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PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2005 7:30 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - NOVI CIVIC CENTER
45175 W. TEN MILE, NOVI, MI 48375
(248) 347-0475

CALL TO ORDER

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

ROLL CALL

Present: Members John Avdoulos, Victor Cassis, Lynn Kocan, Mark Pehrson, Lowell Sprague, Wayne Wrobel

Absent: Members Andrew Gutman (excused), David Lipski (excused)

Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Director of Planning; Tim Schmitt, Planner, Mark Spencer, Planner; Darcy Schmitt, Planner; Lance Shipman, Landscape Architect; Ben Croy, Civil Engineer; David Gillam, City Attorney

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The meeting attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Sprague:

VOICE VOTE ON AGENDA MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER SPRAGUE:

Motion to approve the Agenda of March 23, 2005

Motion carried 6-0.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

No one from the audience wished to speak.

CORRESPONDENCE

There was no Correspondence to share.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Chair Kocan said that the Implementation Committee meeting will now be held on April 4, 2005.

PLANNING DIRECTOR REPORT

Director of Planning Barbara McBeth summarized some Planning Commission issues that recently went before City Council. The rezoning request for JB Donaldson on the northeast corner of Ten Mile and Novi Road – the ell-shaped parcel around the Speedway – was approved from light industrial to B-3. The Unlisted Use text amendment was approved.

Ms. McBeth noted that there will be a Natural Features Expo on April 12, 2005 at the Novi Civic Center from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. A number of representatives relating to that industry will be in attendance: MDEQ, SEMCOG, DNR, RRRASOC, Oakland County Drain Commissioner’s Office, Friends of the Rouge, Woodland and Wetland Consultants, City of Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry, and the Novi Planning Department.

CONSENT AGENDA

There were no Consent Agenda items.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. MIRACLE SOFTWARE, SITE PLAN NUMBER 05-08

The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Steve Sorensen of JB Donaldson Company for Preliminary Site Plan approval, Woodland Permit, Wetland Permit, Storm Water Management Plan and approval of Special Land Use request. The subject property is located in Section 16, south of Grand River Avenue and west of Taft Road in the I-1, Light Industrial District. The Applicant is proposing a 30,000 sq. ft., two-story building. The subject property is 5.470 acres.

Director of Planning Barbara McBeth located the property on an aerial photo. The subject property is currently vacant land located on the south side of Grand River Avenue, west of Taft Road. The property to the east is developed with Johnson Printing. To the west, the property is developed with Gatsby’s Restaurant and the Novi Family Fun Park is under construction. To the south are the Andes Hills condominiums. To the north is DeMaria and JCK Office Building.

The Master Plan for Land Use recommends Light Industrial uses for the site and for the properties to the east and west. To the north, the Master Plan recommends Office Uses. To the south the Master Plan recommends single family residential uses.

The subject property is zoned I-1, Light Industrial for the subject property, and the properties to the east, west and northeast. To the northwest, across Grand River Avenue, and to the southwest the zoning is OST, Office Service Technology. To the south, the zoning is R-2, Single Family Residential, for the Andes Hills development.

The Woodland map shows light woodlands on the south part of the property. Detailed woodlands and wetlands information was provided by the Applicant with their submitted plans.

Ms. McBeth said that the proposed site plan shows a 30,000 square foot general office building for a company called Miracle Software. The proposed site plan shows two driveways on Grand River Avenue, with traffic circulation around the entire building. More than one acre of woodlands is proposed to be retained in its natural state along the southeast rear of the property. A stormwater detention basin is proposed near the southwest corner of the site. The Applicant is proposing a basketball court and a sand volleyball court behind the proposed building. The office building itself is a permitted use in the Light Industrial zoning district. The outside recreation facilities are considered a use permitted subject to Special Land Use approval as indicated in the Zoning Ordinance.

The Planning Review indicates that, if the Plans are approved by the Planning Commission, the Applicant will need to seek a ZBA variance for exceeding the allowable building height. The proposed two story building is 32 feet four inches in height, while the Zoning Ordinance allows 25 feet for buildings adjacent to the residential zoning districts. The Planning Department had discussed the possibility that the building could be constructed as a one-story building in order to meet the building height limitations of the property. However, if that were done, it is likely that some of the parking and the sports courts would need to be constructed in the woodland area at the back of the site. The Planning Department would suggest to the Planning Commission that the proposed plan is preferable, even though the building height exceeds ordinance requirements, since the plan preserves more than 200 feet of wooded areas existing along the southeast part of the property, which will provide a buffer between the proposed office building and the residential homes.

Additionally, the Planning Commission will be asked to make a finding regarding the parking proposed in the front yard. The proposed plan meets the standards of footnote h of the schedule of regulations, with the exception of the required berm or 2˝ foot tall screen wall in this area. As indicated in the Planning and Landscaping Reviews, the Planning Department would like to continue to work with the Applicant at the time of Final Site Plan review to insure that either the required berm or screen wall will be provided in this area.

The Planning Commission is also asked to review the outside recreation area for the considerations provided in the ordinance for Special Land Use. Page three of the Planning Review provided the Ordinance language for the convenience of the Planning Commission in making its determination.

The Wetland Review indicated there are three wetland areas located on the site, with wetlands one and three being of relatively low quality with relatively limited hydrologic and wildlife function. Wetland two is of higher quality because it contains multiple habitat structures including open water, emergent wetland and scrub-shrub wetland, and it is adjacent to a wooded area which provides a benefit to upland animal species. Wetland two is not proposed to be impacted by the development. The Applicant provided the updated wetlands sheets requested by the City’s Wetlands Consultant, which have allowed the City’s consultant to recommend conditional approval of the Preliminary Site Plan, subject to a number of conditions, including review by the MDEQ with a likely MDEQ Wetland Use Permit and a City of Novi Wetland Non-minor use permit. The Planning Department has asked the Applicant to consider removing the driveway around the rear of the property as a possible consideration if the MDEQ concurs that the wetland in this area is regulated. This could be resolved at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.

The Woodland Review indicated that regulated woodland areas exist along the south property line approximately 250 feet in depth, with a non-wooded area in the southwest corner where the Applicant proposes to construct a detention pond. The plan proposes to preserve a total of 1.1 acres of the 1.4 acres of woodland on the site, representing a preservation of 78 percent of the site’s woodlands. Both the Woodland and Wetland Consultants noted the small wooded knoll on the southeast part of the property is valuable for habitat and as a buffer between this property and Andes Hills.

The Landscaping review indicated that three waivers are needed from the Planning Commission in order to approve the plans as presented.

The first is a Planning Commission Waiver of the required berm adjacent to Grand River Avenue, This waiver is not recommended by Staff, but Mr. Shipman believes this matter can be resolved at the time of Final Site Plan Review.

The Planning Commission is asked to grant the waiver of the street tree requirements along Grand River, as the RCOC has indicated that street trees are not desirable in this area.

Finally, the Planning Commission Waiver of the required berm or screen wall adjacent to the residential area to the south in order to preserve existing woodlands. This waiver is only for the area consisting of woodlands, and the required berm is located at the southwest part of the site.

The Traffic Review recommended relocating the proposed west driveway approximately sixty feet to the east, to line up with a driveway across the street. It should also be designed to intersect with Grand River Avenue at a right angle. The Traffic Engineer believes this can be accomplished at the time of Final Site Plan Review without serious consequences to the site plan, and will provide improved safety since it will directly align with one of the driveways on the opposite side of Grand River Avenue. The Applicant has indicated that there may problems with a driveway relocation, so this issue may not be resolved until the time of Final Site Plan submittal.

The Engineering Review does not recommend approval due to the need for an easement for stormwater drainage with the Andes Hills development to the south, or the Applicant needs to seek an alternate means of stormwater discharge. Also, the Engineering Review reiterates that the driveway spacing waivers are needed, even subject to the west driveway location as the Traffic Engineer has recommended.

The Fire Marshal’s review recommended approval subject to minor corrections on the next submittal of plans.

The Façade review indicated that approval of the project is recommended. The façade board was presented to the Planning Commission.

Bennett Donaldson represented the project. He presented Miracle Software marketing information to the Planning Commission. This software development company is currently in Southfield. It is a global operation that has a Fortune 500 client list. They consider Novi a good location for its accessibility. They deal with many of the companies in the area. They will have about 115-150 employees at this location. They have 250 employees nationwide. He said this would be a great use for this corridor.

Mr. Donaldson explained that the building height variance is realistic because the building is over 300 feet from the property line. The building is screened by a natural seven-foot high berm with existing mature trees. In the light industrial zoning, this office should be considered a non-aggressive use. The recreation facilities are strictly for Miracle Software’s use. It is not lit. The site is nine feet below road grade, and therefore the building is built lower. This fact, along with the fact that there is a berm, Mr. Donaldson did not believe this height variance would be a factor.

Mr. Donaldson said that they would be happy to design 2-3 foot front berm or wall along the Grand River right-of-way. The challenge is that the land is nine feet lower than the road. The building will be built on a four foot pad, so therefore there is still a depression that creates a challenge. They will accommodate this request if it is feasible from an engineering standpoint.

Mr. Donaldson explained that the challenge in moving the drive is also related to the grade change. The two drives as designed allow for larger throats that allow the grade to change in a more gradual manner. The cars won’t be racing down a grade toward the building. The whole layout was motivated by the existing trees in the back of the site. The parking can be pushed to the back, but this design was considered the lesser of two evils. Mr. Donaldson reiterated that they would continue to work with the Planning Department on redesigning the drives, but the current view is that this request may be difficult to achieve.

Mr. Donaldson said that the rear drive in question is located at a wetland of lower quality. They would remove the driveway, if they can design a hammerhead that will somehow facilitate a fire truck’s ability to enter and navigate the site. He said it would be more of a challenge getting a fire truck around the west side of the property. There is enough room on the property and Mr. Donaldson was confident that the site could be redesigned.

Mr. Donaldson said that it was indicated that the pond overly impacted the woodlands and possibly on the wetlands. They may possibly redesign with some underground storage. They have previously designed about six other projects in this manner.

Chair Kocan asked about the mechanical equipment. Mr. Donaldson said that this building requires 100 tons of cooling. That will be accommodated by two large units on the roof. They will be screened with typical mechanical screening. The units are 3’5" in height; the screening would be 5’5" in height. The units can be pushed forward, but their intent is to keep them centrally located.

Member Sprague read the Public Hearing correspondence into the record:

Mary Catherine Johnson, 45701 Grand River: Approved of the project.

Robert Ledbetter, 26510 Taft Road: Approved of the project.

Cynthia Irimescu, on behalf of Andes Hills, 45425 Andes Hills Ct: Cited Felix Valbuena as their developer and also as a contact person. She opposed of the stormwater discharge. She noted that the stormwater discharge from the Novi Family Fun Park was increasing the size of the wetlands on their property.

No one from the audience wished to speak, so Chair Kocan closed the Public Hearing.

Chair Kocan suggested that the Special Land Use be the first motion presented by the Planning Commission.

Member Avdoulos felt this project was a continuance of what already exists at the corner of Taft Road and Grand River Avenue (Johnson Printing). He thought the building was nice looking and was a good anchor for the corner. He said this corridor should develop with good looking buildings and businesses. Nice amenities should be provided. These uses should be more high-tech in nature than industrial. Grand River is a hodge podge but the development is starting to get the area on its way. The project has issues but the Applicant is looking to work with the City to address them. He hoped that the City did not plan to be stubborn on the simple issues. He said they would look at the critical issues.

Member Avdoulos said that the 25-foot height stated in the Ordinance is reflective of a warehouse-type building, where there is typically just one floor. Office buildings are typically built with floors measuring 12’8", 13’4" and 14’. To leave room for adequate ceiling height and mechanical space and structure, 28 feet is about typical. When a parapet is added, the building grows to about thirty feet. He said that the main part of this building is about 30-31 feet; the stair towers reach the 32-foot level. The main building is about five feet above the Zoning Ordinance requirement. Member Avdoulos said it was appropriate, based on the size of the building and the size of the lot. He did not see this request as a large issue.

Member Avdoulos said that the grading and topography map does show that the cars will park at the 954 level, while Grand River is at the 959 level. This is a five-foot drop. He drove to the site, and he does prefer the parking in the front yard. He liked the active recreation that is provided for the employees. He was glad that it wasn’t intended for night-time use. He also noted that it will probably have a seasonal calendar.

Member Avdoulos said that one issue is whether the grade differential provides adequate screening for lights shining on Grand River. He wondered if that was one of the main issues. Member Avdoulos looked at the cross section, and he could see where an extra foot or two could help shield the lights, but he didn’t want to get to the point where half of the floor of the building was being hidden. He said the building was pleasant looking and was streamlined and clean. The landscape plan also shows trees along the front. He asked for Landscape Architect Lance Shipman’s opinion.

Mr. Shipman responded that there are two intended reasons for a front yard berm. If the site is at grade, the berm is intended to screen headlights and grills of the cars parked facing the road. There is an aesthetic reason associated with this as well – a berm will help conceal the sea of parking lot and the reflection off the steel of the tops of cars. With this parcel, the lighting is not an issue because of the grade differential. There may be some ambient light that flows up the grade to Grand River. The issue is more is that the tops of the parked cars are now more visible, because of the grade. What Mr. Shipman stated in his review was that there was adequate width (forty feet) for a berm, and the design could still hit the target curb of 954. Whether that full height is desirable – it may get a little extreme – but there still seems to be opportunity to provide some berming in the front, in areas between drives and between the walkway that is being provided. Partial application of a berm is what is being requested. He also asked for additional shrubs to dress the berm up. Mr. Shipman said he gets concerned with elevation changes. When the road grade is above, more of the plane of the parking lot is exposed. When the road grade is below, then the bottoms of cars are exposed, which is less desirable. From an Ordinance standpoint, there is an opportunity to meet the requirements. From a design standpoint, there is room to be creative.

Member Avdoulos leaned in that direction. He thought that the berm did not have to be continuous to minimize the view. He was not as concerned about looking at the tops of vans and cars. He thought the design was close to where the City would like it. There is also the sidewalk. He would like the Applicant to continue to work with the City.

Member Avdoulos said that he approved of the recreational facilities. It promotes a healthy work environment. It would be seasonal. There are seven considerations for a Special Land Use. He did not see that these facilities would present a detrimental impact on the thoroughfares. They would not impact public services. They would not impact the natural features. They would promote the enjoyment of the surrounding natural features. They would not have a detrimental impact on the adjacent properties, and would provide enjoyment of the land, similar to the Novi Family Fun Park. He did not see the facilities as being in opposition to the Master Plan. He said that the use would promote the land in a socially and economically desirable manner. He considered the use to be healthy. He said he believed this use was among those listed as a Special Land Use option. He thought the design was in harmony with the purposes and regulations of the Zoning Ordinance. He concluded that the request met the criteria of the Special Land Use provisions.

Member Avdoulos discussed the wetland-area road design. He indicated that the Applicant has agreed to redesign the road, keeping in mind the needs of the firetrucks. Wetland Consultant John Freeland said that wetland three would be most impacted by the current design. He thought that this wetland was just recently established. It is of low quality, with reed canary grass. He thought the Applicant should look at alternatives, even though it is of low quality. He thought it was State-regulated. Their proposed wetland impact is .47 acres, which is above the threshold for mitigation on both the State and City levels. Mitigation appears to be necessary with this plan. He did not know where the Applicant could mitigate the wetland on this site. He suggested that the Applicant redesign to get below the threshold for mitigation.

Member Avdoulos wished to have the Applicant work on this design. He also thought that it might benefit the recreation area if the road were moved.

Member Avdoulos said that 78% of the woods were being preserved. He said that existing drainage would not no be changed. There is considerable concern with drainage runoff to Andes Hills Court. Member Avdoulos asked Civil Engineer Ben Croy to comment.

Mr. Croy said that he has been reviewing the plan regarding the drainage with the Applicant and Mr. Valbuena of Andes Hills. There is not an easement between the Applicant and Andes Hills. There are two options that would convey the drainage to a downstream drainage course. Mr. Valbuena indicated that if it were designed and engineered correctly, he would not have a problem in granting the easement. Mr. Croy was comfortable with the process moving forward, as long as Andes Hills is on board with these engineering issues.

Member Avdoulos wanted to ensure that Andes Hills was on board with the engineering of this site.

Member Avdoulos said that Mr. Shipman supported the Street Tree Waiver because of the County requests. Member Avdoulos noted that Mr. Shipman would support the berm waiver between this property and the residential if a conservation easement is provided. The Applicant responded that he would work toward an agreement. Member Avdoulos would like to see a conclusion to this issue.

Member Avdoulos said that the Applicant indicated that there may be problems in redesigning the location of the drive. Member Avdoulos agreed that there should be a ninety-degree angle. He thought the Traffic Review gave a good analysis of the difference between one and two site driveways. It was very helpful. He thought their view considered safety issues.

Member Avdoulos noted that the façade met the intent of the Ordinance.

Member Avdoulos wondered if there was in issue with a forty-foot radius shown on the plan. He wished to have the Fire Marshal weigh in on that matter. Steve Sorensen of JB Donaldson said that the forty-foot outside radius allows a fire truck more room than a fifty-foot outside radius. The Traffic Consultant made this request at the Pre-Application meeting.

Member Avdoulos wished to have the Applicant address the monumental stair. He did not think it could be counted as a means of egress. He thought the Applicant should contact the Building Department. Member Avdoulos said that the code has changed, and anything opened two stories is typically considered an atrium. There are smoke and exhaust controls for that, and would be overseen by the Building Department.

Member Avdoulos said that there are 129 parking spaces, but the Applicant noted that Miracle Software would have as many as 150 employees. Mr. Donaldson explained that typically people coming for training sessions carpool. Member Avdoulos did not want the Applicant to come back and ask for more parking, which would compromise some of the agreements on this plan. Member Avdoulos said that the City is trying to get its hands around the minimum and maximum parking issue.

Member Wrobel liked the project. He said it was the type of business Novi needs. It would look good on Grand River. He did not have a problem with the building height.

Member Wrobel liked the idea of outdoor facilities. He said that kids from the Novi Family Fun Park are going to see this hidden area and will come use it on the weekends. He saw it as a potential problem area for teenage kids to hang out at. He said that if Miracle Software employees are not on site during the weekend it could be a potential free-for-all. The best case scenario is that there won’t be a problem.

Member Wrobel didn’t see a need for the Grand River berm. It did not fit the character of the area. With the site being below road grade, there was no not use for it. He would support the waiver, or at least a minimal berm.

Member Wrobel said that people in training may not carpool. He asked what the nature of their training services was. Mr. Donaldson said it was not a daily event. It was a quarterly event, if that. Miracle Software believes that the proposed parking is adequate for their needs.

Member Sprague liked the project. He appreciated that the design was pushed forward as there is residential to the back. This can pose problems. He would rather see two stories up against the road than a one-story building that gets closer to the residential. He liked the woodland preservation. He was fine with the building height variance request because the building was 300 feet away from residential. With the trees and distance, the site can support the height.

Member Sprague agreed that the Special Land Use request meets the criteria. He was concerned that the area would be attractive to Family Fun Park attendees. He did not know if the Police Department or the Planning Department considered this, or if anything has been considered to mitigate future problems. He was afraid this could become a nuisance for the owner of the building and for the Police Department. He thought it would likely become a nuisance. He felt that the Novi Family Fun Park was going to draw teenagers, and teenagers look for places to hang out and this area qualifies as a good one. Aside from this concern, he supported the Special Land Use request.

Member Sprague thought that there was need for some front berming, but he was comfortable leaving the design to Mr. Shipman and the Applicant.

Member Sprague said he was concerned that some waivers are necessary for the driveways. He was happy to read the Traffic Reviews analysis on why two drives are better than one. He wondered whether an access through the Family Fun Park could be looked at as an alternative. His interpretation of the review was that if a drive was lined up with one across the road, and the second access was provided for emergencies, that would eliminate a curb cut on Grand River in a place there a lot of curb cuts already exist. The Expo Center is just down the street and will create a lot of traffic.

Member Sprague asked if the City was comfortable with the drainage issue. Mr. Croy said that either option does not require a lot of work. One requires an easement with Andes Hills and is the simpler of the two solutions. The other option is an easement with the Family Fun Park, and providing some type of alteration alternation to how the water drains onto Andes Hills. Either way, it is not considerable work, and the engineering behind either option is fairly simplistic. Member Sprague asked if the engineering would resolve the issue stated by Andes Hills. Mr. Croy said that both options could alleviate some of the problem that is accumulating. Member Sprague would like to see this problem aggressively pursued. If the City created a problem, the problem should be fixed when with there is a chance to do so.

Member Sprague asked what the distance was between the pond on this property and that of the Family Fun Park. He asked if one big pond should be designed. Mr. Croy responded that they are two different difference types of ponds. The Family Fun Park is a sediment basin. This site proposes a detention basin. The detention basin will be reduced in size, but they both drain to the same location. It appears that the drainage is not ideal, and a pool is being caused. The Family Fun Park pond is in the middle of the western property boundary and is not really adjacent to this pond. It is a few hundred feet away. Mr. Croy was comfortable that a resolution would be reached.

Member Sprague would like to see the back road eliminated. He said that the firetrucks can turn on the easternmost portion. The western portion may be the issue, and if so, access through the Fun Park may be a resolution. He would again, like to see that pursued as an option.

He concluded by stating that the project would be a nice addition to Grand River.

Member Cassis said that the project was welcome in the area. He complimented Member Avdoulos’ thorough analysis of the project. He asked Mr. Shipman to comment on the Street Trees. Mr. Shipman responded that the right-of-way along Grand River is the jurisdiction of Oakland County. They will not approve Street Trees along this thoroughfare. The trees between the sidewalk and the building will be provided.

Member Cassis did not care for berms. He asked about the use of a short brick wall built intermittently and decorated with shrubs. This would apply a dressing to the project. Mr. Shipman replied that walls are an option at the discretion of the Planning Commission. Walls are typically used in urban settings. This project is somewhat down Grand River. They provide effective screening, but Mr. Shipman did not know whether this was the appropriate place for a wall. He thought the screening could be more effectively achieved through plantings and a slight grade elevation. Mr. Shipman provided a sample sketch to the Planning Commission.

Member Cassis said the Planning Commission approved a wall on Grand River down closer to Haggerty. He said that a mixture of brick and stone can make for a very nice decorative wall. Mr. Shipman said that he would be concerned about a wall in this area, in context to what already exists. Typically, in this district, the City would not anticipate front yard parking. In this case, there are means for allowing front yard parking. One condition is a berm. A berm would best serve this property, to the extent possible, without getting more costly to the Applicant. Mr. Shipman said a wall could cause blockage issues because the building sits below the grade already.

Mr. Shipman showed a sketch to the Planning Commission that outlined the difference between the requirement and the proposal. The dashed line represented the transitional grade between the sidewalk and the parking lot curb. It is a straight slope. The top line is a three-foot berm and can be achieved. Another dashed line was a mixture of the two concepts. It provided an alternative to the grade dropping straight down from the sidewalk. Mr. Shipman said these are ideas that will be looked at with the Applicant. Member Cassis said that at least he tried to make a case for a wall.

Member Cassis asked how far the easterly driveway was from Taft Road. Ms. McBeth said it was about 350 feet from Taft. Member Cassis said that because of that area’s topography, there are some blind spots. He did think that when Grand River was widened that the slope was somewhat improved. Member Cassis asked whether the drives worked in both directions. Mr. Croy said that was just mentioned to him that the drives opposite from this project might be an easterly ingress and westerly egress design. He would prefer to verify this information. This site’s access points are full access. Member Cassis stated that this area is dangerous.

Member Cassis noted the Applicant’s cooperative spirit and he supported the project.

Member Pehrson thought this project promoted the vision for this area of Grand River. He thought the berm mixture presented by Mr. Shipman would work best.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Wrobel:

In the matter of the request of Miracle Software, SP05-08, motion to approve the Special Land Use, subject to: 1) A Planning Commission finding that the use meets all factors of Section 2516.2.c – the use is compatible with the natural features and the characteristics of the land and the surrounding uses, it is consistent with the goals, objectives and recommendations of the City’s Master Plan and will promote the development of land in a socially and economically desirable manner.

DISCUSSION

Chair Kocan said she supported the Applicant’s request, for the reasons stated on the record. She noted that the Applicant supplied a Noise Analysis and it determined there would not be a problem. There is no lighting on the courts. Chair Kocan said that the waivers and variances requested appear to be minimal. The setback of the building has a lot to do with Chair Kocan’s approval.

Chair Kocan said that the record will reflect that the Planning Commission is concerned about security at the recreational facilities. She asked if it was safe to assume there would never be a speaker system installed in that area. Mr. Donaldson said that was true. City Attorney David Gillam said that the Planning Commission could include language in the motion that imposed conditions on the Special Land Use approval. Chair Kocan asked that the following language be added to the motion: "No lighting or speaker system will be installed at the sport courts." The maker and the seconder agreed.

Member Sprague asked if language could address their concerns for security. He suggested that if the area becomes a problem, the Applicant must install a fence or whatever else the Police Department might suggest. Mr. Gillam said that the question becomes, what is the breaking point that would trigger this stipulation? Mr. Gillam said that the motion can state that the City has the right to request a security mechanism, but it is another issue as to whether the Applicant has to do it at that point in time.

Mr. Gillam asked the Applicant what his position would be if the Police Department requested some mechanism to assist in patrolling the recreational facilities, if in fact the area becomes a problem. Mr. Donaldson said that Miracle Software’s position is they do not want the area to be a nuisance. If after hours loitering becomes a problem, they would address it at that time. Mr. Donaldson did not know if the solution would be a fence. This is an amenity that Miracle Software offered at their 200,000 square foot facility in India and it was very well received. The owner is just trying to provide the same amenity here. If the area became a problem, Mr. Donaldson was sure that Miracle Software would try to work with the City on a solution.

Member Sprague said he would still like some language in the motion, although he understood that it can’t be language that includes a reaction to a trigger point. He would like the motion to acknowledge that both the City and the Applicant understands this could be a potential problem. Mr. Gillam said that the motion could include the language that the Applicant will agree to a reasonable consideration of a request from the City that the recreational facilities be enclosed if after-hours and off-hours activity became a nuisance. He also said that the Applicant could sign the property with "No Trespassing" signs, because that puts the police in a better position to react and respond to a complaint at the site. Mr. Donaldson added that Miracle Software’s motivation to keep the area suitable will be greater than the Police Department’s.

Member Cassis is not as concerned as the other Planning Commission members about this area. These courts sit very low and are shielded by the building. They can’t be seen from Grand River. They are shielded by the trees to the south. This area is lower than the buildings to east and west. He doubted that these courts would attract problems. Member Cassis said that the signs would be a good idea. Mr. Donaldson agreed to the signs.

Member Sprague said that the courts will be visible from the Novi Family Fun Park parking lot. Member Sprague asked that language stating, "The Applicant will sign the property with "No Trespassing" signs," be added to the motion. The maker and the seconder of the motion agreed.

ROLL CALL VOTE ON MIRACLE SOFTWARE, SP05-08, SPECIAL LAND USE MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER WROBEL:

In the matter of the request of Miracle Software, SP05-08, motion to approve the Special Land Use, subject to: 1) A Planning Commission finding that the use meets all factors of Section 2516.2.c – the use is compatible with the natural features and the characteristics of the land and the surrounding uses, it is consistent with the goals, objectives and recommendations of the City’s Master Plan and will promote the development of land in a socially and economically desirable manner; 2) No lighting or speaker system will be installed at the sport courts; and 3) The Applicant will sign the property with "No Trespassing" signs.

Motion carried 6-0.

Chair Kocan said that she was happy that so much of the woodland was being preserved. She asked if there was a requirement for a Conservation Easement. Mr. Shipman responded that the easement could be a requirement because of the lack of a berm. Chair Kocan asked if there were any other requirements. Mr. Shipman said that the site plan meets the requirements for preservation of existing woodlands, and they must also achieve effective screening, which he believes already exists. They are providing a berm in the area where the screening is lacking. The easement would be part of the stamping set and would be final and in place at that time. Mr. Donaldson said this was acceptable.

Chair Kocan reviewed the Ordinance to ensure that the 25-foot stipulation on the building was accurate for an office building in industrial, and she found that it was the case for buildings adjacent to residential. She did believe the distance was considerable between this building and the adjacent residential. She supported this variance request.

Chair Kocan thought that the motion for Preliminary Site Plan approval should not just state that the road must be removed from the wetland, and that the new road design will accommodate the fire vehicles. She suggested that the stipulation could be made only if the wetland was determined to be MDEQ-regulated. Ms. McBeth said that it would be good to allow some flexibility, as the Planning Department has not yet seen an alternative plan that will accommodate the firetrucks. She asked that this issue be left flexible, and that the Planning Department and the Applicant would work out the requirement on the Final Site Plan submittal.

Chair Kocan said that if the area is MDEQ-regulated, the road as designed would require wetland mitigation. Ms. McBeth agreed. Ms. McBeth said she would determine from a subsequent submittal whether mitigation would be required if the wetland is deemed to be non-MDEQ-regulated.

Chair Kocan was a proponent of an undulating berm for the front. She liked the sample that Mr. Shipman provided. She said that the Applicant should be careful of designing a really steep slope. Chair Kocan said that a landscaped berm does not hide a building, it enhances it.

Chair Kocan noted that the Applicant has been requested request to provide a variety of shrubs and plants. Mr. Shipman said that the Ordinance requires a "combination of" materials. He said the Applicant has agreed to revisit his proposed plant material.

Mr. Shipman said that evergreens would be a nice addition. The Ordinance does not require them. He noted that evergreens are only half-credit when used for replacement trees. Chair Kocan asked if the Planning Commission can stipulate that evergreens can be counted a full credits. Mr. Shipman thought an Applicant previously received approval to plant oversized evergreens (greater than seven feet) for full credits. If a governing body makes a request like this, the Planning Department would not want to fault the Applicant for complying. Chair Kocan did not want to put any requirements on the Applicant. She just thought that the plan had an awful lot of canopy trees. It seemed like the plan would benefit from evergreens. She would be comfortable with allowing oversized evergreens to receive full replacement credit. Mr. Donaldson was not interested in this suggestion.

Chair Kocan noted that a resident complained that the Novi Family Fun Park drainage was affecting Andes Hills. This would not be an issue for this Applicant to resolve; however, if this Applicant chooses to work with Novi Family Fun Park on the drainage easement, this new design may actually help the Andes Hills drainage problem. Mr. Croy agreed. He also said that an easement directly with Andes Hills will also help the drainage problems.

Chair Kocan asked about the pond. Mr. Croy said that the current design has a 100-year detention basin on site. If the Applicant can get from Point A to Point B (the regional basin), they will not need to provide this size of basin. They will need to store the bank full, just for soil erosion. The new design will be half of what is proposed now. It will not be eliminated altogether.

The Traffic Review discussed moving the west driveway further east. Chair Kocan thought this would help with the distance to Gatsby’s, but she understood that the Applicant had concerns with a redesign. She said that the language in the motion could suggest that the Applicant consider minimizing the same side driveway spacing variances. She understood that something that looked good on paper may not work in the field.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Cassis:

In the matter of the request of Miracle Software, SP05-08, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan, subject to: 1) A ZBA variance for building height for 7’4" for a total height of 32’4"; 2) A Planning Commission finding that the proposed front yard parking meets the conditions of the Schedule of Regulations (2400.h.5; 3) A Planning Commission Waiver for the required berm adjacent to Grand River Avenue, such that the Applicant works with the Planning Department to find the best use, size and shape of the berm; 4) A Planning Commission Waiver of street trees requirement along Grand River due to the Road Commission of Oakland County policy for preventing street trees along the Grand River Avenue right-of-way; 5) A Planning Commission Partial Waiver for the required berm or screening wall adjacent to residential due to the preservation of the existing woodlands; 6) Modification of the west driveway location, as indicated by the Traffic Review, at the time of Final Site Plan submittal, such that all considerations shall be made to improve the safety of the area; 7) Planning Commission Waivers of the Design and Construction Standards for the driveway spacing as indicated in the Traffic Review and the Engineering Review; 8) The approval from the Fire Marshal on the turning radii; and 9) All conditions and comments of the Staff and Consultant reviews being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal; for the reason that the plan meets the intent of the Master Plan for Land Use.

DISCUSSION

Member Sprague asked about the road issue. The Planning Commission members responded that this would be covered in the wetland permit motion. Member Sprague asked if the third stipulation was acceptable – was it better to grant the waiver subject to working with the Planning Department, or is it better to grant the waiver only if the plan is modified to a level acceptable by the City Staff. Mr. Gillam could not determine whether there was much of a difference. He thought the language as proposed was acceptable.

ROLL CALL VOTE ON MIRACLE SOFTWARE, SP05-08, PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER CASSIS:

In the matter of the request of Miracle Software, SP05-08, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan, subject to: 1) A ZBA variance for building height for 7’4" for a total height of 32’4"; 2) A Planning Commission finding that the proposed front yard parking meets the conditions of the Schedule of Regulations (2400.h.5; 3) A Planning Commission Waiver for the required berm adjacent to Grand River Avenue, such that the Applicant works with the Planning Department to find the best use, size and shape of the berm; 4) A Planning Commission Waiver of street trees requirement along Grand River due to the Road Commission of Oakland County policy for preventing street trees along the Grand River Avenue right-of-way; 5) A Planning Commission Partial Waiver for the required berm or screening wall adjacent to residential due to the preservation of the existing woodlands; 6) Modification of the west driveway location, as indicated by the Traffic Review, at the time of Final Site Plan submittal, such that all considerations shall be made to improve the safety of the area; 7) Planning Commission Waivers of the Design and Construction Standards for the driveway spacing as indicated in the Traffic Review and the Engineering Review; 8) The approval from the Fire Marshal on the turning radii; and 9) All conditions and comments of the Staff and Consultant reviews being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal; for the reason that the plan meets the intent of the Master Plan for Land Use.

Motion carried 6-0.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Wrobel:

ROLL CALL VOTE ON MIRACLE SOFTWARE, SP05-08, STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PLAN MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER WROBEL:

In the matter of the request of Miracle Software, SP05-08, motion to approve the Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) A drainage easement with the adjacent property be resolved at the time of Final Site Plan review; and 2) All conditions and comments of the Staff and Consultant reviews; for the reason that the Applicant continues to work with the City to meet the intent of the City Ordinances.

Motion carried 6-0.

ROLL CALL VOTE ON MIRACLE SOFTWARE, SP05-08, WOODLAND PERMIT MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER CASSIS:

In the matter of the request of Miracle Software, SP05-08, motion to approve the Woodland Permit subject to: 1) All conditions and comments of the Staff and Consultant reviews; and 2) A Woodland Preservation Easement be included as discussed and directed by the City; for the reason that the Applicant is working with the City to meet the spirit of the Ordinance.

Motion carried 6-0.

ROLL CALL VOTE ON MIRACLE SOFTWARE, SP05-08, WETLAND MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER WROBEL:

In the matter of the request of Miracle Software, SP05-08, motion to approve the Wetland Permit, subject to: 1) All important items being addressed at the time of Final Site Plan review; 2) All conditions and comments of the Staff and Consultant reviews; and 3) The determination by the Planning Department and the MDEQ to define that, if there are regulated wetlands, the roadway to the south may be removed or designed with a "T" at the time of Final Site Plan as determined by the Planning Department; for the reason that the Applicant is working with the City to resolve the issues to meet the local Ordinances.

Motion carried 6-0.

Chair Kocan called for a short break.

2. ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.646

The Public Hearing was reopened on the request of Tony Gallo for recommendation to City Council for rezoning property located in Section 1, south of Fourteen Mile and west of Haggerty Road, behind the Speedway Gas Station, from OST, Office Service, to B-3, General Business. The ell-shaped property is 1.33 acres.

Chair Kocan told the Planning Commission that this was a continuation of the Public Hearing. Director of Planning Barbara McBeth said this request came before the Planning Commission on January 26, 2005. The rezoning signs were not posted properly on the site and so the City Attorney recommended hearing the case at that time, and postponing the matter until such time that proper site notification was achieved.

Ms. McBeth also said that this Applicant has requested that the City consider the new Public Act 579 relating to contract zoning. The Planning Department sent a memo to City Council for their review, suggesting that the Planned Rezoning Overlay Ordinance is really the City of Novi’s interpretation of how to handle the issues under the new legislation. The Planning Department did not hear back from City Council. The Planning Department’s request was that City Council would let them know if the City Council had any difference in opinion on how this should be handled. The Planning Department’s assumption is that City Council’s position is they are endorsing the process that the Planning Department is following – treating this as a rezoning request only, and not as a request under the contract zoning legislation.

Chair Kocan said that each Planning Commission member was given additional information at the table. Some of the information is duplicative of what they had already been provided, and there was new information on equitable servitude, which they would perhaps discuss later in the meeting.

Planner Tim Schmitt located the property on an aerial photo. The property is in the far east corner of the City. To the north are a Huntington Bank and a Hiller’s-anchored shopping center in Commerce Township. To the east, across Haggerty Road, are a CVS and a small strip center in Farmington Hills. To the northeast is Bloomfield Township. These properties in the other communities are zoned consistent with Novi’s B-2. On the Novi corner is the Speedway gas station (zoned B-3). To the west is the North Novi Medical building and further west is the Haggerty Pump station. To the south is vacant land, previously proposed for Phase Two of North Novi Medical, and may return to the Planning Commission for consideration in the future. These south properties and the subject property are zoned OST, Office Service Technology, as a result of the City-initiated rezoning of the Haggerty Road corridor. Six parcels were left out of that rezoning – the two parcels for Country Cousins Mobile Home Park, Speedway, the Mobil at Twelve Mile and Haggerty, The Cooker Restaurant, and the vacant property just west of Cooker that is occasionally under review for a hotel. All of Novi’s Haggerty Road Corridor is master planned for office.

There are no wetlands on the subject property. There is a small amount of woodlands on the site, along the Haggerty Road frontage. Mr. Schmitt explained that these issues would be further reviewed at the time of a site plan submittal. The Planning Department does not recommend approval of this request. No additional information has been provided since the January Public Hearing start date. Mr. Schmitt stated that the request for B-3 is not in compliance with the Master Plan. It is not compliant with the 1996 OST rezoning, which provided a large scale area for office development in the City. Novi took an approach, when M-5 was constructed, that was substantially different than Commerce Township. They were more of a bedroom-community at the time, and they didn’t have a lot of retail. With the M-5 addition, they proposed a lot of retail in their M-5 corridor. Novi looked to diversify their tax base and decided they were more interested in office and high-tech research and development users. Mr. Schmitt also noted that in the past the citizen survey has indicated that the citizens have been hesitant to embrace more retail. The new Master Plan indicated no change to that attitude.

Mr. Schmitt said that the subject property has been zoned office since 1996, along with the rest of the corridor. The Master Plan has denoted this area as office since the 1993 Master Plan. Mr. Schmitt was not able to locate any other rezoning requests for this property.

Mr. Schmitt said that B-3 zoning would allow general retail, and is automobile oriented. A carwash within an enclosed building would be acceptable. Salesrooms and showrooms for new and used cars would be acceptable. Gas stations would be acceptable. Special Land Uses would include drive-through restaurants, veterinary clinics, and quick lube establishments. The OST zoning allows general office buildings, medical office buildings, and a variety of research and development, technical training uses. This a hybrid of office and light industrial users.

Mr. Schmitt also reviewed the B-1 option for this site. B-2 was not reviewed because that zoning requires two acres. B-1 would allow generally recognized retail uses. Automobile uses and restaurants would not be permitted. Drive-throughs would not be permitted.

Mr. Schmitt said that in the previous discussion of the Public Act 579, the Applicant suggested the development of a smaller portion only of the site. The Planning Department public noticed this request as the full site. The Planning Commission and the City Attorney might wish to weigh in on this, whether rezoning only a portion of the site is possible. The City typically tries to avoid split zoning on a site. It has caused problems in the past. Mr. Schmitt noted that this avenue would basically create an undevelopable strip of office land to the south.

Mr. Gerry Odom represented the Gallo Companies. He said they believed this would be an excellent auto wash site. They went under contract to acquire the land and they have been working with the City since last August to rezone this property so they can move forward.

Mr. Odom said they were surprised by many of the comments made in the Planning Review. They felt that their request was a very positive land use for the area. Unfortunately, the City of Novi’s Ordinance considers a carwash a retail use, which they don’t believe it is. They believe it is a service-type use. The fact that a multiplicity of uses can be built under the B-3 zoning is problematic. Mr. Odom said they were not speculative builders. They believe in this community and want to invest over 1.5 million dollars into a new business for Novi.

Mr. Odom said their planned use for the property is a completely new type of auto wash that would fit in the area they are proposing to build in. It would fit in the surrounding OST zoning. It would fit with the buildings they imagine will someday be built south of this property along Haggerty Road. Mr. Odom showed a rendering of the building that depicted the south elevation. He did not think the architectural style of the building would be discernible from the office buildings envisioned for the area.

Mr. Odom said that after they received a copy of the Planning Review, they discussed their options. They wanted to show Novi their intentions for the site. The State legislature made an option available to them, through the adoption of Public Act 579, that allow them to bring forward an offer that has since been submitted to the City. In addition to that, the Applicant has requested that the area to be rezoned be smaller than the area originally requested. Therefore, they are only requesting the area of the auto wash itself. Mr. Odom said it was important to note an item on the second page of the Public Act 579 offer dated January 18, 2005 outlines the benefit to the community. He said that the previously Member Cassis had asked what the benefit was to Novi for this Applicant to make use of this Public Act. The Applicant has committed to perform 13 things that they believe are far and above the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. They felt this was a mechanism to guarantee their performance.

Mr. Odom said they also put together an equitable servitude, which is similar to "subdivision restrictions" and they have offered to restrict this land to a specific use, if in fact they were able to gain the appropriate zoning. Mr. Odom referred to a letter dated March 23, 2005. He said that they were tabled six to eight weeks ago so that City Council could give their opinion on Public Act 579. To Mr. Odom’s knowledge this City Council discussion never took place. Mr. Odom said they wished to be very, very clear to the Planning Commission that they wish to be considered under a straight rezoning petition. They do not consider the 579 proposal as a condition precedent to any recommendation that the Planning Commission may make. They do not consider their restrictive covenants they have proposed as a condition to any recommendation the Planning Commission makes. Those two documents were very easy for the Applicant to submit, because those items in those documents are their intent. They intend to bind themselves to those commitments notwithstanding any position the Planning Commission may or may not take concerning those two documents.

Mr. Odom said that he recalled Member Cassis, Member Pehrson and Member Wrobel previously commenting about safety issues with carwashes. These comments pertained to their other car wash request. Mr. Odom said that unlike that site, they do have control over the design of this site. This site is considerably larger than what is required to do a high-tech auto wash. Mr. Odom said that Member Lipski was absent at this meeting, but he was most serious about site plan issues. Mr. Odom was disappointed that Member Lipski was not present. He showed a plan of the general configuration of the building on the site, which showed that the setbacks were easily met. Escape lanes could be provided. Traffic lanes for stacking cars were attainable, which would allow for safety on Haggerty Road.

Chair Kocan determined that no one from the audience wished to speak.

Chair Kocan said that this is a rezoning request to B-3 without conditions. Site plans are not typically reviewed in conjunction with a rezoning. She said that the request to review the applicability of Public Act 579 was sent to City Council, with the acknowledgement that the City has the PRO Ordinance already in place. The PRO has specific submission requirements, standards, etc. Chair Kocan asked City Attorney David Gillam to comment on what was being requested of the Planning Commission. Were they to consider the strict rezoning, or were they to stipulate that if there are conditions then the Applicant must go through the PRO process.

Mr. Gillam responded that the issue before the Planning Commission is a straight rezoning request. The Planning Commission is requested to make a recommendation to City Council. The City acknowledges the efforts of the Applicant regarding the site plan, but from the City’s standpoint the offer is not binding and there is no way for the City to condition any rezoning upon compliance with the conceptual plan that was provided to the Planning Commission. It has been discussed that the City does have the PRO Ordinance. The Applicant has indicated that they do not want to submit an application under the PRO for reasons of their own. In terms of Act 579, in lack of response from the City Council, Mr. Gillam stated that his office continues to have concerns with the validity of the Act. He said that it is not just his office that has concerns. There are other municipal attorneys throughout the State that also have the same concerns. As a result of those concerns, there is a "subcommittee" of the State Bar’s public corporation sector (which includes Jerry Fisher from Mr. Gillam’s office) that has met with the "other side" that represents the Builder’s Association of Michigan and some other entities. Mr. Gillam said that Mr. Galvan and Mr. Carson are some attorneys who were involved that the Planning Commission might recognize.

Mr. Gillam said that there have been discussions and some drafts of language exchanged. It was his understanding that the group is hopeful that before too long, there will be a draft of a revised 579 that will be presented at the State level. This revision will answer some of the questions raised by both sides. He said that the municipal attorneys have more questions at this point in time. Mr. Gillam also understood that discussions have been held at an administrative level, that in the meantime, fine tuning the PRO Ordinance to address a smaller parcel such as this could be considered. Mr. Gillam has spoken with Mr. Odom and determined that some of his concerns with the PRO are the amount of time and expense involved with the preparation of all of the submittals, in relation to the size of the parcel and the scope of the development. The administration is considering whether or not the City can differentiate between a project like this and something that is of a grander scale. This will be a lengthy process and doesn’t much help this Applicant.

Chair Kocan asked Member Sprague to read the Public Hearing correspondence into the record:

Richard Scavo, 39525 West Fourteen Mile, Suite 202: Objected because he owns the adjacent southerly property and plans to build another medical building on that site. He did not want his drives or parking connected to a commercial or drive-through business.

Chair Kocan closed the Public Hearing.

Member Cassis asked Mr. Odom what he was bringing forward. Mr. Odom responded that it is a straightforward rezoning application. They only used the submittal of the Public Act 579 documents to allay the fears raised in the Planning Review. Mr. Odom said that their thirteen benefits specifically address the Planning Department’s fears. He said that he understood that these documents are not being considered because City Council did not respond to their request to use the Public Act. He reiterated that it is not a condition precedent to the Planning Commission’s recommendation on the rezoning. He wanted that on the record. He would like, not only the restrictions proposed, but the 579 proposal as well, written into the record and passed on to City Council for their review. He was not requesting that the Planning Commission take any action on the Public Act 579 proposal or the restrictions. He just asked that they make their recommendation to City Council on the rezoning request.

Member Cassis has previously expressed reservations about this rezoning request. He said his first observation is that the City deliberated over their Master Plan through the input of professionals and the community. He did not want to reverse the outcome of that deliberation, as he said it would be presumptive of him. He said that with all due respect, he does not appreciate it when City Council reverses the City’s position on a rezoning request, after the Planning Commission recommends a position based on the extensively reviewed Master Plan.

Member Cassis said that even if he would consider reversing the already master planned designation of this site, he would have to take into consideration the traffic that already exists at this corner. He said that Haggerty Road is one of the most traveled roads in the community. It is not wide at this corner. The amount of traffic is unbelievable. The proximity of this parcel to the corner and to the gas station’s curb cut concerns him. If this property is developed as a carwash it will be probably be used heavily. He said that the gas station is already an active parcel. This would make the corner very dangerous. Ingress and egress would present a difficulty. He said that stacking could be a problem on the north side, especially if stacking falls out into the road. Member Cassis said that health, safety and welfare are important in consideration of any project. When the request reverses a designation made in the Master Plan it is even more so mores.

Member Cassis said that he doubted that a site plan would have many variance requests. He asked why Mr. Odom has proposed two lines of cars entering the car wash. Mr. Odom said that satisfied the stacking requirements and would prevent what some people would perceive as a traffic problem southbound on Haggerty. This double lane of stacking would be the way the pavement would be built. To put 25 cars on the site using double lanes is the worst case scenario. This might occur five times per year. It happens after a very, very wet sloppy period when everyone’s car is white. This is demonstrated on the plan, that the site will hold this many cars. He said that 25 cars are a tremendous amount of cars. But this amount of stacking on site would generally remove any backing up into the road. Mr. Odom said that they use an anti-collision system on the exiting side of their carwashes. If there was a problem with traffic on Haggerty Road, the anti-collision system senses it and automatically shuts down the wash so that nobody gets hit or pushed into the road. As far as a curb cut is concerned, Mr. Odom asked what the difference would be in providing a carwash with a curb cut or providing an office building with a curb cut. If the traffic is already so bad, how can the City consider building another mile of office down Haggerty Road?

Chair Kocan told Member Cassis that the Planning Commission should not even consider the site plan in conjunction with this rezoning request. Member Cassis said he was just trying to establish something with safety.

Member Cassis said his greatest problems with this rezoning request are the health and safety, the curb cuts, the stacking, the idea of traffic on Haggerty Road and mainly the proximity of this parcel to the gas station’s curbs, and the corner of Fourteen Mile.

Member Wrobel thought there were safety concerns with this site. He was concerned with splitting the parcel. It would make sense for the carwash because it would fit. The remaining land would be OST and he did not know what could be placed there. Member Wrobel was afraid the City would be stuck with a parcel that would have to be rezoned down the road. Member Wrobel was hesitant in splitting this parcel and only rezoning half of it.

Member Sprague agreed with Member Cassis’ comments. Member Sprague asked if a municipality is required to partake in the Public Act 579; his understanding was that the City could unilaterally decide to forego the 579 in favor of its own PRO Ordinance. Mr. Gillam said that was correct. Member Sprague told Mr. Odom that his 579 application isn’t specifically relevant to the decision as to whether it is a good application or not, as much as it is going to be the policy of the City to do that through the PRO.

Member Sprague said he could not comment on how he would react to a PRO application if it were presented, but that is the only way he would consider the request. He was not in favor of the B-3 rezoning because it opens the land up to too many other things. He thought it was a difficult parcel and has been master planned for OST. In light of compelling evidence to do something different, he would prefer to leave it the way it is.

Member Avdoulos wished to dovetail the comments of Member Sprague. When considering this as a strict B-3 rezoning, Member Avdoulos said he was on the fence. The adjacent gas station is zoned B-3. The properties across the street are very, very busy with a lot of retail and commercial activity, so that particular area is leaning itself to be more conducive to not a strong office, but more of a retail or service oriented type of use. However, because of the shape of the property and its proximity to the intersection there are definite concerns with rezoning to B-3 regardless of what is planned for the property. There are issues with traffic. B-3 is the most intense of the business classifications. Member Avdoulos would be more comfortable with a system that determined the use of the site. He was in favor of looking at the site as one parcel. He said the question was the appropriateness of whatever use goes on the site. With markets changing, rezoning this site without a mechanism like a PRO is like walking into the water without knowing how deep it is.

Member Avdoulos said that the public has indicated that they don’t want anymore retail uses. To him, if the use was more service oriented and ancillary to the existing uses, he’d be more lenient in his review. There is a concerted effort to maintain a contiguous office corridor along Haggerty. He did not know if he could envision it reaching all the way to Fourteen Mile because across the street in Farmington Hills there is already a retail plaza. There is already a precedent set in that area. Some of that is feeding south and to the west. If there was an office and another office came next to it a trend would be started. Member Avdoulos could also see a domino effect of some sort but the City would want to somehow control. He understood there was an effort to keep everything office but based on what is adjacent to this parcel, he could see a rezoning happening. Again, he would prefer to see it accomplished through something like a PRO.

Member Avdoulos said the traffic-related reasons are paramount. The Traffic Review indicated that traffic reasons have not been identified to object to this rezoning from OST to B-3. Member Avdoulos was sure that B-3 would generate more traffic and an abbreviated traffic study would be appropriate.

Member Avdoulos said that the amount of curb cuts and the number of left turn locks are issues. For Member Avdoulos to grant a strict B-3 rezoning, it would be very difficult. He said that everyone is pretty much on board with the proximity of this site and the congestion and everything that is associated with it.

Member Pehrson said, when faced with these final odd-shaped parcels, the City wants to scratch its head in wonderment of what to do. Now the Planning Commission is in position to create a hardship for the next person who wants to put something on the split. The split bothers Member Pehrson the most. In addition to the traffic that has been talked about, there has been large emphasis relative to the tax base of OST and what it brings to the City. If this parcel were to remain OST, it would do more for the City than B-3.

Member Pehrson agreed with Member Avdoulos, that the continuous nature of OST exists along Haggerty. There are reasons why and many hours put in front of people to come up with a Master Plan for Land Use. Member Pehrson wanted to stay consistent. He was not anti-carwash. He uses them all the time. He could not support a straight-up B-3 rezoning.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Cassis:

In the matter of the request of Zoning Map Amendment 18.646 for American Land Inc, motion to recommend denial to City Council to rezone the subject property from OST to B-3, for the reason that the request is not consistent with the Master Plan for Land Use.

DISCUSSION

Chair Kocan said that it would behoove other reasons for denial. Chair Kocan asked that the motion state, "B-3 is largely automotive oriented and all uses could be developed which may not necessarily be compatible with the OST in the area." Member Pehrson and Member Cassis agreed to the change.

Chair Kocan asked whether the language should include that a possible split of the parcel could create a future hardship and the Planning Commission is therefore not recommending a split. Member Sprague said that the Applicant did not make this splitting of the parcel part of his official request. Mr. Schmitt said the Public Notice covered the entire ell-shaped parcel. Chair Kocan abandoned this language request.

Chair Kocan agreed that a lot of effort went into the recent Master Plan update. She thought it was possible for the Applicant to develop this parcel specifically with a site in mind and there may not be a need for any variance requests. She thought that the desire of the City to have this parcel remain OST would sway the Planning Commission to grant variances to keep it as an OST as opposed to going to a much more intense development such as B-3.

Chair Kocan said this is a recommendation to City Council. It was her understanding that the Applicant could return with a PRO request. There is no guarantee that the plan would be approved as a PRO either. There could be concerns – health, safety, welfare, traffic, curb cuts, etc., that could present themselves as part of the PRO. She thought that it was important to have this stated on the record.

Member Pehrson said he would also like to add to the motion the two other comments made by the Planning Department: A policy decision in the late 1990s was made to turn Haggerty into an office corridor, with the exception of the Speedway gas station. Also, according to a public opinion survey completed in 2002, many people of this community held that adequate retail development currently exists in the City of Novi.

Member Cassis, the seconder of the motion, agreed to the additional language. He wished to add the fact that there is B-3 (in another municipality) across the street further complicates the traffic situation.

Chair Kocan asked whether the motion should state that, although the Applicant has offered conditions and a site specific plan, this plan would need to be submitted under the PRO Ordinance and cannot be considered as part of this approval. Mr. Gillam said that it would be better to have the motion stick with the traditional criteria used in evaluating rezoning requests.

ROLL CALL VOTE ON ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.646 MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER CASSIS:

In the matter of the request of Zoning Map Amendment 18.646 for American Land Inc, motion to recommend denial to City Council to rezone the subject property from OST to B-3, for the reasons that: 1) The request is not consistent with the Master Plan for Land Use; 2) B-3 is largely automotive oriented and all uses could be developed which may not necessarily be compatible with the OST in the area; 3) A policy decision in the late 1990s was made to turn Haggerty into an office corridor, with the exception of the Speedway gas station; and 4) According to a public opinion survey completed in 2002, many people of this community held that adequate retail development currently exists in the City of Novi.

Motion carried 6-0.

3. ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.647

The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Steve Schafer for recommendation to City Council for rezoning property located in Section 17, east of Wixom Road and south of Grand River Avenue, from I-2, General Industrial and R-1, Single Family Residential, to RT, Two Family Residential. The subject property is 37.750 acres.

Planner Darcy Schmitt stated that the property to the south is Wildlife Woods Park. To the north is the Target. To the east is a Detroit Edison easement and east of that is the Providence Hospital property. Across Wixom Road to the west is part of Island Lake.

Ms. Schmitt said that the subject property included land zoned R-1, Single Family, and I-2 General Industrial. The Master Plan recommends single family residential. The Master Plan recommends commercial to the north, office to the north and east, and single family to the west.

Ms. Schmitt said that the property has light and medium density woodlands. There is a small amount of wetlands.

The Planning Review recommends rezoning of the site as it is in compliance with the Master Plan. The request provides a positive transition between the commercial areas to the north and the residential area to the south.

The Engineering Review indicates that the proposed rezoning would have minimal impact on the water plan. It also indicates the rezoning would have a negative impact on the sewer, but the impact would be mitigated by the Lanny’s sewer project that is currently in the design phase and if approved by City Council, would be constructed in the future.

The Traffic Review indicates no concerns with the traffic at this time, but a minor traffic study is recommended at the time of development.

Matthew Quinn represented the landowners, Carl Wizinsky and Marcia Boynton. They own the 11.77 acres in the front of the subject area. Steve Schafer was also present, representing the owner of the 25.9 acres in the back.

Mr. Quinn agreed with the recommendation of the Planning Department. This Applicant worked with the City during the Master Plan update process to ensure the area was master planned with a density of 4.8 per units per acre. This represents the R-T zoning. The City Attorney wrote an opinion that R-T is a single family designation.

Mr. Quinn said that the Applicant wants to comply with the Master Plan. This R-T zoning serves as a transition. With Target to the north and the park and school to the south and Providence to the east, Island Lake and Catholic Central across the street, this property is a key to continuing the residential growth in this particular area. Mr. Quinn felt that City Council would also agree that this request complies with the Master Plan and that it is a good use for the area.

Mr. Quinn said that the Applicant has discussed this project with Providence, and they thought this would be a good zoning to abut their property. He said that the Providence access road will run just to the east of this property. With the walkway system starting at Island Lake, walkers will be able to walk through this property to get to Providence. Mr. Quinn said that they have discussed an easement across the utility area for emergency cross access or even a pedestrian path. This property will open the area up and do what it is supposed to do. Mr. Quinn was looking for a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission.

Chair Kocan opened the floor for public comment:

· John Calvas, part owner of the northerly property zoned I-1: Was not aware of the Master Plan’s re-designation of the industrial property to residential. His concern was the effect of the change on the two parcels that are currently light industrial that share a 680-foot border with the subject parcel. Once this property is changed to residential, the buffer zone will increase, which adversely affects his property. He proposed that some of the buffer requirements, e.g., a wall, be imposed upon the subject property, so that the onus of this rezoning does not fall upon the neighboring site. Aside from this buffering issue, Mr. Calvas supported the project.

Member Sprague read the Public Hearing correspondence into the record:

· Alan and Kathy Bond, 27047 Wixom Road: Supported the rezoning proposal.

Chair Kocan closed the Public Hearing.

Member Sprague asked to see the location of Mr. Calvas’ property in relation to the subject property. Mr. Calvas showed Member Sprague on the map. He noted that this rezoning would also affect his neighbors, though he didn’t represent them at the meeting.

Member Sprague asked if the natural features on the northerly side of the property would impact the subject property’s developer from building in that area. Member Sprague thought that the properties may have a natural buffer. Ms. Schmitt said it looked like the area had a lot of wetlands, and depending on what their plan is expecting to have built back there, the wetland and woodland consultant would review that. She said it would not be very likely that they would be able to build up to that line anyway.

Member Sprague said that a road would have to be built to get into that area, which would encroach a wetland. That would be problematic. Ms. Schmitt said that it would appear that way. Member Sprague asked what the I-1 I-2 landowner has already considered for his development. One of the I-1 I-2 landowners responded that they don’t have any specific plans currently to build there. He said they don’t have an idea right now what they’re going to do. Their concern is that if they do decide to build back there, they would like to go back as far as they possibly can. He thought the onus should be on the residential property owner, rather than on him, reducing his buildable area.

The I-1 I-2 landowner said that in his opinion, there were no wetlands along the common border. He was not sure what the proper term is for the trees in the area, but his description would be "junk trees." There are no specimen trees. He said that there is certainly potential to build in that area. He said that the big water is on the parcel adjacent to his. The wetlands map was shown at the meeting, and the I-1 I-2 landowner said that the map was interesting. He said there was water in the area, but not quite like what was represented. Member Sprague said that the City continues to consider updating the maps.

Member Sprague said that the property would yield 171 units according to the density allowed. Mr. Quinn said that would be determined once the planning of the site begins. It could range from 150-180 units.

Member Sprague generally supported the rezoning request. He would like to see components of the greenways plan and pedestrian path when the site plan comes forward, alluded to by the Applicant. He did not know how to address the issue raised by the adjacent property owner, but he did agree that it was an issue. By rezoning this parcel, the Planning Commission does not want to create a hardship on the other property owner.

Director of Planning Barbara McBeth said that with adjacency between light industrial and residential properties, certain uses are limited on the light industrial site. It is a tiered aspect of the Zoning Ordinance. This concern is over and above the environmental concerns already stated.

Member Sprague said that the conversations at the Master Plan and Zoning Committee determined that this is a good transitional use. He said that the maps indicate that there is a lot of natural features in the area that would preclude building in the adjacent area. He said that was determined in their discussions. There was never a concern that there would be a negative impact on the adjacent property. For this to come up now, it is somewhat troublesome to Member Sprague. Ms. McBeth said she just wanted her statements on the record, that this rezoning might further limit further development of all of the uses that might have otherwise been permitted in the light industrial uses.

Member Sprague asked whether there was a way to mitigate that impact. Ms. McBeth said that she was not saying that it is a bad thing, that the rezoning would limit some of the uses on those properties. If residential is the correct zoning for this property, those restrictions on the adjacent properties is appropriate.

Moved by Member Sprague, seconded by Member Pehrson:

In the matter of the request of Steve Schafer of Schafer Development for Zoning Map Amendment 18.647, motion to recommend approval to City Council for the rezoning from I-2, Light Industrial, and R-1, Single Family, to R-T, Two Family residential, for 37.75 acres, for the reasons that: 1) the request is in compliance with the recently adopted Master Plan for Land Use; and 2) The request provides a positive transition between Target to the north and the community park to the south.

DISCUSSION

Chair Kocan said she had hard time with this property during the Master Plan update process. She saw the request for the first time at the Master Plan meeting. She was uncomfortable with the concept, and now she knew why. She said the traffic report indicates a change from 600 cars to over 1,000 cars. The total units change from 59 (R-1) units to a possible 171 (R-T) units. Wixom Road is a two-lane road. The City has not yet seen the impact of Catholic Central. It will be considerable. Chair Kocan felt she did not do enough homework on this site when she reviewed the Master Plan update in December. She apologized for that.

Chair Kocan did acknowledge in December that this would be an impetus for Profile Steel to move. That is a big issue in her book. She was not comfortable adding 1,000 cars to the area in order to remove Profile Steel. She would not support the motion. She would prefer to see a less dense development. She said that the Planning Commission did not consider all of the mitigating factors. The Planning Commission did not consider what this would do to the other developments around this property. With regard to the Landscape Ordinance, she asked whether the berm is required by the industrial property, or whoever develops first. Planner Tim Schmitt responded that when residential is adjacent to light industrial, and both are vacant, the burden is on the light industrial. The issue comes into play when a different user is proposed to go up next to a going up a previously approved use that did not put the screening in. Typically, this is seen with residential adjacent to multiple family. This has been the City’s practice, and was one of the clean-up items recently recommended for approval by the Planning Commission to City Council.

Member Cassis asked Mr. Quinn how many units did Mr. Schafer expect to build. Mr. Quinn said that one of the plans for this property includes Toll Brothers developing the site. They are quality developers. Member Cassis said that Mr. Schafer is a front for Toll Brothers, doing the organizing of the rezoning and presenting the package to Toll Brothers. Toll Brothers would like to have a nice project. Mr. Schafer said that the site may be in the 170-unit range. Mr. Schafer noted that the traffic study indicated a.m. and p.m. numbers. The p.m. number is expected to increase with this rezoning. The a.m. traffic currently has an industrial user bringing in cold rolled steel on open flat beds with school buses, which is a health, welfare and safety issue. Currently, Profile Steel’s drive is directly across the street from Toll Brothers’ million dollar homes. Mr. Schafer said that they would want to provide whatever is safe. They have had discussion with Providence about connecting into their ring road, which may spread their traffic out a little bit. That remains to be seen.

Member Cassis said that there is some concern about how many units will be built on this site. However, when the rezoning request came before the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, the people that owned the steel company were contemplating making their current operation even larger. If this rezoning occurred, they said they would move to a bigger place. The Applicant confirmed this information. Member Cassis said that if they would have stayed and expanded, it would have increased their traffic. The City would have been subjected to a use that is not harmonious and appealing to the school or to Toll Brothers. He hoped these comments brought more comfort to the Chair. Member Cassis would prefer to see the steel operation move and reestablish itself in a larger operation. Wixom Road then could be dedicated to a more residential-type use.

Member Avdoulos said this property was considered a transitional piece when it was reviewed. The subject property is next to retail, commercial and will be integrated as part of a subdivision and integrated within a school district. He considered the traffic of Six Mile and Haggerty, and he said that this is a similar situation. On Six Mile, from Northville Road heading east, it is very residential. Then it becomes more of an R-T zoning. Then it becomes commercial. It transitions nicely. It does not create as much impact as one might think. Perhaps there is increased traffic in the evenings heading west, but not the type of congestion associated with Ten Mile or on Nine Mile, or Haggerty between Grand River and Eight Mile. He did not see this area as congested as these examples. He said there is more development happening in Island Lake, and he said that when he travels on Wixom Road the traffic has been moving smoothly. He said that Chair Kocan was correct in stating that no one knows what Catholic Central will do to the area, but if it is anything like what occurred with the new Northville High School, it will congest traffic for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Northville Township is trying to get a light in the area of their school (a meeting will be held on the following day to force that issue). He said that Six Mile was inundated with curb cuts after curb cuts. It is one lane each way, and yet the road is still performing.

Member Avdoulos said it was better to get rid of the industrial user. This was a positive, not a negative. He was concerned with the density, but the other factors are important too. Residential will maintain the character. This rezoning will marry up with the Providence plan.

Member Avdoulos discussed the concern with the northerly industrial users. He said the City works with the wetland and woodland maps and they take that into account. The rear yard setback for light industrial for I-1 is twenty feet. He has yet to see properties built at 90%. There are square footage and parking requirements. He did not know if this would be a problem, but when these properties come forward for development, and issues become evident along this property line, then Member Avdoulos would encourage the inclusion of these meeting minutes with the information packet that is distributed to the Planning Commission members.

Member Avdoulos said that this rezoning was considered as a solution to the subject property. He said that it was not meant to provoke a hardship on the northerly properties. The Planning Commission would work with the Applicant, when the time comes, to rectify and mitigate any issues at that time.

Chair Kocan said that she considered that an R-T development would be something affordable to graduating college kids – something that would be affordable. She said she then read where these homes would start at $400,000. She did not envision this. She understood that quality is quality and quality costs money, she just could not support the request.

ROLL CALL VOTE ON ZONING MAP AMENDMENT 18.647 POSITIVE RECOMMENDATION MOTION MADE BY MEMBER SPRAGUE AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PEHRSON:

In the matter of the request of Steve Schafer of Schafer Development for Zoning Map Amendment 18.647, motion to recommend approval to City Council for the rezoning from I-2, Light Industrial, and R-1, Single Family, to R-T, Two Family residential, for 37.75 acres, for the reasons that: 1) the request is in compliance with the recently adopted Master Plan for Land Use; and 2) The request provides a positive transition between Target to the north and the community park to the south.

Motion carried 5-1 (Yes: Avdoulos, Cassis, Pehrson, Sprague, Wrobel; No: Kocan)

4. SIGN ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.195

The Public Hearing was opened for Planning Commission’s recommendation to City Council to amend Chapter 28, "Signs" of the City of Novi Code relating to non-commercial message signs (election and political).

Planner Tim Schmitt said this text amendment was forwarded from the City Attorney’s office. During the 2004 presidential campaign, the ACLU sent a letter to the City of Novi questioning the constitutionality of its political sign Ordinance. The City responded by proposing the following changes to the Sign Ordinance.

City Attorney David Gillam explained that the ACLU comments did reveal that there were some areas of the Sign Ordinance that needed to be changed. Some issues seemed to be non-issues, and those were not addressed. This proposed amendment is meant to level the playing fields, and treat political signs and election signs more in the same fashion that the City treats other signs. He suggested that the biggest change is the relaxation of certain standards regarding what can be done on private property, not what can be done in the right-of-way – where there is a proliferation of signs.

Mr. Gillam said that the Ordinance amendment will allow a "non-commercial message" sign, e.g. "No Taxes" or "Bush", to be displayed year-round. There would be no restrictions on the number of signs allowed on one’s property. The rationale behind this stipulation is that members of the same household may not agree to support the same candidate, and each member has the right to have a sign displayed in their yard.

Mr. Gillam said there are still some restrictions on the timing of political sign placement, although these have been somewhat relaxed. Along with the relaxation of stipulations for personal property signage, this amendment would completely prohibit signs in the right-of-way. Signs would no longer be permitted at street corners.

Mr. Gillam said that the others changes were summarized in the Planning Commission packet, but those changes just discussed are the most significant.

Chair Kocan closed the Public Hearing after determining that no one from the audience wished to speak.

Member Sprague asked about the front end time frame. Mr. Gillam answered that there is no front end time limit and the back end provides thirty days after the election for the removal of signs.

Member Sprague asked about the size change for signs on major thoroughfares. Mr. Gillam said that political signs along major thoroughfares will be subject to the same stipulations as other signs allowed. Member Sprague confirmed that businesses would also be able to display as many political signs as they preferred.

Member Sprague said that in Section 15.b.2 it states that there can only be one non-commercial message sign not pertaining to a specific event allowed per lot or parcel. He thought that meant that only one sign was allowed per parcel. Mr. Gillam said that this pertained to non-commercial signs. Political signs do no apply to that statement.

Member Sprague said that the first page indicates that "non-commercial message sign" means a sign is not related to or connected with trade and traffic or commerce in general and includes an election sign or a sign expressing an opinion. When he read that he did not make a distinction between a political campaign or election sign versus an opinion sign. He asked where that language was in the Ordinance. Mr. Gillam responded that the language is in 28-8.15.b.2: The emphasis is on the term "pertaining to a specific event" because that describes a political sign. Member Sprague then commented that he did not think that term was very clear.

Chair Kocan said that if a wife wanted to support Bush and a husband wanted to support someone else, that scenario did not pertain to a specific event, therefore only one sign would be permitted. She thought it also needed additional clarification. She then asked if more than one sign could be placed for the same candidate. She did not think that the language was clear.

Mr. Gillam said that if someone wanted six signs for the same candidate he would be allowed to do so – in terms of a political or election sign. A sign that states, "Bush for President" is clearly an election sign. A sign that just states, "Bush" may be considered a political sign in November, but it wouldn’t necessarily be considered that in the other months of the year. Only one non-commercial message sign is allowed. Chair Kocan asked if the language could include, "including but not limited to elections," so there is something that makes the point really apparent – that an election sign is different. She said that the amendment tries to call an election sign a non-commercial sign, but then it tries to differentiate them further into the Ordinance. Mr. Gillam said that the language could be reviewed.

Member Wrobel said that an election loser may vow to run in the next election, so technically, the election sign could stay up all the time because there is no front end to the Ordinance stipulation. Mr. Schmitt responded that the City is going to expect all political signs to come down within thirty days. A person who runs in a future election will have to run fundraisers before they put signs up again. Member Wrobel said there’s always going to be someone who refuses to take their signs down because they are running in the next election. Mr. Schmitt said that was an interesting scenario that will keep the City busy. The City will plan to enforce the thirty day rule. If someone chooses to go that route, they will have to demonstrate that they’ve begun their campaign.

Member Sprague said that the first sentence should be added to the language in Section 2. Then, Section 3 will say, "…except as permitted in Section 28-10, there shall be no limit to any non-commercial signs that do not pertain to a specific event." Then the next section would require the removal of signs within thirty days. He explained that the Ordinance refers to signs pertaining to a specific event, but not one that doesn’t; then he just recommended that the language be grouped together, but have two different provisions. One would be for a specific event, and one would be for a non-specific event.

Member Cassis asked if there was a definition of "major thoroughfare." Chair Kocan said that it could be found in the Ordinance definitions. Mr. Schmitt said that as a general rule, "major thoroughfare" refers to all streets that aren’t within a subdivision; the few catches are "natural beauty roads" and Eleven Mile. Chair Kocan said that the definition refers the Master Plan designations of "major arterial, arterial and minor arterial."

Chair Kocan asked about the phrase, "…the sign shall not exceed a height of five feet." She asked if that is clear that the sign can’t be more than five feet, or that the measurement begins at the ground. Mr. Schmitt said that there is a definition at the beginning of the Ordinance that explains how to measure a sign.

Chair Kocan asked whether a candidate sign at the 50s Festival would be limited to no greater than six square feet and could not be higher than five feet. Mr. Schmitt said that was correct. Chair Kocan said that wasn’t private property, so would a sign even be allowed. Mr. Schmitt said that would be private property. Chair Kocan said that the candidate would need permission from the owner. Mr. Schmitt answered affirmatively.

Chair Kocan read the stipulation, "…after affording the proponent of the sign an opportunity to be heard, the building official may revoke the permission for a sign closer than ten feet." She asked why it can’t just read that the building official may remove the sign, since they don’t have to get a permit in the first place. Mr. Schmitt said this question was addressed with the City Attorney. Tom Schultz of that office recommends that language be added that states, "…the building official may revoke permission for the sign and may remove it from the public right-of-way."

Chair Kocan said that Section 15 is about non-commercial signs. Section 10 states that for signs not exceeding two square feet which contain only non-commercial messages, including designations of restrooms, telephone location and direction of door openings, no permit shall be required. She wondered if using the term "non-commercial messages" was confusing in light of a section entitled "non-commercial message signs." Mr. Schmitt said that the City Attorney did not have a problem because the term "non-commercial message sign" is a specific type of sign in this section, whereas in the other case the content of the sign is being discussed.

Chair Kocan said that Sections 1-13 should actually be Sections 1-11. Mr. Schmitt said that all of Chair Kocan’s changes were made.

Chair Kocan confirmed that the language doesn’t have to say that one can’t have duplicate signs. Mr. Schmitt said that is the issue that was specifically litigated. A city cannot regulate duplicate signs.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Sprague:

ROLL CALL VOTE ON SIGN ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.195 MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER SPRAGUE:

Motion to send a positive recommendation to City Council of the Sign Ordinance Text Amendment 18.195, as amended.

Motion carried 6-0.

5. SIGN ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.196

The Public Hearing was opened for Planning Commission’s recommendation to City Council to amend Chapter 28, "Signs" of the City of Novi code in order to incorporate regulations relating to window signs, portable signs and non-conforming signs.

Planner Tim Schmitt told the Planning Commission that these changes were recommended by Neighborhood Services. They preferred not to wait for an entire Sign Ordinance overhaul to address these issues. This amendment addresses the glaring omissions and errors in the Ordinance. Some correct reference numbers. Some repair omitted language from stipulations or remove excessive language. There are many Town Center stipulations that are no longer necessary. There are a variety of changes to address enforcement and administrative items in the Ordinance.

Chair Kocan asked if it was appropriate to add the EXO district to the list of business districts. Mr. Schmitt answered affirmatively.

Chair Kocan closed the Public Hearing after determining no one from the audience wished to speak.

Chair Kocan applauded Neighborhood Services for bringing these changes forward.

Member Pehrson asked if the changes take into account interior wall signs that shine through the window. He brought up Premium Storage as an example of a business who loves to post signs on their walls. Mr. Schmitt was not aware of whether any of these proposed changes address that issue, but he said there are some stipulations that do address that problem. That language addresses whether the sign advertises the business or just makes remarks. There are specific regulations that are being modified with this amendment, but none necessarily address the issue brought up by Member Pehrson. Illumination signs are referenced. Mr. Schmitt said that Alan Amolsch is likely aware of Premium Storage’s signs. Member Pehrson saw businesses like that more of a nuisance than a business that just wants a lit open and closed sign.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Sprague:

Motion to send a positive recommendation to City Council of the Sign Ordinance Text Amendment 18.196 clean-up items, as presented.

DISCUSSION

Chair Kocan asked if the manual’s title was "Sign Design and Review Manual" or "Sign Design Review Manual." Mr. Schmitt said he would find out and make corrections if necessary.

ROLL CALL VOTE ON SIGN ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.196 MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER SPRAGUE:

Motion to send a positive recommendation to City Council of the Sign Ordinance Text Amendment 18.196 clean-up items, as presented.

Motion carried 6-0.

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION

1. Approval of the January 12, 2005 Planning Commission Minutes

The Planning Commission turned in their changes for incorporation into the minutes. Of note, Chair Kocan clarified the language of a paragraph relating to retail/residential component mix for the PD-1 Option. The language explaining that Section 14 was never planned for residential was clarified. Clarification on the appropriateness of the Columbus Corporate Office on the corner of Twelve Mile and Haggerty Roads was provided.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Sprague:

VOICE VOTE ON THE JANUARY 12, 2005 APPROVAL OF MINUTES MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER SPRAGUE:

Motion to approve the minutes of January 12, 2005 as amended.

Motion carried 6-0.

2. Approval of the January 26, 2005 Planning Commission Minutes

The Planning Commission turned in their corrections for incorporation into the minutes.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Wrobel:

VOICE VOTE ON THE JANUARY 26, 2005 APPROVAL OF MINUTES MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER WROBEL:

Motion to approve the minutes of January 26, 2005 as amended.

Motion carried 6-0.

3. APPROVAL OF THE FEBRUARY 9, 2005 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

The Planning Commission turned in their corrections for incorporation into the minutes. Chair Kocan also stated that the word "revised" was omitted from the motion regarding the Unlisted Use text amendment. Chair Kocan also asked that the requirement for building berms between residential and non-residential be clarified to reflect that residential properties are responsible when the non-residential property is already built.

Additionally, Chair Kocan said that the Doggie Daycare language never went to the Implementation Committee for review, which came to mind in light of the Unlisted Use language that was discussed at this meeting. Director of Planning Barbara McBeth stated that over the years there have been several inquiries about Doggy Daycares. There are no standards for distance from residential, Special Land Use or Permitted Use status, etc. Ms. McBeth said it would be better to be proactive than reactive. Planner Tim Schmitt said that the Implementation Committee has discussed this on different occasions but agreed with Chair Kocan that no decision was ever made.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Avdoulos:

VOICE VOTE ON DOGGIE DAYCARE MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER AVDOULOS:

Motion to send the determination of kennel/doggie daycare language to the Implementation Committee.

Motion carried 6-0.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Sprague:

VOICE VOTE ON THE FEBRUARY 9, 2005 APPROVAL OF MINUTES MOTION MADE BY MEMBER PEHRSON AND SECONDED BY MEMBER SPRAGUE:

Motion to approve the minutes of February 9, 2005 as amended.

Motion carried 6-0.

CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION

There were no Consent Agenda Removals.

MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

There were no Matters for Discussion.

SUPPLEMENTAL ISSUES

City Attorney David Gillam told the Planning Commission that the intent of the City was to move the Sign Text Amendments forward with adoption fifteen days after their approval from City Council. The Ordinance would then be in place for the May 2005 school election. Director of Planning Barbara McBeth said that the resolution of this matter would be ironed out at the April 4, 2005 City Council meeting.

Member Cassis asked whether combined republican and democrat households would be able to place their candidate’s name signs, along with signs depicting elephants and donkeys – in other words, would the household be able to increase the number of signs allowed through creative signage? Mr. Gillam said that the signs would be allowed through the stated election season and afterward the household would be entitled to one sign only.

Mr. Gillam told the Planning Commission that Applicants whose site plans are denied by the Planning Commission do in fact have the opportunity to appeal to the ZBA before the Applicant appeals the ruling at the Circuit Court level. The Applicant who was told differently at a previous meeting was contacted and properly informed of the procedure. The Applicant has indicated that they would be taking their case to the ZBA.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

No one from the audience wished to speak.

ADJOURNMENT

Moved by Member Pehrson,

Motion to adjourn.

The meeting adjourned at 11:41 p.m.

SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS

FRI 03/25/05 CITY OFFICES CLOSED

MON 04/04/05 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

MON 04/04/05 IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE MEETING 6:00 PM

TUE 04/05/05 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM

WED 04/13/05 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM

MON 04/18/05 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

WED 04/27/05 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM

TUE 05/03/05 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM

MON 05/09/05 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

WED 05/11/05 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:30 PM

Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, April 6, 2005 Signature on File

Date Approved: April 13, 2005 Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date