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CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:00 PM.
Present: Members Brian Burke, Victor Cassis, Andrew Gutman, Michael Lynch, Michael Meyer, Wayne Wrobel
Absent: Members John Avdoulos (excused), Mark Pehrson (excused)
Also Present: Stephen Rumple, Community Development Director; Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; David Beschke, Landscape Architect; Ben Croy, Civil Engineer; Alan Hall, Façade Consultant; Doug Necci, Façade Consultant, Kristin Kolb, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Burke led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Wrobel, seconded Member Burke:
voice vote on agenda approval motion made by Member Wrobel and seconded by Member Burke:
Motion to approve the Agenda of August 22, 2007. Motion carried 6-0.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
There was no correspondence to share.
There were no Committee Reports.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPUTY DIRECTOR REPORT
Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth summarized the events of the August 13, 2007 City Council meeting. Gold’s Gym was approved, as were the two rezonings for Novi Corporate Campus (OST and Light Industrial). City Council tentatively approved the Haggerty Road PRO.
Chair Cassis thanked the Planning Commission for re-electing him as Chair.
There was no Consent Agenda.
1. NOVI CORPORATE CAMPUS PARCEL 7, SP07-23
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Amson Dembs Development, for Preliminary Site Plan, Wetland Permit, Woodland Permit, and Storm Water Management Plan approval. The subject property is located in Section 9, north of Twelve Mile, east of West Park Drive, located in the Novi Corporate Campus Development, in the OST, Office Service Technology District. The subject property is approximately 3.5 acres and the Applicant is proposing to build a 47,547 square-foot speculative office/warehouse building.
Planner Kristen Kapelanski said the property is located on the east end of Dylan Drive, east of West Park Drive and north of Twelve Mile. There is a detention pond to the north. The former Steelcrete buildings are to the east. Vacant Novi Corporate Campus parcels are to the west and south. The subject site and those to the north and west are zoned OST. The sites to the south and east are General Industrial. The Master Plan for Land Use recommends office uses for the subject property and those surrounding it.
There are wetlands and buffer areas that are proposed to be filled as part of the project. A non-minor Wetland Permit is required. The Wetland Consultant recommends approval of the plan, with minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. There are woodlands to the north of the site. One acre of woodlands will be affected by this plan, but the Woodland Consultant recommends approval of the plan subject to the Applicant showing the locations of the replacement woodlands.
The Planning Review indicates that the Applicant is generally in compliance with the Ordinance. Adequate screening of the loading area must be designed or the Applicant should seek a Waiver of this requirement.
The Landscape Review recommended approval.
The Applicant is seeking a Section Nine Façade Waiver for the excess split-faced CMU is proposed. The Façade Consultant suggested that the Applicant change the material to be within the allowable limits. The Planning Commission can add a Waiver of this requirement to their motion if they desire.
The Traffic Review, Engineering Review and Fire Department Review all approved of the plan with minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
Larry Stobie was present at the Planning Commission on behalf of the Applicant.
No one from the audience wished to speak and no correspondence was received so Chair Cassis closed the Public Hearing.
Member Gutman confirmed that the Applicant wants a Section Nine Façade Waiver.
Alan Hall, Façade Consultant said this Region Two property allows only 50% CMU product. Two elevations exceed that percentage. This property has been rezoned up to Office, and while there are Industrial buildings in the park, the Façade Consultant believed that the Planning Commission should consider whether this OST-zoned building should be upgraded to have less CMU. Aesthetically, the building is fine.
Member Gutman asked about the screening issue. Mr. Stobie explained that the Waiver request would be for the area that is facing the woodland and wetland area.
Member Lynch wondered if it makes sense to grant the Section Nine Waiver. Does the park look the way it’s supposed to? Mr. Hall responded that the building has less CMU than the Industrial-zoned buildings, and its percentage is well within the context of the park.
Member Meyer asked about the River Birch tree listed as a replacement tree for the site. The review letter stated that the species isn’t normally found in Michigan woodlands. The Applicant agreed to adjust that species.
Chair Cassis thought the façade material was acceptable. CMU does not diminish the appearance of a building.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Wrobel:
roll call vote on NCC #7, sp07-23, Preliminary Site Plan motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Wrobel:
In the matter of Novi Corporate Campus #7, SP07-23, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission Waiver of the screening requirements of the loading area; 2) The Applicant depicting tree location and showing the intent of previously required mitigation trees; 3) The Applicant providing replacement tree locations that conform to the intent of Ordinance; 4) The Planning Commission granting a Section Nine Facade Waiver as it is a nice representation of the campus; and 5) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan; for the reason that the plan is in compliance with the Master Plan. Motion carried 6-0.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Wrobel:
roll call vote on NCC #7, sp07-23, WOODLAND PERMIT motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Wrobel:
In the matter of Novi Corporate Campus #7, SP07-23, motion to approve the Woodland Permit subject to: 1) The Applicant depicting tree location and showing the intent of previously required mitigation trees; 2) The Applicant providing replacement tree locations that conform to intent of Ordinance; and 3) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan; for the reason that the plan is otherwise in compliance with the Woodland Ordinance. Motion carried 6-0.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Wrobel:
roll call vote on NCC #7, sp07-23, wetland permit motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Wrobel:
In the matter of Novi Corporate Campus #7, SP07-23, motion to approve the Wetland Permit subject to the conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan; for the reason that the plan is in compliance with the Wetland Ordinance. Motion carried 6-0.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Wrobel:
roll call vote on NCC #7, sp07-23, Stormwater Management Plan motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Wrobel:
In the matter of Novi Corporate Campus #7, SP07-23, motion to approve the Storm Water Management Plan subject to the conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan; for the reason that the plan is otherwise in compliance with the Stormwater Management Ordinance. Motion carried 6-0.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. FAMOUS DAVE’S, SP07-35
Consideration of the request of George Pastor and Sons, for a Section Nine Façade Waiver. The subject property is located in Section 14, at the northeast corner of Novi Road and Crescent Drive, in the TC, Town Center District. The subject property is approximately one acre and the Applicant is proposing to add an approximately 130 square-foot covered entryway to the existing Famous Dave’s restaurant.
Ms. Kapelanski described the request. This building sits on the gateway into the Novi Town Center shopping area. It is very visible from Novi Road. The canopy is meant to serve the carryout customers. The design is tubular steel with a red metal roof, and partially faced with a stone veneer. The canopy is not in compliance with the Façade Ordinance, The Façade Consultant has noted the following issues: The TC Districts require all buildings to be constructed of the same materials. The painted steel would be a new building material. The proposed canopy would not be consistent with or enhance the design concept. The TC color requirement is copper. The red is not harmonious with the building. The request does not meet the intent or purpose of the Ordinance.
Ms. Kapelanski brought the Famous Dave’s landscaping to the attention of the Planning Commission. The Applicant has been issued a citation for pruning the trees in a manner inconsistent with industry standards. The Applicant has agreed to work with the City on this problem.
Landscape Architect David Beschke said that the pruning was very aggressive. Evergreens were pruned two-thirds up their trunks. This opens the area up to the parking area and goes against the intent of the Ordinance and does not meet the landscape plan. They have agreed to replant to meet the opacity requirements. Mr. Beschke was satisfied; the Applicant has submitted a letter stating his intent to rectify the situation. Some of the pruning was done on the MDOT right-of-way. Some trees will not rebound, but Mr. Beschke said that new plantings can help lessen the impact.
Ruth Ann Jirasek, and Jennifer Callabiel, both representing George Pastor and Sons, were available at the meeting to answer questions. Ms. Jirasek said that the cultured stone is already in place.
Member Lynch said that the trees were likely pruned so that people could see their building. Their carry-out business is huge – probably 25% of their business. He didn’t have a problem with making the carry-out more visible at their building. He didn’t want to set a precedent. He didn’t know how well this material would withstand the weather elements. He would vote in a manner that supports the Applicant’s survival.
Mr. Doug Necci, Façade Consultant, explained that the only problem is the red metal roof. The other trimmings on the building are dark black. The introduction of red is a substantial change to the building, and it would be the only existence of that material on the building as well. It is in conflict with the building design. This is one of the best-designed buildings in the City. This request compromises the strength of the building.
Mr. Necci said that the Town Center has a higher standard. The request for copper colors is part of this district. Now their request is inconsistent to yet another section of the Ordinance. The Ordinance even states that design elements introduced for the sake of signage – to telegraph a building’s presence – is inconsistent with the Ordinance. Mr. Necci assumed that red is Dave’s corporate color, but it doesn’t belong on the building.
Chair Cassis cited Applebee’s and Red Robin. He asked about the use of red in the area. Mr. Necci said that Big Boy’s has a red roof. Mr. Necci felt that these buildings either pre-date the Ordinance or they were designed in violation of the Ordinance. He did not know the history of those buildings. Mr. Alan Hall, also a façade consultant, asserted that Red Robin is surrounded with an orange-red, but he said that it pre-dates JCK’s reviews of the original façades (pre-1995). Mr. Hall said that TGI Friday’s has red and white awnings made of canvas. They were granted a Section Nine Waiver for the colors, not the material. TGI Friday’s has copper roofing. The Big Boy’s has a red roof but Mr. Hall said that the plan required the new roof to match the existing material and he did not know why it turned red.
Chair Cassis asked if the Façade Ordinance should be reviewed. Mr. Necci said he is two-thirds of the way through the review process and he hoped to make some specific recommendations in the future.
Member Lynch saw a contradiction. This business is 25% carry-out. He said the City wants to help them improve their business, or at least make it more identifiable. The other side is that the City has certain regulations. He asked what the Planning Commission can do to help this business identify their to-go area, yet at the same time maintain the intent of the Ordinance. What the City is really trying to do here is make all the buildings look alike. Famous Dave’s wants to identify their to-go area, but how do they do that and stay within the roof. Red is their corporate red. Their fundamental objective right now is to clearly identify where the to-go area is. How can this be done while maintaining appropriate color schemes and material schemes approved for the Novi Town Center? Red seems to be a problem and maybe the Applicant can think of an acceptable color to use. How can the City work with this Applicant?
Mr. Necci said that if Famous Dave’s would emulate their main canopy at the carry-out location, the design would blend beautifully with the building. The red has been proposed, likely, because this Applicant, from what he understood, was denied a sign for the carry-out area. From an architect’s point of view, using an acceptable design with signage blended into it the design is a much better presentation, as opposed to using red to attract customers.
Ms. Kapelanski said that the Applicant would need to get a sign variance if they propose additional signage.
Member Lynch felt that the Applicant needs to improve the carry-out area and that City and the Applicant are not too far apart in trying to reach this objective.
Chair Cassis said that the Planning Commission has to consider the request that has been brought before it; he asked the Applicant if the representative at the meeting had the authority to modify the request, e.g., offering a different color canopy, but she said any change would have to go through the corporate office.
Member Lynch concluded that he could not vote for the red canopy. He was more in favor of the Applicant seeking other means, e.g., signage, in order to meet his objective.
Chair Cassis responded that while Member Lynch’s intention is constructive, there are legal and procedural issues that pre-empt the Planning Commission from negotiating with the Applicant on this matter. City Attorney Kristen Kolb interjected that the Planning Commission can take action on the request, up or down, or it can postpone the matter.
Member Lynch hoped that the Applicant would bring back a proposal that was more acceptable.
Member Burke confirmed that the problem with the proposal is the color red. Member Burke saw the situation indeed as the Applicant seeking relief from the Planning Commission – the Section Nine Waiver. A few weeks back the Planning Commission granted permission for the painting of brick, yet the City does not allow it. This action did not set a precedent, but it signified that the Planning Commission understands the reality of doing business and corporate image is important.
Member Burke felt that if a perceived problem to the Planning Commission was that this awning would fall into a state of disrepair after a few years, he encouraged it to first consider that the business owner is fully aware that his building would need to be in good condition in order for the business to prosper and entice customers to come. He supported the Applicant’s request. There are several buildings in the immediate area with red awnings or roofs. Here is an Applicant that is doing the right thing – coming before the Planning Commission and asking for the use of red.
The Façade Consultant said that awning has probably about a150 square –foot footprint. The actual on-ground visual area would be less. Along Novi Road one would only see half of the roof.
Member Burke said that the Applicant is spending the money on this improvement, not the City, and he supported the request.
Member Wrobel understood the intent of the Town Center. He said this [color restriction] is for the "Town Center" but it is not the Town Center, based upon the Consultant’s statement that there are several buildings with red in the Town Center already – TGI Friday’s, Red Robin, Big Boy, and Olive Garden has coppery green. Member Wrobel said it was hard to hold someone to a standard when everyone else around him is either violating the rule was grandfathered in. He did not have a problem with the request whatsoever. The Applicant is not asking to paint the entire building red. He said he considered the other side of the street the actual Town Center, where the copper roofs do exist. The red is not very much – the viewer will see a minimal amount.
Member Meyer reiterated the Consultant’s comment that this building is an architectural gem. It is one of the first thing one sees when exiting off the expressway onto Novi Road. He was reluctant to approve this request. He cited the approval of the blue building for Best Buy, and how he was leery granting the variance some years ago when he was on the ZBA. He did feel that now that the blue is up there, everyone seems to be living with it, and he felt that Best Buy even darkened the blue a bit so it wasn’t so attention-grabbing.
Member Meyer felt that red does stop people, but it wasn’t the City’s place to micromanage a person’s business. Nonetheless, he thought maybe the Applicant could think about proposing something other than a red steel canopy. He noted that the Applicant would have to perform maintenance every few years on the canopy anyway.
Member Meyer was concerned about the trees being pruned. He wondered if there was additional landscaping that could be added. He suggested that business owners keep trying to sidestep Ordinances and perhaps it was time to take a look at the Ordinance. He can’t imagine the Planning Commission sitting at the table, meeting after meeting, looking at these kinds of issues.
Member Meyer sat on the Zoning Board of Appeals, and he understood that the City didn’t want to be like certain other cities – for instance, the City doesn’t want signage everywhere – on all four sides of the building. However, he felt that the City has to strike a happy medium. His thought on this request was that appropriate signage may be the better answer, though he understood the variance ramifications of his comment. He concluded that everybody else does have red somewhere, but maybe the Applicant would like time to take the conversation back to their corporate office.
Member Gutman agreed with Member Meyer. The City does want to help its corporate citizens thrives, but there are Ordinances that should be enforced. A compromise can’t really be made tonight, but at the very least, postponing the matter gives the Applicant time to work with the Consultant on this request.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Lynch:
roll call vote on famous dave’s sp07-35, postponement motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member lynch:
In the matter of Famous Dave’s, SP07-35, motion to postpone the request until such time as the Applicant, after having worked with the City, would like to bring it back before the Planning Commission, hopefully with a change. Motion carried 5-1 (Yes: Cassis, Gutman, Lynch, Meyer, Wrobel; No: Burke).
Chair Cassis noted that it was difficult to compromise on this request because the representatives did not have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the Applicant. He would have voted for the red canopy, but he felt that there are issues that must be addressed. He asked them to work with the consultant – introduce the red color, but make sure the material is correction and the proportion is appropriate. He understood the anxiety that restaurateurs feel when sales aren’t where the owners want them to be. They want to address the problem. He said that Famous Dave’s is well known and people know where it’s at. He wished they wouldn’t park their Famous Dave’s truck in the front of the building. A classy looking building is lessened by the truck. He thought that perhaps the request could come back with a better design. The end result will be nice and tasteful. He said that the Applicant might want to try getting a sign approved by the ZBA before trying to get this canopy approved.
Member Wrobel asked whether the truck can be parked in front of the building acting like a sign. Ms. McBeth said she would determine what the policy is regarding this issue. Chair Cassis noted that the City has eased up on its sign regulations. He said maybe the ZBA would consider their request.
The Applicant said that Mr. Pastor will return with the next request. The Applicant asked whether a canvas canopy was preferred over a metal canopy. The City Attorney told the Applicant to refer to the Ordinance.
Chair Cassis encouraged the Applicant to work with the Façade Consultant. Ms. McBeth told Chair Cassis that a review of the Façade Ordinance would come before the Planning Commission in about six weeks or so. The Façade Consultant said their suggestions had more to do with the nuances of percentages and items like that.
2. Set a Public Hearing for September 5, 2007 for Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.220, for modifications to Article 16, TC and TC-1 Districts, Section 1601, Principal Permitted Uses to allow instructional Centers
Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Wrobel:
roll call vote on Text Amendment 18.220 Public Hearing date motion made by Member Lynch and seconded by Member Wrobel:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.220, motion to set a Public Hearing date of September 5, 2007. Motion carried 6-0.
3. APPROVAL OF THE JULY 25, 2007 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Gutman:
VOICE vote on minutes approval motion made by Member Lynch and seconded by Member Gutman:
Motion to approve the minutes of July 25, 2007. Motion carried 6-0.
4. APPROVAL OF THE AUGUST 8, 2007 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Wrobel:
VOICE vote on minutes approval motion made by Member Lynch and seconded by Member wrobel:
Motion to approve the minutes of August 8, 2007. Motion carried 6-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. JOINT CITY COUNCIL & PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING ON AUGUST 27, 2007
Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth said the meeting would take place at 7:00 on August 27, 2007. The City Council and the Planning Commission will discuss the Master Plan update. She discussed the Agenda and said that Chair Cassis, Mark Spencer and others will speak. The consultant choice will be discussed. Mayor Landry will run the meeting.
Member Wrobel noted that he hoped a working session with the City Council would also occur at some point in the future.
Member Lynch said that he was surprised at how many people are sensitive about the Master Plan update and he wondered whether public comment would consume the entire hour.
Chair Cassis explained that meetings are all open to the public. He explained how the meeting would just be a simple discussion of what has been reviewed on the Master Plan thus far, and a discussion of the consultant choice will also occur. The public will be invited to speak, but this is not really the face of this meeting. The public can also attend the Master Plan and Zoning Committee meetings and the Public Hearing on the Master Plan will also be noticed in the paper. There will also be gathering of public opinion as a part of the Master Plan update process.
Member Meyer made suggestions about the order of the Agenda. He wanted to ensure that the Mayor and the Chair of the Planning Commission had the opportunity to speak. Chair Cassis said his comments would be succinct.
There were no Supplemental Issues.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
Moved by Member Wrobel:
Motion to adjourn.
The meeting adjourned at or about 8:50 PM.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
MON 08/27/07 JOINT CITY COUNCIL & PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
MON 08/27/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 8:00 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
MON 09/24/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
TUE 09/25/07 MASTER PLAN AND ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING 7:00 PM
WED 09/26/07 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
MON 10/08/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
TUE 10/09/07 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM
WED 10/10/07 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, August 28, 2007 ____________________________________
Date Approved: September 5, 2007 Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date