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PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8, 2007 7:00 PM
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 7:10 PM.

ROLL CALL

Present:  Members Brian Burke, Andrew Gutman, Michael Lynch, Mark Pehrson, Wayne Wrobel

Absent:  Members John Avdoulos (excused), Victor Cassis (excused), Michael Meyer (excused)

Also Present: Mark Spencer, Planner; Kristin Kolb, City Attorney

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Vice-Chair Pehrson ran the meeting in Chair Cassis’ absence. The meeting attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Member Wrobel asked to add "By-Laws and Election of Officers" to Matters for Consideration.

Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Wrobel:

voice vote on approval of agenda motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Wrobel:

Motion to approve the Agenda of August 8, 2007 as amended. Motion carried 5-0.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

No one from the audience wished to speak.

CORRESPONDENCE

There was no correspondence to share.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

There were no Committee reports.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT REPORT

Planner Mark Spencer said that Karen Reinowski was hired as the new planner and she would be introduced at an upcoming meeting.

CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL

1. BOLINGBROKE ESTATES, SP04-43B

Consideration of the request of Singh Development for a one-year Final Site Plan extension. The subject property is located in Section 10, at the intersection of Novi Road and Old Novi Road, north of 12˝ Mile, in the R-4, One-Family Residential District. the subject property is approximately 19.8 acres and the Applicant is proposing to build 46 single-family, detached, residential site condominiums.

Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Burke:

roll call vote on consent agenda approval motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Burke:

Motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Motion carried 5-0.

PUBLIC HEARING

1. Hummer of Novi, SP04-09

The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Hummer of Novi for a recommendation to City Council for a proposed second amendment to the Special Development Option Agreement. The subject property is located in Section 24, at the northeast corner of Grand River Avenue and Meadowbrook Road, in the GE, Gateway East District. The subject property is approximately 6.7 acres.

Planner Mark Spencer explained that City Council has discussed the sale of used vehicles at the Hummer dealership. The Hummer Agreement was not specific in describing the vehicles that could be sold on site. The site plan has a note that indicates the sale is restricted to Hummer vehicles. City Council requested that this matter go through the Special Development Option approval process for an amendment. Planning Commission is asked to make a recommendation on this matter to City Council.

Mr. Spencer said that drafts of sample language were provided by the City Attorney and by Hummer’s attorney. The Hummer version describes this change as a clarification and provides for the sale of used vehicles that were not taken in for trade. The City Attorney’s version describes this change as an amendment, and it restricts the sale of used vehicles to only trade-in vehicles. Mr. Spencer said that the Applicant has volunteered to place a restriction on the display of used vehicles to non-Hummer vehicles with a resale value of $20,000 or more.

Matt Quinn addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of Gary Wood, owner of Hummer of Novi. Mr. Quinn found the situation humorous to some extent – all of the negotiations that took place over nine months have nothing to do with why this Planning Commission recommendation has become necessary. Some draft person put a note on the site plan stating that the site would be used for Hummer vehicles only. There was never intent on Mr. Wood’s part that he ever be limited on this site on the strict sale of Hummer-only used vehicles. This would be a financial disaster and decreases the value of the property and business.

Mr. Wood and his partner, Mr. Dave Frost, were surprised when they received a notice of non-compliance because they were displaying used vehicles on the Grand River display pad. Mr. Quinn reviewed the documents and found that they were not in violation of any language in the agreements. Ultimately it was the little note on the plan that caused this problem.

Mr. Quinn asked the Planning Commission to make a recommendation to City Council that this dealer be allowed to remove the stipulation from the site plan. None of the written documentation would need to be changed if this site plan change is made. This would be the simplest manner in which the dealer could sell non-Hummer used vehicles. In addition to that option, Mr. Quinn suggested that the Planning Commission could recommend to City Council that used vehicles be allowed on the site, and only vehicles with a sticker price greater than $20,000 would be displayed on the pad.

Mr. Quinn said that the City’s proposal is not acceptable. It states that only trade-ins could be stored on site or displayed on the pad. That again is financial disaster. It doesn’t serve the City’s purpose – the dealer could take in a $50 junker and display it on the pad.

No one from the audience wished to speak and no correspondence was received so Member Pehrson closed the Public Hearing.

Member Burke understood where the mishap occurred – he assumed the "Hummers Only" statement meant that the dealership would not be a conglomerate of GM franchises. It is unrealistic for the City to tell the dealer he can’t sell non-Hummer used vehicles – by trade-in, auction, fleet vehicle sales, etc. Member Burke thought the language should allow the sale of new and used vehicles and they should be allowed to be displayed on one pad only. Member Burke preferred the Grand River pad. The choice of vehicles would be left up to the owner. So as not to damage his own reputation, Member Burke assumed the owner would make a wise choice in product placement. Placing a dollar amount on the vehicle is unrealistic because it becomes unenforceable and it is an arbitrary number.

Member Wrobel agreed. He would agree to allow one pad designated for used cars. Mr. Quinn confirmed with Member Wrobel that there are only three display pads: Meadowbrook, Grand River and the intersection. Member Wrobel noted that a Hummer was parked on the gravel road over the weekend and that is not an appropriate place to park a vehicle.

Member Wrobel understood that an agreement had been reached with the City. Yes, something slipped through. It is the responsibility of both parties to make sure these mistakes don’t happen. Member Wrobel felt that until a change is made to correct this problem, the dealer should be living up to his agreement with City Council. Member Wrobel has been watching this over the last month and non-Hummer vehicles have been sitting on the pad, from day one. That is a slap on the City and Member Wrobel resented the dealer keeping non-Hummer cars on the pad during this negotiation.

Member Wrobel understood the need for a dealer to sell used cars. He didn’t think that used cars were the primary income. He would choose the Grand River pad as the location for used car display.

Member Gutman agreed with the others. He asked the City Attorney if the language could be changed to allow one pad designated for used cars, and could the value of the car be removed from the equation. Kristen Kolb said that is possible because this is a negotiated deal. If the Planning Commission proposes terms, Mr. Quinn can provide that information to his client and then respond to the City if the terms were not satisfactory. Ms. Kolb said that in the original Special Development Option Agreement, the general project description states, "The project entails the development of an automobile dealership facility that supports the sale and servicing of General Motor’s Hummer franchise vehicles." This is the language that City Attorney Tom Schultz brought to City Council, and then cited the need for an amendment to the Agreement.

Member Gutman asked Mr. Quinn whether he had a problem with the language. Mr. Quinn didn’t see a problem.

Member Burke said that the points that should be specifically stated are: The dealer should be allowed to display, service and sell new and used vehicles, i.e., used vehicles by whatever method they are purchased; and the display of the used vehicles be limited to the easternmost Grand River pad.

Moved by Member Burke, seconded by Member Gutman:

In the matter of the Hummer of Novi Special Development Option Agreement, motion to recommend amending the agreement to City Council to allow: 1) The dealer to display, service and sell new and used vehicles, i.e., used vehicles by whatever method they are purchased; and 2) The display of the used vehicles be limited to the easternmost Grand River pad.

DISCUSSION

Member Lynch thought this was a good compromise. He felt that the existing language did in fact restrict the dealer to Hummer only vehicles. It concerned Member Lynch that the dealer continued to display used vehicles during this negotiation. It is not in the City’s interest to hamper a business’s success. However, when the issue was raised, it seemed like the owner disregarded the City’s position and continued to sell and display used vehicles. These actions could have resulted in the City refusing to negotiate further with the dealer. Nonetheless, Member Lynch would support the motion because it is the best thing to do for the City. Member Lynch said that the Jaguar and Lexus dealerships do not do this. He was disappointed with the behavior of the dealer. He thought the language was pretty clear – the sale and service of Hummer vehicles. Member Lynch was concerned that this agreement would be signed and then something else would happen.

Member Pehrson said that the City would be responsible for enforcing the Agreement and making adjustments wherever it saw fit. Member Pehrson called for the vote.

roll call vote on hummer positive recommendation motion made by Member Burke and seconded by Member Gutman:

In the matter of the Hummer of Novi Special Development Option Agreement, motion to recommend amending the agreement to City Council to allow: 1) The dealer to display, service and sell new and used vehicles, i.e., used vehicles by whatever method they are purchased; and 2) The display of the used vehicles be limited to the easternmost Grand River pad. Motion carried 5-0.

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION

1. By-Laws and Election of Officers

Member Wrobel stated that there were e-mails circulating discussing the Planning Commission By-law 2.1.k, wherein it is stated, "A member of the Planning Commission may serve in the same office of the Planning Commission for any number of terms, but not more than two consecutive full terms." This would be Chair Cassis’ third term in succession; he had no problem with Victor Cassis being chair but he didn’t want an issue raised that the Planning Commission did not follow its own by-laws.

Member Lynch said that most are happy with the stability of the Planning Commission. Things are working well. He wished to see the vote remain.

City Attorney Kristen Kolb said that the Planning Commission By-laws are created by the Planning Commission. There is not a statutory requirement for the election and seating of officers. The City Planning Act requires the Planning Commission to have by-laws; that’s as far as it goes. That said, Ms. Kolb asked the Planning Commission to jump through a few hoops to rectify the problem. Mr. Cassis is aware of this situation.

Ms. Kolb said the Planning Commission should first move to reconsider the appointment of the Chair. Second, the Planning Commission should move to suspend the rule 2.1.k for this year of the Planning Commission. Third, the Planning Commission can then move to appoint Victor Cassis as the Chair.

Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Gutman:

VOICE vote on Reconsideration of Chair motion made by Member Lynch and seconded by Member Gutman:

Motion to reconsider the election of the Chair on July 25, 2007. Motion carried 5-0.

Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Gutman:

VOICE vote on by-law 2.1.k SUSPENSION MOTION made by Member Lynch and seconded by Member Gutman:

Motion to suspend By-law 2.1.k, [i.e. A member of the Planning Commission may serve in the same office of the Planning Commission for any number of terms, but not more than two consecutive full terms.], for this term only. Motion carried 5-0.

Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Wrobel:

VOICE vote on chair appointment motion made by Member Lynch and seconded by Member Wrobel:

Motion to appoint Victor Cassis as the Planning Commission Chair for this year. Motion carried 5-0.

CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION

There were no Consent Agenda removals.

MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

There were no Matters for Discussion.

SUPPLEMENTAL ISSUES

There were no Supplemental Issues.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

No one from the audience wished to speak.

ADJOURNMENT

Moved by Member Wrobel, seconded by Member Gutman:

Motion to adjourn.

The meeting adjourned at 7:40 PM.

SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS

MON 08/13/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

WED 08/22/07 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM

MON 08/27/07 JOINT CITY COUNCIL & PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 6:00 PM

MON 08/27/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

WED 08/29/07 MASTER PLAN AND ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING 7:00 PM

MON 09/03/07 CITY OFFICES CLOSED

WED 09/05/07 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM

MON 09/10/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

TUE 09/11/07 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM

 

Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, August 13, 2007 Signature on File

Date Approved: August 22, 2007 Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date