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Regular Meeting
Wednesday,  November 28, 2007  |  7 PM
Council Chambers | Novi Civic Center | 45175 W. Ten Mile



The meeting was called to order at or about 7:00 PM.


Present:  Members John Avdoulos, Brian Burke, Victor Cassis, Michael Lynch, Michael Meyer, Mark Pehrson, Wayne Wrobel

Absent: Andrew Gutman (Excused)

Also Present:  Steve Rumple, Community Development Director; Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Karen Reinowski, Planner; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; David Beschke, Landscape Architect; Ben Croy, Civil Engineer; Dr. John Freeland, Environmental Consultant; Kristin Kolb, City Attorney


City Attorney Kristin Kolb led the meeting attendees in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.


Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Lynch:

voice vote on agenda approval motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Lynch:

Motion to approve the November 28, 2007 Planning Commission Agenda. Motion carried 8-0.


Chair Cassis opened the floor for public comment:

  • John Savoy, Sienna Associates Broker: Stated that Novi is a magnificent community. The fabulous school system makes it easier for him to sell businesses on moving their business to Novi. St. Catherine’s Academy will bring so much to this community.


Member Meyer read the correspondence into the record:

  • Echo Valley Homeowners’ Association: Provided their suggestions for changes to the Single Family Residential options that are currently in the Ordinance.


Chair Cassis said that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has been meeting regularly for several months regarding the Master Plan Review that is underway.


Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth told the Planning Commission that the December 11 Master Plan and Zoning Committee meeting will include a presentation from the Master Plan Consultant. On December 12 a presentation will be made to the Planning Commission.

City Council approved the first reading of the Façade Text Amendment. Mr. David Greco was appointed to the Planning Commission at the last meeting.



Consideration on the request of Gjeto’s Salon and Spa for a Section 9 Façade Waiver. The subject property is located in Section 15, south of Twelve Mile Road, west of Novi Road, in the Twelve Mile Crossing at Fountain Walk shopping center. The applicant is proposing to relocate within the shopping center.

Moved by Member Pehrson , seconded by Member Meyer:

roll call vote on consent agenda motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Meyer:

Motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Motion carried 7-0.



The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Detroit Edison for Preliminary Site Plan and Special Land Use Permit approval. The subject property is located in Section 29, south of Ten Mile between Wixom and Beck Roads, in the R-A, Residential Acreage District. The subject property is approximately 13.49 acres and the Applicant is proposing to construct a second power delivery center and two capacitor banks to its existing Tahoe Substation.

Planner Karen Reinowski described the project as an expansion of the substation near the existing power delivery station. A second station will be added along with two capacitor banks to accommodate the electrical demands on the west side of Novi. This is a Special Land Use request. Residential land uses surround the site – mostly R-A, with R-1 to the east. The Master Plan for Land Use designates this area as a utility corridor. There are no wetlands or woodlands that would be affected by this project.

Ms. Reinowski said the second power delivery center is about 573 square feet. It is eleven feet in height. It will be built out of brick to match the existing building. The two 75 square-foot capacitors are nine feet in height. Some fences will be relocated to the appropriate setback line. The service drive will be expanded. They will add two employee parking spaces. An eight-foot wide pathway will be provided along Ten Mile. Low level lighting will also be provided. High-pressure sodium lights will only be used for emergency purposes and are therefore exempt from the Ordinance standards.

A noise analysis will be submitted for this review. The additional equipment that is being provided with this plan will not generate any additional noise. When the Tahoe station was originally submitted in 1997, it was noted that the transformer emitted a 64-decibel sound, which dropped to 34 decibels at the property line. There are other minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal.

The Applicant is seeking two landscape waivers for the extension of the berm along the eastern and western lot lines. There are four twenty-foot evergreen trees that would be affected on the eastern boundary. These trees can’t be relocated and be expected to survive. Some additional landscaping could better enhance the area in lieu of the berm. The Applicant has agreed to continue to work on this issue. The Applicant will also replace the dead trees from the original site plan design. The western boundary waiver proposes seven evergreens in lieu of a berm extension. The adjacent property owner has an agreement to pasture his horses in that area, and the berm would interfere with this arrangement. Staff supports both requests.

The Fire Marshal had no comment on the plan. Ms. Reinowski offered to answer any questions.

Chair Cassis opened the floor for public comment:

  • Gordon Elms, adjacent neighbor: Stated that the existing vegetation has not been maintained and that there are only four healthy trees out of about 28. He would be thrilled if the Applicant would maintain his landscape. Landscape Architect David Beschke will be meeting with the Applicant onsite and he would address the maintenance of the landscape with him at that time.
  • John Kuenzel: Stated that pine trees provide better screening. The pines should be kept near Mrs. O’Leary’s home and more pines should be added to the area.
  • Mike Palchesko is the regional manager for corporate and government affairs for DTE in Oakland County. He introduced Mick Blunden, Jim Corona, Lisa Senate, Dennis Kelly and Clayton Cox. DTE told the Planning Commission that they will replace the dead trees and they will provide a mixture of trees on this new design. They will work with Mr. Beschke. The four trees on the eastern boundary can be saved.
  • Steve Penn, adjacent homeowner: Stated that DTE agreed to maintain the trees the first time around. He wanted to know how the City could take them at their word this time.
  • Brooks Macalady, Adjacent homeowner: Stated that the Applicant could do a better job at taking care of his property so that his and his neighbors’ homes are not adversely affected by DTE’s equipment station.

Chair Cassis asked Member Meyer to read the correspondence. Member Meyer said that there was one approval and two objections received in the mail:

  • Maria Mussin: Wondered why the equipment couldn’t be closer to Providence, assuming that it is the hospital that is the driving force of this upgrade.
  • Robert Valente: Approved.
  • Dan Lenzi: Neighboring homeowner can’t sell his house and therefore doesn’t approve of the expansion of the substation.

Chair Cassis closed the Public Hearing.

Member Lynch confirmed that the Applicant would plant evergreens. He confirmed that there is a provision in the Ordinance that requires landscape plans to be maintained. Member Lynch supported the proposal.

Member Wrobel confirmed that the Noise Analysis has been prepared but Ms. Reinowski has not reviewed it at this time. The analysis verifies that no additional sound will be emitted from the new structures. Ms. Reinowski said that there are no time restrictions, though she thought that any work on the site would be performed during normal business hours. Mr. Corona said that oil samples are taken annually to determine the condition of the equipment. Maintenance workers come to the site once a week or twice a month to check on the site’s performance. The employees will arrive in a small work vehicle. The equipment will be fully maintained once every ten years. Mr. Corona said that the upgrade accommodates Providence as well as the other growth in the area.

Member Pehrson confirmed how the language of the motion should be stated such that the berms are waived but the Applicant’s agreeing to provide additional landscape and evergreens becomes a stipulation.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Lynch:

In the matter of Tahoe Substation Expansion, SP07-38, motion to approve the Special Land Use Permit subject to: 1) The Applicant providing a Noise Analysis by a certified sound engineer for review by Staff prior to Final Site Plan approval; 2) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan; and 3) The Applicant changing the replacement trees to evergreens subject to the review of and approval by the City’s Landscape Architect; for the reason that the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 25, Section 3006 and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.


Chair Cassis said this was a necessary upgrade. He hoped that Detroit Edison would be a kind neighbor and maintain its landscape.

roll call vote on Tahoe, sp07-38, Special Land Use motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Lynch:


In the matter of Tahoe Substation Expansion, SP07-38, motion to approve the Special Land Use Permit subject to: 1) The Applicant providing a Noise Analysis by a certified sound engineer for review by Staff prior to Final Site Plan approval; 2) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan; and 3) The Applicant changing the replacement trees to evergreens subject to the review of and approval by the City’s Landscape Architect; for the reason that the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 25, Section 3006 and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 7-0.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Lynch:

roll call vote on Tahoe, sp07-38, Preliminary Site Plan motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Lynch:

In the matter of Tahoe Substation Expansion, SP07-38, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) A Planning Commission Waiver for the extension of the existing berm along the eastern lot line adjacent to residential in order to preserve four twenty-foot tall evergreens, and the Applicant providing a berm extension at a height that is lower than the standard specified in the Zoning Ordinance; 2) A Planning Commission Waiver for the extension of the existing berm along the western lot line adjacent to residential, and the Applicant providing seven evergreens in substitution; 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 3, Section 2400, Article 25, and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 7-0.


The Public Hearing was opened on the request of Lakeside Oakland Development, LLC, for Planning Commission’s recommendation to City Council for a rezoning in conjunction with a Planned Rezoning Overlay of property in Section 18, south of Twelve Mile, west of Wixom Road, from I-1, Light Industrial, R-1, One-Family Residential and R-A, Residential Acreage, to RM-2, High Density, Mid-Rise, Multiple-Family Residential. The subject property is approximately 115.89 acres and the Applicant is proposing to construct an approximately 120,000 square-foot private girls’ school, a 9,250 square-foot educational facility, a 7,200 square-foot convent and a 230-unit duplex condominium.

Planner Kristen Kapelanski described the rezoning request. North of the site in Wixom are vacant parcels, the Leisure Cooperative complex (8.15 density), Wixom Meadows Condominiums (8.9 density) and Meadow Wood Park Apartments (9.7 density). To the west is Knights Bridge Gate (5.4 density). To the south are Catholic Central, Island Lake (1.0 density), and Old Dutch Farms (6.1 density). To the east are Cadillac Asphalt and vacant parcels. Further east is Novi Promenade. The surrounding sites are zoned IRO, RC-1 and B-3 to the north, B-2 and I-2 to the east, MH and R-1 to the south, and OS-2 developed as Single Family Residential is to the west.

The subject parcel is mostly shown as a Special Planning Project Area on the current Master Plan for Land Use. It is currently under review via the City’s Master Plan Review process. The Wixom properties are master planned for Multiple Family Residential, Community Business and Industrial/Office/Research. Community Commercial is master planned to the east, Single Family Residential is master planned to the west, and Mobile Home, Single Family Residential and an Educational Facility are master planned to the south.

The wetlands are concentrated in the northeast portion of the property where the school is proposed. There are woodlands concentrated near the edges. The Staff does not support the RM-2 request because the proposed density for Nicoleena Estates (3.6) is far below the density permitted in the RM-2 District. The Applicant could rezone the site to R-T and achieve the density they are proposing. The City is currently reviewing the Master Plan and will determine what density is appropriate for the area. The suggested 3.6 density is a drastic change from what is currently allowed on the property. The Community Development Department recommends the Applicant amend his proposal to ask for R-1 through R-4 zoning, or R-T zoning. The Applicant reduced the density on his plan by sixteen units once he met with the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. The Traffic Consultant has requested additional Traffic Study information. The impacts are considered to be minimal.

The Applicant will have to include a passing lane or a left-turn only lane down Twelve Mile, pursuant to the standards set forth by Oakland County. The left-turn lane is recommended.

The Engineering Review did not reveal any issues with utility demand, but there may be an issue with stormwater routing and potential flooding of the nearby wetlands. Easements from adjacent properties will be required. The Landscape Review recommended that the Applicant adhere to the Ordinances. A Non-minor Wetland Permit, an MDEQ Permit and a Buffer Encroachment letter will be required. If the plan is approved, the Applicant should consider placing his woodland replacements in an area that would buffer Nicoleena Estates from Knights Bridge Gate. The Fire Department Review noted minor items to be addressed at the time of Preliminary Site Plan submittal.

Ms. Kapelanski said major conditions of the Applicant’s proposed PRO include a limited use of permissible uses and density. The Applicant will pave Twelve Mile along the boundaries of the project. Any deviations from the Zoning Ordinance would also be included in the PRO Agreement.

Matthew Quinn represented the Applicant. He introduced Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pellerito (Lakeside Oakland Development Company), Mike Dewan (St. Catherine’s developer), the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, Father Richard Elmer of Catholic Central, Tom Ryan (school attorney), John Argenta (architect), Andy Wozniak (engineer), Woody Held (wetland consultant), Rich Hodak (landscape consultant), Dr. William Taylor (traffic consultant), Greg Kruetzer (construction consultant), and Jeff Hamilton (construction management consultant).

Mr. Quinn said that conceivably, the land is currently zoned such that 612,000 industrial square footage could be built. The RM-2 request is limited by the PRO contract. The development of this site would be limited to the plan as shown to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Quinn described the Industrial-user relocation plans known as "The Grand Plan" (with a Meijer) and "The Junior Grand Plan" from the 1990s. Either of these plans would have designated the subject property for Industrial users, relocating some from the downtown Novi area, e.g., Fendt Concrete and Stricker Paint. The plans required a super majority vote from City Council to pass; the vote was 4-3. The Paragon property owners fought to bring a mobile home park to their site; the result is the consent judgment that allowed the development of Knights Bridge Gate. This subdivision and the existing mobile home park were both designed without a buffer area adjacent to the subject site; Mr. Quinn said this would be addressed with their proposal.

Mr. Quinn said that everyone supports the St. Catherine Academy for 700-750 young female students. There will also be a convent for ten nuns and a Catholic Educational Research Center. Father Elmer introduced Sister Thomas Augustin, the designated principal of the new girl’s school. Sr. Thomas spoke briefly on her Dominican congregation. She said that St. Catherine’s would complement Catholic Central. She looked forward to becoming part of the Novi community.

Mr. Dewan described the educational resource center. He said that this affluent community has a responsibility to those less fortunate, and this educational resource center is one such effort. He described the financial arrangement that the school and Mr. Pellerito will have, whereby the school will repay him for the land and he will donate that money to the cause.

Mr. Quinn said the educational resource center will be technologically advanced and will allow for teleconferencing and other opportunities. The Novi seniors, community groups and homeowner associations will be invited to use this building.

Mr. Quinn described how the east side of the school property will be used for wetland mitigation. It will create a habitat link for the wildlife.

Mr. Quinn said that spillover parking for Catholic Central football games will now be able to park at St. Catherine’s. The site plan design includes a cross-access drive so that parents of both boys and girls will be able to drop off their children at either school without having to go back out onto the busy roadways.

Mr. Ryan said that zoning in the area is a hodge-podge of classifications. This plan has to work amongst all the various uses that are already in the ground. Mr. Ryan said that the density of the plan meets the needs of the City as they have been expressed. If the RM designation satisfies one party’s needs without hurting the other party, the Planning Commission should not focus on the designation, but should instead focus on the lower density that would be limited by the PRO Agreement. The school property is currently zoned Light Industrial but Michigan’s times of being a manufacturing giant have changed. This site is now proposed for an educational and information-based use.

Mr. Quinn showed an aerial of the site and how the different projects laid out. He did not believe that many trees were being affected by the plan – there are only three basic stands of trees on the site. The trees along Twelve Mile will mostly be saved. The mobile home park trees are being preserved. The 300-foot common boundary with Island Lake will be maintained with trees. The trees in the center are not quality woodlands, but 75% is still being saved. Mr. Quinn showed on the plan how Knights Bridge Gate and the mobile home park did nothing to enhance their boundary woodlands.

Mr. Quinn readdressed the density issues. He noted that the Island Lake density nearest this site is about three units per acre. Nicoleena Estates is proposed at 3.6 density. Overall, the density of this Pellerito land is 2.08. This is also the last property in the area to develop. Mr. Quinn maintained that the design fits into the area very nicely. Mr. Quinn said the owners of the undeveloped piece in the middle of the subject property supports this plan and will probably come in someday to ask for a similar density for their site. Mr. Quinn said that the density on the one piece allows for the donation of the school piece; the whole plan works together. There was once a plan proposed with 258 units, but now the plan density has been reduced based on comments made at the Master Plan and Zoning Committee meeting some months ago. Now the street system is more interesting. A road has been added for secondary access. The duplex units will sell for $250,000-$300,000. Nicoleena Estates may not be built for another two to five years. It will be driven by the economy; no one in Michigan’s economy is building spec houses.

Mr. Quinn said that St. Catherine’s is 65% open space, with another 10% open space on the sport fields. Nicoleena Estates has been designed with 70% open space. There is no open space in the mobile home park or Knights Bridge Gate. Mr. Quinn said this proposal is a credit to the consultants and engineers who designed such an open plan.

Mr. Quinn said the utilities are available. The rezoning reduces in half the sewer needs. Twelve Mile will be paved. The Applicant’s traffic consultant has been working on the plan and understands that a third lane must be added to Twelve Mile. The Applicant will negotiate the length of this lane, but will propose building it from his east property line to the entrance to the subdivision to the west; the City can pick up the rest of the distance. The Applicant will address the drainage problem. The sidewalk will be extended the entire length of the site along Twelve Mile.

Mr. Quinn said this is a good plan – placing a school next to a school, as opposed to Light Industrial being placed next to a school. Also, a school placed adjacent to Residential is better than Light Industrial against Residential.

Chair Cassis opened the floor for public comment:

  • Mark Marucci, Maybury Park Drive: Thought the plan was fantastic. He is a Catholic Central alumnus.
  • Shirley Powser, Helfer: Wixom resident stating that she and her Leisure Coop neighbors are 100% behind the project.
  • Jennifer Bishop, Sloan: On behalf of her Knights Bridge Gate subdivision, they do not find the school to be necessarily a negative, but they do have a problem with Nicoleena Estates. They were concerned about the density. She said the 50-foot buffer is nothing, and in the winter she and her neighbors will be able to look into the neighbors’ homes. She was concerned about traffic increases.
  • Jeff Zuma, Shoreline: Supported the development. He thought it was a good fit. He saw a similarity between the Island Lake Multiple Family Residential and the proposed density of Nicoleena.
  • Olympio Migueli Francisco Antonucci: Supported the project.
  • Jim Klein, Helfer: Concerned that the RM-2 designation can yield taller buildings. He didn’t want high-rise buildings.
  • Jim Barnas, Brighton: Felt there was a sense of urgency relating to the building of the school. September 2009 will come very quickly.
  • Alberto Sandoval, Wixom: Currently drives his daughters to Plymouth for Catholic schooling and supports St. Catherine’s being built in Novi.
  • Emma Aiello, Wixom: She fought against the 1990 Industrial Grand Plan but supports the school proposal.
  • Jennifer Ledbetter, Sloan: Said the community supports the high school. She hoped the proposal will include a buffer between this proposed site and her Island Lake home. She also wanted to ensure that taller buildings were not approved for this site.
  • Paul Erickson, Island Lake: Supported the project but was concerned about the infrastructure. There are east-west avenues but Beck Road is the only paved north-south road that goes all the way through. Beck Road is overloaded. He encouraged pressure being placed on the County to get Napier Road paved.
  • Joe Dolzo, Sandstone: Stated that education opportunities do improve the housing market. Novi has outstanding public schools, and Catholic Central and hopefully St. Catherine will also provide this community with an educational appeal.

Chair Cassis asked Member Meyer to read the public hearing responses. City Attorney Kristin Kolb said that the actual letters will become part of the public record, so for this meeting each letter was acknowledged by the writer’s name and position:


  • J. Tilleo
  • Mark Moriset
  • Father Richard Elmer
  • Michael Stanford
  • Norman Keber
  • Virgina Panackia
  • Barbara Felice
  • Florence Lesnau
  • Sharon Morgan
  • Cleo Snyder
  • Geraldine Forte
  • Janet Scheets
  • Nancy Pelto
  • Patricia Ruck
  • Diana LaFaive
  • John Mulligan
  • Joseph Shell
  • Lahni Andrews
  • Muriel Chabot
  • Paul Fisher
  • Elizabeth Nicastri
  • Allie Fayz
  • Robert Valente


  • Charles Liu
  • Thomas Robb
  • Catherine Tyler
  • Norman Lingnau
  • Dawn Carol
  • Janet Lingnau
  • Kurt Hesse
  • Brandon Finkel
  • Carmela Langley
  • Joseph Klassa
  • Brad Rabe and Julie Rabe
  • Fermin Fernandes and Geovana Pamatz
  • Lisa Antonio
  • Thomas Hutchins
  • Robert Worges and Karen Worges
  • Doug Drobnis and Brina Drobnis
  • Kurt Best
  • Linda Douglas
  • Melissa Fleming
  • Tom Valade
  • Sophie Kocoves
  • Nathaniel Diegel
  • Scott Tyler
  • Jodi Markle
  • Debra Grzeskowiak
  • Melanie Dunn and Dan Martin
  • Melvin Cherry and Lynn Cherry
  • Kurt Hesse
  • Jennifer Faust
  • Maria Muzzin
  • Dan Lenzi

Member Meyer said the general concerns were traffic and density. Chair Cassis closed the Public Hearing and called for a short break.

Member Avdoulos understood the emotional content of this review – attending Catholic Central has become a male tradition for families and now the same opportunity is going to become available for women. Member Avdoulos explained that the subject area was listed as a special planning area on the Master Plan in 2004 because it is a remaining piece surrounded by various zonings. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee and the Planning Commission have carefully reviewed this plan and ultimately the Planning Commission will send a recommendation to City Council. The Planning Commission will also review and approve any Preliminary Site Plan associated with an approved PRO plan. He was grateful that so many people came to the meeting to show support for the project, especially those from neighboring Wixom.

Member Avdoulos liked the citing of the school. He thought the design provided a buffer and allows for open space. The school is adjacent to a road that is not heavily traveled. Member Avdoulos wished to address the density issue associated with Nicoleena Estates.

Member Avdoulos noted that the existing zonings are R-1, R-A and I-1. Placing the school on this site (R-A and R-1) is not a difficult choice, and the design provides interconnectivity and spillover parking spaces. The R-A and R-1 would yield densities of .8 and 1.65 respectively, and Nicoleena is designed at 3.6. This quadruples the R-A density and doubles the R-1. Common sense tells Member Avdoulos that the RM-2 request goes well beyond the current zoning. The R-4 zoning allows 3.3 density. Staff even suggested that the Planning Commission consider R-T, which is 4.8 density. Member Avdoulos felt more comfortable with recommending the R-4 because it does everything planning-wise that the Applicant wants to achieve with Nicoleena Estates and St. Catherine’s. It may reduce the duplex count down to 215 or 216. The RM-2 request, if being sought for any reason(s) other than for planning considerations, e.g., economic or political reasons, does not come into the purview of the Planning Commission. The RM-2 request, if approved, could set a precedent for future requests whereby developers are asking for big density changes.

Member Avdoulos thought that previous PRO requests were more in-line with the original zoning of the site, or those proposals more accurately reflected the zoning designation request. Member Avdoulos wants to send a positive recommendation to City Council; the trick is to have the right nomenclature in place.

Member Avdoulos said there are several areas within the City that are currently under Master Plan review, this site being one of them. The decisions that are made must be in line with this Master Plan review or it won’t look well nor will it be the right thing to do.

Member Avdoulos concluded that there is great pride associated with Catholic Central, and while schools get tax breaks, the City gains a lot by their presence. There is great respect for that institution and St. Catherine’s will only enhance it. The entire proposal will be an enhancement to this area. While the request for RM-2 is really a matter of semantics, Member Avdoulos felt he had to take the middle ground, and R-4 would be his recommendation.

Member Meyer thanked Mr. Quinn for his eloquent delivery of the historical background of the subject property. In 1989 the Wall Street Journal chose Novi as a top-twenty school district out of 17,600 systems. He said that St. Catherine’s is about to join some very good company. Member Meyer did not have to be convinced about the virtue or goodness that will come to this community with St. Catherine’s. He encouraged the Applicant and his entourage to remain true to the mission: Make the commitment and do everything that can be done to ensure that the young women know there is a true dedication.

Member Lynch wanted to make this project happen because everyone wants the school. He agreed that the Nicoleena density was the remaining issue. He also thought that the R-4 designation was acceptable. Member Lynch was previously concerned about the traffic issues, though he conceded that his earlier concerns were probably unfounded - Twelve Mile will be paved, and that is the entrance road for the school. There won’t be much traffic that goes on to Wixom. He felt that the school attendees would be coming from the west. His personal experience tells him that the paving of Twelve Mile will actually improve the local homeowners’ property values and they will also find that the change is an improvement.

Member Wrobel was excited for the St. Catherine’s addition to the City. The concern is the density of Nicoleena Estates. Member Wrobel could live with an R-4 designation, and he hopes this is acceptable because he wants the plan to go through.

Member Pehrson confirmed that the City road standards would apply to Twelve Mile and will be reviewed thoroughly at the time of Preliminary Site Plan submittal. Ms. Kapelanski added that the Applicant and City will have to determine how to satisfy the County’s requirement for passing lanes or the left-hand turn lane. Member Pehrson asked Traffic Consultant Steve Dearing to comment. He responded that the decision will determine how the movements in and out of the school and subdivision are handled, hopefully with the least amount of impact on the through-traffic.

Mr. Dearing suggested a three-lane section be designed across the frontage of the property. Another design option would be to accordion the road by providing stand-alone left-turn treatments. The improvement could be accomplished entirely in front of this property’s frontage, and can be made independent of any change to the balance of Twelve Mile heading west to Napier, which is not the responsibility of this Applicant. It would be nice though, if Wixom and Novi could address the entire stretch of the road, making use of economies of scale, and get the entire road done at once. The minimum standards set by Oakland County call for passing lanes. They recognize that center left-turn lanes are a superior design, in terms of safety; it’s just hard for them to require the enhanced solution. There is a cost premium associated with center lanes. Passing lanes have minimal tapers and represent less cost. There will be signage alerting the drivers about gravel-to-pavement transitions, and signage about merging. Twelve Mile is not really a through out, so Mr. Dearing wouldn’t expect traffic other than the local residents or school attendees. The fundamental obligation is to provide a safe road. Any additional pavement that is added to this plan would just make the road safer. He explained that there must be a legal transfer of responsibility regarding the jurisdiction of the road (from Wixom to Novi).

Member Pehrson thought the presentation of the goals and objectives of the plan was spot-on. Member Pehrson sought assistance from the City Attorney regarding the language for a motion. He asked whether the Applicant had any recourse, if they aren’t granted exactly what they want. Ms. Kolb said that if the City Council’s approval was for R-4 and the Applicant didn’t like it, they could withdraw their application. Otherwise they would have to explore the appeals process. The Applicant can still present their RM-2 request to City Council even if the Planning Commission recommendation is for R-4.

Mr. Quinn sought clarification – the R-4 zoning would yield Single Family Residential; he requested that the term used be "R-4 density." Ms. Kapelanski said that the deviations from R-4 could be written into the PRO Agreement. Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth agreed, since it is the R-T District which allows the duplexing of units.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Wrobel:

In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.676 and Planned Rezoning Overlay SP07-33A for St. Catherine of Siena and Nicoleena Estates, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject property from I-1 (Light Industrial), R-A (Residential Acreage) and R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to R-4 (One Family Residential ), for the purpose of allowing a density of 3.3 units per acre with a maximum of 215 units with a PRO deviation for the duplexes being permitted in that zoning classification, subject to the Applicant’s compliance with all the conditions listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters, for the reasons that the plan is in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance and the Master Plan.


Member Avdoulos asked Environmental Consultant John Freeland about the stormwater management comment in one of his review letters. He did not want a future problem with a wooded wetland being adversely affected by this plan. Dr. Freeland responded that his concern was the discharge into the one wetland is potentially a violation of an existing conservation easement. In other areas pretreated discharge has been allowed into wetland areas, but Dr. Freeland needs clarification on whether this is permissible in this case. Dr. Freeland was also concerned because the Knights Bridge Gate wetland at issue is connected to a larger wooded wetland along Napier. There are two culverts that travel under Napier that take the water further west. It appears to Dr. Freeland that the culverts are blocked, which is adding more water to the wooded wetland. If more water is being sent west, will this exacerbate the problem, and should improvements be made to those culverts?

Member Avdoulos said these areas are sensitive and he wanted to make sure that care was given to this issue. Dr. Freeland added that there is a lot of work to do on this, and the impacts to the system will have to be justified. The language of the Wetland Ordinance requires the Applicant to minimize and avoid the best wetlands on a site. To a large extent the Applicant has done that. They have preserved the east-side complex. Most of the wetland and woodland impacts are associated with Nicoleena Estates. Phase 1 - 79 regulated trees are proposed to be impacted, which requires 114 replacement trees. Phase 2 impacts 362 trees, which translate into 482 replacements. Dr. Freeland said the number of trees affected by this plan is not unprecedented; he just wished to make the numbers known to the Planning Commission.

Chair Cassis said that the tree replacement at Catholic Central was a hot topic in the City. He would like to hear a commitment from this Applicant regarding their tree replacement. Landscape Architect David Beschke stated that there were many replacement trees required with the Catholic Central plan, and some were planted elsewhere in the City via payment into the tree fund. Dr. Freeland said that the replacement plan would be more relevant at the time of Preliminary Site Plan review. He would also encourage the Applicant to place the replacements back on this site. He would also like to see a minimization of the impact. Chair Cassis agreed that it would be nice to add a tree buffer between Nicoleena and Knights Bridge Gate.

Member Avdoulos noted that the design team has been very sensitive to the environmental issues associated with this site. The open space design will be a benefit to everyone. The impacts to the environment have become very evident to him throughout the Master Plan review process.

Member Wrobel asked that the maximum unit count of 215 be removed from the motion. Member Pehrson agreed.

Member Burke agreed that everyone would like to see this project succeed. He thanked Member Avdoulos for his ability to address outstanding site plan issues at the Planning Commission table. Member Burke supported the plan.

Chair Cassis thanked the Pelleritos and Mr. Bowman for their contributions to this community. This is an acknowledgement of the hard work put into this project. He agreed with the comment that with every blessing comes a responsibility. This City has been blessed. Chair Cassis said that everyone is passionate about this plan, and everyone’s needs will be met, including the neighbors’.

Chair Cassis thought that the RM-2 designation would not be as harmonious to the area as would Member Avdoulos’ suggestion of the R-4 designation. Chair Cassis could support the motion. He thanked the sisters for their attendance.

Ms. McBeth complimented the Planning Commission and the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for all of the hard work they have put into this review. Ms. McBeth wished to add that Wixom has jurisdiction over Twelve Mile, and she wanted to make sure that the Planning Commission understood that this is another item that will have to be resolved.

roll call vote on St. Catherine of Siena and Nicoleena estates, zoning map amendment 18.676 and sp07-33, recommendation for approval motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Wrobel:

In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.676 and Planned Rezoning Overlay SP07-33A for St. Catherine of Siena and Nicoleena Estates, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject property from I-1 (Light Industrial), R-A (Residential Acreage) and R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to R-4 (One Family Residential ), for the purpose of allowing a density of 3.3 units per acre with a PRO deviation for the duplexes being permitted in that zoning classification, subject to the Applicant’s compliance with all the conditions listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters, for the reasons that the plan is in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance and the Master Plan. Motion carried 7-0.



Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth explained that some Special Land Use requests don’t necessarily need a Noise Analysis, so this language addresses that issue. Ms. McBeth offered to bring material to the Public Hearing that describes the Noise Analysis limits and examples of other communities’ standards. Chair Cassis thought it was time to revisit the City’s standards to ensure that they are keeping pace with the times. Planner Kristen Kapelanski clarified that the amendment only addresses which plans will require a certified sound analysis.

Moved by Member Pehrson, seconded by Member Burke:

roll call vote on text amendment 18.221 motion made by Member Pehrson and seconded by Member Burke:

Motion to set a Public Hearing for December 12, 2007 for Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.221 in order to modify the standards for Noise Analysis requirements for Special Land Use approvals. Motion carried 7-0.


Moved by Member Meyer, seconded by Member Pehrson:

Roll call vote on october 24, 2007 minutes approval motion made by Member Meyer and seconded by Member Pehrson:

Motion to approve the October 24, 2007 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 7-0.


Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Burke:

Roll call vote on november 7, 2007 minutes approval motion made by Member Meyer and seconded by Member Pehrson:

Motion to approve the November 7, 2007 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 7-0.


There were no Consent Agenda Removals.


There were no Matters for Discussion.


City Attorney Kristin Kolb reminded the Planning Commission about her firm’s upcoming seminar on RLUIPA laws and corridor improvement authorities.


No one from the audience


Moved by Member Pehrson,

Motion to adjourn.

The meeting adjourned at 10:31 PM.















Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, December 20, 2007 Signature on File

Date Approved: January 23, 2008 Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date