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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, David Greco, Andrew Gutman, Brian Larson, Michael Lynch, Mark Pehrson, Wayne Wrobel
Absent: Member Michael Meyer (excused)
Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Mark Spencer, Planner; Karen Reinowski, Planner; David Beschke, Landscape Architect; Lindon Ivezaj, Civil Engineer; David Campbell, Traffic Consultant; Rod Arroyo, Traffic Consultant; Doug Necci, Façade Consultant; Tom Schultz, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Burke led the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Wrobel, seconded by Member Burke:
voice vote on august 27, 2008 agenda approval motion made by Member Wrobel and seconded by Member Burke:
Motion to approve the August 27, 2008 Planning Commission Agenda. Motion carried 8-0.
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 asked that Planning Commission members wishing to attend the Planning Conference in Kalamazoo should contact her by Friday.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
There was no Consent Agenda.
1. HYATT PLACE HOTEL AT ROCK FINANCIAL SHOWPLACE, SP08-27
The Public Hearing of the request of Titan Hotel Development, LLC, was opened for a recommendation to City Council for Preliminary Site Plan, Wetland Permit, Woodland Permit, and Stormwater Management Plan approval. The subject property is located in Section 16, north of Grand River Avenue and west of Taft Road in the OST, Planned Office Service Technology District with an EXO, Exposition Overlay. The subject property is approximately 54.86 acres and the Applicant is proposing to construct a five-story, 132-room Hyatt Place hotel and an expansion of the parking lot on the site of Rock Financial Showplace.
Planner Karen Reinowski described the project for the Planning Commission. The hotel will be at the front of the property and will be connected to Rock Financial by an elevated pedestrian walkway. The parking area will be to the east. The site is zoned EXO, which is the OST District with an Exposition Overlay, and master planned for Office. To the west and partially in the south the parcels are zoned OST and master planned for Office. The other southerly properties and the parcels in the east are zoned and master planned for Light Industrial. The Woodland Map shows that the site has light woodland cover; though the map is outdated, the Applicant still needs a Woodland Permit. The Applicant also needs a Wetland Permit.
Ms. Reinowski made the meeting attendees aware that at-home viewers were probably not able to see the overhead slides because a repair to the system was still underway.
Ms. Reinowski said the hotel is about 86,000 square feet, and the parking exceeds the City requirement. The first review of the plan was completed in July, and the Staff then met with Applicant and the Façade Consultant to address the proposed façade. The Applicant then stated that the submittal was a phased project with the parking being proposed first. The façade was also modified to come closer to the requirements of the Ordinance. The Planning Commission has purview of the Woodland Permit, though the other motions would be recommendations to City Council.
The Planning Review and the Traffic Review both noted issues with the loading zone and dumpster area. The loading zone is in the northwest corner of the hotel site. This is a high circulation area for pedestrians and vehicular traffic. The Zoning Ordinance requires the loading area to be in the rear yard; Staff believes the proposed loading area meets the intent of the Zoning Ordinance by being in the rear of the building. The area though, is the front yard of Rock Financial. The OST District is about 600 feet away and Grand River is about 500 feet away; this location will have little or no impact on the adjacent properties. Staff recommends that the Planning Commission recommend to City Council that the location meets the intent of the Zoning Ordinance, based on the site location and proximity to adjacent properties and rights-of-way. The Traffic Consultant notes that the design of the loading area should be refined to better direct traffic flow while separating the loading zone from the maneuvering lanes and improving overall sight distance. The Applicant’s modifications were shown in green to the Planning Commission; an end island would be added adjacent to the loading zone. The other end island and barrier-free spaces would be redesigned. This would assist in meeting the intent of the Zoning Ordinance standard by better separating the loading zone from other areas of vehicular and pedestrian circulation. Additional landscaped areas will also be added to the site.
The dumpster is in the same general location. The dumpster is next to two barrier-free spaces, with four others nearby. The current configuration does not show an end island; it’s more of a strike-out area with a different configuration for the proposed parking spaces. This design kind of provides a better barrier. The Zoning Ordinance states that the dumpster enclosure needs to be located as far away as possible from the barrier-frees spaces. Therefore, a physical separation such as an island should be provided as a minimum, or the two spaces need to be relocated in order to meet the standard of the Zoning Ordinance and avoid the Applicant’s need to seek a ZBA Variance. The changes proposed by the Traffic Consultant will still maintain appropriate access to the dumpster while meeting the standards of separating the dumpster from the barrier-free spaces and eliminating the need for a ZBA Variance.
The Applicant responded that they do not intend to redesign the area as recommended. Rod Arroyo and Dave Campbell from Birchler Arroyo, the Traffic Consultants, were available at the meeting to discuss the Traffic Review.
The Planning Review also noted that review and approval of the amended Master Deed and associated exhibits is required, including verification that all outstanding matters in the Master Deed are satisfactorily addressed. The Deed Restriction for the sidewalk safety path on Taft Road, as provided in the City Council November 12, 2002 motion approving Rock Financial, must be addressed.
Ms. Reinowski said that the Zoning Ordinance has changed and adjacent parking spaces are now limited to no more than fifteen in a row without a landscaped island. The proposed parking lot must be redesigned, or the Planning Commission can make a recommendation to City Council that a Waiver be granted based on the finding that the traffic circulation would be substantially improved without the islands. The remaining traffic and planning issues can be addressed on the Final Site Plan.
The Façade Review from August notes that two Section 9 Waivers are necessary. One Waiver is to permit the percentage of EIFS to exceed the maximum percentage on all four façades, and the second Waiver would waive the Region One standard that requires a minimum 30% brick on each façade. The Planning Commission should make a recommendation to City Council regarding these two Waivers. The Façade Consultant supports the Waiver requests; Consultant Doug Necci was also in attendance at the meeting to discuss the façade. The Façade Review requires the dumpster enclosure to be constructed of 100% stone, matching the building.
The Woodland Review notes that Preliminary Site Plan approval is recommended contingent upon minor items to be addressed on the Final Site Plan. The Consultant also recommends that the Applicant consider the use of pervious pavement for the parking lot addition, and encourages the extension of the proposed Wetland Conservation Easement to the eastern portion of the property, where it would include the area where onsite woodland replacements are located.
The Landscape Review, Wetland Review and Engineering Review all noted minor items to be addressed at the time of Final Site Plan submittal. The Fire Department Review did not have any issues with the plan.
Blair Bowman addressed the Planning Commission on behalf of Titan Hotel Development, LLC and TBON, LLC. He introduced his architect, Scott Bowers. He said they have been on a long road to reach this Planning Commission meeting with a hotel component for the Rock Financial Showplace site. This will result in a full-service convention, conference and exposition facility. He believed the Hyatt product was one of the highest quality approaches he could take. The product appeals to the upper-end of the business traveler among the many hotel programs. It fits very nicely into the overall business scheme of Mr. Bowman’s Showplace project. From a façade standpoint, he felt the proposed hotel fits well with the existing facility.
Mr. Bowman said he had no problems with working with a redesign of the loading area. This would include a redesign of the islands and a relocation of the barrier-free spaces. He would like to move those spaces closer to the rear entrance of the facility, though the question becomes where to put them. Ultimately, after looking at eight or nine potential locations for the hotel, the proposed location emerged as the best suited in terms of convenience, attach-ability, visibility and site circulation. In doing so, the hotel is in the front yard of the Showplace. There is no perfect solution for the loading zone. He felt this was the best area for the loading zone.
Mr. Bowman said a key component of this plan is the additional parking area. This is a great improvement over the former Expo Center, from a traffic management standpoint and a parking standpoint. There are occasions where more parking room is necessary, so this plan proposes to construct more parking than what is required by the hotel plan. He noted that when the Showplace was approved at a previous City Council meeting, then Council Member, now Mayor Landry, suggested that the number of landscape islands be increased in the front of the site, along with increasing the berming and the front side landscaping; this was done and Mr. Bowman was glad that it had been. It was still acknowledged that the site did need circulation and the capability of handling events that utilize the site for ride and drives and so forth. The maintenance of the parking lot was considered as well. Mr. Bowman compromised and for the outer lying parking areas, which are screened by natural vegetation along the expressway and highly non-visible from Grand River, he simply requested that this recommendation for a Waiver be made to City Council so that all those landscaped islands would not need to be designed. He was landscaping the perimeter and placing some islands, but not all the islands necessary have been proposed. He said this design is consistent with the look and feel of the existing parking lot.
Mr. Bowman offered to answer to any questions. He said that in this economy it is tough, but this hotel will give them the opportunity to draw in delegates for conventions and conferences, which really bring in the offsite spending and economic spin-off, for which he is pleased to accomplish as the only private-sector operation of this kind in the state of Michigan.
No one from the audience wished to speak. Member Gutman read the correspondence into the record:
Chair Pehrson closed the Public Hearing.
Member Wrobel thought the hotel was a good idea and he supported it in principle. He asked if the hotel parking was separate from the general parking. Mr. Bowman said that there will be dedicated parking and wayfinding signage on Grand River for this area. When the Showplace is busy, he expected that 90% of the hotel occupants would be participants in the events. They will continue to manage the parking via parking attendants. Member Wrobel did not want hotel guests to have a problem finding parking space. Mr. Bowman responded that the parking on the south and east sides of the site, along the wetland area, will be easily designated and controlled during the Showplace’s busiest public events for just that purpose. From their due diligence, they know that the hotel will be occupied by the exhibitors. That said, their vehicles will already be on site for their show.
Member Wrobel thought the loading dock was not in the right place. Mr. Bowman said that they would be managing their deliveries, as this hotel is part of the whole Showplace operation. Deliveries would not be brought in during the course of major events. He would be able to control that. The loading zone is required as a part of the hotel. His greater preference would be to eliminate this loading area, and work with the existing loading facilities, but the hotel needs to maintain independence and it is a requirement of this process, Mr. Bowman felt that this location was the best he could offer.
Member Wrobel asked if the height of the passageway was sufficient. Civil Engineer Lindon Ivezaj responded that the only problem he could think of would be for fire trucks, and Fire Marshal Evans was not concerned.
Member Lynch asked for clarification of the parking and the loading dock. Mr. Bowman said that there is a diversity of areas for barrier-free parking. The original design clustered the barrier-free parking, and now the spaces have been dispersed. Similarly, the requirements are met, but he understood that there are some spaces that need to be blocked off or relocated. Mr. Bowman thought they could be relocated closer to the rear entrance. This will be quite a bit different than a standard rear entrance, in light of its location. This will function much more like a true entrance. Member Lynch thought it was a good idea to spread the spaces around. Mr. Bowman said over the years he has had to provide hundreds of additional barrier-free spaces during his events. Member Lynch confirmed that Mr. Bowman was going to work with the City on this issue. Mr. Bowman agreed and said the original stance in the response letter was provided by his engineer who did not consult with Mr. Bowman first.
Member Burke thanked Mr. Bowman for completing the Showplace vision. He asked which hotel chains were under consideration. Mr. Bowman said he looked at most every chain. The whole industry is trending away from full-service hotels, and he provides meeting and convention space at the Showplace. The Hilton Garden Inn was considered and has since gone in north of I-96. Spring Hill Suites was also considered. Mr. Bowman was most excited about being in the first wave of this product style to be built. The hotel chain worked with Mr. Bowman to allow more "pre-function" space – serving areas, meeting space, larger pool, etc. This hotel will maintain a family environment.
Member Burke asked whether the chain had certain criteria that had to be met. Mr. Bowman said their branding is very important to them – as evidenced by the converted AmeriSuites. Mr. Bowman had to work with the chain on a palatable façade on which they could both agree.
Moved by Member Burke, seconded by Member Gutman:
In the matter of Hyatt Place, SP08-27, motion to recommend approval to the City Council of the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) The Applicant clarifying the proposed phasing of the plan, with Phase 1 being the parking lot and Phase 2 being the hotel; 2) Construction of the dumpster enclosure with 100% stone, which is the same as the building going in in order to meet the standards of Section 2520 of the Zoning Ordinance; 3) City review and approval of the Master Deed and associated Exhibits, including verification that all outstanding Master Deed-related issues are satisfactorily addressed, including the deed restriction for the sidewalk/safety path on Taft Road, as provided in the City Council motion for approval of Rock Financial Showplace (formerly known as Novi Expo Center) on November 12, 2002; 4) A Planning Commission recommendation to City Council for a Waiver from the parking lot landscaped island standard, based on a finding that traffic circulation will be substantially improved without the landscaped parking lot islands, per the standard of Section 2509.3.c.4.c of the Zoning Ordinance; 5) The Applicant relocating the barrier-free spaces away from the dumpster, as per the standard of Section 2503.2.f.7 of the Zoning Ordinance, which may be accomplished by the redesign of the loading area as discussed in the Traffic Consultant’s review letter; 5) City Council granting a Section 9 Waiver to permit the percentage of EIFS on all four façades to exceed the Zoning Ordinance standard per Section 2520 of the Zoning Ordinance, and not to exceed the percentages in the Façade Consultant’s review of August 20, 2008; 6) City Council granting a Section 9 Waiver from the Region 1 standard to provide a minimum 30% brick on each façade; 7) A Planning Commission recommendation to the City Council that the location of the loading zone meets the intent of Section 2507 of the Zoning Ordinance; 8) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the plans prior to Stamping Sets; for the reasons that the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 10A, Article 23A, Section 2400 and Article 25 of the Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.
Member Cassis wondered why Mr. Bowman would not have located the hotel on the expressway. Mr. Bowman responded that the key suggestion he received was to put the heads and beds over the meeting space. Being a truly-connected hotel (to the Showplace) then became important. Placing the hotel elsewhere on the site would have created circulation issues, topography issues, and exposure issues as they relate to the overall look of the facility. The connection to the Showplace became the determining factor. Signage will be a step in his planning process. The parking will be in excess of what he thinks he needs, and this will be an attractive hotel that is architecturally in concert with the Showplace. Mr. Bowman said he has a management company that will include this hotel in their portfolio of thirteen. They have already been acting in a consultant capacity.
Member Cassis asked about the façade. Façade Consultant Doug Necci recommended the Waivers because the Applicant has done the best with what materials he has. The stone is equivalent to brick in his opinion. There is a natural stone on the lower portion of the building. The bigger concern is that there will be an illuminated beacon, but the rendering shows that this will be very subtle when lit at night. It blends with the architecture. Member Cassis thought this was a good project. It will bring jobs and taxes. He supported Mr. Bowman and his project.
City Attorney Tom Schultz said that this project is a general condominium, though Mr. Bowman said to Member Wrobel that it was a site condominium. Mr. Bowman apologized for the mistake.
Chair Pehrson asked about the pervious surface request. Mr. Bowman said he has not considered the request. Although he knew that technology has come a long way, he said his clients are looking for standard pavement. From a maintenance standpoint, he’d prefer to use the traditional materials.
Chair Pehrson asked how the parking lot attendants would address the hotel parking lot. Mr. Bowman said that check-in times for hotel patrons are opposite of the peak parking times. He didn’t expect a tremendous amount of interference. Even when past events created a lot of traffic, he still kept the traffic flowing and did not have back-ups. He really anticipated a sold-out hotel (by the participants) in conjunction with the big events. Patrons can use the main entrance where no fees are collected. If the patrons come in through the east or west and indicate that they are hotel guests, they will be marshaled to the hotel.
Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo was asked to comment on whether the City could be more helpful in moving traffic during peak parking times at the Showplace. Mr. Arroyo responded to Chair Pehrson that the impact of this type of use is very, very low. Because the majority of hotel guests are going to the Showplace, this also reduces the impact. There are some intersections that function at a less than desirable rate according to the traffic impact analysis. There are some other things happening that will help address this issue. Most significantly, the Wixom Road interchange will help. The Beck Road/Grand River interchange is experiencing poor levels of service, but this should improve with the completion of Wixom Road. The Novi/Grand River interchange could improve with the addition of the ring road. This project will work just fine – the hotel’s impact to traffic can be handled by the existing system.
roll call vote on hyatt place, sp08-27, recommendation for approval of the Preliminary Site Plan motion made by Member Burke and seconded by Member Gutman:
In the matter of Hyatt Place, SP08-27, motion to recommend approval to the City Council of the Preliminary Site Plan subject to: 1) The Applicant clarifying the proposed phasing of the plan, with Phase 1 being the parking lot and Phase 2 being the hotel; 2) Construction of the dumpster enclosure with 100% stone, which is the same as the building going in in order to meet the standards of Section 2520 of the Zoning Ordinance; 3) City review and approval of the Master Deed and associated Exhibits, including verification that all outstanding Master Deed-related issues are satisfactorily addressed, including the deed restriction for the sidewalk/safety path on Taft Road, as provided in the City Council motion for approval of Rock Financial Showplace (formerly known as Novi Expo Center) on November 12, 2002; 4) A Planning Commission recommendation to City Council for a Waiver from the parking lot landscaped island standard, based on a finding that traffic circulation will be substantially improved without the landscaped parking lot islands, per the standard of Section 2509.3.c.4.c of the Zoning Ordinance; 5) The Applicant relocating the barrier-free spaces away from the dumpster, as per the standard of Section 2503.2.f.7 of the Zoning Ordinance, which may be accomplished by the redesign of the loading area as discussed in the Traffic Consultant’s review letter; 5) City Council granting a Section 9 Waiver to permit the percentage of EIFS on all four façades to exceed the Zoning Ordinance standard per Section 2520 of the Zoning Ordinance, and not to exceed the percentages in the Façade Consultant’s review of August 20, 2008; 6) City Council granting a Section 9 Waiver from the Region 1 standard to provide a minimum 30% brick on each façade; 7) A Planning Commission recommendation to the City Council that the location of the loading zone meets the intent of Section 2507 of the Zoning Ordinance; 8) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the plans prior to Stamping Sets; for the reasons that the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 10A, Article 23A, Section 2400 and Article 25 of the Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 8-0.
Moved by Member Burke, seconded by Member Gutman:
roll call vote on hyatt place, sp08-27, recommendation for approval of the Wetland Permit motion made by Member Burke and seconded by Member Gutman:
In the matter of Hyatt Place, SP08-27, motion to recommend approval to the City Council of 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 reasons that the plan is in compliance with Chapter 12 of the Code of Ordinances and all other applicable provisions of the Ordinance. Motion carried 8-0.
Moved by Member Burke, seconded by Member Gutman:
In the matter of Hyatt Place, SP08-27, 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 reasons that the plan is in compliance with Chapter 37 of the Code of Ordinances and all other applicable provisions of the Ordinance.
Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth asked that the motion also be made subject to, "City Council approval of the Preliminary Site Plan." Both the maker and seconder of the motion agreed.
roll call vote on hyatt place, sp08-27, recommendation for approval of the WoodLAND Permit motion made by Member Burke and seconded by Member Gutman:
In the matter of Hyatt Place, SP08-27, motion to approve the Woodland Permit subject to: 1) The conditions and items listed in the Staff and Consultant review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan; and 2) City Council approval of the Preliminary Site Plan; for the reasons that the plan is in compliance with Chapter 37 of the Code of Ordinances and all other applicable provisions of the Ordinance. Motion carried 8-0.
Moved by Member Burke, seconded by Member Gutman:
roll call vote on hyatt place, sp08-27, recommendation for approval of the stormwater management Permit motion made by Member Burke and seconded by Member Gutman:
In the matter of Hyatt Place, SP08-27, motion to recommend approval to the City Council of the Stormwater 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 reasons that the plan is otherwise in compliance with Chapter 11 of the Code of Ordinances and all other applicable provisions of the Ordinance. Motion carried 8-0.
2. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.229
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, to expand uses permitted subject to special conditions in a planned shopping center in the Office Service Commercial District and to provide greater flexibility in the design of planned shopping centers.
Planner Mark Spencer stated that this text amendment was proposed by Gary Jonna, who represents Providence Hospital. These changes are to Article 12 of the Zoning Ordinance, the OSC Section of the Ordinance. This change would allow for drive-through restaurants and would also allow for more restaurants. It would modify the conditions required for restaurants. The Applicant has also proposed changes to Article 2400 to reduce setbacks within the OSC District and permit front yard parking.
The OSC District currently allows restaurants as an accessory to an office building, hotel or motel. They can be stand-alone on a site of at least two acres, if they have the seating capacity of at least one hundred and located at least 500 feet from another restaurant. They are not permitted in planned shopping centers. The current Ordinance prohibits fast food, drive-in, drive-through, fast-food carryout and delivery-type restaurants. The proposed text would permit the following in a proposed shopping center: An unlimited number of restaurants; Outdoor restaurant seating; One drive-through restaurant of under 4,000 square feet; no distance requirements; fast-food, carry-out and delivery-type restaurants. No changes were proposed for restaurants outside of planned shopping centers.
The Planning Staff supports placing restaurants in a planned shopping center, since it is a customer use and would not change the character of a shopping center. The Planning Commission may wish to discuss the drive-through element and whether it would substantially change the character of a center. The Applicant also proposes changes to the parking setbacks, and allow front yard parking when a planned shopping center is proposed on a private road and is at least 100 feet from a public road. The Applicant proposes to reduce the front yard setback from 35 feet to 25 feet and also proposes the reduce the side and rear yard setbacks from twenty feet to ten feet, only when abutting open space of 25 feet or greater. Generally speaking, the Staff supports the front yard parking setback, because it could promote buildings closer to the sidewalk system. Staff does not support the rear or side yard setback proposals. Footnote ** already permits the Planning Commission to grant exceptions to the rear and side yard parking setbacks when the total amount of required landscaped area is maintained. The proposed setback reduction could permit a reduction of landscaping.
Mr. Gary Jonna of Whitehall Real Estate addressed the Planning Commission. He appeared on behalf of Providence Hospital. He has been working with Staff over the past few months on the OSC District language, and how it related to what was originally contemplated on the hospital’s master plan. Mr. Jonna appeared before the Master Plan and Zoning Committee to discuss a zoning change for this project. The Committee gave their input and, along with Staff’s input, the result is this text amendment that obviates any zoning change. Mr. Jonna cannot proceed with his next project without these essential revisions.
Mr. Jonna said the hospital is a major development on two hundred acres with over 1.2 million square feet and it’s not yet completed. Additionally, there will be over 2,000 doctors, nurses and associates on the site. There is a 70,000 square-foot orthopaedic center, and a 210,000 square-foot medical office building with a neuro-science building. It is imperative that the campus provide these essential services. This "village" type development will take retail and restaurant uses and present them in a pedestrian-friendly fashion. Services that are under demand will be provided.
Mr. Jonna thought that it was also important to note that Grand River and Beck is a well-traveled intersection. He said that the site plan for his next project will come back before the Planning Commission in the future. He added that the side yard setback request was added to this text amendment because this site abuts a greensward. This landscaped area divides the hospital from the medical office buildings, hotel and retail components. The greensward is 300 feet wide. This site has a unique circumstance. He thought the request in the text amendment was modest.
Mr. Jonna said that the Staybridge is doing well but is limited in its services. There is no bar or restaurant. There are no retail services. It is essential for the longevity of the hotel that its guests can walk to services. The current OSC District requires free-standing restaurants situated on two acres or more. A two-acre restaurant yields a 6,000-8,000 square-foot restaurant. The upcoming Providence project will offer small and intermediate restaurants in the 4,000 square-foot range. Additionally, to place food uses five hundred feet apart from one another is quite difficult in a village-type development, where grouping them is a complementary design.
Mr. Jonna said that when he returns to the Planning Commission he will bring forward a planned shopping center where the uses are grouped together in a village-format. It will connect to the existing trail and walking systems in a very attractive fashion. Under the current OSC it is virtually impossible for him to bring a project forward.
Mr. Jonna introduced Providence Hospital President Rob Casalou. He offered to answer any questions.
No one from the audience wished to speak and no correspondence was received so Chair Pehrson closed the Public Hearing.
Member Lynch asked whether the upcoming proposal would be similar to the Main Street project. Mr. Jonna said this design will sit on about ten acres and will not bring in coast-to-coast restaurants. It will provide for health and fitness, retail and medical office and restaurants. This is not nearly the scale of the Main Street project. Member Lynch thought that the employees and guests of this campus should be serviced in this manner. He did not have an issue with the request. Member Lynch thought that what is being proposed is in accordance with what was approved; this was just a way to facilitate the project. Mr. Jonna said it certainly is consistent with the presented hospital master plan, but there was no "formal" Providence master plan approval. These changes are necessary to allow the grouping of food uses. Without this change, the site would not be marketable. Member Lynch asked whether the upcoming proposal would just service the campus. Mr. Jonna said it will attract outside traffic, but it will generally accommodate the large number of employees and visitors to the campus.
Member Larson asked how many restaurants Mr. Jonna was going to propose in the future. Mr. Jonna responded that he wasn’t certain but he guessed about six or so. Mr. Jonna showed the Planning Commission where the site would be within the campus, which is the northwest corner.
Member Greco thought the campus plan was a reasonable idea. Anyone who has had to visit a hospital campus can benefit from a mix of options, especially for those guests who are from out of town and don’t know the surrounding area. Generally speaking, Member Greco supported the amendments that would provide the campus with some flexibility of the design of the site. He would further comment on the tastefulness of the village when the Preliminary Site Plan came forward.
Member Wrobel understood the need for this, though he was concerned that this could have a negative effect on the restaurants across the street. He didn’t want to see one area flourish and one area go away. Member Wrobel confirmed that there would be pedestrian walkways to the area. Mr. Jonna said the greensward houses a very intricate trail system. He reminded Member Wrobel that this new hospital dramatically increases demand in the area for services. The upcoming village proposal will not cannibalize the area. The opening of the hospital will infuse the area with success. Without more restaurants the area will be underserved.
Member Wrobel asked about the food service available within the hospital. Mr. Casalou said that food service in the hospital was sized according to their intent to add food service elsewhere on the campus.
Member Wrobel was glad this would keep traffic off of Grand River. He was a bit unsure of the drive-through restaurant request in the text amendment, as it could create in-out traffic that was unnecessary. Mr. Jonna said the drive-through component was for one restaurant, one window. He said he was contemplating this use to be a drive-through coffee store. This text amendment is not meant to cause a proliferation of drive-through restaurants. He said that when he returns with the Preliminary Site Plan he will have to demonstrate that the design is acceptable.
Member Burke asked where the setback requests would come into play. Mr. Jonna described the current layout of the site. He explained that the setback request was to accommodate projects that abut an already established greenbelt. In this light, the request is not unreasonable because the already established greenbelt provides 25 feet of its own. In Mr. Jonna’s case, that width will be a minimum of 200 feet.
Mr. Spencer said that Staff’s position is that this text amendment is for the whole City and not just a specific site. There is a provision already in the Ordinance that gives the Planning Commission the right to make an exception if ample space is already set aside. In this scenario, the Applicant will have to provide the greenspace. If the setback is reduced the Applicant will not have to provide it. Although it is only ten feet wide, it is ten feet that the Applicant can use to provide landscaping and trees. There have been other examples on this campus where Easements have been provided to make these situations work.
Member Burke asked whether the Applicant can seek the relief on his Preliminary Site Plan if these setback changes don’t move forward. Mr. Spencer responded that Footnote ** allows the Planning Commission to work with the Applicant, so the Applicant wouldn’t even have to go to the ZBA.
Mr. Jonna added that he didn’t wish to be argumentative. He just wished to point out that there aren’t many opportunities for landscape mitigation on this campus. In terms of precedent, this amendment would ensure a greenbelt of 35 feet rather than just twenty feet. Subjectively, the campus is running out of real estate, in light of the roadway system, for mitigation.
City Attorney Tom Schultz added that although the Planning Commission can negotiate this point in their Preliminary Site Plan review, the Applicant would still have the option of going to the ZBA if the Planning Commission said no. Member Burke confirmed that that the Applicant will still have the opportunity to ask for the reduction later in the Preliminary Site Plan review process if the language is not amended at this time.
Chair Pehrson added that the City Council will understand the nature of the Planning Commission’s concern when they review the minutes of this meeting. They will understand that the Planning Commission will still have the purview of this request at the time of the Preliminary Site Plan review.
Member Burke supported the upcoming project, and certainly felt that if this were the site plan review the Applicant would have overwhelming support from the Planning Commission. He did not think the Planning Commission wanted to make the mistake of changing the standard now if the request can be handled with the actual Preliminary Site Plan review. Mr. Jonna wished to add that if the text doesn’t address this issue now, his future plan will have to provide mitigated landscape elsewhere on the site. In other words, the Preliminary Site Plan review does not allow for a full waiver of the landscape, just that the landscape can be mitigated elsewhere. This would be a burden to the campus. Chair Pehrson reminded Mr. Jonna that he could seek a ZBA Variance as another resolution. Mr. Jonna responded that he just felt that it was better addressed in this text amendment request.
Mr. Spencer confirmed with Member Burke that he understood that Staff does support the front yard setback request. Member Burke understood that the footnote to which he was referring did not affect the front yard language.
Member Cassis better understood the feasibility of this text amendment request. He agreed with Member Burke that the side and back yard setbacks can be addressed on the Preliminary Site Plan review. The City wished to preserve the Ordinance so that its intent does not go downhill.
Member Cassis asked Mr. Casalou if the village was compatible with and enhanced the other elements of the campus. Mr. Casalou said yes. He said that Planning Commission will see their intent of providing a health park when the Preliminary Site Plan returns for the Planning Commission to review. The selection of services, restaurants and fitness will help create a health environment. They will not bring in restaurants that don’t fit this image. This will be a high-end organic healthy image. These ten acres are a cog in the wheel of the entire campus. He understood that the current OSC language does not provide the flexibility he once thought it did.
Member Gutman was glad that Mr. Casalou clarified the restaurant uses. He thought the presentation was reasonable and fair. He was concerned about the side and rear setback issue as well – not with this project but with the idea of opening the idea up globally. The Applicant has the alternative of coming back with their request with the Preliminary Site Plan submittal.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Burke:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.229 related to expanding uses permitted subject to special conditions in a planned shopping center in the OSC District, motion to recommend approval to City Council, with the exception of the modifications to the side and rear setbacks.
Chair Pehrson thought the request was wise, in light of the environment they have built already upon the campus. He said the City tries to keep the Ordinance up to date with what is needed in the market place. What the Applicant is asking for is a great benefit. He was in favor of the motion, and he agreed that the setback issue should be reserved for the Preliminary Site Plan review.
roll call vote on 18.229 text amendment positive recommendation motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Burke:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.229 related to expanding uses permitted subject to special conditions in a planned shopping center in the OSC District, motion to recommend approval to City Council, with the exception of the modifications to the side and rear setbacks. Motion carried 8-0.
3. ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.230 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, Article 2, Construction of Language and Definitions, Zoning Districts and Maps, Section 201, Definitions, in order to remove the area of office basements and mezzanines limited to storage only from the gross leasable floor area calculation, and to delete unnecessary language.
Planner Mark Spencer said that Section 2516 of the Zoning Ordinance was recently reviewed to expand the authority of administrative approval and length of site plan approval validity. Following the Public Hearing of that request, which has moved on to City Council for consideration, comments from a business owner came forward and asked that basement areas, up to 3,000 square feet, could be added to the text amendment. This basement area would have to be restricted to storage or mechanical equipment space and is accessory to an office building and considered uninhabitable in accordance with the State building code. The business owner also asked that this basement area not require additional parking spaces. These proposed changes were proposed to City Council at the first reading of the other text amendment, and City Council approved that text amendment with the understanding that these stated requests be incorporated into the second reading language.
The Planning Staff and City Attorney’s office further refined the proposed changes and constructed Ordinance language that these areas would not be included in the gross leasable calculations or the parking calculations. City Council approved the second reading on August 11, 2008. In order to make the Ordinance clearer, the Staff seeks to amend the Ordinance of "floor area, gross leasable" in Article 2 to match the other definition. In addition, there is a definition called "gross leasable floor area" and Staff recommends these two items be consolidated under the former term and eliminating the latter.
No one from the audience wished to speak and no correspondence was received so Chair Pehrson closed the Public Hearing.
Member Gutman supported the request.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Burke:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.230 related to the Section 201 definition of gross leasable area, motion to recommend approval to City Council.
Member Cassis said that this streamlining of the Ordinance will make the use of it easier. He complimented the Staff on their work in making the Ordinance more user-friendly. Mr. Spencer responded that while there is no task force per se that finds these text amendment suggestions, the Staff has been given direction to look for opportunities to bring forward. He said that the Department continues to look for funding for an overhaul of the entire Ordinance.
Member Cassis asked what such a broad approach would cost. Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth responded that she has asked several times now for money for an outside consultant to assist with a full overhaul. It is a considerable cost to do this, and Staff thinks it’s a good idea. At least the Department is not hindered by cost to bring forward these clean-up items as they are identified. Member Cassis supported the request.
roll call vote on 18.230 text amendment positive recommendation motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Burke:
In the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.230 related to the Section 201 definition of gross leasable area, motion to recommend approval to City Council. Motion carried 8-0.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. APPROVAL OF THE AUGUST 13, 2008 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Burke:
voice vote on august 13, 2008 minutes approval motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Burke:
Motion to approve the August 13, 2008 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 8-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
1. PRESENTATION BY METCO SERVICES
Façade Consultant Doug Necci discussed his role in the plan review process. He works for both the Planning and Building divisions of Community Development. Mr. Necci has been reviewing façades in Novi for about fifteen years, less a four-year window earlier this decade when he was not the Façade Consultant.
The façade reviews are a four-step process. The design is reviewed for the pre-application meeting, Preliminary Site Plan and Final Site Plan reviews. He also inspects the buildings onsite for compliance. A Section 9 Waiver is sometimes sought by the Applicant and should just be considered as another avenue for approval. In Mr. Necci’s mind as an architect, it’s the main way to get a façade approved. The façade material chart is a primitive way of designing buildings; it does encourage the use of good materials and discourages the use of bad materials.
Chair Pehrson said that the material chart does not keep up with technology, and he asked how the Planning Commission should judge the quality and character of the material that is not on the chart. Mr. Necci said façade materials come in and out of fashion. The Ordinance does get amended on occasion. As the City’s consultant, he keeps track of the new materials and he periodically suggests adding materials to the chart. For example, on the last Façade Ordinance update, C-Brick was added. He encouraged the Planning Commission to consider the chart as an option for the Applicant to use in his design, one which would yield an automatic approval if it were followed. At the same time, creative design should really be encouraged, and that is why the Section 9 Waiver was developed. In fact, Mr. Necci prefers to call it a "Section 9 Approval" rather than a "Waiver." Its use brings a healthy dialogue on the façade. Section 9 of the Ordinance actually requires the Applicant to explain the benefit of his façade design.
Chair Pehrson mentioned the new material being used on Providence Hospital, and how some of the laminate is not adhering to the panels. Mr. Necci said durability and a proven track record cannot be discounted. He is cautious about adding new, unproven materials to the façade chart.
Member Cassis said that Novi has created their Ordinance to regulate the use of brick, even the color of brick, and he wondered how receptive the City should be to new concepts. Mr. Necci encouraged the debate on façades and materials. The Planning Commission is as capable as an architect to recognize good architecture. The big challenge is being able to visualize the building from the plans provided. Mr. Necci said the focus should not be on the chart, because the chart just ensures approval through a less-creative approach to architectural design. The Planning Commission should focus on the designs and the façade boards.
Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth said the most recent changes to the Façade Ordinance were not an overhaul. Ms. McBeth felt that the Ordinance is a good one that has held up over the years. She said that if the Planning Commission wished the Staff to consider an overhaul they could, although she didn’t think that the original perspective of the Ordinance should be lost. From a visual standpoint, an overhaul could create a void between "old" buildings and "new" buildings. The last changes allowed for some new, proven materials and green building techniques.
Member Lynch didn’t wish to comment on colors; he’d prefer to leave that to the professionals. However, he wondered how the standards were missed on the new material at Providence, though he thought it had something to do with sunload issues. He asked how new materials were tested. He thought products would be better tested by their manufacturers, and he hoped Providence didn’t lose a fortune on the repair of their façade. Mr. Necci said that there isn’t a direct testing method for façade materials. The Ordinance is not meant to conflict with or overlap the Building Codes. He said the material used on the Providence is being used all over. The glitch at Providence must have been an anomaly. Brick, Mr. Necci said, is preferred in Novi because it is tried and true.
Member Lynch didn’t know whether there was a Building Code that covers testing. Mr. Necci said there is ASTM Testing of freeze-thaw, compressive strength, material properties, etc. The color retention, i.e., whether the material would fade in the sun, may be known by the manufacturer and it would be up to the architect to check into that.
Mr. Necci said he could comment on material durability in his reviews if a new material is proposed.
There were no Supplemental Issues.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
Moved by Member Wrobel,
Motion to adjourn.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.
SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS
MON 09/01/08 CITY OFFICES CLOSED
MON 09/08/08 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
TUE 09/09/08 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:00 PM
WED 09/10/08 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
MON 09/22/08 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
WED 09/24/08 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
MON 10/06/08 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
WED 10/08/08 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
TUE 10/14/08 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:00 PM
MON 10/20/08 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM
WED 10/22/08 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM
Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf, Signature on File
Customer Service Representative Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date
September 3, 2008
Date Approved: September 10, 2008