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PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
APPROVED COPY
CITY OF NOVI
Regular Meeting
Wednesday, July 29, 2009  |  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, Brian Larson, Michael Meyer, Chairperson Pehrson, Leland Prince

Absent: Members David Baratta (excused), Andy Gutman (excused), Michael Lynch (excused),

Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; Jana Pritchard, Planner; Kristin Kolb, City Attorney

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Member Greco led the meeting attendees in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Moved by Member Greco and seconded by Member Larson:

VOICE VOTE ON THE AGENDA APPROVAL, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GRECO AND SECONDED BY MEMBER LARSON:

A motion to approve the July 29, 2009 Planning Commission Agenda. Motion carried 6-0.

CORRESPONDENCE

Member Greco stated that they have pieces of correspondence related to the Public Hearing. We have received 16 approvals and 6 objections.

Letters of Approval:

  • Bruce & Kerri Tuckey, Approves.
  • Amanda Clearwater, Approves.
  • Emma Weyer, Approves and believes the church provides easy access to the road and appears to have plenty of room for pre-schoolers inside and outside.
  • Mark E. Radeke, Approves because the present future of our workforce needs a thorough education in building strong social skills.
  • Charlie Lukett, Recommends approval, community would benefit from such a facility.
  • Vicki Cooper, Approves because her nephew attends pre-school in a church building, has benefited from the program and the neighbors had no complaints.
  • Howard E. Mueller, Approves and feels there is enough space for the children and enough parking, and the building has a kitchen facility.
  • Bernadette Nentwick, Approves and does not view it as a disturbance.
  • Irvin L. Nadolny, Approves.
  • Karen Revitzer, Approves because it is in a church building.
  • Audrey J. Cartwright, Approves.
  • Barbara Horvath, Approves of using two classrooms at the church.
  • Dorothy Hand, Approves of the pre-school.
  • Thelma Kubitskey, Approves.
  • Clifford H. Morse & Lillian J. Morse, Approves of the project.
  • Thomas E. Griffin & Ameilia E. Griffin, Approves.

Letters of Objection:

  • Beth DeCoster, Objects to the noise a pre-school/daycare will bring, asking why would they waive the Noise Impact Statement.
  • Lois Joy Jenkins, Objects to daycare, signage or advertising.
  • John G. Porter, Jr., Objects because he does not want a business in a residential neighborhood, and there is an overabundance of traffic at Eight Mile and Meadowbrook now.
  • Shirley A. Weinreich, Moved to Country Place because of quiet surroundings, does not want play equipment or to hear childrenís voices.
  • Judi Latimer, Opposes it because is a quiet place and 2 classrooms of children will increase noise in area.
  • Carman Zahari, Opposes pre-school, would cause disturbance in her peaceful environment.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Since no one wished to speak, Chairperson Pehrson closed the audience participation.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

There were no Committee Reports.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPUTY DIRECTOR REPORT

Deputy Director McBeth stated that at the City Council meeting of July 20, 2009, the City Council approved the request of 29 Park for the Preliminary Site Plan and Shared Parking Study.

CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL

There was no Consent Agenda.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. NORTHVILLE COOPERATIVE PRESCHOOL, SP09-17

Public Hearing of the request of Northville Cooperative Preschool for Site Plan and Special Land Use Permit approval. The subject property is located in Section 35, north of Eight Mile Road, west of Meadowbrook Road, in the R-1, One-Family Residential District. The applicant is proposing to use two classrooms for their preschool program located in the Meadowbrook Congregational Church at 21355 Meadowbrook Road.

Planner Kapelanski stated that the applicant is proposing to occupy existing classroom space at the Meadowbrook Congregational Church located on Meadowbrook Road between Eight and Nine Mile Roads. The applicant is proposing a pre-school use to occupy approximately 1,800 square feet. The subject property is currently zoned R-1 (single family residential). The surrounding properties are also zoned for single family residential use on the north, south and east. There is multiple family residential zoning to the west.

The use of a pre-school / daycare is listed as requiring a Special Land Use approval in the R-1 District. The Planning Commission should consider the findings listed in Section 2516.2.C of the Ordinance. Staff has not identified any major concerns regarding this Special Land Use requests, and therefore would recommend approval.

There are various standards that the applicant must meet in the R-1 District in order to obtain approval of a day-care / pre-school and these are listed in Section 402.4.B. The applicant has met most of the required standards except for providing a fenced-in outdoor play area. The applicant is requesting a variance from the ZBA and has indicated that very little activity will take place outside the classroom space.

A pre-school in the R-1 District also requires the submittal of a Noise Impact Statement. The applicant is requesting a Planning Commission waiver of that requirement. The proposed use will not add any noise generating equipment to the existing church and no other measureable noise is expected as a result of this Special Land Use permit given the limited outdoor use. Staff supports this waiver.

Planner Kapelanski stated that the applicant is here to answer any questions: Mike McGillian/President of Northville Preschool, Jeanine Boshaw / Program Director and Charley Hockett / Meadowbrook Congregation Church.

Chair Pehrson stated that this was a Public Hearing and noted that the public hearing response letters had been read earlier in the meeting and are made a part of the record for this item. Chair Pehrson asked Beth DeCoster to please step forward, as she had requested an opportunity to speak.

Beth DeCoster came forward and said she has lived at Country Place for 23 years. The church faces her front yard. Previously, Ms. DeCoster lived in Redford across the street from a pre-school, and when it changed to a daycare it was noisy. Ms. DeCoster asked if the children from the pre-school were coming outside for 20 minutes a day. She was concerned about the noise from the children playing outside. She said this is a residential area and noise travels. Ms. DeCoster does not object to the church operations on Sundays, and parking was good. Her concern was the daycare being open between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. She asked the reason for putting in this pre-school.

As far as screening, Ms. DeCoster stated half of the existing trees are dead and residents can hear a few children over there now. Ms. DeCoster questioned why they were asking for a waiver for the Noise Impact Study. She requested that the permit not be granted and the noise statement waiver not be granted. Ms. DeCoster stated that numerous letters were received regarding this public hearing.

Member Greco stated that they had received 16 approvals and 6 objections for the Northville Cooperative Pre-school, as read into the record earlier in the meeting. The letters are on file at the city. Chair Pehrson closed the public hearing.

Member Cassis asked the petitioner if the pre-school would be open from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Mr. Mike McGillian stated that their morning classes started at 9:10 a.m. with the expectation that the parents would arrive 20 minutes before class to help set up. The starting time for teachers would be 8:45 a.m. Mr. McGillian stated that on the days of afternoon classes, which would be 1 to 3 days a week, the class would end at 3:30 p.m.

Member Cassis asked Mr. McGillian if the maximum time would be from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Mr. McGillian answered that was correct.

Member Cassis stated if the school was asking for a certain capacity or number rooms in the church.

Mr. McGillian explained that they were asking for two classrooms and offer classes to 2, 3, and 4 year olds. One of the classrooms would be set up for 2 year olds and the maximum class size would be 8 students. Mr. McGillian explained that the 3 and 4 year old classroom would be on separate days, and the maximum class size would be 15 students.

Member Cassis asked how many children total as a maximum for the school.

Mr. Mike McGillian said they would have a total of 23 children enrolled, but would expect 21 children maximum for the morning classes. The afternoon classes would be smaller, and as of now, may have one class in the afternoon that would have 10 students.

Member Cassis asked if the number of children would ever increase from 21.

Mr. McGillian said they have two classrooms and two teachers. Since there is not another classroom available to them at this facility, the number would never be over 23.

Member Cassis asked how often the children would be going outside to play.

Ms. Jeanine Boshaw, Project Director stated that she has been the director of the program for 12 years. The 2 year old class will play outside on days that the weather permits for no more than 20 minutes. Ms. Boshaw explained that the 3 and 4 year olds class will play outside on days that the weather permits for 30 minutes. There would be one 30 minute and one 20 minute play session in the morning, weather permitting.

Member Cassis asked if all of the children would be outside at the same time.

Ms. Boshaw stated that it would not be appropriate to have the 2 year olds out with the 4 year olds at the same time. Ms. Boshaw stated that they were not planning to put in any play equipment on the church property. However, if the school wanted to do that, it would have to go through the State to get an outdoor play equipment license. The childrenís activities outdoors consist of games, races and small group playing together and then they go back into the building for the remainder of the time.

Member Cassis asked what qualifications are needed to have this kind of a program and who has the qualifications for this pre-school.

Ms. Boshaw said that they have been a licensed pre-school with the State of Michigan since their incorporation when Michigan started licensing pre-schools in the late 1960ís. Ms. Boshaw said, the co-op is 55 years old in this community. The co-op is a parent-run organization. The teachers are hired by the parents, and the parents work in the classroom with the teachers. Two parent assistants are with the teachers at all times to make sure the children are very well supervised. In the 3 year old classroom there are 3 parents, and in the 4 year old classroom, there are 2 parents. The State requires 2 assistants for the eight 2 year olds, but the pre-school has 3 adults supervising. The co-opís ratios are very high for the number of adults-to-children in the classroom.

Member Cassis asked if those parents would be chaperones.

Ms. Boshaw explained that they are her assistants. Children learn within their age group to build social skills. The co-op works with the entire family. The reason space is rented from the church is because the co-op and the church have similar goals, and that is to build families.

Member Cassis asked if the co-op is connected with the church itself.

Ms. Boshaw stated that it is only from the rental agreement. The co-op is open to all denominations and is not limited to just the particular church where space is rented.

Member Cassis asked Planner Kapelanski how far the closest condominium is to the church. Member Cassis stated that this is an allowable use in that area, and in the church. Member Cassis said that it is the Planning Commissionís duty to approve something that abides by the Ordinances of the City of Novi. Member Cassis said he is aware there were questions about waiving the Noise Impact Statement. However, the noise statement is not about the children, it is about the noise connected with any equipment or generators to be used on the premises during operation.

Deputy Director McBeth stated that the building itself sits 260 feet from the rear or west property line. From the north property line (Broquet side) the building is 180 feet to the closest point. From the south, the building sits less than 100 feet from the south property line.

Member Meyer asked Chair Pehrson about the questioning of the Noise Impact Statement requirement.

Chair Pehrson stated that the Noise Impact Statement has nothing to do with the noise the children make. It has to do with noise connected with any equipment, such as an air conditioner, generator, or something of that sort that would impact the surrounding neighborhood. It has nothing to do with people exiting from vehicles or children playing, but about the mechanics of the building and what might be brought from that.

Moved by Member Meyer and seconded by Member Greco:

ROLL CALL VOTE ON NORTHVILLE COOPERATIVE PRESCHOOL, SP09-17 SPECIAL LAND USE PERMIT, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER MEYER AND SECONDED BY MEMBER GRECO:

In the matter of the request of Northville Cooperative Preschool SP 09-17, a motion to approve the Special Land Use permit, subject to the following:

1) Planning Commission finding under Section 2516.2.c for the Special Land Use permit, relative to other feasible uses of the site, the proposed use: will not cause any detrimental impact on existing thoroughfares, due to the fact that the use of an 1800 square foot portion of the existing building for a preschool with a maximum of 23 children at any one time would not generate a substantially different amount of traffic than other permitted uses on the site; is compatible with adjacent uses of land in terms of location, size, character, and impact on adjacent property or the surrounding neighborhood, due to the location of the tenant space in relation to the property line and the applicant has indicated that there will be minimal use of any outside space; is consistent with the goals, objectives and recommendations of the Cityís Master Plan for Land Use; will promote the use of land in a socially and economically desirable manner; is in harmony with the purposes and conforms to the applicable site design regulations of the zoning district in which it is located, as noted in the staff and consultantís review letters;

2) Planning Commission waiver of the required Noise Impact Statement;

3) That the applicant receives the required variance for the lack of a fenced in outdoor play area from the Zoning Board of Appeals; and

4) Compliance with all conditions and requirements listed in the staff and consultant review letters.

The motion was made for the following reasons: because the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 4, Article 24 and Article 25 and other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 6-0.

Member Cassis commented that this was hard for a person that objected to this use, however, churches have traditionally provided services like this for their own parishioners in their building. It brings the community together as well as the church and their children. Some churches do not have this type of service themselves, but will allow an applicant to provide this service. With the economy today, churches, people and businesses are struggling, and this is a type of public service that is being administered in churches.

Chair Pehrson explained to Ms. DeCoster that the Planning Commission is confronted with many of these types of issues. The applicant has followed the Ordinance and this is a permitted use within this district. Inside that facility, with the Zoning Ordinance, no one is doing anything underhanded nor going outside of the boundaries of what they can and cannot do.

Chair Pehrson asked that the cooperative and its neighbors keep dialogue open, to have the kind of communication that is needed between neighbors. If there is something that needs to come back to the city, there should be communication between the neighbors and the cooperative. Also, if there are problems with screening, the residents need to speak with the church.

Ms. DeCoster then added that it is in a residential area and that the preschool is a business which has nothing to do with the church. Ms. DeCoster stated that there will be 2 and 3 year olds going out to the playground, and all they are going to do is scream and chase each other around.

Chair Pehrson explained to Ms. DeCoster that we have been over all of these issues. Chair Pehrson suggested to Ms. DeCoster that she might want to talk to the cooperative that will be occupying this building to see what they can do to keep the noise to a minimum. Chair Pehrson explained that the pre-school is following the ordinance. As far as noise from children, there is no standard in our ordinance that we have to look at that says childrenís voices must stay within inside any decibel level. All we are doing relative to the noise standard is making sure there are no other appliances or devices put on or in the building that would be a problem.

Moved by Member Meyer and seconded by Member Greco:

ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE NORTHVILLE COOPERATIVE PRESCHOOL, SP09-17, FOR PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL, MADE BY MEMBER MEYER AND SECONDED BY MEMBER GRECO:

In the matter of Northville Cooperative Preschool, SP 09-17, a motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan, subject to the following: a) The conditions and items listed in the staff and consultant review letters being addressed on the Stamping Set; and b) The applicant receives the required variance for the lack of a fenced in outdoor play area from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The motion was made for the following reasons: because the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 4, Article 24 and Article 25 and other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 6-0.

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION

1. SET A PUBLIC HEARING FOR AUGUST 12, 2009 FOR ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.238 IN ORDER TO CLARIFY PARKING REQUIREMENTS FOR FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS AND STANDARDS FOR FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS IN THE B-3, GENERAL BUSINESS DISTRICT

Moved by Member Greco and seconded by Member Larson:

VOICE VOTE ON SETTING A PUBLIC HEARING FOR AUGUST 12, 2009 FOR ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT 18.238, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GRECO AND SECONDED BY MEMBER LARSON:

A motion to set a public hearing for August 12, 2009 for Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18,238 to clarify parking requirements for fast food restaurants and the standards for fast food restaurants in the B-3, General Business District. Motion carried 6-0.

2. APPROVAL OF THE MAY 20, 2009 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

Moved by Member Greco, seconded by Member Larson:

VOICE VOTE ON THE MAY 20, 2009 MINUTES APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GRECO AND SECONDED BY MEMBER LARSON:

A motion to approve the May 20, 2009 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 6-0.

3. APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 10, 2009 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

Moved by Member Greco, seconded by Member Prince:

VOICE VOTE ON THE JUNE 10, 2009 MINUTES APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GRECO AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PRINCE:

A motion to approve the June 10, 2009 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 6-0.

CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION

MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION

SUPPLEMENTAL ISSUES

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

ADJOURNMENT

Moved by Member Greco, seconded by Member Prince:

Motion to adjourn.

The meeting adjourned at 7:46 PM.

SCHEDULED AND ANTICIPATED MEETINGS:

THU 08/06/09 MASTER PLAN & ZONING MEETING 7:00 PM

MON 08/10/09 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

TUE 08/11/09 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:00 PM

WED 08/12/09 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM

MON 08/24/09 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

WED 08/26/09 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM

THU 09/03/09 MASTER PLAN & ZONING MEETING 7:00 PM

MON 09/07/09 CITY OFFICES CLOSED

TUE 09/08/09 ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS 7:00 PM

MON 09/14/09 CITY COUNCIL MEETING 7:00 PM

WED 09/16/09 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING 7:00 PM

Transcribed by Juanita Freeman

Account Clerk

October, 2009

Date Approved: 10/28/09 _______________________________________________

Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant Date: