PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | 7 PM
Council Chambers |
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at or about 7:00 PM.
Present:Member Baratta, Member Cassis, Member Greco, Member Gutman, Member Larson, Member Lynch, Member Meyer, Chairperson Pehrson, Member Prince
Also Present: Barbara McBeth, Deputy Director of Community Development; Kristen Kapelanski, Planner; Kristin Kolb, 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 and seconded by Member Larson:
VOICE VOTE ON THE AGENDA APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER LARSON:
Motion to approve the June 29, 2011 Planning Commission agenda. Motion carried 9-0.
Council Member Wayne Wrobel came forward and indicated that he had the opportunity to serve with Brian, Victor and Michael on the Planning Commission. Council Member Wrobel said that he knows they are going to be missed and he wanted to thank them for their help and dedication in service to the City of Novi. Council Member Wrobel acknowledged all the help these Commissioners provided when he was on the Planning Commission. He wished them the best of luck in the future.
There was no Correspondence.
There were no Committee Reports.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPUTY DIRECTOR REPORT
Deputy Director McBeth stated that there was a public hearing that originally had been advertised for tonight’s meeting, but staff found that there was an error in the advertisement itself and the matter had to be taken off the agenda. Staff will re-advertise the public hearing for the July 13, 2011 agenda for the rezoning of the Catholic Central property located on the south side of Twelve Mile Road, between Napier and Wixom Roads. Staff wanted to bring this up in case anyone in the audience or watching the meeting at home might have been expecting some action on the public hearing that had originally been anticipated for this agenda.
MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
Planner Kapelanski stated that the City Council recently approved an ordinance that replaced Chapter 27 of the City Code, which is the Chapter that establishes the Planning Commission. This is a result of the passage of the Comprehensive Planning Enabling Act, which replaces the previously approved Municipal Planning Act. The new law requires that all provisions be in place by July 1, 2011. There are several clean-up changes that are proposed as part of changes to the rules, mainly to bring the rules into compliance with the new Act. In addition, the requirement that no public hearing can be held within five business days of a city holiday is recommended to be eliminated by the staff. There are changes also in the rules that change the number of Planning Commissioner’s from nine to seven. The City Council did have the option of reducing the membership of the Planning Commission to seven members and elected to do that as part of the changes to the city code.
Planner Kapelanski stated that the Committees have also been slightly altered and a couple of them have been eliminated. The Communications and Community Liaison Committee and the Planning Commission Capital Improvements Committee have been eliminated.
With the change in the number of members to the Planning Commission, staff wanted to make sure that Planning Commission members weren’t obligated to serve on too many committees. Eliminating a couple of those committees that do not regularly meet might be something the Planning Commission would be interested in.
Planner Kapelanski stated there was a brief Rules Committee meeting just prior to the Planning Commission meeting. The Rules Committee did recommend approval of these changes and also recommended combining the Planning Studies and Budget Committee and the City Capital Improvements Program Committee. This has not been done in the text. If the Planning Commission agrees with that recommendation, staff can change that as well.
Chair Pehrson turned the matter over to the Planning Commission for their consideration.
Member Meyer stated that he wanted to say that under point 2.1.k, he would recommend that the last part of that sentence (so a member of the Planning Commission may serve in the same office of the Planning Commission for any number of terms) and eliminate the phrase, "but not more than two consecutive full terms".
Member Meyer stated that if someone is doing a good job, the Planning Commission should just simply have that as their procedure rather than making an exception to the procedure when good leadership is found.
Member Meyer also wanted to share that from his six years on the Planning Commission, that if the rules indicate someone should be on the Commission for one year prior to being on the Master Plan and Zoning Committee, the Planning Commission should hold to that or eliminate that qualifier of one year.
Member Meyer also wanted to thank the staff for the work put into this document. He believes that the elimination of a few of those committees, with the reduction in the number of members, is going to be very practical and achievable. Member Meyer said that he always believes if you set goals, they should be achievable goals.
Member Lynch wanted to confirm that the Capital Improvements Committee is being combined with the Planning Studies and Budget Committee.
Planner Kapelanski stated that right now the new version of the rules that was presented eliminates the Planning Commission Capital Improvements Program Committee because we already have the City Capital Improvements Program Committee and those are very similar. The staff is recommending that the Planning Commission Capital Improvements Program Committee be stricken. The Rules Committee also recommended combining the Planning Studies and Budget Committee with the City Capital Improvements Program Committee because they perform similar functions. The Planning Commission would still have the opportunity to discuss the Capital Improvements Program as part of the City Capital Improvements Program Committee.
Deputy Director McBeth stated that the Capital Improvements Committee is still listed as a committee, but is proposed not to be duplicated twice in the rules. It is provided under city committees, showing two members and one alternate and will serve the same function as it had prior.
Member Lynch thanked the staff for putting this together.
Member Lynch stated that he had missed a few meetings and he was wondering the reason for going from nine to seven members.
Deputy Director McBeth stated that her understanding is that the State Law changed and it allowed a reduction in the number of members. There was logic in having seven members since there are seven members on the City Council and seven members on the Zoning Board of Appeals. The timing was also considered, as people were aware that three members are stepping down, so the reduction in the total number would not require removal of any sitting members.
Member Meyer commented that on the committee that is being eliminated called Communications and Community Liaison, he certainly does not want it communicated to the public that City officials think this is a wonderful idea that there is not a Communications and Community Liaison Committee. Member Meyer said that the City is communicating with residents in many ways without necessarily needing a formal committee to do that. The public is now able to access so much of the meeting material on the City’s website. There is a much greater effort in communicating and having that community connection.
Chair Pehrson asked about the question on the delegate from the Planning Commission to the Zoning Board of Appeals and wondered if this is still a desire of the City or a function of law somewhere that says that delegate is required. In speaking with Mr. Wrobel in the past and Member Cassis when he served as delegate, it seems that delegate is often not a voting member of the ZBA. Chair Pehrson wondered what the value is of asking one of the Planning Commissioners to be part of the Zoning Board of Appeals, but not serve as a voting member.
Deputy Director McBeth stated that the Planning Commission member that served on the Zoning Board of Appeals typically has been asked not to vote on matters that have come before the Planning Commission, but provide the expertise otherwise. It is a matter that is left to each community to determine if the community wants to have a person act as a liaison or delegate between the Boards. It is up to the City Council to say whether this would continue. If the Planning Commission has a feeling about this one way or the other, it could be expressed.
Chair Pehrson stated that personally, and not speaking for any of the other members, he did not think it really fulfills the role of the liaison if a delegate is there but his or her hands are tied and he or she cannot provide any input. Chair Pehrson said it doesn’t seem that there is any value there. He does not know if it is worthwhile going forward.
Chair Pehrson also stated that the only other comment or question he had was with regard to notifying the public of meeting agenda items via the Novi News. Are there other means or methods the City can employ for notifications, such as the City website and does the State law require a notification in the newspaper?
City Attorney Kolb answered in saying that the statute does provide a notice has to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City. Then for petitions affecting specific properties, the City has to notify residents within 300 feet in all sections.
Chair Pehrson confirmed with City Attorney Kolb that the notices had to be published in the Novi News.
Moved by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Meyer:
ROLL CALL VOTE ON BY-LAWS AND RULES OF PROCEDUE APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER MEYER:
Motion to approve the Planning Commission By-laws and Rules of Procedure, as modified by Member Meyer. Motion carried 9-0.
Moved by Member Gutman and seconded by Member Greco:
VOICE VOTE ON JUNE 15, 2011 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES APPROVAL MOTION MADE BY MEMBER GUTMAN AND SECONDED BY MEMBER GRECO:
Motion to approve the June 15, 2011 Planning Commission minutes. Motion carried 9-0.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COMMISSION ACTION
There were no Consent Agenda Removals.
MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION
Chair Pehrson stated it is the Planning Commission’s tradition to present departing members with a framed Future Land Use Map and the good wishes of the remaining Planning Commission members at their last meeting. It should be noted that Council Member Wrobel stated that departing Commissioners Cassis, Larson and Meyer are not only a fixture of the community, but they’re the people that volunteer their time and care about this City. The wisdom and the diversity and the different points of view that these gentlemen bring can’t be replaced. The City is very thankful for all three of these gentlemen. It is sad to see them go but everyone looks forward to seeing them around the City.
Member Cassis took the opportunity to reflect on his time on the Planning Commission noting that he began his time here in Metro-Detroit on the east side but eventually found his to and settled in Novi. Member Cassis stated it was such a rewarding experience personally to be a witness and to be involved in the transformation of a remote township into a full-fledged prosperous city. In an effort to give back to the community that has been so good to him, Member Cassis volunteered and got involved in the community through the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, School Committees, and the Planning Commission, his most rewarding position.
Member Cassis noted he has cultivated many friendships and took part in the orderly deliberations of building a community that would stand the test of time. The Planning Commission discussed and debated views but never lost the common purpose of doing what is good for the community. It has been a privilege specifically, to be involved in the crafting of the Master Plan. Member Cassis gave his sincere thanks to the staff as well.
Member Meyer thanked his colleagues on the Planning Commission noting he has served on the Commission for six years that he is deeply grateful to the Mayor and to the City Council for the appointment. Member Meyer has lived in the city for 30 years and served on the School Board, his Homeowners’ Association and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Member Meyer stated he has learned so much by studying all of the documents and trying to be respectful to the applicants and make sure they didn’t have too many hurdles to jump. He continued noting if he has offended anyone in word or deed, he apologizes and if anyone offended him in any word or deed, he forgives them. Member Meyer thanked everyone for the memories and wished all well and goodbye.
Member Larson stated that his credentials don’t run near as deep as his fellow colleagues but he would like to simply say thank you and that it has been an honor to serve on the Planning Commission.
Deputy Director McBeth wanted to express the staff’s thanks as well for all the years of work and stated all of the Planning Commissioners are welcome at the annual Appreciation Dinner in January.
There were no Supplemental Issues.
No one in the audience wished to speak.
Moved by Member Cassis and seconded by Member Larson:
VOICE VOTE ON MOTION TO ADJOURN MADE BY MEMBER CASSIS AND SECONDED BY MEMBER LARSON:
Motion to adjourn the June 29, 2011 Planning Commission meeting. Motion carried 9-0.
The meeting adjourned at 7:25 PM.
Transcribed by Juanita Freeman July, 2011
Date Approved: July 13, 2011
Richelle Leskun, Planning Assistant
(Signature on file)