PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 |
Council Chambers |
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:00 PM.
Present:Member Gutman, Member Larson, Member Meyer, Chair Pehrson, Member Prince
Absent: Member Baratta, (excused), Member Cassis, (excused), Member Greco, (excused), Member Lynch, (excused)
Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Kristin Kolb, City Attorney; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; Mark Spencer, Planner; David Beschke, Landscape Architect; Brian Coburn, Engineer
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Member Prince led the meeting attendees in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Meyer:
VOICE VOTE ON THE AGENDA APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER MEYER:
Motion to approve the February 9, 2011 Planning Commission Agenda. Motion carried 5-0.
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 reported that she did have a few items tonight.
At the recent City Council meetings, the two Text Amendments that the Planning Commission had considered were approved for both first and second readings. Those were the text amendments related to the promotional wall signs in the EXO District and also the amendments to the Light Industrial District.
Also, at the Parks & Recreation Cultural Services Commission meeting last week, staff suggested that any members of that Commission who would want to attend and listen to the presentation on the Non-Motorized Master Plan would be welcome to attend the Planning Commission this evening.
There was another Public Hearing originally scheduled for tonight that will not be held. The public hearing for the Marty Feldman Chevrolet was advertised in the Novi News. That public hearing will be in two weeks instead of this evening.
Lastly, Brian Coburn, the City’s Senior Civil Engineer, is here this evening and will probably attend a couple of more meetings until the Plan Review Center Engineering position is filled.
CONSENT AGENDA - REMOVALS AND APPROVAL
1. ITC MAINTENANCE BUILDING ADDITION, SITE PLAN 10-48
Consideration of the request of B Sarkett Construction for Preliminary Site Plan and Stormwater Management Plan approval. The subject property is located in Section 13 at 27175 Energy Way, south of Twelve Mile Road, between M-5 and Haggerty Road, in the OST, Planned Office Service Technology District. The subject property is approximately 59.3 acres and the applicant is proposing to add a 3,405 square foot single-story maintenance building addition to be connected to the existing ITC headquarters.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Meyer:
VOICE VOTE ON THIS CONSENT AGENDA MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER MEYER:
Motion to approve the February 9, 2011 Consent Agenda. Motion carried 5-0.
1. NON-MOTORIZED MASTER PLAN
Public Hearing to present findings and receive comments on the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the City Council for consideration to adopt the plan.
Planner Spencer began by noting the City of Novi has a long history of encouraging healthy, active lifestyles, including providing pathways and sidewalks throughout the City. At the end of 2010, the City had over 225 miles of public pedestrian and bicycle facilities which contributed to Novi being awarded the Promoting Active Communities Gold Award from the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness four times.
To further these efforts, the City Council contracted the Greenway Collaborative in July 2010 to produce a comprehensive, Non-Motorized Master (Transportation) Plan. This Plan expands upon the current Sidewalk and Pathway Prioritization Analysis and Process Plan and makes recommendations for in-road facilities, sidewalks, trails, road crossings, design standards, priority considerations, funding, policies, outreach and non-motorized routes. The Federal Energy Efficiency Block Grant funded plan will include an expanded implementation strategy to help the City of Novi to continue its efforts to provide a safe, convenient and enjoyable environment for bicyclists, pedestrians and other non-motorized users while demonstrating the potential energy savings new facilities could provide.
Planner Spencer continued stating work on the Non-Motorized Master Plan is now nearing completion. The draft plan has been reviewed by staff and the Walkable Novi Committee. The Committee has recommended that the Planning Commission forward a positive recommendation to City Council to adopt the Plan.
Tonight, the Planning Commission is asked to conduct a public hearing on the Plan, receive comments, discuss the Plan and make a recommendation to City Council. City Council will be asked to take action to adopt the plan on February 28th.
Planner Spencer introduced Norm Cox from the Greenway Collaborative to present the Plan.
Mr. Cox stated that Planner Spencer gave an excellent overview of the Non-Motorized Plan that it is funded by the Federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. Work began in July, and over 200 people have participated in this project via an online survey. There have also been two public workshops, which were held in September and October and throughout the whole process, there have been meetings with the Steering Committee and the Walkable Novi Committee.
Mr. Cox stated that this is a consensus based document which really provides a vision for the future transportation system for Novi as well as an approach to make sure this gets on the ground and is not a stagnant report. Novi has been encouraging healthy, active lifestyles for some time as evidenced by the awards the City has received for promoting active communities and the on-going sidewalk program.
The community survey that was conducted in 2008-2009 indicated that 66% of the households surveyed have a need for walking and bicycle trails. This was nearly double the total of the next highest item and is clearly something that is of interest to the community. Novi is poised to take these efforts to the next level.
Mr. Cox stated that in the analysis of the benefits of implementing such a system it has been shown that vehicle miles per day in the City are reduced by 18,000; that equates to 9 tons of CO2 or 3,300 tons per year. That may seem unmanageably high, but really that only accounts for 1/3 of a mile trip per person that could be walking to the store, a child going to school or maybe biking or walking to a friend’s house. Just one person doing a 6 mile roundtrip bike trip would account for the equivalent of 18 people. So, this is a manageable and achievable goal that will have quite an impact on the communities’ environmental impact.
There is also great opportunity to make a big difference to people who don’t drive, whether it is by choice because of environmental ethics, religious beliefs, or they may not have a car or a driver’s license. This plan will improve the safety of walking and biking, especially for those people that are more vulnerable to traffic, namely the young and the old. One of the things that is overlooked in non-motorized transportation is the idea that it improves the social fabric of the community. If someone is walking or biking to work, their neighbors expand from the people immediately around them to everyone between their home and their workplace. These people keep a better eye on the community and see what is going on and it builds stronger personal relationships amongst the residents.
Mr. Cox explained that many of the things have the dual benefit of not just improving non-motorized safety and accommodation, but making the roadways much more aesthetically pleasing. The roadways are one of the most important public resources and influence how people judge the community and see the community.
Non-motorized facilities have the chance to really advance the economic vitality of Novi, as businesses are looking to relocate and looking at things that will attract their employees. Just as the survey is showing, non-motorized facilities are what people are looking for around the country. The City Council also recently passed a complete streets resolution.
Mr. Cox explained this change to a focus on non-motorized facilities is not going to happen overnight. Years of infrastructure has been centered around the automobile. This is something that will take a while to change. Currently Novi has an incomplete system. There are gaps in the sidewalks. For someone trying to walk or bike somewhere, coming to a gap in the sidewalk can be very frustrating and discourages future trips.
However, in Novi, there is a good foundation to build on. There are some bike lanes in the north and south parts of the City. There are great regional trail initiatives going on from the continuation of the I-275 metro trail to the construction of the M-5 metro trail that will really tie Novi into a large regional trail system. Also, just north of Novi, the Great Lakes to Great Lakes Trail is under development. It goes from Lake Michigan all the way to the Lake Huron trail system.
Mr. Cox stated that the plan itself has four key elements: facilities, policies, design guidelines and out-reach and education. Together, they create a supportive, physical and cultural environment. While all four of these elements could go ahead and be implemented on their own, when they are together is when they are most effective and will make the biggest change. The idea is to create a range of bicycle and pedestrian facilities to meet all the unique needs of the community. There is no such thing as a typical bicyclist. Some prefer to be in a facility on the roadway and others on a side path.
There is also a need to complete the sidewalk system and make changes to the primary road system which can be done somewhat through neighborhood connectors and off-road trails. There are a network of connectors shown in the proposed plan in red, orange and yellow, with a network of neighborhood connectors that goes between that to create a finer grain system.
Mr. Cox noted the plan has identified, through a consensus with the community and the public workshops, that there are certain corridors in the community that really have an emphasis for bicycle and pedestrian use. These are key corridors for bikes and pedestrians and the idea is to take these to the next step to add bike lanes, mid-block crossings, mini-bike lanes. Together with street trees closer to the roadway, these will create an environment where someone would naturally drive this road at 30-35 miles per hour, which makes it much more comfortable for the bicycles and pedestrians to go along.
There are some roads in the City that need to carry large volumes of traffic. However, it is still important to humanize these and make it easy for bikes and pedestrians to use them. Maybe these types of roadways are targeted at the bicyclist trying to get to work or quickly trying to get to the store. It is not for everyone to bike on on a Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Cox said that the other issue that seemed to be a big concern was neighborhood connectors. There is a great network of local roadways in the City and a lot of shortcuts to get around but there are also shortcuts that are missing. The plan proposes adding off-road trails that link up these on-road local roadways to create a network where a 10-12 year old could take their bike to school or after-school activities or for a recreational run or bike or walk on the weekends. Signage could also be added through the City to guide bikers and walkers to local landmarks. On some of the more important bike and pedestrian routes the City could consider traffic calming measures to make sure the traffic and the bicycles and pedestrians are traveling at a very similar speed. There are several instances throughout the City where the nearest pedestrian crossing is half a mile down at a traffic signal. Looking at ways to make it easier to go between neighborhoods and is the key to improving walking and biking to school.
Policies are also an important piece of the puzzle, such as the complete streets policy recently adopted. The Americans with Disabilities Act is another document that that is integral to designing safe and effective bike and pedestrian routes for everyone. Safe routes to school and bicycle parking are things the City could work into the Zoning Ordinance. These are things that will change the day-to-day operations of different departments within the City and the ordinances that they work with.
Mr. Cox stated design guidelines will help guide future development, including how to address travel along the road corridor, how to address travel getting across a roadway, road cross sections, how wide a bike lane should be in different scenarios, transitions between on-road and off-road facilities, nearby connectors, bike routes, neighborhood greenways, shared use paths and land use. There is a checklist to use when evaluating a site design that might help make it more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
There is also an outreach and education component including building on the existing assets in the community including partnerships and existing events and expanding on those that are already in place. New education components are also important. Some examples could include a bicycle and walking ambassadors’ program and a third grade bicycle academy to train kids in safe bicycling.
Mr. Cox continued noting other measures include making sure midblock crossings are policed well and encouraging bicycle maps and commuter challenges, where people could log their miles for a particular week or month and see what king of impact they are having on the environment. Also, maybe organizing some large scale rides. It is going to be many years before there is a complete system in Novi and it’s important to encourage people to use what is out there right now and to let them know when new facilities are constructed.
The idea is when the system is complete, all of the four key elements will be working together and result in a physical and cultural environment that supports and encourages safe, convenient and comfortable travel for bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the City and the surrounding areas. This is more the caring approach and these changes are going to result in a number of people freely choosing to do bike or walk because it becomes the natural thing and an easy choice and maybe much more desirable than driving.
Mr. Cox explained the first steps in implementing the plan are the initial investments. For example, picking the top 20 projects from the City’s Sidewalk and Pathway Prioritization Plan, which includes key pathways that link up neighborhoods and implementing safety improvements at intersections and some mid-block crossings. After those initial investments are made there are major corridors outline in red on the plan that have a regional significance and build on an arterial system for bicycles and pedestrians across the City and into the surrounding community. The neighborhood connectors feed into these. State and federal grant money is available to help with some of these larger projects.
The top priority of those major corridors is the metro connector from the I-275 up to the M-5 metro trail and the Taft Road Corridor, which will be the north/south spine through the community, connecting up key resources and taking a pedestrian or biker through the park and up to Walled Lake. The 9 ½ mile corridor is an urban greenway including off-road trails and neighborhood connectors that really provides a nice east/west link and will go by some of the key locations in the community. Mr. Cox stated that once you get these in the ground, you will have some excellent connections across the community and really a good proof of concept. A lot of the neighborhood connectors and safety recommendations, such as way-finding signs are very inexpensive projects capitalizing on the existing roadway systems.
In conclusion, the plan includes a multi-faceted network that recognizes the diversity of bicycles and pedestrians and updated policies combined with outreach and education programs to create a supportive environment. It is anticipated that all of these measures implemented together could get about 2% of all the trips in the City done by pedestrians and 2% by bicycle in addition to what is happening now. That will have a huge impact on the environment. The City will see a noticeable improvement in the quality of life of residents. A lot of people will freely make the choice to walk or bike because it becomes a natural choice.
Chair Pehrson stated that this is a public hearing and if there is anyone in the audience that wishes to address the Planning Commission on this subject, please step forward.
John Ruttenberg of 22229 Worcester in Novi came forward. Mr. Ruttenberg stated that the point he is most interested in does not seem to be addressed here and that is the continuing costs in the future to develop this system and maintain it. That has not being addressed and that is his concern.
Chair Pehrson asked Member Meyer to read the correspondence into the record.
Glen J. Stroup, 22035 Greentree Lane stated that the plan looks really good and if the City is able to implement even a quarter of the suggestions in this plan, it’s going to make Novi a much better place to live.
Terry Croad, 41861 Aspen Drive has several suggestions regarding the editorial piece of this document. Please consider adding the following short gap connections between the North-South cross walk at Twelve Mile Road and Meadowbrook Road and the south side of Thirteen Mile Road, just east of Novi Road and also the west side of Meadowbrook Road, just south of Grand River Avenue. Also he recommends that there be more explanation on why pedestrian sidewalks were not installed on the Beck Road/I-96 overpass. He hopes this oversight never happens again and that when future bridge projects are funded, pedestrian connections are made an integral part of the project as "Complete Streets" encourages. One of the biggest challenges for pedestrians and bicyclists is north-south travel over I-96.
Chair Pehrson then closed the public hearing.
Chair Pehrson asked Deputy Director McBeth if the Draft document distributed to the Planning Commission has this been published to the web yet.
Deputy Director McBeth answered Chair Pehrson stating that it had been published and is available on the web page under the Planning Commission Agenda for this meeting. The large map is also available on the web page.
Chair Pehrson stated that everyone associated with this plan, from the Planning Commission, Parks & Recreation, City Council and staff and consultants should be applauded for all of the work that was put into this and the community input that went into this. In regard to the gentleman who spoke during the public hearing, there is a section in the back of the document that speaks to all these improvements and the typical costs associated with both the implementation and the maintenance of those improvements. Chair Pehrson asked Mr. Cox if this was correct.
Mr. Cox answered Chair Pehrson in saying he is correct. There is an extensive list of cost estimates for all the different projects proposed. Analysis of the costs for the projects would most likely be undertaken in the next 7 to 10 years.
Chair Pehrson then stated that within the document there are several sources of funding such as grants that the City could apply for. Chair Pehrson asked if Mr. Cox if he could elaborate on those and how other communities have done some of this work and how they have gone about providing some of the capital for those projects.
Mr. Cox explained that there are a couple of key sources and there are quite a few outlined in the report. Two of the key ones mentioned are the enhancement program that comes through the transportation bills and the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is through the State and the Enhancement Funds are through the Federal government. They can be used to match each other. Typically a large project would have a little bit of local, some private, some federal and some state to try to accomplish some of these more capital intensive projects.
Some communities have done a number of different things like a small mileage that may go towards the local match or an allocation from their general funds. Other communities have taken a percentage of money that comes in for transportation since one percent is required by law to go towards non-motorized transportation. Ann Arbor has seven and one-half percent that they allocate of those funds for non-motorized transportation. St. Clair County also does seven and one-half percent for non-motorized transportation. The key is to build up enough money through whatever resources the community chooses to affectively leverage the available state and federal funds. They all require a match of some sort.
Chair Pehrson stated that the phasing approach laid out in the plan is a very good summary that really speaks to how the City can go through this methodically and it is encouraging to know that the City can make some strides without spending a lot of money and do some of these quality of life improvements.
Mr. Cox agreed noting that is especially true where some of those neighborhood connectors, crossing improvements and short off-road trails using existing roadways could be installed. The cost of those is quite minimal and the impact they make is tremendous.
Chair Pehrson stated that it is interesting that transportation seems to be "going back in time," away from cars and back to walking and riding bikes. Chair Pehrson thanked Mr. Cox and his staff for all his work and input and research.
Mr. Cox wanted to thank all the citizens that participated in the surveys and workshops and gave up their evenings to do that. That made a huge difference.
Member Gutman wanted to thank everyone who was involved in this project. It is a tremendous concept and as commented during the public hearing, even if quarter of the plan’s recommendations is done, it would be tremendously beneficial for the community. There is always some concern about costs but the Planning Commission is not approving a budget for this tonight; the Commission is simply recommending approval of the conceptual plan.
Motion made by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Prince:
ROLL CALL VOTE RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PRINCE:
Motion to recommend to City Council adoption of the proposed Non-Motorized Master Plan subject to revisions to typographical errors and comments from tonight’s meeting. Motion carried 5-0.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. PORSTMOUTH CARPORTS, SITE PLAN 11-03
Consideration of the request of Occidental Development for Preliminary Site Plan approval. The subject property is located in Section 4, at 31170 Wellington Drive south of Pontiac Trail and east of Beck Road, in the RM-1, Low Density Low-Rise Multiple-Family District. The subject property is approximately 81.3 acres and the applicant is proposing to construct twenty-nine six-unit carports in the existing parking lot.
Planner Kapelanski stated that the site is located on the south side of Pontiac Trail and east of Beck Road and is bordered by Commerce Township to the north, multiple-family residential uses to the south and east and the Shoppes at the Trail shopping center to the west.
The zoning of the property is RM-1, Low Density, Low-Rise Multiple-Family Residential and the site is bordered mostly by residential zoning to the south and east and commercial zoning to the north and west.
The applicant is proposing to install twenty-nine six unit carports in the existing complex parking lot. The planning review recommends approval noting the applicant will need to receive a variance to locate accessory structures in the front and interior side yard. The façade review recommends approval noting a Section 9 waiver is required for the overage of metal and recommends brick end panels be integrated into the design of the carports. The applicant has agreed to do this. The fire review recommends approval as well.
Chair Pehrson turned this over to the Planning Commission for their comments.
Member Gutman stated that the he appreciated the clarification on the waivers and variances.
Motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Larson:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER LARSON:
In the matter of the request of Occidental Development for Portsmouth Carports, SP 11-03, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan, subject to the following: (a) Applicant incorporating brick end panels into the carport design per the façade review letter; (b) Section 9 waiver for the overage of metal; (c) ZBA variance to locate an accessory structure in the interior side yard; and (d) Compliance with all conditions and requirements listed in the staff and consultant review letters because the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 6, Article 24 and Article 25 and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 5-0.
2. SPRINGS II CARPORTS, SITE PLAN 11-02
Consideration of the request of Edward Rose Reality for Preliminary Site Plan approval. The subject property is located in Section 4, at 30095 Springlake Boulevard south of Pontiac Trail and east of Beck Road, in the RM-1, Low Density Low-Rise Multiple-Family District. The subject property is approximately 26.5 acres and the applicant is proposing to construct seven six-unit carports and two four-unit carports in the existing parking lot.
Planner Kapelanski stated that the site is located on the south side of Pontiac Trail east of Beck Road and is bordered by Commerce Township to the north, multiple-family residential uses to the west and east and single-family residential uses to the south.
The zoning of the property is RM-1, Low Density, Low-Rise Multiple-Family Residential and it is bordered by mostly residential zoning in all directions.
The applicant is proposing to install seven six-unit carports and two four-unit carports in the existing complex parking lot. The planning review recommends approval noting the applicant will need to receive a variance to locate accessory structures in the interior side yard. The façade review recommends approval noting a Section 9 waiver is required for the overage of metal and recommends brick end panels be integrated into the design of the carports. The applicant has agreed to do this. The fire review recommends approval as well.
Chair Pehrson turned the matter over to the Planning Commission for their comments.
Motion made by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Prince:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PRINCE:
In the matter of the request of Edward Rose Reality for Springs II Carports, SP 11-02, motion to approve the Preliminary Site Plan, subject to the following: (a) Applicant incorporating brick end panels into the carport design per the façade review letter; (b) Section 9 waiver for the overage of metal; (c) ZBA variance to locate an accessory structure in the interior side yard; and (d) Compliance with all conditions and requirements listed in the staff and consultant review letters because the plan is otherwise in compliance with Article 6, Article 24 and Article 25 and all other applicable provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. Motion carried 5-0.
Planner Kapelanski stated that this has been proposed by the Community Development Department as an effort to streamline the Ordinance. It would allow for Planning Commission approval of smaller sites in the RC District and would also allow façade waivers in the TC and TC-1 Districts to be approved by the Planning Commission. Previously both of these items would go on the City Council.
Motion made by Member Meyer and seconded by Member Prince:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE MOTION TO SET A PUBLIC HEARING FOR TEXT AMENDMENT 18.245 MADE BY MEMBER MEYER AND SECONDED BY MEMBER PRINCE:
Motion to set the Public Hearing for Text Amendment 18.245 for March 9, 2011. Motion carried 5-0.
4. ADOPTION OF THE 2011-2012 PLANNING COMMISSION BUDGET
Deputy Director McBeth stated that the Planning Commission’s Budget and Planning Studies Committee reviewed some draft documents that were shared earlier in the year. These documents were reviewed and endorsed by the members of that Committee. Included this year are no new service improvements. No additional funding is requested for new projects, but the status quo was continued for most of the other items, including a relatively small budget for conferences and workshops. There is a supporting document and memo that the Finance Department likes to see as a part of the budget submittal. There is also a narrative description of the activities of the Planning Commission over the last year included in draft form. If the Planning Commission approves the Budget this evening, it will be forwarded on to the Finance Department for city-wide Budget discussions coming up in the next few weeks.
Motion made by Member Meyer and seconded by Member Gutman:
VOICE VOTE ON THE MOTION MADE BY MEMBER MEYER AND SECONDED BY MEMBER GUTMAN TO ADOPT THE 2011-2012 PLANNING COMMISSION BUDGET:
Motion to approve the Adoption of the 2011-2012 Planning Commission Budget. Motion carried 5-0.
5. APPROVAL OF JANUARY 12, 2011 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Larson:
VOICE VOTE ON PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER LARSON:
Motion to approve the January 12, 2011 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 5-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
There were no Matters for Discussion
There were no Supplemental Issues.
No one from the audience wished to speak.
Moved by Member Gutman, seconded by Member Larson:
VOICE VOTE ON MOTION TO ADJOURN MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER LARSON:
Motion to adjourn the February 9, 2011 Planning Commission meeting. Motion carried 5-0.
The meeting adjourned at 7:46 PM.
Transcribed by Juanita Freeman
Date Approved: February 23, 2011 Signature on File___________________________________
Richelle Leskun, Planning Assistant