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Regular Meeting
Wednesday, January 13, 2010  |  7 PM
Council Chambers | Novi Civic Center |45175 W. Ten Mile
(248) 347-0475


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


Present:  Member Baratta, Member Cassis, Member Gutman, Member Larson, Member Meyer, Member Prince

Absent:  Member Greco (excused), Member Lynch (excused), Chair Pehrson (excused)

Also Present:  Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; Mark Spencer, Planner; Lindon Ivezaj, City Engineer; Deputy Chief Lindberg, Police Department; Kristin Kolb, City Attorney


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


Moved by Member Prince, seconded by Member Cassis.          .


Motion to approve the January 13, 2010 Planning Commission Agenda.  Motion carried 6-0 


No one from the audience wished to speak.


Member Meyer stated that there was correspondence related to Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.239 which is on the agenda this evening and it could be addressed at that time.

Member Meyer stated there was correspondence related to the Wind Turbine Ordinance and the Solar Ordinance, which are also on the agenda and it could be addressed at that time.


There were no Committee Reports


Deputy Director McBeth stated there is a training opportunity that is coming up in February, that a couple of our member’s attended last year. Information on the training was provided in the packet and the Commissioners should have received originals in the mail.    Last year’s attendees, Member Baratta and Member Prince both found it worthwhile.  If any commissioner is interested and would like to attend, it is relatively low cost and it is local.  Interested commissioners can contact staff and they will take care of getting people registered.


There was no Consent Agenda.



Public Hearing for a recommendation to City Council for an ordinance to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance at Article 2, “Construction of Language and Definitions, Zoning Districts Map,” Section 201, “Definitions,” to amend the definition of gasoline service stations to specify permitted accessory uses with a prohibition on the sale of alcohol, which has been found to be contrary to the public health, safety and welfare and Article 25, “General Provisions,” Section 2505, “Off-Street Parking Requirements” to revise the parking requirements for self-service gas stations.

Planner Kapelanski stated that, at previous meetings the Planning Commission was presented with an amendment to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages at gas stations.  The Commission considered the amendment and asked the staff for additional information which was then presented as a subsequent meeting.  As previously mentioned, this is an issue that is coming up more often as of late as evidenced by the supplementary public hearing letter distributed at the beginning of the meeting which Member Meyer will reference later. 

Planner Kapelanski went on to note this evening the Commission is asked to hold a public hearing on the issue and make a recommendation to the City Council regarding the sale of liquor at gas stations.  Three options of possible amendments have been included in your packets: 1) Total prohibition of alcohol sales at gas stations and it also included revisions to the parking requirements for gas stations; 2) The second option amends the definition of gas stations, but does not prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages there and again, it includes the parking revisions.  3)  The third option allows for a limited prohibition, allowing only those stores of 50,000 square feet or larger to sell alcohol, which is consistent with the State of Michigan standards and this option also includes revisions to the parking standards.  Deputy Chief Lindberg is here to answer questions.

Chair Gutman opened the public hearing to the public and asked if there was anyone who wished to speak.

Mike Koza, 6253 Runnymede Court, West Bloomfield Michigan came forward and asked if he could hear the options again.

Planner Kapelanski stated that the Commission was presented with three different text amendments.  The first alternative amends the definition for gas stations and also includes a total prohibition of the sale of alcohol at any gas station.   The second alternative amends the definition for gas stations but allows alcohol sales at any gas station provided the gas station gets the required liquor license from the State.  The third alternative amends the definition for gas stations and allows alcohol sales at gas stations 50,000 square feet or larger.  Planner Kapelanski stated in reference to the third alternative, the 50,000 square feet refers to the size of the building and not the land.

Kevin Banham, City of Orchard Lake came forward and indicated he was the owner of the USA 2 Go and managing partner of USA 2 Go gas station and convenience stores, the company that is intending to purchase land on Beck Road between Grand River Avenue and I-96 for the purpose of building a gas station.  Mr. Banham would like to illustrate the company’s perspective as gas station operators in regards to the issue that at hand, which is the selling of alcoholic beverages.

Mr. Banham stated that the sale of alcoholic beverages in gas stations in Michigan is a fairly new concept, unlike the rest of the country.  However, for the past 4 to 5 years, it has proven to be a critical component that convenience stores need.  It is critical and irreplaceable, not in the sense that extra dollars are generated, but it is needed to replace a lost portion of the income that the convenience stores used to make in the old days.

The gas station/convenience stores industry has changed tremendously.  The days of the small stations and repair shops are gone due to the demand of communities like Novi.  Repair shops, small kiosks that sell cigarettes and candy are gone and gas stations now-a-days are a one-stop shop.  It is all about convenience and what it offers.  It is everything a supermarket would offer, but on a smaller scale.  Liquor and alcoholic beverages represent more than twenty percent of the sales of these stores. 

For investors, it would be impossible to build something like the USA 2 Go that has been proposed to the City without having the ability to sell alcoholic beverages because it is not financially feasible anymore.  As far as restrictions, I think the State of Michigan, unlike other states has put in enough restrictions to make sure that no one will be able to abuse the system.  Such as things like the distance from the pump to the building, this implies a large property, and the minimum amount of inventory, which implies a large store.  This way alcohol would not be available at every corner of the City and it would be limited to certain projects at a caliber similar to the proposed USA 2 Go.

Mr. Banham concluded noting the one thing the Commission should think about is that the proposed USA 2 Go is really not a gas station that happens to sell alcoholic beverages, but is more like a high-end gourmet, mini supermarket that happens to offer gas out of convenience to the residents of the City of Novi.

Blair Bowman, 41600 Grand River Avenue, Novi Michigan stated that he had been before some of the members at the committee level working on the Master Plan and zoning efforts and he wanted to briefly give his comments on the issue.  The applicant for this proposed gas station is one of the highest quality operators, one of the finest stations in the business and this is going to have to be a very high quality project.  Blair Bowman completely understands the community’s interest in having standards and enforcing those and feels that it is important that to look at text amendments to make sure that those standards are upheld and enforced.   The concerns are that the State may or may not continue to regulate as they have and may be more lax on the standards that are currently in place.  It is understandable and only makes sense that the City would want to have some enforcement in place.

Blair Bowman is certainly in favor of efforts to enforce current regulations that are in place at the State level.  Even if the State were to change their regulations later, the City could keep regulations similar to the State’s in place for the future. 

Blair Bowman encouraged the Commission to think in terms of the City’s own zoning efforts and the likelihood of other additional stations.  This is not going to be a proliferation issue and even with the existing restrictions in place, it is not likely that a lot of existing stations would be able to qualify.  However, a 50,000 square foot facility is just not reasonable.  That is completely out of scale with the purpose of the freeway service style gas convenience centers that are currently being developed in other communities.  The proposed USA 2 Go gives the City an opportunity in these difficult times to take a positive step forward and start to initiate some of the development that hopefully will spark some positive economic development programs in that corridor.

Blair Bowman requested the Planning Commission talk about the three options and how each of them changes the definition of a gas station and inquired about the specific changes to the definition.

Planner Kapelanski stated to Mr. Bowman that the proposed amended definitions are quite lengthy and that she could supply him with a copy.  In summary, the definition clarifies that a gas station also has convenience store type sales and includes the sale of sundry type goods.

Mr. Bowman thought this was consistent with their proposal and Kevin Banham did a nice job of outlining that it is just not a gas station with a cooler with beer and wine and alcohol for sale.  The proposed USA 2 Go is truly a convenience center in nature with multiple tenants and so forth.  This is a sizeable building with a sizeable investment.  So, even with some requirements in regards to that investment level and the type of facility being proposed, it would be totally appropriate in that location and the applicant would welcome the opportunity to work with the Commission on that.

Mike Koza stated that he had a couple of more things to say about the proposed business.  At this time, USA 2 Go has three existing stations that have beer and wine sales.  Two of the stations have beer and wine, and the other one has beer, wine and liquor.  Unfortunately there are no recommendation letters here this evening, but letters are available from the cities and townships of their current locations.  USA 2 Go is a first class operation that hires and trains quality people/employees that does not want to do anything wrong like selling to minors.  From a security standpoint, USA 2 Go stations are well lit and secure, and can supply addresses for any commissioners that would want to go there.  The USA 2 Go organization does not condone that gas stations on every corner have beer and wine.  For instance, the older stations are 800 to1,000 square feet and could never hold $250,000 worth of inventory and could not meet the 50 feet from the pump to the door of the building requirement.  The old style station pumps do not qualify and the pumps are typically 20 feet from the point of sale and do not meet the $250,000 minimum inventory for beer and wine  There will not be corner stations coming in and asking to have beer and wine.

Member Meyer noted Mr. Koza also sent a letter to the Planning Commission.  Member Meyer read the letter into the record.

Dear Chairman and Planning Commission Members:

It is my understand that the City of Novi is considering an ordinance restricting beer, wine and liquor sales from gas stations and convenience stores.  As owners and operators of high-end gas stations and gourmet convenience stores throughout southeastern Michigan, we respectfully request that the Planning Commission

evaluate (i) the necessity and finality of this proposed ordinance and (ii) that implementation of the ordinance will lead to lower quality development of gas station and gas/convenience stores in the City.

In our opinion such an ordinance is not necessary as the State of Michigan already has regulations that limit gas/convenience centers that are allowed to sell beer, wine and liquor.  These regulations require that (a) the convenience store be at least 50 feet from the pump; (b) the store have an inventory value in excess of $250,000, and (c) the store must have a minimum amount of gross floor area.  The regulations that are currently imposed by the State of Michigan and the Department of Transportation are strict and should adequately protect the City from a mass proliferation of gas stations/convenience stores looking to sell liquor as does limited availability of liquor licenses.

Next week we will be presenting to the Planning Commission a concept to rezone a parcel of property at Beck Road and Grand River for the development of a gas station and gourmet convenience store.  In order to financially afford this development, however, it is imperative to sell beer, wine and liquor.  This would be done in strict compliance with the State’s requirements.

Rather than enacting an ordinance that completely prohibits the sale of beer, wine and liquor at gas stations, we believe a prudent and rational approach is to consider a City ordinance that mirrors the State regulations and would allow the City to enforce those regulations.  We’re not aware of any empirical information to suggest that motorists are more inclined to drink and drive because of the availability of beer, wine and liquor at a gas station versus at the local Kroger.  The motorists who choose to violate the law will do so whether buying the alcohol from a gas station or from the Kroger store across the street.  Treating gas stations with a convenience store differently from other retailers doesn’t seem fair because gas is the loss leader instead of the weekly food special.

Accordingly, we respectfully request the ordinance in its current form not be recommended for passage by City Council.  We look forward to working with the community to advance this quality development in Novi.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely, Mike Koza, Novi Mile, LLC

Chair Gutman closed the public hearing and asked if anyone from the Planning Commission wished to speak.

Member Baratta requested staff explain the three alternatives that were presented so they were clearly understood.  For example, does the first alternative that prohibits all sale of alcohol at gas stations also clarify the definition of a gas station?

Planner Kapelanski answer that is correct and the first alternative also changes the parking requirements.

Member Baratta asked what the parking requirements would be.

Planner Kapelanski stated that the parking requirements change from one parking space required for each fifty square feet of useable floor area in the cashier’s area and office area to one parking space per two-hundred square feet of useable floor area.

Member Baratta stated that then this makes it more consistent with the general retail parking ratio.

Planner Kapelanski answered correct.

Member Baratta stated that the second alternative is the allowance of alcohol sales at gas stations and this alternative clarifies the definition of gas stations and revises parking requirements for gas stations, but does not address the sale of alcohol at gas stations, which effectively allows the Liquor Commission to regulate those sales with no prohibition or regulation by the City.  So, the only difference is that we don’t prohibit that product category and that the parking ratio is all the same.

Planner Kapelanski answered correct and the parking ratio is all the same.

Member Baratta stated that the third alternative includes a regulation requiring a minimum of fifty-thousand square feet of gross leasable area in order for a gas station to be permitted to sell alcohol.  Essentially, a store that large is not a gas station, but a store that happens to sell gas.

Planner Kapelanski answered that is what the fifty-thousand square foot requirement would imply.

Member Baratta confirmed that the all alternatives would have the same one to two-hundred parking ratio.  Member Baratta questioned that if Commission recommends the City allow the sale of alcohol at gas stations and if City Council approves the sale of alcohol in gas stations, how many gas stations with this classification could be built in Novi.

Planner Kapelanski answered staff would have to look at the existing gas stations and to determine if they would meet the fifty foot requirement from the pump to the door and the fifty-thousand square foot minimum size requirement.  Planner Kapelanski did not believe that many stations would meet the fifty-thousand square foot threshold. 

Member Baratta stated that he had concerns with that size requirement.  Member Baratta understands the business model of the fuel station and issues with respect to the propensity to have drunken driving issues since he previously lived in Texas and gas stations sold alcohol for years.  Member Baratta had concerns with this correlation and looking at the provided data, did not see any studies that linked both.  Member Baratta said he believes there is a correlation, but has not seen a study that demonstrates that.  Member Baratta does not think that Novi should, or couldn’t in good conscious recommend Novi significantly expand the number of establishments that sell alcohol within the City limits.  Another issue is the propensity to drink and drive and as demonstrated in the various articles provided by staff.  Even though it is important for gas stations to survive and this business model to prosper, Member Baratta has concerns with the outstanding issues.  Member Baratta’s recommendation to the group, and vote in this matter, is that the City prohibits the sale of alcohol in gas stations until additional data regarding liquor sales at gas stations and drunk driving is available.

Member Meyer stated that the text for alternative two is misstated.  It reads, the allowance of alcohol sales at gas stations, and yet the description does not address the sale of alcohol at gas stations.

Planner Kapelanski answered that was correct and it was mis-stated in the memo.

Member Meyer can’t help but believe there would still be some regulation by the City through the Police Department.  Member Meyer was not sure he understood the alternative two correctly, because it seems like it is inviting people to say no to alternate number two as whom in their right mind would say I do not want any prohibition, or regulation by the City.

Planner Kapelanski stated that she cannot speak to what the Police Department would do.  At the previous meeting, Deputy Chief Lindberg spoke about inspections that were done and he is available for questions again this evening.  Planner Kapelanski stated that from a Community Development Department perspective, the Zoning Ordinance would not be regulating the sale and the City would leave that strictly to the Liquor Control Commission as presented in alternative two.

Member Meyer asked if Deputy Chief Lindberg could come forward.

Deputy Director McBeth stated that she would refer the Commission to the actual language that is in the packets for a little more clarity. Alternative two describes the accessory uses one might expect at gas stations including the sale of sundries like candy, cigarettes, milk, bread, and prepared food items as well as non-alcoholic beverages, and alcoholic beverages such as liquor, beer and wine as permitted by the State.

Member Meyer asked Deputy Chief Lindberg to address the language in alternative two.  Member Meyer cannot help but believe that our Police Department has some regulation related to the sale of alcohol.

Deputy Chief Lindberg answered Member Meyer was absolutely right and that one of the reasons the Police Department does not support alcohol sales at gas stations is that it would require some additional resources to be expended by the Police Department, not necessarily regulating additional liquor establishments, but additional time  that would have to be put in.  The Police Department does open liquor inspections once a quarter, and there are currently 95 Liquor Licenses in the City of Novi.  Once a quarter, an officer goes out and does what’s called an open liquor inspection.  The officers are in uniform and they inspect the licenses to see that they are property posted and in order in relation to the license itself.  Letters are sent to establishments saying police officers will be coming in and checking to see if they sell to anyone under age.  Additionally, twice a year, the Police Department has been doing decoy operations and going into all establishments that sell alcohol with someone who is underage and checking to see if that establishment will sell to that underage person.  The Police Department does not check inventories and will not be able to teach an officer how to count to make sure there is $250,000 dollars worth of inventory, and an officer will not be measuring the square footage of a building or doing any of the additional things that would be outlined in the Ordinance and/or the State Statute.  As far as regulations, that is what the Police Department does for quarterly open liquor inspections as well as decoy operations.

Member Meyer asked Deputy Chief Lindberg if the Police Department had any data or studies as Member Baratta mentioned, about the propensity of alcohol sales at gas stations and more drinking and driving.

Deputy Chief Lindberg stated that Member Baratta is absolutely right in what he stated.  Deputy Chief Lindberg said that the Police Department does not have any studies that come out of other states or anywhere else that tally the amount of drunk drivers or fatalities based on whether alcohol was purchased from a gas station or if an impaired driver consumed it on-premises.  There are ways the police can usually back-track and find out if a drunk driver has been in an establishment drinking.  But to find where a driver purchased alcohol and then went off-premises to drink it, that information is not available.

Member Cassis had questions for Deputy Chief Lindberg related to his complete opposition to the sale of alcohol at gas stations.  Member Cassis noted in thinking about this ordinance and things that are of concern to the Police Department, for example the number of reports that are being made by going to the establishments along with required personnel and the number of visits those personnel make, could the establishments do anything to alleviate some of those concerns?  Member Cassis suggested posting of a sign indicating the sale of liquor, beer and wine to a minor is prohibited.  Perhaps that would address some of the Police Department’s concerns and educate the public about the prudence of purchasing liquor, beer and wine from that establishment.

Deputy Chief Lindberg stated that he is not here to speak about a specific business but to address the business of the Police Department, which is enforcement.  Deputy Chief Lindberg liked all the ideas Member Cassis offered and the more signs there were outlining the laws, the better.  But additional signage will not to change the amount of resources that Chief Molloy and I and the rest of the Police Department will have to expel to conduct enforcement.

Member Cassis suggested regular reports by the owners of this gas station to the Police Department every month, or every two months, listing the number of employees, the ages of employees as well as any other specification the Police Department might want to include.

Deputy Chief Lindberg stated that certainly would be possible, but did not think it could be necessarily written into the Ordinance.  Also, in any establishment in the City where the Police Department recognizes a problem, officers run and keep reports on how many instances have occurred at each liquor establishment on a monthly basis.  If the officers see some establishments that are having a bit of an issue with compliance, the officers are going there and speaking and meeting with the management as well as volunteering ideas and suggestions about how to address those problems.  The Police Department cannot tell store owners and management how to operate their facilities, and the Department will not take the responsibility of doing training, but will direct owners and management to the proper training.

Member Cassis asked Deputy Chief Lindberg if reports and inventories, came from the establishment to the Police Department on a monthly basis, along with the number of employees, ages, and so forth, would that help with certain requirements and certain standards.

Deputy Chief Lindberg stated that it would help as well as create a nice working relationship between the Police Department and the establishment, providing the business is willing to do that.  Whenever can be done to open up dialogue with any of these establishments, is great.  However, none of this additional cooperation is going to change the Department’s view of whether or not alcohol sales at gas stations should be permitted.

Member Cassis refrained from making any kind of motion at this time and would wait to hear from his colleagues.  Member Cassis said he respects Member Baratta and Member Meyer as far as talking about the propensity of people that go into a gas station and buy liquor and the likelihood that they would drink and drive.  Member Cassis would like to get a report as far as that is concerned. 

Member Cassis said he was interested in the third alternative, which included the fifty-thousand square foot or greater requirement.  Recalling the USA 2 Go comments at the Master Plan and Zoning Committee the USA 2 Go development may be willing to dedicate a larger parcel of property for this gas station.  The proposed USA 2 Go would be a quality, larger store and more of a food establishment that on the side is selling gas instead of the other way around.  Member Cassis also wanted to know if the applicants will have cameras in place that show who is purchasing liquor, beer and wine.  Perhaps the applicant could post a larger sign with writing on it showing beer and wine section here and advise the purchaser of these items to take note of the sign and requirements of the law.  The City could compose some appropriate language and ask the City attorney to write or compose something that would go along with that idea. Member Cassis would suggest the gas station make regular reports of inventories, supervisors on staff, the number of employees, ages, working schedules, responsibilities etc. and all employees should be sent to training on how to dispense liquor, beer and wine. 

Member Prince stated that listening to members of the public that spoke this evening, Mr. Koza and Mr. Bowman, it appears what they are proposing is something other than a gas station, as I understand the traditional gas station.  The proposed USA 2 Go seems more on the line of a market / convenience store.  Member Prince questioned staff; does the mere fact that a business sells gas make that a business establishment a gas station?

Planner Kapelanski stated that in a general answer that would be yes.  Staff is proposing an amendment to the definition of a gas station to include a small market.  The gray area comes in when you have a Kroger that happens to sell gas, but I think staff would classify that as a supermarket, even though it sells gas.  So, there is a little bit of a gray area in there and staff would envision small convenience type markets that sell gas as gas stations.

Member Prince asked Planner Kapelanski why that was.

Planner Kapelanski stated because the gas is a primary use of the property.  When you have a supermarket, you really have a place where people are going to grocery shop.  Planner Kapelanski stated that generally patrons are not going to do their grocery shopping at the gas station, even though it does carry a number of convenience items.

Member Prince stated that from what he is hearing there is an emerging trend at gas stations that the gas is an incidental item that is being offered, instead of being the main item for sale because of the reduction in the profit margin for selling gasoline.  The trend seems to be going towards where gas stations offer gas to the customer as a convenience and their primary purpose is to sell the customer the items in the store.  Member Prince did not know if this definition of gas stations would be appropriate, and after reading all the alternatives, each of the alternatives defines gas station in the same manner.  The alternatives only offer different options related to the dispensing of liquor.  What the public participants are saying today is that they intend to make a substantial investment to create a high class operation and also to offer gas.  Member Prince does not understand why this proposal should be treated differently than a supermarket that sells gas as an incidental.

Member Prince stated that he has looked at all the materials that Deputy Chief Lindberg has presented and is somewhat concerned.  The most persuasive piece of information the Deputy Chief has presented is that those communities that are more regulatory of their enforcement of alcohol laws tend to have a lower fatality rate.  It would seem to suggest that the more we regulate alcohol sales, the fewer fatalities there will be.  However, there is nothing directly that says that people who go into these stores/gas stations and buy alcohol are going to have more accidents or have more drinking or driving issues than people who purchase alcohol at a grocery store or liquor store.  Deputy Chief Lindberg has indicated Novi is one of the communities that has a very low fatality rate, one of the lowest in the world.  So in terms of fairness, in terms of defining a store that has $250,000 worth of inventory and/or meets the size of restrictions that are already in place as part of the LCC standards, it would seem to me that a store meeting those standards would not be considered a gas station.  The gas pumps seem more incidental. 

Deputy Director McBeth stated that traditionally gas stations have been treated differently than just general retail stores and there are numerous characteristics that are unique to gas stations, not just the amount of traffic and the quick come and go nature.  The various types of traffic that come and go out of gas stations has made planners, planning commissioners and attorneys think over the years that certain additional standards should be in place for gas stations.  For example, in Novi’s Ordinance, there are some additional special provisions for gas stations limiting the location of the curb-cuts to at least 100 feet from any street intersections.  In some of the older communities that the curb-cuts that are really close to the intersection corner,  it makes it a bit more hazardous for traveling in and out.  Also, in Novi, there is a minimum site size of one acre for a gas station.  Older communities have small, tight sights being developed as gas stations and it is more difficult for those gas stations to operate. 

Deputy Director McBeth continued noting staff also has concerns related to canopies.  When canopies over the gas pumps came in a number of years ago, regulations were put in place in the Ordinance to help regulate the setback and height and even the lighting underneath the canopies.  There are also the typical accessory uses associated with a gas station, such as the minor repair of vehicles.  Over the years, planners and planning commissioners have been trying to make sure dismantled, wrecked vehicles aren’t stored on gas station properties.  In that sense, gas stations have traditionally been quite a bit different from other types of retail stores.  The Ordinance that staff is proposing now broadens the uses that would be permitted in the store to include the sale of gum, cigarettes, milk, and bread and all the things one would expect to see in a convenience store.  Staff is acknowledging that there is a broadening or an expansion of the types of uses that go along with a gas station.  Staff is not completely at the point where we would say, it is a store that just happens to sell gasoline.  The larger stores, like Sam’s Club, that do sell gasoline, that is an instance where staff would recognize the store as the primary use that happens to have an accessory gas station.  The USA 2 Go proposal seems similar to other gas station developments.  Even though they may be proposing a wonderful market that carries all of these items, some people would still stop for the purpose of purchasing fuel.

City Attorney Kolb stated that the Planning Commission is only considering a general text amendment this evening, the amendment is not about any one specific proposal.  Even though the proposed USA 2 Go likely would be a very quality project if the rezoning were approved and the applicant is able to move ahead, the Commission doesn’t know what the next applicant is going to propose five years from now.  Despite the presentation from these gentlemen, their specific proposal should be put aside, and the Commission should focus on their comments as they relate to the text amendment itself because, again, the amendment is not about any one project.  This is an ordinance that would apply City-wide to the proposed USA 2 Go property and any other property in the City that would qualify.

Member Larson asked about the $250,000 inventory.  Who would check or maintain that inventory to make sure that once the place opened, the $250,000 was actually invested in materials other than beer and wine?  What is to stop someone from opening up a store with $250,000 worth of merchandise and then suddenly shifting all the resources to alcohol, beer and wine and cutting back on the sundries?  Who would monitor that?

Deputy Chief Lindberg answered the State would be responsible for ensuring a gas station maintained $250,000 in inventory not including alcohol and gas.

City Attorney Kolb reiterated that would be an issue for the Liquor Control Commission.  Representatives from the City would have the opportunity to maybe raise an issue with the LCC if the City felt any gas station with alcohol sales was falling below that threshold.  But, as Deputy Chief Lindberg stated, the officers are not going to be trained to do inventory on merchandise in these stores.  So, ultimately that would rest back with the State to verify and monitor that.

Chair Gutman asked if there were any more questions from the Planning Commission or Staff.

Deputy Chief Lindberg stated that at this point, there is nothing in the ordinance that allows for cost recovery for officer time that must be spent on liquor license related inspections, etc.  The Police Department does receive at certain points in time; funds back from the LCC because the Police Department is responsible for policing every liquor license in the City.  But, there is nothing in the ordinance that allows for a cost recovery for Police Department’s time investment and enforcement.

Chair Gutman stated that this brings him back to the overall question which is, is there anything stopping the City from implementing some kind of fee that would defray that cost associated with liquor inspections done by the Police Department and give the Police Department some comfort that a license is being properly adhered to.  Maybe that is not a question for today, but it is something to think about and worth considering because, some of that cost would then be defrayed by the business owners who are fighting hard to have this remain allowable under the City’s ordinances.  The ability to defray those costs would give us a reason to consider allowing additional alcohol sales, not that we want to dig into more of the profits of the City’s business owners who are all struggling in today’s economy.  But, just something that the City should consider long term, if the Police Department has the ability to charge for such inspections and would find it helpful.  And obviously, anytime our law enforcement officers come out to a Planning Commission meeting and give us their opinion on an issue, they are protecting the community.  It’s tough not to be supportive of the Police Department’s stance, even without data that empirically supports their argument and that can be a problem.  The City wants to be cognizant of that, but also make sure that when the City is prohibiting something, it is being prohibited because there is no other alternative and that we’re not driving business away from our great City.  Secondly, the average gas station is not a 50,000 square foot gas station.  If there were lobbyist involved with this amendment, maybe someone from Sam’s Club or Costco might be thinking it would be great to have that 50,000 square foot minimum size in the ordinance so we can sell alcohol and get a competitive advantage and smaller gas stations cannot.  Not that those stores are doing that.  But when the 50,000 square foot requirement is included, those are the types of stores that would qualify.

Deputy Director McBeth stated that if Chair Gutman is referring to the language on in the third option, staff did lift the language from the State’s language and the third option mirrors it pretty closely.  The third option states the sale of alcoholic beverages should be considered to be an accessory use subject to approval of the Liquor Control Commission and the standards imposed by the Commission and State Law only where the gasoline service station is located in a neighborhood shopping center composed of one more commercial establishments organized or operated as a unit which provides not less than 50,000 square feet in gross leasable retail area.

Chair Gutman responded that was a very good point and the question to counter that is do gas stations usually align themselves in a 50,000 square foot strip mall or something to that effect.  Usually a gas station is stand alone, or perhaps if it is in the developer’s footprint, maybe that counts within the 50,000 square feet. 

Deputy Director McBeth stated staff would have to look at each situation individually, but wanted to try and mirror the State’s language as closely as possible. 

Chair Gutman stated that in general he is all for maintaining the safety of the community and looking out for the citizens and making sure the City is not overtaxing the law enforcement officers who have a great duty these days, now more than ever.  But there is a struggle without some kind of factual documentation supporting any kind of prohibition and maybe this needs to be studied this further.  Typically, issues shouldn’t be dragged out, but prohibition without any support is something I would not be in favor of.

Member Meyer pointed out that in each one of the writings of the three different recommendations to City Council that the word general is misspelled.

Moved by Member Meyer, seconded by Member Baratta:

In the matter of text amendment 18.239, motion to recommend approval of 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 Map,” Section 201, “Definitions” to amend the definition of gasoline service station to specify permitted accessory uses with prohibition on the sale of alcohol, which has been found to be contrary to the public health, safety and welfare and Article 25, “General Provisions,” Section 2505, “Off-Street Parking Requirements” to revise the parking requirements for self-service gas stations.


Member Baratta indicated that there was not sufficient data available on the correlation between gas station liquor sales and the propensity for impaired driving and additional information on the number of existing gas stations that would meet the requirements for a liquor license.

Chair Gutman confirmed that Member Baratta would want to revisit this amendment if additional data would become available.

Member Meyer indicated that the Commission has postponed a vote on this multiple times and this matter has appeared before the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and there comes a time when a decision has to be made.  Member Meyer would welcome comments from his colleagues regarding when a decision should be made.  Member Meyer reiterated that neighboring communities have banned the sale of alcohol at gas stations.  Not that Novi should be trying to keep up with the neighbors, but there might be something to all that.  However, it is also important to recognize Mr. Koza’s efforts in wanting to bring a business into Novi and I am not opposed to that business.  The ultimate concern here is the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Novi.

Member Baratta expressed his concern again about the lack of data.  He also noted concerns with the third alternative and the fact that a 50,000 square foot store is equivalent to a large super-market.  The ultimate question is whether this should be prohibited.  The information to make this decision today is not available, that there is a propensity for gas stations selling alcohol and drunk driving.  Member Barrata’s personal opinion is that there may be a slight increase and he does not want to see a large number of liquor stores in the community.

Member Larson responded that the data that Member Baratta is looking for is not available. 

Deputy Chief Lindberg agreed with Member Larson’s statement and did not think he would ever be able to supply the Commission with the data that would confirm Member Baratta’s statements and referred the Commission to the article supplied in the packets.

Member Cassis confirmed the motion was to prohibit the sale of alcohol at gas stations and expressed the importance of the Commission’s role in making a recommendation to the City Council.

Member Prince questioned Commissioners Baratta’s reasoning that the second alternative is essentially a prohibition.

Chair Gutman confirmed the second alternative would allow the sale of alcohol in limited circumstances.

City Attorney Kolb stated that was correct, provided the gas station meets the standards of the Liquor Control Commission.

Chair Gutman stated he agreed with Member Cassis’s comments and his personal feeling is that prohibition is not the best option and would give the impression that Novi is not open for business.


In the matter of text amendment 18.239, motion to recommend approval of 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 Map,” Section 201, “Definitions” to amend the definition of gasoline service station to specify permitted accessory uses with prohibition on the sale of alcohol, which has been found to be contrary to the public health, safety and welfare and Article 25, “General Provisions,” Section 2505, “Off-Street Parking Requirements” to revise the parking requirements for self-service gas stations.  Motion fails 3-3.  (Nays – Cassis, Gutman, Larson)

Member Cassis stated that it may be appropriate to wait for a full Commission because additional data and public comments could be available as well as comments from the absent Commissioners.

Chair Gutman inquired on whether another Public Hearing was required.

City Attorney Kolb stated that the Commission could hold an additional Public Hearing if they chose, however, she is not sure additional comments would be received as this was timely and properly noticed.

Member Cassis clarified he was most interested in the comments from his fellow Commissioners.

City Attorney Kolb stated the Commission is authorized to conduct business this evening since a quorum is present.

Member Meyer agreed with Member Cassis’s statements regarding having a more complete Commission prior a vote being taken.

Moved by Member Cassis, seconded by Baratta:


Motion to adjourn the matter of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.239 until a full Planning Commission is present to hear the matter.  Motion carried 6-0.



Consideration of the request of Carlton Forest II Condominium Association for Preliminary Site Plan approval.  The subject property is located in Section 10, between 12 ½ Mile and Twelve Mile Roads and Dixon and Novi Roads in the RM-1, Low Density, Low-Rise Multiple-Family Residential District.  The subject property is approximately 33 acres and the applicant is proposing to remove an emergency access gate at the north end of the development and extend the pavement and adjacent sidewalks of Carlton Way approximately 90 feet to 12 ½ Mile Road.

Planner Spencer stated that at the time this development was approved originally, there was concern about 12 ½ Mile Road not being able to handle additional traffic.  At that time, this road had a gravel surface.  Since that time, the Carlton Forest Community has had discussions with the City of Novi, Community Development Department and the Department of Public Services.  The City has reviewed the status of 12 ½ Mile Road, which is now surfaced with a chip seal surface.   This additional access point will benefit the community by giving another way out of the development in addition to the 12 Mile Road entrance.  It will provide additional access for the school buses and children accessing the school buses. 

Planner Spencer explained that Carlton Forest is located a ¼ mile west of Novi Rd. between 12 Mile and 12 ½ Mile Road.  It is a long, linear development.  Carlton Way is a private drive that goes the full length of the development.  The north end of the development is currently designed with an emergency access gate that is break-away for emergencies purposes and for Fire Department access, as needed.  The sidewalks are not extended at this time and the children have to walk in the street or on a gravel surface that is not plowed to get to the school buses. 

Planner Spencer explained that the applicant is proposing to remove the access gate and pave the entrance according to City standards.  The plan shows the completion of the connection of the sidewalks along Carlton Way to 12 ½ Mile Road and minor landscaping improvements.  There will be some grading involved and some trees will need to be relocated. 

Planner Spencer stated that typically, on a small project, staff would not bring something like this to the Planning Commission.  However, Section 2516.1.A of the Zoning Ordinance requires any plans for new public or private roads be approved by the Planning Commission.  The original Traffic Study that was done with the development has been updated and review by a Traffic Consultant.  The review shows that the proposed changes would increase traffic by an additional 300 daily trips on 12 ½ Mile Road.  It would also increase the delay time at peak hours, but the increase in delays would only be about a half a second so the service level of the intersections would remain in the same category.

The Planning Staff, Engineering and the City’s Traffic Consultant all recommend approval of the site plan with some minor corrections.  The City’s engineer is here to answer any questions on the improvements or traffic issues as well as the applicant and his engineer and myself.

Chair Gutman asked if the applicant would like to come forward and speak about this.

Mike Felik, President of Carlton Forest II Condominium Association came forward and thanked the Commission for allowing them to come forward this evening and have the time for review.  Mr. Felik stated that Carlton Forest II, was developed over the past 10 years and divided into two different condo associations.  Currently there are about 180 units.  His association represents the second phase of the development which is towards the back half or north half of Carlton Forest.  When the residents initially moved into the site there was some access provided to 12 ½ Mile Road for the construction company to finalize the development.  At that time, children and school buses as well as the residential community had open access to drive through the development from 12 ½ Mile Rd to 12 Mile Rd.  Once construction was completed per the terms of the site plan, the emergency gate was constructed and therefore prevented the school bus from being able to drive through.  As of today, the current site plan has included sidewalks to connect from the back of the units to 12 ½ Mile Road. 

Mr. Felik explained their proposal was to do two things.  First, to enhance the community by providing sidewalks so in the event the emergency gate did remain closed the residents would have the ability to plow the sidewalks and walk to the end of the community and stand safely for their transportation.  This is primarily for the benefit of the residents that live in the back of the community.  Second, open the emergency gate and allow access to Novi Road from 12 ½ Mile Road, rather than driving all the way to the front of the development, making the Michigan left turn, coming back across Novi Road and making another Michigan left, in order to drive north on Novi Road.  Community access is important as well as ultimately community safety.  Residents have noticed that as the gate has been closed, the patrol from the City of Novi Police Department has been reduced because there is no easy through.  With all the information that has been provided, Mr. Felik said the residents attending would love to answer any questions specific to the community, and is hoping for the Commission’s support and approval moving forward. 

Chair Gutman then turned it over to the Planning Commission.

Member Meyer made a motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan for Carlton Forest II, SP09-34, seconded by Member Cassis.


In the matter of Carlton Way Road Extension, SP 09-34, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan, subject to the following:  The conditions and items listed in the staff and consultant review letters being addressed on the Final Site Plan; for the following reason because it is otherwise in compliance with Article 6, Section 2400 and Article 25 of the Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable provisions of the Ordinance. Motion carried 6-0. 


Planner Kapelanski stated that she would give a brief overview of the Ordinance.  In reaction to the growing interest in clean energy and wind energy, staff has proposed an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to regulate the use and placement of wind turbines in the City.  The Amendment is being proposed so that when a business or resident wishes to install a turbine or explore that possibility, the City will have structures and regulations in place to address the concerns of the City, the residents and the individual or the company wishing to install the turbine.

As the Commission will recall from previous meetings, the amendment addresses residential and business turbines and regulates three types of turbines:

·         A small structured mounted turbine would be a principal permitted use in all non-residential districts and would be restricted to a height not to exceed 15 feet above the roofline of the structure from which it is attached.  No more than two structure mounted turbines could be installed on any one parcel and a setback of 15 feet from the property line would need to be provided. 

·         A small tower mounted wind energy turbine would be a principal permitted use subject to special conditions in all non-residential zoning districts, except that in the OST, I-1 and I-2 Districts, it would be principle permitted use if the property is greater than 3 hundred feet from any residential zoning.  A small tower mounted turbine would have to be located in the rear yard with a setback equal to the height of the tower from all property lines and one small tower mounted turbine would be permitted for each parcel. 

·         A medium tower mounted wind energy turbine would be a principle permitted use subject to special conditions in the OST, I-1 and I-2 Districts only.  A medium tower mounted turbine would have to be located in the rear yard with a total height not to exceed 150 feet.  No more than one medium tower mounted turbine could be installed per each 2 ½ acres of land with a setback equal to the tower height.

There is one substantial difference in this most recent draft of the ordinance.  The draft language proposes allowing small tower-mounted turbines and structure-mounted turbines as special land uses requiring City Council approval in residential districts on parcels containing institutional uses and those would be defined as educational uses, civic uses and religious uses and the parcels would have to be at least 25 acres or larger. 

Staff believes educational and civic uses and alternative energy education and demonstration are an appropriate combination.  We also have received a letter from the Michigan State Extension at Tollgate Farms and they are considering installing some alternative energy structures including solar panels and possibly wind turbines on their property and that prompted staff to really consider that provision for all educational and institutional type uses.  Planner Kapelanski also stated that a map has been included in the Commission’s packet that would highlight the residentially zoned properties that would meet those requirements. 

There are several other provisions of the ordinance to note.  The noise could not exceed the lowest decibel level at residential properties and the lowest decibel level, plus 5 decibels at non-residential property lines.  A significant amount of public involvement was included for this ordinance including soliciting input at the Fall for Novi event in September, 2009 and collecting responses through a questionnaire posted on the City’s website.  The link is still open on the City’s webpage, with an explanation of the wind turbine ordinance, the draft ordinance language, some background information, as well as the questionnaire.  The questionnaire results have also been included in the Planning Commission’s packet.  The Commission is asked to set a Public Hearing for the proposed amendment to be held on February 10, 2010. 

Chair Gutman stated that we have a reference to the correspondence and asked if Member Meyer would read it into the record.

Member Meyer read the following correspondence from Mr. Roy Prentice into the record:


We live in a time of many challenges.  Among the challenges that we face as a society is to develop clean, abundant sources of energy that are sustainable now and in the future.  Michigan State University and the Governor’s office have both identified the development and utilization of alternative energy as one of the prime areas of focus for Michigan.  As part of this effort, the Michigan State University Tollgate Education Center is in the process of developing a solar, wind and other alternative energy teaching and demonstration area on the property located in Novi.  As currently planned, this facility would be used primarily by all who are interested in installing, maintaining and inspecting small to medium scale alternative energy installations.  Wind powered generation equipment would be an important component of this teaching project.  Wind powered generating equipment can be very efficient and effective, but only if it is positioned high enough to be above the wind shading effects of trees and structures on the ground.  Although there are noise disturbance, aesthetic and other concerns involved in placing wind driven power generation devices in urban environments, currently available quieter turbines and the placement of turbines at an appropriate distance from homes should mitigate these concerns.

In addition to the planned educational installation at MSU Tollgate, I believe that alternative energy generation systems are appropriate at schools and other similar facilities.  Placing alternative energy generating equipment in a school environment has two primary advantages in addition to offsetting electrical use.  Having the equipment sited at schools allows youth to become familiarized with this technology.  I believe that alternative power generation is going to be a future growth industry in Michigan.  Today’s students will be tomorrow’s workers in green energy jobs.  Generation equipment on school grounds is also a great match for the community.  Air conditioning use dictates that electrical need in the summer is at its peak while electrical use by schools is at its lowest.  School based power generation equipment maximizes its power supply to the grid when it is most needed.

As our community and our state move into the future, I believe that it is up to our education institutions to provide leadership.  Teaching and demonstrating alternative energy use is one way that we can do this.


Roy Prentice

MSU Tollgate Farm Manager

Chair Gutman then opened the matter to the Commission for comments or motions.

Member Cassis stated that he would like to comment on the communication from Mr. Prentice.  Member Cassis disagrees with some of the suggestions for the Novi area.  What Mr. Prentice is describing in the letter could be a good educational practice for seminars to educate the public.  But to erect something so high that it has to be above the trees, so that the wind can catch it, if there is wind in this City concerns Member Cassis.  During Committee discussions, Member Cassis raised some questions about noise, do we have the wind capacity that is needed and what the turbines will look like in our community.  These are some of the questions the Commission would be considering.  Member Cassis also brought some data, as well as newspapers about what other communities are considering.  Some communities wanted to recall their politicians because the people do not want wind turbines in their community.

Member Larson stated that he did agree with Member Cassis.  The articles he has read stated that Michigan could not sustain enough wind or does not have enough wind to generate any sizeable amount of energy.  Member Larson has not seen any other data stating otherwise.  Member Larson does not see how these turbines could add anything to the City and will not be in support of the amendments.

Member Baratta expressed his concerns regarding the ordinance amendment. 

Member Meyer stated that he mentioned at the Master Plan Committee meeting that he has already checked with Bloomfield Hills Township and that community does not have any ordinances on wind or solar.  Member Meyer stated that he is not trying to compare Novi with other communities.  He wondered if Member Baratta and Member Larson were opposed to even setting a public hearing.  Member Meyer stated that maybe we should just not have the hearing at all.

Member Prince asked if you summarized the results of the survey it appears that the results were closely matched in terms of how the public felt about the wind turbine ordinance.

Planner Kapelanski stated that the results of the questionnaire are summarized in the included memo.  To Ms. Kapelanski, it seemed like there was a fairly equal split.  Also included were the write-in comments that people left. 

Chair Gutman stated that it sounds like the Commission is in favor of seeing what the public has to say about this.  The Commission may want more information and maybe the insertion of some kind of maintenance requirement.  He wondered if it was possible to include that before a public hearing.

Planner Kapelanski stated that she would point out in the ordinance right now that we do have a maintenance provision.  Some other communities that Ms. Kapelanski has contacted have included provisions that require that wind turbines owners to come in once a year and get a renewal permit.  Someone from the City will then go out and inspect the turbine and ensure that it is being maintained.  Staff could add this provision, if the Commission thinks that would be a good idea.

Member Baratta wondered if this would put a burden on the staff or if fees could be charged for the inspection service.

Planner Kapelanski stated that other communities were charging minimal fees.  We would have to work with other members of our Department to learn more details of this kind of inspection.

Deputy Director McBeth stated that any new inspection fees would have to be adopted by the City Council, but could be done as part of the ordinance review.

Chair Gutman did say it sounds then like we can charge fees in the City as long the City Council requires it.

Chair Gutman confirmed with Planner Kapelanski that there was enough information to move forward.  Chair Gutman suggested that a motion could be made by the Commission, as to whether to hold a public hearing.

Motion made by Member Cassis and seconded by Member Larson:


Motion to set a public hearing for February 10, 2010 for a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment related to wind turbines.  Motion carried 6-0.

Member Cassis suggested that the Commission keep the packet material provided, in order to save some trees.  If there is additional material, it will be forthcoming at the public hearing.

Planner Kapelanski stated that this would be fine.  In the next packet, staff will include any updated ordinance provisions as well as any additional articles and any new questionnaire responses.

Member Cassis asked Chair Gutman if a request to keep the packet materials would also include the solar ordinance.

Chair Gutman stated that he thought that request would carry through for the rest of the night to the adjournment.


Planner Kapelanski stated that she had a couple of comments on this proposed ordinance amendment which would address the concerns of residents who have come forward wanting to install solar collectors on their property.  The proposed ordinance distinguishes between structurally attached solar panels and free-standing solar panels.  Free-standing panels would be subject to the regulations of the accessory structure ordinance and would be permitted in all districts. 

Structurally attached panels would be allowed to be reviewed administratively by staff and be permitted in all districts.  Panels attached to a sloped roof could not project vertically above the peak of that roof and those attached to a flat roof could not project more than 5 feet above the roof. 

Public involvement was also included as part of this process and questionnaires were collected at the Fall for Novi event as well as through the City’s website.  Those results have been included in the Commission’s packet.  This evening the Commission is asked to set a hearing for the proposed amendment to be held on February 10, 2010.

Chair Gutman then opened it up to Commission for comments or motions.

Motion made by Member Meyer and seconded by Member Prince:


Motion to set a public hearing for February 10, 2010 for a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment related to solar collectors.  Motion carried 6-0.


Planner Kapelanski stated that the City is proposing to rezone approximately 13 acres of property that is located mostly between South Lake Drive, Thirteen Mile Road and East Lake Drive.

The proposal is to rezone from B-3 (General Business) to R-4 (One-Family Residential).  The City-initiated rezoning is in response to the recently completed Land Use Study that was presented to the City Council at their December 7, 2009 meeting. 

At that meeting, the Council discussed possible land use alternatives and directed the administration to take the necessary steps to begin the process of creating a potential park on all or a portion of the site.  The Council requested the Planning Commission hold a public hearing and make a recommendation on the zoning of the subject property which is commonly known as The Landings. 

This matter was reviewed by the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and they generally felt that the rezoning was compatible with the surrounding land uses and generally consistent with the Future Land Use Map.  The Committee also was in favor of making some minor adjustments to the Future Land Use Map in response to the Land Use Study and the directions given by Council.

Given that this is a City-initiated rezoning, staff has recommended the Commission set a public hearing similar to the process that is undertaken for City-initiated text amendments.

This evening the Commission is asked to set a public hearing for February 10, 2010.  If any Commission member has any questions regarding the proposed rezoning, staff would be happy to answer any questions this evening or Commission members can forward those questions to the Planning Division and we would get the answers in time for the public hearing.

Chair Gutman then opened it up to the Commission for comments or motions.

Motion made by Member Meyer, seconded by Member Baratta:

Member Meyer made a motion to set a public hearing for February 10, 2010 for Zoning Map Amendment 18.693, a city-initiated rezoning for the Landings Property near the intersections of Thirteen Mile Road and East Lake Drive and Thirteen Mile Road, Old Novi Road and South Lake Drive, seconded by Member Baratta.


Motion to set a public hearing for February 10, 2010 for Zoning Map Amendment 18.693, a City- initiated rezoning for the Landings Property near the intersections of Thirteen Mile Road and East Lake Drive and Thirteen Mile Road, Old Novi Road and South Lake Drive.  Motion passes 6-0.


There were no items on the Consent Agenda. 


Member Baratta stated that he did have one matter for discussion.  In the Planning Commission’s prior discussion of the text amendment concerning gas stations, Member Baratta would like to see an option presented the next time the Commission considers the amendment that talks about a free-standing unit with a building square footage indicated, and not necessarily as part of a shopping center.  Member Baratta thinks in the prior alternative presented, the 50,000 square foot referred to any strip mall style shopping center.  If there is a 2,000 square foot gas station and a 50,000 square foot shopping center that qualified for a license.  There should be an option for a free-standing site and its building square footage could be between 20,000 to 25,000 square foot.  The use would sell gas and have a parking ratio of five spaces per 1,000 square feet, or one space for 200 square feet.   That scenario blurs the line quite a bit between a gas station and a market.  Member Baratta thinks that scenario provides a comfort level that would ensure that there would not be too many liquor licenses in the City.  The City would actually be promoting the development of a convenience store, a business in the City of Novi.  Member Baratta suggests that this is a reasonable alternative option that he could support.

Member Cassis stated that he would like to add on to this question and wondered how this neighborhood shopping center provision would apply if a developer was building a gas station adjacent to a shopping plaza or in the parking lot of a shopping plaza.

Chair Gutman asked the City Attorney to confirm there was no issue with reopening this discussion at this point in the meeting after the public hearing has been closed.

Member Cassis stated that the discussion is intended to answer a question as to what would qualify as 50,000 square feet.

City Attorney Kolb stated she thought the discussion was fine.  If staff does propose another alternative, obviously there are some legal questions with both suggestions.  City Attorney Kolb stated that staff can ask for an opinion from the attorney’s office.  If the result is an option that is significantly different than what the Commission has seen tonight, it will have to be re-noticed and a new public hearing held.

Member Cassis stated that he just wanted to ask that question to see if it might help clarify this discussion about being 50,000 square feet.  Member Cassis stated that in his drives to Chicago, he has stopped by the Flying J’s gasoline centers, and they are huge.  They will sell you hats, boots and many other things.  This could be a possibility and Member Cassis wondered whether a site like this might be considered in the ordinance. 

Member Meyer stated that he resides in the older part of Novi at Ten Mile and Meadowbrook.  On the corner there is a family run gas station (Sovels).  Member Meyer says that he can get gas there and just next door there is a liquor store.  Member Meyer agrees that 50,000 square feet is not a gas station. 

Chair Gutman stated that he thought there was good, healthy discussion on this issue tonight.


There were no supplemental issues.


No one from the audience wished to speak.


Moved by Member Cassis, seconded by Member Baratta.          .


Motion to adjourn the January 13, 2010 Planning Commission meeting.  Motion carried 6-0.

The meeting ended at 8:55 PM.

Transcribed by Juanita Freeman
Account Clerk
January/February, 2010

Date Approved: _____________________________________________________________
Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant