02 dwelling units per acre could be placed on the property. Under R-A, eight-tenths of a dwelling unit would be allowed on the R-A; OS-1 would have no density, but an office of any size could be constructed. Twelve Mile was recently widened to a four-lane boulevard. A twenty-inch water main was constructed in the area. A ten-inch sanitary sewer connection is available two parcels to the west.
Mitigation of the natural features on the site would be decided upon at the time of site plan review. The Planning Department has not reviewed the site plan that was forwarded with this rezoning request. The Applicant has suggested that they would be willing to enter into a Development Agreement with the City. The Planning Department sees no benefit in this option, other than for limiting the development to owner-occupied units as opposed to rental units. Other things that could be considered for a Development Agreement would be the additional preservation of the woodlands or a cap on density. Ultimately a Development Agreement would need to be approved by the City Council. Issues such as this would more than likely be handled now through a PRO – Planned Rezoning Overlay.
Oakland Hills Memorial Cemetery was sold in the mid 1990s. The rear ten acres of this proposal was not sold in that transaction. The Planning Department asks that this parcel be properly created through the Assessing Department. The Applicant has stated that they would be proceeding with that issue in a timely fashion.
Gary Shapiro, Ivanhoe Huntley Companies, addressed the Planning Commission. He said that his company is consistently named as a top-five builder/developer in the State of Michigan. They are currently developing in twenty different communities. They submitted a site plan with their rezoning request so that certain facts would surface. He said they are environmentally sensitive and they are known for being suburban infill developers. They have provided the Planning Commission with examples of their work. He said this parcel intrigued them because of its zoning. The office zoning is too small to be successful. The north property is residential with very little frontage, so it almost can’t be developed in that fashion.
Mr. Shapiro said they considered the traffic. Their proposal is for 94 condominiums; the office zoning would double the traffic during peak traffic time. He said that this condo project is perfect for a suburban infill project. There is a small office building to the west and then the cemetery. The Michigan State property to the east may someday be a different use. He said this property used as "for sale" condos is a far better precedent to set in the event that the MSU develops in the future.
Mr. Shapiro said that Matt Strader of Langworthy, Strader and LeBlanc has worked on this project. He is a leading planner and land use consultant in Michigan. Mr. Shapiro said that they develop site-specific projects. They do not re-use their product in subsequent projects. He said there is an infill demand to provide housing for this community. Mr. Shapiro said that Allen Green from Dykema Gossett has also worked on this project.
Mr. Shapiro concluded by saying that a bifurcated development would not work. If the property were rezoned for all office it would produce a traffic nightmare. The proposed use provides a transition for future development to the east.
Mr. Strader said that he and his company represent many communities and he also performs a lot of work for the Michigan Municipal League (MML) and Michigan Society of Planning (MSoP). He said that the Ivanhoe Huntley projects are award-winning and impressive. He said that planning and zoning are never black and white issues. He said this request for RM-1 rezoning is not contingent upon the plans presented, but Ivanhoe Huntley would be willing to enter into a Development Agreement that ties a site plan into the rezoning. They will commit to owner-occupied units.
Mr. Strader said that it is interesting that a rezoning is one of the most important decisions a Planning Commission makes but there are very little criteria provided for this effort. He said that the MML and MSoP recommend consideration of the following:
Is the request consistent with the Master Plan, or if conditions have changed, is it consistent with the trends in the area? Mr. Strader said that this project is consistent with the trends in the area.
Are all the uses allowed in the requested zoning district compatible with the surrounding uses? Mr. Strader said that this use is compatible.
Is the site capable of accommodating all of the uses allowed in the zoning district? Mr. Strader said that this site is oddly shaped but can accommodate multiple-family uses more easily than office.
Is there capacity in the infrastructure? Mr. Strader said that the roads and utilities are available.
Mr. Strader reminded the Planning Commission that the future Land Use Map is only a portion of a community’s Master Plan. He said that this request is consistent with many sections of Novi’s Master Plan. He said conditions have changed since the Master Plan was adopted. He said there is now a median on Twelve Mile which provides a much greater distinction between the south side of Twelve Mile and the north. It is easier to have distinct land uses on opposite sides of the road with a boulevard. The Master Plan assumed that this parcel would remain cemetery. He said that the City’s Master Plan does not address what the land should become if it ever changed from its (current) cemetery designation. Mr. Strader said that in planning, a City should consider the trends in the area. He said that lower intensity uses are prevalent on the north side of Twelve Mile. He said that 95% of the square mile around this property is zoned residential, disputing the argument that this request is out of character with the area. The only non-residential are the three office buildings. He concurred that the south side of Twelve Mile is a more intense use. He said that the north side is almost entirely residential, all the way to Meadowbrook Road (this site, Americana, Tollgate, Cemetery). He concluded that residential is the characteristic of the north side of Twelve Mile.
Mr. Strader said that low-rise multiple is consistent with the uses in the area. It is a good neighbor to a cemetery. It is a good neighbor to the Americana and the Tollgate properties. It is a good use for this site. It is consistent with past practices of the Master Plan and Zoning Committee of putting multiple family on the edges of commercial. The new trend in planning is to put multiple family surrounding commercial to reduce the length and number of vehicle trips and give people a chance to walk or bicycle to commercial. It also provides residents who will support commercial. It allows people the opportunity to live where they work. This continues the trend. There is multiple around the Town Center, east of Twelve Oaks, and this is a logical location for multiple as well. Contrary to what was previously stated, Mr. Strader said that multiple is a great transition use for this site.
Mr. Strader said the Master Plan goals address diversity in housing. He said this project is consistent with many of the goals in the Master Plan. He asked the Planning Commission to look at more than just the Land Use Map. He said the question comes down to, "Why change the zoning?" First, he said, the northern portion of the parcel is zoned for one-acre lots, and was based on the assumption that the land would remain a part of the cemetery. R-A would not make sense on the entire parcel. Two options remain – office or RM-1, or some other higher density of single family or multiple family. Mr. Strader said that given the character of the shape of the site, the surrounding land uses, he said that multiple is a better use. He said that good quality office uses want to go into office parks. This site is not configured for an office park. They want to go somewhere with a lot of visibility; the narrowness of this parcel will not afford this. Mixing office with residential is not practical, given the size of the site. The site is less marketable than many other office sites available in the City. It is isolated and the market for office development is soft.
Mr. Strader said that the site works for multiple family. It is a good transitional use between the south and north sides of Twelve Mile. There is a strong demand for owner-occupied, good quality condos at this price point (under $300,000). It will establish the transition line. He said that traffic is always a big issue in Novi, and the proposed project would result in one-third less traffic than what the current zoning would create, and three-quarters less traffic than what a full office zoning would create.
Chair Markham closed the Public Hearing after determining no one from the audience wished to speak.
Member Cassis asked for a definition of spot zoning. Mr. Schmitt responded that spot zoning is when a zoning classification is inserted into an area where no similar zones surround it. He said that this request is not as harmonious with the surroundings as it could be; this could be said about many different zoning classifications that could be considered for this parcel.
Member Cassis asked why this project is out of character with the area. Mr. Schmitt said that he agreed that the north side of Twelve Mile was residential in character. He disagreed with the intensity of the proposed use. He said that between Meadowbrook and Novi Road it is zoned residential but there are no residences. The City was unaware that there was a situation whereby the cemetery would split off land for a use other than cemetery.
Member Cassis said that the parcel is surrounded by residential. It is split from other uses by a wide road. He read in the reports that people may attempt to cross Twelve Mile and in so doing, they are going to get killed. Member Cassis questioned whether someone who could afford a $350,000 condo would not be able to navigate a road. He did not agree with the Planning Department narrative.
Member Cassis said the proposal will appeal to a new type of homeowner who lives and acts differently. He cited Gateway Village as another example of residential near mixed use on a wide road. He cited Waldenwood near Twelve Oaks. He said that making this parcel residential could assist in keeping the future of the MSU parcel residential as well. He said this development on this type of parcel is a good use. It will act as a buffer.
Member Cassis said that some may argue that this is not a good tax base. Some on City Council may say that the City needs more OST or OS. He said that he sees vacant office buildings all along the freeway, from Farmington Hills all the way to Brighton and along Haggerty Road. He said this is a quality developer who will provide a unique development with residents who will shop at Twelve Oaks, eat at the restaurants, etc. They would add to the City’s tax base. They will not have a great demand on City services. He said he considers this an ideal situation. He said this could be considered down-zoning. It is not an upward-zoning that becomes more complicated. He supported the Applicant’s request.
Member Shroyer liked Ivanhoe Huntley’s development but did not think it was in the right place. He said it would be okay if it were on the south side and closer to the other multiple family, or if it were up on 12½ Mile. He said that the City already has too many apartment-type units, too many condos, too many multiple family developments. He said he knows that the studies don’t reflect that, but when compared to other communities with similar socio-economical backgrounds, Novi is much higher in (multiple family housing) numbers than they are.
Member Shroyer does not like to give up office or OST to go back to residential. He does not support the rezoning request.
Member Sprague confirmed that if the entire property were zoned R-A it would accommodate 10.4 units. He confirmed that Ivanhoe Huntley’s plan proposes 94 units. He confirmed that the RM-1 rezoning would allow for a total of approximately 98 units. He does not agree that this use is compatible with the cemetery, nor does he consider it a transitional use. He said that the City has been giving away too much R-A land in the City. He said that with high density on this parcel, it encourages future high density on the parcels to the east. He does not support the request, but he conceded that Ivanhoe Huntley has earned its good reputation.
Member Kocan said she prefers to defer to the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for input on rezoning requests. She does not believe that their current update to the Master Plan includes a change in the parcel’s zoning to this classification. She is concerned about increasing the density from .8 units to 7.12 units per acre. She is not impressed with the plan. She said it does not appear to preserve any natural features, though she understood that this plan was not an actual part of the rezoning request. She would not be in favor of a Development Agreement for this project across from Twelve Oaks. She did not think it fits in this area. She would prefer to see office on the north side of the road.
Member Avdoulos admired the layout that the Applicant presented and he tried to picture it on the site. He said that in some cases developers take projects like this and try to make them more urban. He cited the Main Street area as a development more suitable for pedestrian traffic. He likened this northerly stretch of Twelve Mile (Novi to Meadowbrook) to the south side of Twelve Mile (Novi to Beck). This area was zoned R-A but office and medical office buildings are being proposed and developed. He is unsure what the corner of Meadowbrook and Twelve Mile should ever develop into; he would prefer that it is always maintained in an open fashion because it acts as an entry beacon into the City. He did not support the adjacency of multiple to office to cemetery to the Tollgate property. He did not think that RM-1 provides a consistency along Twelve Mile, though admittedly he said he could almost be swayed by the site plan prepared by Oliver Hatcher. At this time he did not think the request was appropriate.
Mr. Evancoe clarified for Member Cassis that the plans prepared by the Applicant should not be considered unless the Planning Commission was prepared to recommend some kind of Development Agreement. Mr. Shapiro said that this situation is a catch-22 – the Applicant wanted to present an example of their work and how it would apply to this parcel, and the Applicant also understands that the plan may be considered unacceptable. He said they would look forward to working with the City and the Staff on the plan, the woodlands, etc. Mr. Shapiro asked for clarification on whether Member Shroyer preferred office along Twelve Mile; Member Shroyer responded that he did, with residential perhaps to the north. Mr. Shapiro said that a narrow road leading to residential would not be marketable.
Mr. Shapiro noted that a Master Plan is an evolving document and that every inch of a community cannot be micro-managed. He said that the residential in the Town Center area has a density almost 2½ times greater than this proposal.
Member Cassis continued that he asked the question about the presented site plan because it was his understanding of the comments made at the table that his colleagues were dissatisfied with the density suggested in the Applicant’s proposal. Mr. Shapiro said the Applicant would work with the City but it was necessary for everyone to acknowledge that the property is along a busy road. He said that the Vistas already exist to the north and people are already buried in the cemetery to the west. He said that if this proposal is built on the property, the developer to the east will ask for something similar or less dense. He said that if the property is built with an office, the property to the east may ask for more office or industrial. He said this is an infill property. He said a project with office along Twelve Mile and residential to the north will result in two failures.
Member Cassis said that his fear is that a future use for the MSU property could end up being far more intense. He agreed that the multiple on the subject property would be a smooth transition to residential to the east. He wondered whether the Applicant would consider a lower density.
Chair Markham confirmed that the condos would come in between $250,000 and $300,000. Mr. Shapiro said that big lots wouldn’t work here, and the stated price point cannot be met elsewhere in the City. Chair Markham said she has been thinking about this project for several months. She said the Applicant’s point that this property will influence the future development to the east is well taken. A more intense use will encourage a more intense use to the east. That said, Chair Markham thought the Applicant’s proposed density is too high.
Chair Markham said she thought that residential actually could work here, a statement that she acknowledged contradicted her previously stated opinion. She cannot support a project with 94 units, because if multiple spread in any direction it would be too intense. She wanted substantially fewer units proposed for this property.
Moved by Member Shroyer, supported by Member Pehrson:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.633 MOTION MADE BY MEMBER SHROYER AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PEHRSON:
In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.633 for the Ivanhoe Huntley Company, motion to recommend denial to the City Council to the rezone the subject property from R-A and OS-1 to RM-1 for the following reasons: 1) It is not in compliance with the current Master Plan for Land Use; and 2) The proposed zoning would be out of character with the surrounding land use, whereas there are no other multi-family properties.
Motion carried 5-2 (Yes: Avdoulos, Kocan, Pehrson, Shroyer, Sprague; No: Cassis, Markham).
Mr. Shapiro said he would like to brainstorm with the Planning Department prior to going to City Council regarding this rezoning request.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. HUSZTI OFFICE BUILDING (FKA MEADOW POINTE), SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-51
Consideration of the request of Mike Huszti of Meadow Pointe, LLC, for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan and Storm Water Management Plan. The subject property is located in Section 23, on the south side of Eleven Mile and west of Meadowbrook Road in the I-1 (Light Industrial) District. The subject property is approximately 5.0 acres. The Applicant is proposing three 10,000 square foot general and medical offices buildings.
Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. It is located in proximity to the Marque Corporate Center, Soccer Zone and Pinnacle Office complex. The site is zoned I-1, light industrial, as are the properties to the north, east and west. To the south the property (Gateway Village) is zoned NCC, non-center commercial, and is being developed in part under consent judgment. The property is master planned for light industrial, as are the east and north properties. The west and south include the Gateway East district.
There are no wetlands or woodlands on the property. The Planning, Landscaping and Fire Department reviews all indicate that redesign of the parking lot is required. Staff has met with the Applicant to discuss various alternatives. The Traffic Review indicated that a Same Side Driveway Spacing Waiver is required for the area between the two drives – 150 feet required and 122 provided. The Façade Review indicated that a Section Nine Waiver is required to address the excessive amount of asphalt shingles – 50% allowed and 55.4% provided. This is due to the roof pitch of 6:12 which then creates a situation where the roof is considered part of the façade. All outstanding items can be addressed at the time Final Site Plan submittal.
Mike Huszti of HLI Development, 1800 North Milford Road, addressed the Planning Commission. He said his buildings will be marketed for ownership rather than for leasing. He said they have met all of the requests, and they have revised their site plan and he produced a different site plan that addressed all of the disciplines’ comments. He said that the roof pitch can be reduced to accommodate the Façade Ordinance.
Mr. Huszti said that Bill Stimpson of Birchler Arroyo, the Traffic Consultant, has worked with him to address the Same Side Driveway Spacing Waiver. They will provide a stub to a neighboring property for secondary access. He also made the east driveway an exit only. These two changes will help mitigate the shortage of space between the two drives.
Mr. Huszti introduced his architect, Larry Shue, and his engineer, Larry Kern. He offered to answer any questions from the Planning Commission.
Member Kocan asked whether it was necessary for two entrances. Mr. Schmitt responded that the stub is leading to a property housing a radio antenna. It has twenty feet of frontage onto Eleven Mile Road. This stub will not likely be used. The two entrances are better.
Member Kocan confirmed with Mr. Huszti that he has addressed all of the comments, such as those relating to loading area, interior landscaping, the berm, the dumpster, the maximum 50% medical office, etc.
Member Cassis confirmed with Mr. Schmitt that the driveway issue here is the desire to limit curb cuts onto Eleven Mile. He said that Eleven Mile dead-ends into FedEx and Novi Town Center. He asked whether there was really a safety problem. Civil Engineer Ben Croy was of the same opinion; it is a low traffic-volume road. He said it was easy to support the request for the waivers.
Member Avdoulos asked about the updated plan. Mr. Kern said that he has not yet addressed the lighting plan. He said that he would do so by Final Site Plan submittal. The 50-foot turning radius issues have been corrected. Mr. Kern pointed out where his loading zones will be located. All three are next to islands and have full passing zones adjacent to them. The parking space sizes have been corrected.
Member Avdoulos asked about the stub. Mr. Croy responded that there is no real advantage to leaving the stub where it is shown at this time. It might be advantageous to move it to the south to connect to the other, shorter parcel (to the west) adjacent to this project, because that site is tight and may have trouble with turning radii as well. Member Avdoulos agreed that if one drive will work he would approve of that design, and he thought that could then provide more front yard green space.
Member Avdoulos asked the Applicant to point out the dumpster locations. Member Avdoulos recommended that the dumpster be relocated away from the entrance. The Applicant said that the dumpster could be relocated if the drive was eliminated.
Member Kocan confirmed that the second drive could be eliminated if the stub drive were placed off to the west. She did not necessarily like the one-way design of the second drive. The Applicant said that one of the reasons that it is one-way is because in one location the site is lined up with Pinnacle’s drive. If the drive were two-way, there could be left turns going into Pinnacle and left turns going into this building, and that could lead to conflicting traffic.
Member Shroyer did not like the one-way design either because it forces cars to drive through the parking lot. He asked if the stub was in the northwest area, could the one-way drive be eliminated. City Attorney Tom Schultz said that his understanding was one driveway and the stub technically meets the Ordinance. He said that the motion could include a statement that, at the City’s sole discretion, the second driveway could be required if the stub does not work out. They meet the requirement with the stub, but if the Applicant agrees to the stipulation that a second driveway might have to be built later, then the Planning Commission could state that in the motion. Whether this should be done is a question for Engineering. Mr. Croy responded that he would prefer to discuss this option with the Fire Marshal prior to approving the concept.
Member Shroyer asked about the sidewalk access from Eleven Mile. The Applicant said that placement of this sidewalk was at the discretion of the Planning Commission. It was not clear where the most appropriate location for it would be. Mr. Schmitt said that it could be worked out at Final Site Plan submittal. Member Shroyer said that the sidewalk must be in place for his support of the plan.
Member Pehrson confirmed that the roof pitch would be altered.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Shroyer:
In the matter of Huszti Office Building, SP03-51, motion to grant approval of a Preliminary Site Plan and Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission waiver of the same side driveway spacing requirement for distance between entrance drives (122 feet provided vs. 150 feet required); 2) The adjustment to the stub and second driveway based on the recommendation of the City Planners and the Fire Marshal; 3) The addition of the sidewalk added at the recommendation of the City Planners; for the reason that it does meet all of the requirements from Planning, Woodlands, Wetlands, Traffic, Landscape, Façade and Engineering.
Chair Markham asked why the drive was one-way. Mr. Croy said that the one-way alleviates one of the spacing waivers. Chair Markham would like to see the one-way direction eliminated if in fact the road is kept. She asked whether the site was big enough to accommodate a wider drive. The Applicant said that they would have to lose four feet off of the building to accommodate the additional width needed for a two-way drive. He said he would be willing to do that if necessary. Chair Markham asked if "The reduction of the size of the building to accommodate a two-way entrance" could be added to the motion; Member Pehrson and Member Shroyer agreed.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON HUSZTI OFFICE BUILDING, SP03-51, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER SHROYER:
In the matter of Huszti Office Building, SP03-51, motion to grant approval of a Preliminary Site Plan and Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission waiver of the same side driveway spacing requirement for distance between entrance drives (122 feet provided vs. 150 feet required); 2) The adjustment to the stub and second driveway based on the recommendation of the City Planners and the Fire Marshal; 3) The addition of the sidewalk added at the recommendation of the City Planners; 4) The reduction of the size of the building to accommodate a two-way entrance; for the reason that it does meet all of the requirements from Planning, Woodlands, Wetlands, Traffic, Landscape, Façade and Engineering.
Motion carried 7-0.
2. PLANNING COMMISSION DISCUSSION REGARDING ISLAND LAKE OF NOVI, PHASE 2B, HEARING PROCESS
Director of Planning David Evancoe stated that this matter was before the Planning Commission on January 14, 2004, at which time a Preliminary Site Plan, Woodland Permit, Wetland Permit and a Site Condominium were approved. These are the attached condos at the northern end of the development. Mr. Evancoe said that some of the nearby residents contacted the Planning Department and said that they were not notified of the Public Hearing. As the Planning Department looked into the matter, it was discovered that the City did send out notices and published a notice in the newspaper, but due to a computer glitch Toll Brothers were listed as the property owners where actual residences are located.
Mr. Evancoe said that there were three requirements of the Public Hearing: To announce the Site Condominium, the Wetland Permit and the Woodland Permit. The City did complete this process but unfortunately the notices were not received by the right people, which the City regrets. The Planning Department recommends that a Public Hearing be scheduled to give the neighboring property owners a chance to address the Planning Commission. The Planning Department suggests this Public Hearing be held on March 10, 2004.
Chair Markham asked whether anything else was planned for that Agenda at this time. Mr. Evancoe responded that there is time available on that Agenda to accommodate this Public Hearing.
Member Cassis asked City Attorney Tom Schultz what the legality of holding this Public Hearing is. He asked what would happen if Island Lake said they did not want to show up. Mr. Schultz responded that there are a couple of different ways to look at it. From the City Attorney’s perspective, they listened to the facts and determined that the Public Notices for the Site Plan and the Site Condo were within the rules, but the Public Notices for the Woodland and Wetland Permits, for whatever reason, did not reach the adjacent property owners. The Planning Commission is beyond the one meeting to allow a motion to reconsider, but the City has a decision on the record that is suspect. This is not good for the City and it is not good for Island Lake. They now have to question whether they should pull building permits or begin the engineering process if someone can state that the project was not properly noticed. If Island Lake was to state that it does not appear the Public Hearing was properly noticed, and they agree to go back through the process, then the City would need to get that on the record and re-notice the Public Hearing. On the other hand, if Island Lake says that they don’t want to have the Public Hearing re-held, then there is an option for the Planning Commission to motion to rescind their previous motion, with the finding that the first Public Hearing was not noticed properly. Mr. Schultz said that once the City hears from Toll Brothers, the Planning Commission will know which of these two avenues will be followed.
Mr. Schultz said that it is significant to acknowledge that the need for Wetland and Woodland Permits is minimal. The issue in this case is not whether the project meets City Ordinance, because the Planning Commission has already determined that it has, rather it seems to be a dispute between the residents and Island Lake, and the City unfortunately cannot get too involved in that. The residents may be able to come before the Planning Commission and speak their mind, but it will not likely change the result. He asked that this be on the record so that the residents are aware of this likelihood. To summarize, Mr. Schultz said the Public Hearing must be re-held, either by agreement or by rescinding the last motion, but the approval was not controversial at the January meeting.
Ron Boshaw of Toll Brothers stated that they are not trying to hide anything from the residents, and they don’t have a problem with their wanting to voice their opinion for the public record. Their concern is obviously that the approvals may be rejected at that time, though they don’t see how they would be, based on the fact that the project meets the intent of the Ordinance and the terms of the RUD. He said that the City has known that condos were planned for that area since day one. He said that Toll Brothers is trying to discuss this issue with the residents but he said that they aren’t being as cooperative as Toll Brothers had hoped. He said this portion of the development has never been hidden and has always been a part of the plan. He said he had 2000 and 2004 plans that showed the Development. He reiterated that their concern is that if the Public Hearing is re-opened, it is just the residents putting their comments on the Public Record and not that Toll Brothers could lose the approval on the site plan. He did not know whether the Planning Commission could tell him that this new Public Hearing is being held just to satisfy the process and not an opportunity to remove their previous approval.
Chair Markham said that the Public Hearing must be held, and the intent of the Public Hearing is to hear from the public. There is no point in having a Public Hearing if the Planning Commission is not going to consider what the residents have to say. That being said, Chair Markham said the Planning Commission’s charge is to look at a plan and determine how it relates to the Zoning Ordinance. She said if the plan hasn’t changed and was approved once before, she said there are no guarantees but unless something is considerably different it will probably go through the system in the same way it went through before. Either way, the Public Hearing has to be held.
Mr. Boshaw said that he didn’t have a problem with the Public Hearing, but it was a mistake on the part of the City, and they are still concerned about a judgment coming down against Toll Brothers. He hopes that this new Public Hearing does not delay the engineering process. He said that Toll Brothers has discussed with the City the continuation of the engineering review process through this time so that they don’t lose the time between now and March 10.
Mr. Evancoe said that he wanted to make clear that the Planning Department is still trying to determine the reason why the notices weren’t received by the neighboring residents. He said that it appears to be a computer glitch, though the process may have been made more difficult by changes in the lot numbers. He said it is important to the Planning Department that this does not happen again.
Mr. Schultz agreed that Chair Markham could not guarantee what is going to happen at the Public Hearing, but it is important that it be said that the Staff is not going to redo any of their reports. He said he did not have a problem with the Planning Commission’s acceptance of the engineering review continuing (sans approval) during this interim. He said that perhaps the motion should be made to rescind the previous motion for lack of notice just to cover all the legal issues.
Mr. Boshaw asked exactly what the word "rescind" meant. Mr. Schultz responded that this motion would void the first motion. He thought he heard reluctance from Mr. Boshaw that he didn’t want to just agree to re-hear the Public Hearing, and he wanted to ensure that either the Planning Commission acted formally or that Toll Brothers formally agreed to the Public Hearing. Mr. Boshaw said he did not have a problem with another Public Hearing; he wanted to handle this situation in a diplomatic manner.
Chair Markham confirmed that Mr. Boshaw was willing to accept the re-notification of the Public Hearing. He agreed.
Member Cassis commented that these residents live in Island Lake and Toll Brothers should want these people to be happy. He said that it could be that this Public Hearing would act as a healing process that will bring the two sides closer and will eventually be good for both of them. He said if Mr. Boshaw was to accept the new Public Hearing in that spirit that Toll Brothers will be okay. Mr. Boshaw thanked Member Cassis for that advice.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Sprague:
Motion to re-notice a Public Hearing regarding Island Lake Phase 2B, SP03-45, for March 10, 2004, 7:30 p.m., for the reason of insufficient notice for the first Hearing.
Motion carried 7-0.
3. SCHEDULE A PUBLIC HEARING FOR TEXT AMENDMENT 18.189, RELATING TO HEIGHT RESTRICTIONS FOR HOSPITALS IN THE OSC, OFFICE SERVICE COMMERCIAL ZONING DISTRICT
Proposed Zoning Ordinance text amendment by Providence Park to allow increased building height for hospitals in the OSC District.
Mr. Evancoe said that this request came from Providence Hospital. He also said that Planner Barb McBeth and City Attorney Tom Schultz discussed conducting a Public Hearing on an Ordinance that would be reviewed at the March 4, 2004 Implementation Committee meeting regarding a review process for a ring road type-approach within a development. They would like to come forward with a roadway network for this project but they aren’t far enough along in their plans to know what hospital-related facilities would abut this roadway. The Implementation Committee could investigate this roadway issue and bring this Ordinance request forward at the same time.
Member Kocan said that she chairs the Implementation Committee and the other members are Messrs. Cassis, Avdoulos and Pehrson. They do not have a firm recommendation in place at this time, but they would like to move this request along. She said that they will take into consideration how this request affects the other sections of the Ordinance. She also said that the City would like to have a review process for reviewing roadways and utilities. Providence is very sensitive to following the City’s process. She said this is a good time to review this issue. The Public Hearing date has not yet been set, but because it requires a three-week notification, it is important to begin the ball rolling now.
Member Cassis disclosed that he sits on the Board of Visitors at this Providence Hospital Park. He is not compensated for this. He was willing to abstain from the process if Mr. Schultz or the Planning Commission felt he should. Mr. Schultz said that it was not a conflict under the ethics policy because there is no financial remuneration. He said if Member Cassis believed he could be fair then he could remain active in the review process. The Planning Commission weighed in and collectively they had no problem.
Member Sprague said that the ring road issue should move forward. This property faces Grand River, abuts residential, has natural features, etc. He said that if there is a way for the City to ensure that the hospital campus is more adjacent to Grand River than the residential he was in full support of moving that process forward.
Chair Markham agreed, stating that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has also discussed Providence. They discussed how one Providence parcel would have access onto Eleven Mile and the Committee does not want the hospital having access in that area. A ring road, if planned correctly, could prevent that from happening.
Member Pehrson commented that Providence Hospital is very sensitive to the City’s wishes, and they are taking extra steps to ensure that this project meets all of the requirements.
Member Kocan said that the concept of moving the buildings closer to Grand River must be weighed against the request for increased building height and setbacks.
Mr. Evancoe asked whether a date for the Public Hearing could be set. He asked whether the Implementation Committee would have both of their recommendations ready after their next meeting date.
Mr. Schultz said that, with regard to the road issue, Section 2516 notes that what comes before the Planning Commission, as opposed to what is considered for administrative approval, does not include road and utility improvements. There is a good possibility that the second issue could simply be addressed by adding this as an item that must come before the Planning Commission, along with some general standards. It could theoretically be accomplished by March 4. If Providence wants to move forward, the City could push that forward since it would not be a big change.
Member Kocan did not think that a specific date had to be stated. The first available date would be April 7, 2004.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Pehrson:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON SETTING A PUBLIC HEARING FOR OSC BUILDING HEIGHT AND ROADS AND UTILITIES REVIEW PROCESS MOTION MADE BY MEMBER KOCAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PEHRSON:
Motion to schedule a Public Hearing for April 7, 2004 after finalization of a recommendation by the Implementation Committee for the building height of hospitals in OSC as well as for formalizing a review process for roads and utilities approval prior to a site plan submission.
Motion carried 7-0.
4. APPROVAL OF FEBRUARY 11, 2004 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commission turned in their changes for incorporation.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Cassis:
Motion to approve the minutes of February 11, 2004 as amended.
Motion carried 7-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. LEGAL TRAINING
City Attorney Tom Schultz said that his office would be happy to hold another training session, especially in light of new Planning Commission members coming on board. The Planning Commission members were encouraged to let Mr. Schultz or Mr. Evancoe know of any suggestions they had for topics. The training session will be held in the City Attorney’s building. The meeting will be formalized at a future date.
There were no Special Reports.
There was no one in the audience who wished to speak.
Member Sprague said that this was the second meeting in four weeks that lasted until 2:00 a.m. and that he felt the Planning Commission needed to address the length of their meetings. Chair Markham said she agreed. She said there was a big workload because spring is around the corner. Chair Markham said she will try to keep the Agendas short.
Moved by Member Shroyer, seconded by Member Avdoulos:
Move for adjournment.
Motion carried 7-0.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
MON 02/23/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
WED 02/25/04 RULES COMMITTEE MEETING 6:30 PM
WED 02/25/04 MASTER PLAN & ZONING COMMITTEE 6:00 PM
WED 02/25/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
TUE 03/02/04 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM
THU 03/04/04 IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE MEETING 6:00 PM
WED 03/10/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
MON 03/15/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
WED 03/24/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
MON 04/05/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
TUE 04/06/04 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM
WED 04/07/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, March 18, 2004 Signature on File
Date Approved: March 24, 2004 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant Date