PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 |
Council Chambers |
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM.
Present:Member Baratta, Member Cassis, Member Gutman, Member Larson, Member Lynch, Member Meyer, Chair Pehrson
Absent: Member Greco (excused), Member Prince (excused)
Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; Tom Schultz, City Attorney
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Meyer led the meeting attendees in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Larson:
VOICE VOTE ON THE AGENDA APPROVAL MOTION:
Motion to approve the May 12, 2010 Planning Commission Agenda. Motion carried 7-0.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
There was no Correspondence.
There were no Committee Reports.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPUTY DIRECTOR REPORT
Deputy Director McBeth stated that the on May 3, 2010, the City Council approved the Second Reading of the Ordinance Amendments related to Wind Turbines and Solar Collectors.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
Consideration of the request of Landry & Newman Architecture for a Final Site Plan extension.The subject property is located in Section 13, north of Eleven Mile Road and south of I-96 between Meadowbrook Road and Seeley Road, in the I-1, Light Industrial District. The subject property is approximately 11.9 acres and Building B is a 14,210 square foot speculative office/research and development/industrial building in the three building general condominium development.
Motion made by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Baratta:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON CONSENT AGENDA APPROVAL, MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN, SECONDED BY MEMBER BARATTA.
A motion to approve the May 12, 2010 Consent Agenda. Motion carried 7-0.
There were no Public Hearings.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
Consideration of the request of Hefco Properties for Preliminary Site Plan and Parking Finding approval. The subject property is located in Section 14, south of Twelve Mile Road, west of Meadowbrook Road, in the OST, Planned Office Service District. The subject property is approximately 4.68 acres and the applicant is proposing to occupy approximately 31,596 square feet of Gross Leasable Area (GLA) at the currently vacant Meadowbrook Medical Building (38,523 square feet GLA total). The applicant is proposing to add a porch to the northwestern corner of the building and a clock tower (occupying eight parking spaces) in the existing parking lot.
Planner Kapelanski stated that the applicant is proposing to occupy a majority of the existing and currently vacant Meadowbrook Office building. The building is located on the southwest corner of Twelve Mile and Meadowbrook Road. The property is zoned OST, Planned Office Service Technology. A private university is a principle permitted use in the OST District.
Planner Kapelanski explained that the applicant is proposing to add a porch to the northwest corner of the building as well as a clock tower in the existing parking lot.
Novi’s Zoning Ordinance does not have a parking standard for colleges and universities, but Section 2505.10 allows the Planning Commission to base off-street parking requirements on a similar use. Staff finds that the use most similar would be a private club or lodge hall which has a parking standard of one space for each three persons allowed under maximum occupancy.
The applicant has indicated the university does not intend to occupy the entire building at this time, but instead will occupy approximately 32,000 square feet. Based on the information provided by the applicant regarding class schedules and occupant loads, staff recommends approval of the plan with a Planning Commission finding that adequate parking for the occupation for a little less than 32,000 square feet has been provided and that the applicant will be required to provide additional parking before fully occupying the building.
Chair Pehrson asked if the applicant had anything to add.
Mr. Howard Friedlaender, HEFCO Properties came forward and stated that he was pleased that he had a lease with South University to occupy the entire building and that they will occupy it in 2 phases. The first phase being discussed this evening would allow occupancy of approximately three-quarters of the building initially. The existing parking lot is sufficient for that occupancy. Mr. Friedlaender explained that in order to accommodate the use of the remainder of the building in the third year of the lease, Mr. Friedlaender has the adjacent property under contract and will be purchasing that land for additional parking. Another adjacent parcel is under contract for future expansion.
Mr. Friedlaender stated two wonderful things have come together with this tenant - healthcare and higher education. South University does a variety of programs and will begin with a nursing program. Later, this could expand into pharmacy and physical therapy. This is a good area, as there are a lot of hospital organizations and potential job placements for their graduates. Mr. Bill Bradford is the president of the local South University campus. He is here this evening and would be glad to answer any questions that the Planning Commission may have.
Chair Pehrson thanked Mr. Friedlaender for speaking. Noting that there was no correspondence, Chair Pehrson turned the matter over to the Planning Commission for their consideration.
Member Meyer said that he lives two miles from this building and drives by it quite often. He complimented Mr. Friedlaender on keeping the landscape and building maintained so well, realizing that it has not been occupied for two or more years since the building was completed. Member Meyer applauds the fact that the university will provide medical and educational opportunities as well as jobs for people who will be working at the university.
Member Cassis asked Mr. Bradford where South University is from.
Mr. Bradford answered Member Cassis in saying that their main campus is in Savannah, Georgia and there are also campuses in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; Columbia, South Carolina; West Palm Beach, Florida; Tampa, Florida and Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Bradford noted this is the first campus north of the Ohio River.
Member Cassis asked Mr. Bradford how South University had decided to come to Novi.
Mr. Bradford stated that as South University looked to expand their campuses, they did national testing to find locations where there are job opportunities for the school’s typical program areas. They found that the Detroit metropolitan area and western Detroit area had a need for training in those areas that South University can provide. This is how the Novi area was selected, as they not only look at the number of students that would seek training, but those areas that offer job opportunities once the students complete their degrees.
Member Cassis stated that this is a wonderful addition to Novi and asked about the number of students expected, based on past experience.
Mr. Bradford answered Member Cassis in saying that most of the campuses are between 1,500 and 2,500 students.
Member Cassis asked about the number of faculty.
Mr. Bradford explained that most of the South University campuses are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The main campus is in Savannah, Georgia and will continue to have that accreditation as opposed to north central. He noted that most schools are approved in their regional areas. Mr. Bradford said, we prefer to have 50 percent of our classes taught by full-time faculty members. That may not be possible at the Novi Campus depending on the availability of faculty in this area. The Columbia, South Carolina campus has the largest number of adjunct faculty because of the availability of teachers and professors in that area. Mr. Bradford said that South University would anticipate having somewhere around 600 students within the first three years and somewhere between 75 and 95 staff members, full-time and part-time.
Member Cassis also asked Mr. Bradford if they would be associated with hospitals around Novi.
Mr. Bradford answered Member Cassis in saying depending on the State’s approval of the school’s programs, we will offer training at hospitals and clinics in the area. South University is now in the process of seeking the State’s approval of its programs. Mr. Bradford explained that one of the programs will be a nursing program. Mr. Bradford indicated school representatives have spoken to two local hospitals about participating in the program, knowing there is a demand for nursing in this area. After a year, the university would hope to move from a beginning level program to a Baccalaureate Degree for Nursing. South University would have to be in operation for one year, with a nursing chair and a dean on staff for one full year before this school can apply for the full program.
Member Cassis questioned the parcels under contract: will the school have adequate property to be able to accommodate teachers, parking and students coming in and out as well as deliveries. Mr. Cassis presumed the school is cognizant of all the ramifications of what a university might demand for parking and other ancillary uses.
Mr. Bradford answered absolutely, South University is aware of what is needed. He said that he would not have been able to come here tonight before Mr. Cassis and his colleagues without being able to say yes.
Member Cassis stated that this is a wonderful thing that Mr. Bradford is bringing to our community. We welcome you and this program. We’d be pleased if the school is able to tie in with our hospital, Walsh College and all the other universities that we have in this community, and provide jobs for our residents.
Member Gutman thanked Mr. Bradford for picking Novi for their project.
Member Gutman then made a motion, seconded by Member Lynch:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR SOUTH UNIVERSITY, SP10-17, MOTION BY MEMBER GUTMAN, SECONDED BY MEMBER LYNCH:
In the matter of South University, SP10-17, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan, subject to the following: 1) Planning Commission finding that the use is most similar to a private club or lodge hall and adequate parking exists on the site for the initial occupation of 31,596 square feet of Gross Leasable Area; 2) Additional parking is required before full occupation of 38,523 square feet of Gross Leasable Area; 3) Applicant shall submit copy of lease agreement prior to Stamping Set approval; and 4) The conditions and items listed in the staff and consultant review letters being addressed on the Stamping Set; for the reasons that the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 23A, Article 24 and Article 25 of the Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable provisions of the Ordinance. Motion carried 7-0.
Consideration of the request of Sri Venkateshwara for revised phasing plan approval of a three-phase project: the Temple, the Cultural Center and the Maha Rajagopuram. The subject property is located in Section 16, on the west side of Taft Road between Grand River Avenue and Eleven Mile in the RA, Residential Acreage District. The subject property is approximately 10.11 acres. The site was previously approved as a two-phase project. Phase 1 is a two-story 23,703 square foot Temple. Phase 2 is a 22,743 square foot Cultural Center. Phase 3, the Maha Rajagopuram is an approximately 37’ 6" decorative gateway tower structure near the east entrance to the temple. No changes to the overall site layout or building footprints have been proposed. The applicant is also proposing phased elevations of the Temple structure itself.
Chair Pehrson noted that the applicant has modified the request regarding the phasing of the temple building elevations, as indicated in a letter in the packet.
Planner Kapelanski stated the applicant is proposing to construct a temple and accessory structures for property on the west side of Taft Road, south of Grand River Avenue. This project previously appeared before the Planning Commission originally on September 24, 2008 where the matter was tabled and again on October 22, 2008 where the Planning Commission granted approval of the Special Land Use permit, Preliminary Site Plan, Stormwater Management Plan, Wetland Permit and Woodland Permit.
Following that meeting, the applicant appeared before the ZBA for variances for exceeding the height standards, the location of the dumpster and a deficiency in the number of parking spaces. The applicant received the requested variances and positive findings regarding the height of the building and dumpster requests. The ZBA tabled the parking space deficiency request. In response to that action, the applicant altered their plan to eliminate the temporary temple and priest residence which was previously Phase I of the project and returned to the Planning Commission and received approval for a two-phase project of a Temple and Cultural Center with the Temple being Phase I and the Cultural Center being Phase II.
Planner Kapelanski explained that the subject property is zoned R-A (Residential Acreage) and a Temple is a Special Land Use in the R-A District. The site is bordered mostly by residential zoning with some limited industrial zoning to the east and office further to the north.
Planner Kapelanski explained that the applicant has now adjusted their phasing plan to include three phases. The first phase would be the temple in the rear of the property, the second phase would be the cultural center toward the front of the property and the third phase would now be the Maha Rajagopuram which is a gateway entry structure for the temple. Generally the staff does not have concerns with the revised phasing of the site plan.
As part of this review, the applicant included a set of phased elevations for the temple building. Staff and the City’s consultants had substantial concerns regarding those phased elevations. As Chair Pehrson noted, the applicant has asked that the Planning Commission to only consider the Phased Site Plan at this time. The applicant will continue to work with the Staff and Consultants on the phased elevations.
Chair Pehrson asked if the applicant would like to make any statements to the Planning Commission.
Mr. Praveen Manyam with the Manyam Group came forward as the architect on the project. Mr. Manyam stated they are here for the re-phasing of the development, which is motivated by the allocation of resources and timing. He said the temple is a not very common building type in terms of the intricacies of the design. Based on further study of the resources and timing, we are proposing this rephasing to insure the development occurs according to plan.
Chair Pehrson turned the matter over to the Planning Commission for their consideration.
Member Lynch stated that he did not have an issue with the project and made a motion.
Motion made by Member Lynch, seconded by Member Gutman:
In the matter of Sri Venkateswara Temple Phases 1, 2 and 3 and Façade Phases A, B, and C, SP 10-18, motion to approve the Revised Temple Phasing Plan, Phases 1, 2 and 3 only, subject to the following: 1) Applicant will continue to work with City staff on the proposed phased elevations A, B and C, consideration of which has been postponed to a later meeting at the request of the applicant; 2) Landscape materials installed in the early phases of the work must be protected and maintained during work on all subsequent phases; and 3) Applicant must provide details for pedestrian protection for continued construction in an occupied building; and because it is otherwise in compliance with Article 3, Article 4, Section 2400, and Article 25 of the Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.
Member Cassis asked Planner Kapelanski for some information as to what will happen as a result of approval and will the applicant start building, except for putting on the building façade.
Planner Kapelanski answered Member Cassis in saying that, this evening, the Planning Commission is asked to consider approval of the revised phasing of the site plan only. For this meeting, the applicant has withdrawn the request to phase the Temple’s building elevations. Phase I of the site plan includes the Temple building itself and all of the parking on the site.
Member Cassis asked Planner Kapelanski for clarification on when they going to start construction.
Planner Kapelanski stated that they have already started construction.
Member Cassis asked Planner Kapelanski if they could build all three phases.
Planner Kapelanski answered saying that this change being requested would allow the applicant to break-up the project into three phases. Previously two phases were proposed. This approval would create the third phase, which is the gateway entry structure to the temple, and was previously included as part of Phase I. Planner Kapelanski explained the gateway structure would now be a third phase that would be built after the cultural center.
Member Cassis asked if the façade was included.
Planner Kapelanski answered yes, that the detailed façade improvements are included. If the Planning Commission approves the revised phasing site plan this evening, the façade from the previous approval would be continued. The information on the façade the Planning Commission received this week in the packets shows Phase C; that would be the façade approved if the Commission approves the site plan tonight. The phased façade, the A & B façades, are the interim façade improvements that the applicant has now asked to be considered at a different meeting. This evening, the Planning Commission is asked to consider the phasing lines drawn on the already approved site plan and disregard the request for the phased façade.
City Attorney Schultz further explained that the applicant has withdrawn the request to phase in the façade improvements. So by approving this with the motion as made, the applicant is going to have to meet the façade ordinance requirements - at least with the waiver that they have gotten so far. If the applicant wants to do anything less than what has already been approved through previous motions at other meetings, they would have to come back again. Right now, the applicant is requesting to phase the construction of the buildings, but the facades are going to be as the Commission saw them the first time around.
Member Baratta confirmed that all the landscaping will be installed as a part of this evening’s request, with the exception of the building pads for the front building and a building pad for that gateway. Member Baratta asked if the gateway will be a free-standing structure or if it will be attached to the temple.
Planner Kapelanski answered she believes it is a free-standing structure, and that the applicant could elaborate if that is not correct.
Member Baratta asked the applicant if he had a timeframe that the phasing would take.
Mr. Manyam stated that the proposed Phase III of the Maha Rajagopuram is an important element of the temple and we would like to start construction on that immediately after finishing the temple itself, which would be Phase I.
Member Baratta asked Mr. Manyam if that structure would be Phase II and the building closer to Taft Road will be Phase III.
Mr. Manyam stated that essentially for sake of clarity we are going to keep Phase I as is and Phase II as is. We are calling this structure Phase III, but we would like to get started on construction of that right away.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON REVISED PHASING FOR SRI VENKATESHWARA TEMPLE & CULTURAL CENTER, SP10-18, MOTION BY MEMBER LYNCH, SECONDED BY MEMBER GUTMAN.
In the matter of Sri Venkateswara Temple Phases 1, 2 and 3 and Façade Phases A, B, and C, SP 10-18, motion to approve the Revised Temple Phasing Plan, Phases 1, 2 and 3 only, subject to the following: 1) Applicant will continue to work with City staff on the proposed phased elevations A, B and C, consideration of which has been postponed to a later meeting at the request of the applicant; 2) Landscape materials installed in the early phases of the work must be protected and maintained during work on all subsequent phases; and 3) Applicant must provide details for pedestrian protection for continued construction in an occupied building; and because it is otherwise in compliance with Article 3, Article 4, Section 2400, and Article 25 of the Zoning Ordinance and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 7-0.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Lynch:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON MARCH 24, 2010 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN, SECONDED BY MEMBER LYNCH:
A motion to approve the March 24, 2010 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 7-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were none.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
There were none.
Deputy Director McBeth stated that there was no action requested on this item this evening, but the information is brought to the Commission following a request for additional information when the Master Plan for Land Use was last discussed. There were a number of questions regarding a Special Planning Project Area 1 Study Area. This packet of information was put together for consideration by the Commission over the upcoming weeks. Staff expects that the Master Plan will go to the City Council for approval of its distribution. About 42 days after the plan is distributed, we will know if surrounding communities and the County have any comments. This matter will then come back to the Planning Commission for another Public Hearing. It is likely that the Commission will see this packet again, but staff wanted to provide it early to find out if there were any further questions or additional information we could provide.
Chair Pehrson asked if there were any questions or comments for Deputy Director McBeth. Hearing none, Chair Pehrson moved on to Audience Participation.
Chair Pehrson stated that this is the last audience participation and if anyone would like to address the Planning Commission, please step forward.
Community Development Director Boulard came forward to introduce visitors from Clare, New York who are attending the Planning Commission meeting this evening. Last year they were able to attend the City Council meeting.
Chair Pehrson welcomed and greeted the visitors and hoped they enjoyed their stay in Novi over the next few days.
The meeting adjourned at 7:33 PM.
Transcribed by Juanita Freeman
Date Approved: 7/28/2010 ____Signature on File__________________________
Richelle Leskun, Planning Assistant