View Agenda for this meeting
View Action Summary for this meeting

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2004 7:30 P.M.
45175 W. TEN MILE, NOVI, MI 48375 (248) 347-0475


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


Present: Members Avdoulos, Cassis, Gaul, Kocan, Markham, Pehrson, Shroyer (arrived at 8:00 p.m.), Sprague

Absent: Member Ruyle (excused)

Also Present: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Barbara McBeth, Planner; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect; Ben Croy, Civil Engineer; Tom Schultz, City Attorney; John Freeland, Tilton & Associates; Kathy Wyrosdick, Birchler Arroyo


The meeting attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance.


Member Kocan asked that Beztak Company (Novaplex, SP99-32) be added as #4 under Matters for Discussion.

Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Pehrson:

Motion to approve the Agenda as amended.

Motion carried 7-0.


No one from the audience wished to speak.


There was no correspondence to share.


There were no Communications or Committee Reports to share.


Mr. Evancoe told the Planning Commission to contact the Planning Department if anyone was interested in attending the Planning Commission workshops.



Consideration of the request of James R. Jewett of Nudell Architects, for approval of a one year Final Site Plan extension. The subject project is located in Section 16 at the northwest corner of Grand River Avenue and Beck Road, Unit 9 in West Market Square. The Applicant proposes a one-story slab on grade retail center of approximately 24,000 square feet. The property is zoned B-2 (Community Business) District.

Moved by Member Sprague, seconded by Member Cassis:

Motion to approve the Consent Agenda.

Motion carried 7-0.



Public Hearing on the request of Toll Brothers Inc. for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan, Woodland Permit , Wetland Permit, and Site Condominium. The subject property is located in Section 18, west of Wixom Road on the north and south sides of Island Lake Drive in the R-A (Residential Acreage) District under a RUD agreement. The subject property is approximately 6.69 acres out of a total of 907 acres in the overall development. The Applicant is proposing twelve condominium units within three buildings.

Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. This section is in the far northern portion of the site, along the northern property line. He located Catholic Central to the north. Island Lake Arbors is located to the south and west, and this plan is considered an extension of The Arbors. The Island Lake Vineyards are to the southeast. The entire area is zoned R-1, single family residential, and master planned for single family residential. Mr. Schmitt said that Building 1 is on the north side of Island Lake Drive, and Buildings 2 and 3 are on the south side. There are four single family attached units in each building.

There are wetlands in the area. He pointed to an area that continues toward Wixom Road and he said that it was an area of wetland mitigation. There is a conservation easement associated with phases 2A and 2B. There are dense and medium woodlands in the area.

Mr. Schmitt said that this project was before the Planning Commission on January 14, 2004. It was approved at that time. Later, it was determined that proper notification of the Public Hearing may not have occurred, and therefore the Public Hearing is being re-held in order to bring some resolve to this issue. This decision was made by the Planning Commission on February 25, 2004.

Mr. Schmitt said that all disciplines recommended approval of this plan, subject to clarification of items at the time of the Final Site Plan submittal. The Planning Review indicated a waiver of the berm was required in the area along the northern property line due to the wetlands and woodlands. The Applicant is providing setbacks of approximately 130 feet, 75 feet required. Landscaping and Engineering reviews both indicated minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. Fire and Traffic reviews offered no comment at this time.

A no revision affidavit was submitted in lieu of a request for a Façade Review, as there will not be any changes to the façades from the previous submittal. Since this is a continuation of The Arbors, the Planning Department does not foresee a problem with this issue.

The Woodland Review indicates that no tree permit is necessary; the impacts to this site are tree replacements from other phases of Island Lake.

The woodland and wetland permits can be approved after minor corrections are made to the submittal. The Applicant must quantify some wetland buffer impacts. The permits will not be released until the appropriate submissions have been made. The Environmental Pre-Con meeting will not take place and the Applicant cannot begin work on the site until these issues are taken care of.

Jason Rickard, Toll Brothers, 10841 Winner’s Circle, Whitmore Lake, represented the Applicant.

Matthew Quinn was present at the meeting, representing some of the homeowners of Island Lake; they are residents of Leyland Circle, which is part of The Vineyards. They look across the wetland at the proposed buildings. These residents object to this plan.

Mr. Quinn said that Toll Brothers is willing to submit an Amendment to the RUD that will move these buildings to the "4B" area of the Island Lake plan. Island Lake will keep the residents informed regarding the new plans and they have agreed to support this RUD Amendment. This will satisfy the residents, Toll Brothers and the City.

Mr. Rickard said that they are working on a solution that is acceptable to all parties. If the plan requires an RUD Amendment the Planning Commission will see the plan again. He said that they are still seeking the approvals on this plan this evening, although they are heading in a different direction.

Chair Markham said she was unsure why this plan was proceeding with a Public Hearing if it is not going to be used. Mr. Rickard said they are going forward with this plan if the City Council does not approve the Amendment to the RUD.

City Attorney Tom Schultz said the Planning Commission can only react to the item on the Agenda for this meeting. He said that the proposal before them is a separate issue from the concerns that the residents have with Toll Brothers. This Public Hearing satisfies the issue that the notification of the first Public Hearing may have been deficient.

Chair Markham opened the floor for public comment:

Rhonda Rush, 49871 Leyland Circle: Thought the development encroached on the natural features of the site. She thought that the attached condos were out of place in the proposed location (near the detached condos). She asked why one of the buildings was slated for a wetland mitigation area. She asked that the conservation easements be marked onsite prior to Final Site Plan approval. She said that the area potentially houses Indiana bats, a federally endangered species, and she asked for additional time to review the impact of this project on the wildlife habitat.

Ward Dietrich, 49829 Leyland Circle: Concerned about the buffer area between the wetland and the building. He said that potential future decks on the backs of these homes will impact the buffer area. He said that current homeowners in the area think that the woods are too close to their decks and that this proximity issue is ruining their decks; he thought that these future homeowners, like the existing homeowners, may wish to remove even more trees from the area. He said that the adjacent residents need time to learn the language of this site plan design (Number one trees, number two trees, etc.). He said they could be helpful in making suggestions to Toll Brothers. He requested that the homeowners be given a chance to review the plan prior to Final Site Plan approval. (Chair Markham confirmed for Mr. Dietrich that there is a period of time before Final Site Plan approval that the residents would have for making comments).

Karen Carlson, 49843 Leyland Circle: Objected to this project. She asked to be a part of every meeting, every minute, and she asked that the proposal be brought back for the public for Final Site Plan approval.

Andrew Mutch, 24740 Taft Road: Questioned whether the parcel with frontage on Wixom Road meets the 75-foot setback. He asked whether the perimeter buffering would be sufficient near the Kardasz property. He asked about the 330-foot perimeter around the RUD, and whether that area still mandated single family detached homes.

Carlene Lunsford, 49857 Leyland Circle: Objected to the proposal. She asked why the project was slated for a wetland mitigation area. She asked why the setback and berm requirements were being waived.

Anne Scheffley, 26551 Glenwood: Thought the condos were being proposed in an odd location – squeezed in amongst the single family homes. She thought that the proposed location would be a hard sell for Toll Brothers and encouraged them to find a location closer to the existing townhomes.

Tom Smith, 26625 Glenwood: Owner of Lot 23, and backs up to the wetlands. He said that although he does not consider himself a treehugger, he has given pause to the hundreds of trees he has watched come down on the Catholic Central property. He encouraged Toll Brothers to refrain from further damaging the wetlands and woodlands in the area.

Lisa Antolec, 26524 Anchorage Court: Concerned about the traffic along Island Lake Drive, and specifically that owners of townhome-style homes are likely without children and are as yet unaware of how dangerous it can be to drive in areas where small children play.

A.K. Khosrovaneh, 26607 Glenwood Drive: Owner of Lot 22. He objected to the project because of the traffic and the impact to the natural features.

Mark Carlson, 49843 Leyland Circle: Thought these units were being shoe-horned into this location. He said it will aid to the congestion and will bring down the property values in the area. He did not support the project.

Tim McDonald, 49746 Leyland Circle: Concurred that the traffic is bad on Island Lake Drive and this project will only compound the problem. He thought the development was out of place.

Nancy Larson, 49893 Leyland Drive: Bothered that she didn’t receive notification of this Public Hearing. She said that Toll Brothers told her that these units were not going to be built.

Member Avdoulos read the correspondence into the record:

Carlene Lunsford: Sent in a petition signed by the area 176 residents opposing the project.

Steven Nicholas, 49899 Leyland Circle: Opposed the project and said they did not receive Public Hearing notification in January. He said their purchase of Lot 21 was predicated on the preservation of the woodlands and wetlands in this area.

Thomas and Amy Smith: Opposed Toll Brothers’ proposal. They own lot 23 and they purchased it based on Pam O’Reilly’s assurance that nothing would be constructed behind their home.

Karen and Mark Carlson, 49843 Leyland Circle: Said that Toll Brothers misrepresented their project to the homeowners of Island Lake. They asked for the City’s assistance in reaching a mutually acceptable conclusion.

Tom Trussler, 49733 Leyland Circle: Objected to the project and asked that the natural features be preserved as they had been described to them.

Steven Nicholas: Reiterated his opposition to the project.

Vic Engleve, 26465 Crestwood: Opposed the project because the property values will decrease and the buildings are changing the plan.

Thomas E. Smith: Opposed the plan because property values will decrease.

Timothy P. Rush, 49871 Leyland Circle: Opposed the plan because of Toll Brothers’ fraud and misrepresentation of this project to Lot owners 16-23. The preservation of the natural features was promised to these homeowners.

Jeff and Lisa Morgan, 26618 Glenwood: Said this proposal adds too many boats for the boat house to handle. They said that they are too close to the single family homes. They said that Toll Brothers has already increased the density over by the fire station.

Valerie Ann Cammie, 49700 Timber Trail: Opposed the project because they were told the area would remain natural.

Brenton Fishman, 26366 Fieldstone Drive: Opposed the project because it will reduce the wetlands and woodland habitat. He said it will negatively affect the property values.

James Cody, 26001 Island Lake Drive: Objected because it was not in the original plans. It will detract from the natural setting.

Lawrence Deary: 26388 Fieldstone: Opposed the project because it destroys the area’s beauty.

Jill A. Barrett, 26414 Fieldstone: Said that traffic will increase and Toll Brothers did not inform them of this project.

Deanna DuBois, 49852 Leyland Circle: Opposed the project because they were not part of the original plan. She did not want to be that close to attached condos.

Robert Lunsford, 49857 Leyland Circle: Objected because the area is a wooded wetland. He said these condos will reduce property values. He said that Toll Brothers misrepresented this project to them.

Judith and Richard Everhart, 49605 Timber Trail: Said these are protected woodlands and Toll Brothers never said this area would be developed. They said this proposal would affect the natural habitat.

Kimberly L. McCarthy, 49769 Leyland: Said that the City had denied the proposal to build these units. They understood the area was protected wetlands.

Edward Malakowski, 24000 Wintergreen Circle: Said the property values will be decreased and the project will damage the wetlands.

Robert Currie, 42710 Whitman Way: Said the project will remove woodlands and decrease property values.

Michael S. King, 42901 Brookstone Drive: Objected because of the impact to the environment and property values.

Edward Achand, 24998 Portsmouth: Objected because of the property devaluation.

Nancy Larson, 49793 Leyland Circle: Objected because Toll Brothers said this property would not be developed.

Daniel N. Deaton, 26439 Glenwood: Objected because the area was presented as open park space.

Mr. Evancoe briefly acknowledged the letters that were received in time to make the Planning Commission packet:

Robert and Carlene Lunsford: Objected to the proposal, dated February 24, 2004.

Robert and Carlene Lunsford: Objected to the proposal, dated February 18, 2004.

Deanna Dubois: Objected to the proposal.

Mr. and Mrs. Dietrich: Objected to the proposal.

Steven and Marie Nicholas: Objected to the proposal.

Timothy and Ronda Rush: Objected to the proposal.

Kenneth Kardasz and Charlene Ludeman: Objected to the proposal.

Chair Markham reminded the audience that the charge of the Planning Commission is to determine whether the plan meets the intent of the RUD and the Ordinance. She then closed the Public Hearing.

Member Kocan asked which waivers were being sought by the Applicant. Mr. Schmitt responded that under Section 2404.2.c.2, the Applicant was requesting a waiver from the perimeter buffering requirement. He said the proposal is set back 93 feet from the Kardasz property, and 130 from the Catholic Central property. Kathy Wyrosdick from Birchler Arroyo (the City’s planner on this project) said that the measurements are actually 80 feet and 104 feet, respectively.

Member Kocan asked about the wetland mitigation area. Mr. Schmitt responded that the wetland mitigation area was chosen based on its adjacency to other wetlands in the area. He said that at no time did the Applicant propose to place a building in the mitigated wetland area. There may have been confusion because of the downslope near some landscaping. He said that both City’s wetland and woodland Consultants will attest that there are no regulated wetland or woodland impacts with this project. He said that the project was noticed for the Public Hearing for the woodlands because there would be so many replacement trees relocated to this area.

Member Kocan asked about the RUD stipulation of a 330-foot perimeter. Mr. Schmitt said that there were two variances requested in 1995 and granted as part of the overall RUD approval with regard to this buffer. These variances were for the northern property line, because there was an outlot that they did not own, and because of the wetlands in the area, the road swings far to the north. The other variance was for Island Lake Phase 3D for the area around Mrs. Schmidt’s property. The variances were allowed as long as the berm was provided. However, Mr. Schmitt said the RUD Ordinance provides for a waiver of the berm when substantial woodlands and wetlands are being protected. In Phase 3D it was granted given the amount of woodlands, and in this case there are substantial wetlands. The north side of Island Lake Drive is not under a conservation easement at this time.

Member Kocan asked what the Planning Commission is charged with reviewing as it relates to the 330-foot perimeter. Mr. Schultz responded that the RUD is approved by City Council and becomes the guidepost for the property. If a future plan is submitted and is in accordance with the RUD it must be approved. It would be difficult for a Planning Commission to review a site plan that meets the RUD and not approve it, even if they don’t like it. In essence, the RUD Agreement is a contract.

Member Kocan asked if the Planning Commission can restrict parking along Island Lake Drive. Mr. Schultz responded that the Planning Commission can also review a site plan for its adherence to the rest of the City’s Ordinances. He said that the parking could be restricted if there is an Ordinance to substantiate the stipulation. The RUD Agreement can have discretionary stipulations but in this case this is not a stipulation. The developer could impose the restriction on himself.

Member Kocan asked whether the 330-foot setback between single family and attached clusters has been met regarding Building 2. Kathy Wyrosdick from Birchler Arroyo (the City’s Planner for this project) stated that the stipulation refers to a single family district and not a single family home in this development. The 330-foot setback was waived in lieu of 75-feet and berm installation, and applies to the portion of The Arbors adjacent to the mobile home park as well. The berm was waived where the wetland exists.

Member Kocan said the berm must provide 80-100% opacity within two years. She said if the berm was waived the opacity would be negatively affected, and the Planning Commission could require additional landscaping nearer to the condos and possibly north of the woodland area behind Buildings 2 and 3. She noted that the developer said he would be willing to work with the residents and she thought that additional landscaping could be one manner in which he did so.

Member Kocan noted that the road is somewhat dangerous. She asked that the plan return to the Planning Commission for Final Site Plan approval. Mr. Schmitt said that the Planning Department could not stamp the plans until the plans came back for Final Site Plan approval and he wanted the Planning Commission to understand that would be the case if the Planning Commission made that request part of the motion.

Mr. Schmitt said the nearest family lot (corner of lots 18 and 19) is 310 feet away from the condo. The nearest house is about 350 feet away.

Landscape Architect Lance Shipman said that the land available for planting is being used for woodland replacements and buffer plantings. He said that evergreens don’t often survive in a wetland situation, although he understood the Planning Commission’s interest is providing opacity. He also noted that the replacement count is more difficult to fulfill when replacing with evergreens. He believed that most of the available upland area will be heavily landscaped – around the condos, toward Catholic Central, to the east and to the south. He would ensure that the Applicant meets the intent of the opacity Ordinance. He said the replacement trees are reviewed by Vilican-Leman (Larry DeBrincat), who said that oaks, black locusts, red maple, sugar maple, common hackberry, honey locust, Kentucky coffee trees, tulip trees, sweet gum, sour gum, cork tree, lindens, pin oak, red oak and eastern hornbean are all acceptable trees and are native to woodland areas.

Member Sprague asked Director of Planning David Evancoe to address the notification issue. Mr. Evancoe replied that the public notices for the January 14, 2004 meeting were in the newspaper and posted in City Hall. The notices to area residents were sent to Toll Brothers instead of the actual homeowners, which was a glitch in the computer system at City Hall, where the computer used for this database apparently is not properly updating with new information. The Planning Department does not foresee this problem happening again.

Member Sprague asked how the residents might be able to partake in the review process leading up to the Final Site Plan approval. Mr. Evancoe responded that the answer would depend on whether the Planning Commission’s motion requires this plan to return for Final Site Plan review. Typically there is not an opportunity for residents to be involved in the Final Site Plan review, which is done administratively and is technical in nature. If the Final Site Plan must come back to the Planning Commission, the plans and review letters would be available for review prior to the Planning Commission meeting; it would not be a Public Hearing but the Agenda would be posted. Mr. Evancoe said that this Public Hearing is really the forum for public input on this project, but residents can always speak during audience participation.

Member Sprague thought the residents were moving forward in the most appropriate manner. He also appreciated that Toll Brothers was working on this issue.

Member Sprague said that the berm was previously waived because of the wetland issue. Wetland Consultant John Freeland (Tilton and Associates) said they would prefer that the berm not enter the mitigated wetland area. Member Sprague will support the motion with this waiver.

Member Gaul thought the notification issue had been sufficiently addressed.

Moved by Member Gaul, supported by Member Cassis:

In the matter of the request of Toll Brothers for Island Lake of Novi 2B, SP03-45, motion to grant approval of a Woodland Permit, Wetland Permit, Stormwater Management Plan and Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission Waiver of perimeter berming requirement due to the large amount of woodlands and wetlands in the area; and 2) The Conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; for the reason that the plan meets wetlands, woodlands, landscaping, traffic, engineering, façade and fire requirements.


Member Avdoulos asked that the motion state that the plan meets the requirements of the RUD Agreement. Both members Gaul and Cassis agreed.

Member Avdoulos said the Planning Commission tries to review the plans from the viewpoint of the area residents as well. He thought that three buildings on seven acres with landscaping wherever possible indicated that Toll Brothers was trying to be accommodating with this proposal. He said that the area residents may be comparing original traffic to "build-out" traffic which is obviously going to be heavier but may not be out of the ordinary. He supported the plan.

Member Cassis said he had hoped that this Public Hearing would act as a healing process. He has listened to tonight’s comments and believes that the residents and Toll Brothers have moved toward resolve without the aid of the Planning Commission. He encouraged Toll Brothers to continue to live up to their impeccable reputation.

Member Shroyer hoped that the residents were satisfied with the Public Hearing process at this meeting. He said that the apparent misrepresentation by the developer cannot be addressed by the City. He thought that Toll Brothers has proposed a beautiful landscaping plan. He felt that everyone was working toward a win-win situation.

Chair Markham clarified that the motion does approve a Wetland Permit, although it seems that there is no wetland impact proposed by this plan – a storm drain will accommodate this phase of the project.

Mr. Shipman told Chair Markham that there are trees being added to this development that address the larger woodland replacement issue of the entire RUD. This phase houses many of those trees. He said that there is only a certain amount of land available to house these trees and if more are requested then they will be competing with one another and end up dying.

Chair Markham asked whether Member Gaul would accept a stipulation to the plan that it must return for Final Site Plan approval. Member Gaul asked what the purpose of that stipulation would be. Mr. Evancoe said that there are no anticipated changes to this plan that would warrant this plan returning to the Planning Commission. This plan complies with the Ordinances and from the Planning Department’s perspective there is no benefit in this plan’s return to the Planning Commission.

Chair Markham said that the residents want the plan to return. Their attorney wants the plan to return. She said that the developer agreed to this. Mr. Evancoe just wanted to offer his comment for the record. He said that typically a plan might be returned to the Planning Commission if there are substantial changes made between Preliminary Site Plan and Final Site Plan. Member Gaul asked whether the stipulation could be stated in that fashion. He did not want the Planning Commission to rehash the same information. Chair Markham said that the Planning Commission would not plow through the whole thing again, and a Public Hearing would not be held.

Member Cassis asked Mr. Schultz what his opinion was on this issue. Mr. Schultz responded that he understood Mr. Quinn to request this plan to return to the Planning Commission for Final Site Plan approval. Legally, the Planning Commission can request the plan return for Final Site Plan approval. As to whether the plan needs to come back, that is up to the Planning Commission.

Chair Markham said her understanding was that the request was for the Final Site Plan approval to come back to the Planning Commission so that everyone is aware what plan receives the ultimate approval. As discussed, there is a new plan in the works to move these buildings elsewhere. Mr. Quinn responded that she was correct, and that this becomes a timing issue that will allow the other plan to be worked on and brought forward for consideration. He said that it was important for the residents to be able to be part of the process for those reasons. Member Gaul accepted this stipulation, that the plan must return to the Planning Commission for Final Site Plan approval. Member Cassis also agreed.

Chair Markham asked whether there needed to be a conservation easement for the regulated woodland. Woodland Consultant Larry DeBrincat said that the majority of the regulated woodland was in the open space area, but there is a portion that goes onto this site. He recommended that a conservation easement be procured for that area. Chair Markham asked if the maker of the motion and the seconder would agree to a stipulation being added to the motion for a conservation easement for this property. Mr. Schmitt interjected that it was not required because a vast majority of this property is already under a conservation easement. Chair Markham asked whether the stipulation could be stated that, "A conservation easement, if required." Both members Gaul and Cassis agreed.

Chair Markham said that if this plan is superceded by another plan she hopes that the developer will respect the intent of the RUD. Mr. Schmitt said that a Stormwater Management Plan does not need to be part of the motion. Member Gaul and Member Cassis agreed to strike it from the motion. Chair Markham called for the vote.


In the matter of the request of Toll Brothers for Island Lake of Novi 2B, SP03-45, motion to grant approval of a Woodland Permit, Wetland Permit and Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission Waiver of perimeter berming requirement due to the large amount of woodlands and wetlands in the area; 2) The Conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; 3) The Final Site Plan returning to the Planning Commission for approval; and 4) A Conservation Easement, if required; for the reason that the plan meets wetlands, woodlands, landscaping, traffic, engineering, façade and fire requirements as well as the requirements of the RUD Agreement.

Motion carried 8-0.

Mr. Schmitt told the residents that they could call him on Tuesdays to find out on which Agenda the Final Site Plan approval for Island lake Phase 2B, SP03-45, would be placed.

Chair Markham called for a ten minute break.



Planner Barbara McBeth said that the request for a Public Hearing relating to residential district fences came from discussions held at City Council in 2002. She said that Section 2515 as currently written states that for all lots that are recorded within residential districts, fences are allowed in the side and rear yards, up to six feet in height. Fences are not allowed in the front yard unless the existing house already extends into that front yard setback, then the fence can be to the front of the house. She said there is a provision about decorative fencing, such as split rail fencing, that is less than twenty feet in length or four feet in height, and part of an approved landscape plan – those would be exempt from the Ordinance requirements.

Ms. McBeth said that the restrictions do not apply to lots that are in excess of two acres within a recorded plat, with lots with 200-feet frontages within a recorded plat, or to acreage parcels that are not within a recorded plat. Those exemptions are the three that City Council had suggested be removed from the Ordinance.

Ms. McBeth said that barbed wire fences are not allowed. Eight-foot fences are allowed in certain circumstances: when a fence encloses a public or institutional park, playground, public landscape area, or within an area with recorded lots. There are also special requirements for fences on lots with water frontage. City Council reviewed these standards and they recommended removing the section pertaining to larger lots so that all residential lots would be treated equally. The Planning Commission has been asked to set a Public Hearing for the proposed changes. She said the Commission may wish to have the Implementation Committee review the information first.

Member Sprague asked Member Kocan whether the Implementation Committee would like to review it. She, as the chair of that Committee, said that the Staff had made some suggestions for items to review and she thought some were very important. She wondered if Staff should provide their recommendations for definitions, specify how fence height should be measured, orientation, etc. Therefore, she preferred that the Implementation Committee look at these text amendments but she did not think that a Public Hearing could be scheduled prior to April 28, 2004.

Moved by Member Sprague, seconded by Member Cassis:

Motion to set a Public Hearing on Text Amendment 18.173 relating to fences in the residential districts for the April 28, 2004 Planning Commission meeting, following a review by the Implementation Committee.


Member Avdoulos agreed that the Implementation Committee should be thorough in their review so that the Planning Commission is more comfortable in holding the Public Hearing.

Member Sprague said it was important to have the Implementation Committee review these text amendments prior to their coming before the Planning Commission for a Public Hearing.

Chair Markham said she would be more comfortable if the Implementation Committee and Staff did a review and recommendation of the text amendment.

Member Kocan said that the Implementation Committee could accommodate the April 28, 2004 date. She asked that Novi’s Building Official, Don Saven, provide history on these issues, including ZBA information that may be useful.


Motion to set a Public Hearing on Text Amendment 18.173 relating to fences in the residential districts for the April 28, 2004 Planning Commission meeting, following a review by the Implementation Committee.

Motion carried 8-0.


Planner Barbara McBeth said that the Planning Commission has been requested to hold a Public Hearing on an Ordinance amendment relating to Accessory Structures – maximum size of garages. This matter was discussed at a City Council meeting in mid-2002, and again at City Council last month. City Council referred this matter to the Planning Commission for further study and a Public Hearing.

Ms. McBeth said this text amendment pertains to Section 2503.1 of the Zoning Ordinance which regulates residential garage size. Several modifications were proposed in the new language, including:

· Resizing the allowable area of accessory buildings in the R-2, R-3, R-4 and R-T districts from a maximum of 600 square feet to 850 square feet, which is intended to permit the equivalent of a three-car garage.

· Resizing the allowing area of accessory buildings in the R-A and R-1 districts from 750 square feet to a maximum of 1,000 square feet, which is intended to permit the equivalent of a four-car garage.

· The existing Ordinance allows up to an additional 250 square feet of space associated with a garage or a separate detached accessory building for the storage of tools, recreation equipment, dog house, etc. That section of the Ordinance is proposed to be deleted with inclusion of the new language.

· The proposed language maintains the standard that the floor area of the accessory buildings shall not exceed the ground floor area of the principle building on the lot. The new language does allow the ZBA to approve a larger area for accessory buildings with certain findings.

· New standards are proposed for screening the garage from the street if more than three single-width overhead doors face the front yard.

· New standards are proposed for the façade materials used for attached and detached accessory buildings in excess of 100 square feet, requiring an architectural style that would be compatible with the principle structure.

The Planning Department expects that additional comments will be forthcoming from the local residential builders on the proposed maximum size. Staff would be able to provide additional ZBA case information and Building Official Don Saven would also be asked to comment.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Shroyer:

Motion to send Text Amendment 18.164, relating to accessory structures, to the Implementation Committee for review, then to schedule a Public Hearing for a Planning Commission meeting.


Member Cassis suggested that a review by the Implementation Committee is not necessary. He said that the supportive material could be available for the Public Hearing and it would just be a matter of whether the Planning Commission agreed with the sizes or not.

Member Kocan said it was her understanding that this review has been dormant for a year and now the Building Department would like the City to consider even larger garages. She said it would be easier to have the meeting with the local developers at an Implementation Committee meeting.

Member Pehrson said that roof pitch and shingle exposure was also important. He thought it should go through the Implementation Committee.

Member Avdoulos said that it should go through the Implementation Committee and that the Building Official should give his input. The developers should be present to give their input as well.

Member Sprague suggested that the date for the Public Hearing could be May 12, 2004. Member Pehrson and Member Shroyer agreed to the change.

Chair Markham thought that the Novi Ordinance was rather specific in numbers whereas the other communities’ Ordinances related to setbacks, relative sizes, etc. She would like the Implementation Committee to review the matter.


Motion to send Text Amendment 18.164, relating to accessory structures, to the Implementation Committee for review, then to schedule a Public Hearing for the May 12, 2004 Planning Commission meeting.

Motion carried 8-0.


Consideration of the request of Northern Equities Group for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan and Storm Water Management Plan. The subject property is located in Section 12, on Cabot Drive between Twelve Mile and Thirteen Mile in the OST (Office Service Technology) District. The subject property is 3.47acres. The Applicant is proposing to construct a two-story, 45,764 square foot speculative medical office building.

Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. The property and surrounding areas are zoned OST and master planned for office. Across Haggerty Road to the east is Farmington Hills and it is zoned and master planned single family residential. Haggerty Road is to the east and Lewis Drive is to the south. Eberspacher is the development to the north and a detention pond is to the west.

Mr. Schmitt said that the property has no wetlands on it, but there is an adjacent detention basin. There are no woodlands. The main entrance to the building will be off of Lewis Drive. The parcel is being created as each building comes forward, so this parcel must be created through the Assessor’s Office. This parcel is not part of the condominium plan that was before the Planning Commission earlier this year.

The Landscape Review indicated that a Planning Commission waiver is necessary for the planting of evergreen trees on the north side of the parking lot to fulfill the parking lot landscaping requirements for the perimeter. A Planning Commission waiver for the berm along Haggerty Road ROW is necessary; the Applicant is proposing a hedgerow that will prevent the headlights from parking cars from shining into the residences east of Haggerty Road. A Planning Commission waiver is necessary for the street tree omission along Haggerty Road.

The Traffic, Fire and Engineering reviews all indicated that a City Council waiver for the secondary access point is necessary, or the Applicant will have to provide a secondary access. Mr. Schmitt said that there are possible locations for a secondary access – one to the north in line with Eberspacher’s driveway, or one in line with Lewis Medical’s driveway. The Applicant could also propose to put an access onto Haggerty Road. The Applicant tried to work with Eberspacher but they were not interested in working out a plan for the drive as they are already built; the City sees no recourse in this situation. Trying to hook up with Lewis Medical would require a road around the detention basin but that is not feasible because of the grades. The emergency access onto Haggerty Road is the only alternative, which will not require a Same Side Driveway Spacing Waiver or an Opposite Side Driveway Spacing Waiver because it will only be considered an emergency access. The Applicant has indicated he plans on pursuing a waiver from City Council for the secondary access.

Matt Sosin from Northern Equities Group addressed the Planning Commission. He said the building is beautiful and there is great interest from potential leaseholders. Mr. Sosin said that he met with Eberspacher about the driveway and they came up with a list of demands that did not pertain to the easement. It was not a feasible plan. Mr. Sosin said that an entrance onto Haggerty Road would not be safe and would be too close to Eberspacher. Even with the emergency gate, Mr. Sosin fears that people will still pull into the drive thinking that it is an entrance. Mr. Sosin’s opinion is that the Fire Marshal is not that concerned over a secondary access point. Mr. Sosin offered to add another hydrant or make the entrance onto Lewis Drive wider or add geogrid to the grass so that firetrucks could traverse the lawn; the Fire Marshal didn’t think any of these solutions were necessary. He noted that it is a brick and steel building and is fully sprinklered. He also said that the building is fairly close to the road and that also makes a difference.

Member Shroyer thought the building was nice looking. He doesn’t like when plans come forward with requests for waivers and variances. He asked for the legal opinion regarding the City requesting the placement of trees on land that he does not own. City Attorney Tom Schultz responded that Mr. Shipman’s letter of January 21, 2004 was accurate and addressed Mr. Stewart’s concerns. He said that the Ordinance was relatively new but considered valid.

Member Shroyer said that the Applicant is providing 222 parking spaces but only 210 are required. He said that he doesn’t see why a secondary access onto Haggerty cannot be designed – without a gate even. He suggested that it be an "ingress only" entrance.

Member Shroyer likes berms and did not see a reason to support the hedgerow request. He said the elevation of the property seemed level with the road and the residents to the east; Civil Engineer Ben Croy concurred. Member Shroyer was concerned about headlights shining into the residents’ homes. Landscape Architect Lance Shipman said there is a foot difference in elevation between this property and the residents. The majority of those residents have erected their own privacy fences. There are two parcels that don’t have fences. Member Shroyer said that the fences are not required so new homeowners could remove those fences.

Member Shroyer said that the building is oversized; if it were designed smaller then the parking area would be smaller and the requests for waivers and variances would dissipate.

Member Cassis said that he would like to understand better why the secondary access cannot be created with Eberspacher. He thought that a Haggerty Road access should be explored further as well. He thought that the variances were a result of building oversize.

Member Gaul did not like the evergreen design for this OST district. He said that in twenty years they would obscure the view of the building.

Member Sprague stated that he was in agreement with what the other Planning Commission members had said but he suggested that the Applicant respond to them regarding why he was seeking these waivers and variances.

Mr. Sosin said he respectfully disagreed with the Commission that the waivers and variances were related to the building size. He said he would put the berm in; he thought what had been designed was more attractive. The evergreen design was created to complement the existing row of evergreens. He said to plant deciduous trees now would look strange. The existing Lewis Tech building and the pond already have evergreens. That was a landscape architectural decision.

Mr. Sosin said that if the Planning Commission will not approve this plan without a secondary access, then he will put in a secondary access; he showed a plan that was designed with a second access. He said he would lose two parking spaces; he said that 222 would be provided and 221 were required. He did not think this was the best design for the site but if the Planning Commission would prefer it he would make those changes.

Mr. Shipman told Member Sprague that he reviewed the area along the north side along the Eberspacher property line. He concurred that evergreens are planted in that area and along the detention basin. The north side also has a parking lot. He said it seemed to be appropriate to accept the evergreen design – as both a continuation of an existing landscape design and as a light-shed buffer. The request for a waiver represents counting those evergreen trees as some of their (spillover) parking lot tree requirement in lieu of their planting deciduous trees.

Member Avdoulos liked the building and would prefer that there was no berm along Haggerty Road. He thought that the berm would affect the "architectural viewshed" that begins with the attractive Eberspacher building. He said that the City is discussing different ways of enhancing the appearance along thoroughfares, and this is an example of where that should be considered. He thought there should be a reduction of evergreens and that they should be pushed back.

Member Avdoulos said that the secondary access is a concern, especially because Haggerty Road is a busy road. He would agree to a one-way design if necessary. He wondered if Eberspacher was ever directed to provide secondary access to the adjacent sites during their review. He also thought that if Eberspacher were asked to provide secondary access to the adjacent sites that their drive would end up being a major thoroughfare. Member Avdoulos agreed that it would be nice to have a letter for documentation of Northern Equities’ attempt to secure that secondary access with Eberspacher.

Member Avdoulos agreed with Mr. Shipman’s response that tree planting can be requested on the Haggerty Road ROW.

Member Avdoulos asked about the parking requirement. Mr. Schmitt said that the calculation is based on the gross leasable area (GLA) square footage. He said that market conditions suggest that large users will lease this space which will result in more GLA. The 210 required spaces is based on the current floor plan but might be more realistic at 215 or 220 spaces.

Member Avdoulos asked whether Birchler Arroyo’s suggestion of a twenty-foot wide emergency entrance off of Haggerty would include a break-away gate across a drive or grass. Mr. Schmitt replied that it would be a drive. Mr. Schmitt said there is some concern as to whether the RCOC will allow a Haggerty curb cut. Mr. Schmitt also commented that the City may not be in favor of an emergency access on Haggerty – from an aesthetic viewpoint. From the beginning, the City has known that the secondary access to this project would be an issue. The Applicant was directed to go to Eberspacher. The City can’t require a stub from Eberspacher because they provided two points of access already. The City cannot assist this Applicant in procuring an access to Eberspacher.

Member Avdoulos would be amenable to this project having one entry if the Fire Marshal would document his acceptance of that design. Mr. Schmitt responded that the Fire Marshal is not as concerned from a fire protection standpoint because it is a fully sprinklered building. He is more concerned for the EMS access situation because it is a medical building.

Member Avdoulos reiterated that he wants the street trees and doesn’t mind granting the berm waiver. He thought that the pitched roof design of the building complemented the residential homes in the area. He thought it was a good transitional building.

Member Kocan cannot support the request for a City Council waiver for secondary access. She felt that it would be wrong to require two accesses for a 10,000 square foot building and not a 40,000 square foot building. She thought that a one-way entrance could be centered between the Lewis Tech and Eberspacher entrances. She will not support a hedgerow in lieu of a berm. She said she would support a two-foot berm with a three-foot crest instead of a three-foot berm with a two-foot crest. She said that the street trees are a requirement of the City and an important feature.

Member Kocan said that she would not support the evergreen waiver if it were setting a precedent for moving interior trees to the perimeter, especially if this is necessary because they have designed too much impervious surface. Mr. Shipman responded said that this waiver request is specifically addressing language in the Ordinance that requires deciduous trees and is requested for design continuity reasons. He also commented that planting "spillover" trees along the perimeter is not a unique problem for this Applicant; this situation occurs often.

Mr. Shipman said that the Applicant will provide a variation of species on their Final Site Plan submittal.

Member Kocan confirmed that the distance between Lewis Tech’s drive and the Eberspacher Drive is just short of 500 feet. The Same Side Spacing requirement on Haggerty would be 230 feet according to Civil Engineer Ben Croy. Mr. Croy said that it is undesirable to have the drive not line up with an access aisle. An entrance from Haggerty would likely require a taper lane, and it may be difficult to achieve the length necessary by the Ordinance. An emergency access from Haggerty could be paved with a different material or designed with a mountable curb. Mr. Croy assumed that all emergency vehicles in Novi would be equipped with the key to unlock emergency gates.

Chair Markham asked about the retaining wall. Mr. Shipman said that the landscape plan did not show the retaining wall between the parking lot and the detention basin that the engineering plan showed. The Applicant has been asked to show it on both plans. Mr. Sosin said that they are reviewing the grading plan for this project and ultimately this wall may be removed, but in any case the two plans will reflect the same information on the Final Site Plan.

Chair Markham is not a fan of berms along major thoroughfares. Chair Markham said that the secondary access is a health and safety issue. She is open to where its placement should be. She confirmed with Mr. Schmitt that a secondary access onto Lewis Drive is not possible because it is too close to Haggerty Road. There are approximately 200 feet available in that area and adding a curb cut would be too close to Haggerty Road. Chair Markham asked whether it would be feasible if it were just an emergency entrance. Director of Planning David Evancoe responded that a secondary access is most strategically placed away from the primary access; otherwise a blocked road may result in two blocked entrances. A secondary access point on Lewis Drive may not be practical. Chair Markham said that nonetheless, this issue must be resolved.

Mr. Sosin said he has only had preliminary conversations with Oakland County regarding an access point. He thinks that they would be amenable to a gated emergency access, even if they aren’t willing to approve a general access or a one-way access. He asked that the Planning Commission remember that this emergency access would still be subject to RCOC approval. Chair Markham said she understood.

Chair Markham did not have a problem with the evergreen trees or the berm.

Member Cassis said that the secondary access is very important. It is a health and safety issue. A gated access to a medical building may not be appropriate if, for instance, someone got ill or a car caught on fire. There are five hundred feet that are potentially inaccessible. He asked how emergency access can be assured with just one access, especially along a busy road like Haggerty. Mr. Sosin said that he will provide a secondary access to Haggerty with a breakaway gate. There is no lock on the gate, and this design is similar to what is provided at PayChex and Omron. EMS, Police and Fire will all be able to enter through this gate. The gate is twenty feet wide. Mr. Sosin said he will try to secure this approval from the Road Commission.

Member Cassis asked Civil Engineer Ben Croy whether the plan should be postponed until such time that the Applicant obtained secondary access. Mr. Croy thought that the Road Commission would agree to a gated access. He thought they would not agree to an active curb cut onto Haggerty Road. A gated access should not have any impact onto Haggerty Road. He pointed out that he could not speak for the Commission, however. Mr. Sosin said that he would want it screened to whatever extent possible because it should only be used for emergency purposes.

Member Cassis asked whether the Applicant would be amenable to the motion stating the Applicant’s need for a secondary access. Mr. Sosin said he will do everything in his power to get that access. He did not want to represent to the Planning Commission that he won’t build on the site if he can’t get secondary access because that is out of his control. He understands the health and safety issues. He has spoken with the Fire Marshal. He met with his neighbors. Member Cassis said that he did not have any evidence before him from the Fire Marshal that states he would accept the plan without the secondary access.

Chair Markham said that the motion could state that the plan must include a secondary access. Mr. Sosin agreed, as long as it stated that the inclusion of the secondary access was subject to the Road Commission’s approval.

Mr. Evancoe said that the Planning Commission can state that a secondary access is required. The Planning Commission is only making a recommendation to City Council as to what the Planning Commission’s position is on the issue.

Moved by Member Sprague, seconded by Member Pehrson:

In the matter of Lewis Medical Center, SP03-59, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan and Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) The Applicant providing a secondary point of access by use of a gated access point along Haggerty Road subject to County approval; 2) A Planning Commission Waiver to allow evergreen trees to be used as perimeter parking lot landscaping trees along the north property line; 3) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; 4) The Applicant revising plan to eliminate the need for the waiver of the ROW berm; 5) The elimination of the waiver for the street trees along Haggerty Road; for the reason that the plan is in compliance with the City Master Plan and except as otherwise noted, is in compliance with City Ordinances.


Member Gaul asked whether something could be done about the evergreen trees. He thought the addition of more evergreens was compounding the problem. He asked whether something else could be used that wouldn’t obscure the building. Mr. Sosin responded that evergreens were specifically chosen for Lewis Tech. He said he did not want a tacky looking building. Mr. Schmitt said that one of the problems with the Eberspacher building is that it is almost a flag lot. Their entrance is on a narrow piece of land that touches Haggerty Road. It is not so much what Northern Equities is doing in Haggerty Corporate Park, but the problem is the parcel characteristics of their neighbor’s property. The building will be obscured regardless of what is planted. Had Eberspacher faced Cabot Drive it might have worked out differently. Mr. Sosin preferred to leave the evergreens in place. If he goes out to the field with Mr. Shipman and they determine that the evergreens are the wrong choice, then he would revisit the issue. However, he doesn’t see how anything other than evergreens would be better.

Mr. Schultz asked to make clear that the waiver for the berm was not granted on the assumption that it is not an equivalent to the berm to just have a hedgerow. Member Sprague said that was correct, and the motion states that the Applicant will revise the plan to add the berm. Mr. Schultz said that was fine, he just wanted the finding listed in the minutes for clarification.

Mr. Schultz then stated that the street trees were not waived based on the finding that Mr. Shipman said there is room for those trees and they appear to be appropriate in this circumstance. Member Sprague concurred with Mr. Schultz’s comments, and said that if those findings needed to be added to the motion that he would do so.

Mr. Shipman said that because it is a County Road ROW, County approval must be garnered prior to the placement of the street trees. If the County does not approve the trees, then they will not be able to be planted. Chair Markham confirmed that there are now two issues for the Applicant to meet with the County - street trees and secondary access.

Member Sprague asked whether the motion should state subject to County approval. Mr. Schultz said that was not necessary. The Plan will show the trees and if the County approves them, they will go in.

Member Avdoulos asked the maker of the motion to reconsider the berm. He said the trees that are proposed are red maples. In front of those trees heading toward the entrance, there are snowdrift crabapples. The lower portion then has fescue and other low-lying shrubs. He said it appears that a lot of effort has been put into the landscaping so that it plays off the building and to enhance it, giving it a more formal look. When you go toward the perimeter of the building, reed grass is used, which then tapers off closer to the sidewalk. This is unique and interesting. This was meant to create something nice along Haggerty Road and he didn’t want it compromised by a berm just because the City wants a berm. A pseudo-berm is along Lewis Drive, and it tapers off as it turns the corner. A really nice formal line of trees is then in place. He thought the architecture worked well with this landscape design. He said it will already be compromised by the secondary access. He is not even a proponent of the street trees because they will block what landscaping is already shown on the plan.

Chair Markham asked Mr. Shipman for his opinion. He responded that the use of hedges for screening parking lots is a standard method. The particular variety of plant material that the Applicant is proposing is a hex juniper which requires shearing to maintain the shape. He cited Comerica Park’s use of the plant to screen a parking lot along Woodward Avenue. In that location its use was successful. Its appearance can be full without holes or crevices. It can be shaped and appear formal. Choosing between a berm and a hedge is fairly subjective.

Member Avdoulos asked how the Applicant would maintain the berm. The Applicant responded that it would be handled much the same way as Lewis Drive. It is a longer expanse of space. He said the berm would be so long and would interfere with the placement of the trees. Mr. Sosin said they didn’t come asking for a waiver for no apparent reason; there was great thought behind the request. He thanked Member Avdoulos for noticing their efforts.

Member Sprague preferred the berm but would not have a problem updating his motion. Chair Markham agreed with Member Avdoulos, as did Member Cassis. Member Sprague changed his motion to include the waiver for the ROW berm along Haggerty Road. Member Pehrson supported his change.


In the matter of Lewis Medical Center, SP03-59, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan and Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) The Applicant providing a secondary point of access by use of a gated access point along Haggerty Road subject to County approval; 2) A Planning Commission Waiver to allow evergreen trees to be used as perimeter parking lot landscaping trees along the north property line; 3) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; 4) A waiver for the ROW berm along Haggerty Road; 5) The elimination of the waiver for the street trees along Haggerty Road; for the reason that the plan is in compliance with the City Master Plan and except as otherwise noted, is in compliance with City Ordinances.

Motion carried 6-2 (Yes: Avdoulos, Cassis, Kocan, Markham, Pehrson, Sprague; No: Gaul, Shroyer)


Director of Planning David Evancoe stated that Larry Wilkinson from Beztak Company was available at the meeting if the Planning Commission had questions for him.

Chair Markham said that the Novaplex Final Site Plan approval will have expired prior to the next Planning Commission meeting, and it was too late to place this issue on this Agenda and provide the appropriate paperwork for the Planning Commission members to review.

Moved by Member Sprague, seconded by Member Kocan:

Motion to table the request of Beztak Company for Novaplex, SP99-32, to a future meeting.


Member Shroyer said that the March 3, 2004 letter indicated that Beztak was going to ask for a one-year extension. He then said that the March 8, 2004 letter requested the postponement. He did not understand why the extension couldn’t be reviewed at this meeting. Mr. Evancoe replied that the Staff has not had an opportunity to review the site plan and alert the Planning Commission to any possible issues that might be of concern in extending the approval. This site plan has already been extended twice. The Staff typically reviews what new Ordinances may be in place that affect this plan.


Motion to table the request of Beztak Company for Novaplex, SP99-32, to a future meeting.

Motion carried 8-0.


There were no Consent Agenda Removals.



This informal meeting was scheduled for May 5, 2004 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the City Attorney’s office located at Thirteen Mile and Northwestern Highway. This session will include issues such as motion making. They will supply a light pizza dinner. Mr. Evancoe will determine which staff members will participate (Tim Schmitt).

Chair Markham said that the Administrative Liaison Committee had some ideas for topics. Member Kocan suggested Roberts’ Rules of Order, Ordinance compliance considerations, discretionary/nondiscretionary decisions. She suggested that the order of discussion be considerate of the newer Planning Commission members who may not be well-versed on issues likes RUDs and PUDs.

If time permits, Mr. Schultz said they would discuss Conservation Easements and the Access Point issue. They will discuss when it is appropriate for the City to require a neighboring property to provide access through their property, and when it is just a request. The Planning Commission was encouraged to let the City know if they had suggestions for topics.


Chair Markham said that the Administrative Liaison Committee met with Director of Planning David Evancoe and Planner Barbara McBeth on March 9, 2004. Chair Markham was looking for guidance on how to set a reasonable Agenda that wouldn’t run past 11:30 p.m. Chair Markham will begin receiving a backlog list of plans that require placement on the Planning Commission Agenda so that she can pace the process. She noted that she removed an item from this Agenda because she was familiar with the plan’s history and knew the Planning Commission would require a good deal of time for its review. She acknowledged that most of the Planning Commission was uncomfortable with the recent long meetings and she hoped that the timing of the meetings is better managed in the future.


No one from the audience wished to speak.


Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Cassis:

Motion to adjourn.

Motion carried 8-0.











Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, April 15, 2004.

Signature on File

Date Approved: April 28, 2004 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant Date