The Meeting was called to order at 7:34 p.m., with Chairman Antosiak presiding.





Present: Members Bauer, Reinke, Harris, Harrington, Brennan, Antosiak

Baty (alternate)


Absent: None


Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official

Greg Capote - Staff Planner

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary




Chairman Antosiak indicated we have a full Board tonight. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from Novi Zoning Ordinances and their applications as enforced and reviewed by the Building Department. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to grant a variance request. We have a full Board of six (6) Members tonight, therefore, all decisions will be final.





Chairman Antosiak inquired are there any proposed changes to the agenda?


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Reinke,





ROLL CALL: (Voice Vote) (All Yeas) Motion Carried




Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Harris,








ROLL CALL: (Voice Vote) (All Yeas) Motion Carried






Chairman Antosiak indicated this is the Public Remarks portion of our Meeting. All comments related to cases before the Board this evening will be heard at the time each case is heard. However, if anyone in the audience would like to address the Board on any matter not related to a specific case before us this is the time to do so. Is there anyone in the audience who would like to come forward?


Craig Gates, architect representing Anglin Supply. This concerns Zoning Board of Appeals Case No. 95-052, dated June 7, 1995. We are wondering if we could get an extension of the variance. There was a 90 day limit and the time has expired and a building permit was not approved.


Chairman Antosiak: Could you explain why the delay occurred?


Craig Gates: The delay occurred because when the decision was made it was right at the busy season for landscaping, so they kind of set it aside momentarily and then realized that the time has lapsed before they applied.


Chairman Antosiak: When do you anticipate requesting a permit?


Craig Gates: We would do that as soon as possible. Go before the Planning Commission with the drawings and then submit for a building permit on approval.


Member Bauer: Are they ready to go now to the Planning Commission?


Craig Gates: Yes.


Don Saven: I would assume and I would like to see some activity being generated in this area that they have a commitment for a certain amount of time to insure that those plans are submitted to the Planning Department and at least work within those parameters and to show intent.


Member Harris: How much time do you need?


Craig Gates: We could submit to the next meeting. I don’t know how soon the drawings would have to be in.

Greg Capote: I would like to make a comment there; in our site plan manual it states that it requires 15 working days to review plans and then a project would then be available to go before the Planning Commission on the next available agenda. So, it may be premature and it is premature to say that this project would be available for the next Planning Commission Meeting because that isn’t the case.


Member Harris: When, reasonably would the next schedule be that you would assume that if things went well, they would be on?


Greg Capote: 60 days, or 2 months.


Member Harris: I think that if we are going to entertain an extension of this at all and we already have an expiration, that we are back from a need to extend it from September forward; that we ought to look at January or February of 1996 or we are going to be seeing the petitioner again. Just from the cycle that we are talking about.


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Vice-Chairman Harrington: I have 2 comments. Number one; being to busy and putting it aside is not good cause within any meaning of our discretion and I cannot support it for that reason. But more significantly and I made this comment when this came up during the summer, I drive by that site 3 to 5 times a week and I think that site presents immediate danger to the safe health and welfare of this City and until there is some comprehensive proposal to do something about the storage conditions on site, I cannot approve any proposal that they have for this Board.


Member Brennan: Just for a clarification purpose; this variance that was approved in June; this is for the outdoor structure for raising spring crops?


Craig Gates: It is the shade house.


Member Brennan: I will go on record as saying that I supported that petition back in June because I thought that it was important to their business and while they built it without a permit I voted to approve the variance and I guess I am a little disappointed that we are 4 months plus beyond that date and nobody has filed for a permit. It is a little disappointing.


Member Baty: I think it is disappointing that the permit wasn’t filed for, but I think that an extension is warranted until February. I would support that.


ROLL CALL: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Brennan, Harrington Motion Carried


CASE NO. 95-097


Continuation of case filed by Jeffrey Sobel, representing Orchard Hill Place Condominiums requesting a variance to allow parking in the yard fronting on Haggerty Road and to share the parking with the adjoining Crystal Glens Office Development, for property located at the northwest quadrant of Haggerty Road and Eight Mile Road.


Jeffrey Sobel was present and duly sworn.


Jeffrey Sobel: Just to orient everybody to the area that we are discussing. It is the northwest corner of Eight Mile and Haggerty; there currently exists a Chili’s Restaurant the 275 expressway is here and the existing Novi Hilton and Crystal Glen Office Building are immediately to the north of the subject property. (Map shown on easel)


Jeffrey Sobel: We have currently lined up Office Max, Linens and Things, Best Buy and have gone through the planning process and met with their approval and have been passed on for consideration to you for a couple of items under the ordinance.


Jeffrey Sobel: We have laid out the site in a manner that enhances the many aspects of the City. Number one we are proposing to alleviate many of the traffic concerns that exist now. We are adding 2 lanes; one left hand turn lane and one right hand through lane. A scat (automatic signal) system whereby it will sense the traffic needs and reprogram the light automatically to handle the appropriate traffic to shorten the extensive delays which are here now. We have also worked out an arrangement whereby we would share access points with existing facilities. Thereby not creating any new curb cuts onto Haggerty Road or Eight Mile Road by virtue of the development of the property. We have limited this access to a right hand in and a right hand out only and it is currently in a location which impacts the traffic at Eight Mile and Haggerty. We are moving that to this location. (Diagram shown on board) it is not a new one; we are closing one and really just relocating it further north to reduce the impact. We have as you can see, also entrances onto Orchard Hill Place Road and tie ins to the Crystal Glen Office Center, but we plan to have traffic circulate around that way as well.


Jeffrey Sobel: We have set the building back here for a variety of planning reasons and this area right in here which is the shared parking in question; we have added sidewalks which we have submitted detailed plans for your consideration and you may have seen it in greater detail there.


Jeffrey Sobel: As to the variance request, the request is to place more parking in the front yard facing Haggerty Road and less in the rear yard facing Orchard Hill Place Drive. We believe that the re-allocation will be beneficial because it will place the buildings farther back off of Haggerty which will screen the rear of the buildings from view of Orchard Hill Place because of the screening effect based on the height differential of the road.


Jeffrey Sobel: This is Orchard Hill Place Road and as you can see it sits higher than the site. If you recall the site it is a big hill right now. We are trying to design the center so that it stays higher than the road and therefore has less visual impact from both Orchard Hill Place Road where you will look over the service areas of the center as opposed to seeing any rear service or other type of utility facilities, etc. It also has the purpose of keeping it higher to Haggerty Road. By being higher to Haggerty Road, the site line is such that you will look over the parking that we will have immediately on the site. There is a diagram of that. We have proposed a landscaped berm in the front and this is a section that you can see how the parking lot will relate to traffic and pedestrians and provide an excellent enhancement visually over normal development.


Jeffrey Sobel: The Planning Commission has approved the proposed site plan including these parking arrangements indicating that they believed that it was beneficial for the community.


Jeffrey Sobel: As to the shared parking request; in your packages we had submitted and studied the parking and usage of these facilities. Bed, Bath and Beyond and Linens and Things do not currently operate in the area but it is substantially similar to a Bed, Bath and Beyond; it is owned and operated by Melville who operates Marshalls and a variety of other retail who is a very strong and a very good tenant. We studied Best Buy in Dearborn and the Westland Office Max; they were studied because of the ease of determining how people were using certain patterns. As a matter of fact the Westland Office Max was used and Farmington Hills was also studied but Farmington Hills had a total traffic count of about a hundred and some, extremely low. They do a lot of delivery and there is not nearly as much customer drive in and park and shop at the store which we think will also be similar here but we used the Westland Office Max which had a traffic count of about 1100 total over the period of the study versus the 150 some or whatever at the Farmington facility. As you can see, the 3 are plotted individually and the black line is a cumulative sum of all of the individual needs and we have 644 spaces on site and that is the 5 per 1000 ratio and does not even include the shared parking which we are asking for the exception to allow here. We show that the cumalitive total of these never even hits 300 on a Saturday and the same thing for a Thursday when it is even a little bit lower at that time. I think that no matter how busy something was, I don’t think that it could ever be double and I think that we have a very good symmetry between the tenants that causes it to have a low parking impact.

Jeffrey Sobel: We are requesting to share a total of 132 spaces, 25 of which are in excess of Ordinance at Crystal Glen and 107 of which would be shared. The exception may be granted pursuant to Section 2505.8 where there is dual function of off street parking spaces.


Jeffrey Sobel: The City’s Planning Consultant, Brandon Rogers, noted at the hearing before the Novi Planning Commission that there was parking available at the Crystal Glens Development which could be used as "legitimate shared parking" because of the nature and the use of the parking between the 2 developments. Crystal Glens has, as I have indicated, 25 spaces more than are required. I was hoping to receive the letter from them, but I did not in time, but I have been told verbally that they are about 97% occupied which is a couple percent over pro form of occupancy for any office building.


Jeffrey Sobel: Because of the difference in primary operating hours between the office development and the retail development there will be little conflict and demand for the shared parking spaces; ie office requires spaces during business hours Monday through Friday but virtually no demand on Saturdays or Sundays nor in the evenings during the week days. Retail development will have peak demand on Saturdays and very little during the week day business hours.


Jeffrey Sobel: We believe that shared parking is an overall benefit to the City as it will provide more efficient and productive land use and avoid duplication of parking spaces. The most intense parking demand from Crystal Glens is in the front of the building which is the farthest from the area that we are asking to share, which you could probably ascertain from the pictures that we submitted. The parking study as we indicated also shows that we plan to use less than half of what we already have physically on site. So, I think that for all of these reasons the enhancements, the lack of additional and productive land, the traffic improvements that this center is going to add as well as the high regard of planning to the community; we are asking for your positive consideration in this matter.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 15 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 1 written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Greg Capote had no comment.


Don Saven: I think that I would like to see some type of letter of commitment from Orchard Hill Place for the shared parking responsibility.


Jeffrey Sobel: That could be produced with no problem.


Member Harris: It seems as though one of the last pieces in is always one of the more difficult pieces of the puzzle to put together in terms of the use. I know that this has been batted around but let me ask Mr. Capote " was this really the location of the building that Planning Department believed to be in the best interest and thus resulting in this need for parking in the front yard?


Greg Capote: That would be my interpretation.


Member Harris: It appears to be a very reasoned and complete plan, I just have a problem on a new development coming in and needing this kind of thing right off the bat. When you talk about the shared parking what type of long term or what type of commitment have you actually gotten from them? It has been produced in writing, but for the record if this is approved we understand, but what type of term do you have on the shared parking?


Jeffrey Sobel: We have a parking easement in perpetuity.


Member Harris: With that being made part of the record and a condition, I would certainly look to support this request.


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Reinke,





Discussion on motion:


Member Bauer: Does this by chance going to take care of the fronting on Haggerty Road, because you are only talking about the sharing at this point?


Member Harris: I was doing both parts, including the front yard and the shared parking. That was my intent; to include both.


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Bauer Motion Carried


Chairman Antosiak: Your request has been granted. Please be sure to provide Mr. Saven with a copy of the document giving you the right to park at the Crystal Glen property.



Case No. 95-099


Continuation of case filed by David Dowling, representing Jeffery Soblewski requesting a 23.5' front yard setback variance on the Eubank side, a 30' rear yard setback variance, 1 4.5' side yard setback variance and a lot coverage variance of 17% to allow for the construction of a single family home at 1099 South Lake Dr.


David Dowling: We intend to build a new structure on this site. It presently is occupied by a building built back in 1948. The building footprint is similar, if not the same size as that building. We had proposed to do a remodeling on the project and I had spoken to Mr. Saven, in the Building Department and he had instructed me to review some of the areas of the construction that we intended to do. Some of that, through the review, we decided to come to the ZBA to get special zoning variances that we could include some of the building criteria that is necessary to rebuild this site. As it was noted on October 3, 1995, Larry Brady represented myself to the Board; explaining some of the areas of the building and some of the questions that were brought up in respect to the building were the parking.


David Dowling: A few things that I would like to bring up in front of that is that the zoning as it is written by law is actually .......


Member Brennan: Sir, as you are setting up I would like to ask a question. You are representing Mr. Soblewski and you are what, the architect or his attorney or his?


David Dowling: The builder along with Clint Edwards.


Member Brennan: You were here the first time around?


David Dowling: No Sir, I was absent. Larry Brady stood for me at that time.


David Dowling: (easel set up) What I would like to show is that this is the zoning ordinance of 1995 and it shows the property setback 30' front, this is the side by the street and there is also a street here and this brings it back to the rear yard setback of 35'. It gives you a building envelope of approximately 1' by 54' long. This expresses a hardship to the owner of the property and to us as the builder trying to build the site. So, the next area that we had to approach was the remodeling of the facility and that is when I walked into the Building Department and we discussed certain alternatives and way of improving footers and maintaining the old building line.


David Dowling: This shows you the existing building footprint and what presently is on site. I do have pictures and photos of the building as it exists and I would like to show the Board, if I could.


Pictures presented to the Board.


David Dowling: Some of the questions when reviewing the minutes of the Meeting of October 3, 1995; it was brought to the attention that the garage as it was suggested to be done at that Meeting be moved back to the original building line and what that does is increase the drive facility. In the front area 16.5' and we have also moved back the front of the house 30' and what you see here is 27. This 27' is to the building line, this 30' to the porch and according to building regulations if the porch is covered which is no more than a deck, but it is included in the footage. So this 30' goes back to the porch The actual building line is 38' back. With the layover of this (drawings shown on easel) what this illustrates is that it shows the old building line and where we have moved as much as we can and still maintain a certain amount of square footage that is necessary to keep the land value in the cost of the real estate that we are dealing with. As you can see, this is the new proposed building and that is the existing foot print.


David Dowling: At this time we would like to ask the Board, if you would, to grant us the variances that we request.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 64 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received objecting.




Laurie Marshick, 631 West Lake Dr., right on the lake. I pass by this home very often and the existing home that is there is not the most attractive home. I believe that for the real estate in the area that it would be advantageous to have a new home there to approve what Mr. Dowling and Mr. Soblewski are submitting. It would be a very nice looking home and definitely help the real estate in that area.




Don Saven: Mr. Dowling and I think his architect came in and we were discussing this issue and a matter of fact it was rather extensive because of the situation of whether or not they could do something with the existing building and stay with that foot print of the existing building, demolish the building to a certain extent and still re-build on the existing foundation. That became a concern to me based on the fact that what this gentleman would like to do and try to conform to as many of the ordinances as he possibly can. But, you can see that the lot is narrow, it is a corner lot and the fact that he could re-build the structure that he has there right now; I would have some concerns about it because of the location. What he also wanted to do was to extend or to make it as compatible with the ordinance as much as possible. That is basically why we tried to indicate to him to come before the Zoning Board tonight.


Member Brennan: I have comments because I was the one that made recommendation that you push the garage back. The people that were at this meeting the last time that this came around; their biggest concern was parking. While the proposed new home is a certain remedy for the facility that is there and would be a nice addition to the area, there were concerns that the lower street (Eubank) that if you have a home there; where are people going to park. I think that the petitioner has attempted to remedy that situation by pushing the garage back as far as it can go, it gives him a 16 1/2' driveway and I assume a 2 car width driveway and given the shape of that particular lot and the in the interest of building a nice home; I don’t know what else he can do.


Member Reinke: Where you have located everything now, does that change your variance request as to footage or number of feet that is needed?


David Dowling: No sir, it does not.


Member Harris: (Inquired of Don Saven.) What was the lot coverage for the existing house computed as? That is one of the 4 variances that is requested here.


Don Saven: I am not sure.


Member Harris: Was it somewhere in the vicinity of what we are looking at here? It appears to be visually that. So we had a house that was out of compliance. The structure that we are replacing we are dealing with similar kinds of setbacks although it shifts slightly all the way around; so this is really almost a rebuilding of the structure that exists.


Don Saven: Yes, except for the portion to the left where he has moved the building up a little bit closer.


Member Harris: But, when we are dealing with the 2 front yards and the side and the back yard and the lot coverage itself, we are pretty close to just replicating what is there.


Don Saven: Yes.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Harrington,





Discussion on motion:


Chairman Antosiak: (Inquired of Don Saven) Being that close to the lot line, not on Eubank but on the other side of the lot are there special building materials or such that would be required?


Don Saven: I think that he is beyond the 3' mark so that the penetrations of the openings in that particular area would not be limited as much as would be if he gotten closer to 3' to the property line.

Member Reinke: I think that the lot is over built. I don’t know what else could be done with it, but I cannot support the motion.


Chairman Antosiak: I for one can support the motion because it actually looks like it is less of a nonconforming use under the new structure than under the current structure.


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Reinke Motion Carried


CASE NO. 95-103


Heritage Residential Group, Inc., is requesting a 4.96' rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a single family residence at 28735 Stonewall Ct., in the Hills at Vistas.


Steve Calverly was present and duly sworn.


Steve Calverly: This request is as stated for a 4.96' rear yard setback in one corner of the home due to the highly irregular shape of the building site. The developer, Hughlan, and ourselves commissioned an architect to design a home specifically for this particular site. We were one of 2 builders in this site who purchased half of the approximated 144 lots and it wasn’t until a later date that we realized the condition of this particular site was not going to accommodate the product line up that we had originally planned for the community. We actually went through 2 re-draws and 2 site plans in order to address all of the concerns needed. One being, marketability and meeting the 2000 square foot minimum square footage requirement for the site and also trying to fit within the setback requirements. This was the best that ourselves and a well renowned architect was able to do. I think that the elevation and the floor plan was done in a fashion that best utilizes the conditions that exist out there. We also planned it so that the one corner that does exceed the setback backs up to a preserve wetland area, therefore, not affecting any adjoining residents.


There was a total of 4 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: There is no doubt that this is the most unusual piece of property for the subdivision. I think if you take a look at the buildable area on that particular lot you will see that moving the building in any shape or fashion would almost put it in a noncompliance no matter what he did. The other concern is that he not asking for a garage which is exceeding; it is a 2 car garage and he has minimized that particular area and I think that he has tried to do as much as he possibly could to make it work.


Member Baty: Is the setback that is in question that requires the variance, only up against the wetland? Is unit 60 being infringed upon at all? Is there any variance required?


Don Saven: That particular line would be considered a side yard.


Member Baty: For the entire unit 60 length, ok.


Member Harris: In this case and I continue to say that I can’t support a variance in a newly developed subdivision. I think that is something that should have gone into the development of the lots and I find it very difficult that we now have scrunched down to the minimum and it doesn’t fit. I think that is really a problem that should have been remedied before it came to the Zoning Board.


Member Reinke: I have to agree with Mr. Harris. I really don’t see any reason why in a newly platted subdivision how we can’t fit a house on it. Something that had been platted 40 years ago, maybe I could have some real say in that they weren’t really planning and looking ahead. This is just trying to get to many lots on a piece of property. I really have a problem with that.


Member Bauer: I cannot support it either. I think that they could do better with the footprint and make it fit.


Member Baty: How many square feet is the home?


Steve Calverly: 2000 square feet which is the minimum. If I can make a comment I would pretty much agree with all of the comments, we are not the developers of the site, we are the builder and we are the purchasers of the site and have a certain responsibility to understand what we are purchasing. I will say that it is very untypical that a site that has recently been approved for the density that the engineers who engineered the site would have engineered such a condition. Having said that, we are somewhat the victims ourselves and the people who have purchased this home from us are consequently the victims as well and I do disagree that even though a residence could be designed it might not be marketable.


Member Brennan: Sir, are the people who purchased this home here tonight?


Steve Calverly: No they are not.


Chairman Antosiak: I wish that it was an unusual circumstance, unfortunately we see far to many of these. The time to catch this sort of issue is in the lot design and planning stage and not when it is time to build.


Greg Capote: I have noticed in the Schedule of Regulation on page 3233 of the Code; the minimum floor area per unit is 1000 sq. ft. and I noticed in the application that it states 2000.


Chairman Antosiak: Is that a subdivision requirement for the development?


Steve Calverly: That is subdivision requirement, it is architectural.


Don Saven: There is also the similar to dissimilar ordinance that he has to comply with.


Chairman Antosiak: Would a house fit in the allowable building footprint, require a variance under the similar to dissimilar ordinance.


Don Saven: I think that there would have to be more investigation done on it. I think that what the gentleman is proposing tonight is something that would be compatible within that area. It does have to meet architectural features and design that is pursuant to that ordinance. I think that is what he has attempted to do. Based upon the configuration of the property it is very difficult to achieve that.

Steve Calverly: As far as the similar to dissimilar ordinance this is a one of a kind floor plan; so in terms of similar to dissimilar with exterior elevations it is a one of a kind.


Member Baty: It is one of a kind because of this.......


Steve Calverly: Because of the condition of the site. I have with me the 2 different drawings that were done. We started out with a 60 by 35.8 home and then shrunk it done to 58 by 34.8; trying to do everything that we could do to get it to fit. Two different site plans were done to try to accommodate and to coin the architects phrase "he pushed the envelope as much as he could" to design a house that met the requirements of marketability, square footage and architectural control.


Member Baty: I think that I could support this. I guess that there would be 3 choices, no home on this lot or a home that is smaller or designed inconveniently as a neighbor versus 5' infringement on the wetland. I guess that I would prefer the 5' given those choices.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Something of a difficulty that I have is that we don’t have sufficient information as to what kind of house could fit on this property within the setback ordinance. What we may have here is a situation that no matter what you do you need a variance. But, I think that the other Board Members might be more persuaded to grant this variance if they had some idea of what would fit there. Are we talking about a 1100 square foot house? A 900 square foot house? What is it? I think that is the information that is needed to come to us. I am not as inclined to vote this down because we are trying to send a message out to developers because we have granted variances in similar situations before and I am not that troubled by that. I don’t have enough information based on what the alternatives would be. I don’t think that an acceptable alternative is that the lot stays vacant.


Steve Calverly: I understand, I think that the question is can you design a 2000 square foot house which is the minimum that will accommodate the setbacks. Based on a reputable architect in the area what he designed was his interpretation is the minimum design criteria that would accommodate that. I don’t know if you have the actual floor plan, I believe that it was submitted with the package; but I have one here if anyone would care to view it.


Member Brennan: I am confused now; have you sold the house and this is where it has to sit?


Steve Calverly: Yes and no. We designed the home for that particular site prior to the home being sold. The home was then sold based upon the appeal and subject to this appeal. So, it is sold if it is approved to be built on; if not then it is not sold.


Member Brennan: I wish that had been relayed a little bit earlier because that changes my opinion of things. You have presented a plan that has been sold to somebody based on the presumption that you are going to get a variance on the impediment into the wetlands.


Steve Calverly: We proceeded to design and to build this home as a speculative home. In the process since this has been going on, the sales people on the site had access to the floor plan that we were going to submit and began to test the market to see if the price and the appeal and the way it sat on the lot was marketable. In the process we secured someone who found it so and agreed that they would purchase it if we could obtain the approval. That is the way that it came about.


Chairman Antosiak: In the past I believe that there is only one matter that I voted for a zoning variance on a new lot. I think that this lot is so unusually shaped that it should have been addressed at the time it was designed and it is not appropriate to address it now. I just think that it is bad policy to approve of a zoning variance on a newly developed lot.


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Reinke,





Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


CASE NO. 95-104


Thomas Gross is requesting a variance to allow the continued use of two (2) separate detached accessory buildings for property located at 114 Faywood.


Thomas Gross was present and duly sworn.


Thomas Gross: I am here to request a variance to allow the continued use of 2 separate detached accessory buildings at 114 Faywood. Recently I was sent a notification of a violation of code section 2503.g . I provided a plot plan that you have a copy of. In reviewing this I noticed that I left out some information which was the measurements of my garage. I don’t think that is on your copy. That is 18 by 22. I have been in this house since 1973. The 2 car garage has been there for a long time. In April of 1989 I applied for a building permit to construct a storage building and my first plan was beside the garage and I have indicated that with broken lines and they said that I could not do it and that I must have it 10 feet away from any existing buildings and 6 feet off of the property line and no overhead wires and no run off into the neighbors yard. I complied with all of that with my second application for a permit and was granted a permit to build this storage building. I do park 2 cars in the garage and as you can see it is a small garage leaving no other room for storage of anything else. I needed the storage building for lawn and garden equipment. I do have pictures of the building that I would like to show to you.


(Pictures were presented to the Board.)


Thomas Gross: I do have the original building permit with final inspections if you would like to see that also.


Chairman Antosiak indicated the Board had copies of those documents in the file.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 44 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 9 written responses received; 8 voicing approval and 1 voicing objection.




Charles Kurvelis, 1430 West Lake Drive. I was here about 5 months ago for exactly the same thing and I was denied my variance due to the fact that storage and expense was not a hardship. I have the same size lot or actually larger than Mr. Gross. He failed to mention when asked about his garage and shed back 5 months ago; he told you people that he had built that shed over 10 years ago. Which would have made it legal. However, when he applied for this permit on April 20, 1989, the City of Novi adopted the no storage/2 storage or not more than 1 detached accessory building shall be permitted on the property with less than 21780 square feet. There was an illegal permit issued to Mr. Gross on April 20, 1989. Which puts it 5 years after the fact. It shows clearly on the property register or the appraisal record of the City of Novi that he does have a garage and it was there and it was old. .

Charles Kurvelis: I have the same case, which was presented here about 5 months ago. Case No. 95-104. It clearly showed that I have the same situation, but my shed was 21 years old and there was a permit pulled it back then. I had my old garage torn down and a new one put up and nothing was said until about the date that I was going to have the garage approved. That is when Mr. Tom Gross sent a letter to the City deeming my shed unsightly. Of course, the City knows that is just a matter of opinion. Now they sent me a letter stating that I would have to lose my shed, which I think was wrong. I don’t think it really should be here at this variance board just like Mr. Tom’s case because this is a Zoning Board Appeal case and should be denied here. This should be settled in court like my case is being tried now at the 52-1. Like I said, he did perjure himself the time that he said his shed was built 10 years ago, it was not and that is why this all came here.


Charles Kurvelis: He also did mention the fact that the last time that he stepped foot on my property that he said that he has friends on this Board and that I would have to lose my shed and at that point he was right. Then when I did the research on his shed, low and behold, and as a matter of fact the City cannot even find his permit on that shed. That is the fact. Now, if he is able to keep his shed then how do I get put on this preferential list so that I can keep mine. After all, it is 21 years old and basically looks the same as his. I was going to put a roof on it, but I was denied that permit; to match my garage; my new garage and the new roof on my house which matches my new garage.


Charles Kurvelis: That is why I now feel that this is a criminal matter and not a variance. Just like my case. Any questions, I have facts and everything here.


Member Baty: You are a neighbor of Mr. Gross?


Charles Kurvelis: Unfortunately, yes. I moved in, it will be 3 years in 2 more days, although I am not new to Novi I grew up in Novi. My parents, my mother who is here today, moved us out in 1969 about 8 years before Tom even thought about moving in. I get treated like the new kid on the block. In the neighborhood I am new; but I was in the Walled Lake mailing address which is Novi now. I opened Walled Lake Western High School in 1969. I have been around for a long time. I have never been treated like this by any other neighbor in my life. I spent about $20,000.00 fixing up this place and every time I try to do something I have him turning me in. I was repairing my roof one time because it was leaking and I had the City knocking at my door for a permit, but I was only repairing it. He protested the garage and I had to do a little bit of a battle about that. Fortunately, for me, I do have the large double lot where I was able to build it. Of course, as I said my double lot is larger than his and I feel truly that he should not be able to keep his shed if I can’t. What is fair for one should be fair for the other. And by the way, on the agenda it does state exactly the same thing; the case states exactly the same as his case today. My case dated back November 7th did say exactly word for word on the agenda what he is asking for but I was denied.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: Sir, I do not know either you or Mr. Gross. So I will go on the record as not being in anyone’s pocket or being influential. I am a bit offended by that and I would assume that everyone else on this Board is as well. Any case that comes before us is heard on it’s own merit. If I have learned one thing from Mr. Reinke in the last 6 months that is the case.


Member Reinke: (inquired of Don Saven) Was this an over sight when the permit was issued?


Don Saven: I am really not sure because I would like to see the original plot plan that was submitted and whether or not it indicated that the garage was on the plot plan to begin with. If not all of the information is on there, then it is hard for us to determine whether or not there was a building on the site. The permits that are approved are based upon what is presented to us at that time. Hopefully, that is factual and accurate to the best of their ability. I really couldn’t say unless I found the records and was able to have that information here before the Board tonight.


Member Harris: How long would it take you to pull the records?


Don Saven: If you would excuse me for a couple of minutes, with this being an older case I would assume that it would be in microfiche right now.


Charles Kurvelis: With all due respects I have all of that here. What exactly did you need? I have his ........(tape inaudible)


Member Harris: With all due respect I would like to see it from the City records.


Member Baty: Couldn’t we ask Mr. Gross what was built first, the shed or the garage?


Thomas Gross: The garage, it is an old garage.


Member Baty: Was it shown on the plot plan that was submitted for the building permit?


Thomas Gross: They were aware...


Member Baty: Was it shown on the plot plan?


Thomas Gross: Like I said, I first applied and wanted to build the shed next to the garage where I have the broken line now and they said that I could not; that is when they told me that I had to be 10 feet away from any existing building.

Member Baty: So the garage was shown on the plan that was submitted?


Thomas Gross: Yes.


Member Baty: Is it possible that it was an oversight?


Don Saven: It may be.


Member Brennan: Can we move on and perhaps give Mr. Saven some time to research this and look at another case to keep things going?


Member Baty: Well, even if we do find out the answer; what does that serve?


Member Reinke: We have the situation to deal with now. I think that we have enough information before us to deal with this. The 2 cases are somewhat similar. The gentleman and his shed and garage next door with the garage permit the condition if I recall and am correct on that was that a part of the garage permit was that the shed would be moved or come down. He could move his shed next to his garage, which he chose not to do. So he could still have his shed. I think that we are getting into a contest here and I don’t want to be a part of a contest between neighbors.


Chairman Antosiak: We also have different factual circumstance here, where Mr. Gross was sited for a violation and did not request a permit at this point to re-build a garage or re-build a shed.


Member Reinke: Well, he has a permit.


Member Harris: (inquired of Don Saven) Does Mr. Gross have a legitimate permit to have the shed in his yard?


Don Saven: He has a legitimate permit on record at this time. I think that maybe Dennis Watson could help me out here in terms of whether or not legally the permit is valid based on the fact that the ordinance that the time and the date of the adoption of the ordinance and when the permit was pulled.


Dennis Watson: Frankly, I don’t think that I could answer that without looking at your records with the permits and looking at the pertinent zoning ordinances for those time periods. That is what I would really need to give you an answer.


Member Harris: The issue is simple for me; if he has a legitimately permitted shed; then why is he being cited for a violation? If in fact it was legitimately permitted at the time and the ordinance was changed it is a nonconforming use; he can’t change it or do other things with it, we understand, but why would he be........


Don Saven: I think it is a question of whether or not he complied with the ordinance at the time that the permit was pulled because we didn’t have knowledge or whatever does not really to me indicate that it is a valid permit because there was something really wrong at that time.


Member Harris: That is my very point; is do we have a valid permit and a valid shed at the time it was put up?


Don Saven: I think at this point it becomes a review matter.


Dennis Watson: I think that what Don is trying to say is that a permit is not valid if it is granted in error. I think that is correct. The only way to know whether this was granted in error or whether it was really a proper permit is for us to go back and look at those records, look at the plot plans and look at the ordinances permitted at those times.


Member Harris: That is exactly the point. I would move to table this until next month to give the City and opportunity to research that and to provide the Board with the information to determine whether this was a properly permitted or a valid permitted use and to explain to us why if it was that we have a violation here before us that is seeking a variance.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: I have no objection to the "table", I think that it makes sense. I would want to see the plan as submitted to see whether or not the garage is on there; that would be material to my decision. With respect to the suggestion or the valid inference in front of this Board that someone’s personal association somehow affects the merits of the case; I have never met either of these gentlemen or spoken to them in my life. If such an allegation has substance then the proper remedy is not this Board but the prosecutor and I would you to proceed on that basis if in fact you believe that there is substance or merit to that allegation. But, we are not here to resolve neighbor contests.


Member Brennan: I believe that Mr. Harris had a motion and I will second that motion.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion to table until December


CASE NO. 95-106


Thomas Moss is requesting to move the Service Write-Up area to the north and to revise the existing overhead doors. These doors had previously been approved by the Zoning Board of appeals, Case No. 91-112, at the November 7, 1991 Meeting in their existing location.


Thomas Moss was present and duly sworn.


Thomas Moss: We are adding to the north on the service write up area of the dealership. (diagram on board shown) The darker brown area would show where the service write up is and the 2 other additions to this building. The case in point is the service write up is to the north of which the 2 overhead doors that face Haggerty Road were approved back in 1991 and I have some pictures that I would like to show you of what these doors look like. (Pictures given to Board.)


Thomas Moss: The 2 doors that you see in the picture; one of them is to remain the other one will move to the north with a new one next to it. These doors are all glass, with bronze aluminum framing, they are quite attractive and they are quite expensive. They do not represent your typical overhead door.


Thomas Moss: I would also like to show you that the building at this point where these overhead doors are located are some 520 feet from Haggerty Road and the landscaping that obscures that view is also shown on those pictures.


Thomas Moss: We have had our site plan approval and have taken our approval subject to your approval of these additional overhead variances.


Chairman Antosiak: You are just moving existing doors to the north.


Thomas Moss: We are adding one, so there will be a total of 3.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 6 Notices to adjacent property owners, with no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Greg Capote had no comment.


Member Harris: Would you point out one more time, where on the diagram the existing doors are located, the one that is moving and the additional one?


Thomas Moss: The existing doors are in the lighter green area, the new doors will be in the darker area here to the north.


Member Harris: They are moving to the north and those are the 2 doors; where is the third door?


Thomas Moss: One door stays.

Member Harris: So, one of the existing doors stays and one moves and there is one new one; all in that same area.


Thomas Moss: That is correct.


Chairman Antosiak: All 3 will face Haggerty?


Thomas Moss: Yes.


Member Harris: The extension or the addition to this building is the same material, the same doors, same look?


Thomas Moss: Yes, identical.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Could you give us a little more background on why you want this variance? How is this going to help you? What is the hardship?


Thomas Moss: The hardship is that we need additional space in the service area and in order to expand that service area we have to expand the service write up area.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: And without this reconfiguration and addition of the doors that expansion would be impossible?


Thomas Moss: Yes sir, we could not go to the extent of the service write up area without extending the service. I am sorry reverse that you could not extend the service area without extending the service write up area.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Bauer: You are actually adding on to the service building?


Thomas Moss: We are adding on to both the service building and the service write up.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Harrington,


Seconded by Member Reinke,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


CASE NO. 95-110


Dennis Watson, representing The City of Novi is seeking an interpretation of Subsection 2502.2 of the Ordinance. The particular issue raised is whether a parcel of land remains a "lot of record" when a portion of it is condemned through eminent domain proceedings.


Dennis Watson was present on behalf of the City of Novi.


Dennis Watson: We are seeking an interpretation of subsection 2502.2; that is the provision of the ordinance that deals with nonconforming lots which are also referred to as lots of record. The purpose of that provision is to make sure that if you have an existing lot and the ordinance standards change relative to lot area, lot width that the lot isn’t going to be rendered unusable. Basically what it provides is that if you have a lot of record in single family zoning it can be used for a single family dwelling even though those 2 standards may change. In effect, what the section does is prevent the lots from being rendered unusable if they were already existing.


Dennis Watson: What we are asking for is an interpretation to confirm what we believe is that provision when a parcel is a lot of record it retains it’s status as a lot of record even though a portion of the parcel might be taken by condemnation for road right of way purposes. Currently both the City and the Michigan Department of Transportation are acquiring property throughout the City for right of way purposes and for other public purposes and the issue is beginning to crop up. There are a lot of lots in the various zoning districts or parcels throughout the various zoning districts that were basically split up over time to essentially and precisely what the zoning ordinance allows. In a 1 acre district the lot is 1 acre or just a fraction above, when we are shaving off 20 foot or 60 foot lengths from the front of these lots and are in effect altering the area of the lot and raising the question as to whether they are still lots of record and still can be built with a single family house. It is pertinent because it relates to when we go into condemnation or when we just make an offer to acquire that right of way what we have to pay for compensation. If in effect we are rendering the entire lot unusable it is a much more drastic situation. We believe that the interpretation that a lot like that remains a lot of record is correct because of the way the ordinance defines lot of record. Essentially what it says is that a lot of record is a parcel of land and the dimension of which are described in a document filed with the Oakland County Register of Deeds. In other words, if you divided it that description is filed it is a lot of record under the zoning ordinance. The definition goes on to say or any part of such a parcel held in record ownership separate from the remainder thereof. In other words, if a portion of that remains in separate ownership when a part is taken off it would still be a lot of record. We believe that the definition covers that situation, but we would like an interpretation to confirm that.


Dennis Watson: So essentially what we are asking for is an interpretation that a lot of record retains that status even though a portion is acquired for public purposes through condemnation. If you have any question on that I would be happy to answer them.




There was no audience participation.




Greg Capote had no comment.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Bauer: If you have a 1 acre lot and you take 70% of it; that leaves 30% which may be not buildable. Would you then take the whole thing or would you just take the 70%?


Dennis Watson: Probably, becuase one thing the lot of record section doesn’t cover is setbacks. What the lot of record or the nonconforming lot section of the ordinance provides is that even though a lot of record is below the area requirement or the width requirement you can still put a single family house on it, but you have to comply with the setback requirements. So if we took 70% of the lot thereby rendering it where you had a building envelope once you considered setbacks that you couldn’t put a house on then that would be a whole different story.


Member Reinke: That would be my feeling also. As long as it was a buildable lot I feel that it is a lot of record. If it is unbuildable, then it wouldn’t be classified that way as far as my interpretation of that.


Chairman Antosiak: Given this particular lot in question, is this a buildable lot without a variance after the City has taken action on it?


Dennis Watson: Certainly.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Is there actually, to your knowledge and I will use the generic expression a case or a controversy involving persons who perhaps while not furnished notice of this proceeding would express an opinion different or that our decision here tonight without benefit of their input could in fact prejudice their position which might be adverse to the City. What I am suggesting is that if there is no controversary right now that this would affect, I don’t have any problem with it. Your interpretation sounds reasoned and rationale. But, if on the other hand our decision and interpretation is going to be used to advance the cause of the City against someone who is aggrieved then I think in fairness that we should hear what their position on this issue would be.


Dennis Watson: I think that is a fair question and there is not case in controversary. It was nor of a hypothetical issue when we were told by our appraisers that we are going to be seeing lots like this. In addition it is really a position that is being advanced for the benefit of the property owner in effect to say that the lot can have a single residence on it.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Unless of course, they would prefer a condemnation which might cost the City more money.


Member Harris: Would any interpretation that we render, if we do this evening, would that be shared as part of the process?


Dennis Watson: Absolutely.


Member Harris: As a normal part of the process to.........


Dennis Watson: That is really the whole point is that when we go to a property owner and they say "well is my lot going to be usable"; we would like to have something that they can go to the bank on and be able to use the lot rather than to just take it on of our reading of the ordinance. That is why we are seeking this confirmation.


Member Harris: Would it be reasonable to ask that your office prepare that document for our review with a sense of what our direction is that deals with some of the issues that were brought up by the Board including being able to build.......


Dennis Watson: I think that what we would provide to the property owners in that situation would be a copy of the application in this case and the Board’s action in this case. If the Board were to grant it we would provide the people with that and that would be what they would be able to rely upon.


Chairman Antosiak: Since we are dealing in hypothetical, I will pose a hypothetical for Mr. Saven. If a party wanted to and I am talking about the lot that was attached to the interpretation request, wished to build on this lot and could otherwise meet setback requirements would you issue them a permit?


Don Saven: If they meet the zoning ordinance, yes. If they meet the requirement of the zoning ordinance, yes.


Member Harris: In this case they don’t, right?


Chairman Antosiak: As I understand it, this is a right of way and you are not actually taking feet off of the property. Is that correct?

Dennis Watson: The interpretation would apply to feet taking. If we were simply taking an easement, then the property owner would still have fee ownership of an acre in size and then the issue wouldn’t come up. It only occurs if you are taking feet.


Chairman Antosiak: So if this owner no had a 2/3 rd of an acre lot in a RA zone, but could otherwise meet the RA setback requirements would you issue them a building permit or would they still have to come before the ZBA?


Dennis Watson: I think that the purpose of this would be so that Mr. Saven could turn to the lot of record provision of the zoning ordinance and say that it is a lot of record and he would be able to grant the permit based upon that provision.


Don Saven: We could do it for the setbacks and the area and width are the other 2 concerns with the lot of record provision and I think that is what we are looking at.


Member Harris: In this case, if it is a lot of record and through condemnation you take this 1/3 of an acre and you end up with the one that you are talking about here, this .66, and it meets the setbacks at the time that you take it but the setbacks change they come in later, what is recommendation to the Building Department at that point. Is it also the setbacks of record not only the lot of record and the time the condemnation is taken; is there something that would hold/harmless this homeowner to be held to some standard that isn’t going to regularly change?


Dennis Watson: There would not be anything that would hold him to the stack standards unless he built the structure on it when the setbacks were what they were and then the setback standards changed after that and the structure would then be a conforming structure but it would be permitted to continue.


Member Harris: But, if there was no existing structure built under it and the setbacks changed we could now have an unbuildable lot as a result of the 2 occurances; one was the condemnation and the second was the setback changes?


Dennis Watson: That is conceivable.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Is exhibit "A" attached simply an exemplar to assist us with a hypothetical or does that represent an actual property out there that would be affected by this?


Dennis Watson: It represents a property that the City is considering taking, but hasn’t made a determination to take yet.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Has that property owner been place on notice of this particular meeting here tonight?

Dennis Watson: I am certain that the property owner has not been placed on notice of this proceeding.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: In fairness if this decision by the Board could affect that property owner’s rights which we are looking at right here, shouldn’t that property owner at least have the opportunity to express to the Board that they concur with your interpretation.


Dennis Watson: I would have no problem with that at all.


Member Reinke: We are looking at a hypothetical situation here; this may be a piece of property that could be affected by it and I don’t think that we are really going to take testimony from one person in reference to the interpretation of the ordinance. It might give us some information, but I think that the basic things that are being looked at is supported by the documentation that is here.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: That may well be, but that particular person may hire an attorney who may be a learned as Mr. Watson, perhaps there may be controlling interpretation from other jurisdictions. There may be case authority or there may be something else. I have no problem supporting Mr. Watson’s interpretations so long as there is not an existing owner whose interest might be adversely affected and probably those interests would not be adversely affected. They probably would be supporting him, but I don’t know that and I have something of a problem going ahead and giving an interpretation if there is someone out there; a specific person who owns this property. Who is the owner?


Dennis Watson: I have no idea.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: OK, we have an owner who we don’t know who they are who might be adversely affected and might be able to furnish us information which could affect our opinion. My support for the interpretation suggested by Mr. Watson, would be conditioned upon the support of that particular land owner.


Member Brennan: Better yet, why would we not publish this as we do or atleast some sort of notice to the general community or homeowners’ or property owners?


Dennis Watson: Perhaps I could suggest this; that the Board table this matter without date until such time as the City makes a determination that they are really going to acquire this property and handle it just like we would for any other and then at that time to bring it back before the Board.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: My concern is not even that specific. I am prepared to support your interpretation as advanced. The only problem that I have is that there is an actual homeowner there who we don’t know who it is and there has been no notice published, I presume, in the Novi News or elsewhere and that person might have input on our decision. Certainly if that person were here tonight, I certainly would listen to what he or she had to say to us or their representative had to say to us. So, I am just telling you and this is not a motion because we don’t have a motion here yet, I am telling you that I support your interpretation but my support would be conditioned upon there being no objection from this particular person whose interest could be affected.


Dennis Watson: I understand that.


Member Harris: What if we moved to do an interpretation support and I tend to support as well, I think the interpretation is a reasonable interpretation and a reasonable reading of the ordinance; contingent upon Mr. Watson contacting this homeowner and coming back to us or atleast sending us notification back next month and if there is no objection that we would adopt it in it’s final form at that point. I do believe that as it has been presented and as it lays before us that if this had truly been a hypothetical and not an identified piece of property we would probably would have already interpreted it for ourselves.


Member Bauer: Would it make a difference to this homeowner, who may not even know that the City may want to take this property? Would it make a difference as far as dollars are concerned?


Member Harris: I don’t know, but we have put it on television.


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Reinke,





Discussion on motion:


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Have we included input from the affected homeowner in that or no?


Member Harris: I would think that the City Attorney needs to have or to seek information from the homeowner and barring any significant disapproval or reason for disapproval that this would be our interpretation. If there was a reason for that, I would ask him to come back before us.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried



CASE NO. 95-111



Scott Rumley is proposing an alteration to the existing building with a covered porch, a second floor deck and a full second floor expansion; a variance is needed to allow the covered porch and the upper level deck to be constructed in the required front yard for property located at 1229 East Lake Rd.


Scott Rumley was present and duly sworn.


Scott Rumley: I am in the process of putting a second story on this and presently with the existing 2 doors exiting the house entered to the north onto the driveway I found with my children being there and running up and down the driveway plus having the cars there with the doors swinging open it gets very congested and I find it a condition where I would like to move the door to the front to eliminate that problem with the doors hitting the cars and the children running out and possibly getting hit if a car comes in. By doing such, with the wind coming off of the lake, I am on the east side of the lake, and it gets pretty blistery coming across the lake; I thought with having a porch there in the winter I could possible close it off or put some kind of protection up there so that I won’t have a direct blast in the house by having a door there. Plus, I thought that by having a second story with a french door out of the bedroom there would be easier access out of the master bedroom to get out in case there was a problem. I am asking for a 51/2 foot variance just on the porch to come closer to the road.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 17 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with 2 written responses received. One voicing object and one conditional. Copies in file.




William Spencer, 1231 East Lake Dr. It is my letter that is in your file up there. Building on the front there is greatly going to reduce my whole view of the area there, the lake and even the traffic because we are right in like a curve and it kind of angles off so the traffic coming from the Walled Lake area that takes away my visibility. Next year I plan to build up on my house, but my plans will still conform with the neighborhood like the setback of 30 feet; mine right now is like 36 and that is going to put him way out in front of me. I would like to keep things conforming. The area is building up and why should someone just build out in front like that. It is not necessary. It is not really a hardship. If I have to step out next year and ask for a variance then it is just going to be dominos all the way back down the whole area there. That is a pretty nice area, we are up on a hill and it is actually select property on Walled Lake.




Scott Rumley: I would like to rebuttal to that. The front porch is going to be an open porch all there is going to be is 4 posts up in front with a short rail in front. Bill has got a big pine tree that is right out in front of the road that blocks it before this house even comes into effecting any kind of view and the traffic. There is no way that this thing is going to affect his view traffic wise and there is no way that this is going to affect his view of the lake because the lake is straight out in front and not across the view of my house.


Chairman Antosiak: I suspect that Mr. Spencer has a different opinion.


William Spencer: (tape inaudible)..........that didn’t make much sense, the lower limbs of my pine tree are about 8 foot in the air and it has been there probably about 80 years, it is like a landmark on East Lake Drive. That just doesn’t make much sense at all.


Don Saven: Mr. Rumley, where is your door exiting the house presently?


Scott Rumley: It is on the north side.


Don Saven: In relationship to your stairway?


Scott Rumley: Where you see the first floor plan, the doorway is off on the side here where it is showing to be closed in and a window installed there. I want to swing that from there out to the front.


Member Bauer: You are shooting for 24, you have 24.5 now not counting the porch?


Scott Rumley: I have 32.5 presently and with the porch it will run it to 24 foot 6 inches.


Member Baty: Is there a reason that your porch has to be so large?


Scott Rumley: If I am going to put a porch on there, I would like to be able to put a chair on there or something to sit out there; if I am going to go to this expense to do this, I would like to be able to put a chair or two and enjoy the shade also...


Member Baty: That is not a hardship.


Scott Rumley: That is not a hardship itself. If I am going to go to the expense I thought that I would try to incorporate a couple of things. I am trying to work with the existing structure that has been there since the 40's and trying to improve it the best that I can. I am trying to deal with what I have got there.


Member Reinke: If the lot size were not the depth that it is, I could see that maybe there is something that needs to be granted there. One thing I am a very strong supporter of around the lake, but not to build any closer to the road than we absolutely have to. Understanding what your wants are, but I really can’t support going any closer to the road.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Your proposed deck will be 8 foot wide, is that right?


Scott Rumley: I can shorten that up a little bit if need be.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: You could within the ordinance build a deck that was 4 foot wide, it wouldn’t be very functional but you could do that.


Scott Rumley: Yes, I could do that. It would accomplish to be able to have at least a front porch out there and....


Vice-Chairman Harrington: I’m sorry, 2 feet.


Scott Rumley: It would be 2 foot 6, I guess. The thing that I am trying to do is to get some use out of the second floor. A dual purpose out of that.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Have you attempted to meet with your neighbor and discuss his concerns and perhaps work with him.


Scott Rumley: This is the first time, I just saw him when I came in here. He’s never...and I am sure that he isn’t aware of what I am doing with this thing and this is probably his first site of this to.


Member Baty: How many approvals came back? Was that 8?


Chairman Antosiak: No, only 2 and neither of which is really an approval. One was Mr. Spencer’s objection and the other was sort of.


Don Saven: I would like to ask Mr. Rumley, is it conceivable that you could cut the porch down somewhat in width based on the fact of the location of your door it indicates that off the master bedroom it is way over to the left hand side, could you shorten it?


Scott Rumley: I could shorten it.


Don Saven: Could you shorten it so that the visibility for your neighbors would be there still based upon it being a covered area so he would not be able to see the covered porch area? He is set back approximately 38 feet.....


William Spencer: conversation was not at podium and microphone......inaudible.

Don Saven: I think that is one of the concerns that I am trying to bring to light right now, whether or not because it is a covered porch that he has to meet the setback requirements; but he is going for a porch before us this evening and that is what we are looking at right now. A covered porch area, not an enclosure.


Scott Rumley: I don’t want to enclose the thing. If anything just to put a wind block up. Maybe some kind of vinyl or plastic thing in the winter possibly just to protect from the wind; but that is it. Temporary.


Don Saven: I think that there is some things that could be done here to small it up and....


Scott Rumley: I have no problem in reducing it in half.


Member Harris: Do you intend to use the covered porch on the first floor as a deck on the second floor?


Scott Rumley: Depending upon what happens here, I would just like to be able to walk out there from the second floor it I could do such. The biggest thing is what I want to do is to get a covered porch for the entrance way and that is my purpose of the whole. I don’t have to have that door on the second floor.


William Spencer: not audible, did not come to podium and use microphone.


Scott Rumley: He also has 6 feet that he can play with, I have 2 1/2 feet. I’m stuck with an old structure.


Member Harris: My concern is that without the covered porch there is not even a need for a variance here. I think that when you look at the plans, it looks like it is also a deck for the second floor. It looks like much more than what you are saying.


Scott Rumley: I would like to be able to do this. To have the use over....if I am putting it in to have a cover I would like to be able to have a double function of that. If I can do that.


Member Harris: I appreciate that, however, what that is doing is taking us into the debate of the variance as to whether or not that is something that you would like to do or something that you really need to do from a functional stand point. I applaud the change of the door to the front of the house, I think it is a very reasonable thing to do. But, the porch on the front that is uncovered is really OK as the plan sits, even in this issue as I understand it. It is really the covered that changes the concern for this Board and the fact that it then becomes a deck for the second which would, I assume, have a railing as well and would in fact significantly change the front of this home. I am not certain that it is a reasonable request for this Board to consider in terms of a variance because it is really more of what you would like to do rather than lot configurations or other issues. You can resolve the safety issue with just having a porch.


Chairman Antosiak: Inquired of Don Saven. Can the porch extend into the setback?


Don Saven: What he can do is to project with an uncovered porch up to 4 feet into the front yard setback requirement, only 4 so his is looking at about a 1 1/2 feet.


Member Harris: He has 2 1/2 feet and he can go up to 4 feet; this can be resolved. The issue of the safety with the door and the egress out to the front rather than into the driveway can be handled within the ordinance. It is the issue of whether or not this becomes covered and then extends further out. It is really the issue of covered that takes us to the point of the debate.


Don Saven: That is correct.


Scott Rumley: If I take and run the second floor joist out and not have posts but a cantilevered porch does that get into or change anything differently?


Don Saven: That is the same thing.


Member Harris: My sense in this that this is in fact a self created hardship in terms of the covered porch and that really is at this point where I come down on this one.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: My reaction is that there seems to be some flexibility that the applicant has here. There also seems to be some legitimate concerns that his neighbor has. I will go on record as saying that neighbors do not have a veto power in front of this Board, but on the other hand it is significant to us when accommodations can be reached with those most immediately affected. I concur with Mr. Reinke, regarding building closer to the street; but we are not really moving the house itself closer to the street this is something less than a house. You in my view should give some thought as to what you really want and intend to do with the second floor of that porch even if we were to grant the variance because we could condition the variance on your not using that for a second story deck which might present it’s own aesthetic issues to the neighbor. The bottom line in my sense is that you need to re-think this issue and come to us with what you really need rather than what you would like to have because it doesn’t sound like you are going to get what you would like to have tonight. I would suggest that you table this until next month; but that is also at the Board’s pleasure.

Member Baty: I agree with that, I would like to take it a step further. Do you have a homeowners association?


Scott Rumley: I don’t believe that we do. I bought the house last July and I.....


Member Baty: I wish the people on the lake roads would form a homeowners association and decide ....


Member Reinke: There is actually 2 of them up there, but they really don’t have any covenants to govern them.


Member Baty: It would be good to adopt some and then they wouldn’t have to come and all the neighbors would be in agreement.


Chairman Antosiak: Would you be amenable to table this request to the next meeting?


Scott Rumley: Yes, I have the approval to go ahead and to start the construction of the house and the only thing that I have is the condition of the front. I can frame that out to install a casement or whatever if we get...I can make an adjustment with whatever we come to terms with I can cut that in and take care of it later. I have time to be able to come up with.....if I can scale this down a little bit and make it more workable. The house is angled a little bit on the property so I should get the surveyor out to pin the property down at the lake and I can actually run across the front and see exactly where the other corner (the northwest corner of the house) is to the setback to and to get a handle on that.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Talk to your neighbor between now and next month.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Harrington,


Seconded by Member Harris,





Roll Call: (Voice Vote) (All Yeas) Motion Carried


CASE NO. 95-105


Andrea Palmer, representing Novi Mansion is requesting a variance to allow a 6' x 6' (36 sq. ft.) Sign with height from grade to top of sign being 6'6", the verbiage "NOVI MANSION RESTAURANT, est. 1929, DINNER BANQUETS", for property located at 43180 Nine Mile Road.


There was no one present for the case. Will be recalled at the end of the Meeting.



CASE NO. 95-107


Sussex Development is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of a subdivision business sign, located at Beck Road and Edinborough Lane.


There was no one present for the case. Will be recalled at the end of the Meeting.



CASE NO. 95-108


Simmons Orchard Homeowners Association is requesting to replace the entrance sign at the corner of Ten Mile and Simmons Drive. The sign would be placed perpendicular to Ten Mile Road. This sign is under ZBA jurisdiction and any change must be approved by the Zoning board of Appeals. It was approved at the February 6, 1980 Regular Meeting, Case No. 780.


Kathy Martin was present and duly sworn.


Kathy Martin: Simmons Orchards Subdivision is in the process of upgrading the front entrance. Our sign has not been replaced since the original one in 1980. We are requesting a variance to replace that sign and turn the sign perpendicular to Ten Mile.


There was a total of 22 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation




Don Saven: You will find a letter in the file from Bruce Jerome relative to the placement in terms of the traffic and stating his approval.


Chairman Antosiak: I will agree that there is a letter from Mr. Jerome and I think it is was included in our packet.


Member Harris: Inquired of Don Saven. In his point 3 and the fact that the sign has been actually been requested to be perpendicular to Ten Mile as opposed to parallel as it currently is; does that concern that he had in 3, is that really nonexistent then?


Don Saven: I think he wants to make sure that there is at least 2 foot from the leading edge of the sign, that is what he was talking about.


Member Harris: Or was he thinking that the sign was going to be placed the same way that the current sign is?


Don Saven: I think that he took into consideration the placement of that sign based on the fact that he needs the 2 foot requirement.


Member Harris: OK, because under 2 he indicated that he wasn’t sure of the proposed location of the new sign.


Don Saven: I think that possibly if a motion was to be made I think it should concur with Mr. Bruce Jerome’s idea of the placement.


Member Reinke: In the summary he said that he is recommending approval of the sign installation with a minimum lateral clearance. I think that could be part of the motion that they have that per his recommendation.


Member Bauer: Do you have a copy of Bruce Jerome’s letter?


Kathy Martin: No, I don’t.


Member Bauer gave a copy to Kathy Martin.


Member Brennan: I think that the fact that the sign is going to mounted perpendicular to Ten Mile probably makes it much more visible. Certainly if the sign is built according to the handout here it is a very attractive and visually appealing sign. Assuming that the subdivision can install it per Mr. Jerome’s recommendations I think that this is probably an appropriate thing to pursue.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Member Baty: His concern with the width of the sign, is what? That it is too wide?


Member Reinke: He wants it at least 2 feet on each side of the post.


Member Baty: 7 foot 8 inches plus 2 feet plus 2 feet is greater than 10 feet, which is the island.


Member Harris: The concern that I think that he expressed in here was if the sign was placed the same way which was parallel to Ten Mile as the previous sign, but they are turning it so that it is perpendicular.


Member Baty: I am picturing the island also being perpendicular to Ten Mile.


Member Harris: At the point that the island is 10 feet wide the sign is 4 inches wide, as opposed to 7 feet 8 inches. The existing sign runs parallel to Ten Mile and this one is turned as the request is. The request would turn it to be perpendicular to Ten Mile so that it would run down the center of the island.


Member Baty: Then you need 2 feet, to the curb and 2 feet to the curb,.....


Member Harris: Right, and there is actually almost 5 feet to the curb on each side when you turn the sign.


Member Baty: From the front curb?


Member Harris: That would be the lateral distance that we are asking for to be in....


Chairman Antosiak: They have plenty of room there.


Member Baty: There is no minimum distance required in the other direction.


Member Harris: There is from a sight line stand point. You have the sight lines as you turn perpendicular.


Member Baty: I don’t understand what his concern is then.


Member Bauer: He wants it back and centered.


Member Harris: His concern was based on the fact that I don’t think he understood that the sign was being turned perpendicular to Ten Mile Rd.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


CASE NO. 95-109


Stanley Tkacz, representing Marty Feldman Chevrolet is requesting a variance to allow the placement of four (4) wall signs for property located at 42355 Grand River Avenue. A) sign to be 2'1" x 18' (37.8 sq. ft.) verbiage to be "MARTY FELDMAN". B) sign to be 2'8" x 7'1" (19.3 sq. ft.) and be "bowtie"; C) sign to be 1'10" x 7'10" (14.4 sq. ft.) verbiage to be "GEO"; D) sign to be 2'4" x 20'11" (48.9 sq. ft.) verbiage to be ‘CHEVROLET".


Stanley Tkacz was present and duly sworn.


Stanley Tkacz: I am an architect, with AIT design group and represent the Feldman organization. We are before you this evening for a sign and graphics program that was begun on April 3 of this year as generated by General Motors Corporations new Image 2000 program that is being stressed for all General Motors dealerships of automotive products; whether they be Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick or etc. We had presented our program to the Planning Commission in the earlier part of this year; attending several meetings for review of this Image 2000 program as relates to the graphics. A light bar, a fascia, building color changes, etc. During this process all documents and drawings that were presented illustrated the graphics as well as the changes in the physical building. Samples were brought in of the signs and graphics and light bar and were presented to the Planning Commission. When approval was given it was the interpretation on our part and recommending to our client to proceed; that the full approvals for the program as presented for the Image 2000 had been approved by the City of Novi. Based upon that interpretation I informed my client to proceed with the project which had grown from the installation and fascia changes as required under the Image 2000 program, the graphics and signs as well as the light bar. The installation of an 800 foot side walk across the front of the property, which is not on public property but is on Mr. Feldman’s property, leases were transpired and things were taken care of.


Stanley Tkacz: To my dismay, when we came and notified Metro Sign Company, the installers of the Image 2000 program, we were informed that though the fascia and the light bar had been approved the graphics were not part of that approval. Thus starting again, in September we applied doing the required paperwork and documentation and submittal. By that time, of course, the original fascia program had been completed. The new soffit. The building had been painted , etc. So we come back this evening with this presentation to acquire the needed approvals in order to install the required items that have been requested and are and I don’t want to use the term demanded by General Motors but are strongly stressed under General Motors program for this Image 2000 which is the project before you this evening.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 13 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Baty: I don’t understand what the hardship is. It seems like a self imposed hardship.


Stanley Tkacz: The hardship and I guess you could say that there is no hardship, the hardship has been imposed by the General Motors Corporation to upgrade the automotive dealerships throughout the United States. There have been about 18 of them completed in the southeast corner of Michigan at this time. We came to Novi with the full documents, seeking the same request as directed by General Motors. There was no intent to create any hardship or anything, it was to comply with their requirements of marketing. In doing so, as I said, we thought that we had the full approval.

Finding that we did not have the approvals for the signs and graphics we have to come back and to ask for your approval. That is why we are here.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Sir, as part of the General Motors Corporation’s contribution to Image 2000, what signs are going to be removed from the property?


Stanley Tkacz: General Motors owns all of the signs; the present signs on the property and the pylon signs. We have discussed with their graphics and marketing programmer and they do not wish to remove any pylon signs that presently exist.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: I don’t speak for the Board, but those pylon signs are hideous. So what the General Motors Corporation wants is for us to dump a bunch more signs on that property and won’t do anything with the aesthetics of what is already there. Is that fair?


Stanley Tkacz: We took one sign off of the fascia. The pylon signs on the site, I assume, had been approved by this Board and had to come before this Board and had to seek approval at a previous time. If I remember the records right, in looking at the past over the last few weeks, those signs had been approved in ‘81 and ‘85 or somewhere at that time and that was some 10 years ago.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Yes that is right, and the point is that you are asking us to exercise our discretion when you have admitted that there is no hardship and we are supposed to put a bunch more signs on the property to assist with Image 2000 and the General Motors Corporation will not consider removing those pylon signs. In my view, they are offensive. You look like a ball park or like an airport out there. That is just my opinion.


Member Harris: When you were before us earlier this year, part of what the Board said at that time was that we believed that the package of signs on the entire piece of property needed to be considered in total. At this point you are indicating that your position is that there will be no reduction in the number of signs on the property with the exception of the removal of the Geo sign and that these additional signs are being asked for on the facade. Is that correct?


Stanley Tkacz: You had asked me originally to table the program and to take a look at and go back to the General Motors Corporation and ask the marketing division what were the possibilities related to the adjustment of the pylon signs on the site or any other graphics, if I am correct. In doing so, I did, I was prepared to speak about that at the last time but I made a human error and wrote on my calendar the wrong time. I did and I got a response back that they said that they would like the existing signs to remain as is.


Member Harris: So then my conclusions were correct. At this point you are asking that virtually all of the existing signs remain with the exception of the one Geo sign which was changed and that these new signs be added to the sign package.


Stanley Tkacz: Yes sir, that is correct.


Member Harris: I would state my position as I did the last time. I think it is a complete sign package and I don’t believe that this addition in fact is within the spirit of the ordinance or our intent within the City of Novi.


Marty Feldman: I would like to address the Board. I am the Chevrolet dealer on Grand River in Novi. Jill Baty brought up an interesting point when she said that there was no hardship. I have to concur with that, with the exception that when we originally entered into this project and General Motors approached me; I told them at the time that I believed that it might be a problem with the City because of the signs that I have now. Of course they told me "that is your problem", naturally. So we originally came to the City with a plan or we came to the Planning Commission with a plan and they told us that before they would even recognize issuing a building permit or even to consider it they asked me to put in 800 feet of sidewalk along Grand River. I felt kind of strange because I felt that and I don’t want to use the term blackmailed but, I felt if that is what it took to get this project and satisfy the City and satisfy General Motors then I would certainly consider it at a cost of some

$20,000.00; which at this point nobody has ever walked on that sidewalk. So, I told Stan that I would certainly consider that because I would like to satisfy the City and I would like to get into the Image 2000 program with General Motors. So, we presented the total package for the building, tearing off the front of the building, a sidewalk package, with a total cost of some $80,000.00.


Marty Feldman: Ladies and Gentlemen I would have never considered doing that at all. What I had was a beautiful building. I was happy with it. I didn’t feel that I needed the sidewalk. But, General Motors was pressuring me to do the Image 2000 program and the City wanted me to put the sidewalk in before they would consider it and I told my architect to present the program with the sidewalk and to ask for their approval. When we went to the Planning Commission they looked at our plans and our specifications, and when we walked out of that Planning Commission meeting after so many attempts we felt that we had full approval to do this.


Marty Feldman: I have spent up to this point, which I wouldn’t have done at all at any time, over $85,000.00 plus architectural costs to do what I have presently done and thinking that I had the sign graphic program approved along with the package. I can honestly tell you that I have better places for $81,000.00 then to re-do the front of my building and put a sidewalk in that I would never have done had I not thought that I had the graphic program approved. That is my hardship. It is honest and that is exactly what we did. I would have never done it. My building was beautiful, I had many comments from City people and my customers and my building looked great. I would have never done what I have done to this point had I thought that I had not had an approval.


Mary Feldman: I have done everything that I can do. The hardship is that I have spent the dollars to improve something that I really didn’t need. I have satisfied the City. I put in the sidewalk. I have satisfied General Motors up to a point because I have changed the front of my building and now I come to find out that I never had an approval. That is my hardship. Thank you very much.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Inquired of Don Saven. Any light to shed on it now being a condition to get to the Planning Commission that you have to put in a sidewalk first?


Don Saven: I am not sure whether the sidewalk was part of the initial site plan. Was it, Mr. Feldman?

Marty Feldman: No. They would not consider and as a matter of fact they wouldn’t consider any building permits or anything that I wanted to do on my property unless I put the sidewalk in. So, I did it, 800 feet of sidewalk to this day, gentlemen, that nobody has ever walked on and probably never will because it goes nowhere.


Stanley Tkacz: We went back when the question arose, when we first appeared in April or the first May meeting and the question arose why isn’t there a sidewalk in? We went back to the original plans and approval of ‘81 and it was indicated that a sidewalk was not warranted at that time because to use the terminology it was the "first kid on the block". There was nothing there. When we got the second review letter one of the first conditions was that no further anticipation will be given until this is considered. So, we drew up a site plan, went to Oakland County. We had to get approval from Oakland County first and that is what started this. That is how we got into this project.


Marty Feldman: I guess my point is, Ladies and Gentlemen, I did not need a sidewalk in front of my dealership. I have been there for 14 years. I think that I have represented the City well. If any of you have driven by my dealership, I have to take exception to your comments in regard to the dealership....I really try


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Just the signs....not the dealership.


Marty Feldman: I understand...but it represents me. I understand your thinking. Everybody has there ......but again I say I would have never, never spent the kind of dollars that I spent to put in a sidewalk that goes nowhere and put a fascia on my building that right now just sits there; it shouldn’t even be there without the graphics without thinking that I had the approval. That is the fact.

Member Baty: Did you present the sign package earlier?


Marty Feldman: Yes, we did. They even made us bring samples from General Motors, they sent them to me to show the City.


Stanley Tkacz: We had them come from Knoxville, Tennessee; I stood here with light bars and everything else with samples.


Marty Feldman: Four different times they sent us back and forth, air mail, federal express with parts that they wanted to see.


Stanley Tkacz: The big item that came out of the third meeting was that in you zoning ordinance you do not recognize glass as an exterior wall material. We went through 4 or 5 letters with JCK and Mr. Rogers justifying that Mr. Feldman’s front of the whole building was not drive in. The glass is exterior wall material. It was tabled again, we came back for the fourth time and laid it all out again and when I walked out of here they said approval and we thought it was all there and we started the project. I told my client the next day to go like crazy. That is how we ended up where we are at today.


Marty Feldman: I would have never gone this far. There is no way in this world.


Stanley Tkacz: If I had known this, I would have applied on April 3rd at the same time the signs were drafted and we were doing the fascia, since they are so divorced from each other. This is to long to know the rules of the game.


Member Bauer: When we first got the signs Mr. Feldman was here in front of our Board, because the Planning Commission did not approve them at that point.


Marty Feldman: That was many years ago, 1980.


Member Bauer: That is right, and we spent quite some time on the package of signs and that was 14 or 15 years ago and I could understand where possibly you could take the idea that you had the approval.


Marty Feldman: I guess what really cemented the approval process in our mind was when they asked us to present samples. When you go through the trouble of waiting for 2 weeks to get samples sent in from out of state and you present those samples, Ladies and Gentlemen, what would you think? What was the purpose of presenting the samples? When Stan walked out of this meeting and he had the approval and he came to me and said let’s go with the project; that is when I gave the contractor the go ahead and do it and we got it done in record time and incidently the graphics that we are asking you to approve that General Motors just tells me is an additional $50,000.00. So we are talking about an investment of in excess of $130,000.00 of which we have put probably some $85,000.00 up front and done. This $130,000.00 I would have never ever considered it unless I thought that I had the approval. I think that I am a pretty prudent business person and I have been in this community many years and I know how this community thinks. When we walked out of here, we thought that we had a concrete solid approval or I would have never done what I did. Nobody was pressing me to put a sidewalk in unless I had that approval and I couldn’t get it without a sidewalk. That is my hardship.


Member Brennan: I will put a different perspective on this. I have only been on this Board for 8 or 9 months so I can’t speak of the history going back to 1980. I will say that what is before us tonight is a variance to an ordinance that says "no parcel of land shall be allowed more than one sign" and I have sat here and have said no people who are looking for a variance of 3 feet on a 200 square foot sign, just as an example. Now, I am looking at a proposal here that has 3 wall signs and I understand that Geo is removed but we are still looking at the huge Chevrolet, Used Car and Truck pedestal, so I am looking at this with a little bit of a different perspective. I am looking at 7 signs verse what the ordinance says as one. I guess, the bottom line is that I wonder why we are even at this stage and what the Planning Commission may have discussed with sidewalks, etc. that doesn’t have anything to do with what we are discussing. We are discussing a variance to a sign ordinance. The sidewalks and all of that other stuff; I don’t know if that has anything to do with this discussion. I could be wrong, but......


Member Baty: I could be wrong, but I think that the sidewalk was brought up to show that he went ahead with the project thinking that he had the sign approvals. That is the only reason why the sidewalk was mentioned.


Marty Feldman: That is correct.


Stanley Tkacz: That is correct, it was part of the package. You are absolutely right it was made part of the package to seek approval.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: When was that sidewalk put in, Mr. Feldman?


Stanley Tkacz: It was completed and finished the third week of July of this year.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: And in terms of your appearances before this Board...


Stanley Tkacz: I am sorry that was August.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: You were scheduled last month, but through scheduling error you couldn’t make it...


Stanley Tkacz: Excuse me, I wrote it on my calendar...


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Right, but you were here before and when was that?


Stanley Tkacz: The original one was in September and we tabled it to October and I missed the meeting.


Chairman Antosiak: The permit request was denied on August 18th.


Stanley Tkacz: They denied it and I wrote on my calendar and I wrote 2 days later and I had expressed that and I did not get notification through the mail and I reapplied and I am here this evening.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: And the Chairman has noted that the initial permit request was denied on August 18th; when was the sidewalk completed?


Stanley Tkacz: The sidewalk was completed the end of July or the first of August, becuase we had problems with the Oakland County Road Commission who made us do some changes and then JCK made us do a couple of adjustments along the way as it was related to winding around some water lines and then we had to sign the easement agreement because it is on private property.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: And the Planning Commission approved your package when?


Stanley Tkacz: The final package approval was the first week of July and we started post haste. We applied on April 3rd and went to meetings in April, May, June and July. We went to all 4 meetings. Vice-Chairman Harrington: So you didn’t have to put the sidewalk in, to get the Planning Commission to even consider these matters, is that correct?


Stanley Tkacz: Oh no, the sidewalk was brought up at the very first meeting. We couldn’t even get the approval unless that was made part of the whole package.


Marty Feldman: That was a pre-requisite.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: What I don’t understand is are you telling this Board that they would not consider your matters before that sidewalk was installed or rather was that part of the total package which you hoped that they would approve and you made that a condition of the approval? Do you understand the question?


Stanley Tkacz: I understand exactly...


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Did you have to put the sidewalk in before they would even listen to you?

Stanley Tkacz: That is correct, Sir. I am looking for the letter directly from Mr. Brandon Rogers that the sidewalk should become part of this project in order to be considered as a full package program. When the second submittal was made, then a site plan was developed and put into the package along with the sign and the fascia drawings that were requested.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Here is the question that I am asking; was the sidewalk a condition of the total package?


Stanley Tkacz: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: But, you didn’t have to build a sidewalk before you could go to the Planning Commission, right? That is the way that I understood the initial representation to be.


Stanley Tkacz: No, we came to the Planning Commission the very first time there was no sidewalk in the documents, only the fascia and the graphics programs.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: And they said "if we are going to approve the entire program subject to whatever changes that we make you are going to have to make the sidewalk a part of it", is that correct?


Stanley Tkacz: We want you to put a sidewalk as part of it, that is right.


Marty Feldman: Or we won’t consider the project.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Thank you, I think that we have clarified that.


Member Brennan: Another question for clarification because I was at the last meeting in June or July when you were here, Mr. Tkacz. When we were discussing the fascia signs it was noted that you had these huge pedestal signs and we wanted to know whether there was any possibility that those could be considered in the whole package and whether there might be the possibility of some of those being "yanked" in order to take the overall footage of signage down and I get the jest that the 3 large pedestals will remain and that you have no intent of removing those but still want all of the frontal signage.


Stanley Tkacz: That is correct.


Member Brennan: I wanted to understand that.


Stanley Tkacz: Do bear in mind, I guess to clarify to a point and it becomes a mute point because I have had this brought up so many times; is that the fascia signs are not all parallel to Grand River. Only the bowtie and the word Chevrolet is again parallel.. If you want to get technical the Marty Feldman is a northeast approach and the Geo sign is at a east/northeast approach at a 60 angle parallel. So it is only visual from one direction, that is 2 of them are only visual from one direction, because of the irregular shape of the fascia itself. The only one that is parallel is as I say, the bowtie and the word Chevrolet.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Harris,





Discussion on motion:


Member Harris: I think that one of the points and the reason why I wanted to get it to discussion is a clarity and there is not a clarity in my mind at this point of how many signs existed on the building prior to this latest facade change or the last change. Just the one that said Marty Feldman?


Stanley Tkacz: No, it said Geo.


Marty Feldman: We took that off.


Member Harris: Any support for denial on my part would have to modified to at least return the petitioner back to the number of signs that existed on the building including the Geo sign, which was at some point in recent years also approved as a variance as an addition with the change when the Geo started. My sense of support of it for the point of discussion was to bring us back to the point of what this signage was before this began.


Member Baty: I wouldn’t be able to support the motion because I feel that I don’t have enough information in front of me right now to determine whether the hardship or what I see was the hardship was self imposed or not. I would like to review the Planning Commission’s Meeting Minutes to see if I would get the same impression that Mr. Feldman and Mr. Tkacz had after leaving that Meeting. Could there have been an interpretation that the Planning Commission approved these signs?


Vice-Chairman Harrington: They don’t have jurisdiction to grant variances....


Member Baty: If they gave the impression....


Vice-Chairman Harrington: I don’t know how anyone could walk into the 4 corners of this fair City of ours and put forth a proposal like this and not have some knowledge that they don’t have that power. I don’t understand that. I can understand how a person not knowledgeable in those areas might be confused but that is why we hire professionals and representatives and that to me is not compelling.


Member Baty: If you are asked to bring in signs to that meeting and you have signs shipped to that meeting and people say that "those signs look good", it may give that impression.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: In the nature of the Board Member discussion, I support the motion. There is hardship, I believe, to some degree even though it is admitted that there isn’t. I sense that there is. I am not among those that say financial investment and economic cost can never be a hardship, so that is not the basis for my rationale. My rationale, in supporting the motion, is that there is a very interested party who is not present here tonight which is a representative of the General Motors Corporation. I would like to hear from the General Motors Corporation why it is that they are inflexible when at the same time that they want to do business in our fair City through Mr. Feldman; perhaps there is some national law that prohibits them from working with a City who is interested in a complete package including toning down some of the signage that we may find offensive. Mr. Feldman and his representative are telling us that his hands are tied by the General Motors Corporation but they are not here to tell us why. I would be interested in that information. I am not offended by the package that has been proposed here, in fact were the pylons to come down I would vote for that package in it’s entirety but that is only my opinion. Right now we are hearing that General Motors will not play ball with the Board and it is all or nothing; we won’t give you any flexibility on the other signs and we clearly expressed at the last Meeting that we were looking for some other options and for some help and Mr. Feldman is caught in the middle here and it is my opinion is the hardship is imposed by the General Motors Corporation.


Chairman Antosiak: Inquired of Mr. Brennan. Would you be willing to amend your motion as suggested by Mr. Harris?


Member Brennan: If he will reiterate.


Member Harris: My sense is that whether it is Geo or one of the other signs, something equivalent to the signage that was on the front of the building before. My intent and objecting to this was not to leave him with less signage than he started with in his package. I do also support Mr. Harrington’s request that maybe General Motors might be able to and I don’t know whether they would want to or not, but we are certainly looking as we have each time that this is a complete package on the entire piece of property. I know that we take each case on it’s individual merits but the pylon signs are often sited to us things that we should be allowing all over the City, size and dimension wise. My sense of the amendment that I would offer would be that Mr. Feldman be allowed to return to at least the square footage of sign that the Geo sign represented on the facade.

Member Brennan: Might I ask you to re-state the motion:


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




Discussion on motion:


Member Bauer: Are we just talking about the Geo sign period.


Member Reinke: We are talking equivalent to.


Member Harris: No, my motion was that the size and the square footage of that Geo sign could be replaced with a sign of his choosing on the front of the building. It could say Chevrolet, it could say Marty Feldman, it could be a bowtie it could say Geo, but only the square footage of that sign and be only 1 sign.


Member Bauer: Just 14.4 square feet?


Member Harris: What I was going was the previous one, the one that they took down. The one that was on the building before all of the facade work started.


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Bauer Motion Carried


Chairman Antosiak: Your variance has been denied subject to the amendment that you be allowed to put up a sign equal to in square footage to the sign that existed before the facade change.



CASE NO 95-112


1/2 Off Card Shop is requesting a variance to allow a second wall sign 14' x 12" (14 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "GIFTS PARTY SUPPLIES", for property located at 43741 West Oaks Drive.


Karl Zarbo, Allen Davis and Bill Turner were present and duly sworn.


Karl Zarbo: I am the director of property management for Ramco Gershenson. We are the owner, developer and manager of the West Oaks properties. With me as you met are the representative merchant from 1/2 Off and also our sign contractor. We want to thank you for the opportunity to allow us to present our position.


Karl Zarbo: The property sign criteria in West Oaks reads very similar to the sign criteria for the City of Novi. In general it entitles you to 1 identification sign within the size requirements of the City of Novi. In general we certainly support the City sign approval. That ordinance has basically become our sign criteria. We do believe, however, that there maybe cause here to ask you to re-visit this position and to give it potentially some special consideration. 1/2 Off Cards is currently in 13,268 square feet, they occupy what was initially 3 specific different tenant spaces. They have as a result of that a very unusual and a very irregular store front and that is a result of that assemblage. I would like to share with you a couple of exhibits. (Copies passed out to Board.)


Karl Zarbo: First of all, an actual lease plan that will hopefully show you what we are trying to express. I have color coded that for you. There is 2 specific colors there. Number one what I have outlined in red is the current space that 1/2 Off occupies and again in excess of 13,000 square feet. I think what is important is if you look down at the bottom there is an area that I have highlighted in yellow and what that is actually is a feature element on that initial building that was occupied by McAuley’s if I can kind of take you back and create what was there initially. It really is that feature element in yellow that was created for one specific tenant that really we believe is causing the concern here. What I also have and will share with you is a photograph that I think will better illustrate.


Karl Zarbo: Again, what I think that you will see here from this drawing and from the photograph is that the challenge is that we have an individual who now occupies what was 3 spaces and actually representing the City’s position there initial sign request came to us and is actually what is in front of you tonight, and we turned it down. We turned it down simply because it was not in the position of supporting what we have agreed with the City of Novi to go along those lines. 1/2 Off Cards has been in operation since July now and I think that what we as the developer have realized and what the merchant has realized is that we have ended up with an image difficulty as a result of where we have authorized the signage to go and maybe more importantly where we have not authorized the signage to go. What has happened is that we have given the message to the public that the balance of the square footage is vacant and that is really what we are her tonight to try to resolve.


Karl Zarbo: We have done business with 1/2 Off Cards basically all across the Midwest; we think that Bill Zucker and the 1/2 Off Card operation is a quality merchant; we are obviously, as the developer, very proud to have them in square footage in excess of 13,000 square feet. It is our hope that the City of Novi is proud to have them there. We would like to make sure, certainly from the merchant standpoint, that the image is to the public that they occupy all of that space. Certainly from the developer standpoint that we don’t have a vacancy; that it is a successful space in West Oaks I and we hope and respectfully request that the City would also like to give that image to the public that there is a very viable merchant in this community that is ready and willing to do business.


Karl Zarbo: One last thing that I would mention is that there request still stays within the sign criteria both for the City of Novi and as we have indicated within our own sign criteria. What you would have seen had we gone with additional merchants is that there would have been 2 additional full merchant signs on the sign band.


Karl Zarbo: So that is the basis for our position and we would certainly try to answer any questions that you may have at this time.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 14 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: He is looking at all most 2 signs in this particular situation. The location of that second sign is the area in question of where that is going to be. If that verbiage is located anywhere within that area where the mansard is at; undoubtedly he would be OK with the 150 square foot variance that was granted some time ago. Based on the fact that he may be placing it somewhere else the area is figured where the highest and lowest location is in length and that would definitely put them over.


Chairman Antosiak: It is basically a second sign. Could you point out where that is going to go on the facade?


Karl Zarbo: This is the feature element that has in the photograph the existing sign. This irregular shape that is left is where they are requesting for the additional signage to be and that is to display that from here to here in essence is occupied by an existing merchant. If we had an ideal situation; if this yellow area were not bumped out or if it were flush we really wouldn’t have a problem. There initial signage would have had that on and had been within the area. The difficulty is that they can’t fulfill what they really have and how do I actually word this the right to do within the ordinance because it actually comes off the yellow area. There is no other place to mount it, but I think that the photograph is a little better illustration than this poster.


Chairman Antosiak: The yellow area is the awning?


Karl Zarbo: Yes.


Member Baty: In general, I am against more than one sign per building; but coincidentally I would like share this with the Board and for your information also; I was looking for some items last weekend and I saw what I wanted in the window and I headed to the east and there was no entrance and there was vacant building there and I couldn’t find how to get into your store and I finally spotted the sign way over at the end as to what the place is that I was looking at. It is "legit" at least for some of their customers. I actually headed the wrong direction.


Karl Zarbo: We really did take a position and they have in their possession the original sign drawing that we turned down. Again, it was our position to stay and we come to you guys with enough issues and we felt that this was sign criteria and we understand your code and we supported it. We turned down their sign; but as we have looked at it and as we have listened to the public and certainly to a valued merchant; the public has told us that they have a very similar problem and again we would like to be very proud of that space that is occupied and tell the world that it is there.


Member Harris: We have a situation here, Don, where they are entitled to 150 square feet which they are not using?


Don Saven: That is correct both signs if they were to be computed separately is less than the 150 square foot allowed.


Member Harris: So we have a building with a practical difficulty?


Karl Zarbo: That is what I "danced with" up here attempting to say.


Member Brennan: Does the option exist to combine both business interests in 1 sign and still be within the ordinance?


Karl Zarbo: We would have to have their sign contractor re-examine that. I don’t believe that would go onto that mansard area and if you would re-examine the photograph you will see that standing seam sign band that is very restrictive.


(Someone from audience): Possible problem with logistics there. Everything would have to be moved off of the awning and there would be no signage over the doorway and would further confuse the public. There would be no evidence of where that doorway is because the doorway does angle....the building itself is a little bit confusing. When there were 3 separate tenants there it was pretty obvious.


Karl Zarbo: Ironically we could reverse it and put all of the signage on the block wall that you see, but it doesn’t eliminate the problem. Now it looks like the angled part, the mansard roof that was McAuley’s is vacant. That is really the crux of the difficulty. We are trying to present an image that we are very pleased that they have joined our family of merchants and would like to tell the public that they are there and open. It is not a 5,000 square foot typical card shop. This is in excess of 13,000 square foot and if you will allow me, we are quite proud of it.


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Reinke,





Discussion on motion:


Chairman Antosiak: Mr. Harris, I would suggest that you amend your motion to limit the variance to this petitioner only.


Member Harris: FOR THIS PETITIONER ONLY, is perfectly acceptable.


Agreed by Member Reinke.


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Brennan Motion Carried


CASE NO. 95-113


Video Giant is requesting a variance to allow a 30' x 4' (120 sq. ft.) wall sign with the verbiage "VIDEO GIANT", for property located at 24255 Novi Road.


Joe Gorschadoos was present and duly sworn.


Joe Gorschadoos: We have a location at the Pine Ridge Plaza on Novi Road north of Ten Mile, which I am sure that you have passed that intersection often. The building first of all is sitting back from the road. Second the building is sitting below the road level by roughly the street level. The building itself is starting from the upper level and moved back further down and we are on that corner that is further down and the sign level is roughly the same as the street level. So the whole building is sitting or the window of the building is sitting below the street level. The sign ordinance only has 40 square feet of signage and we have in excess of 8,300 square feet of space there which is an endcap and usually at my other locations which we have in Oakland County and we have 8 other locations in operation and for the other ones in the process of being opened; most of them we have 2 signs. Usually the signs are larger except in one location. We have had a bad experience in that particular location which we are considering to move that one from that City.


Joe Gorschadoos: Our problem here is visibility of the store because again the building is sitting away from the road and second it is sitting below the street level. That would create a problem of attracting customers to that location. There have been several businesses in the past who occupied and they are either bankrupt or they moved away. That is a concern that we have and we are spending a lot of money to give the people of Novi an option as far as where to rent their videos and we hope that the Board will help us tonight.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 14 Notice sent to adjacent property owners, with no written response received.




David Barnes, President of Barnes Capital Ventures which is the general partner which is the owner of the Pine Ridge Center. The reason that I am here is because I would like to support their request. The Pine Ridge Center has a number of tenants and this is the largest of the tenants. They are in the space that Federal Fireplace used to be in. You are probably aware of the space, it is very near where we are tonight. It is true as Mr. Gorshadoos says, that portion of the building sits below the street level so that it is more difficult to see the front. They are in 8,300 square feet. They are essentially in 4 separate store units. That was originally designed to have 4 stores there and there is only one. If we had rented it to 4 1,400 or 1,200 square foot stores there would be 4 signs instead of one. The space that they have is 100 feet long and the facade where the sign would be mounted would be 7 or 8 feet high so it will easily accept the sign that they requested. We are really hoping that Video Giant will do well because not only would it be good for that particular space but I think that I speak for all of the other tenants in the shopping center that it will draw in customers and be good for their business as well. I think that if you have ever gone up Orchard Lake Road and seen the Video Giant store in Keego Harbor it has a sign that is even larger than the one that they have requested here and it is very attractive and very simple. It simply says "Video Giant". There is no fancy graphics or flashing lights or anything like that. It is an attractive and a reasonable sign and I would encourage you to grant their request. Thank you very much.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Harris: Inquired of Don Saven. What was the square footage of the Federal Fireplace?


Don Saven: That I don’t believe that I have, sir. Excuse me, that is 50 square foot in area.


Member Harris: The total sign?


Don Saven: That is what is on the permit.


Member Harris: Sir, did you understand or research the sign restrictions or ordinances before you leased the space?


Joe Gorschadoos: We do check with the landlord and they said that there is a limitation as far as the sign is concerned. We were aware of that, yes.


Chairman Antosiak: What is the square footage of the building that you have leased?


Joe Gorschadoos: In excess of 8,300 square feet.


Member Reinke: From remembering the Federal Fireplace sign was adequate for identification. You knew what it was. You could see it quite easily. I don’t think that we really need to see anything over the size of what that was.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: I absolutely agree with Mr. Reinke. I am very well familiar with that site. I have been your kiddy corner next door neighbor for 3 years; until I moved across the street last weekend. You don’t need 4 foot high letters there. Four foot high is as tall as that podium. Video Giant, I think, is probably well named with reference to that sign. You could have 3 foot high letter and put Video Giant and be at 39 feet within the ordinance. You could have 2' high letters and be at 40 feet. Unless there is some exigent situation present there, and there is not, that area is clearly visible from the road and in fact it is almost easier to see because of the elevation; at least in my view and driving it thousands of times and I think that it is bad precedent to get into because we have one tenant rather than 4 tenants and we sort of multiply it and give them the functional equivalent. That is sort of the way that ordinances go. I am not prepared to support tripling or the 120 square feet rather than the 40 feet which is permitted. If we had come in with like a conservative request, maybe because of design parameters you needed a little bit more than the ordinance presented because of the number of letter in your name, etc. then I could listen to that. But not under these circumstances.

Joe Gorschadoos: The other problem that we have with that site is that one side of it is totally blocked by the building from Ten Mile. The view of the corner is blocked by the gas station. There are trees that are in front of the building that also kind of block the building from several areas. If it was just the building itself and nothing around it, of course you are right and we probably we wouldn’t need more than that. But the fact that it is sitting back, the fact that it is blocked by the building on the south side of it and the southeast corner is the old gas station that they will eventually put something in there; that is going to block part of the view and then the pine trees in front of the plaza next to the road they are also blocking it as well.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: If and when the gas station or whatever it is that goes in, that is going to be a significant market draw for you. The Video Giant sign will be clearly visible from people pulling in and out of that gas station if it does go in. I have a lot more confidence than you do. Also looking at the nature of your product, I think that there are different marketing strategies that are involved with the video store. I think that they are quite competitive here in Novi. If you are simply relying upon traffic which is going to look at your 4 foot high sign from the roadway and that is what you are appealing to then perhaps a different marketing strategy might be in order.


Member Baty: More basic than that, if you are blocked from those views a bigger sign is not going to help in those directions and the view that you can see the sign you don’t need it any bigger for that view either.


Joe Gorschadoos: If the building was closer to the road, I wouldn’t have any problem. This is my first store in the City of Novi and when I came to look at the location for the first time I missed it myself. There was no sign but for the fireplace there. I missed the building. I had to pass and then come back to find the building. If someone is looking for it, obviously that sign would be visible. No question about it. The thing is with a video store we need a lot of visibility to survive actually.

Member Brennan: I will be a lot more straight to the point. I will not support a request that is 3 times the permitted use.


Member Harris: Nor will I, the sense of this was that the ordinance existed, the building existed, you sought it out, you leased it and there are conditions that apply. There is nothing unique about the business or the sign. There is no special graphics, there is no special something that takes us beyond the ordinance as I see it. I believe that proper signage can be achieved using the ordinance.


Joe Gorschadoos: We are not really set at that 120 square feet that we requested. We are flexible on that one. But, however, the 40 square feet is, to us, very limited signage. Is there an option for us, that we can.....


Member Brennan: I will make a recommendation to the petitioner. The previous tenant had a sign that was 50 square feet and if you want to consider coming back with an alternative that might be more appealing. I think that you have gotten the jest that there is not a lot of sentiment for you with the existing proposal. If that is an option that you would consider, I would make a motion that we put this off until the next convenient date that the petitioner is willing to come back or in the position to come back with an alternative.


Member Harris: I certainly would support, if the petitioner was requesting that we table this. But I don’t want him to go away believing that we all necessarily believe that the 50 square foot would apply. Part of the application and the Federal Fireplace was the significant number of letters and the logo itself; so there are other circumstances and situations that come to bear in that the feasibility of the sign somewhere between the ordinance and the 120 that was there.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: You have 10 letters in your name, you can put 3 foot letters out there by 13 feet long and it will work; or some combination thereof with your sign guide to help you out with what is the best configuration. If it can’t be done and you can’t find something within the ordinance then I suggest that you come back to see us.


Joe Gorschadoos: With 3 foot letters, we have several signs with 3 foot letters and that would come to 64 square foot.


Member Reinke: I think that the Board is being flexible in going back to the size and the square footage that Federal Fireplace had. Now, we are going an inch more and we want to go up to 64 square feet. I couldn’t support that. I would not support any more than 50 square feet.


Chairman Antosiak: We seem to be in a situation where we will either table your request to the next meeting or you can verbally make the request now; the choice is yours.


Joe Gorschadoos: Because of the fact that we are trying to open before Thanksgiving, we would like to change that to 50 square feet, if that is acceptable?


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried




CASE NO. 94-087


Continuation of case filed by Kingsley Cotton, representing Hughlan Development Company, referencing garage heights.



CASE NO. 95-102A, B, C & D


Kingsley Cotton, representing Hughlan Development Company is requesting:

A) Construction identification sign - the one (1) year time limit has expired

B) Four (4) entrance signs - the signs are already up

C) Four (4) 16 sq. Ft. real estate signs - the signs are already up

D) Three (3) additional construction identification signs


Kingsley Cotton was present and duly sworn.


Kingsley Cotton: I am here representing Vistas. I called the Building Department on Friday and then yesterday faxed a letter to Mr. Saven to indicate that this evening we want to withdraw the request for consideration of the garage height variance; as for postponement that issue to a date in the future. For the record I would like to present a letter.


Member Harris: Is that you will bring it back and that it will just pend until you do bring it back or is this....?


Kingsley Cotton: This is at our request, we are not prepared to go forward with that at this time and we don’t think that it is necessary for the Board to act on it at this time.


Moved by Chairman Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Roll Call: (Voice Vote) (All Yeas) Motion Carried


Chairman Antosiak: We will now call Case No. 95-102 A, B, C & D.


Kingsley Cotton: I have a Board that I would like to move closer to you, I also have individual photos to show you also.


Kingsley Cotton: This is the expired construction identification sign and it is located in front of Phase I of the development. There is 16 phases in the development. The permit for this sign has expired and the phase is not nearly completed. So, our request then is for an extension with regard to the construction identification sign that appears on Phase I. I should indicate that one of our other requests is a broader reaching request for a single construction identification sign in front of each phase as it is being developed. If you were to take that, this would essentially be grandfathered into it, the way that we have requested it. So, I probably took this out of order.


Kingsley Cotton: At any rate our request is for a continuation of that permit because the one year has expired.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 117 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 3 written responses received all voicing approval.


Kingsley Cotton: I failed to introduce Ronald Hughes, who is present with me this evening, from Hughlan Development Company who is able to answer any questions that the Board has.


Don Saven: What percentage of the site is built out right now?


Kingsley Cotton: Approximately 35%. The sign is 64 square feet and conforms to the ordinance in every respect. The only deviation that we are asking for here is time on the construction identification sign.


Chairman Antosiak: How long has it been up?


Kingsley Cotton: One year.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: How much time to do you need?


Kingsley Cotton: We want the sign to remain up during marketing and at this point we only have 1/3 of the houses built. I think that the most that we can ask for is a year, so I am asking for a year.


Member Brennan: We are taking these one at a time, is that right?


Chairman Antosiak: Yes, one at a time.


Kingsley Cotton: My only suggestion would be or you could defer this until you hear what I have to say about construction identification signs for each phase.


Kingsley Cotton: Hughlan seeks to place one 64 square foot construction identification sign at each end of Decker Road for the duration of the construction and sales of the project as well as one 64 square foot construction identification sign in front of each phase during construction and sales of that phase. As you know, this is a phased development and right now Phase I is in the process of being developed, with Phase II here and the other phases 3 through 16 extend approximately through the 300 acre project. Approximately 1100 units have been approved for this Planned Unit Development. In terms of building and marketing the development, we are seeking a variance for the construction identification sign requirement which is a temporary sign to begin with. Your ordinance makes no adjustment for the size of the development. As I indicated in the materials that I sent to you, we believe that we are operating with a 300 acre, 1100 unit development, under the same strictures of somebody who had a 10 house cul-de-sac subdivision; and that is that we are limited to one construction identification sign. What we are proposing for the duration of the project that at each end of Decker Road (at 13 Mile and at Novi Road) one 64 square foot construction identification sign be permitted which will identify the developer and the name of the project. In addition, at each phase when it begins and until the marketing ends we are seeking one sign per phase. This is an example of a 64 foot construction identification sign that exists in Phase I and therefore as we have now received preliminary site plan approval for Phase II and when we get our permits we would like to be able to put up one 64 square foot sign there. The signs in front of the phases would identify the developer and the builders. But, it is limited to the same 64 square feet that your ordinance currently limits signs of this nature to. We think that it is not unreasonable given the size of the development to permit a single sign at each end of Decker Road which, as you know, are the only ingress and egress to the entire development. That is the sum and substance of our presentation in terms of extra ordinary conditions or unusual conditions I think that size of the project requires or is grounds for the granting of a variance and once again I point out that these are temporary signs, these are not video stores or Geo cars; these are here only until we are built and then they are gone. The examples that are in the packet are prepared by our sign designer and are examples of the type of signs that would be used.


Member Brennan: There have been other large developments where they have been in phases, what has been the practice or the history? I am thinking of the Maples.


Don Saven: The Maples of Novi has been before this Board on many occasions for the sell out of their project. I think that they were limited last year. I think that they came back because they wanted to sell out the rest of the project and the residents supported that particular issue. It was on going and it was reviewed every year.


Member Brennan: But, there were multiple signs for different phases?


Don Saven: No, I don’t believe so, there was just the location of the one construction identification sign at that time. It was at Fourteen Mile and Decker.


Member Baty: How many signs are you permitted total and how many signs are you requesting total at one time?


Kingsley Cotton: We are permitted one sign.


Member Baty: One sign and you want 11?


Kingsley Cotton: No, we want for the duration of the project we want one sign at each end of Decker Road, 64 square feet. That is 2. In addition, on a temporary basis, during the development of a phase as I indicated the signs of each end of Decker Road would identify the name of the development and the name of the developer and I suppose maybe the architect. Each phase is built by different builders so everyone of your local builders wants to put up a sign. We won’t let them do that. What we have done at Phase I is that there is 2 builders involved and so they are both on the same sign. What we are suggesting to the Board that when Phase I is completed that this sign will go down, but at the same time when Phase II begins another 64 square foot sign will go up in front of Phase II for the duration of the building of Phase II and the marketing of Phase II.

Member Brennan: But the Phase I sign stays up?


Kingsley Cotton: Until the marketing is completed.


Chairman Antosiak: Phase I is the sign that is expired?


Kingsley Cotton: That is right, that is why I said let’s wait on that. So, it is difficult for me to say to you how many signs will be up simultaneously. But I can’t predict and we don’t know how many

phases will be in progress at one time.


Member Harris: The definition that you gave and that it would be put up at the beginning of the Phase and stay up through the completion or marketing would mean that there is a possibility that if all 16 phases were up, that you could have 18 signs under that.


Kingsley Cotton: I suppose that is conceivable, yes.


Member Harris: Two things, one is to put it up to say until marketing or it is built out is completed is not in keeping with the ordinance because the ordinance deals with about 75% completion in terms of the construction sign. The other is the number of other signs that would in fact potentially come along in phasing of this arena. I can understand the marketing issues with the signs at both ends of Decker Road, I can understand the different builders and the different phases of that; but in each of the previous ones where there has been a phase development, at least since I have been here, the sign changes as you move from one phase to the next with the number of phases in this one there might be a rationale for additional signs simply because they are not going to turn over as sequentially possibly as some of the other phase developments that we have seen. I don’t think that I can accept the concept to start with that we are looking at a sign that would be approved for the duration of the marketing or the sell out or that we would simply pre-approve one for every phase because I think that there is still a limit in the number of signs that we are talking about here along the way. I also have an issue or a problem of with whether or not the one end of Decker needs a sign when you can’t get in or realistically can’t get in. This is the same kind of issues that we dealt with in The Maples around where the sign would be and what really made sense with where you would put it. So, somewhere in the midst of this we have to come to some balance.


Kingsley Cotton: Your point is well taken about the uncertainty of the number of signs that would be up at one time, because we are uncertain as to the timing as well and there is no way that we can predict that Phase XII is going to be built. Given that, my alternative is to visit you folks more often which is one of the things that I was trying to avoid doing. But, certainly we can come back one phase at time and ask permission to place a 64 square foot temporary construction identification sign to identify the builders in front of that particular phase. It is contemplated that many different builders from the area are going to participate in this project and as I said we don’t want a lot of signs but if 3 or 4 builders are going to be involved in Phase IV we don’t think that it is unreasonable that they be permitted to identify themselves on one sign together. That is essentially what we are looking for here. I suppose that you could put some type of temporal limit on each phase sign if you wanted to act on it tonight and then if that didn’t work you would see me again. But, for the time being we are seeking relief for the Phase I sign that is already up. We are contemplating a Phase II in the near future and we were hopeful that we could get organized regarding this signage issue as the other phases come on line. If that is to speculative, I can understand that, but on the other hand, we are talking about one sign and you could put a time limit on each phase sign which would in effect give you more control and require us to come back for relief if a phase wasn’t completed in a year or something like that.


Member Harris: Somewhere in the midst is where I think that we need to go. First of all, I do accept the premise that it is an 1100 unit and it is different than some of the other places that we have been. So there is a need for additional information or additional considerations along those lines. I would find myself supporting the fact that the Phase I sign could be renewed because it reasonably has been in the past for other construction signs meeting the same kind of criteria. It could be extended for a year and we could look at a Phase II in the same type of term and have you come back on an annual basis to tell us what you needed along the way. We don’t have a great deal of ability to speculate into what the future may or may not bring either; but it brings me back still to the fact that there is an additional 2 general construction signs at each end of Decker Road. I am not certain that at this point it makes sense to put them both there. That still is a point with me.


Kingsley Cotton: I can assure you that on behalf of the developer that we are not pleased that Decker Road is closed either. Mr. Hughes can speak for himself and if the concern is that there shouldn’t be a 64 foot sign in front of a barricaded road that does have a certain amount of logic to it and so I would defer to the Board’s judgement on that. Right now the only ingress to the project is at 13 and Decker and I guess if the Board is so constrained we would request relief or a variance to place a 64 foot sign there and at the time that Decker is open to traffic at 12 and 1/2 we will either come back or would ask tonight for a 64 square foot development sign there as well. Recall, please, that from Novi and from 13 Mile Road this development is not particularly visible and those phases along Novi and along 13 are not in the first few that are going to be developed. So erecting one general development sign which your ordinance permits or acknowledges I think is appropriate and given the size of the development it seems to me that once the road is open that it would be appropriate that we could have one sign at each end of the road to identify the developer and the name of the developement and the designers. To summarize for Mr. Harris, unless Mr. Hughes has anything else, if the Board is not comfortable going out any farther than 2 phases I would seek a motion to extend the permit on the Phase I construction identification sign; to be granted a variance to erect a 64 square foot construction identification sign for Phase II and to also permit a similar sign at the north end of Decker Road at the intersection of 13 Mile and then upon the opening of Decker Road to allow us a fourth sign at the south end of Decker at Novi.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Would you like to hear what other Members of the Board might have to think, Mr. Harris does not speak for the Board but only for Mr. Harris.


Kingsley Cotton: Perhaps that is a good idea, I guess I was summarizing Mr. Harris’ thoughts.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: My thoughts are these and I will be succinct, the hour is late. This is a unique project. It is massive in scale. It demands unique attention by this Board. We don’t want to engage in sign overkill. On the other hand we also have an interest in seeing the project succeed and the units be sold and the construction people find the project. I don’t find any of the particular package in total as suggested by Mr. Cotton to be offensive; I think that he is trying to address real world problems. The aspect that I would focus on is that I think that if there is a problem that there is nothing that we can do tonight on these temporary signs that would last longer than a year. He has to come back in front of us. They are not going to start all 16 phases or be in a postion to have all 16 phases or 11 phases and have all 11 signs up anyway. They are doing it in a step by step basis. We don’t know and here is the specter which was presented is that we might have all these signs all over, but that will not occur because it is not all going to be done in a year. I think a year from now we will be in a better position to assess the signs on site and if we are offended by what is happening out there in the real world then you have to come to us and carry that burden of persuasion. Right now you have suggested a pragmatic approach which in the first instance I am not offended by a sign and there may be a barricade and we all know that barricade is coming down someday; I am not offended by that sign there and I am certainly not offended at 13 Mile Road. We are not going to see 9 signs up there, I don’t believe, all at once and if we did next November, 1996 we will be addressing that issue with Mr. Cotton because he oversold what he needed.


Kingsley Cotton: Your point is well taken. If you were to put a one year limit on a variance that I requested in the first instance; that would mean that my permit for the sign in Phase XVI would expire next year and I would have to come back here even though I am 4 years away from doing the Phase XVI development. So, Mr. Harrington’s suggestion is one that I have over looked.


Chairman Antosiak: Mr. Cotton, could you briefly describe the monuments that are also a subject of your request?


Kingsley Cotton: Yes, the monuments appear in Phase I on each side of the road and I am not even sure of the name of the street. This is what they look like and there is one on each side of the street here at Phase I and one on each side of the street here on Phase I. Now, I am here because these monuments barer some symbols. Frankly, we didn’t realize that they were signs. Not only are they monuments, but they are signs. The Building Official enlightened me about that. The writing is quite non-descript and in fact with apologies to Mr. Hughes it is pretty much illegible after you get about 10 feet away. It is carved in stone and the language says "The Hills of the Vistas of Novi", I think. It does say The Hills and it has the date 1995 and then on the other side in the smaller block it says Hughlan (the developer) and has a small logo. So, I believe that those symbols do constitute signs as defined in your ordinance. I would also point out, however, that this type of sign is not described in your ordinance and so therefore that is my hardship. I have gone through the ordinance and couldn’t find this type of sign described. I would analogize it to the monuments and tombstones in your ordinance which do not require permits or variances. Frankly, they are pretty tasteful and the signage part of them when you drive by you don’t even see; but I do acknowledge that they are signs so we are asking for a variance to allow the symbols on those monuments to stay there.


Chairman Antosiak: Will we be seeing more of those in the future, also?


Kingsley Cotton: I don’t know the answer to that. Phase II is going to have a gazebo on Decker and I don’t know if we know about signage yet. We have a flags planned for one area of the development, so you will be seeing me on that.


Kingsley Cotton: I can address the other signs now or what is the pleasure of the Board?


Chairman Antosiak: Sure, let’s do them all.


Kingsley Cotton: The other variance that I seek is for directional signs and these also are in place. This is another set of pictures of the directional signs, identical to the ones that appear on the board here. The directional signs also appear or are placed on each end of Decker Road. They are not 64 square feet. They are more like 16 feet. I think that Mr. Amolsch measured them and I beleive that is the correct dimension. There is one on each side of Decker at the 13 Mile and one on each side of Decker at 12 1/2. Frankly those signs were placed by the developer simultaenously with the developer’s seeking relief from Oakland County Circuit Court judge because of some problems that the developer was having with other departments within the City. To be blunt about it, the developer has paid for Decker Road from start to finish including the intersection at Novi and Decker and for reasons that are unclear the intersection has not been completed although the developer has paid for it. It is our position that these barricades which are causing tremendous problems to the project in terms of marketing, those barricades are improper there, and so we are seeking relief in Oakland County Circuit Court to have those barricades removed and in fact a judge has ordered that they be removed. In the mean time, and until the intersection is completed; we believe that it is not inappropriate to seek relief from your sign ordinance in order to permit people to figure out how to get through the barricades and into the development. Therefore, the signs at the barricades at Novi and Decker direct people to go up and around to 13 and if you will recall at 13 Mile there are also some barricades and so there are 2 directional signs placed there to help people understand that even though the barricaded say that the road is closed, yes you can go in and yes you can look at the houses that are in there. So, the request with regard to the directional signs is to permit those to remain in place until the intersection is completed at Novi and Decker Road.


Member Harris: Until the intersection is completed or until the barricades come down or is that the same thing?


Kingsley Cotton: I don’t think it is the same thing. We envision some type of temporary opening of some of the barricades at Decker and Novi even though the intersection is not completed. We think that we are going to get some relief but there will still be barricades there and it will still be confusing and we may end up turning those signs around just so people will understand that they can go through the temporary barricades and get into the development. Right now the arrows point drivers up to the north to get in at the north end of Decker. So to summarize there are the extraordinary or exceptional conditions are the barricades and the incomplete intersection which in our view is not self created. I would also point out that the ordinance itself in section 28-8 subsection 16 permits the ZBA to consent to signs directing the public to a real estate development. So, I think, not only do we have a hardship here but within the ordinance itself your empowered to grant the relief that we are requesting as regards to the directional signs.


Don Saven: Inquired of Kingsley Cotton. In dealing with the construction identification signs, the ones that you are proposing to put on Decker Road and 12 1/2 Mile at the time the road is opened up and the one that is over on 13 Mile Road; would you plan on keeping those through all the phases of construction?


Kingsley Cotton: Yes.


Don Saven: That is your intent and now when you go into Phase II, those are coming down. You are going to keep them there and just modify them as...


Kingsley Cotton: They won’t be modified, they are just going to indicate the developers name, the name of the development "The Vistas of Novi".....


Don Saven: The reason that I want to ask this is you have on one of them right now the Hills, I believe, is that correct? So you are going to change that because Phase II isn’t going to be called the Hills, it is going to be called something else.


Kingsley Cotton: That is the Phase I construction identification sign, so when we go to Phase II what we are asking is to put a similar sign there. If you notice that has the local builders on it: Heritage and Mitch Harris. The ones that go on Decker are going to identify the project as a whole.


Don Saven: OK, I was just wondering if you were going to have any changes and putting builders names out there as the phases go on.


Kingsley Cotton: There will be no builders names on.


Don Saven: It is just going to be the project, I just wanted to be absolutely sure that we have the understanding here.


Member Brennan: Just for the sake of moving things along there is a lot of items here and maybe I can summarize them and make a motion for discussion. The item "A" which is the construction identification sign that I think that we have some concurrent that given that this portion is only 35% sold out that maybe there is some merit in extending this a year. Item "B", as I understand "B" is the monuments and whether those can be construed as signs and if they are, can they be left there permanently; am I saying that correctly? Item "C" is the temporary signs or the real estate signs which the petitioner is suggesting that because of the size of the development and the spread of the development that this is needed as are the construction identification signs. I would suggest that maybe we consider granting "B" as a permanent variance and suggesting that "A", "C", & "D" be considered for one year period.


Kingsley Cotton: If I could just clarify, I think, that "C" the signs there are also construction identification signs not real estate signs and that "D" are the directional signs. Just so the record is clear, the construction identification signs are the 64 square foot signs.


Member Harris: You are asking for 3 of those and that is "D".


Kingsley Cotton: I had asked for one in front of each phase as Mr. Harrington pointed out and I would say that a one year permit is reasonable. I wish that I could have 16 phases going but I think that we will be back here. It is conceivable that there could be 3 of those up.


Member Harris: Again, for the sake of clarity. "A" is to be a renewal of the existing sign and I think we agree on that. "D" was two Decker Road signs and the Phase II sign, 64 square foot signs.

Kingsley Cotton: Yes, on your "D" it is. One at each end of Decker.


Member Harris: And one for Phase II? Which is how we arrived at the 3 additional signs and the way that this was published and the way that we have been considering it. We have talked about a possible different option in terms of any of the phase signs in Mr. Harrington’s comments; and the things under "C" which read real estate signs under the ordinance or at least have been by the City but are actually the directional signs that you requested.


Kingsley Cotton: I see. Then I mis-spoke Mr. Brennan. My order was different than the agenda here.


Don Saven: I have on further comment. Should you decide to consider this then the construction identification sign for Phase II cannot go up until the first building permit is obtained in that particular phase.


Member Brennan: If I can re-iterate everything, Everything "A", "C" and "D" are temporary for a years period of time. I am only suggesting that "B" which was the monuments that I don’t really see, but in nature they may be signs but I don’t know if they are obnoxious signs and I wouldn’t expect that those be torn down in a year. So, "A", "C" and "D" are temporary signs for a years period with "B" being granted a variance to the sign ordinance.


Member Harris: I will second that for discussion. My discussion point is that under "C" the directional signs will no longer be needed if the intersections are opened and the barricades are removed. I believe that any variance request there should be for a year or shorter if the barricades or the intersections are opened to where those directional signs would come down. I think that there is a legitimate need for them as we sit here along that way.


Chairman Antosiak: For the sake of clarity and to move this along I would suggest 4 separate motions, one for each; so that everyone understands exactly what it is that we are approving or not approving.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Member Reinke: This is for Phase I, correct?


Chairman Antosiak: Yes, Phase I, the one that is on the bottom of the chart.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Vice-Chairman Harrington: It is the sense of your motion that the variance will be limited to these existing monuments?


Member Brennan: Yes, that is my motion, TO LIMIT THIS TO THE EXISTING MONUMENTS ONLY.


Member Harris: Furthering Mr. Harrington’s point that the petitioner understands that this is not intended to be a blanket that any future monuments would have inscriptions and thus making them signs.


Kingsley Cotton: Absolutely.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Harrington,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Moved by Member Harris,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Kingsley Cotton: With regard to that motion, if I may; a couple of things: I would ask the Board to reconsider limiting the relief that the motion has been made for with Phase I and Phase II, essentially Phase II plus the one at each end of Decker. Unless you want to see me before the year is out. We expect to begin Phase III within this year. Mr. Harrington’s concept of perhaps giving us a year on a sign in each phase or on some reasonable number of phases would save us a trip here, keep it at a year and prevent from clogging your docket within the year. I guess what I am saying is that we anticipate that we will be back here to request a similar sign in front of Phase III within a year. While you are thinking about that, Mr. Saven indicated that the starting period for the erection of a phase construction identification sign should be at the issuance of the first building permit. I would ask you to reconsider that for this reason and Mr. Hughes can speak to it better than I: that from a marketing standpoint and from our builders perspective that is way to late. When the developer sells a phase to a builder or a group of builders they begin marketing those lots well before any building permits are issued. So, I would respectfully suggest that a more appropriate starting point to put up the one sign in front of the phase would be at site plan approval.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: Mr. Harris, in so far as that comment was directed my way, I don’t feel that strongly enough about coming up with a conceptual approach to this that we need to hash this out tonight. I think that the Phase III time when Mr. Cotton chooses to visit us again would be appropriate for us to take a look at the signage that is up there and to see whether it is working or not. So, I would support your motion as submitted.


Member Harris: Part of the motion indicated the first building permit and it there is a request from the petitioner to consider otherwise. But the standard as I understand it and as you have explained it is that...


Don Saven: From the first building permit is what it says in the ordinance. You have to bear in mind that you keep going back to a PUD requirement, site plan requirement, and a subdivision requirement there is several over laps of certain things. Generally in a site plan review process once site plan review is approved there is an ability to build at that approval basis; all the engineering and everything else has to be there. Starting permits are certainly allowed on preliminary site plan approval in some instances. I think the request is valid, but unfortunately with the ordinance it reads by the first building permit.


Member Harris: So, it wouldn’t do for us to say the sign would be available as soon as it is available under ordinance as if this was the first phase of anything, because that would still be with the first building permit?


Don Saven: Yes, I think that the real point is does he have final site plan approval. That gives him the authority or the ability to build. I think that is one of the things that we should do.


Member Harris: Is it final site plan approval that you are asking us for?


Kingsley Cotton: Final site plan approval is acceptable.


Member Harris: What is the sense of the Board to change the motion, from first building permit to final site plan approval for the Phase II sign?


Member Reinke: I see no problem with that because there is still progress being made to get to that point.


Member Bauer: Sure, that is not a problem.


Member Harris: I will amend my motion from the first building permit TO UPON FINAL SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR PHASE II.


Chairman Antosiak: I have a clarification question. Your motion on the phase sign was one year, is that year from tonight or one year from the time the sign is erected?


Member Harris: One year from tonight, but I would like to see these things come back as a package. I don’t want to get these things staggering out and coming virtually every few months.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Chairman Antosiak: As there is no one present I will ask the secretary to notify the Novi Mansion Restaurant, ZBA Case No. 95-105 and Sussex Development Case No. 95-107 to inform them that there matters will be voted upon at the next meeting whether or not they choose to attend.


Vice-Chairman Harrington: I would like to follow a procedure that we invoked at the last meeting in which a failure to extend the Board the courtesy of a telephone call or to make other arrangements will result in a vote on the petition and I would move:


Moved by Vice-Chairman Harrington,


Seconded by Member Harris:





Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried




The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 p.m.




Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary