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Regular Meeting
Wednesday, January 27, 2010  |  7 PM
Council Chambers | Novi Civic Center |45175 W. Ten Mile
(248) 347-0475


The meeting was called to order at 7:01 PM.


Present: Member Baratta, Member Cassis, Member Gutman, Member Lynch, Member Meyer, Chair Pehrson, Member Prince

Absent: Member Greco (excused), Member Larson (excused)

Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; Rod Arroyo, City Traffic Consultant; Tom Schultz, City Attorney


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


Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Baratta.


Motion to approve the January 27, 2010 Planning Commission Agenda. Motion carried 7-0.


No one from the audience wished to speak.


Member Meyer stated the Planning Commission received a letter pertaining to an item under the Matters for Consideration. He would wait to read until that time.


Member Gutman stated that a Planning and Budget meeting was held this evening and the Committee would like to know if anyone would be interested in attending a conferences or workshop. The Michigan Planning Conference will be coming to Detroit this year.

Deputy Director McBeth replied that staff thought there might be more interest from Planning Commission members since there would be very limited travel and no overnight stays. Staff would like to know who would like to attend the Michigan Planning Conference, October 20-22, 2010. It begins on a Wednesday evening and typically goes through Thursday and Friday and sometimes Saturday morning. If any of the Commission members would like to attend, they can notify the Planning Division in the next couple of weeks. Even if itís a possibility, it could ne included in the Planning Commission Budget.


Deputy Director McBeth stated that she had no additional information to share with the Planning Commission this evening.


  1. BECK NORTH CORPORATE PARK PHASE 2, LOTS 12 & 13, SP 06-47 Consideration of the request of Amson Dembs Development for a one-year Preliminary Site Plan extension. The subject property is located in Section 4, at the northwest corner of Cartier and Hudson Drive, in the I-1, Light Industrial District. The subject property is approximately 2.77 acres and the applicant is proposing a 40,013 square foot speculative light industrial warehouse building.


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



    Public Hearing of the request of Novi Mile, LLC, for Planning Commissionís recommendation to City Council for rezoning of property in Section 16, east of Beck Road between I-96 and Grand River Avenue, from OST, Planned Office Service Technology, to FS, Freeway Service District. The subject property is approximately 1.81 acres.

    Planner Kapelanski stated that the applicant is proposing to rezone a 1.8 acre site that is located on the east side of Beck Road between I-96 and Grand River Avenue. The site is currently vacant, but was formerly a nursery. To the north is MDOT right-of-way for I-96 and to the east is the balance of the former nursery site. The Wixom Ready-Mix Plant is further to the east, to the south is the former Michigan Laser and across the street is West Market Square.

    The subject property is currently zoned OST, Planned Office Service Technology and the applicant is proposing FS, Freeway Service zoning. The site is bordered by OST to the east and south. B-2, Community Business zoning is located on the west side of Beck Road.

    The Future Land Use Map indicates office uses for the subject property and the properties to the south and east. Local commercial uses are planned for the western side of Beck Road. The proposed rezoning to Freeway Service would be contrary to the current recommendations of the Future Land Use Map.

    The applicant has indicated this rezoning has been proposed to facilitate the development of a gas station and drive-through fast-food restaurant on the site. The staff suggested the applicant submit a Planned Rezoning Overly for the site, but the applicant has elected to propose a straight rezoning.

    As the Commission is aware, certain sections of the Master Plan are currently under review including the area encompassing the subject property. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee has been considering maintaining the current OST uses in the area, but adding a retail service overlay provision. The rezoning request could be evaluated differently depending on the finalized Master Plan Update. However, any new districts or provisions included in the Master Plan Update could not be utilized unless a zoning ordinance amendment was approved.

    The Cityís Traffic Consultant has completed a review of the proposed rezoning and the rezoning traffic study and finds the methodology to be sound. However, there are significant concerns regarding access to the site and the pending Master Plan Update for the area. The recommended Master Plan Update will include provisions for a proposed roadway system to improve circulation in the Grand River Avenue and Beck Road study area, which includes the subject property. Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo is here this evening to answer questions regarding traffic concerns and could expound on what sorts of improvements are planned for that area.

    The Community Development Department recommends denial of this request, as it is not consistent with the current Master Plan, the existing OST zoning is consistent with the future land uses planned for the area and the needed roadway network is not in place to support the retail uses permitted in the Freeway Service District.

    The applicant is in attendance this evening.

    Mr. Blair Bowman, representing Novi Mile, LLC came forward and stated he was proposing a straight rezoning request for the 1.8 acres. The basis for this requested rezoning is a common sense approach and has been discussed at various levels for the last one and one-half years. Mr. Bowman expressed that the area would be well served by this rezoning and development. Surrounding businesses and property owners have indicated to Mr. Bowman that this would be very supportive for the area. It is consistent with the consensus discussed during the land use and planning process and with the Master Plan process currently underway.

    The future land use and zoning have been discussed at the Committee level. Mr. Bowman agrees that the master planning of this entire area is important and has to be followed through with and pursued. Mr. Bowman indicated his group is in ownership of a considerable amount of additional acreage in the immediate area.

    Mr. Bowman indicated the application is one small component for which traffic issues and other issues will be dealt with at the site plan approval process. Some terms of a road system will definitely be part of the overall larger plan and program. For this particular small use, the applicant is ready to proceed at this time. The applicantís Traffic Consultants have indicated that the use would be supported by existing roadways. Anticipated trip generations and sound methodology have indicated that the property could support the use.

    Mr. Bowman indicated he would like to move forward with this component and continue to proceed in good faith with the balance of the Master Planning process for the remainder of the property. Mr. Bowman indicated he hopes this is a common sense approach to an initial step in providing positive limited development for the community and the area.

    Chair Pehrson asked Member Meyer if he had any correspondence regarding this public hearing.

    Member Meyer said there is no correspondence for this item, but does have correspondence connected with the Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.239.

    Chair Pehrson then asked if there was anyone in the audience that would like to participate and address the Commission on this matter. Seeing no one, Chair Pehrson closed the Public Hearing on this matter and turned it over to the Planning Commission.

    Member Lynch asked if this was the Tim Hortonís / gas station that was referenced at the Committee meeting. He requested the Cityís Traffic Consultant Rod Arroyo to come forward and give the Planning Commission his thoughts on what is being proposed and what affect it will have on traffic and circulation.

    City Traffic Consultant Arroyo stated that the Commission has a copy of his review letter which provides an assessment of the rezoning traffic study that was supplied by the applicantís consultant. The primary component of that is a trip generation comparison between uses that would be allowed under existing zoning versus uses that would be allowed under the proposed zoning. The applicantís consultants provided this information and Birchler Arroyo believes the representation is consistent with the general office currently allowed and as compared with a gas station with convenience store along with the fast food restaurant and drive-through as indicated as a potential development.

    Retail, gas station and fast food restaurant uses would typically generate more peak hour trips than an office use. Traffic Consultant Arroyo does have some concerns with the access to Beck Road, particularly regarding left turn access and its impacts on any use in the entire area.

    Birchler Arroyo has been working closely with the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and has looked at some alternative access plans on how this quadrant might develop to best handle the traffic circulation. One of the concepts that was discussed was to try to develop a road system that would be able to handle the traffic that would be turning in and out of this particular quadrant north of Grand River and east of Beck Road. The idea is to develop a collector road system that would run east/west from Beck and turn south to intersect at Grand River. Viewing the diagram on the screen, Traffic Consultant Arroyo identified a distance that is roughly one-third of a mile from the intersection of Beck and Grand River and one-third of a mile to the signal at the Rock Financial Showplace.

    The concept here would be to have another local street that would end up being put in place on both sides of Grand River. Traveling from the subject site, this new road would enable you to travel south to Grand River and turn right or left onto Grand River, to be able to access locations east/west and north/south of the subject site. This type of system could either restrict left turns in and out of the subject property or possibly to explore whether or not a new traffic signal could be installed. Spacing is an important consideration for traffic signals and would require further study. If a new signal did not go in, left turns left turns may be required to be prohibited at that location. However, entering the site, left turns may be permitted.

    None of these questions can be fully answered until there is a site plan along with a full traffic study. At that time, we can evaluate what type of turning traffic is going to occur, what type of potential improvements could be put in place to mitigate level of service issues and how this whole concept impacts the surrounding areas. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered in terms of access, but until more details are provided and more study is done to explore these issues, we cannot answer some of these questions. Traffic Consultant Arroyo said that this is an overview of the information before the Planning Commission at this time and a description of some of the work that has been done working with the Master Plan and Zoning Committee.

    Member Lynch stated that the City has some experience with something similar to this on Wixom Road which he believes is a more intense use. There is a Dunkin Donuts, which is like a Tim Hortonís, as well as a gas station and a Taco Bell. There is no signal there and there are a lot of left turns. On the other side of the street is a gas station and Meijer store. Member Lynch thinks this might be something for the Commission to consider as the Wixom Road interchange is very similar to what the Commission has been talking about, and it does not seem to be as bad or intense.

    City Traffic Consultant Arroyo stated that there are a couple of differences. At this location, there is the Providence Complex as well as the traffic impact of the Rock Financial Showplace. One of the things that was discussed were the traffic counts taken, and when there is a significant event at the showplace, it can have impacts on the Beck and Grand River intersection. There is a large commercial center on the west side of Beck and there is the potential for additional development. There are some differences particularly when you look at the heavy southbound left turn movement that occurs at times and how that might impact ingress and egress to the site. Another concern is if southbound vehicles are blocking the Beck Road driveway location - if left turns are permitted out of the driveway, waiting vehicles may obstruct vision for those left-turning exiting vehicles.

    Member Lynch stated that when he was reviewing this and looked for something that was similar, he thought of the Wixom Road interchange. It is really intense and being that the land is not developed, Member Lynch thought this location would be less intense. At the Wixom Road interchange there is a street that curves around by the bar and out onto Grand River. Member Lynch thought this was similar situation. Member Lynch did not like the idea of the left turns and think those turns could be a problem. Comparing the Wixom/Grand River area and the Beck/Grand River area, Member Lynch believes the Wixom area is much more intense, with the uncertainty of what else is going to get developed in there. Overall, Member Lynch is looking forward to seeing one of the nicest gas stations in Novi and will wait for his colleagueís comments.

    Member Meyer stated that he noted from sitting on the Master Plan and Zoning Committee for part of the last year that is seems to him that prudence would dictate that the Commission wait until the final presentation to the Planning Commission and then to the City Council regarding the Master Plan for Land Use, rather than making an exception regarding a 1.8 acre piece. Member Meyer asked Traffic Consultant Arroyo if he thinks there is a traffic issue and that maybe the Commission should make the decision following the Master Plan for Land Use final presentation to the Planning Commission in the next few months.

    Deputy Director McBeth answered through the Chair that the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has been wrapping up their final recommendations and there is going to be one more meeting within the next few weeks and then there will be the Public Hearing in front of the Planning Commission.

    Member Meyer apologized to Traffic Consultant Arroyo and stated that maybe he should not be asking him that question since the Planning Commission may be the ones who should make the decision. Member Meyer is asking primarily from the viewpoint of traffic and if that is the issue here tonight. Member Meyer believes that there may be a Special Land Use consideration on the 1.7 acres.

    Traffic Consultant Arroyo stated that Planner Kapelanski has gone over a number of issues in her report that would be typically analyzed and maybe she would be the one to address all the specific and various issues that come across to Planning. Traffic Consultant Arroyo stated that in terms of traffic, he has provided an overview of his letter. In the case of the rezoning, his firm does not typically make positive or negative recommendations from a traffic standpoint being that it is a land use decision that encompasses a lot of different components and traffic is one of them. Traffic Consultant Arroyo indicated that there is a lot of good information on the table that he hopes is helpful to the Commission in making a decision.

    Member Meyer thanked Mr. Arroyo and said he felt that there were two issues here that are impacting and seem to be running against one another. Staff and the Committee have spent one and one-half years on this Master Plan for Land Use Study and Member Meyer still thinks it would be prudent once again to wait until that presentation is made for the Planning Commission and then to the City Council. On the other hand, Member Meyer believes that his goal of sitting on this Commission is to try to be one of the elements of making it a little more user friendly for the City of Novi and less hurdles for developers in order to do business in this city. Member Meyer feels we have done a lot of hard work this past one and one-half years on the Master Plan for Land Use and he does not want to be contributing to what is an image which is held by a number of people, namely that Novi is not a very friendly city to do business in.

    Member Cassis asked if Mr. Bowman if he still intended to use this piece of property of 1.8 acres for a gas station with beer and wine.

    Mr. Bowman answered Member Cassis by saying that the operator which was here before you is dealing with the ordinance language amendment issue and he would determine that. Mr. Bowman stated that he is primarily here tonight to take the first step in resolving traffic use issues that Mr. Arroyo pointed out and to take the very first step in the process of getting to where he would actually be able to develop the station with whatever applicable ordinance there is relating to beer and wine, traffic and other items that the City regulates.

    Member Cassis stated that he is perplexed by the last statement, that whatever ordinance there is for beer and wine or other items that the City regulates. Member Cassis was a proponent in trying to help with the beer and wine situation, but thought at that time a larger piece of property was needed. Mr. Bowman seemed to be coming back with a smaller parcel of property. Member Cassis asked the applicant if he intends to come back later and say that this is all the land I have, and want to include beer and wine at the gas station. Or is the intention to let go of the beer and wine. Member Cassis asked Mr. Bowman if he understood what he was saying.

    Mr. Bowman answered that he did understand and that he was very confused that evening. Mr. Bowman is confident that the State regulation that was referred to is either inaccurate or a misplaced interpretation of a State Statute. Mr. Bowman is also quite confident that as this process moves forward there will be an opportunity to discuss if the true intention is to require a 50,000 square foot gas station/convenience center. When the opportunity presents itself to deal with that ordinance, Mr. Bowman feels that a 5,000 square foot facility is comparably large, speaking to those that are of concern to the community. Mr. Bowman understands from a proliferation standpoint that some existing gas stations, or some that might be proposed later that are of a smaller nature, or a kiosk style, is not something the Commission wants to have beer and wine and liquor license issue pertain to. Mr. Bowman fully supports that.

    Mr. Bowman stated that this is a sizeable multipurpose facility that is consistent with what is going on in the industry now for a viable operation to build one of the nicest stations in the area and that is what it is going to have to be. It is going to be with a convenience center aspect, fuel delivery as well as a third party tenant in either a Tim Hortonís or Starbucks or something of that nature or something that would be the trilogy going on in the complex. This facility is just under 6,000 square feet and very sizeable compared to other typical stations and is not going to be a Meijerís, Wal-Mart or Kroger. That is not what the applicant is intending to do nor compete with and the applicant does not want to give the impression to the people in the Providence area who have supported the project that this store would be looking to compete on a regional scale with a major big-box use in that area.

    Member Cassis asked Mr. Bowman of the three choices that the Planning Commission was considering last time, that as far as a station with beer and wine, are you leaning into the area of 50,000 square feet.

    Mr. Bowman stated that he hoped this was a typo; a 50,000 square foot store is really an absolute prohibition. It is certainly not something we would be proposing.

    Member Cassis said that his thoughts were at that time were that the applicant did have more adequate land next to this parcel and that may be a complex. I am trying to understand if the 50,000 square feet is practical or not and that the applicant may be intending to put other uses next to the gas station such as a Tim Hortonís or a Starbucks or other extra things. Maybe the whole complex would be the situation where a 50,000 square foot facility may be applicable.

    Mr. Bowman stated that unless he is missing something, this is why this caught him off-guard and he didnít know where the 50,000 square foot facility came from. Mr. Bowman may have thought that was a 50,000 square foot land requirement and if the Commission looked at the other stations within the community that there might be a concern that they do not meet the requirements or it was a typo.

    Member Cassis asked City Attorney Schultz about the 50,000 square foot requirement.

    City Attorney Schultz answered that he was not at the last meeting.

    Member Cassis apologized and stated that he went along with the program thinking that was what was required.

    City Attorney Schultz stated through the Chair that the 50,000 number is a real number, but it is not the only number. The general rule is no liquor at a gas station with some exceptions that apply in the City like Novi. One is, if there is a 50,000 square foot neighborhood center such as Samís Club or whatever. The other is, regardless of size a store must carry a certain dollar value of merchandise, which is $250,000. So, Thirteen Mile and Novi Road clearly does not a 50,000 square foot building, more like 2,000 or 3,000 thousand square foot building and according to the LCC those stores must have met the $250,000 worth of merchandise exemption. So when the Commission actually gets to the Zoning Ordinance Amendment as one of the later Agenda items, the real question the Commission is going to be asking is for buildings or developments that arenít anywhere near like the Samís Club or the Meijerís and will alcohol be an accessory use as far as the City is concerned because it may be a much smaller building. A building of 5,000 square feet is a good size building for one of those markets and on the high end. But, it is not the size at that point that the Commission is looking at. Rather, it is will the station qualify because they have the $250,000 worth of merchandise excluding gas and liquor and if a station is 5,000 square foot they are probably going to meet that requirement with cigarettes, food and deli items and all the things a station of that size would have.

    Member Cassis asked City Attorney Schultz would that merchandise all have to be in a gas station or could a complex of uses be adjacent to the gas station.

    City Attorney Schultz stated a gas station could be only 2,500 square feet with nothing around it and qualify to sell liquor if they meet the merchandise level or they sort of get the automatic approval if theyíre the neighborhood shopping center type. City Attorney Schultz would differ to Planner Kapelanski as far the definition of a neighborhood shopping center.

    Mr. Bowman stated that he understood there was going to be a discussion about some conditions and requirements and he was all for that, to make sure there is a quantitative and qualitative approach to putting in minimum standards that the City can apply in the future. Even if the State were to change its requirements or be unable to enforce the regulations, the City would still have their ordinance in place, so a size requirement Mr. Bowman does not disagree with and supports.

    Mr. Bowman expressed that he is not looking to build a Kroger competitor from that standpoint at this stage. With all due respect, with the way the boundary lines might be drawn on the update Future Land Use map, this proposal is very consistent with what has been discussed no one has said that this is not a good use for the area. From a use and a land use decision perspective, this project fits right in with the area and Novi Mile will continue to participate in the master plan process with the balance of the site. Roadway issues and all things discussed are truly of great interest to the applicant. Even with this ordinance issue on the beer, wine and liquor license situation, this can be dealt with and the applicant welcomes the opportunity to do that. By any reasonable standards of quality and investment levels, this is not just a gas station. It is a convenience center and a trilogy use that happens to also serve fuel.

    Member Cassis stated that he did lead the applicant slightly off-track, but, hopefully that the discussion cleared up a few things. Member Cassis noted staff had some concerns about proceeding with this application prior to the completion of the Master Plan and wondered how the applicant felt about waiting for the completion of that document.

    Mr. Bowman noted this small development will fit in with the anticipated recommendations of the Master Plan update and he has been actively involved in that process thus far. Mr. Bowman may not understand the process as well as the administration might, but from the limited amount that he has been involved with it, it seems it has a ways to go and he is simply in a position right now where the market is something no one can predict. This is an extremely high quality proposal and one of the best operators in the area that has been with Novi Mile for almost two years and watching this process and getting more and more concerned. At the same time, the operator is still engaged, still interested in doing the project and would like to simply advance this one modest, positive development opportunity.

    Member Cassis stated that as far as the process, it would be best to have a plan for that entire area and the larger parcel in place before any decisions on rezonings are made.

    Mr. Bowman stated that it is part of a larger parcel but again, that is not inconsistent with hundreds of different examples in this community and many other communities as far as different zoning districts on a piece of property. I do not think it would behoove anyone to come in and rezone this whole property to Freeway Service. Ultimately Mr. Bowman would hope to discuss and identify a logical place for some of those internal roadway improvements that he will totally support and participate in. This is the first modest step of zoning the 1.8 acres. The balance of the property should be a part of the overall Master Planning process.

    Member Gutman stated that this has clearly been discussed with the Master Plan and Zoning Committee. Member Gutman is cheering for this project and thinks it is a good project, but it is not in compliance with the current Future Land Use Map and it is inconsistent with the existing Future Land Uses. Member Gutman addressed Deputy Director McBeth and asked if this use would be permitted in the Retail Service Overlay that the Committee has been looking at.

    Deputy Director McBeth stated that this was one of the things that the Committee has spent quite a bit of time discussing when looking at this study area. The uses that had been proposed and have been discussed this evening were uses that were discussed for inclusion in a possible future ordinance language for the Retail Overlay option. There would also be an expectation that there would be certain infrastructure improvements, roads, in particular that staff would expect to see to make this retail overlay area function properly. Also, a roadway plan for the area needs to be defined, as the Committee has been trying to identify exactly where the road system would best be located. These are the types of details that staff would want to make sure were included in the master plan and possible ordinance language. Also, when the ordinance language is drafted there would likely be open-space requirements, standards for the setback, a mix and types of uses. The Committee has been discussing these aspects of the Retail Service Overlay provisions.

    Member Gutman asked what other options would be available to the applicant today.

    Deputy Director McBeth stated one option would be a Rezoning request with the Planned Rezoning Overlay option. Staff discussed this option with the applicant when they first came in to discuss the rezoning. The applicant had brought a concept plan and there was some confusion before the pre-application meeting as to whether the applicant was requesting a rezoning with the Planned Rezoning Overlay option. It was clarified that it was a rezoning request only. The PRO option has been tried with several other rezoning requests in Novi with some success. The submittal typically involves a Concept Plan. It also requires the applicant to demonstrate a public benefit that would be over and above a typical rezoning request. Another alternative is to wait until the public hearing has been held for the Master Plan and it has gone out for circulation to surrounding communities, Oakland County and utility companies. Staff could draft the ordinance language in the meantime. The timeframe for completing the plan and allowing time for circulation and comments would be about 90 days, including the time waiting for the plan to circulate.

    Deputy Director McBeth stated that staff and the applicant talked about a couple of things that could be considered a public benefit for a submitted PRO request. One was a proposed regional detention basin for the site and other properties in the vicinity. Sidewalk improvements that would be above and beyond what would typically be expected were also discussed. But it is really up to the applicant to make the offer and it is not something that the City can insist on.

    Mr. Bowman stated while the PRO process is a possibility but it seems that would bring in the need for a set plan for the larger parcel and the overall Master Plan for the area. The use is allowed under the Freeway Service and the types of uses permitted in that district are likely going to be part of the recommended ordinances. The applicant has adjusted the parcel size to accommodate some of the larger right-of-ways and setbacks the City was concerned with. Mr. Bowman is still interested in doing something on a regional basin basis. The details, including the road layout, can be worked out during the site plan review process.

    Member Baratta asked the applicant if a 60-90 day delay regarding a decision would adversely affect his deal with Tim Hortonís and the gas station.

    Mr. Bowman responded that the delays in the project thus far are why Tim Hortonís in now being referred to as a third party tenant. The Tim Hortonís outlook at the Michigan market has now changed in the last 90 days. The consideration of the Master Plan has to take place as well as the actual development of a zoning district in order for one to be available to file under. This is going to be considerably more than a 90 day delay.

    Member Baratta asked if the 90 days would adversely affect your deal.

    Mr. Bowman confirmed a 90 day delay would adversely affect the deal.

    Member Baratta asked if 60 days would adversely affect the deal?

    Mr. Bowman answered that if the were rezoned or he had the absolute expectancy to be rezoned in 60 days, he could work within that time frame. Mr. Bowman stated that if he had to wait 60 more days to proceed to the next step, that would definitely adversely affect the deal.

    Member Baratta asked that if this body deferred this decision for 30-60 days until the Master Plan and Zoning Committee came back with their recommendation and assume that this use is an approved use in that future designation, would that affect the applicantís timing. If in 30-60 days the Commission has an understanding of what district this is going to be and assume this use is acceptable, the Commission can then come back and re-visit this and properly vote on the request.

    Mr. Bowman asked if the use is consistent with what the recommendations will be, would he still be able to proceed under the Freeway Service zoning.

    Member Baratta did not know.

    Mr. Bowman answered that therein lies the difficulty. The timeframes indicate that within the next 90 days the property should be rezoned.

    Member Baratta asked if this request was consistent with what the Master Plan and Zoning Committee has been reviewing.

    Deputy Director McBeth stated that the uses the Commission is discussing are consistent with what has been expected to be put into an ordinance that staff would draft and that would be called the Retail Service Overlay. The district would be different from the Freeway Service. It would be an overlay district over the existing OST, Planned Office Service Technology.

    Member Baratta asked if that overlay district would allow the uses presented by the applicant.

    Deputy Director McBeth confirmed the Committee has been talking about the same types of land uses.

    City Attorney Schultz noted that the idea of the retail service overlay hasnít been approved by a full Commission. The Master Plan and Zoning Committee is composed of four members and hasnít necessarily gotten into that kind of detail.

    Chair Pehrson stated he did not support a straight rezoning from OST to Freeway Service for all of the reasons that were depicted in the letter from Planner Kapelanski and the comments from Member Gutman and Member Cassis. The City is not out to make this a process that is harsh on anyone. The process is there to be fair and balanced and itís one that with or without these economic times, the Commission would still have the same decision to make and the decision would still be the same. The idea of changing zoning contrary to the Master Plan has never been something that the City has done lightly given the fact there is a process for an applicant to come back with a PRO that establishes the conditions of either this property by itself, or the entire parcel and that is still a valid route to take to address these kinds of things.

    Member Cassis stated he does sit on the Master Plan and Zoning Committee and it has been unfortunate that this process has taken so long and there is no blame to anyone. These are very uncertain economic times. The applicant may say having an answer in 30 days would work for him, but being a business man Member Cassis knows how fragile the economy is in this state and in Novi. Mr. Bowman may say that 60 days will be okay, but he might be wrong. What is really preventing the Planning Commission from giving Mr. Bowman what he is asking for, which is the Freeway Service zoning, and let him take his chances before us at another meeting as to whether he made a wise choice or not.

    Motion made by Member Cassis, seconded by Member Baratta:


    In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.694 for Novi Mile, LLC, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject property from OST, (Office Service Technology District) to FS, (Freeway Service District) for the following reasons: a) Because of the uncertain economic times; b) Because the Master Plan process is incomplete at this time; and c) For the other reasons stated during the discussion. Motion carried 6-1. (Nay Ė Chair Pehrson)


Public Hearing of the request of Novi Town Center Investors for Planning Commissionís recommendation to City Council for rezoning of properties in Section 14, at Town Center Drive and Crescent Boulevard and also Town Center Drive and Grand River Avenue, from OS-1, Office Service District and OSC, Office Service Commercial District, to TC, Town Center District. The subject properties are approximately 10.85 acres.

Planner Kapelanski stated that the Novi Town Center is proposing to rezone parcels located at the intersection of Town Center Drive and Crescent Boulevard and including Town Center Drive. between Eleven Mile Road and Grand River Avenue.

Planner Kapelanski noted that the maps provided by staff in the packets were incorrect. The Town Center is proposing to rezone parcels extending up to Eleven Mile Road and the maps in the packet indicated the rezoning fell short of Eleven Mile Road by a small amount.

The parcels are currently zoned OSC, Office Service Commercial and OS-,.1 Office Service and they are proposed to be rezoned to TC, Town Center. The Future Land Use Map indicates Town Center Commercial zoning, Office zoning and Town Center Gateway zoning for the subject properties.

The staff recommends approval of the proposed rezoning as the requested rezoning is generally in compliance with the Future Land Use Map and the proposed TC Zoning is consistent with the TC Zoning immediately adjacent to the subject properties and throughout the area. Staff has proposed revising the Future Land Use Map to indicate Town Center Commercial Uses for the parcel on the eastern side of Town Center Drive. That would be the parcel that is currently planned for office uses.

Matthew Quinn, representing the applicant, came forward and stated that the proposed rezoning is really kind of a clean-up. The Town Center really did not realize that they had so many other zoning districts that were under the same ownership until an Alta survey was done recently. The survey was done because the Town Center is looking at moving some buildings, tearing some down and rebuilding. What they found was with different rezoning districts, they would end up with different setbacks in each zoning district. There are zoning district lines going through the middle of buildings right now. This rezoning request would put everything that the Town Center owns into one zoning district, the Town Center Zoning District, so it can be more easily developed in the future and so there will not be any title problems with any future purchasers of any portions of the center. The Town Center appreciates the staffís support and whole-heartedly agrees that a positive recommendation to the City Council is warranted.

Chair Pehrson closed the public hearing as no one in the audience wished to speak.

Member Gutman stated that he was in favor of this when it came before Master Plan and Zoning Committee and the documentation tonight solidifies his position.

Motion made by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Prince:


In the matter of Zoning Map Amendment 18.692 for Novi Town Center Investors, motion to recommend approval to the City Council to rezone the subject property from OSC, Office Service Commercial District and OS-1, Office Service District to TC, Town Center District for the reason that it is generally in compliance with the Future Land Use map, the rezoning would not create a non-conformity in terms of use or dimensional standards of the ordinance and the proposed TC zoning is consistent with the TC zoning immediately adjacent to the subject properties and throughout the surrounding area. Motion carried 7-0.



    Consideration of the request of Hotel Baronette for a recommendation to City Council for Phasing Plan approval. The subject property is located in Section 14, east of Novi Road and south of Twelve Mile Road in the RC, Regional Center District. The subject property is approximately 6.3 acres and the applicant is proposing three phases of work to be done to the property. This first phase would include the improvements to the exterior of the proposed restaurant space. The second phase would include the improvements to the Twelve Oaks Mall entrance drive. The third phase would include the construction of the three story 5,688 square foot addition.

    Planner Kapelanski stated that the applicant is proposing to construct a 5,000 square foot addition on the southwest corner of the existing Hotel Baronette. The Final Site Plan has been approved administratively and the staff is awaiting the submittal of stamping sets. Recently, the applicant indicated that due to economic constraints, the addition could not be constructed at this time. Therefore, the applicant has decided to phase the development and amend the approved plan to reflect this change. The phasing plan before the Commission this evening proposes three separate phases. As stated, Phase I would include the extension of the restaurant patio area and related changes; Phase II would include the reconfiguration of the Twelve Oaks Mall entrance drive; and Phase III would be the proposed addition. All staff and consultant review letters recommend approval of the phasing plan.

    Steven Wickens, the applicant, came forward and stated that he is the owner of the Hotel Baronette and is available to answer any questions. The hotel is in the middle of a renovation and has had to cut back a little bit. They are proposing to cut back on the addition on the front and are reconfiguring some space inside to address the needs of that area. The applicant asked for approval of the phasing plan.

    Member Gutman stated that it seems like a very straightforward and simple matter.

    Motion made by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Cassis:


    In the matter of the request of Hotel Baronette, SP10-03, motion to recommend approval of the Phasing Plan, subject to the following: a) Compliance with all conditions and requirements listed in the staff and consultant review letters for the reason that is otherwise in compliance with Article 17, Article 24 and Article 25 of the Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable provisions of the Ordinance. Motion carried 7-0.

    Member Meyer welcomed the applicantís idea of phasing in the plan and applauded his efforts to upgrade and take what has been a jewel and make it even better, particularly in light of the economic challenges we face at this time.


Consideration 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 this ordinance amendment had been discussed at previous Planning Commission meetings. At those meetings, the staff was asked for additional information which was then presented at subsequent meetings. We also had Deputy Chief Lindberg at two previous meetings to answer questions on the Police Departmentís professional recommendation on the proposed amendment.

This evening the Commission is asked to make a recommendation to the City Council in regard to the sale of liquor at gas stations. Three options of possible amendments have been included in the packet. These are the same options that were presented at the previous Planning Commission meeting. The first would be for the total prohibition of alcohol at gas stations, would amend the definition, and include revisions to the parking requirements. The second would amend the definition of gas stations, but would not prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages at gas stations and also include the revisions to the parking requirements. The third amendment would allow 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. The third option also includes revisions to the parking standards for gas stations.

Also included in the revised packet are a memo summarizing the action thus far and some correspondence from Member Baratta detailing his thoughts on the proposed amendment.

Chair Pehrson asked if there was any correspondence.

Member Meyer read the correspondence into the record.

  • Christine Roznowski, 28342 Carlton Way Drive, Novi, MI 48377

Commission Members: Baratta, Cassis, Greco, Gutman, Larson, Lynch, Meyer, Pehrson, Prince:

I am writing in regards to the Planning Commission Agenda meeting on 1/13/2010, Wednesday at 7:00PM. I attended the meeting with the Carlton Forest II group. While I was there, I sat through the discussion and debate for the Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.239.

I would like to voice my opinion on this matter and the way it was handled. First, I do not approve of the sale of alcohol in any gas station. A gas station is for gas mainly and maybe some snacks or soda pop, but no alcohol. Alcohol can be purchased at party stores or grocery stores, but not gas stations. I oppose it!

I am sure many other people that live in Novi would feel the same if they were at this meeting and heard this Amendment 18.239. I hope this is not approved and that it is not only left to the Commission Members to decide for all of us.

One more comment, and that is that you have microphones on your desk in front of all of you and why donít you speak into them so audiences can hear you more clearly.

Chair Pehrson stated that there was no other Correspondence, so he will turn it over to the Planning Commission for consideration.

Member Baratta asked for a clarification for Option 3 with respect to the 50,000 square foot minimum size. As Member Baratta reads subsection A, it basically says that the sale of alcoholic beverages shall be permitted as an accessory use subject to approval of the appropriate licensees by the Liquor Control Commission and subject to the standards imposed by the Commission and State Law only where the gas station is located in neighborhood shopping center, composed of one or more commercial establishments organized and operated as a unit, which provides not less than 50,000 square feet of gross leasable area. Member Baratta stated that his understanding of this is basically a gas station could be any size as long as it is within a 50,000 square foot shopping center or more.

Member Baratta addressed City Attorney Schultz and asked if that was a fair interpretation of that standard.

City Attorney Schultz answered that the language was out of the State Statute and the administrative regulations. The standard measures the center, not the gas station, so Member Baratta is correct. There are some other technical details like parking spaces and things like that, but in terms of the gas station building, the only thing that would be required is the pumps must be at least 50 feet away from the point of purchase.

Member Baratta stated that the concern may be a misunderstanding about the write-up. Member Baratta didnít understand the proposed standard correctly versus the Statute and maybe that is where Member Cassis heard the 50,000 square foot number. Member Baratta also believes that if this were one unit at 50,000 square feet that would also fit within that definition. Items that came up in tonightís discussion when Commission Cassis addressed Mr. Bowman was that first, Mr. Bowmanís building was 6,000 square feet and second, Mr. Bowman would absolutely not object to a quantitative limitation on building size. Quantitative, in Member Barattaís definition, includes size, square footage, and not land mass, but building square footage. Member Baratta thinks that what Mr. Bowman is trying to say is that the proposed gas station is really a mini-market, party-store, and convenience store - however you define it - that sells gas. Number two, Mr. Bowman talked about a qualitative limitation. Member Barattaís definition of a qualitative limitation is training, personnel and things of that nature.

Member Baratta stated that the staff did an outstanding job in putting together the packets this week, with all the details he was looking for. Reading through the packets, and recalling all the comments that the Commission has had over the last several meetings on this, a few things stand out. Starting with Deputy Chief Lindberg, he was concerned basically about having a one man gas station doing various tasks where the worker may not properly focus on the sale of the products. Looking at a quantitative limitation on square footage where you had a larger building that is a C- store, convenience store, or party store that sells gas, it would generate sufficient sales volume to probably require more than one person to operate that store. With a larger building size, maybe you would not have that same issue that Deputy Chief Lindberg brought up.

Member Baratta continued by stating, one could do a little business modeling on the type of plan that Mr. Bowmanís client is considering, although he did not present a site plan today it was displayed and visible to the Commission. The plan showed basically a 6,000 square foot building. Assuming itís a standard retail building and it does between $200 and $250 a square foot, this would result in decent margins. This type of business model is something that is going to do upwards of a million or million and a half dollars or maybe a little larger. C Stores have a very good margin; fifty percent is not unheard of. So, if you have a business model that is going to generate significant profit, then you can invest in human resources and train the human resources. To properly operate under this business model, that requires more than one person working in the store. Member Baratta thought that was quite interesting.

Member Baratta further stated that Chair Pehrson spoke in one of the prior meetings how in his experience a gas station in Texas had a limitation of selling alcohol up to 11:59PM. There was a significant fine if the gas station attendants were caught selling alcohol after that time. Also, in Chair Pehrsonís example, there was significant training for the human resources on how to sell this product. Member Baratta thought this would satisfy Deputy Chief Lindbergís second concern, and that is, not only not having the limited number of personnel, but trained personnel to properly dispense the product.

Looking at our three options: (1) Donít sell alcohol at a gas station. Member Baratta stated that the type of facility he is describing is not a gas station; itís a convenience store that sells gas or a mini-market that sells gas. Member Baratta thinks these models are combining into one larger model. (2) Let the Stateís Statute control the matter in Novi. Member Baratta is not comfortable with having the State control liquor sales at gas stations. Member Baratta thinks we have a responsibility in Novi to where we need to have Ordinances and control of what is permitted, and where it is permitted in Novi. Member Baratta is also concerned about one of the letters in the packet that talks about the Stateís process of just contacting the applicants telephonically to ask if they have $250,000 of inventory and not conducting physical inspections. (3) The third alternative basically says that if the ordinance is approved, alcohol may be sold if you are in a shopping center of 50,000 square feet or greater. The ordinance doesnít control how big that gas station business is that sells alcohol, or that C store that sells alcohol.

Looking at all three of the alternatives, Member Baratta suggests that the Commission consider option 3 with a limitation in the following manner: The size of the building should be at least 15,000 square feet. Member Baratta stated that he sent out a note that talked about grocery stores that were normally 20,000 square feet selling both fresh product and with refrigeration. Member Baratta now thinks that about 15,000 square feet of selling square footage is what you will find in those grocery stores. Proposing a limitation of about 15,000 square feet and at $200 a square foot, there could be a three million dollar business.

Member Baratta stated that at that point, the business could be in a shopping center or it could be free-standing. A shopping center would be anchoring and attracting traffic and that would further promote development for Novi. A free-standing 15,000 square foot store would be a business that can generate significant profit and would have significant human resources with sufficient training. At 15,000 square feet, this business would generate about a three or four million dollar investment in Novi. Member Baratta thinks thatís pretty significant. This business model he describes could potentially work, and also bring a business to Novi.

Member Baratta suggested that the Commission can put in a limitation where the store cannot sell beer, wine and liquor past midnight. The store would be required to meet the parking ratios of general retail, because this is truly general retail, and the ratio of five spaces per thousand square feet is absolutely applicable. Member Baratta stated that this model he describes would be developed only in limited places and would not be considered a traditional gas station that sells alcohol.

Member Meyer stated that he appreciated Member Barattaís comment on the limitation on the hour of sales of alcohol, because in the actual Ordinance, under Part I.C, it says many gasoline service stations are open later than other stores where alcohol is sold, creating the ability for persons who have been consuming alcohol in an on-premises establishment to conveniently purchase alcohol after leaving the establishment. If limitation on the hours of sales were to be included in any recommendation that the Commission is going to make, Member Meyer would support the statement that no alcohol would be sold after midnight.

Member Meyer also stated that when he was at the State of the City Address, he was being pulled in both directions by people talking with him about this ordinance amendment. Some people would say donít vote for this because there is a Kroger right across the street where beer, wine and alcohol can be purchased. Member Meyerís thoughts were, if there is a Kroger across the street, why do I want to oppose someone who is doing whatís American, namely competing with the Kroger across the street. Member Meyer said that he then had someone else telling him to vote favorably on this and this person was really hoping Member Meyer will be at the meeting and voting in favor of this. Member Meyer stated that there are a variety of reasons that we could all take a stand on this. Member Meyer doesnít know if he agrees with the 15,000 square feet limitation proposed by Member Baratta. Member Meyer suggested that he thinks the Planning Commission is sometimes micro-managing too much from this table. The Ordinance is about alcohol sales at gas stations and Member Meyer is not sure about these different ideas of 50,000 square feet and $250,000 worth of merchandise, not including the alcohol.

Member Cassis had a question for City Attorney Schultz. Member Cassis said he should know this, but wasnít there an Act passed that prohibits people from taking the rest of a bottle of wine with them, if not finished at a bar. Member Cassis stated that we are talking about some recklessness from selling beer and wine from gas stations.

Chair Pehrson answered yes, that most likely that is the case. Anything that we do relative to this Ordinance or something else, there will be people that will abuse the situation. Deputy Chief Lindberg is right, we hope we never see these things happen in Novi. The business circumstances are the kinds of things we look at these days. For example, when we looked at a Kroger that wanted to go in at Ten Mile and Novi Road, the conversation at that time was the patterns in which people buy their groceries and food items these days are changed from the patterns they used to follow. You may go by a Mini-Mart and purchase X, Y, and Z and Nancy gets A, B, and C from that Mini-Mart. You very rarely go back now to a Kroger or Buschís and do your full scale of $300 a week grocery shopping.

Chair Pehrson said that our patterns have changed and we cannot protect everybody from every consideration. Chair Pehrson thinks itís best to compromise in this situation and is in agreement with Alternate 3 where the ordinance puts some limitations on the size or the scope of the building or the sale amount. We then trust that the operator does not want to lose their liquor license if this is part of the requirements of the Michigan State Liquor Control Commission. We trust that the store owners are going to be responsible citizens and if they see someone walk in to a convenience store that is staggering, or if itís after hours, or if the patron looks younger, the patron will be carded and identified so that the sale does not take place. Chair Pehrson stated, this is not done to micro-manage, not to make judgments and not to try to see into the future, because we cannot do any of those. Chair Pehrson prefers Option 3 right now.

Member Cassis noted he did offer a few more things at the previous Planning Commission meeting in addition to the minimum building size requirement suggested by Member Baratta this evening. The Police Department would be under a greater burden since in addition to keeping track of the existing liquor licenses they would, should sales at gas stations be permitted, also be required to perform inspections on gas stations selling alcohol. This would mean increasing their patrolling of the area. Member Cassis suggested adding a fee to cover costs for these additional inspections and reports from the operator of the gas station on how many personnel, hours and inventory they have in stock to alleviate some of the work for the Police Department. There are concerns about the State supervising the situation and we are not sure they will adequately pursue it and some of those previous suggestions should be taken into consideration if a motion is made.

City Attorney Schultz stated he certainly could understand the sentiment and the idea that there would be an extra level of comfort if people selling alcohol at 1:30AM at a gas station were trained like a bar staff and not like a gas station attendant who has a refrigerator with alcohol in it. However, those sorts of regulations and concerns start to get away from what is essentially a land use question.

City Attorney Schultz explained that the Planning Staff examined the State statute regarding when alcohol sales at a gas station are permitted. A gas station could be in a neighborhood shopping center of 50,000 square feet or greater and alcohol sales would be permitted. Alternately, a store of any size with $250,000 worth of merchandise excluding alcohol and gasoline is permitted to sell alcohol. That is how alcohol sales are permitted in the Sunshine Market at Thirteen Mile Road and Novi Road. Member Barattaís suggestion would work if the Commission supports it. We would just add on a 15,000 square foot minimum building size to whatever the language of the State statute is. The question before the Commission is what sorts of things should happen at a gas station? Gas should be sold, chips should be sold, and the Commission does, or does not think beer or wine should be sold. City Attorney Schultz thinks it is as much a land use question as should the buildings on Main Street be six stories or eight stories. The Planning Commission needs to say, we sort of expect when we drive around Novi that we can pull into gas station and buy beer and wine or we donít. That is a land use question and there may be good reasons that relate to training or amount of income or revenue, but the Planning Commission essentially needs to determine whether those sorts of sales fall within the uses permitted at a gas station.

Member Cassis asked City Attorney Schultz if Member Barattaís suggestion of a 15,000 square foot minimum building size shouldnít be included in a motion.

City Attorney Schultz clarified he was not commenting on a minimum building size requirement but wanted to ensure the Planning Commission was focusing on the land use question and not specific reporting requirements.

Member Cassis accepts that and thinks City Council at any time could do those things because they are the legislative body.

City Attorney Schultz agreed that City Council is the legislative body of the City. However, the Liquor Control Commission could give a liquor license to a gas station even if they donít meet the requirements in the Cityís ordinance. The Liquor Control Commission is not required to abide by city ordinances. The Liquor Control Commission would be more likely to do that if the ordinance is concerned with technical reporting requirements, because that is what they regulate.

Member Baratta addressed City Attorney Schultz asking if he would have a legal objection or legal concern with re-licensing each year.

City Attorney Schultz stated that the Planning Commission should stay away from the license itself and instead should describe the land use leaving the license part to the Liquor Control Commission or Police Department because they have means of recourse. A business selling alcohol will have a current license or they wonít be selling alcohol at all and our Police Department can investigate that and deal with that.

Member Baratta asked if City Attorney Schultz would have an objection or some legal issue with regard to the time in which a business could sell alcohol.

City Attorney Schultz replied he would have an objection to such a condition.

Member Baratta noted he suggested 15,000 square feet as a conditional size limitation based on his understanding of running a business with regards to construction cost, operating cost, expected profits and related items. Member Baratta asked if his fellow Planning Commissioners had any alternate recommendations or if a 15,000 square foot store seemed reasonable.

Member Lynch said he would support a 15,000 square foot building size requirement.

Motion made by Member Baratta, seconded by Member Lynch:

Motion to recommend approval of Zoning Text Amendment 18.239 to the City Council of Alternative 3 as amended to add that a building where gas is sold shall be a minimum of 15,000 square feet.

City Attorney Schultz stated that he was fine with the concept of the motion but did have some recommendations on the exact wording of the amendment. City Attorney Schultz recommended the Planning Commission include all of the requirements of the state regulations in addition to their own requirement that the building must be 15,000 square feet.

Member Baratta accepted the suggested amendments, seconded by Member Lynch.

Motion made by Member Baratta, seconded by Member Lynch:


Motion to recommend approval of Zoning Text Amendment 18.239 to the City Council of Alternative 3 as amended to add that a building where gas is sold shall be a minimum of 15,000 square feet and the point of sale of the alcohol shall not be less than 50 feet from where the fuel is dispensed and an establishment shall carry at least $250,000 worth of merchandise at cost, excluding alcohol and gasoline. Motion carried 5-2. (Nay Ė Member Gutman, Member Meyer)


    Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Gutman:


    A motion to approve the November 18, 2009 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 7-0.


Moved by Member Lynch, seconded by member Gutman:


A motion to approve the December 9, 2009 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 7-0.


There were no Matters For Discussion.


Chair Pehrson stated that the Commission members would all look at their calendars and get back with Deputy Director McBeth regarding Planning Commissioner training.


No one in the audience wished to speak.


Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Baratta:


Motion to adjourn the January 27, 2010 Planning Commission meeting. Motion carried 7-0.

The meeting adjourned at 8:38 PM.








Transcribed by Juanita Freeman

April, 2010

Date Approved: Signature on File

Angela Pawlowski, Planning Assistant