|View Agenda for this meeting
View Action Summary for this meeting
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:00 PM.
Present: Members John Avdoulos, Brian Burke, Andrew Gutman, Michael Lynch, Michael Meyer, Mark Pehrson, Wayne Wrobel
Absent: Members Victor Cassis (excused), David Lipski (excused)
Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Director of Planning; Tim Schmitt, Planner; Mark Spencer, Planner; Ben Croy, Engineer; Steve Printz, Parks and Forestry Operations Manager; Tom Schultz, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Avdoulos led the meeting in Chair Cassis’ absence. He asked Member Meyer to lead the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Gutman:
voice vote on agenda approval motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Gutman:
Motion to approve the Agenda for March 14, 2007. Motion carried 7-0.
Dean Gould, 121 West Long Lake Road, Ste. 200, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48304: Represented Victor Cassis, the owner of the property north of Paul Bunyan Drive (Sixth Gate). He told the Planning Commission that Mr. Cassis has had some conversations with Triangle Development about the future of this road. An easement was proposed but Mr. Cassis never heard back from Triangle. The request to vacate the road has since been withdrawn. Now Triangle would like to propose parallel parking along the Paul Bunyan right-of-way. This proposal will significantly move Mr. Cassis’ existing curb cut onto the road. Mr. Gould said that Mr. Cassis felt the curb cut that would benefit Triangle most would be directly across from where Mr. Cassis’ current curb cut is now located. Now the new design will require a lengthy driveway on Mr. Cassis’ property. Mr. Gould wanted the Planning Commission to consider Mr. Cassis’ property rights, and keep the curb cut in its current location. Mr. Cassis felt that it is not a good precedent to allow parking on what is essentially City property, to alleviate a parking issue that Triangle may have on its own site. It could expose the City to liability with regard to improvements. No one is sure of this proposal’s impact on the utilities. Mr. Gould said that if this has not been studied, Mr. Cassis would like it studied before the Planning Commission makes its recommendation to City Council. Mr. Gould also said that Mr. Cassis is unclear on what the improvements will be at the intersection of Novi Road and Paul Bunyan. A traffic study was apparently done, but Mr. Gould was unsure of what the study surmised. He didn’t know if tapers would be required for the intersection. Mr. Cassis’ attorney recommended that the Planning Commission deny the request and allow the plan to go forward as originally approved. Mr. Gould’s position was that Triangle should be encouraged to continue to meet with Mr. Cassis to reach an appropriate shared parking arrangement where Mr. Cassis’ property rights are protected.
There was no correspondence to share.
Member Avdoulos said that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee met to discuss some future projects. They have been reviewing mixed use projects for corner sites. Some of these requests are for low-density Single Family Residential districts. There might be requests for increased density or rezoning in the near future.
PLANNING DIRECTOR REPORT
Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth said that at the March 5, 2007 City Council meeting, Singh Development presented a possible modification for their Legacy Parc property, which also included some City property on the corner of Wixom Road and Ten Mile. The first reading of the Vet Clinics Text Amendment was also passed at the meeting.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
1. THE RUSHMORE, SP05-41B
Consideration of the request of Eudora Adolph for Final Site Plan extension approval. The subject property is located in Section 33, south of Nine Mile, east of Beck Road, in the R-1 One-Family Residential District. The subject property is 4.59 acres and the Applicant is proposing a six-lot site condominium for single family residential dwellings.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Burke:
roll call vote on motion made by and seconded by on consent agenda approval made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Burke:
Motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Motion carried 7-0.
1. WRB07-01 WOODLAND PERMIT, LOT 33 BELLAGIO SUBDIVISION
The Public Hearing was opened on the Woodland Permit request for lot 33 Bellagio Subdivision. The subject property is located in Section 32 at 48035 Bellagio Ct. The Applicant seeks to restore the regulated woodland in the rear yard.
Planner Tim Schmitt reminded the Planning Commission that they act as the Woodland Review Board for the City. Bellagio was approved under a residential development option that allowed the developer to reduce the size of lots in exchange for preserving woodlands throughout the site. The subject lot has a 24.3-foot conservation easement along the back of their lot. Additionally, throughout the development, lots were left in a wooded condition so that future homeowners could choose which trees they wished to preserve or remove. In this case, the Applicant has removed a good portion of trees on the site and consequently there is an ongoing ticket involved with this case.
The Applicant has proposed a plan for restoration. Woodland trees, ornamental trees and sod have all been proposed. The Consultant Review letters were provided to the Planning Commission for review. These woodland issues do not include the woodland replacements required by the developer. Parks and Forestry Operations Manager Steve Printz has also commented on the plan and was in attendance at the meeting to discuss the proposal.
The Planning Commission is being asked to approve or deny the proposed plan. A sample motion was prepared for the Planning Commission to consider. The Planning Commission may wish to consider the Applicant’s request for sod and what already-planted trees should be counted toward replacement credit.
Jim Cerretani represented the Applicant. He said that the landscape was completed a year before the ticket was issued. When a problem arose on a different lot it was noted that this landscape was problematic. There was a letter from the Woodland Consultant stating that the Applicant owed 111 credits. Mr. Cerretani has been working with Steve Printz on this number. They reached the number of 101 credits. Tree 5160 is still in place. They determined the number of dbh inches of the trees removed. They determined which trees would have been too close to the house and would have been removable anyway without using the dbh replacement credit formula.
Mr. Cerretani said that the final number of replacements owed is 74. The City has given him credit for 11. The Applicant still owes 63 credits. This is a heavily landscaped home. There is a lot of other landscaping already in place. Mr. Cerretani said that they are asking for 15 credits for trees and shrubs that aren’t native to Michigan but are native to the United States. With this request, the replacement number is reduced to 48.
Mr. Cerretani said that the plot plan that he received in the very beginning did not have the necessary information, i.e., the conservation easement was not shown. The installed landscape plan was not done in a malicious manner. He also asked the Planning Commission to consider that it is not common practice for Novi homes to have a conservation easement within a homeowner’s property.
Mr. Cerretani said that the sod was placed in typical fashion, but he was willing to remove the sod out of the conservation easement. This is a 24-foot wide strip. This is unfortunate, and the homeowner would probably not have purchased this home knowing how small of a back yard he really had.
Mr. Cerretani said that the neighboring homeowner worked with the City on a compromise, and that is what he is seeking to do for this homeowner.
No one from the audience wished to speak and no correspondence was received so Member Avdoulos closed the Public Hearing.
Mr. Printz addressed the Planning Commission. He said that normally trees are replaced with either one, two or three credits, based on the diameter and whether a permit is in place. In a violation situation, the replacement is based on an inch-per-inch basis. The original dbh number of 278, divided by 2.5-inch caliper trees, requires 111 credits. Mr. Printz went on site and determined that trees equaling eleven credits were within the building envelope and should not be considered a violation. The dbh number Mr. Printz then had was 150 which, when divided by 2.5, equals 61 credits. With two credits for the drainage swale tree and the previously discussed eleven credits, the full number is 74. Mr. Printz gave the Applicant credit for horse chestnuts, white spruce (which are at a ratio of 2:1), serviceberries, nanaberry viburnum, totaling eleven credits in all. Others – Norway Spruce, rhododendrons, Concolor Fir and blue spruce – have not yet been credited because they are not on the approved replacement list, but if the Planning Commission agreed, these would total 15 credits. The final number becomes 48, and Mr. Cerretani is seeking the Planning Commission’s approval of this number.
Member Lynch said it sounded like a mistake was made and now someone is trying to correct it. Novi does not want this to continue to happen. This homeowner has been put through the wringer. The City has accomplished the objective of repairing the violation. Member Lynch looked at the plan and he felt that technically there may be a few trees missing but the woodland appears to have been replaced. It looks like the woodland features have been maintained. Mr. Printz agreed that significant plantings have been put on the site. It is not necessarily natural. Not everything shown on the plan has been planted. Member Lynch asked Mr. Printz if he would be happy if this plan was approved. Mr. Printz said that in terms of what would be brought back to the area, the 48 credits would be more than enough to cover the woodland area. He would accept the overall terms of the project, with the appropriate species being used. Member Lynch felt that the intent of the Ordinance has been met. He thanked Mr. Printz for his input. He supported the Applicant’s request as described at the meeting.
Member Pehrson confirmed that Mr. Printz was happy with the sod line, as it was outside of the conservation easement. Member Pehrson was interested in the restoration of the understory. Mr. Printz said that the intent is to restore the east- and back-side of the property with both trees and shrubs. Mr. Printz said that removing the irrigation system has not yet been done but would be required.
Mr. Schmitt asked the Planning Commission to consider that the irrigation and the sod be removed from the easement area. Also, the provided third stipulation should be stated such that the homeowner installs the landscape plan presented at the Planning Commission meeting, and fulfills forty-eight credits, with approval for the use of Concolor Firs, Roseum Elegans Rhododendron and Colorado Blue Spruce as indicated during the discussion.
Member Pehrson confirmed again that Mr. Printz was satisfied. Mr. Printz responded that not much more would fit on this site anyway.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Lynch:
In the matter of the request of Bellagio Lot 33, WRB07-01, motion to grant the Woodland Permit subject to: 1) The removal of the irrigation system and sod from the conservation easement area; 2) Restoration of the understory in a manner acceptable to the Parks and Forestry Operations Manager; 3) The homeowner providing the 48 credits as proposed in the landscape plan, with acceptance of the species acknowledged by Mr. Printz (Concolor Firs, Roseum Elegans Rhododendron and Colorado Blue Spruce); 4) The homeowner’s understanding that this permit does not address the May 2004 woodland violation nor does it satisfy the subdivision developer’s woodland replacement requirements; and 5) All comments found in the Staff and Consultant review letters and the terms of the Plea Agreement entered into at 52-1 District Court; for the reason that the plan makes an agreeable motion to the Planning Commission.
Member Avdoulos confirmed that the proposed landscape plan would be put in place. Mr. Schmitt said that Mr. Cerretani and Mr. Printz would iron out the details regarding species. Mr. Schmitt asked the Planning Commission to require the installation be completed by June 30, 2007. The maker and seconder of the motion agreed.
Member Avdoulos felt there was a spirit of cooperation. Mr. Cerretani wished to add that the plan isn’t exactly right, in light of the number 48. He said he and Mr. Printz have a great working relationship and he was confident that the two of them can iron out the details. Member Avdoulos hoped that his landscaper has learned the Woodland Ordinance that exists in Novi.
roll call vote on Lot 33 bellagio, wrb07-01 woodland permit motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Lynch:
In the matter of the request of Bellagio Lot 33, WRB07-01, motion to grant the Woodland Permit subject to: 1) The removal of the irrigation system and sod from the conservation easement area; 2) Restoration of the understory in a manner acceptable to the Parks and Forestry Operations Manager; 3) The homeowner providing the 48 credits as proposed in the landscape plan, with acceptance of the species acknowledged by Mr. Printz (Concolor Firs, Roseum Elegans Rhododendron and Colorado Blue Spruce); 4) The homeowner’s understanding that this permit does not address the May 2004 woodland violation nor does it satisfy the subdivision developer’s woodland replacement requirements; 5) All comments found in the Staff and Consultant review letters and the terms of the Plea Agreement entered into at 52-1 District Court; and 6) The installation will occur on or before June 30, 2007; for the reason that the plan makes an agreeable motion to the Planning Commission. Motion carried 7-0.
2. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.214
The Public Hearing was opened or Planning Commission’s recommendation to City Council for an ordinance to amend Appendix A of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, Ordinance 97-18, as amended, known as the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Subsection 2506, in order to modify the standards for parking end islands.
Civil Engineer Ben Croy addressed the Planning Commission. He explained that the Zoning Ordinance provides standards for parking lot end islands. In two recent projects, it became clear that the standards don’t address end islands in parking structures which include above- and below-grade parking areas. The City researched the subject and the resulting language allows for painted parking end islands in lieu of a raised-curb landscape islands in parking structures. This is a compromise from the request for no end islands, which is a design used in some parking structures. The City determined that some type of buffer is needed at the endcaps, and therefore the painted area is being proposed.
Mr. Croy said that the City also puts forth new language that requires a minimum of a painted endcap to a parking aisle (not in a parking structure), as opposed to the current language that allows the Planning Commission to waive the standard of a raised-curb landscaped endcap completely. This would only apply only in certain appropriate situations, such as in a low traffic area. In short, the City wants the raised-curb landscaped island in all of its lots, with the exception of parking structures.
No one from the audience wished to speak and no correspondence was received so Member Avdoulos closed the Public Hearing.
Member Wrobel had no problem with the painted island concept, except in those instances where drivers make them another parking spot. Mr. Croy agreed completely; that is why this is really only applicable for parking structures. He would still like to require a raised, unlandscaped island for parking structures, but the minimum standard is the painted island.
Member Pehrson agreed with the direction the Engineering Department is taking this standard. Based on the flow of traffic in a parking structure, it is probably the right thing to do. Given this is a minimum standard, the City can still give their input on what they would like to see.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Wrobel:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.214, motion to recommend approval to City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance, Subsection 2506, in order to modify the standards for parking end islands.
Member Avdoulos said that he had no problem with the language. As safety and traffic flow issues emerge, the City must respond in appropriate manner. He has found where islands get run over in parking structures. He called for the vote.
roll call vote on Zoning Ordinance text amendment 18.214 recommendation for approval motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Wrobel:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.214, motion to recommend approval to City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance, Subsection 2506, in order to modify the standards for parking end islands. Motion carried 7-0.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. MAIN STREET NOVI, SP06-38
Consideration of the request of Triangle Main Street, LLC, for recommendation to the City Council for modification to conditions of Preliminary Site Plan approval. The subject property is located in Section 23, South of Grand River Avenue and east of Novi Road in the TC-1, Town Center District. The subject property is approximately 20 acres and the Applicant is proposing modifications to the previously approved site plan.
Planner Tim Schmitt said that the Preliminary Site Plan approval with stipulations on this site came before the Planning Commission in late 2006. One item not discussed at that time was the road known as Paul Bunyan, Orchard Avenue and Sixth Gate. There are two pieces of the road remaining. There is a portion that is still the public right-of-way. A portion was vacated for the condominium that Jim Chen recorded. Another section is also public right-of-way. The Applicant intends to rebuild the section of roadway, consistent with City standards, with a sixty-foot right-of-way and parallel parking along the road. At this time, the Applicant is not asking for any modifications to the existing right-of-way in that area. The other section of right-of-way is still at issue.
The proposed right-of-way runs through parking spaces and partially through the entrance to the parking deck and end islands. The original request is still the favored choice – vacate Paul Bunyan Drive. It would eliminate maintenance concerns on a piece of land that, if City Council grants the licensing agreement, would be used for private use. The public would have the right to travel over it and park there, but the City would keep the maintenance aspect of a road that doesn’t have the greater benefit of the community in mind. After discussing it with the Applicant, everyone generally agreed that vacating the road was a good idea. The resolutions went before City Council on February 12, 2007 so that the Public Hearing on this road vacation could be heard.
At that time, the adjacent property owner of both the vacant parcel and the Harmon Glass building came before the City Council and voiced concern about the right-of-way proposal. Staff had assumed that negotiations had been going on behind the scenes between the affected property owners, though it had no direct knowledge of same. City Council postponed the vacation request. The Applicant then met with the City and decided to abandon the request for the vacation. It represented a delay to their project. Now the Applicant has submitted the proposed plan before the Planning Commission for consideration. It shows the impact of not vacating the entire stretch of the Paul Bunyan section in question. The Community Development Department has always asked for an access to the north. There is an existing open-ended curb cut to the Harmon Glass building. The Applicant showed the curb cut where the City thought the best location was for this north access.
The original proposal and motion had a condition that the road be vacated. That was the course of action that everyone thought was the best at the time. Given the change in circumstances and the spring thaw that is nigh, the Applicant has asked that the condition be removed. Staff would support such a move, with several items placed in its stead. Based on the review of the subject plan, Staff would like all other conditions of the September 27, 2006 motion remain in place. City Council will need to waive the building setbacks, because now another front yard has been added. City Council will need to weigh in on the nonstandard parking – the Applicant is proposing angled (not parallel) parking.
Mr. Schmitt said that license agreements are required for any permanent improvements placed in the public right-of-way. Once the design is finalized, these agreements must be put into place.
Mr. Schmitt said that vacating the road is in the best interests of the community. Given the potential litigation that could arise out of getting title to that property, and this Applicant’s wariness with the title policy, the Staff recommends the following: The 250 feet of the east half of Paul Bunyan be vacated, which is just on the other side of the proposed curb cut (thereby leaving the cut in the right-of-way). This would allow the existing design to remain in place and get the City’s maintenance issues out of the way. Additionally, the Applicant would then provide additional right-of-way from the point westward, placing all of the parking spaces into the public right-of-way and eliminating another of the City’s concerns. There is some additional right-of-way that the Applicant would also have to provide in another area. By vacating one portion and requesting additional right-of-way in the western area, the City is doing its best to make lemonade out of lemons. The last two conditions would be that the Applicant must provide additional right-of-way along the southern and eastern edges of Paul Bunyan, regardless of the right-of-way vacation on the east which should not be part of this motion, and that the Applicant continue to work with the neighbors to the north, to try to work out the access issue.
Mr. Schmitt said that he understood Mr. Gould’s comments earlier in the meeting [see Audience Participation at beginning of meeting] to mean that his client has concerns about not having his open gravel cut close to Novi Road. Certainly, if the landowner prefers that, the City would expect the same from him as what was expected from the Main Street Applicant. A boulevard must be installed and no left turns can be permitted. This seems to defeat putting the curb cut closer to Novi Road. To be consistent, the City will have to request the same treatment. The City doesn’t want drivers to turn right off Novi Road and immediately try to cut left across traffic. These access issues can still be worked on and ironed out.
Mr. Schmitt reminded the Planning Commission that this is a recommendation from them to City Council. This is not a formal approval or denial. The request will be restated at the City Council and direction will be sought from that body. Will they want a full vacation, a partial vacation, or no vacation at all? This Applicant hopes to move his project forward this summer. Everyone is trying to respect all landowners’ property rights, and still conclude this matter in a manner acceptable to all.
Alicia Heideman from McKenna Associates addressed the Planning Commission. She explained that Triangle wants to continue the sidewalk along Paul Bunyan, either through vacation, additional right-of-way or license and maintenance agreements. She said that the proposed plan does not affect the existing approach on Novi Road. They are improving what is already there. They are happy to provide the curb cuts to the north. If there is a different location that the City Council and the property owner would like to propose, she said that all can come into agreement. They believe the area currently proposed is the best because it aligned with the other access drive. They will consider other locations.
Ms. Heideman said that they are also agreeable to the two other stipulations stated by Mr. Schmitt.
Member Avdoulos asked Member Pehrson to read the correspondence into the record:
Victor Cassis, 22186 Daleview: He got involved once Triangle learned they were deficient fifty parking spaces and had a host of variance requests. He was asked to enter into a shared parking agreement upon vacation of Sixth Gate. He has worked with Mr. Nona for 4.5 months on this agreement, but the end result was too generic for his taste. Mr. Cassis had his own attorney draft an agreement and 1.5 months later he received a copy back with a few sentences struck from the language. He did finally agree to those changes. He did not see a final draft of the agreement, so he maintains that no final agreement had been reached. He was therefore surprised to see the vacation request on a City Council agenda, especially before a shared parking agreement could be signed. Mr. Nona did not even tell City Council what details they had been working on. Later the two did speak and Mr. Nona said that he was ready to go back for City Council approval without vacating the street. Mr. Cassis’ concerns remain: The maintenance of his right for two existing curb cuts to his building (Novi Road and Paul Bunyan); The deficiencies of the Main Street project not spill over onto his site; No angled parking on Paul Bunyan that would interfere with his right to use street parking on his side of the road; and no reshaping of the radius of the entrance to Paul Bunyan from Novi Road, altering or infringing in any way on his property rights.
Member Lynch understood the Planning Commission’s role was to make a recommendation to City Council. He found it difficult to recommend this plan to City Council without a resolution between the affected property owners in place. He did not know what has transpired, or when the emotions entered the fray, but it sounded to him like the two parties must come to an agreement in order to make use of the construction season. He thought that the negotiation should be finalized before the Planning Commission makes its recommendation. Mr. Schmitt responded that nothing needed to be resolved with the proposed plan. The Planning Commission would just need to incorporate the additional stipulations into their motion. He said that the City does not like to get into the middle of negotiations between other parties.
Mr. Schmitt said that the curb cut can be discussed, but it really is a license agreement issue with City Council – namely, what will they permit in the public right-of-way?
City Attorney Tom Schultz said that the previously-approved plan is very similar to the plan before the Planning Commission at this meeting. The angled parking is on both plans. The stub to the northerly property is a landscaped island on the previously-approved plan. When that plan went to City Council, it was approved. However, that meant that the Applicant would have to get the vacation of the road. When the vacation was pursued, there was an objection in the absence of some access agreement not of particular specification, so the matter was tabled. The hang-up is not so much the site plan but the road vacation. When the City considers vacating a road, they make sure that everyone who has access to this road is happy with the idea. In this case, not everyone is. This does not automatically affect the Planning Commission’s review of the plan. This plan makes this a public road. A property owner isn’t entitled to curb cuts on a public road; they have to be granted. Part of the problem is that the road is part concrete, part gravel, and there isn’t really a curb cut to speak of for the Harmon Glass property. At some point, this is going to be improved. What does the Planning Commission and the City Council want it to look like? What other access will there be? This plan shows an access – one curb cut, but not a curb cut closer to Novi Road. There is an engineering issue involved here – would a close-to-Novi-Road curb cut be safe? That is an appropriate discussion point for the Planning Commission to consider. He didn’t think that the Planning Commission should wait for these to landowners to come to an agreement. Now, one of the landowners has taken the vacation request off of the table, so how does the Planning Commission want to see the road designed?
Member Lynch heard what Mr. Schultz had to say, and he felt then, that this plan had the City’s best interests at heart and he supported the plan.
Member Wrobel asked whether the right to have a curb cut, when a "full curb cut" was in place for twenty years, should be considered. Mr. Schultz responded that the question was appropriate. Mr. Schultz asked if there was a site plan for the north side that shows the curb cut. There is not. Clearly, the access to this site was from Novi Road. The access onto Sixth Gate is not a curb cut but an undefined access point. No one is prepared either, to state what existed there forty years ago, but there is no plan showing a curb cut.
The law requires adequate and reasonable access to a property. Municipalities occasionally close curb cuts. That sometimes angers the property owner. Does it make the access to this property unreasonable to the extent that it affects the owner’s property rights? Obviously, the property owner thinks so because he wrote that in his letter. It is appropriate for the Planning Commission, with its professional advice, to decide on this matter. Will the Planning Commission accept this plan or comment further on the curb cut? He thought the Planning Commission should consider the opinions of the professionals as well as the comments from the property owner.
Member Meyer asked what the distance was between the two curb cuts. Mr. Schmitt responded that the "curb cut" is immediately located on Paul Bunyan; the Novi Road access is about ten feet from Paul Bunyan. The two curb cuts are literally right next to one another. The proposal would move the one onto Paul Bunyan so that it is 200 feet away and would line up with the circulation pattern previously approved. That would also give access to the vacant piece of land also owned by the same property owner. If the cut remains in the existing location or even a bit further off of Novi Road, there will have to be engineering considerations in terms of prohibiting left-hand turns onto the site. There is not enough room to get onto the road and maneuver a left-turn into the site. There are major engineering considerations that would have to be taken into account, but none have been considered yet because this suggestion has not been proposed. The Applicant has prepared a more judicious plan.
Mr. Schultz added that the Applicant is not trying that hard to design the access to the north property. This plan is what they want for themselves. The question is whether the Planning Commission sees this as an acceptable plan for everyone involved. This is still a public road, and while there may be parking spaces shown on the road, the City makes decisions on where the curb cuts will go. Parking and curbing in a right-of-way can be affected by the municipality that owns the right-of-way.
Member Avdoulos said that if the road is not vacated, the City will work with the Applicant to ensure that the design is safe and within regulations. Mr. Schmitt said that this is accomplished with the design before the Planning Commission. Engineering said many agreements will have to be in place before construction takes place. At some point a discussion will ensue regarding what the City will allow. If the road remains public, there is a question as to whether angled parking is acceptable. Some cities allow it, but the Novi Ordinance does not specifically address it. It is not standard for a suburban setting. There will have to be a discussion on what the City will allow.
Member Avdoulos asked if the City will bring this back before the Planning Commission for review. Mr. Schmitt said that ultimately that depends on what the design is. Member Avdoulos said the Applicant will lose spaces if the parking changes to parallel. Mr. Schmitt said it is possible that the Planning Commission will see this plan again. He has seen a revised shared parking study that takes into account the comments made at the time of Preliminary Site Plan review. That said, the parking deficiency becomes a non-issue.
Mr. Schmitt said that a condition of the motion could be the resolution of the access to the north parcel. This could be right-turn in/right-turn out, as recommended by Staff, whether it is nothing, or whether it is a full access moved in a certain direction. This may not be something to plan tonight, but the motion could state that the Planning Commission believes there should be access, if in fact they do believe there should be access.
Member Meyer asked if any of the Main Street work could commence without this piece in place. Member Avdoulos wondered if the Applicant could get permission to do certain things on the site. Mr. Schmitt responded that the 700 and 800 buildings (medical office and parking structure) are part of Phase 1. The road vacation is not contingent on getting approval for those buildings. The Applicant could just as easily walk away from any construction on Paul Bunyan and deal with the problems elsewhere on the site. They could add another level of parking. The street vacation issue does not stop the project. It is slowing it down. Without the road vacation, the plan needs approval with the additional stipulations outlined by Mr. Schmitt earlier in the evening.
Member Pehrson asked Mr. Schmitt what the Staff recommendation was. Mr. Schmitt said that the vacation is in the public’s best interest. If the City allows construction in that area, it makes too much sense to vacate the road. The alternative is to vacate the road partially, and this idea will be floated by City Council. From Staff’s perspective, half a vacation is better than none. The angled parking would be allowed on the vacated property. Angled parking on the public portion would have to be discussed.
Mr. Schultz said that the Planning Commission is not charged with making a recommendation on vacating part of the road. The plan that is front of the Planning Commission is what the recommendation should be based upon.
Member Pehrson agreed that they are reviewing the Main Street proposal before them. He thought the best solution might be for the landowners to come to an agreement on the curb cut location. He would be concerned if the easement to the north was a hindrance to traffic or created a safety issue. He was satisfied with the location of the curb cut shown on the plan. Member Pehrson asked about the design at Paul Bunyan and Novi Road. Mr. Schmitt said that the plan shows a slight modification to what currently exists. Essentially, the Applicant is proposing to run the curb line to meet the existing curb return for the property line to the north. Where those two meet, everything north exists, everything south would be reworked. It appears that the curb return to the property to the north actually infringes to the south as opposed to the other way around. Given that this is an existing condition, it works within the context of what the City has.
Member Pehrson thought the design was reasonable for the property owner to the north. He is not being landlocked. He would be more concerned if the north entrance wasn’t there at all. There is also the opportunity for an entrance to the east. Traffic can flow safely if and when the northerly property is used.
Member Meyer asked the attorney about adequate, reasonable access to both the north and south property.
Mr. Schultz said he was giving the Planning Commission the standard and asking them to determine what it is adequate and reasonable. Consultants have said that it will be difficult to get a curb cut onto Novi Road and onto Paul Bunyan. The Novi entrance is in question, especially if Paul Bunyan is going to be improved.
Member Meyer asked if a driver could turn at the 200-foot location and still get to the flower shop. Mr. Schmitt said the applicant isn’t proposing a road back there, but when the property to the north develops, they will probably want to connect to the E-Bay and Flower Shop sites. They are under joint ownership. The Applicant is proposing to provide a curb cut to the landlocked piece, which would provide secondary access for the E-Bay and flower shop. Currently, there isn’t a connection road but in the future access would exist.
Member Avdoulos said that the plan was approved with the condition that Paul Bunyan would be vacated. The property would then become part of the Triangle property. This would allow the Applicant to put in angled parking. If it is not vacated, the City doesn’t have provisions for angled public parking. Member Avdoulos said there were 53 spaces of angled parking. If the City doesn’t have provisions for that, the Applicant could lose some of those spaces by going parallel. The Planning Commission waived the requirement of limiting the number of parking spaces in a row, so that is not an issue.
Member Avdoulos thought that there was still going to be a loss of parking spaces. The access to the north property is in the best place because it will act like an intersection and provides safety. He thought the design as laid out will work.
Mr. Dave Nona, Triangle Development, addressed the Planning Commission. He said he has been working cooperatively with everyone on this plan. He said there were some inaccuracies in the letter read earlier in the meeting. He wants to move his plan forward. If the Planning Commission rejects the plan, then he will find other places for parking or he will reduce the size of the commercial building. A reasonable compromise may be to vacate the eastern part of the road and leave the angled parking. The western part could remain public, but he could eliminate the angled parking. He said that the north property owner would keep his access if he did not put in curbs. When he combines his site with the Red, Hot and Blue building, Mr. Nona did not think that he had a parking problem. If he does, he will scale down the building sizes so that the parking becomes appropriate. He was also open to continuing discussions with Mr. Cassis.
Mr. Schultz said that it would be appropriate, if the Planning Commission thinks that Alternative B is a better plan, to make that assertion in the motion. It does not need to be an imposition of a condition.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Meyer:
In the matter of the request of Triangle Development for modification to the Preliminary Site Plan approval for Main Street Novi, SP06-38, motion to recommend approval to the City Council for the Modified Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) All comments of the Planning Commission’s motion of September 27, 2006 continuing to remain in force, with the removal of the condition to vacate Paul Bunyan Drive, and the following conditions; 2) Noting the recommendation from Staff to do the partial vacation as indicated in Alternate B; 3) A City Council Waiver of the specific building setback requirements for the 700 and 800 buildings along Paul Bunyan Drive; 4) A City Council Variance to allow a non-standard parking design in the public right-of-way should the vacation be changed; 5) A Zoning Board of Appeals Variance for the lack of parking lot setback along Paul Bunyan Drive; 6) A Zoning Board of Appeals Variance for the proposed dumpster location and lack of setback for the 800 building dumpster; 7) License agreements being developed to allow for any fixed objects to be located in the public right-of-way; 8) The Applicant providing additional right-of-way along the southern and eastern edges of the existing Paul Bunyan right-of-way; and 9) The Applicant continuing to work with its neighboring properties regarding future access to the properties to the north; for the reason that the plan as shown demonstrates the Applicant’s willingness to work with the City to come to the best potential solution.
Member Avdoulos was a bit confused by the fourth stipulation. Mr. Schmitt responded that the Applicant would need a variance for the angled parking. Member Avdoulos said that whatever agreements are reached, they will be made between the Applicant and City Council. Mr. Schmitt agreed, and said that the Engineering Department will weigh in on any design. Mr. Schultz added that with granting the variance, confirmation will be made that the right-of-way is as planned until such time as the City needs to change the right-of-way.
Member Avdoulos confirmed with Mr. Nona that he was willing to work on the pending issues.
roll call vote on main street novi, sp06-38, recommendation for approval motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Meyer:
In the matter of the request of Triangle Development for modification to the Preliminary Site Plan approval for Main Street Novi, SP06-38, motion to recommend approval to the City Council for the Modified Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) All comments of the Planning Commission’s motion of September 27, 2006 continuing to remain in force, with the removal of the condition to vacate Paul Bunyan Drive, and the following conditions; 2) Noting the recommendation from Staff to do the partial vacation as indicated in Alternate B; 3) A City Council Waiver of the specific building setback requirements for the 700 and 800 buildings along Paul Bunyan Drive; 4) A City Council Variance to allow a non-standard parking design in the public right-of-way should the vacation be changed; 5) A Zoning Board of Appeals Variance for the lack of parking lot setback along Paul Bunyan Drive; 6) A Zoning Board of Appeals Variance for the proposed dumpster location and lack of setback for the 800 building dumpster; 7) License agreements being developed to allow for any fixed objects to be located in the public right-of-way; 8) The Applicant providing additional right-of-way along the southern and eastern edges of the existing Paul Bunyan right-of-way; and 9) The Applicant continuing to work with its neighboring properties regarding future access to the properties to the north; for the reason that the plan as shown demonstrates the Applicant’s willingness to work with the City to come to the best potential solution. Motion carried 7-0.
Member Avdoulos called for a five-minute break.
2. ADOPTION ON THE 2007-2008 PLANNING COMMISSION BUDGET
Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth said that the budget before the Planning Commission was put together based on the comments made by the Planning Commission Committees. There are four basic items that the Budget Committee then discussed and are being presented to the full Planning Commission at this meeting.
There are four separate land use studies being recommended: The Special Project Planning Area #1 is the southeast corner of Ten Mile and Novi Road; The Special Project Planning Area #2 is east of the Twelve Mile/Napier Road intersection; The area north of Twelve Mile and east of West Park Drive is proposed for review to determine the best land uses and development patterns; and the northeast corner of Beck and Grand River is also recommended for study. These studies are extensive and outside assistance is proposed. The amount of $120,000 proposed in the budget represents $30,000 for each of the four studies.
A Master Plan update was also proposed. The review of a blended designation of Office and Industrial classification was identified primarily for the northeast corner of Twelve Mile and West Park Drive. Another request proposed for the Master Plan is the creation of the Downtown West designation. This is a good project that could be worked on with an outside consultant.
The Planning Commission continues to recommend an update of the Zoning Ordinance. This comprehensive review would streamline the system all at once rather than the Community Development Department proposing changes to the Ordinance one stipulation at a time. It seems to be time to look at the whole Ordinance and determine where the conflicts are and make those changes to keep the document consistent with the Master Plan for Land Use goals.
The Planning Commission is also proposing the purchase of laptop computers to eliminate or at least cut down on the paper packets. This would make the packet process more efficient. The City Council may be considering the transition to a more paperless communication system and this effort coincides with that City goal. The request represents about $15,000.
Ms. McBeth said that if the Planning Commission approves this budget proposal it would go the Manager’s Office in the morning. It would then make its way to City Council for consideration.
Member Avdoulos asked how using the computers would work. Ms. McBeth said the details would have to be worked out. She thought that perhaps disks would be burnt and delivered to the Planning Commission members. Or, the information could be sent via e-mail. The logistics would have to be worked out.
Member Meyer was concerned about the value attached to the laptop computer purchase and suggested that it be raised to $18,000. Ms. McBeth said that the amounts could be changed, but this number was provided based on research gathered by the City’s IT Department. They provided this number for the Planning Commission’s use.
Member Burke said that the Budget Committee did discuss how the computer purchase would in fact save money in other areas. He noticed that the cost savings information was not provided in the document. Ms. McBeth said that it would be somewhat difficult to really pinpoint the savings, and she noted that some of the savings were not the City’s but rather the Applicant’s, e.g., not having to print 13 full sets of plans. Member Burke asked whether some kind of savings number could be included just so the value of the purchase is made more visible.
Member Lynch initially thought he could not support the computer purchase but he understands the request now and encouraged Ms. McBeth to add information to the document describing the payback period associated with this purchase. Gas is being saved. Overtime is being saved. Customer costs are reduced. Member Lynch would like to see all of this information in the document. What does it cost the customer to provide the Planning Commission materials? How will staff time be affected? He would support this request if the backup documents were provided. He said that the efficiencies represented by this purchase would probably offer a payback period of less than one year. By providing the back-up it would demonstrate to City Council that this purchase is a good use of the taxpayers’ money. Ms. McBeth said she would add the information to the document.
Member Pehrson thanked Ms. McBeth for her hard work on this document. He said that City Council takes these requests very seriously. The Implementation Committee oftentimes get hit with the big "why" questions, e.g., why didn’t it think of this building material (regarding the Façade Ordinance), and it would be well worth the City’s time to consider how it wants to treat its customers and what can be done to accommodate them. All of the items to be reviewed by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, all the way through to the update of the Zoning Ordinance, would make a dramatic impact in how the City approaches the areas that need change. Member Pehrson did not look at these requests as arbitrary numbers or a wish list. These things have to get done. The City needs to make these things happen for the betterment of the community.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Wrobel:
roll call vote on planning commission fy2006-07 budget motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Wrobel:
Motion to adopt the Planning Commission Budget for FY2006-07 as presented for positive recommendation to administration. Motion carried 7-0.
3. SET A PUBLIC HEARING FOR A TEXT AMENDMENT RELATING TO PLANNED OFFICE SERVICE TECHNOLOGY DISTRICTS PERMITTING EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES IN LIMITED INSTANCES.
Planner Tim Schmitt explained that Northern Equities has submitted a request to the City for adding educational facilities to the uses allowed in the OST, Office Service Technology District. They have a potential tenant for the Haggerty Corridor Corporate Park.
Mr. Schmitt cited Central Michigan University’s off-site facility and Phoenix University’s off-site facility as two office park educational facilities found elsewhere in the southeast Michigan. He noted that Walsh College is located in the I-1 District and he would like to clean that up as well.
Mr. Schmitt said that March 28, 2007 is suggested for the Public Hearing date.
Member Wrobel asked about the related educational support uses, and whether this included sport facilities. In most cases he didn’t think this could become an issue, but one never knows who could come forward in the future and make use of the educational facilities in an OST District. Mr. Schmitt thought that was a point well made. He said that a discussion should ensue wherein agreement is made to prohibit that type of use. OST is one of the districts where outdoor recreation is not permitted.
It was generally agreed upon then, that the Public Hearing date for the Text Amendment relating to Planned Office Service Technology Districts permitting education facilities in limited instances will be held on March 28, 2007.
4. APPROVAL OF THE FEBRUARY 14, 2007 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
The Planning Commission members turned in their changes for incorporation into the minutes.
Moved by Member Meyer, seconded by Member Pehrson:
VOICE vote on minutes approval motion made by Member Meyer and seconded by Member Pehrson:
Motion to approve the minutes of February 14, 2007 as amended. Motion carried 7-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. REPORT BY PLANNER MARK SPENCER ON CITY OF NOVI COMMERCIAL LAND USE FACTS
Planner Mark Spencer reported to the Planning Commission on commercial land use facts. The first version of this report debuted in 2005. It is meant to help the Planning Commission members visualize the commercial properties in the City. Each shopping center is described in the table. Commercial uses continue to be an important element to Novi. 12% of the zoning districts allow for some commercial use, not including the incidental commercial allowed in industrial. The City has 5.2 million square feet of commercial floor space. This will increase to 6.1 million square feet upon completion of the projects currently in the pipeline. Commercial is a large portion of the City’s tax base. It represented 26% of the tax base in 2004. It continues to grow. It represents a large portion of the workforce – 32% according to SEMCOG.
Member Wrobel asked what the vacancy rate is now. He noted that it was 7.8% in January 2005. Mr. Spencer said that the Assessing Department hasn’t updated its numbers but believes that it is within the same range. Member Wrobel said that many residents question why more commercial gets built in light of the vacancies that currently exist.
Member Avdoulos said reports such as this help the Planning Commission better understand the City’s layout and how incoming projects fit into the already shaped areas of the City. As one pulls away from the commercial areas the residential density gets lower and things stay the way people want them to stay. Maybe when these other projects come up the residents will come out and let the City know what they are feeling. This report is nice in that it provides numbers for review. Member Avdoulos thanked Mr. Spencer for a job well done.
Member Wrobel showed the Planning Commission pictures of the Mezza Mediterranean building and said he was glad that the Planning Commission held them to incorporating the façade face lift to the entire building.
No one from the audience wished to participate.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Wrobel:
Motion to adjourn.
The meeting adjourned at 9:24 PM.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
MON 03/19/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
WED 03/28/07 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
MON 04/02/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
TUE 04/03/07 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM
WED 04/11/07 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
MON 04/16/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
WED 04/25/07 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
TUE 05/01/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, March 28, 2007 Signature on File
Date approved: April 11, 2007 Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date