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PLANNING COMMISSION
CITY OF NOVI
Regular Meeting
Wednesday,  September 10, 2008  |  7 PM
Council Chambers | Novi Civic Center | 45175 W. Ten Mile
(248) 347-0475

 

CALL TO ORDER

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

ROLL CALL

Present:  Members Victor Cassis, David Greco (7:17 PM), Andrew Gutman, Brian Larson, Michael Lynch, Michael Meyer, Mark Pehrson, Wayne Wrobel

Absent: Member Brian Burke (excused)

Also Present:  Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Rob Hayes, City Engineer; Kristin Kolb, City Attorney

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Member Wrobel led the meeting in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Moved by Member Wrobel, seconded by Member Gutman:

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

Motion to approve the September 10, 2008 Planning Commission Agenda. Motion carried 7-0.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

No one from the audience wished to speak.

CORRESPONDENCE

Member Gutman said that Robin Lipski sent the Planning Commission a letter thanking them for all of their kind words about David. She said he enjoyed being a Planning Commission member.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

There were no Committee Reports.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPUTY DIRECTOR REPORT

Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth said that Hyatt Place at the Rock Financial Showplace was approved by City Council. The first readings were approved for the OSC Text Amendment and the Gross Leasable Floor Text Amendment.

1. I-96 Area Transportation STUDY Presentation BY ROB HAYES

City Engineer Rob Hayes provided an overview of the I-96 area Transportation Study. This study is in its infancy; the scope of work is being determined so that a consultant can be identified. Noviís competitive advantage is its prime geographic location and its proximity to an outstanding transportation network. The City needs to take a critical look at the infrastructure within the I-96 corridor.

City Council had the forethought to grant a service-improvement request for this yearís budget. They committed $100,000 toward the study effort. The area is bounded by Grand River Avenue to the south, Twelve Mile to the north,

I-275/M-5 corridor to the east and the Novi-Wixom boundary to the west. This is a large study area.

The corridor has a great daily traffic count. 134,000 cars travel I-96; 180,000 cars travel I-275. Large trip generators include the Novi Road retail area, Providence Hospital, Rock Financial, and perhaps the future use of the Wixom Ford Plant. The half-mile boundary around I-96 and Novi Road has one of the highest lane closures per mile within the Metro Detroit area. This is caused by vehicle breakdown, accidents or other reasons that close down lanes. This is tracked by MDOT. Mr. Hayes said that seven of the Cityís highest crash intersections fall within the study area. These characteristics all support the Cityís need to conduct this study.

The outcome of this study is to develop a prioritized list of projects that when implemented, will serve to improve traffic safety and mitigate congestion. This study will also foster economic development by attracting more businesses to the area. This is relevant because all of these efforts align themselves with key City Council goals such as improving public safety and encouraging economic development.

Mr. Hayes said that the number one condition identified in the 2006 Citizen Survey was traffic congestion. This is also a priority identified by MDOT. MDOT is responsible for I-96, I-696, I-275 and M-5.

Mr. Hayes said that they are now in the execution phase. They have mobilized a team of stakeholders, both public and private sector. Internally, the City assembled a Venture Team to delve into this project. Employees on the team include Community Development Director Steve Rumple, Ara Topouzian from Economic Development, Sergeant Terry Whitfield from the Police Department, Tia Gronlund-Fox from Human Resources and Brian Coburn from the Engineering Department. The private stakeholders include the Taubman Group, Providence Hospital, Rock Financial Showplace and ITC. Some have committed financial resources so that the study can be comprehensive. Others have offered technical assistance and some have provided both. The public stakeholders include MDOT, SEMCOG, RCOC, City of Wixom and the Traffic Improvement Association. Some have offered financial help; all have offered technical assistance.

Mr. Hayes said that once the scope of the project is complete a consultant will be selected. He is waiting on a few comments from some of the stakeholders. A consultant will have to be brought on board because of the magnitude of this project. This consultant should have broad and deep skills in planning and transportation. They should have a local presence. They need to take an unbiased approach. The City will use the qualifications-based selection process, which offers a fair and level playing field.

The project will be broken into phases Ė from project initiation to report preparation. The stakeholders will remain involved. They will attend a series of progress meetings and work sessions. Input will be gleaned not only from the stakeholders involved with the process but from the public as well. A listening session will be offered so that the publicís needs and concerns can be voiced. A series of public information meetings will be provided. Both Novi and Wixom will hold City Council presentations. The Planning Commission will also be keyed into the progress of this project.

The schedule begins with the data collection and evaluation of same by December 2008. Computer modeling and forecasting will be completed by February 2009. The alternatives will be identified in the final report by the end of June 2009.

The outcome of this project will be recommended preferred transportation alternatives. Recommendations may include a subset of capital projects or operational improvements, or even something as passive as shifting the paradigm from one-car/one-driver to transit alternatives. Projects will be grouped into short-, mid- and long-term categories. Cost estimates and funding strategies will be identified. This will include grant opportunities. The more expensive, capital-intensive projects will be the long-term goals. Some examples might be signage improvements, intelligent transportation system implementation (signage indicating alternate routes, travel time indicators) to help make travel more predictable, access management plans, travel demand management plans, intersection improvements (turn lane are accel/decal lane additions), interchange improvements, roadway widening and grade separations.

Mr. Hayes did not anticipate MDOT adding any lanes to the roads under their jurisdiction with the exception of what is already on the books. Bridge and overpass repair on I-96 to I-696 from Novi Road to Halsted is planned for next year. There is also a plan to add one west-bound lane from I-96 from M-5 to Novi Road.

Mr. Hayes said that the keys to success include public input, stakeholder involvement and City Council input. Novi must stay focused on the overall goal, which is to reduce congestion, improve traffic safety, and foster economic development. Novi needs to keep a control on this project because it is limited by the available funding and time constraints.

Member Cassis thanked Mr. Hayes. He recalled how a consultant for the Master Plan made suggestions for an area that is part of the I-96 corridor. Member Cassis didnít understand what the true goal of the study was. Mr. Hayes responded that there is no particular project; this was a holistic look at transportation in the corridor, based on current conditions and projected conditions. The idea is to identify the problem areas that exist now, where problems might be in the future, and what can be done today to minimize the problems - sooner rather than later.

Member Cassis asked whether there is an upcoming change to the Master Plan or a big project that was planned for the City. Mr. Hayes said there are no foregone conclusions; Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth responded that this is not a land use plan. This is a transportation study of the existing roadways and the goals are to reduce congestion, improve safety and foster economic growth. The Venture Team and the consultant will look at the recommended land uses in the Master Plan for Land Use, as well as the existing land uses.

Mr. Hayes said there will be a formal report that suggests capital projects, their priority and their costs. It will provide a suggested timeline. With that report, the City can go to SEMCOG and ask them about seeking federal funds. Without this report, these projects will not be listed on the regional transportation plan.

Member Cassis asked whether the City is requesting aid for the current state of the City without any new projects planned, or is the City looking for more development. Mr. Hayes responded that this study will forecast the upcoming years.

Member Wrobel hoped that the City will able to make something happen with the completed study. There seems to be so many fingers in the pie and he didnít know how strong the stakeholder buy-in is. He didnít want the City to waste its time. Member Wrobel asked for clarification on the Novi Road area closure statistic. Mr. Hayes said that the number is taken from traffic going both directions. Member Wrobel asked whether MDOT was doing anything now to address this situation. Mr. Hayes said the huge project will begin next year, and it includes the ramps on the south side of I-96 and Novi Road. It will improve the Novi Road bridge, Meadowbrook Road bridge, the I-275 flyover going to Farmington Hills, and the CSX bridges. The ramp work will certainly help the lane closures. This is earmarked as a "safety project."

Member Lynch understood the boundaries of the corridor. He thought that certain traffic assumptions were taken into consideration with the Master Plan review. He asked whether this study would quantify some of the certainty associated with, for instance, a change from residential to commercial zoning. He recalled some changes recommended for Novi Road near the old Expo in the most recent Master Plan review. He wondered if shifting the commercial projects to other areas in this corridor would change the Cityís plan for the north-south arteries like Wixom or Beck Road. Member Lynchís concern was what the impact to the infrastructure would be and more succinctly, what the impact would be to the taxpayer.

Mr. Hayes said that this study covers a large area and the funds are limited, therefore the scope will not be as dynamic as what Mr. Lynch suggested. There isnít enough funding to do "what if" scenarios. Member Lynch concluded that this is a general boiler-plate analysis. He thought that was reasonable. He was interested in knowing more about the "Grand River Corridor" and the "Twelve Mile Corridor."

Mr. Hayes said that there are two other regional projects that will be solidified on the upcoming project list with the completion of this report. One project is Twelve Mile widening and putting a crossing over the railroad west of Dixon. The other project is Grand River, east of Novi Road to Haggerty. The latter is an earmarked project from Congressman McCotter from a few years ago and $500,000 is dedicated toward the early engineering portion of that work. This report, in its conclusion, will show that the City has to focus its efforts on either one or both of these corridors. This will help us secure federal funding in the future.

Member Lynch said that this plan is separate from the Master Plan, and if something changes in the Master Plan the Planning Commission will deal with that when the time comes. Member Lynch said that other than reading technical journals, there is really nothing on which he can base a decision on what impact a City decision is going to make on the roadways and the infrastructure. He hoped that this study might do that.

Chair Pehrson said that the prioritization of the studied areas will provide the City with a basis on which they can go to the federal or state government and ask for safety project funding. He said that Ms. McBethís department will be able to provide additional data. Chair Pehrson said that the governments will look at the "what ifs" but not to a granular detail, but the replacement of the Expo Center with a seven-story office building would probably be looked at. The bigger "what ifs" will have an impact on the Master Plan and on this study.

Mr. Hayes said this study will provide Ms. McBeth with data for her departmentís analyses. Ms. McBeth added that the Planning Commission will still retain the right to review and approve site plans. Through this effort, the City solicits reports from its Traffic Consultant and frequently these reviews determine that the new construction is going to have a level of impact that requires, for instance, a center turn lane or right/left turn lane, etc. These protections will still be in place. The Design and Construction Standards are still in place, which require certain distances between driveways. Again, the safety reviews that are the purview of the Planning Commission will still be in place; this study is an overall review that will yield overall recommendations.

Member Lynch thought that this project was necessary, and he said he would be cautious in his decision-making as a Planning Commission member not to make decisions that would hinder the other efforts of the City. Member Lynch said that a change to one area will impact the whole system, and he struggled with thinking that improving one area may be to the detriment of another area.

Member Meyer thanked Mr. Hayes for his presentation. He hoped that this study was indeed holistic and that alternative forms of transportation are included in the report. It may be time for Michigan to consider rapid transit. He said that he travels this corridor daily and the difference between a 3:30 PM and a 4:30 PM departure is unbelievable. Safety is the greatest concern. The number two issue is the patience of the people who have to drive their vehicles every day in this area. This City might get the reputation that this is an area that people want to avoid, because it is so congested.

Member Meyer believed that the Member Lynchís comments can best be addressed with a plan by plan analysis, as the projects come forward. He said that it appeared to him that the City has made every effort to put in the extra lanes where necessary.

Member Meyer thought that the "what ifs" have to be included in a holistic plan. He understood that $100,000 probably wouldnít address all of this. He hoped that the citizenry takes advantage of the public forums, as they did a great job with the recent Master Plan update.

Member Gutman thanked Mr. Hayes for his presentation.

Chair Pehrson said the Planning Commission looked forward to updates and the final report. He noted for the record that Member Greco arrived at 7:17 PM.

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 and 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.

2. NOVI PROMENADE OUTLOT 1, SP07-10

Consideration of the request of Oliver Hatcher Construction for a one-year Final Site Plan extension. The subject property is located in Section 17, east of Wixom Road and south of Grand River Avenue in the I-1, Light Industrial District, subject to the B-3, General Business Regulations, pursuant to the terms of the Novi Equities Partnership Consent Judgment. The subject property is approximately 1.57 acres and the Applicant is proposing to construct a 13,300 square foot retail development comprising eight attached units on Outlot 1 of the larger Novi Promenade development.

3. MEADOWBROOK CORPORATE PARK PHASE 2 BUILDING 3, SP06-05 Consideration of the request of Burton-Katzman Development Company, for a one-year Final Site Plan extension. The subject property is located in Section 13, east of Meadowbrook Road, south of Twelve Mile and north of I-96 in the OST, Planned Office Service Technology District. The subject property is approximately 4.57 acres and the Applicant is proposing a 34,100 square-foot one-story speculative office, service and technology use.

4. HAMPTON WOODS PHASE 4N, SP05-40

Consideration of the request of Amarjit S. Chawney, for a one-year Preliminary Site Plan extension. The subject property is located in Section 27, west of Novi Road and south of Ten Mile in the OS-1, Office Service District. The subject property is approximately five acres and the Applicant is proposing to build a 79,563 square-foot three-story senior housing facility.

5. WESTERN OAKLAND MEDICAL CENTER, SP07-26

Consideration of the request of G. Fisher Construction Company for a one-year Preliminary Site Plan extension. 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 25,521 square-foot medical office building.

Moved by Member Wrobel, seconded by Member Gutman:

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

Motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Motion carried 8-0.

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION

1. SET A PUBLIC HEARING FOR ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.231 RELATING TO MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION, RADIO AND PHOTOGRAPHIC PRODUCTION FACILITIES IN THE I-1, LIGHT INDUSTRIAL AND OST, PLANNED OFFICE SERVICE TECHNOLOGY DISTRICTS

Deputy Director of Community Development Barbara McBeth said that the Public Hearing date is requested for September 24, 2008. The Planning Commission members were provided a memo and text language to consider for the upcoming Public Hearing. The Venture Team, "Hollywood Novi," compiled this information on policies, procedures and Ordinance language. The result hopefully adequately addresses both permanent production activities and temporary filming throughout the City. The Text Amendment language recommends the I-1 and OST Districts for permanent production facilities. The Filming Permit Ordinance will allow temporary filming at just about any location within the City. This portion is an amendment to the City Code, so it does not need to come before the Planning Commission for a Public Hearing.

Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Lynch:

voice vote on text amendment 18.231 Public Hearing date setting motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Lynch:

Motion to set a September 24, 2008 Public Hearing date for Text Amendment 18.231 relating to motion picture, television, radio and photographic production facilities in the I-1, Light Industrial, and OST, Planned Office Service Technology. Motion carried 8-0.

2. APPROVAL OF THE AUGUST 27, 2008 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Lynch:

voice vote on the august 27, 2008 minutes approval motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Lynch:

Motion to approve the August 27, 2008 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 8-0.

CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION

There were no Consent Agenda Removals.

MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

There were no Matters for Discussion

SUPPLEMENTAL ISSUES

There were no Supplemental Issues.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

No one from the audience wished to speak.

ADJOURNMENT

Moved by Member Wrobel,

Motion to adjourn.

The meeting adjourned at 7:37 PM.

SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS

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

WED 11/05/08 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM

MON 11/10/08 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

TUE 11/11/08 CITY OFFICES CLOSED

WED 11/12/08 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:00 PM

WED 11/19/08 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM

Transcribed by Jane L. Schimpf Signature on File

Customer Service Representative Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date

September 18, 2008

Date Approved: September 24, 2008