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CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:30 p.m.
Present: Members Avdoulos, Cassis, Gaul, Kocan, Markham, Pehrson, Ruyle, Shroyer, Sprague
Also Present: David Evancoe, Director of Planning; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Barbara McBeth, Planner; Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect; Ben Croy, Civil Engineer; Tom Schultz, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The meeting attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Shroyer asked that Family Fun Center be added to the Agenda
Moved by Member Ruyle, seconded by Member Pehrson:
Motion to approve the Agenda of April 28, 2004 as amended.
Motion carried 9-0.
Chair Markham opened the floor to those audience members who wished to address the Planning Commission.
·Marsha Boynton, 26850 Wixom Road: Property is adjacent to the Promenade/Target property. She wanted to bring the condition of the berm between these two properties to the attention of the Planning Commission. She felt that there were a number of outstanding issues relating to Phase I of this project that should be addressed before the developer moves forward with Phase II. She requested that if the Consent Judgment on this property were reopened, their concerns be added to the list of negotiation items in that process. (Landscape Architect responded to Member Kocan’s question about opacity; he said that his inspection of the property indicates that the opacity requirements meet or exceed the intent of the Consent Judgment and the Ordinance. The Applicant has also planted additional evergreens, trees and evergreens and has refaced the back wall. He noted that the trees are young and must be given time to mature. He also stated that in some cases the area is overplanted which may adversely affect the plants’ viability. Member Kocan said that the opacity issue should be reviewed for compliance on every development that has been approved with an 80-90% opacity requirement.)
·Tami Bethune, 25922 Arcadia Drive: Submitted over thirty letters in response to the proposed Family Fun Park. The local residents still have concerns regarding noise. They are afraid of what this property will look like over time. She encouraged the City to maintain control of this issue.
·Marge Stone, 25895 Arcadia Drive: Encouraged the City to prohibit the Applicant from downsizing the picnic area. She expressed concern that the safety of the area has been compromised by the new parking lot design.
·Tom Blessing, 25737 Lochmoor: Compared the noise issue of Freedom Hill to the possible noise problem that the Family Fun Park represents. He noted that Sterling Heights’ position is that they have little ability to address the Freedom Hill noise, and was concerned that Novi will find itself in a similar position. He was concerned about an adverse affect to his property value.
·Wayne Hogan, Woodland Glen Drive: Commented that Grand River was a commercial corridor and that residents in the area were aware of that fact when they purchased their properties. He said that the Family Fun Park Applicant has gone above and beyond what is necessary to address the requirements of the ADA, such as placing sidewalk access near all of the handicapped parking spaces and improving accessibility within the park.
·Joe Galvan, Representative of Novi Family Fun Park: Stated that administrative review of the parking lot change is appropriate based on the language found in the Ordinance. He also understood that because the Planning Commission did not make separate motions regarding the Special Land Use and Preliminary Site Plan approval of the Novi Family Fun Park, it is also appropriate for the Planning Commission to weigh in. He does anticipate that the plan will go forward as an administrative review. He said that Special Land Use, noise analysis and public input on the park are not the issues on the table; the only issue is determination on how the City will process this minor change to a site plan, one which brings the plan into conformance with the Ordinance.
·Matt Rozek, 45950 West Eleven Mile: Asked that the Planning Commission would revisit the lighting and noise as it relates to the relocation of the parking lot. He stated that the reduction of the picnic area results in this plan becoming more of an amusement park.
Chair Markham reminded the audience that the Novi Family Fun Park issue was added to the Agenda and would be discussed later in the evening. She noted that there is an additional Audience Participation segment at the end of the meeting. Chair Markham closed this Audience Participation.
Member Avdoulos stated that were several letters received regarding the Novi Family Fun Park.
·Marge Stone, 25895 Arcadia: Opposed the project. This citizen read her letter during the Audience Participation.
·Gerald Brusher, 25833 Lochmoor: Opposed the project for noise and proximity to residential reasons.
·Novi Residents of Eleven Mile and Vicinity: Cover letter to 33 responses. This letter encouraged the City to consider first the needs of its residents. The opposing correspondence came from: Maria Mazza, 25714 Arcadia Drive; Jim and Gin Freers, 25622 Gina Court; Gerald and Frances Franchi, 25890 Arcadia; Tami and Mike Bethune, 25922 Arcadia Drive; MCurt23, 25938 Arcadia Drive; Patricia and Michael Beach, 25797 Arcadia Drive; Dennis Diacono, 25874 Venetian Court; Patricia Dooley; Kathy Florence; Najjarmary; Beth Dempsey, 25690 Groveland; John Giampa, 25647 Laramie Drive; Linda Boran, 25773 Cody Lane; Karen Wineman, 25354 Sullivan Lane; Tim Prokop, 25970 Arcadia Drive; Karen Breaugh, Walden Woods II; Don and Diane Johnson, 25842 Arcadia; Dave and Cindy Webster, 25841 Arcadia; Rodney Falsetti, 25687 Cody Lane; Marge and Jeff Stone, 25895 Arcadia; Mary L. DePotter, 25923 Arcadia Drive; Larry and Nancy Burtka, 25594 Anthony Drive; Rosanne and Vincent Genise, 25697 Arcadia Drive; Matt Rozek, 45950 W. Eleven Mile; Susan Thomas, 25906 Arcadia Drive; Greg and Sue Cocke, 25498 Arcadia Drive; Cathy and Michael Reilly; Scott Hunt, 46790 W. Eleven Mile; Kara Sawaya; Rob Aprilliano; Matt and Liz Lyons, 25953 Arcadia Drive; and Steve Blahunka, 25882 Glenmoor Drive. The supportive correspondence came from Michelle Lewis, 25666 Arcadia Drive.
Member Shroyer stated that the Rules Committee has submitted information to the City Attorney for review; Tom Schultz told him that it has been reviewed and would be forthcoming.
Chair Markham said that a Master Plan and Zoning Committee is scheduled for May 6, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. to review some rezoning requests. Chair Markham said that Master Plan will also be discussed. She said that City Council has voted to allow the Planning Commission to approve the Master Plan; she appreciated their vote of confidence. She noted that the City Council will again be reviewing the Master Plan at the May 3, 2004 meeting.
Member Sprague spoke on behalf of the Planning Commission at the last budget session. He told the City Council that the Planning Commission endorses re-allocating designated "Planning Commission" money toward a Greenways Plan. He did not stay for the outcome but it was his understanding that City Council approved of this re-allocation of funds.
Member Avdoulos informed the Planning Commission that the Friends of Maybury raised over $2,000 at their spaghetti dinner fundraiser to purchase Farmer John Beemer a new tractor. Member Avdoulos reminded the Planning Commission that Toll Brothers (Island Lake) donated their barn to the Maybury farm. Member Avdoulos also reported that over 200 older adults from Northville and Novi attended the Hillside Middle School senior prom.
Chair Markham noted that both Member Avdoulos and she live in the section of Novi that sends their children to Northville schools and she applauds all efforts that bring the two communities together.
There were no presentations.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
There was no Consent Agenda.
1. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.173
The Public Hearing was opened for possible recommendation to City Council to add a definition of "Fences" to Section 201, definitions: D – F of Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to amend Section 2515 Fences (Residential and Non-Residential) District and to amend Section 2907 Porches; Decks, all proposed in order to modify the Standards for Fences within the City of Novi.
Planner Barbara McBeth said that this Ordinance was first reviewed in 2002 by the Ordinance Review Committee. The Planning Commission sent this issue to the Implementation Committee for review prior to its holding the necessary Public Hearing. The Implementation Committee has forwarded a positive recommendation to the Planning Commission on the changes described below.
Currently, Section 2515 places certain limitations on residential fences – their height cannot exceed six feet and cannot extend into the front yard setback except in those situations where a fence may extend into the front yard setback to the same extent that a home may encroach that same setback. Decorative fencing (less than twenty feet in length or shorter than four feet) is exempt as long as it is part of an approved landscape plan. There are exclusions to waterfront lots – the fences cannot be higher than four feet and cannot obstruct the view of the lake. Hedgerows are also not permitted on waterfront lots.
Ms. McBeth said that certain residential lots are excluded from the six-foot height and front yard setback standards: Lots larger than two acres within a recorded plat, lots with a frontage of at least two hundred feet within a recorded plat, and acreage parcels not within a recorded plat. The Ordinance Review Committee originally recommended removing these large lot exclusions. The Implementation Committee however, recommends maintaining these exclusions. The Implementation Committee does recommend limiting all fences to six feet in height.
Ms. McBeth said that the Implementation Committee also recommends that a definition of fences be placed in the Ordinance. The definition proposed is, "An enclosure or barrier such as wooden posts, wire, iron, etc., used as a boundary, means of protection, privacy screening or confinement, but not including hedges, shrubs, trees or other natural growth."
Ms. McBeth said that the Implementation Committee recommends the elimination of a possible discrepancy for fences around porches and decks on waterfront lots, i.e., additional language is proposed that will allow four-foot fences around waterfront lot decks.
The Implementation Committee also recommends adding an Ordinance definition for hedges and hedgerows, since the term is used in Section 2515.1.a.2 (regarding waterfront lots), and in the definition proposed by the Implementation Committee for fences.
Chair Markham closed the Public Hearing after determining no one in the audience wished to address the Planning Commission.
Member Kocan explained that the Ordinance Review Committee made their recommendation to make fence standards the same for all homes in Novi, specifically, to prevent fence placement in front yard setbacks. The Implementation Committee found that in most cases large lot homeowners have provided very attractive fencing, and they also found that it was acceptable for larger lots to have this feature. Member Kocan informed the Planning Commission that there are no permit requirements for fence placement, but she said that the City and the Building Department do not want to micromanage fence placement.
Member Kocan noted that the motion should also include the hedgerow definitions.
Member Shroyer asked whether a shorter (two or three-foot) brick or stone wall would be allowed on waterfront lots. Ms. McBeth said existing fences are grandfathered. Ms. McBeth said that the Implementation Committee did not wish to enforce any type of opacity restrictions on fences, other than the opacity restriction that already exists for waterfront properties. Member Kocan cited Section 2515.a.2 as the location where the language prohibiting brick/stone walls can be found. Member Shroyer would support allowing shorter brick/stone walls.
Member Shroyer asked why privacy fencing around decks would be limited to six feet when standard deck fencing is available in eight-foot partitions. Ms. McBeth said that this stipulation already existed in the Ordinance, and that this Implementation Committee review merely provided for waterfront lots to have six-foot deck fencing too.
Member Cassis asked City Attorney Tom Schultz what he thought about fence permits, because he thought that maybe it was appropriate for the Building Department to be involved with fence placement. Mr. Schultz responded that Mr. Saven, Building Official, was emphatic that fence permits would be burdensome to the Building Department. In the long term, he thought the City might like to look at this and budget for it in the future.
Member Pehrson noted that a fence is permitted if it surrounds a pool. Member Pehrson also reiterated that any existing two-foot brick wall is grandfathered. Member Pehrson asked if there was an opacity percentage associated with a hedgerow. Ms. McBeth said that the definition that the Implementation Committee proposes for hedgerow is, "A fence formed by a row of closely planted shrubs or bushes." She did not think that further clarification of hedgerow opacity was required because they are either allowed or excluded, and nothing in between.
Member Avdoulos said that he reviewed this text amendment as it relates to homes outside of subdivisions. He noted several examples of homes on large lots in Novi that have very attractive fencing and/or ornamental walls. He said that on some of the farmstead properties it is entirely appropriate that they have fences, and that it is difficult to say that all homes should be treated equally for fences. He noted that brick walls will require a foundation and that a homeowner would have to work with the Building Department for a foundation inspection. Ultimately the Implementation Committee found that the Ordinance worked well and they chose just to refine certain items contained therein, such as the six-foot height limitation.
Member Kocan clarified for the record that minimum lot frontage in R-A is 150 feet.
Chair Markham asked whether lakefront lots are treated the same all throughout the City – Island Lake, Walled Lake, Meadowbrook Lake, etc. Ms. McBeth replied that they are bound by this Ordinance, but homeowners associations in those areas may impose even more restrictive standards.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Cassis:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON TEXT AMENDMENT 18.173 "FENCES" MOTION MADE BY MEMBER KOCAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER CASSIS:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.173, motion to send a positive recommendation to City Council for: 1) The addition of a definition of "Fence" to Section 201, Definitions D-F of Ordinance 97-18, as amended; 2) The addition of a definition of "Hedgerow" to Section 201, Definitions G-K of Ordinance 97-18, as amended; The amendment of Section 2515, Fences (Residential and Non-Residential Districts); and 3) The amendment of Section 2907, Porches and Decks; all proposed in order to modify the Standards for Fences within the City of Novi.
Motion carried 9-0.
2. HUMMER OF NOVI, SITE PLAN NUMBER 04-09
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Scott A. Riddle, Incorporated for possible recommendation to City Council of a Concept Plan. The subject property is located in Section 24, north of Grand River Avenue and east of Meadowbrook Road in the GE (Gateway East) District. The subject property is approximately 6.72 acres. The Applicant is proposing an automobile dealership.
Planner Barbara McBeth reminded the Planning Commission that the Applicant appeared before them and City Council for two separate rezoning requests and approval of a Development Agreement for this parcel. The property was rezoned from I-1, Light Industrial to B-3, General Business. At the time of that rezoning, the Ordinance for Gateway East had not yet been adopted by Council. Simultaneous with Council’s review of the proposed zoning change to B-3 for the property, Council was in the last stages of reviewing the Gateway East Ordinance. Council decided that the rezoning to B-3 would be approved, subject to the approval of a Development Agreement that would require the Applicant to request a rezoning to GE and follow the GE standards for review and approval. The Applicant has followed this request and submitted a Concept Plan for review under the Gateway East Ordinance standards for a Special Development Option, frequently referred to as SDO.
The Ordinance allows the Planning Commission to review a Concept Plan under the SDO section of the Ordinance for a review and recommendation to City Council. Following approval of the Concept Plan, a Preliminary Site Plan may be reviewed for approval by City Council.
Ms. McBeth showed an aerial photo of the property, which is currently vacant land. To the north are industrial buildings that front on Vincenti Court. To the west is the Gateway mixed use development currently under construction. To the east is the City’s Regional Detention Basin. To the south is vacant land. The Master Plan designation for the parcel is Community Commercial, as well as for the property on the southeast corner of Grand River and Meadowbrook. The Master Plan currently under review by City Council recommends Town Center Gateway for the subject property, the property on the south side of Grand River and for the property on the west side of Meadowbrook Road. To the north, northwest and east the Master Plan for land use recommends light industrial uses for the properties. The site is zoned GE, Gateway East. The properties to the north, northwest and east are zoned I-1, Light Industrial. To the west and southwest, the properties are zoned NCC, Non-Center commercial. To the south, the property is zoned OS-1, Office Service.
Ms. McBeth stated that the Concept Plan provided by the Applicant shows a 23,117 square foot automobile dealership building and associated display parking and visitor parking. The plan shows two driveways into the site - one from Grand River and the other from Meadowbrook Road. The building is situated on the southwest corner of the site. The employee and visitor parking area is located closest to the building and the display parking makes up the remainder of the parking area. The natural stream and wetlands along the north and east sides of the site are proposed to remain, along with the City’s Regional Detention basin to the east.
During review of the submitted Concept plan, the City’s professional staff and consultants found items that may be addressed on the Preliminary Site Plan. Ms. McBeth said that there were a number of important items for the Planning Commission to consider in its recommendation to City Council, as indicated in the Planning Review. The following determinations regarding this plan should be made by the Planning Commission in its recommendation to City Council:
Consistency with the Master Plan;
Innovative planning and design excellence;
Relationship to adjacent land uses;
Compliance with this Ordinance;
Benefits to the community such as publicly dedicated parks and open areas, and public facilities;
Pedestrian and/or vehicular safety provisions;
Aesthetic beauty in terms of design, exterior materials and landscaping, including internal compatibility within the development, as well as its relationship to surrounding properties.
Provisions for the users of the project;
An evaluation of the standards in Subsection 904D, E and F.
Most of the items from the Ordinance and Development Agreement are addressed satisfactorily on the submitted Concept Plan:
The building is shown to contain 23,117 square feet, and the Development Agreement allows up to 23,500 square feet of building area.
The site contains 6.721 acres, and therefore exceeds the minimum site size of five acres.
The site contains more than the minimum frontage of 300 feet along the major thoroughfares, with 456 feet of frontage along Grand River and 678 feet of frontage along Meadowbrook Road.
The Applicant will be asked to dedicate the necessary rights of way along these road frontages at the time of Final Site Plan Review.
Three small vehicle display areas are shown adjacent to the road rights of way, as shown on Exhibit B. The Development Agreement specifically calls out that no other outdoor vehicle display and/or storage will be allowed to a greater extent, closer or with greater exposure, to the adjacent roads. The Planning Department noted that a fourth display area is shown north of the building, and was also shown on Exhibit B. City Council will have to decide whether this additional display area is acceptable.
A three-foot wall is required along Grand River and Meadowbrook roads, and is shown on the Concept Plan. The proposed plans show that the wall does not appear to be continuous along Grand River directly behind the vehicle display area. Additional detail will be needed on the landscape plan to confirm that the plan conforms to the requirements along the roads.
A number of other items were discussed in the Planning Review including streetscape amenities, natural features and other requirements of the development agreement. Many of these items can be addressed with the review of the Preliminary Site Plan.
The Planning Commission was asked to hold the required Public Hearing and review the proposed conceptual plan for recommendation to City Council for approval or denial of the plan. If Council approves the Concept Plan, it will then review the Preliminary Site Plan for approval, as indicated in the Gateway East Ordinance.
Scott Riddle addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of Hummer of Novi. He introduced Gary Wood, dealer-owner, and Dan LeClaire of Alpine Engineering. Mr. Riddle said that he has been discussing their project with the local residents. He offered to answer any questions the Planning Commission may have.
Chair Markham opened the floor up for public comment:
Wayne Hogan: Stated that the handicapped parking has been improved on the submitted plan, and he wished to make it known that this is yet another Applicant in Novi who has been receptive to working with the ADA standards.
Member Avdoulos read two letters:
Robert L. Fenton, Grand River/Meadowbrook Properties Managing Partner, 31800 Northwestern Hwy, Farmington Hills, MI: Approved of the project for its ability to bring more high-end development to the area.
Dan Weiss, Weiss Construction Company, 41001 Grand River: Approved as it is in the best interest of the community.
Chair Markham closed the Public Hearing.
Moved by Member Gaul, supported by Member Ruyle:
In the matter of the request of Scott A. Riddle, Inc., (Hummer of Novi), SP04-09, motion to recommend approval to City Council of a Special Development Option concept plan, subject to the comments on the attached review letters being addressed at the time of Preliminary Site Plan review for the following reasons: 1) The plan meets all requirements; 2) There has already been extensive discussion of the proposed plan; and 3) The Development Agreement was approved by City Council for this development.
Member Shroyer confirmed that the Preliminary Site Plan will not come before the Planning Commission; it will go to City Council for review and approval. He asked if City Council can ask for this project to come back to the Planning Commission for review. City Attorney Tom Schultz said that they could make that request.
Member Shroyer asked whether the display parking was exempt from the parking spaces required for customers. Ms. McBeth said that the three or four parking pods are reserved for display pursuant to the Development Agreement. The Ordinance does not give a minimum or maximum for allowable parking spaces. Ms. McBeth said that Jaguar (17,000 square feet) has 44 standard parking spaces and 161 display parking spaces. Marty Feldman (30,000 square feet) has 70 standard parking spaces and 486 display spaces. Hummer is proposing 92 standard parking spaces and 157 vehicle display spaces.
Member Shroyer asked how the Development Agreement could allow up to 23,500 square feet, but Subsection 904.F states that the limit on square footage is 20,000. Ms. McBeth responded that this was a negotiated term in the Development Agreement.
Member Shroyer asked about the landscaping. Landscape Architect Lance Shipman responded that the Applicant has not yet submitted a landscaping plan as this is a concept plan. The Planning Department has provided a letter to the Applicant that outlines what items will be reviewed at the Preliminary Site Plan level.
Member Shroyer asked where the used cars will be housed. Mr. Riddle said that there will be very few used cars on the lot. This dealership product is unique and a vast majority of this business will be new sales.
Member Cassis explained this property’s history. A banquet facility was once approved for this site, but this use would have been too intense and brought too much traffic to the corner. Member Cassis said Hummer is a great fit for this corner, and City Council has designed a quality Development Agreement for this project.
Member Cassis noted that this project has had to go back and forth between City Council and the Planning Commission several times. In the end the project has been well designed, and therefore he did not endorse the Planning Commission having to look at this project during the Preliminary Site Plan review process. He reiterated that the Development Agreement and the Special Development Option have provided an acceptable outline with which City Council can review the Preliminary Site Plan.
Member Sprague asked about the question marks in the Planning Review. Ms. McBeth said those were all issues that would be addressed at the time of Preliminary Site Plan review. Mr. Schultz and Ms. McBeth said that the Planning Commission need only be aware that these issues will be addressed at Preliminary Site Plan; the information was not necessary at the concept plan review stage. Mr. Schultz continued that the Planning Commission can comment, if they wish, on any of the items, since the City Council has the ability to vary the degree to which a plan must meet certain requirements.
Member Sprague asked whether the findings need to be listed in the motion. Mr. Schultz responded that it is always a good practice to list the findings that support a motion, however in this case there is a Development Agreement and perhaps just a general reference to the standards of Section 904.D is sufficient. Member Sprague asked if that meant the Planning Commission agreed that all of these findings have been met. Mr. Schultz replied that their inclusion of the findings did not have to mean that if the language was worded such that the Development Agreement was noted as the basis for their findings. Member Sprague said he would like to see those findings noted in the motion.
Member Sprague asked if the Planning Commission needed to resolve the fact that there were three display areas approved and four are shown on the plan. Ms. McBeth said that was an inconsistency in the language, but the four areas are shown on the picture exhibit. She said that would be noted to City Council so that they can be sure to comment on that issue in their motion. Mr. Schultz said that the Planning Commission could also comment on this item in their motion as well. Member Sprague said that four areas would be fine with him.
Member Sprague asked whether the break in the continuous wall at the display area on the southern portion of the lot was the issue noted in the Planning Review. Ms. McBeth indicated that it was. She said when the Landscape Plan comes in with the Preliminary Site Plan, it will be easier to determine whether an effective continuous wall intent has been met. Member Sprague confirmed that the intent was to have the screening in place, either through a wall, landscaping or a combination of both. He would like that to be the case.
Member Sprague said his understanding was that the handicapped parking area was sufficient, pursuant to Wayne Hogan’s comments.
Member Ruyle disclosed that he was a retiree of General Motors, and that Member Shroyer was an employee of General Motors.
Member Ruyle asked what the deadline was for opening the doors on this dealership. Mr. Riddle replied that GM would like occupancy by the end of 2004. Member Ruyle would not support bringing this plan before the Planning Commission again because it would just elongate the process. He supported the plan.
Member Kocan said that Section 904.D.2.f addresses usable open space. She said there is considerable open space but she does not believe that it is usable. She said it will have to be addressed at least by the time of Preliminary Site Plan submittal.
Member Kocan said that lighting and noise attenuation need to be addressed at the time of Preliminary Site Plan submittal because of the adjacency to the Gateway Condos and O’Brien Funeral Home.
Member Kocan said this building as proposed is very parochial. She does not wish to approve a plan based on the sketch presented at the meeting. She thought that the previous submittals showed more of an architectural feel to the building.
Member Kocan asked whether the motion could include that the Applicant address the lighting and noise attenuation at the time of Preliminary Site Plan submittal. Member Gaul and Member Ruyle agreed.
Member Kocan asked whether the motion could include that special attention could be given to Section 904.D.2.f, providing at least as much usable open space as required by this GE Ordinance. Member Gaul and Member Ruyle agreed.
Member Kocan asked whether the motion could include that the façade or elevation should have more architectural variation, more similar to the design shown with the rezoning request. Member Gaul did not agree with the request.
Moved by Member Kocan, supported by Member Pehrson:
For a positive recommendation to City Council, the façade elevation should have more architectural variation, which is more similar to the design submitted with the rezoning request and included in the Development Agreement.
Mr. Schultz clarified that this is a motion to amend the motion on the floor. He further clarified that Member Kocan was referring to the elevation attached to the Development Agreement.
Chair Markham said that the rendering was indeed attached to the Development Agreement, and it was her assumption that this would be the design submitted. Mr. Schultz said that first, the motion is just a recommendation to City Council, and that this is a preference issues as well. Second, the Development Agreement states that the minimum façade material requirements are depicted on Exhibit D, and in the event of ambiguity, City Council will determine whether the intent has been met. By stating this amendment in the motion, it will be placed on record what the Planning Commission’s wishes are. Third, Mr. Schultz said that overall, the Development Agreement does provide for reasonable application of the Development Agreement standards.
Member Cassis asked Mr. Riddle why the building design changed. Mr. Riddle said that this rendering is a reduced size, and a different artist’s interpretation of the building’s elevation. He said it may be lacking a few of the details and the rendering could be altered if that is the wish of the City. He reiterated it was just an updated artist’s rendering of the elevation, and City Council has not commented on this rendering. Member Cassis confirmed with Mr. Riddle that the design could be tweaked.
Member Sprague asked Member Avdoulos whether there was better "architectural language" that could be used in the motion that would reduce any ambiguity. Member Avdoulos responded that Ms. McBeth used terms such as "high profile appearance" and "unique entry" and "exceptional aesthetic quality." He agreed with Member Kocan because of the location. As a cornerstone to the City, this building should present itself well, even though the passersby will be looking at the Hummers. He noted that the gabled front entry complements the Gateway project. The extra detail of the coining and cornice and the height variation provide a more appealing look. When the Planning Commission sees a design they like, they are not quick to release their hold on it. That said, Member Avdoulos accepted the language brought forward by Member Kocan.
Mr. Riddle said they will return to the original rendering. He said this rendering was generated by the General Motors architect, and their interpretation was different. He asked that the City provide a letter outlining this preference so that Mr. Riddle could present it to General Motors.
Member Gaul agreed to the change as long as Mr. Riddle accepted it. Member Ruyle did not. He said that the Applicant has already had to reduce the size of his floor plan from 24,000-25,000 square feet to the size that it is now proposed. He said that it is not appropriate for the Planning Commission to be spending the Applicant’s money on façade design; as long as the Applicant proposes a reasonable facsimile of this building, Member Ruyle is satisfied with their effort.
Member Sprague said that it is the Planning Commission’s prerogative and obligation to impose minimum standards in an area designated as the gateway to the community.
Chair Markham said that the intent of the Gateway District was to make this corner a great entry way into the City. In the event this dealership doesn’t remain in business for one hundred years, it is important that the building be representative of the intended goal of this corner, which is to be the gateway into the City. She felt it was appropriate to ask the Applicant at this time to bring the building forward with an acceptable, aesthetically pleasing design. She supported the idea of this design complementing Gateway Condos, and she supported the motion.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE AMENDMENT TO THE HUMMER, SP04-09, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER KOCAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PEHRSON:
For a positive recommendation to City Council, the façade elevation should have more architectural variation, which is more similar to the design submitted with the rezoning request and included in the Development Agreement.
Motion carried 8-1 (Yes: Avdoulos, Cassis, Gaul, Kocan, Markham, Pehrson, Shroyer, Sprague; No: Ruyle).
RETURN TO MAIN MOTION DISCUSSION
Chair Markham asked whether there are any ambiguities or departures from the Special Development Option that the Planning Commission should discuss. Ms. McBeth stated that the three items in the Planning Review that are listed in with a "No?" are possible departures. These include: Does the Applicant intend to provide the total number of handicapped parking spaces? Does the Applicant intend to provide the screen wall? She said these questions will be answered when the Preliminary Site Plan is submitted. Chair Markham stated for the record that these ambiguities and departures can be approved by City Council and deemed adequate.
Chair Markham asked for an overview of the wetland mitigation plan. Dan LeClair from Alpine Engineering said that the mitigation plan will come in with the Preliminary Site Plan submittal. The Applicant will propose filling in some of the onsite wetlands in order to accommodate the Grand River access. The wetland will be mitigated along the east property line, east of the driveway. Mr. LeClair showed the Planning Commission where the work would be performed on an overhead photo. Chair Markham supported the project.
Member Avdoulos noted the proximity of this project to the other dealerships. He appreciated the project’s design, with the building closer to the road. He was concerned that the display vehicles might be a little too close to the road on the Meadowbrook side. He said that the architecture, landscaping and the vehicle display all have to work together. The demo drive area was a nice amenity. He encouraged the Applicant to use appropriate landscaping on the demo area to reduce gawking and subsequent traffic accidents from passersby.
Member Avdoulos thought that the consultants and Planning Department offered excellent comments upon which the Applicant can build. This will be the start of creating a nice corner for the City. He supported the project.
Ms. McBeth restated the motion. Chair Markham called for the vote.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON HUMMER, SP04-09, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GAUL, SUPPORTED BY MEMBER RUYLE, AMENDED BY MEMBER KOCAN:
In the matter of the request of Scott A. Riddle, Inc., (Hummer of Novi), SP04-09, motion to recommend approval to City Council of a Special Development Option concept plan, subject to: 1) The comments on the attached review letters being addressed at the time of Preliminary Site Plan review; 2) The Applicant addressing lighting and noise attenuation at the time of Preliminary Site Plan submittal; 3) Per Section 904.D.2.f, the Applicant providing at least as much usable open space as required by this GE Ordinance; and 4) the façade elevation should have more architectural variation, which is more similar to the design submitted with the rezoning request and included in the Development Agreement; for the following reasons: 1) The plan meets all requirements; 2) There has already been extensive discussion of the proposed plan; and 3) The Development Agreement was approved by City Council for this development.
Motion carried 9-0.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. TAFT KNOLLS, SITE PLAN NUMBER 03-30
Consideration of the request of Mike Fellows of Mozart Homes, LLC for approval of a Final Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 22, on the east side of Taft Road between Ten and Eleven Mile roads in the R-4 (Single Family Residential). The subject property is 9.68 acres. The developer is proposing 22-unit residential site condominiums.
Planner Tim Schmitt located the project on an aerial photo. This plan received Preliminary Site Plan approval on September 17, 2003. The site is across from Novi Meadows Elementary School. This property and the properties to the north and south are zoned R-4. The school site is zoned R-A. The Master Plan Land Use Map calls for single family land uses in the area, except for the school property’s designation as public land use.
The conditions of the Preliminary Site Plan approval included:
A City Council DCS waiver was necessary for the length of the drive without a secondary access point (1,059 feet proposed, 800 feet allowed). The waiver was granted on October 20, 2003.
A T-turnaround or widening of Monroe Drive with street-stub barriers was required. Both the Fire Marshal and the Engineering Department have reviewed these plans, and they have both recommended the removal of this condition. Their design is non-functional and only adds impervious surface. If the Fire Marshal needed to access either site that isn’t adjacent to the main drive, he would use the road for his turnaround.
The new design will service 51 future homes for water, sanitary, sewer and utilities for the developments to the two north properties and the one southerly property. The City’s build-out review indicates a possibility of 54 units for this area. This is a theoretical maximum; the Planning Department is comfortable with the design as proposed.
The Landscape Review still does not recommend approval because the correct ROW and berm were not shown on the landscaping plan. This will be corrected with the other minor items prior to stamping the plans.
The Applicant is working with the neighbor to provide evergreen screening where possible. Some areas will require a retaining wall instead of trees. Mr. Schmitt noted that wetland screening will not survive using evergreen trees; the Applicant has provided some screening but not as substantial as evergreens (between Cedar Springs Estates and Taft Knolls). The finished elevations of the four lots closest to Cedar Springs Estates are no more than two to three feet higher than the proposed finished elevations of Cedar Springs. The elevation drops into the wetlands and rises back up on the other side. The house will be at virtually the same level, with a small dip between them.
The comments from the review letters have been addressed. There are minor items from Traffic and Landscaping that must be further addressed. A small wetland issue must also be addressed.
Mr. Schmitt said that the plan is recommended for approval. The outstanding minor items can be approved administratively.
The Applicant, Mike Fellows, addressed the Planning Commission. He stated that he has been working with his neighbor, Mr. Van Sickle, on the screening issue. However, a retaining wall running about three-quarters of the length of the property line will be necessary. Mr. Van Sickle was more concerned with trespassing than with the visual pollution, therefore the retaining wall is as acceptable as evergreen trees to him. The two are working on locations for some evergreens on Mr. Van Sickle’s property.
Member Kocan asked about the water pressure. Civil Engineer Ben Croy responded that the Planning Department is satisfied with the output. The Applicant has upgraded their design from an eight-inch to a twelve-inch line.
Member Kocan asked about the widening of the road. Mr. Schmitt replied that the road meets Ordinance requirements. Additionally, the Fire Marshal found no benefit in widening the road. Mr. Schmitt said that it would be appropriate for tonight’s motion to remove this stipulation from the Applicant’s requirements.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Ruyle:
In the matter of Taft Knolls, SP03-30, motion to approve the Final Site Plan subject to: 1) Further refinement of landscape plan to meet current Ordinance requirements; 2) Removal of the previous requirement of a T-turnaround; and 3) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters; for the reason that this site plan does comply with the City Ordinances.
Member Cassis agreed with Chair Markham’s earlier comments that this plan is not very creative. He would prefer to encourage lot assemblage that would result in better designed projects. He wondered whether a new Ordinance could address this concept, which would take care of road issues, fire safety, and the other elements that create a viable and aesthetically-pleasing subdivision. He said that the subdivision would then be better engineered. He noted how this project had to request the Secondary Access Waiver, had turn-around problems and so forth. He asked for City Attorney Tom Schultz’s comment.
Mr. Schultz responded that small or irregularly shaped parcels can sometimes result in bad developments. He said that the City put the Subdivision Ordinance revision on the back burner some years ago. The Ordinance has a minimum set of standards. This plan meets those requirements. Making changes to those requirements can be done. It is important that the end result is not the taking of someone’s property. Mr. Schultz said that other communities have looked at how to encourage a land owner to work with his neighbors to assemble a better piece of property to work with. He said that the City should always be considering how the Ordinance can be tweaked to encourage developers to do things that are more creative and beneficial in the long run.
Member Cassis encouraged the City to move in that direction. He said that the properties to the north and south of Taft Knolls will likely develop the same way. These skinny parcels do not lend themselves to developing into a nice subdivision. He encouraged the Implementation Committee to consider reviewing the Ordinance.
Member Shroyer conceded that Mozart Homes is a quality developer. He said that he was opposed to this project because of the number of homes, the lack of active recreational area and the traffic across from the elementary school. He would not support the approval of this Final Site Plan.
Mr. Croy said that he no longer required the Applicant to supply a generator for the pump station. He said that the Ordinance does not address this and therefore the City cannot require it. This will not negatively affect this property. Member Kocan added to the motion the removal of the generator at the pump station as requested by Mr. Croy. Member Ruyle agreed to the change.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON TAFT KNOLLS, SP03-30, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER KOCAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER RUYLE:
In the matter of Taft Knolls, SP03-30, motion to approve the Final Site Plan subject to: 1) Further refinement of landscape plan to meet current Ordinance requirements; 2) Removal of the previous requirement of a T-turnaround; and 3) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters except for the removal of the generator at the pump station as requested by Mr. Croy; for the reason that this site plan does comply with the City Ordinances.
Motion carried 8-1 (Yes: Avdoulos, Cassis, Gaul, Kocan, Markham, Pehrson, Ruyle, Sprague; No: Shroyer).
The Planning Commission took a short break. The meeting was called back to order at 10:28 p.m. Chair Markham noted that Planning Director David Evancoe had arrived some time ago and was now present at the meeting. Member Ruyle left the meeting prior to the Sam’s Club vote.
2. SAM’S CLUB, SITE PLAN NUMBER 04-06
Consideration of the request of Walmart Stores Incorporated, for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 17, southeast corner of Wixom Road and Grand River Avenue in the B-2 (Business) District. The subject property is approximately 13.98 acres. The Applicant is proposing a 137,000 square foot retail store and fueling station as part of a Consent Judgment.
Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. It is part of the Promenade development which includes future retail, outlots in two locations and the existing Target. He stated that the proposed Catholic Central and Cadillac Asphalt were west of the property. To the north is the City of Wixom. This project has been designed subject to the terms of a Consent Judgment. The property is still zoned I-1, light industrial; the Consent Judgment states that the main site is to be developed as B-2 and the three outlots, which include the gas station property, are to be developed under B-3. The properties to the north are zoned B-3. To the west is I-2 zoning. To the east is I-1 zoning. The Future Land Use Map calls for Community Commercial throughout the area, with light industrial flanking the east and west sides. Mr. Schmitt noted that the Catholic Central property is shown as residential.
Mr. Schmitt showed the wetlands map for the site. The associated wetlands and woodlands on this site were taken care of with Phase I of Promenade several years back. Certain areas were required to be preserved under the terms of the Consent Judgment. Conservation Easements are already put into place.
Mr. Schmitt listed some of the important issues outlined in the Consent Judgment:
The site is to be developed under B-2 for the Sam’s Club site.
The gas station outlot is to be developed as B-3.
40% of open space must be preserved on the site.
A maximum square footage.
An overall parking space requirement.
Mr. Schmitt noted that some of these issues cannot be addressed until the final phase of this project. The Planning Department has not determined any problems at this time associated with meeting these terms.
Exhibit G outlines the elevation options for buildings B and C. Mr. Schmitt said that the proposed plan substantially meets the intent of the façade Ordinance, and does meet the intent of Option B. The types of material and the banding across the façade, the height of the main entrance and the cornice were all listed as being in compliance. The heights of the buildings are dictated by the Consent Judgment. Mr. Schmitt said that no Section Nine Waiver was necessary. The Applicant will continue to work with the City to confirm that the façade indeed meets the requirements.
Mr. Schmitt said that the Traffic Review and Engineering Review both recommended approval with minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. The Landscape Review indicated that some redesign would be required. One ZBA variance is necessary for the interior building landscaping; Mr. Schmitt said the Applicant can explain the rationale behind their proposal.
The Planning Review indicated that many of the issues noted pertain to Walmart purchasing this tract of land. Mr. Schmitt said that Target also owns its own parcel. Retail anchors purchasing their own land has become a standard in the industry. There are no issues associated with this land split, but it must be explained when reviewing parking lot and building setbacks. The parking lot setbacks can be waived along the property line; substantial setback is provided elsewhere on the site. Along the western and southern property lines there would be a ten-foot setback, but zero feet is provided because it is in the middle of the parking lot. There are two conservation areas that provide setback. There is substantial setback from Wixom Road. The continuity of the parking lot is preferred. Outlot One will have the burden of meeting the other setback requirements.
Mr. Schmitt said that the building setback issue can be resolved by a ZBA variance (thirty feet required, zero feet provided). The original Consent Judgment Exhibit B did include two large buildings that were ultimately connected, so this building design was anticipated. The Planning Department has no problem with this setback request.
Mr. Schmitt said that the setback extends along the recessed truck dock located in the rear of the building. Eventually this area will be screened by the building to the south. The truck dock was originally designed to front Grand River; this is a more appropriate design for truck movement.
The proposed tire mounting facility requires a ZBA variance for the overhead doors, as they currently face Grand River. The Applicant has renderings that depict screening options. The canoe island can be extended and does provide a certain amount of screening for the overhead doors. The second part of the issue is whether the tire mounting facility is actually a separate use or an ancillary use. The Planning Department believes that it is ancillary because it is a retail use (the sale of tires and batteries) and the mounting facility has become the norm for this type of business. This use is not new for Sam’s Club. The Planning Commission has the ability to make this determination this evening, or the Applicant can seek a use variance from the ZBA.
The proposed building height varies from 27 feet (in the south and east) to 42 feet at the main gable entrance. The gable entrance was anticipated to be as high as fifty feet. The Planning Department is concerned that along the western and northern building elevations, the main cornice of the building is somewhat higher than what is described in Exhibit G of the Consent Judgment. The Planning Commission must determine whether the building height does conform to the intent of Exhibit G or whether the Consent Judgment must be amended by a City Council action.
The gas station on the outlot offers several drive-through lanes and a 225 square foot building (for employee shelter, not sales). A canopy will be located over the pumps. Setback requirements have been met. There is appropriate maneuverability on the site. Lighting will be reviewed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. The elevations for the gas station were not provided, given the size of the building, and would normally be handled through an administrative review anyway. It will be reviewed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal, and must conform to the design intent found in Exhibit G.
Member Kocan asked for clarification on the building height. Mr. Schmitt said that the frontage is mostly 38 feet and 35 feet. Along the rear the elevation is 27 feet as there is no cornice. The northern elevation is both 38 feet and 35 feet. The roof line steps down as it heads south and east toward the industrial properties. Exhibit G of the Consent Judgment only shows a front elevation; the main part of the cornice is mostly 26 feet but it ranges from 24 feet to 32 feet. The main gable entrance is allowed to be fifty feet; Sam’s Club is proposing 42 feet. The B-2 district only allows thirty feet when it is adjacent to residential.
Tom High represented Novi Promenade. Jason Wagner of The Landon Companies was also present. Nick Miller and John Madratowski from Atwell Hicks and architect Omar Palomarez represented Walmart. Mr. High noted that they responded to the various comments from the reviews and that the Planning Commission should have copies of their letter.
Mr. Miller said that the Sam’s Club property represents about fourteen of the fifty Promenade acres. He said that Sam’s parking lot has been updated with the new landscaping requirement (maximum runs of fifteen spaces). They have placed functional perimeter landscaping wherever possible; they did not landscape where pedestrian patterns are likely to occur or where parking corrals are expected to go.
Mr. Miller said that the gas station proposed will have two main entrances off of Wixom Road. The northerly curb cut is already in up to the right of way. The southern entrance drive is already in with the Target. The third access point will be off of Grand River, and it is already constructed. He said there are two layers of understory and a canopy that will help screen the overhead doors of the tire mounting area. The Applicant provided a cross-section that shows a six-foot tall figure standing on Grand River; his view corridor above the landscaping is well above the overhead doors. There is a landscaped "canoe" that will obscure the overhead doors. Mr. Miller said only tire mounting and battery installation will be handled at this location. He said that there is no outdoor storage, other than customer vehicles waiting to be picked up.
Mr. Miller said there is also interior parking lot landscaping that will provide screening. He showed a rendering depicting three-to-five year growth.
Mr. Palomarez said that the building was designed based on Exhibit G and the existing Target. The building parapet height varies in an attempt to break up the façade and reduce the big box look. This will also screen the roof-mounted mechanical equipment.
Mr. Palomarez said that there will be one entry vestibule on the corner. To the right is a cart storage area that will accommodate 200 carts for indoor storage. There will be a canopy to cover the overnight outdoor storage. Each Sam’s Club is allocated 500 carts and fifty flatbed carts. To the right there are parapets that vary in height. There is an architectural enhancement before the corner of the building. The right elevation has a dock appendage where the trucks come in. It is a recessed operation. There will be a 12’8" screenwall. The depth of the truckwell is four feet lower than the wall so all trucks should be adequately screened. There is a door for daily delivery of bread, milk, etc. On the rear of the building, there is a section that looks at the dock appendage and the rear façade then begins. There is some ground mounted mechanical equipment, such as the refrigeration house and its enclosure - masonry screening with steel angle louvers painted to match the masonry. Around the corner the building fronts Grand River and is the location of the tire mounting area. There will be some pilasters. The tire mounting facility will break up the façade. The customer loading canopy is for curb-side pick up of large items or for inclement weather.
Mr. Palomarez said that the building materials are consistent with façade region number one, which disallows the use of CMU. Because they are within 500 feet of a major thoroughfare, the building is designed with 75-80% brick and 20-25% EIFS. The two-foot red band around the building is painted smooth CMU. The red is Sam’s Club corporate color and is present on almost every Sam’s Club.
Mr. Palomarez said that they can paint the overhead doors at the tire mounting area to match the building masonry. Typically they do not do this, but will do so for this building since these doors front Grand River. He said there is also a ground mounted compactor that will be screened with a ten-foot masonry wall.
Mr. Palomarez said that the EIFS is light tan (field) and white (cornices). There are three colors of brick – rose colored (field brick and the vestibule), tan (field brick above twelve feet) and desert iron spot (accent banding at the pilasters). The roof is green standing C metal consistent with the gable element of Exhibit G.
Mr. Wagner of the Landon Companies said that he could answer any questions for the Planning Commission.
Member Shroyer asked what the safety issue was regarding the landscaping. Mr. Wagner said that they did not want to put a tripping hazard where the pedestrian traffic is anticipated. Additionally, landscaping at the door would turn into an ashtray. He said that he has been told that at any given time Walmart is involved in 6,000-8,000 litigation cases, and while they do not pretend to be experts in Novi, they did feel comfortable that their design maximizes this site’s landscaping and minimizes exposure. They would be happy to look at any site specific areas where suggestions could be made. Mr. Wagner said that the plan meets the intent of the Ordinance.
Member Shroyer clarified with Mr. Schmitt where the cart storage area is on the site. Mr. Schmitt said that it would be just west of the word "bituminous" on the site plan. It is under the canopy. There is an overhead door that is used for the cart storage area; sometimes in the summer it is left open for another entry point into the store. There are cart corrals in the parking lot. No carts are left in the corrals overnight. Sam’s Club is now using a concrete bollard/pipe design that is less intrusive. Mr. Schmitt has asked for additional detail on the corrals. He said that using spaces for cart corrals will not adversely impact their parking space count as Sam’s is using one of the outlots for parking as well.
Member Shroyer asked about the Consent Judgment. Mr. Schmitt replied said that this phase, "Retail B", is slightly different than what is depicted in Exhibit B, mostly because once the engineering was done, the Exhibit B parking layout did not make sense so it was modified and the maneuverability was improved. The building has also been moved slightly west. Mr. Schmitt said that the plan was also sent to the Wetland Consultant to ensure that the Conservation Easement will not be adversely affected.
Member Shroyer asked about the roof and whether the easterly neighbor would be able to see the roof-mounted mechanicals. Mr. Wagner said that the low point of the roof is 22’4" and slopes up .25" per foot to allow for drainage. It is 29’8" in the front. The front elevation is designed so that there is no visibility of the mechanicals – even out on Wixom Road. The average height of the parapet is 31’6". Mr. Wagner noted that the existing Target building provided their screening through the use of wooden fences and he thought the Sam’s Club design was nicer.
Member Shroyer did not see a hardship that would sway him to waive the west side parking lot setback requirement. He felt that the deficient landscaping could be coordinated through the Landscape Architect. He said that it was okay to waive the parking lot setback requirements where the lot abuts the other parking area.
Member Cassis asked City Attorney Tom Schultz whether there were too many deviations from the Consent Judgment. There was a change to the building height (although he said he didn’t have a problem with that). He noted that there are setback issues. There are issues with the tire mounting facility. Mr. Schultz responded that there are several issues that do not meet the requirements of the Agreement:
The Planning Commission waiver for parking lot setback: There are a number of areas on the plan where the ten-foot buffer is not being provided. Mr. Schmitt said that the Planning Department did not have a problem with some of them, although they were concerned about the westerly setback near Outlot One. The Consent Judgment outlines the general approved plan, and then stipulates that the plan must also meet the terms of the Ordinance. The Planning Commission has the ability to waive that parking lot setback. While it is a deviation from something, it is really a deviation from the site plan requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, and the Planning Commission retains the authority to waive that requirement if it so chooses.
Tire Mounting Facility: The Planning Commission must determine whether this is an accessory use to Sam’s Club. If the Planning Commission finds that it is, because it is incidental, then it is not a deviation from the Ordinance or the Judgment. The Planning Commission has the right to find that this is an accessory use.
Building Height: This issue is similar. Depending on the Planning Commission findings, it can be determined that the plan is or is not consistent with Exhibit G. Everyone agrees that it is over the height in the Ordinance (Thirty feet). The issue is whether the City Council intended, with the acceptance of Exhibit G, to override the Ordinance and allow elevations up to fifty feet. The Planning Commission must determine whether the spirit and the intent has been met, and if so, then the plan is approvable. If not, then the Applicant must seek relief elsewhere.
Building setback (zero setback provided), overhead doors (not permitted) and the lack of interior landscaping: These three must be looked at as they are deviations from both the Ordinance and the Judgment. The Planning Commission cannot waive these issues.
Mr. Schultz said that it has not yet been determined whether the relief would come from the ZBA or City Council. The latter three would likely go to the ZBA because they are site plan issues. If the building height doesn’t meet with the Planning Commission’s approval, then that would likely go to City Council since the question arises because of the Consent Judgment. Mr. Schultz said that it is within the Planning Commission’s purview to determine that this plan is consistent with Exhibit G, then they may approve the proposed building height.
Member Cassis was uncomfortable with the project. He wondered what the adequacy of a two-lane road serving this large of an establishment was, and whether the project was too close to a corner. Mr. Schultz said that there is a Consent Judgment that says this is a permitted use and at some point in time a plan will come forward that will allow a Sam’s Club and another big box user. The question of traffic has essentially been resolved by City Council entering into the Consent Judgment. The use is approved, now the Planning Commission is charged with looking at how the project is placed on the site.
Member Cassis said this returns him to his original point: Now that there is deviation from the Consent Judgment, is the City in position to require certain standards that are necessary for health, safety and so on? Is the door now opened for the Planning Commission to make suggestions on this plan? Mr. Schultz said if there is an actual deviation from the Consent Judgment then City Council must grant relief and at that time they may wish to barter. Or, the Applicant can return with a plan that meets the intent of the Consent Judgment.
Mr. Schmitt said that from a planning perspective there are two traffic issues. The external roads were discussed during the Target site plan process. The Landon Company, Varsity Lincoln Mercury and the Road Commission of Oakland County met to design that entrance. Mr. Schmitt said that the external roads are currently built to their master planned status. The City should be able to anticipate the roads’ ability to support this project.
The internal circulatory system was always envisioned such that this plan would connect to Target and there would be a frontal road that connected to Grand River. Through the pre-app process, the road design was upgraded to this proposal and the Planning Department is confident that this network is a superior plan. The majority of traffic will not traverse through the lot where there are flanking parking spaces. This proposed plan is acceptable, and there are just a few minor changes that will be made.
Member Cassis said there are several deviations from the Consent Judgment. The City defended certain standards and qualities and this level of specificity should not be undermined. If City Council reviews these variations they will only respond that these are the standards they asked for because they wanted them. Member Cassis said there are too many issues on the table that should be reviewed prior to this plan’s acceptance.
Mr. Schultz reiterated that it has not yet been determined who will ultimately review these variations. They may all end up before City Council, although the inclination right now is that ZBA will look at the site plan issues. The Planning Commission’s duty tonight is to review and approve the plan subject to continued review by the ZBA or City Council, or require additional time for review and response.
Member Cassis said there are at least four gas stations (Mobil, Shell, Rider, Meijer) in the area. He asked whether another gas station is necessary. Since there are inadequacies with this proposed gas station Member Cassis said he can comment on its placement on this site. He said that the amount of traffic that it will bring to that small road and intersection should be considered.
Member Cassis said that the tire mounting facility will be directly competing with the local gas stations and Goodyear. While he can’t comment on an Applicant’s right to compete, he said he can question whether tires are an ancillary use to a food store.
Member Cassis said that the amount of traffic generated by Promenade, in conjunction with Catholic Central, and the narrow intersection of Wixom Road and Grand River must be considered. There is ample traffic from the expressway and the Wixom Ford Plant already and the area has not reached build-out. This project is intense and will add more traffic. He said that the City must be careful in designing this area because the health, safety and welfare of this area must be ensured. He wondered what type of refrigeration noise would emanate from this building. Member Cassis said he is not typically one who questions the right of a property owner to build and bring in taxes to the City, but he believes there are problems with this plan that must be addressed.
Mr. Wagner said that the Consent Judgment was drafted in such a way that the City and the developer understood what the guidelines would be for future site plans. He said the "deviations" are nothing more than modifications to the general understanding that the City and Developer reached when creating the Consent Judgment. Some of these modifications are of benefit to the City. The City and the Developer agreed that the building should have comparable aesthetics to Target. In light of that, this plan proposes similar elevations, gables and parapets to Target.
Mr. Wagner said it was his understanding that this plan met the Landscaping Ordinance. He said this was one less issue to worry about.
Mr. Wagner said that the tire mounting facility "deviation" is subject to interpretation. Part of the City’s response letter describes how this is an accessory use. The language states that if it is customarily located within the same facility and consists of a small portion it is acceptable. What has been computed is that this facility is less than 2.5% of the entire store. It is a customary use for retailers similar to Sam’s Club. This is a courtesy to the customer – they can buy the product and also have it installed. An analogous situation would be the Home Depot just down the road.
Mr. Wagner said that traffic was addressed in the Consent Judgment. When that Agreement was entered into, certain considerations were given; the Developer then expanded Wixom road from two lanes to three lanes the entire frontage of this site. They worked with the Road Commission to put in traffic signals. They coordinated the traffic light at the entrance and rerouted the Twelve Mile traffic. These issues were all negotiated at the time of the Consent Judgment to accommodate the developer and the future development. There is a certain square footage that was approved in the Consent Judgment.
Member Cassis said there are variances to the Consent Judgment but perhaps the City Council’s interpretation will be different than his; he would like to see the traffic issue addressed and because of these variations the City has the opportunity to address the traffic. The City never visualized split ownership. The Planning Commission should have the ability to address health, safety and welfare issues.
Member Kocan said she had problems with the variances and setbacks. She said that the Consent Judgment is not a guide, it is a directive. She said the Planning Commission requested an additional berm height between the residential and the truck delivery drive on Target but was told that the Consent Judgment dictated the terms of the berm so they could not even request additional height. She said that the additional building height could be looked at in the same light.
Member Kocan said that if the Consent Judgment were opened for review, then all aspects should be open for discussion and negotiation, including the traffic and berm. Barring that, the City is opening itself up for problems with others who believe that the Consent Judgment was misrepresented to them.
Member Kocan said that although the Applicant thinks that the interior landscape issue has been satisfied, the City’s Landscape Architect has not yet agreed. She said if Phase II of this plan doesn’t address any of the open space or parking issues, the burden will be placed completely upon Phase III.
Member Kocan noted that although the Planning Department supports the zero lot line, the Building Department does not. She said the Exhibit is not the same as what is being proposed this evening.
Member Kocan said that there are no hardships in some of the parking lot setback variance requests. The Applicant should purchase another ten feet of property in order to meet the requirement.
Member Kocan would consider the waiver for the parking-next-to-parking situation. This waiver has been granted to others in the past.
The parallel parking handicapped areas are dangerous in Member Kocan’s opinion. They meet the square footage requirement, but it is unsafe to have a car door opening into an aisle. She thought that the parking corrals would eat up some of the necessary parking spaces.
She said that nothing has been mentioned about the proposed height of the lighting fixtures. She said this plan is adjacent to residential and this impact must be considered.
Member Kocan said that there are no elevations for the gas station and there are questions regarding how many parking spaces are required, how wide the lanes are, etc. She was not willing to approve the plan at this time.
Member Kocan said that the Traffic Review indicated that the plan can supercede portions of Promenade’s final site plan dated 4/5/02. She asked whether that changes the Consent Judgment. She does not want to replace anything. She was told that the roads are in a different but better location, but she doesn’t know that for a fact so she wants to understand the exact exchange.
Member Kocan said that the overhead doors could possibly be screened, they just aren’t supposed to face that direction. Member Kocan had concerns about the tire mounting facility. She asked whether it would be a B-2 or B-3 use. Mr. Schmitt said that it is likely that the Planning Department would ask the Planning Commission to make that decision. B-2 allows gas station-type uses. B-3 allows for repair-type uses. Tire mounting is a retail facility; the mounting is the second half of the business. A case could be made for either designation. He said the other tire mounting facilities in the area are non-conforming uses. He would probably consider the surrounding area when determining the adequacy of this use on this site.
Member Kocan said that the Ordinance states that automotive sales and service establishments are not intended to be established in the B-2 district. She asked if it isn’t supposed to be in B-2, why should the Planning Commission consider it for an ancillary use here. She said she does not expect this kind of service from a place where she buys groceries.
Member Kocan did not support the plan. She asked that the Applicant comply with the Consent Judgment. She suggested that a motion could be made to postpone the review until such time that the answers to the Planning Commission questions are found.
Member Pehrson also thought that the project should be postponed until the Consent Judgment has been amended by both parties, which is allowed. He felt that the staff had done a great job in review thus far but there are enough issues that should be readdressed before a motion is made.
Chair Markham asked whether the Planning Commission could make the finding that the variances are substantial enough that the Consent Judgment needs to be re-opened. Mr. Schultz responded that the Planning Commission could make an approval subject to resolution of all the issues at the City Council level or a denial on the basis that the plan does not meet the terms of the Consent Judgment. That would move the plan to the City Council or ZBA for an interpretation, wherever it would be appropriate. He said there is no mechanism for just recommending to City Council that they should re-open the Consent Judgment. There is no obligation to act on this plan tonight; the Planning Commission may postpone the review if they so choose.
Member Sprague asked whether it would be the Planning Commission or City Council that would negotiate new terms for a Consent Judgment. He felt that the actions taken tonight by the Planning Commission should get it to that level. Mr. Schultz responded that the Planning Commission would not negotiate the terms, nor would they necessarily recommend that action. If the plan doesn’t meet the terms of the Consent Judgment, yet the Applicant wants to go forward with the plan, then City Council will have to resolve that issue, either by disagreeing and stating that the plan meets the terms, or by agreeing and working with the developer on an appropriate resolution. He thought that perhaps there were too many questions on the table and that there should be additional time allowed for everyone to review the status of the project.
Mr. Wagner said that Mr. Schultz stated if the Planning Commission approved these discrepancies they would cease being issues, otherwise they would go on to the ZBA for consideration. He felt that all the issues listed by the Planning Commission are items that can go to the ZBA, so he suggested that this plan review be postponed for the evening so that they can take these items to the ZBA for variances. Mr. Schultz said that it can’t be done in that fashion; the Ordinance reads that the Applicant must receive the denial prior to his going to the ZBA.
Member Cassis said that it appears that the majority of this Planning Commission is uncomfortable moving forward. He asked the Applicant whether he would be willing to tweak the development to make this project more palatable. He understood that there are items unique to Sam’s Club that would not likely change, but some things may be trade-offs that can be considered. Mr. Wagner responded that they are interested in being part of the Novi community, but he was not sure which items he should tweak.
Member Avdoulos asked about the 29’8" building height shown on the site plan. He asked what the top of steel height was of the building itself. The Applicant replied that the measurement is 28’3¾" in the front and 21’7" in the rear. The top of the wall at the back is 27’4". Member Avdoulos took the measurements and stated that Exhibit G shows the cornice at elevation 50’4" from grade, and the Applicant is almost eight feet below that. The top of cornice measurement is at 29’4", and the average cornice is about 27’4" and the sides are 29’4". He said that the Consent Judgment and this site plan are very similar and this plan also provides screening. This is a great amenity to have.
Member Avdoulos stated that the tire mounting is an accessory use to Sam’s Club. Sears, Montgomery Wards and Costco are examples of similar retail with this accessory use. The overhead doors may face Grand River but they are so far back and screening is provided; Member Avdoulos felt the Applicant was trying to meet the intent. He noted that they stated they would paint the doors. Member Avdoulos would have appreciated a floor plan as it would make it easier to review this plan. He felt that the Applicant has tried to implement some of Target features and has tried to make this a sound structure; this is a deviation from the blue and grey buildings that are more typical of Sam’s Clubs.
Member Avdoulos said he would like to see more of a canopy at the front entrance for shelter. He wasn’t too sure of the ADA van parking. He did agree with the wider parking space design. He stated that the parking spaces closest to the building do line up. The parking spaces by the gas station are off line. He suggested that the area be resdesigned to line up. He also said that a customer will have to veer to the west to find additional parking up near Grand River, but the road leads right up to a parking island. He thought that this should be reviewed for safety.
Member Avdoulos said that the elevations should be reviewed for the gas station. He thought that for a project this size the Planning Commission should have more information to review, including the gas station. He concluded by stating that he felt the design met the intent and the spirit of the Consent Judgment where the building heights are concerned. He reiterated that the safety of the site’s maneuverability should be reviewed.
Chair Markham said that if the plan were denied it would go to City Council where the issues could be resolved. She thought that perhaps that is where the plan belongs. The Consent Judgment said the lots would not be split but Sam’s Club wants the lot split; that opens the Consent Judgment up for review.
Chair Markham said that aside from the Consent Judgment, there are issues that could be addressed from a Preliminary Site Plan standpoint. The parking issues Member Avdoulos spoke about are an example. She was uncomfortable approving a gas station without seeing any plans for it. She thanked Member Avdoulos for clearing up the building height issue. She will support a motion to postpone or deny the plan.
Moved by Member Sprague:
In the matter of Sam’s Club, SP04-06, motion to deny the Preliminary Site Plan and Stormwater Management Plan for the reason that there is not sufficient information on the gas station to make a determination, and that the overall site plan does not comply with the terms of the Consent Judgment.
The motion died for lack of support.
Moved by Member Cassis, seconded by Member Kocan:
In the matter of Sam’s Club, SP04-06, motion to postpone the request for thirty days as agreed to by the Petitioner and the Planning Department to provide time to review the concerns of the Planning Commission.
During the motion, Mr. Schmitt told the Planning Commission that it would be July or August if new plans are necessary; if letters are acceptable then thirty days would be appropriate. Member Cassis said that letters would be acceptable and he would like to see the Petitioner succeed - they are most welcome in the community. He felt that it was in the best interest of the Applicant to add an additional lane for traffic on Wixom Road.
Member Shroyer questioned whether thirty days was appropriate. Director of Planning suggested that 45 days would be better. Chair Markham suggested sixty days if it made more sense. Mr. Schultz said if 45 days can’t be met Mr. Evancoe could report back to the Planning Commission.
Member Pehrson said that letters will not answer the questions relating to the gas station. He suggested that the motion also include a request for the gas station plans. Both Member Cassis and Member Kocan agreed.
Member Cassis confirmed with Mr. Schmitt that a noise analysis is not necessary because this is not a special land use.
Mr. Schmitt also said that only the elevations would be coming in on the gas station, because the pump and island locations have already been provided. Chair Markham said that additional scaled plans should be included as well, especially because it is on a prominent corner. The Applicant said that the only reason for the building is that the State of Michigan Fire Marshal requires that all gas pumps be monitored by employees. He said there will be no commercial sales out of the building.
Member Pehrson asked that the requested items be written down and provided to the Planning Commission for review so that the information can get to the Applicant in a timely fashion. Mr. Evancoe asked whether this information can be worked on with just the Planning Commission Chair to streamline the process.
Mr. Evancoe said that June 9, 2004 may not be feasible if the gas station plans must be submitted. Chair Markham asked why the gas station plans weren’t submitted in the first place. Mr. Schmitt responded that the submitted plans contained enough information that the review could proceed. The Traffic Review was also able to comment on the submittal. Since the gas station is not intended to be its own parcel, the Landscaping and Engineering Reviews were able to be completed as well. Chair Markham respectfully disagreed.
Chair Markham said that the list would be generated from which the Applicant will be able to work. Mr. Schmitt agreed to have the review complete for the June 9, 2004 meeting. Chair Markham offered to give a sixty day window. The Applicant agreed to work as fast as they can as well. The Planning Commission date of June 9, 2004 was identified as the return date, with June 23, 2004 as the back up.
Member Kocan said that it was extremely important that everyone review this information in the same manner. Specifically, if the building height is acceptable because the additional height is for mechanical screening then it should be reviewed as such. She reiterated that she is looking for compliance with the Consent Judgment.
Member Sprague said he would not support the motion as it stands. If the changes that are returned bring the plan into compliance with the Consent Agenda, then, he said, the Planning Commission would be in a position to approve it. He did not anticipate that happening. Member Sprague said one of the issues was traffic, which won’t be dealt with when the plan returns. Another issue is the relationship between this project and the Wizinsky property. He maintained that the plan must go before the City Council for its resolve, and in the interest of time, he preferred to send the plan there now. He suggested that the Planning Commission’s concerns be turned in with the plan to City Council. He said these additional 45-60 days will ultimately produce the same result.
Member Kocan responded that the plan could theoretically to the ZBA and not City Council. She was not ready to send these issues to the ZBA in their current condition. She cannot state whether she has a positive or negative recommendation on any variance that the Applicant may propose, as she hasn’t determined that the hardship does or doesn’t exist.
Member Cassis agreed to accept the language of sixty days for the review. Member Kocan agreed, and commented that everyone was aiming for 45 days.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON SAM’S CLUB, SP04-06, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER CASSIS AND SECONDED BY MEMBER KOCAN:
In the matter of Sam’s Club, SP04-06, motion to postpone the request for a (targeted 45 days,) maximum of sixty days, as agreed to by the Petitioner and the Planning Department, to provide time to review the concerns of the Planning Commission and incorporate the gas station plans (with the finding that the review letters are adequate as a resolution).
Motion carried 6-2 (Yes: Cassis, Gaul, Kocan, Markham, Pehrson, Shroyer; No: Avdoulos, Sprague).
Note: The Planning Commission approved these minutes with the acknowledgement that the above motion was meant to ensure the Applicant understood that gas station plans are to be provided in the next site plan submittal.
Landscape Architect Lance Shipman commented that at this time the Planning Department has not found that the submitted plan complied with the interior parking lot landscaping requirements, and as submitted would require a ZBA variance.
3. APPROVAL OF MARCH 10, 2004 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commission turned in their grammatical corrections for incorporation into the minutes. Member Kocan noted that the motion regarding Island Lake SP03-45 needed to reflect the language offered in a friendly amendment, specifically that the plan meet the requirements of the RUD Agreement.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Kocan:
Motion to approve the minutes of March 10, 2004 as amended.
Motion carried 8-0.
4. APPROVAL OF MARCH 24, 2004 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commission turned in their grammatical corrections for incorporation into the minutes. Member Kocan noted that the motion regarding Novi Site, SP02-55, had conflicting stipulations: 11) stated that the building setback was 0 feet; 25) stated that the building would be located one foot off of the property line. 11) was amended to reflect the Applicant’s willingness to change the building setback to one foot.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Cassis:
Motion to approve the minutes of March 24, 2004 as amended.
Motion carried 8-0.
5. NOVI FAMILY FUN PARK DISCUSSION
Chair Markham said this issue was placed on the Agenda so that the Planning Commission could discuss the ramification of the ZBA’s denial of the parking lot variance for Novi Family Fun Park. Chair Markham said that this Applicant has now modified his plans and has placed the parking within the I-1 portion of his property. Parking will now be designed with the appropriate setbacks. Chair Markham said the Planning Commission should discuss whether this new plan can be reviewed administratively or whether it must come back before the Planning Commission.
City Attorney Tom Schultz said that this could have been avoided had the site’s review had a motion for the Special Land Use and a separate motion for the site plan approval. As he described in his letter, a Planning Commission review at this time would be of the parking lot layout and picnic area and would not be reopening the whole question of Special Land Use.
Chair Markham reiterated that the parking lot would be moved and brought into compliance with the Ordinance. They are removing a portion of the picnic area. Chair Markham thought that the Planning Commission should review the elements of the plan affected by that decision. If the parking changes the lighting or noise, then it should be reviewed. If these issues weren’t affected, and the items that would change have little effect on the invasiveness of the plan, then she saw no reason for Planning Commission review. She thought that the change would actually improve the plan. She thought the new plan could be reviewed administratively.
Member Shroyer confirmed that the plan was not expected to return to the Planning Commission for Final Site Plan review and accordingly, he agreed with Chair Markham.
Member Pehrson encouraged the plan moving forward under administrative review. He did not see an adverse impact to the new plan.
Member Kocan said the Planning Commission has to trust the Planning Department in reviewing this plan. She entrusted them to review this change and encouraged them to bring the plan forward to the Planning Commission if they saw a glaring issue with the new proposal.
Chair Markham stated for the record that the Applicant would place either a berm or a conservation easement (forever limiting development in that area) on the rear portion of the property. Landscape Architect Lance Shipman confirmed this information for the Planning Commission. He said that the Applicant was responsible for placing a berm or signing a conservation easement (after meeting the five criteria necessary for this option). The Applicant has submitted a plan proposing some berms and some screening and would like to pursue the conservation easement option. Mr. Shipman said that because of the changes to the plan the Applicant should reevaluate what he is proposing near the Andes Hills’ homes. The Applicant has agreed that this issue must be addressed but has not done so at this time.
Chair Markham said that ultimately the Applicant must meet the intent of the Ordinance or the plan will not be approved. Mr. Schultz noted that his office would review any language that is proposed for a conservation easement.
Member Kocan confirmed that the berm by Andes Hills would remain and Mr. Shipman added that some modification was necessary to address the relocation of the parking lot. Mr. Shipman said that the conservation easement would only cover those areas where a berm would otherwise be placed.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There was no Consent Agenda.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
There were no Matters for Discussion.
Mr. Evancoe handed out the proposed Planning Commission budget for the fiscal year 2004/05 for the Planning Commission members to review.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
Moved by Member Kocan, seconded by Member Cassis:
Motion to adjourn.
Motion carried 8-0. The meeting adjourned at 1:03 a.m.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
SAT 04/24/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING-BUDGET SESSION 9:00 AM
WED 04/28/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
MON 05/03/04 IMPLEMENTATION MEETING 6:00 PM
MON 05/03/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
WED 05/05/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING-BUDGET SESSION 7:00 PM
WED 05/05/04 PLANNING COMMISSION LEGAL TRAINING 6:30 PM
WED 05/12/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
MON 05/17/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
WED 05/26/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
MON 05/31/04 MEMORIAL DAY, CITY OFFICES CLOSED
Transcribed by Jane Schimpf, May 14, 2004
Signature on File
Date Approved: May 26, 2004 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant 6//18/04