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CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:00 PM.
Present: Members John Avdoulos, Brian Burke, Victor Cassis, Andrew Gutman, Michael Lynch, Michael Meyer, Mark Pehrson
Absent: Member Wayne Wrobel (excused)
Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; Karen Reinowski, Planner; Ben Croy, Civil Engineer; Dr. John Freeland, Wetland Consultant; Kristin Kolb, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mr. Jonathan Brateman led the Planning Commission meeting attendees 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 of September 5, 2007. Motion carried 7-0.
Chair Cassis opened the floor for public comment:
Mr. Kunzel: Confirmed that the Planning Commission would be the approving authority of the Master Plan update. He asked whether the citizens could appeal any decision made by the Planning Commission. City Attorney Kristin Kolb said that an appeal would be provided for by statute or ordinance – in this case either the MZEA or the City and Village Act. To her knowledge, there are sections to address this, but to her knowledge, she did not think there was an appeal process
Mr. Kunzel asked whether the incoming rezoning requests, i.e., Singh and Aspen Group, would move forward in light of the southwest quadrant Master Plan review. Chair Cassis responded that the quadrant is under study and those items will be considered.
Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth explained that the owners of the Ten and Beck parcels have asked that the review continue prior to the completion of the Master Plan update. The Public Hearing notices will be posted on the site and in the newspapers. Public Hearing notices will be sent out. There was no plan to place a moratorium on the review.
Ms. McBeth explained to Mr. Kunzel that the Planning Commission’s role in a rezoning is to hold the Public Hearing and forward a recommendation to the City Council for their consideration; the rezoning is granted or denied by City Council.
Mr. Kunzel wanted to know how many times in twenty years has the City Council not sided by the recommendation made by Planning Commission. Ms. McBeth responded that research would have to take place in order to arrive at that answer.
Mr. Kunzel asked about the Master Plan update consultant selection process. The bids were sent out, the responses came back and were reviewed by a Committee of staff members, and a recommendation was given to City Council, who then voted on the selection.
Mr. Kunzel asked if the Master Plan and Zoning Committee agendas could be posted on the City’s website. Ms. McBeth stated that the website was just brought back up to speed and that the agendas would indeed be posted in the future.
Mr. Kunzel asked whether the Neighborhood Services group could send Homeowners’ Association presidents e-mails regarding rezonings that are germane to each subdivision’s area. Ms. McBeth said that this could be discussed internally to determine if the request was possible.
Member Avdoulos iterated the Planning Commission rules that explain the meeting process. It is highly unusual for a question-answer session to take place during audience participation, and he hoped that by explaining the process this situation may not happen in the future. Member Avdoulos said that in the future Mr. Kunzel may wish to attend the Master Plan and Zoning Committee meetings where the format is less formal, or he may seek to place an item on the agenda so that it does become a topic on which the Planning Commission speaks. Chair Cassis thanked Member Avdoulos for the clarification.
Member Meyer would like future discussions like Mr. Kunzel’s to be submitted in writing so that he would have the opportunity to read and consider the questions posed by the citizenry prior to the meeting.
Member Meyer was in receipt of a letter sent by the Mockingbird Glen Homeowners’ Association president, Jacqui Schulte. The letter acknowledges their awareness of Master Plan update, Singh’s rezoning’s request, the Ten Mile and Beck rezoning requests and the Ten Mile and Wixom area rezoning request. The letter urges the City not to change the Master Plan designation for the southwest quadrant – endorsing instead the plan for a residential corridor that has been in place since these homeowners bought their homes.
1. MASTER PLAN COMMITTEE
This item was discussed in the audience participation and the Deputy Director of Community Development report.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPUTY DIRECTOR REPORT
Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth told the Planning Commission about recent City Council Agenda items. Recently the Planning Commission and the City Council met jointly to discuss the Master Plan update and the three areas of study – southwest quadrant, Twelve Mile west of Wixom Road, and the Downtown West area. Birchler Arroyo has joined with Carlisle Wortman and the Chesapeake Group for the consulting on the Master Plan. The Chesapeake Group will help with the needs assessment. This consultant contract was approved at the last City Council meeting.
Ms. McBeth said that the website will be updated with the new Master Plan process now underway. She said the Fall for Novi event, which will be held on September 15 at the Civic Center, will have a Master Plan display and input will be sought in this public forum. More information should be available at that time regarding the upcoming Master Plan Visioning Fair. Public input can be provided via the City’s website as well.
Chair Cassis praised Rod Arroyo for his previous work in the City.
Member Avdoulos thought the joint meeting was a broad brushstroke, but thought it did provide an adequate glimpse into the Master Plan update process. Member Avdoulos said that the 2004 Master Plan update began two years prior to the adoption date; he didn’t really consider this update as an accelerated review, since the last process, in which he was also involved, began within the same basic timeframe as this process. Though there is some activity happening at the same time as this review, he was quick to point out that this does not mean that the Planning Commission or the City as a whole is looking to rezone any area. This is just a very thorough approach on the City’s behalf to ensure that the community’s best interests are taken into consideration. Member Avdoulos said that the Planning Commission wants to review whether any of these rezoning requests make sense. They understand the economy and that developers known for one type of thing are now considering alternative approaches. These variables are all taken into consideration by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, then the Planning Commission, then City Council. This is a long process. This is an open process.
Member Meyer thanked Ms. McBeth and the staff for their graphics and information they provided at the joint meeting. Member Avdoulos explained that the graphics are helpful because so many items are being reviewed in conjunction with this Master Plan update: traffic patterns, roads, utilities, environmental features, etc.
Ms. McBeth introduced Karen Reinowski, the new planner who worked for Birchler Arroyo for nine years. She holds a bachelor degree in anthropology and zoology and geological sciences, and a master degree in urban planning from Wayne State University.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
1. EVERGREEN ESTATES, SP04-42
Consideration of the request of Evergreen Estates, LLC for a one year Final Site Plan extension. The subject property is located in Section 30, north of Nine Mile, east of Napier Road, in the R-A, Residential District. The subject property is 13.2 acres and the Applicant is proposing a seven-unit single-family site condominium.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Meyer:
roll call vote on censent agenda motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Meyer:
Motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Motion carried 7-0.
1. WESTERN OAKLAND MEDICAL, SP07-26
The Public Hearing was opened on the request of G. Fisher Construction Company, for Preliminary Site Plan, Wetland Permit, Woodland Permit, and Stormwater Management Plan approval. The subject property is located in Section 16, south of Twelve Mile between West Park Drive and Beck Road in the OST, Planned Office Service Technology District. The subject property is approximately 3.67 acres and the Applicant is proposing to construct a medical office building.
Ms. Kapelanski described the OST project. The property is master planned for Office and is surrounded by the Novi Oaks Driving Range and an industrial office to the north, zoned and master planned for Light Industrial, a single family home to the east, zoned R-A and master planned for Office, a cell tower and vacant land to the south, zoned R-A and master planned for Office, and MOD Equipment Corporation to the west, zoned Light Industrial and master planned for Industrial.
There is a wooded wetland in the southeast corner of the property. The plan proposes to fill a portion of the wetland and would completely fill the wetland buffer area. The stormwater is proposed to be directed into this wetland, and this has raised concerns regarding the viability of the existing trees and the stormwater capacity of the wetland. The Applicant has worked diligently with the City’s consultant to resolve issues and address the wetland consultant’s concerns. The Applicant has introduced a rain garden, designed to divert or store some of the stormwater at other locations on the site. The consultant recommends conditional approval of the Preliminary Site Plan, with specific items in his review letter to be resolved at the time of Final Site Plan submittal, and resolution of the pending MDEQ permit.
There are regulated woodlands in the southeastern portion of the site. All of the trees will be saved, but there will be impacts to other regulated trees elsewhere on the site. Nine trees will be removed for the parking lot. The consultant recommends conditional approval of the permit with minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
The Planning Review noted minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. The loading district is required to be shielded from rights-of-way and adjacent properties; so the southern and eastern edges need some kind of treatment. No proposal is shown on the Applicant’s plan; the Planning Commission can grant a waiver of the requirement, and may wish to do so to minimize wetland impacts.
The Landscape Review recommended approval. The Applicant seeks four waivers relating to landscape. A 4’6" berm is required for OST properties adjacent to residential, but these homes are master planned for Office. Staff supports this waiver request. The Applicant seeks a waiver for the loading zone screening, which also requires a landscaping waiver. There is a four to five-foot drop in the easterly portion of the site which makes a berm impractical. The southerly property line drops off and is already buffered by existing and proposed vegetation. Staff supports the waiver requests.
There is a berm requirement for the Twelve Mile frontage. This would not allow for the proposed rain garden, so the Applicant seeks a waiver for this berm. The Planning Commission may wish to grant this waiver with the condition that the rain garden is built. Ms. Kapelanski located the area for the rain garden on a map. Staff supports this waiver request.
The Applicant is requesting an Opposite Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the eastern and western drives. He is requesting a Same Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the eastern and western drives.
The Façade Review, Traffic Review, Engineering Review and Fire Department Review noted minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.
Steve Sorensen, and engineer with PEA, addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of the Applicant. He has been working with this medical group for some time. Driveway access and Twelve Mile improvements seem to be the two main issues of this site. There are also some wetland impacts, and there has been discussion regarding this site’s stormwater drainage onto a neighboring site.
Mr. Sorensen met with the RCOC regarding the Traffic Consultant’s request for a center turn lane. This Applicant will now construct the full width of what Twelve Mile is planned to be, but they will restrict left turns into the eastern drive until the properties to the east develop. They will not have to construct a full lane reconstruction all the way down to West Park Drive. That would be a lot of work for this small site. RCOC was agreeable, and they accepted the driveway spacing proposal as well. Cross-access has been provided to the site to the east, and they will give an easement to the westerly site in the event there is future development of that site.
The Wetland Consultant worked extensively on this project. Mr. Sorensen thanked Dr. John Freeland for his hard work. He believed that Dr. Freeland has approved this proposal at this time. A suggestion had been made that this Applicant should inventory the wooded wetland trees on the neighboring site, but this property is not the only property that drains into that wetland, so the suggestion was impractical. Mr. Sorensen said they will do their best to address Dr. Freeland’s concerns, and they will monitor the wetland for flooding issues. The site’s wetland consultant, Jeff Smith, was at the meeting to discuss the plan with the Planning Commission if necessary.
Mr. Sorensen said that the stormwater drainage easement has not been secured but the discussion has gone well and he didn’t foresee problems. He understood the approval of this plan is conditioned on this easement.
Mr. Sorensen introduced Jonathan Hilpakka, the owner’s representative, and Ron Sherman, the project architect.
Chair Cassis asked for clarification on the rain garden. Mr. Sorensen said that Dr. Freeland was looking for ways to minimize the water going into the wetland. The Ordinance requires the runoff to be treated and stored. This proposal is to store the roof water in the front of the building; therefore, there won’t be many pollutants in just the rainwater. They will do some soil borings to make sure that this design will work.
Mr. Sorensen said that this entire building is being considered by one tenant, so it may not be designed as a two-suite building after all.
No one from the audience wished to speak and no correspondence was received so Chair Cassis closed the Public Hearing.
Member Lynch asked about the wetland issue. Dr. John Freeland said this plan will discharge into a large wetland that is mostly located on the easterly property. There is a several-foot vertical fall to that site, and the watercourse will dump into the lowest part of the wetland. Dr. Freeland is concerned about the speed of the runoff and the energy in the water that would cause erosion to the woodland soil. Ideally, this plan will dissipate the energy and prevent the erosion. Spreading out the water will disperse the water volume and slow it down. This must be addressed before Dr. Freeland will issue the wetland permit.
Mr. Sorensen said the allowable discharge is 0.48 cfs. Mr. Smith said they can achieve this just by using stone between the discharge point and the property line. The discharge point has also been moved north to improve the route. There is less than a three percent slope. The riprap should slow the water down. Dr. Freeland said this will have to be shown on the Final Site Plan submittal. It continues to be a concern, and while the discharge rate proposed is slow, he still believes the design is a potential problem, since thing don’t always go according to design. The Applicant and Dr. Freeland will continue to work on the plan.
Member Meyer confirmed the woodland replacements. The Applicant is removing nine trees and must replace them with sixteen trees. Member Meyer asked how this site can be developed if it is described as a wooded wetland. Ms. Kapelanski said there is a wooded wetland in the southeast corner. The wetland just touches the corner and the buffer extends onto the site. The regulated woodlands have been preserved, though some regulated trees will be replaced or the tree fund will be compensated for their removal.
Member Pehrson confirmed that the easement comment could be added to the motion. Ms. Kapelanski said that it is a condition of the Engineering Review so it is included in that manner. All comments covered in the reviews are part of the motion if the stipulation is used that the plan is approved subject to the Staff and Consultant reviews. The Planning Commission can place emphasis on an item by specifically calling it out, but it is covered by the previously stated stipulation.
Member Pehrson supported the berm waiver requests since the area is not going to remain residential. The loading zone issue was not addressed by the Applicant. Ms. Kapelanski responded that in the landscape review, it was noted that there are sharp drop-offs, so putting a berm in that area was impractical. If there were screening, it would shield the area from a cell tower site and a residential home that is much closer to Twelve Mile, so it would effectively be screening the area from woods and a cell tower. It’s up to the Planning Commission to determine whether they find the design appropriate without screening. Member Pehrson said that oftentimes the Planning Commission has granted this waiver in light of the fact that the anticipated types of delivery services will be UPS and FedEx; it is not likely that full-blown delivery services will be required for this medical office use.
Member Pehrson was pleased to hear that the Applicant has been working well with the Wetland Consultant.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Burke:
In the matter of Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission Waiver for the berm requirement when non-residential zoning is adjacent to residential zoning, given the fact that the adjacent property is master planned for [Office] use; 2) A Planning Commission Waiver for the berm requirement along the south and east property lines in the loading zone locale, given the precedent set in past approvals; 3) A Planning Commission Waiver for the berm requirement along the Twelve Mile frontage, in light of the inclusion of the rain garden; 4) A Planning Commission Opposite Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the eastern drive (thirty feet proposed vs. 150 feet required); 5) A Planning Commission Opposite Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the western drive (thirty feet proposed vs. 150 feet required); 6) A Planning Commission Same Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the eastern drive (195 feet proposed vs. 230 feet required); 7) A Planning Commission Same Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the western drive (155 feet proposed vs. 230 feet required); and 8) 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 Articles 23A, 24 and 25 of the Zoning Ordinance.
Member Avdoulos noted that the Applicant’s letter stated they would provide additional evergreens along the east side of their site. Member Avdoulos asked if there were any other engineering issues and what the City thought about the rain garden design. Civil Engineer Ben Croy responded that generally, the plan is viable. The Final Site Plan will provide more details. He believed that enough items have been addressed that he has a better comfort level with the plan. The updated Stormwater Ordinance will have guidelines addressing rain garden designs. Mr. Croy said he would forward the language on to this Applicant for their use. Member Avdoulos supported this idea, and hoped that the Applicant could find a use for this rain garden water. Mr. Croy added that the plan relies on the surrounding plants using this water for their own watering. There is an overflow design in place as well. An advanced use of a rain garden is in fact to use the water for irrigation. Eventually the City will get more into this concept, as green designs become more standard.
Member Avdoulos confirmed with Dr. Freeland that he had a comfort level. Dr. Freeland also stated that this project will require an MDEQ permit. The design will also be reviewed by the State. He anticipated that any problems can be resolved.
Member Avdoulos thought the easement issues were all in order. The site works, it has two entrances, there is potential for connection to the east and west, and Member Avdoulos said that a medical office is an appropriate use in this area. The building sits nicely on the site. He liked the metal roof rather than asphalt shingles. It’s a bit longer lasting. He supported the project.
Chair Cassis said this was another good project. The site is not overbuilt. The façade is appropriate. It is a one-story building. Chair Cassis welcomed the Applicant to the City.
roll call vote on Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, Preliminary Site Plan motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member BURKE:
In the matter of Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission Waiver for the berm requirement when non-residential zoning is adjacent to residential zoning, given the fact that the adjacent property is master planned for [Office] use; 2) A Planning Commission Waiver for the berm requirement along the south and east property lines in the loading zone locale, given the precedent set in past approvals; 3) A Planning Commission Waiver for the berm requirement along the Twelve Mile frontage, in light of the inclusion of the rain garden; 4) A Planning Commission Opposite Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the eastern drive (thirty feet proposed vs. 150 feet required); 5) A Planning Commission Opposite Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the western drive (thirty feet proposed vs. 150 feet required); 6) A Planning Commission Same Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the eastern drive (195 feet proposed vs. 230 feet required); 7) A Planning Commission Same Side Driveway Spacing Waiver for the western drive (155 feet proposed vs. 230 feet required); and 8) 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 Articles 23A, 24 and 25 of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 7-0.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Burke:
roll call vote on Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, wetland permit motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member BURKE:
In the matter of Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, motion to approve the Wetland Permit subject to: 1) The Applicant working with the City’s consultant and engineer to satisfactorily resolve any remaining wetland issues; 2) MDEQ approval; 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 Article V of the Code of Ordinances. Motion carried 7-0.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Burke:
roll call vote on Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, woodland permit motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member BURKE:
In the matter of Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, motion to approve the Woodland 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 otherwise in compliance with Chapter 37 of the Code of Ordinances. Motion carried 7-0.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Burke:
roll call vote on Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, Stormwater Management Plan motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member BURKE:
In the matter of Western Oakland Medical, SP07-26, motion to approve the Stormwater Management Plan subject to: 1) The off-site drainage easement required to accept the proposed detention basin discharge being executed by all parties involved; and 2) 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 Chapter 11 of the Code of Ordinances. Motion carried 7-0.
2. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.220
The Public Hearing was opened on Planning Commission’s recommendation to City Council for an ordinance to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, for modifications to Article 16, TC and TC-1 Districts, Section 1601, Principal Permitted Uses, to allow instructional centers.
Planner Kristen Kapelanski stated that the proposed change to Section 1601, TC and TC-1 Districts, came from Jonathan Brateman. This new language would provide instructional centers such as music, art, dance, crafts and other similar uses to be permitted in the Town Center districts. Staff does not see any issues with the request at this time. This language is the same as the B-1, B-2 and B-3 Districts’ language. Given the fact that the Town Center districts already provide for a number of commercial and recreational uses that would be compatible with the proposes uses, Staff has not objections.
Jonathan Brateman of Jonathan Brateman Properties addressed the Planning Commission. He provided the Planning Commission with some review materials. He said that the B-1 Ordinance was amended to include this use at the request of someone who owned B-1 property. That person did not ensure that the language was also added to the TC and TC-1 districts. This omission went on the radar.
Mr. Brateman said it was a community benefit to provide instructional centers. People of all ages can learn, explore and better themselves. This use would not result in a greater traffic pattern than a restaurant or ice cream store. No useful purpose would be served by denying increased education in the community. He sought the support of the Planning Commission.
Chair Cassis opened the floor for public comment:
Mr. Hafeez Shaik, part-owner of the Main Market building: Has fielded several calls from prospective tenants regarding educational facilities. He has lost some prospects because of the omission of education facilities in the TC and TC-1 districts. This change would help him get more tenants for his building.
Chair Cassis closed the Public Hearing.
Member Pehrson thought the request was valid and that it posed no detriment. It achieves the goal of bringing people into the heart of the City. He didn’t see a traffic problem with the request. This change brings the Ordinance up to date and addresses the changes in the marketplace.
Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Burke:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.220, motion to send a positive recommendation to City Council for the approval of the proposed text amendment.
Chair Cassis thought that this was an acceptable update to the City’s Ordinance. He appreciated Mr. Brateman’s expertise.
roll call vote on zoning ordinance text amendment 18.220 motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Burke:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.220, motion to send a positive recommendation to City Council for the approval of the proposed text amendment. Motion carried 7-0.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. APPROVAL OF THE AUGUST 22, 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 August 22, 2007. Motion carried 7-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
There were no Matters for Discussion.
There were no Supplemental Issues.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
Moved by Member Pehrson,
Motion to adjourn.
The meeting adjourned at or about 8:18 PM.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
MON 09/10/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
TUE 09/11/07 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:30 PM
THU 09/13/07 MASTER PLAN & ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING 7:00 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
MON 10/15/07 CITY COUNCIL INTERVIEWS 7:00 PM
THU 10/18/07 MASTER PLAN AND ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING 7:00 PM
MON 10/22/07 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
WED 10/24/07 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, September 17, 2007 Signature on File
Date Approved: October 10, 2007 Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date