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CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:30 p.m.
Present: Members John Avdoulos, Victor Cassis, Richard Gaul, Andrew Gutman, Lynn Kocan, David Lipski, Mark Pehrson, Lowell Sprague, Wayne Wrobel
Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Acting Planning Director; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Brian Coburn, Engineer; Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect; Dave Gillam, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Cassis led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chair Kocan added the Election of Officers to the Agenda. Committee Assignments was added under Matters for Discussion.
Moved by Member Cassis, seconded by Member Avdoulos:
Motion to approve the Agenda of July 14, 2004 as amended.
Motion carried 9-0.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Moved by Member Sprague, seconded by Member Avdoulos, accepted by Chair Kocan:
Motion to nominate Lynn Kocan as Chairperson of the Planning Commission.
Moved by Member Cassis, seconded by Member Sprague, accepted by Member Avdoulos:
Motion to nominate John Avdoulos as Vice Chairperson of the Planning Commission.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Cassis, accepted by Member Sprague:
Motion to nominate Lowell Sprague as Secretary of the Planning Commission.
All nominations were unanimous.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
There was no correspondence to share.
Chair Kocan said that an Implementation Committee [meeting] is scheduled for July 19, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
Ms. McBeth welcomed the three new members: Andrew Gutman, David Lipski and Wayne Wrobel. Chair Kocan extended thanks to the three Planning Commission members whose terms had expired: Gwen Markham, Tim
Shroyer and David Ruyle.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
There was no Consent Agenda.
1. ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.638
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of William Eldridge for possible recommendation to City Council for rezoning on property in Section 11 located on the northeast corner of Twelve Mile and Novi roads from R-4 (Residential Acreage) to B-3 (General Business). The subject property is 1.3 acres.
Member Lipski recused himself based on his affiliation with the presenting law firm.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Sprague:
Motion to recuse Member Lipski from participating in the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.638.
Motion carried 8-0.
Acting Planning Director Barbara McBeth located the 1.3-acre property on an aerial map. She reminded the Planning Commission that on June 14, 2004 a Preliminary Hearing was held on this matter. The current zoning of the property is R-4, One Family Residential. The subject property is used as the Oakland Hills Memorial Cemetery entrance with two driveways, one on Twelve Mile, the other on Novi Road. To the west is a gas station (zoned B-3, General Business and master planned for community commercial uses). To the north and east is the cemetery (zoned R-4, One Family Residential and master planned for quasi-public cemetery uses). To the south are retail businesses and to the southwest is the Midas Muffler shop (zoned R-C, Regional Center and master planned for regional commercial uses).
The Planning Review letter recommended the subject property be retained as R-4, One Family Residential. This zoning is consistent with the historic, current and proposed designation of the Master Plan for Land Use which recommends Quasi Public: Cemetery uses. It is consistent with the zoning in the northeast quadrant of Novi Road and Twelve Mile Road, and with the current and historic use of the subject property as a cemetery entrance.
As of this date, the Applicant has not provided any assurances or written agreement regarding the future utilization or tenants of the property, as requested by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. The property owner is aware of their option to pursue a Planned Rezoning Overlay. The Applicant has submitted a list of proposed deed restrictions for the property.
For properties on the north side of Twelve Mile, from Novi Road to M-5, the City has historically encouraged residential zoning and uses permitted in the residential district. There is also a cluster of office uses further east but still across from the Twelve Oaks Mall. There are no commercial uses east of Novi Road on the north side of Twelve Mile.
Based on the public opinion survey completed in 2002 for the update of the Master Plan for Land Use, many people voiced the opinion that adequate retail development currently exists in the City of Novi, and no further land should be zoned for retail purposes.
There is currently a property boundary question with respect to the subject parcel. The Planning Department would ask the Applicant to voluntarily create a separate parcel prior to the approval or denial of the rezoning request. As currently framed, the proposed creation of a B-3 zoning lot leaves the remaining R-4 zoning lot (the cemetery) with a deficient building setback on the west side (the mausoleum). The Applicant has provided an updated survey and has now proposed turning three feet of land over to the cemetery to address the setback deficiency.
The Planning Report also highlights some of the history of the requests involving this property, including a previous rezoning request to B-3 from 1994 and 1995. That request was ultimately denied by City Council.
Additionally, during the recent Master Plan update for the City of Novi, the Master Plan and Zoning Committee recommended maintaining the current designation of the Quasi Public Cemetery use for the subject property based on its current and historic use. However, on May 6, 2004, the Master Plan and Zoning Committee considered the Applicant’s rezoning request to B-3, General Business, based on the current application. The Committee recommended a change for the Master Plan from its current recommended use as Quasi Public Cemetery to a use appropriate with the recommended B-3 zoning. At the time of the Committee’s work session on which the topic was discussed, the complete professional staff and consultant’s reviews were not available for the Committee’s discussion.
While the Applicant has not indicated the expected future use of the property if the B-3 zoning is approved, the following uses are permitted in the B-3 zoning district: retail business and services establishments, as allowed in the B-1 and B-2 districts; auto wash when completely enclosed in a building; bus passenger stations; new and used car salesrooms, show room or office; tattoo parlors; publicly owned parks; and other similar uses. This list does not reflect the deed restrictions proposed by the Applicant.
The Civil Engineering Report indicated that the water mains located along both frontages are adequate to serve the site regardless of the zoning of the site. The sanitary sewer, while not immediately available, does have the capacity to support additional flows that would be anticipated with a higher use zoning of B-3. Engineer Brian Coburn was present at the meeting to answer any questions about the public utilities.
The Traffic Engineering Review provided a trip generation comparison for potential uses of the site if the property is rezoned to B-3, General Business. It also recommended that the City’s Police Chief comment on his department’s experience with cemetery traffic at this location.
The requested action this evening is that the Commission holds this Public Hearing and, if the Commission chooses, to forward a recommendation to City Council for approval or denial of this rezoning request.
David Gillam, City Attorney, addressed the Planning Commission. He reiterated that the Applicant has suggested moving the lot split line to remove the setback deficiency.
Mr. Gillam also said that technically the property is still part of the cemetery. Michigan law is specific in terms of what can be done with property platted for a burial ground. This [plat] is a legal document that is on file with the State. If any part of the property is going to be used for a purpose other than for burial, a specific procedure is required under Michigan law. The corporation responsible for the cemetery operation must adopt a corporate resolution that authorizes the corporation to file an action in Circuit Court which asks for permission to use that platted property for something other than the purpose of burial. The procedure requires a minimum of six months from the time that the action is filed in the Circuit Court. A Notice must be published for a period of twelve consecutive weeks. If the Court then makes the determination that the proposed use is acceptable, an order is entered which grants permission. However, if the Court determines that it is not acceptable, that order would not be entered.
Mr. Gillam said that it is not clear to the City whether this land was platted as burial ground. If it wasn’t, then this is not an issue. If it was platted as burial ground, the property cannot be used for anything but burial purposes without an action being filed at the Circuit Court level. Mr. Gillam recommended that the Planning Commission hold the Public Hearing and either close the Hearing or continue the Hearing in order to provide the City Attorney with time to look into this issue.
Allen Green represented the Applicant. He stated that the area is very commercial in nature – the other corners are fairly intense commercial uses. There are shopping centers, fast food and sit down restaurants, auto uses and a hotel. Mr. Green said that this corner stopped being the entrance into the cemetery in the late 1990s. He said that the cemetery has no ownership rights to the subject property. As a matter of convenience for the cemetery the corner has remained opened but is not maintained.
Mr. Green said the corner has been for sale for over six years. He said that R-4 is not an appropriate, reasonable or desirable use for the property. It will cost in excess of $100,000 for sewer to be brought to this corner. He said that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee unanimously concluded that B-3 is the appropriate zoning for this property, and further commented that the property has been treated like commercial property through the City’s recent Twelve Mile road widening project. He said that the City Appraiser essentially said that this property is no longer used as an entrance to the cemetery. As part of the road condemnation, the City demolished an old masonry building, its drives and its well. The City took the position that they didn’t have to replace this or repay Mr. Eldridge for this because it served no useful purpose since it was no longer a part of the cemetery property. In essence, they said they were enhancing the value of Mr. Eldridge’s land. The Applicant did not dispute this because the statement was accurate.
Mr. Green reiterated that this corner does not house the cemetery entrance. He said that the Applicant is seeking the B-3 zoning for several reasons. B-1 would be less intense than the uses on the other corners, and would preclude a couple of uses that have inquired about the properties (restaurants, service stations, etc.). B-2 is comparable to the RC zoning but requires a minimum parcel size of two acres. Mr. Green said that the B-3 is most appropriate for tiny commercial-type properties on an intersection. While undesirable businesses may be allowed in the B-3, the Applicant told the Master Plan and Zoning Committee that certain uses could be deed-restricted along with the B-3 rezoning.
Mr. Green said that interested parties have included a wine shop, gas stations, banks and a drug store. The Applicant provided a list of the Request for Purchases they have received in the last three years. Mr. Green concluded that they are basically looking to rezone to a B-3 classification that functions like a B-2 (but without the two-acre minimum).
Mr. Green said the surveyor reviewed the survey and determined there are only seven feet between the mausoleum and the property line. The Applicant, he said, could ask for a variance from the ZBA, since the residential use is atypical. The other solution would be to adjust the zoning boundary that maintains the ten-foot setback.
Mr. Green said that the overall traffic generated by a B-3 use of this property would be insignificant to this corner based upon the volume of traffic already using this intersection. At most, an 8,000 square-foot building would fit on this site, and there are hundreds of thousands of commercial square feet in this area. Mr. Green said this was a service site and will likely draw most of its customers from people who are already driving and using this road system. There is a tremendous traffic pattern of people exiting the expressway and traveling north into Walled Lake. It is a perfect location for those people to make a right turn into a service-type use.
Mr. Green maintained that none of the 1.3 acres are platted for cemetery plots. He said that other cemeteries in Metro Detroit have performed similar land transactions. He said that the City had to go through the Circuit Court process on platted burial ground during the Twelve Mile Road Widening Project.
Chair Kocan stated that Police Chief Douglas Shaeffer wrote a letter wherein he commented that this corner is a concern to the Police Department. The traffic volume is very heavy at the intersection, and even after redesign there is a high traffic accident rate. He asked that great care be given to any plan that would further impact the traffic of this intersection.
Mr. Green also asked to include for the record that in his opinion the cemetery lot split and the fact that the corner was not platted burial property were both acknowledged by the City based on the manner in which they went forward with the condemnation for the road widening project.
Member Sprague read the correspondence into the record:
Michael Yokubison, 43028 Sandstone Drive: Objected because he preferred to maintain a quiet residential atmosphere and said there was enough commercially-zoned land.
Praveen Mam, 43121 Sandstone Drive: Objected for traffic and congestion reasons.
Barbara Lewis: Objected for sanctity of the corner reasons.
Hugh and Cathy Crawford, 46275 West Eleven Mile: Objected for sanctity of the corner reasons.
Raymond Davis, 43420 West Twelve Mile: Objected to the rezoning. Mr. Davis, the owner of the nearby Amoco station, quoted from previously-held City meetings and summarized that the City has already weighed in on and disapproved of this concept. He said that the arches signify that this land is indeed part of the cemetery and if the land was split off it was a gross misrepresentation to those who purchased plots in the cemetery. He said that his family has endured loss of income on several occasions because of planning and development issues determined at the City and State levels.
Chair Kocan opened the floor up for public comment:
Carol Crawford, 22135 Beck: Objected to the request because she found it to be offensive. She felt that the City paid too much money for the condemned land for the road widening project (she thought it was $200,000). She noted that the demolished building had already been earmarked for removal by the cemetery ownership. She would be willing to work toward making a ballot issue out of saving this corner and she said that she has support of others in the Community for the purpose of formulating a request for the City to purchase this corner.
James Korte, Austin Drive: Objected because the purchasers of the plots within the cemetery bought "the whole package" when they chose that cemetery. He said that putting an intense business use in front of the cemetery would be spot zoning. He said that people still use the corner entrance and the entry in the back serves no purpose, is not built to any standard, and should be shut down.
Brent Canup, 47201 Glamorgan: Objected because he felt that the lot split stole from the plot owners of the cemetery. He said it was a gross misuse of public trust.
Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin: Cited Section 1502.14, and questioned whether curb cuts could be placed in accordance with the Ordinance. She questioned whether a full acre would be left once the corner gave three feet back to the cemetery. She said that rezoning the property would make it nonconforming and would require variances. She said that B-3 would allow for gas stations, and that would put storage tanks within 500 feet of a crematorium, which is a safety issue. She said that the cemetery has breached a covenant with the plot owners.
LCDR Daniel Lee Conrad, 136 Saint Clair River Drive, Algonac, MI: His family owns 14 plots. There is a veterans’ memorial that is very close to this corner. As a veteran and plot owner he objected to commercial development on this corner. He called the Cemetery Commission to confirm the process by which this lot split and development could occur. He said he was never contacted by the cemetery about land being sold. There is no information on this land sale in the City Assessor’s office or with the Register of County Deeds. He said the Cemetery Commissioner stated that Michigan has never allowed a lot to be split off of a cemetery parcel. He asked why the City is considering rezoning a non-parcel. He said that the land is tax-exempt and no one has been paying taxes on this land. The Cemetery Act 87 of 1855, Amended 1982 (for the road widening), states that plot owners are part owners of the cemetery. He said that the Cemetery Commissioner said that there must be a 500-foot setback between a cemetery and some commercial development. Mr. Conrad said that Mr. Eldridge moved graves in order to achieve that setback requirement. He said that the new "entrance" is an unimproved muddy road. In accordance with Cemetery Regulation Act 251 of Public Acts of 1968, a permanent sign and a permanent entrance are required. He was told that the cemetery paid rent to Mr. Eldridge to keep the corner open for entry. He asked whether the plot owners who paid into the perpetual fund were given their $5,000/acre for the road condemnation or this 1.3 acre parcel. He said that the Cemetery Commissioner told him that what was deeded were the burial rites for the gravesites that were in the cemetery. He asked where an impact study is for this rezoning. He asked about gas leaking into the gravesites, if in fact the property became a gas station. He said that approving nonconforming lots must be kept to a minimum, according to the Michigan Municipal League. He asked that the land remain sacred.
William Eldridge, owner of the subject property: Said that he has owned cemeteries in Metro Detroit for over thirty years. He said that in 1990 the Macomb Road Commission and Clinton Township approached him regarding Oakland Hills’ sister cemetery, Cadillac Memorial Gardens East, and asked him to move the entry from the corner because of the length of funeral processions and the possibility of tying up the intersection. He said that the office building near the corner was admittedly old and in need of replacement. He said that it didn’t make sense to put the office back in that area because they anticipated the same request to move the driveway at this cemetery location as they received in Clinton Township. The new owner, Mr. Bush, agreed to open a new entrance off of Novi Road. He said it was not his intention to desecrate this cemetery. He said that with appropriate screening, the families would enjoy this corner of the cemetery more without the entrance. It would create a sight and sound barrier for the property. He said that three acres of Roseland Park in Royal Oak were split off from the cemetery for a shopping center. Ten acres were taken from Acacia Park Cemetery in Beverly Hills for a shopping Center. Cadillac West sold its frontage to a racquetball court and shopping center. He said they had sale arrangements with Shell Oil and Exxon; both backed out because they preferred that the land was rezoned first. He said that originally he was contacted by the previous City Manager, Ed Kriewall, and was asked whether he would parcel off the corner for the Novi Road/Grand River Avenue Amoco gas station swap. Mr. Eldridge was not in a position at the time to do so, and as a result the Amoco ended up on the opposite corner.
Mr. Green said that he cannot comment on the emotional impact of a change to the cemetery. He has not leased this land to Mr. Bush for the entry; as a courtesy they allow the cemetery to use this entrance. He said it was not his place to comment on the cemetery operations, but he did note that the cemetery received money for the road condemnation and that there was a permanent sign at their Novi Road entrance. He asked the Planning Commission to concentrate on the land use issues rather than the emotional issues.
Linda Krieger, 44920 Byrne Drive: Said that it was an emotional issue for her. She would not like it if a gas station were developed and it leaked gasoline. She said this was the only paved entry into the cemetery. She asked that the City be careful and thorough in their review.
Chair Kocan closed the Public Hearing. Chair Kocan said that it was the Planning Commission’s charge to look at the land use and compatibility issue.
Member Pehrson agreed that it was an emotional issue. He asked the City Attorney whether the Planning Commission should not discuss this issue further until it has been determined that any necessary Circuit Court action has been satisfied.
Mr. Gillam said that the point was well taken. He reiterated that the City’s position is not that the proper procedure has not been followed. However, if this land was platted for burial, the procedure must be followed. The City would feel more comfortable if the status of this parcel could be confirmed.
Member Pehrson did not endorse moving forward with the rezoning process until that question has been answered. He thought it would be best that the Planning Commission comments be delayed until the aforementioned question has been answered.
Mr. Green asked that the review be postponed until the determination has been made, if in fact this process would make the Planning Commission feel more at ease.
Member Sprague asked how long it would take to make the determination. Mr. Gillam asked Mr. Green if a copy of the plat could be garnered through Mr. Eldridge, and Mr. Green said that it could. Mr. Gillam said that two weeks to a month would be the window.
Chair Kocan said that she and Member Avdoulos would both prefer to continue the Public Hearing as well so that any new comments could be added to the record. Ms. McBeth thought that either of the next two Agendas could accommodate this postponement.
Moved by Member Sprague, seconded by Member Pehrson:
In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.638, the Eldridge rezoning request, motion to table the matter to a future meeting so that a determination can be made on the platting of the subject property regarding location of the cemetery plots.
Member Cassis asked whether the motion was for a tabling (used for an issue returning to the table in the same meeting) or a postponement (used for an issue returning to the table at a later date). Mr. Gillam suggested that the phrase, "Continue the Public Hearing" could be used. Member Sprague and Member Pehrson agreed.
Member Avdoulos explained that the when this issue came before the Master Plan and Zoning Committee he was under the impression that the preliminary paperwork on this parcel split was effectively complete. He now questioned whether the appropriate paperwork was provided to the City. He said that he was concerned about rezoning the piece of land while it was still connected to the cemetery, because it would create a non-conforming situation in which cemeteries aren’t allowed in the B-3 zoning and now their property is zoned B-3. He reiterated that he wanted all of the paperwork complete prior to this project going forward. Once there are no paperwork issues, Member Avdoulos would divulge his comments on acceptable uses for the corner; he also stated that he thought that the existing arch created a nice inviting corner.
Member Cassis asked whether there were any covenants or restrictions with a cemetery that are recorded. Mr. Gillam was only aware of the issues he described earlier in the meeting. He agreed to take a closer look at the situation to ensure that there are no other situations that should be considered. He said that these restrictions may be a result of those imposed through the law, or those imposed through a contract signed between the plot owners and the cemetery. The City cannot involve itself with private contracts. Member Cassis was curious to see any paperwork that the cemetery had regarding the rules of the cemetery, including what the plot owners received as a holder of land. Mr. Gillam said he would review the public laws but reiterated the private contracts were not under the purview of the City.
Chair Kocan appreciated the civility under which the Planning Commission, the City and the Applicant have agreed to go forward. She asked the Planning Department to address the request for an Impact Study. She asked for clarification of the berming requirements, and how that would impact the size of the lot. She asked what the impact was of the three-foot setback. She asked for clarification of all impacts created by the rezoning from residential to B-3. She noted that there are certain land uses allowed in R-4 (daycares, churches, etc.) and that could also be explored.
Chair Kocan confirmed that a Public Notice would not be required with a continuation. Because she felt that the residents were well-versed on this Public Hearing, another Public Notice would not be necessary.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE ELDRIDGE REZONING REQUEST 18.638 MOTION MADE BY MEMBER SPRAGUE AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PEHRSON:
In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.638, the Eldridge rezoning request, motion to continue the Public Hearing to a future meeting so that a determination can be made on the platting of the subject property regarding location of the cemetery plots.
Motion carried 8-0 (Recused: Lipski).
Chair Kocan called for a short break.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. HUSKY INJECTION MOLDING SYSTEM ADDITION, SITE PLAN NUMBER 04-24
Consideration of the request of Jeffery A. Scott Architects for approval of a Preliminary Site Plan. The subject property is located in Section 15 at 45145 West Twelve Mile in the OST (Office Service Technology) District. The subject property is approximately 24.4 acres. The Applicant is proposing an ancillary 8,766 square foot machine shop with classrooms.
Acting Planning Director Barbara McBeth located the subject property on an aerial map. The land is currently developed with Husky Injection Molding Systems, first approved for development in 1998. The property to the east is vacant land. The subject property is zoned OST, Planned Office Service Technology, as are the properties to the east. The property on the north side of Twelve Mile Road is currently vacant land zoned for single family residential uses, but construction is expected soon for the Liberty Park development. To the south and west is the CSX Railroad, and further to the west are single family homes fronting on Taft Road and zoned R-A, Residential Acreage. The Master Plan for Land Use recommends Office uses for the site and for the properties to the east and west. To the north, the Master Plan recommends a Special Planning Project Area.
The Woodlands and Wetlands maps indicate light woodlands on the north part of the property, and wetlands along the western edge of the property.
The proposed site plan shows an 8,766 square foot addition to the existing building. The floor plans show that the addition will contain classrooms and a machine hall with a twenty-ton overhead crane. The addition is proposed at the rear of the building in the area closest to the railroad tracks. The plans approved in 1998 for the initial Husky Development had reserved this area in landscaping. The proposed building materials match the building materials on the existing building. Additionally, a new concrete pad is proposed near the rear of the building to provide an area for periodic recycling of materials.
The Planning Review indicates that a Planning Commission determination is needed regarding the screening for the proposed truck service/loading area. The Zoning Ordinance for the OST District requires truck service areas be totally screened from view from any public right of way and adjacent properties through a courtyard design of building, decorative wall, and/or landscaped berm. However, the Planning Commission may waive these requirements where such truck parking and loading areas abut a railroad, light industrial district, or other OST property, or where the adjacent property is of a higher elevation than the subject property, and as a result, the total enclosure from view of the truck service areas would result in peculiar or exceptional practical difficulties or exceptional undue hardship.
The proposed plans show the new loading area is proposed near the south side of the building, adjacent to the existing railroad spur that approaches the existing building. The submitted Civil Engineering Drawings show the proposed pad to be recessed approximately ten feet below the existing grade on the east side of the proposed concrete pad. The building itself will screen the area from Twelve Mile, and it is the Planning Department’s opinion that the truck service area will be adequately screened from the adjacent properties. The Planning Commission is therefore asked to consider granting a waiver of the truck service area screening requirements, in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance, since the area abuts a railroad, and the adjacent property is of a higher elevation than the subject property.
Secondly, the Applicant is asked to provide an additional four parking spaces on the property to comply with Ordinance requirements for 102 parking spaces. 98 spaces currently exist. The Applicant should provide three additional parking spaces and one additional barrier free parking on the Final Site Plan. While landbanked parking spaces are shown on the plan, the Zoning Ordinance does not indicate that landbanked parking spaces are permitted for this use. The Planning Department would ask that these dashed-in spaces be removed from the Final Site Plan for clarity in possible future review of these plans.
The Landscaping Review recommended approval of the plan subject to minor changes and additions to the plan prior to submittal of the Final Site Plan. The Traffic Engineer’s and the Civil Engineer’s reviews both revealed only minor comments which may be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan Review. The Fire Marshal’s Review recommended approval of the submitted plan.
The Façade Review indicated that approval of the project is recommended, with additional information that will need to be submitted at the time of Final Site Plan Review. As stated in the review, the addition meets all three requirements and is allowed to be constructed in a way to match the existing facility.
Ms. McBeth clarified that the landbanked parking spaces were shown on the original site plan. She said that it was not necessary for this area to be earmarked for future parking on the plan, and they have asked that the Applicant remove it so there is no confusion in the future.
Jeff Scott of Scott Architects, 32316 Grand River, Farmington, addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of the Applicant. He said that the addition will house their additional training room needs. The classrooms will be next to a machine hall where the employees will train. The addition is proposed at an existing corner of the building. The design is meant to minimize any impact to the site. Mr. Scott said that when Husky brings the injection molds in for training or research, the packaging material is removed and thrown into the recycling bins located in this area. This loading area used to be near the main loading dock, but now it will be located further to the south. The owner’s concern is to keep the classroom view as nice as possible.
Mr. Scott located the main entry and the canopy of the office area. He said the machine hall is the blue glazed area. The landscaping is extensive around the entire site. He said that Husky requires great quality in their developments, worldwide. He noted the beauty of the retention pond. He showed several pictures and identified that part of their operation which was slated to be repositioned into the southeast corner. Mr. Scott said that the manner in which they cut into the hill to create the pad will provide adequate screening from the east and south.
Mr. Scott said that Husky is an environmentally-friendly company. He said that the amount of parking already provided is quite adequate, and the people who will be attending classes on this site will be flown into the Detroit area and will be transported via a commuter-type van. He respectfully asked for direction on how Husky could proceed with their proposed plan without adding additional unnecessary paved parking spaces. Mr. Scott also said that they will match the existing façade.
Chair Kocan confirmed that this proposed site plan addresses all changes they anticipate making to the Husky site.
Member Gaul asked what the value was of the new machinery being brought into the City. Mr. Scott could not provide that answer, but thought that the equipment would be new to the site.
Member Avdoulos noted the SP-1 table regarding parking spaces: Office = 62, Warehouse = 29, Warehouse 1:700 = 69, for a total of 160. Member Avdoulos said that the Applicant tallied those as 131. He noted the provided parking spaces (64, 34 and 32 = 130). Then he noted the proposed spaces (10+8 = 18, not 20). Member Avdoulos had no problem with landbanking spaces, but wanted to ensure that the proper numbers are used and shown on the plan. He agreed that no one should provide more spaces than necessary. Ms. McBeth said that the Implementation Committee has been considering whether landbanked parking spaces could be used for parking counts. Ms. McBeth said that regardless of the confusing numbers depicted on the plan, the Planning Department’s interpretation of the parking requirements could be found in their Planning Review – and this number is 102.
Ms. McBeth said that the Planning Department would like to apply the landbanking standards but unfortunately they did not believe that the Ordinance provided for this option for this use.
Member Avdoulos asked about the landscape issue. Ms. McBeth said that if the landbanked parking spaces were shown on the plan it suggests that future incorporation of those spaces meet the Landscape Ordinance, which they don’t. Therefore the Applicant has been asked to remove them from the plan.
Member Avdoulos noted that the Applicant did not submit a letter responding to the landscaping and traffic issues. Ms. McBeth said that in this case, the Applicant and the Planning Department worked right up until the deadline on some of these issues, and unfortunately time ran out before a response letter could be provided to address those concerns.
Mr. Scott said that he was confident that he could address the landscape issues, and he agreed to work with staff to tweak any radius issues that might exist.
Member Avdoulos complimented Mr. Scott on the building design. He noted the detailed work and the Applicant’s sensitivity to the environment. He said the screening waiver was acceptable because the site abutted a railroad track. Additionally, there will be about a ten-foot berm once the construction cut is made.
Moved by Member Avdoulos, supported by Member Pehrson:
In the matter of Husky Injection Molding Systems, SP04-24, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission Waiver of the truck service screening requirement for the proposed recycling/loading area at the rear of the building in accordance with the provisions of Section 2302.8.1.c, since the property abuts the railroad and the adjacent property is of a higher elevation than this area, and the existing building will assist in screening this area from adjacent properties; 2) The provision of an additional four parking spaces to the site plan, with an additional barrier-free zoning parking space, or the Applicant seeking a ZBA variance for four parking spaces, or the Applicant continuing to work with the City to determine whether a letter from the owner would be appropriate for the non-conformity to the additional four parking spaces required; and 3) The comments of the attached review letters being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan approval;
for the reason that the project addition, with all new building materials matching the existing structure, meets the intent and requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.
Member Cassis supported Member Avdoulos’ motion. He took this opportunity to commend the Applicant on his clean and viable business. He appreciated Husky’s confidence in the City as evidenced by the expansion of their Novi location. He said that that the Husky operation is attractive and the landscaping is well done.
Member Sprague suggested that the four parking spaces be removed as a stipulation. He said that if the Applicant determines that he needs those spaces, clearly he’s going to build them. City Attorney David Gillam reiterated that with this use parking cannot be landbanked, which is the opinion of Birchler Arroyo, the Planning Department and the City Attorney. It was unclear whether the third option (the letter) regarding the parking was appropriate based on the City’s Ordinance, but Ms. McBeth said that the Planning Department would continue working with Applicant on the whole parking issue.
Chair Kocan clarified that the total number of parking spaces was four – three standard and one barrier-free. She asked that "the removal of the landbanked parking spaces from the Final Site Plan as they are not appropriate in this zone" be added to the motion. Member Avdoulos and Member Pehrson agreed to the changes.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON HUSKY, SP04-24, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER AVDOULOS AND SUPPORTED BY MEMBER PEHRSON:
In the matter of Husky Injection Molding Systems, SP04-24, motion to grant approval of the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission Waiver of the truck service screening requirement for the proposed recycling/loading area at the rear of the building in accordance with the provisions of Section 2302.8.1.c, since the property abuts the railroad and the adjacent property is of a higher elevation than this area, and the existing building will assist in screening this area from adjacent properties; 2) The provision of an additional four parking spaces to the site plan, which includes an additional barrier-free zoning parking space, or the Applicant seeking a ZBA variance for four parking spaces, or the Applicant continuing to work with the City to determine whether a letter from the owner would be appropriate for the non-conformity to the additional four parking spaces required; 3) The comments of the attached review letters being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan approval; and 4) The removal of the landbanked parking spaces from the Final Site Plan as they are not appropriate in this zone; for the reason that the project addition, with all new building materials matching the existing structure, meets the intent and requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.
Motion carried 9-0.
2. REVISION TO PLANNING COMMISSION BYLAWS AND RULES OF PROCEDURE
Chair Kocan explained to the Planning Commission that it was important to review the Rules when new members join. Member Cassis suggested that because some of the changes are complicated and there are three brand new Planning Commission members, the vote should be delayed in order to give time for all the information to be absorbed.
Chair Kocan stated that she was a member of the Rules Committee, and the changes proposed are meant to provide more clarification to both the Planning Commission and Planning Department. In some instances the change is simply the substitution of a better-suited word for an existing word. Some changes correct lettering/numbering or grammatical inconsistencies. It was noted that City Attorney Tom Schultz has also reviewed these changes, and has proposed some changes himself.
Some of the notable changes were:
The word "generally" was found to be acceptable, although non-specific, to describe when the election of Officers would take place. Member Cassis expressed concern that new members may not be familiar with existing members and therefore their vote for Officers would be cast without any perspective. He recommended that the election of Officers be delayed until perhaps the second meeting so that new members could gain some familiarity.
Planner Tim Schmitt said that these Rules govern the Planning Commission and can be overridden in any way, shape or form at the discretion of the Commission. City Attorney David Gillam agreed that the Rules can be suspended at any time with a majority vote by the Planning Commission.
Member Gaul clarified that previously, the requirement of eleven months of service did not need to be consecutive months.
The resignation information was clarified in that it pertained to Officers.
"Reasonable Agenda" has now been described as one with an ending time that would occur prior to 11:30 p.m.
Clarification of the Officers’ positions was inserted into the Rules.
Each Planning Commission member is now proposed to serve on at least two committees (not one).
The Rules were updated to state that if a quorum is not present, the meeting must be recessed or adjourned; the attending members may not discuss pending matters. The quorum language was taken from Roberts’ Rules of Order, Revised.
It was noted that the language pertaining to holding Public Hearings within the five-day window of a holiday provides for this possibility in the event of extraordinary circumstances.
The order of the Public Hearing was updated. Of note was the fact that the Applicant will now be provided an opportunity to respond to the public comments. The Rules were updated to reflect the Planning Commission’s desire to have audience members fill out an information card if they wish to address the Planning Commission. Groups present at the meeting will be asked to identify themselves.
The Commission discussed the expected decorum of the audience, and Mr. Schmitt responded that there aren’t any appropriate words that could be included in these Rules to address audience decorum. He reiterated that these Rules are meant to govern the actions of the Planning Commission, not the public.
The rule was added that gives the Planning Commission the right to continue a Public Hearing.
Chair Kocan reminded the Planning Commission that if a member would like to hear any motion restated they should not hesitate to ask.
The number of votes needed for various types of motions has been stipulated by the State Zoning Act. It was specified when a roll call vote was necessary.
The order of the Agenda was updated with more appropriate titles. "Planning Director Report" and "Supplemental Issues" were two of the changes.
Audience Participation language was updated to allow Public Hearing comments to be made during the Audience Participation portion of the meeting in circumstances when a person cannot wait to be heard.
Chair Kocan asked that "during a Public Hearing" be removed from section b.
Member Cassis asked whether the Rules addressed people who want to speak more than once on a subject. Chair Kocan said that it is important to allow people a chance to rebut information even if they have already spoken. Member Cassis thought something should be added to the Rules that protects the Chair from having to allow too much rebuttal from any single person. Mr. Schmitt thought the protection was provided in 3.8.b.1, where it states remarks must be limited to three minutes; it was up to the discretion of the Chair.
Member Cassis begged to differ. He said that when the Chair yields the floor to a speaker for a second time a precedent for allowing more rebuttal time has been set. The Planning Commission agreed to consider whether a stipulation should be added that limits a speaker’s appearance before the Planning Commission to just once.
Chair Kocan said that changes to Section 3.9.A were meant to ensure the packets are complete when delivered on the Friday before the Planning Commission meets. One addition was that no information will be delivered to the Planning Commission members after 6:00 the night before a meeting. The City Attorney suggested that a disclaimer be added that provides for a majority Planning Commission vote to overrule this stipulation.
Member Pehrson suggested that the language be changed to "unless approved by a majority of the Planning Commission" instead of "affirmatively determined…"
The City Attorney has also advised that it would be better to state that "All meetings shall be conducted in accordance with parliamentary procedure" rather than Roberts’ Rules of Order because Roberts is too prohibitive.
Chair Kocan briefly stated that "typically" was placed before the 7:30 p.m. start time comment to reflect that in some cases, meetings do not start at that time. She noted that the requirement to turn off electronic devices was made into a request because meeting attendees cannot be forced to turn off their phones and pagers.
Chair Kocan explained that meetings can adjourn when there are no more petitioners, the Planning Department has received all necessary direction and the audience participations have been held.
Chair Kocan read aloud, "For the Chairperson to consider what should and should not be included on the Agenda, consultant and staff review letters are completed by the Monday of the week prior to the meeting during which the site plan would normally be considered." This allows enough time for everyone to read, absorb and respond to the review. Chair Kocan stated that the Planning Commission likes to have response letters from the petitioners for their review.
Additionally, the Planning Commission reserves the right to limit the Agenda, which is a function that is handled between the Chair and the Planning Department.
Chair Kocan read aloud, "No Public Hearing or Matter for Consideration may be delayed from an Agenda for more than two consecutive meetings." She asked whether the word "may" could be changed to "should." This conveys that hearing the case is a priority but allows flexibility in instances where meeting this time criteria may not be possible.
Chair Kocan noted that the Planning Commission and its committees should have goals and objectives. They create a meeting schedule if possible.
Chair Kocan pointed out that items must be directed to the Implementation Committee through the Planning Commission.
Chair Kocan stated that the minutes must include the maker and seconder of a motion and the rules describe what should be attached to the minutes.
Chair Kocan explained that with respect to Planning Commission training, "as the City allows" was moved into the main heading to reduce the repetitiveness. Chair Kocan said that training of the Planning Commission is important. Certification of planners via the Citizen Planner program is encouraged based on the availability of funds. The Rules explain which Planning Commission members have first rights to attend conferences.
Chair Kocan noted that the Open Meetings Act language was added by the City Attorney. She also commented that the Standards of Conduct Language included new verbiage as well as language shifted from Section 7.1 of the Rules. She pointed out that Planning Commission members should refrain from commenting on pending issues. Additionally, when Planning Commissioners speak to the media they represent themselves and not the Planning Commission as a whole.
Member Lipski commented that the Planning Commission may have to improvise changing the Rules at a given meeting because it is inconsistent with the Amendment procedure that states advance notice must be given if there are changes to the Rules (Section 8). If the Planning Commission is going to have the ability to have an ad hoc rule change, perhaps a temporary one for one meeting, it needs to be in the Rules. Mr. Schmitt responded that the Planning Commission can decide to set the rule aside, state that change must be made, and at the next meeting the Public Notice will come out and the formal change can be made.
Member Lipski asked if the Planning Commission can act upon the change when it is proposed. Mr. Schmitt said that the Planning Commission can set aside the conflicting rule so that what needs to be done can be done. The new rule can then be brought forward at the next meeting. It would retroactively apply to what was previously done.
Mr. Schmitt gave this example: The rules state that response letters must be received by the Applicant. Later, it is determined that plans without wetland and woodland permit requirements do not need response letters. The Planning Commission can set aside the rule requiring the response letter and at a subsequent meeting a change can be made to the rules.
Member Lipski just asked that the City Attorney review this information and determine that the ability to put the rule "on pause" is acceptable. City Attorney David Gillam said that Mr. Schmitt’s description of how the Planning Commission can set aside a rule is accurate, and that it is an acceptable practice according to Roberts’ Rules of Order. The differentiation must be made between setting aside or suspending a rule, and changing the rule permanently. An actual change to the rule must be handled formally through notice.
Member Cassis asked how enforceable the Rules are from a legal standpoint. He wondered if they were truly rules or just a wish list. Mr. Gillam said that it was the latter of the two; they provide guidance to the public and are meant to benefit the Planning Commission. This is not a legal document and therefore no problem is caused by suspending a rule. There are due processes of a Planning Commission - it must afford an Applicant the opportunity to be heard, etc.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Cassis:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON RULES MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER CASSIS:
Motion to have the Planning Commission review the notes (on the proposed Rules changes) and bring back comments to the next meeting.
Motion carried 9-0.
3. APPROVAL OF JUNE 9, 2004 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Chair Kocan explained that Planning Commission members who were not present at the June 9, 2004 meeting may still vote on the minutes and can offer grammatical changes if they so desire. Changes were handed in for incorporation into the minutes.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Cassis:
Motion to approve the minutes of June 9, 2004 as amended.
Motion carried 9-0.
4. APPROVAL OF JUNE 23, 2004 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commission turned in their corrections for incorporation into the minutes. Chair Kocan noted that on page eight, Ms. McBeth’s comments were in reference to Outlot One. She asked that the minutes clarify Member Shroyer’s comment about the waiver around the wetland area. In the pet care motion, "doggie daycare" was replaced with "pet daycare."
Moved by Member Avdoulos, seconded by Member Cassis:
Motion to approve the minutes of June 23, 2004 as amended.
Motion carried 9-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Committee Assignments Chair Kocan asked everyone to review the Committee information that was in their packets, fill out and return their forms before Friday of the following week.
Member Avdoulos again thanked the three outgoing Planning Commission members for their service and welcomed Barbara McBeth as the Acting Planning Director. He continued that the Committee work is not grueling, and in fact is where most progress is made.
There were no Special Reports.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Cassis:
Motion to adjourn.
Motion carried 9-0. The meeting adjourned at 11:22 p.m.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
MON 07/12/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
WED 07/14/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
MON 07/26/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
WED 07/28/04 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM
MON 08/09/04 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:30 PM
TUE 08/10/04 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM
Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, July 22, 2004 Signature on File
Date Approved July 28, 2004 Donna Jernigan, Planning Assistant