REGULAR MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF NOVI

CIVIC CENTER - 45175 TEN MILE RD.

 

TUESDAY - DECEMBER 5, 1995

 

The Meeting was called to order at 7:35 p.m., with Chairman Antosiak presiding.

 

 

ROLL CALL

 

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

Baty (alternate), Reinke (late 7:40)

 

Absent: None

 

Also Present: Donald Saven - Building Official

Greg Capote - Staff Planner

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary

 

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Chairman Antosiak indicated we have a quorum this evening. 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 application as enforced and reviewed by the Building Department. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to grant a variance request. A full Board consists of six (6) Members and we have six (6) here tonight; so any decision made tonight will be final.

 

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

 

Moved by Member Harris,

 

Seconded by Member Brennan,

 

 

TO APPROVE THE AGENDA FOR THE DECEMBER 5, 1995 MEETING AS WRITTEN.

 

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

 

PUBLIC REMARKS

 

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 that each case is heard. However, if anyone in the audience would like to address the Board on a 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?

 

James Korte, Shawood Lake. I was not here last time. I was here the time before that when South Lake and Eubank was up. I guess what I have to say and I don’t know how to be nice about it, I think a terrible mistake was made in that decision and I will tell you why. You job or your task is to deal with hardships. Pipe dreams and what people want and what people pay are not necessarily hardships. In that situation and I think it is the first time that a footprint was allowed to be totally removed and totally put back in. I don’t think that is the best for the north end. In that specific case there was a young lady that spoke and she is a West Lake resident; she has never been here before and she will never be here again. I have to say that if you listened to that young lady, when she said that it would be good for the area and it would improve it; that is the real estate woman that sold the property. Now what would you say if you were making 6 to 7% on a $140,000.00? So, I guess that I would have to question is there any authenticity to that kind of a situation? Nor do I presume that you can say who are you and do you have vested interest in that. It is a very clumsy situation. I think that when you look at hardship, you have to look at hardship. People that want the Tajmahal on these little lots, that is a problem. It is not a hardship, it is self inflicted. Go buy a bigger piece of property. Now you have heard me talk in front of this Board more than any other single person and I would hope that you would understand that my comments always come from a direction of the betterment of the north end. I have been there 26 years, you don’t live there, you don’t drive through there, you don’t exist as I exist in that area. Just because it is an improvement, that doesn’t mean that it is going to be an improvement 20 years from now, 30 years from now. But, that is what you are dealing with. If you are worried about that dump, or this dump and we still have some real dumps soon they are going to fall in and then maybe we will get what we really need so that in 30 years from now somebody doesn’t say what is that? A hardship is an interesting commodity. Thank you.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Mr. Korte, if I may and I would choose not to speak for the Board but for myself, I find your comments of great interest and they would be relevant if they had been spoken last month. The problem that we have is that we do not have case histories of every single matter that has ever been brought before the Board. What we do is to make our decisions based on the facts as presented and based on the comments of the audience or interested persons. You are well familiar with the Board, if for whatever reasons you cannot voice those comments last month, so be it. You have said them tonight. Had we heard them last month it may have affected our opinion or it may not. We certainly would have listened with great interest as we did tonight.

 

James Korte: I certainly don’t mean to be offensive. None of us can be everywhere at once and I do seem to get around more than most of you. Numerous complaints were lodged and I don’t think that you are ever again going to meet on an election day. There are people who worked at the election level that may have justifiable things to say to you; but which comes first 1 of 12 Meetings or 1 election every 2 years. I think you understand why very possibly people couldn’t be here and that is not fair. That is City planning and you had nothing to do with that. But that is poor planning, because if someone wanted to be here it was just a poor day to have your regular schedule. Thank you.

 

Scott Rumley: I am case no. 95-111. I caught the flu last week and I didn’t get a chance to put a revised sketch together with this and resolve the difference with my neighbor to the south of me. We did have a discrepancy earlier, I put a boulder wall in this summer and I had the boulders moved this week. So, hopefully I can get this other with the front porch resolved with him and get something that is workable for both of us. I would like to see if we could bench this or push this to January to see if I could get this resolved with him.

 

Chairman Antosiak inquired of the Board. Is there any problem with this?

 

Moved by Chairman Antosiak,

 

Seconded by Member Harris,

 

 

TO HAVE MR. RUMLEY’S VARIANCE REQUEST BE POSTPONED TO THE JANUARY MEETING.

 

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

 

Scott Rumley inquired when is the January Meeting?

 

Chairman Antosiak indicated that will be decided tonight. It is currently scheduled for the second. It will be either the 2nd or the 9th and you will be advised.

 

 

Case Nos. 95014, 015 and 020

 

Northwest Industries, Keford Collision and C & H Erectors, update and progress since the October 3, 1995 Meeting.

 

Bill Heinz was present and duly sworn.

 

Bill Heinz: I think that we are done, finally. We have one little thing left to do, to put some privacy strips in the last section of fence and they are supposed to do that tomorrow. I don’t know if any of you have stopped by and taken a look, but it is looking pretty good.

 

Chairman Antosiak read a Memo from Officer Uglow. (Copy in file)

 

Bill Heinz: The one trailer that is left is supposed to be picked up, that belongs to C & H and all of the other stuff outside of the compound belongs to C & H and he has promised that he would get that back in there. He said that he was going to do it all week. He didn’t show up tonight and I was going to ask him about it. I saw his secretary and asked if he could show up. but, he didn’t.

 

Bill Heinz: The only other thing that we haven’t got completed yet is that I submitted a site plan approval. I have the preliminary approval back but there is a few things that have not gone through the system yet. That is the only other thing that I can think of that would stop it. They have given me a preliminary approval pending a few things. I just got that letter in the mail today and I talked to Steve Cohen and he said that I would have to see Greg Capote. I called at 10 minutes to 5.

 

Greg Capote: I returned the call, but I received an answering machine.

 

Bill Heinz: We close at 5 and they must have turned the answering machine on. So, I will give you a call tomorrow and get the last few things resolved, I hope.

 

Bill Heinz: Do we need to come back again?

 

Chairman Antosiak: I don’t think so.

 

Don Saven: What I would suggest is that we have a finalization and I will bring the report back to the Board as to what the status is upon the clean up of everything and what happens. I think that we will work off of our observations if you would like.

 

Chairman Antosiak: What we will do is to wait for Mr. Saven’s report and if everything looks good then you will not have to come back. If there is still a problem, we may ask you to come back.

 

 

Case NO. 95-104

 

Continuation of case filed by Thomas Gross 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 tonight requesting a variance for continued use of 2 separate detached accessory buildings. In September the Building Department sent me a Notice of Violation; that I was in violation of code section 2503-g of having more than one detached accessory structure. In April of 1989 I applied for and was given a permit to construct a 10 by 12 storage building. I did have to reapply because I originally asked to build next to my garage. They told me that I had to be 10' from any building and 6' from the property line. This would have been a good time for them to inform me of code section 2503-g; I did not know of this code. At that time I gave the Building Department all of the requested information. I have misplaced my copy of application for permit. The Building Department cannot find theirs and I am not responsible for their record keeping. I feel the burden of proof should not be all of my responsibility. Further more if I can’t find my copy of application for permit and the Building Department can’t find theirs; I don’t know who else is capable of finding any of the information about this application for permit.

Thomas Gross: For my final statement I would like to say that I have been honest and hope that you, the Zoning Board Members, will grant me permission to keep the 2 detached buildings. Thank you.

Chairman Antosiak: We have a letter in our file from the City Attorney and I did not see that you had been copied on it. The basic conclusion that the City Attorney has reached is that regardless of whether your plan showed a second building when you received your permit or whether the City granted the permit in error cannot be determined because the files are not available. But the conclusion of the City Attorney was, that the erroneous granting of a permit does not render the second structure lawful. A permit issued in contravention of an ordinance provision is void and does not preclude subsequent enforcement of the ordinance provision. We will give you a copy of the letter, Mr. Gross.

 

Chairman Antosiak: The matter is still before us.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Charles Kurvelis, I reside at 1430 West Lake Dr. I had the same situation as him except I am in court now. I am on my second day of court. The judge figured that I had a better case than what was presented here to the variance board.

 

Charles Kurvelis: The ordinance was adopted December 16, 1985, four years earlier than the permit that was issued illegally to Mr. Gross. Basically I had the same deal except that my shed was 20 years old. Everything was legit and I was turned down for my ZBA. I figure what is fair for me should be fair for my neighbor. They figured value and storage was not a hardship.

 

Charles Kurvelis: I am raising 2 kids. My wife and I are active in motor homing, we own a motor home. We own a boat, a 19 1/2 foot boat. She is a snow skier. I have no basement because the water shed on that side of the lake doesn’t allow basements for the older homes. I have dormer so I really have no attic. We are both certified scuba divers so we have double the gear. I am a certified auto technician with all of the tools and obviously storage was not a hardship nor was the value of the shed or the repairs that I have done on the shed.

 

Charles Kurvelis: I am in my second day of court and the judge feels that I do have somewhat of a good case. But his case, I believe, should be referred to the 52nd District Court. I think that this should be denied. This is now a legal matter. The permit if it was issued in 89 of April, whether you have it or he has it; that is not the point. The point is that it is illegal. Whether it was issued in error or how it was issued. Because when you adopted the ordinance December 16, 1985 the ordinance was a uniform City law. I believe that he should be governed accordingly.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington inquired of Charles Kurvelis: Just so that I can understand the factual position that you are in versus the applicant. Is it your testimony before the Board that your shed had been up for how many years?

 

Charles Kurvelis: 21, with a legal permit. Everything was legit.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Did you apply to the City for a permit?

 

Charles Kurvelis: Yes, I did.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Was that permit granted?

 

Charles Kurvelis: 21 years ago, I wasn’t residing at the residence at that time. I merely took down the garage and put a new garage up in it’s place. I applied for a legal permit for that too. I am grandfathering my shed and my garage right now in court.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Was your permit granted or denied by the Building Department?

 

Charles Kurvelis: In 1975 it was granted, it was 10 years before the ordinance was ever adopted.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Was there ever a permit that was issued?

 

Charles Kurvelis: Yes there was. I have it right here on me today, as a matter of fact. If you want to look at it, it is quite hard to read.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Was that permit issued for both structures?

 

Charles Kurvelis: I have a permit for both, yes. The old garage and the new garage. The old garage was demo’d last year. The new garage, yes, I have a legal permit for that.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: So, the first structure was totally destroyed and removed and you sought a permit for the new replacement structure?

 

Charles Kurvelis: That is correct. My shed is actually, I am grandfathering that now, the problem is with the garage. You wouldn’t give me the variance for the shed, which I really shouldn’t have been here for that to begin with because it was not a variance problem. It was there legitimately.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: We don’t need to go over your case again, I am just trying to ascertain facts that which are of relevance to this petitioner. We are not judging your case tonight. As I understand it, when you took down your old structure that basically made you in conformity. Correct? You took down the old structure, which brought you down to the one structure minimum on the property, is that correct?

 

Charles Kurvelis: That is correct.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: And what you wished to do at that time is to construct a brand new structure which did not exist before, correct?

 

Charles Kurvelis: Not the new one, but the old one did though.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: And you were turned down at that point?

 

Charles Kurvelis: No, everything was all fine and dandy until a complaint was lodged. I thought that my letter that I was getting after my garage which was total built, I was waiting for my final approval. That is when I got my letter from the City. There was nothing on the permit that stated on the comments that I had to lose a shed at that time. It was after the fact.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Let me make this clear. We are not here to judge whether your case was handled properly or improperly. All I wanted was some facts to compare with this particular applicant, so I could judge your comments appropriately. Thank you, that is all that I have.

 

Charles Kurvelis: Now remember these permits were issued in ‘75.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Don Saven: Basically due to the fact that we have had difficulty in trying to come up with the records that are relative to this particular case I stopped at the Assessing Department and I did note that Mr. Gross has also taken out additional permits for other work which was done on his place. It wasn’t that permits weren’t obtained. They were obtained and I believe it was for a re-roof and an addition.

Member Brennan: I have a question or a clarification. We are being told through this letter from Mr. Fried that while this gentleman has 2 structures on his property, one of these structures may have been built illegally through whatever means and the question now is while he has built these with permits he needs a variance; that is what we face. Like Mr. Korte pointed out earlier, is there hardship? One may argue that there is some hardship that has been initiated by the City for granting the permit illegally and thus putting the predicament on the shoulders of the petitioner and at the same time we try to be fair on the Board. I am perplexed quite honestly. If there are some others on the Board who have some comments that could lead me one way or the other, I am kind of in between.

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Let me share my thoughts with Mr. Brennan and the Chairman and the Board. I am not going to comment on what would appear to be an argument that this isn’t fair, I am not being treated the same as this gentleman is asking to be. I don’t know if I was here at that meeting, I don’t know if the same arguments were advanced. I don’t have a specific recollection of the basis for the ruling in that case. But, I was interested in the facts so that I could compare that with the petitioner’s case. Normally the petitioner has the burden of proof to establish before this Board that there is a hardship which would justify an exception to the ordinance. We have a situation where Mr. Fried through Mr. Watson has sited controlling authority and I am persuaded by that authority. I have read the case which is Foss versus the City of Highland Park and I have read the underlying citations and I think it is a correct statement of the law which is the mere issuance of a permit does not make an otherwise unlawful use lawful. But that case doesn’t determine the hardship issue. That simply says that you can’t confer an imprimatur or a permission on an otherwise unlawful act because a permit was issued erroneously and there is no question that this was issued erroneously. The problem that we face is that we don’t have the records before us to determine why that permit was issued. There is a legitimate possibility that the application papers contained information which would have made it clear that the permit should have never been issued. The flip side is that it may have contained information which would have dictated the opposite result. We do have, in my view, a hardship here which is that we have a person who has acted in reliance on what the City has told him or her. The gentleman acted upon that. He received the permit. Now, some 6 years later this gentleman is being told that he has to destroy an existing structure because the City told him that he could put it in. In my view, and I only speak for myself, faced with a situation like that in this case it is my view that the burden has shifted to the City to demonstrate that there would be an unacceptable violation of the ordinance or that the hardship really doesn’t exist to this gentleman and that the City being in control or possession of the records which would enable us to make a proper determination and not being able to help us with those records, I think that the burden has shifted in this case. That is my view. I don’t think that it is reasonable for us to put the burden on petitioners to maintain records from 6 or more years ago to support an ordinance where there have been no complaints except for one disenchanted homeowner near by. In my onion, which is that the variance should be granted; it is a hardship to make this gentleman destroy an existing structure which was created because of the City’s OK. I would not indicate my opinion on any other issue. It would be different had we had a 10 story apartment building. It would be different if we had a different scenario. But with the facts of this case where you have basically a storage shed or the equivalent granted because of a City approval. The records having dis-appeared from the City; I think that burden is one the City or others to show by a preponderance that a hardship does not exist in this case. I will support a the petition for a variance.

 

Member Reinke: All conditions and all setbacks have been met in this situation here, other than it is a variance for second storage structure. This is not unique in other cases that have been before us for supplemental storage. I would agree with Mr. Harrington that the petitioner has asked of him. We don’t have the information to support anything but what the petitioner has requested. I can really see nothing other than to support the situation that has been requested here.

 

Member Bauer: I have no problem.

 

Chairman Antosiak: I think that Mr. Harrington has summarized the situation quite nicely. I would also support a motion to grant the variance.

Moved by Vice-Chairman Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Reinke,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-104 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE REQUEST IN THIS CASE BY REASON OF THE TESTIMONY BEFORE THIS BOARD AND BY REASON THAT THIS PETITIONER HAS MET HIS BURDEN OF HARDSHIP TO THE EXTENT THAT HE CAN OFFER SUFFICIENT PROOFS BEFORE THE BOARD.

 

Discussion on motion:

 

Member Harris: My only discussion and I find myself in complete support of what you are saying, but I don’t believe that was ever in the record that was lot is of much relevance to me at this point because it is still an issue of hardship and the petitioner acted on reliance of the City and I think that a citizen has the right to do that.

 

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

 

CASE NO. 95-114

 

Charles Lapham, representing Estate Storage, is requesting a variance to omit 78' of brick screen wall separating the proposed buildings from the Novi Bowl and Recreation facility, for property located at 1229 East Lake Rd.

 

Charles Lapham was present and duly sworn.

 

Charles Lapham: I am in the process of putting about 19,000 square foot on the existing storage on Novi Road between the bowling alley and Novi Motive. Very shortly we are going to need fencing to maintain our security. In doing so, I guess there was a little technicality in the ordinance that stated that we would need a solid wall, a brick wall, for about 78 feet along the area that separates the back parking lot of the bowling alley and our addition at the rear; between that the railroad track. Now, I did submit hopefully some drawings that can explain that; if not I have a full set here and I even went up and took a couple of aerials if that would be of any help.

 

(Photos were brought forward.)

 

Charles Lapham: Now the total new fencing that we will be putting up will probably be around 800 lineal feet. This compromises 78. Undoubtedly there is someone who could say that expense is involved here but our concern more is maintaining our high level of security for what we have there and people can conceal themselves behind that particular wall and we are putting up a kind of a decorative block to begin with and we do paint it, in fact we got an award for it in 1986.

Charles Lapham: The problem with the wall is that I am sure that the kids would paint that and write graffiti on it and we would have that to paint all of the time or to get it off somehow. Then that area sometimes the trucks and cars will back into the wall. They do our fence along the north side and that would take quite a bit of maintenance. Our customers on the inside might hit it a few times and I would rather repair a fence than a wall that was knocked down.

 

Charles Lapham: What I am asking is that if we can eliminate that 78 feet and to continue the continuity of our existing fence in what we are proposing.

 

Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 21 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing neither approval or objection (conditional). Copy in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Greg Capote had no comment.

 

Don Saven had no comment.

 

Member Brennan inquired of Mr. Lapham. How are you associated with Estate Storage? What is your role or your fit with Estate Storage?

 

Charles Lapham: I am the owner.

 

Member Brennan: I will just make a comment. I happen to have my car go out on me yesterday so I spent a better part of 4 hours at Novi Motive and I walked the trenches. It is a muddy mess back there and the property does butt up against a railroad track. There is about a 20 foot abutment rise between the back of his property and the apartment complex. It is pretty isolated. I think there is something to gain with their preference for a fence like this in terms of security. There may be some merit to this.

 

Member Harris inquired of Charles Lapham. The rest of the perimeter is cyclone fence? So this is the only stretch of it that would be other than cyclone fence?

 

Charles Lapham: It is already encompassed with the fence. We will be just extending our current fence.

 

Member Harris: Right, but if this variance was not approved and you had to put up the wall as described, would this be the only stretch of the wall that would be made of that material? The rest of the fencing is 6 foot cyclone fencing?

 

Charles Lapham: Yes, that is correct. I have that marked in red the part that is the wall and the black would be what we already have around the perimeter.

 

Member Harris inquired of Greg Capote: Is the reason for this particular stretch because the unique way that the properties are defined there, because on the drawing it appears that more than that stretch would be abutting to Novi Bowl yet this is the only one that appears at issue?

 

Greg Capote: It does appear that way, but in looking at the ordinance under paragraph I it states that there has to be a wall between those 2 adjoining properties. I don’t have the full plan in front of me; could I take a look at it please? I guess more to your question to me is the area to be walled, why does it not extend further into and deeper into the site? I think that it is really a mirror of interpretation as what the use is adjacent to Novi Bowl. Not having Brandon right here to discuss it with him I would have to believe that he interpreted that area to be immediately by this property and where the structure actually exists there should be a fence separating the two and that is the way that I would interpret it.

 

Member Brennan: Is there not already a cyclone fence between Estate Storage and Novi Bowl, where the existing facility is, and that is cyclone?

 

Greg Capote: There is.

 

Member Brennan: Why would that not have been a brick wall?

 

Greg Capote: At that time maybe the ordinance didn’t require a brick wall.

 

Moved by Member Harris,

 

Seconded by Member Bauer,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-114 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED TO OMIT 78' OF BRICK SCREEN WALL SEPARATING THE PROPOSED BUILDINGS FROM THE NOVI BOWL AND RECREATION FACILITY FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 21650 NOVI ROAD, THE FENCE WILL BE OF THE SAME QUALITY AND NATURE OF THE REST OF THE FENCE THAT SURROUNDS THE PIECE OF PROPERTY.

 

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

 

CASE NO. 95-116

Jayme Thomas is requesting two (2) variances to allow for the construction of an upper and lower deck in front of the house for property located at 1105 South Lake Dr.

 

Jayme Thomas was present and duly sworn.

 

Jayme Thomas: My hardship concerns are the lot configuration and the existing structure. The location of the entry door will remain as existing. Therefore, without the variance the proposed deck would have to cease at a location which would compromise the entire frontal design that is currently under construction and which has been approved by the City. I feel that the proposed variances should be approved ensuring that the home, the design and the existing structure and lot configuration will harmonize and improve the appearance and property values of the current lake front properties in our area. The letters and the comments received from the surrounding homeowners show that they are in favor of an approval. My request for these variances are minimal and are not intended to take advantage of the set requirements. I have pictures to show you.

 

Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 71 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 6 written responses received; 5 voicing approval and 1 voicing objection. Copies in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

James Korte, Shawood Lake. This is an easy one, there are no sheds on the property. I understand by looking at this that she needs a front step. It might sound ridiculous and I don’t know how much is a front step a hardship. I guess if you would jump it is not a hardship. South Lake has always been not more than one the more desirable with regards to the setbacks and the distances between them; unlike some of the East Lakes that are lovely. Therefore, I don’t think that she is asking for much and it is certainly never ever going to be living space. As I say, unless you jump a lot, she does need the front step.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Mr. Korte in your view the lot is not being over built?

 

James Korte: I am hard of hearing and I didn’t catch everything and I apologize for that. No, because she is going just straight up.

 

Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. I am not within 300 feet but I have known Jayme for 6 or 7 years since she has been in the area. The house that she bought was another one of our little cottages. Interesting question that you just asked Mr. Korte; is the lot being over built? Well, if you have driven around the lake lately you know that every single one of the those lots is over built and this Board has consistently granted variances to overbuild those lots because we need the space. There is really no problem, I think, with anybody in our area as far as her getting a one foot variance for her porch. I am in support of it. I have known her when she had the one story house and how awful the small spaces are and this is going to be a benefit to the area because this is one of the last houses on that block to be improved. I would like to see you give it to her. Thank you.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Don Saven: Basically she is staying in line with the existing structure and that is one of the things to take a look at and the only concern that I would have is just the front projection of the deck which is just a little over a foot. I don’t have a problem.

 

Member Bauer: Like Don has said, she is really not extending the envelope.

 

Member Brennan: No issues or concerns regarding fire or access.

 

Moved by Member Harris,

 

Seconded by Member Bauer,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-116 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCES AS REQUESTED; BOTH THE ONE FOOT VARIANCE FOR THE SETBACK AND THE 6.5 FOOT SIDE YARD VARIANCE DUE TO THE UNIQUE LOT CONFIGURATIONS.

 

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

 

CASE NO. 95-117

 

Narendra Nagar, representing Blooming Day Child Care Center, is requesting a side yard setback variance of 12'9" to allow for an expansion of an existing residence for a new day care facility for property located at 49700 W. Ten Mile Rd.

 

Celeste Novak was present and duly sworn.

 

Celeste Novak: We are here tonight because we have an existing property in which it was a split level residence with an attached garage. Mr. Narendra is purchasing the property to be used as a child care center. He hopes to retain the existing residence structure as a residence for whoever would be directing the day care center. What is currently the garage would be added to the actual facility of the child care center and then there is an addition of the child care center building.

 

(Diagrams shown to the Board)

 

Celeste Novak: You can see the house is approximately 36 feet and the garage is 34 feet and this is the addition for the center.

Celeste Novak: We have gotten preliminary site plan approval for this project. Our hope is to maintain all of the natural environment that we can. The entire addition is to the other side of the setback. What we would like to do is to recycle the house building and not tear it down. In order to do that we need the 12'9" variance; otherwise we would have to split the house off which would be structurally difficult. I also have pictures of that bi-level house. (Pictures were presented to the Board.)

 

Celeste Novak: There is a new road there (Wixom Road) which has complicated things with the required setback. We are hoping that you will grant the variance.

 

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

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Greg Capote had no comment.

 

Don Saven: I noticed on your legend that you had indicated that you had play area calculations for 60 children, is this what you are anticipating?

 

Celeste Novak: Yes, a combination of older children and toddlers and infants.

 

Don Saven: I understand that this is a bi-level home and that you are planning to have a residence is that I assume going to be on the top level?

 

Celeste Novak: The home will be completely segregated from the child care area. There is a wall that is dividing the two that we are going to make into, I believe, a fire wall. That home will be not involved with the child care center at all.

 

Don Saven: I just want to point out one thing, I am very concerned about accessibility for handicapped. That should be your highest priority.

 

Celeste Novak: Yes, I agree. I don’t know if you saw in the plans but we surrounded the house with barrier free ramps and the child care center as well.

 

Don Saven: That was one of the concerns that I have.

 

Member Harris inquired of Greg Capote: Is this variance now required because of the acquisition of the right of way of Wixom Road?

 

Greg Capote: That is correct.

 

Member Harris: This property would have met the setback requirements for this, if we had not routed Wixom Road through there?

Greg Capote: That is correct.

 

Member Brennan: They still would have had to request a variance for the front lot setback.

 

Member Harris: I think that the front lot that we are talking about is the Wixom Road frontage, is it not?

 

Celeste Novak: That is correct.

 

Member Harris: It looks like the building is within the setback requirements from Ten Mile but since they front on two roads they have two front yards.

 

Member Brennan: So we are just talking about the west side.

 

Member Harris: The west side, which was created with the acquisition of the right of way.

 

Member Brennan: Was this under way, your plans, before this Wixom Road addition? Were you aware or do you know?

 

Celeste Novak: I am not aware if he began the purchase process before the road. I think that he did understand that the road was going to go there when he went to purchase the property.

 

Moved by Member Harris,

 

Seconded by Member Reinke,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-117 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED, DUE TO THE UNIQUE LOT CONFIGURATION RESULTING FROM THE RIGHT OF WAY OBTAINED FOR WIXOM ROAD.

 

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

 

Chairman Antosiak: I just wanted to bolster an earlier comment made by Mr. Saven and remind you that this is just the setback variance and all of the other building codes for the City will have to be complied with.

Celeste Novak: That is correct. Thank you.

 

 

CASE NO. 95-119

 

Brent Beshears is seeking four (4) variances to allow for the construction of a second floor and a garage for property located at 1101 South Lake Dr.

 

Brent Beshears was present and duly sworn.

 

Brent Beshears passed out photos.

 

Brent Beshears: The pictures on the left hand margin are the pictures that we are talking about. Basically the property right now is not livable. What I am trying to do obviously is to make the house livable. The house obviously is not compatible for the area. As you can see the photos on the right side shows more of what the houses look like on South Lake Drive and that is the appearance that I am trying to get. I do have a rendering of the house, if you folks would like to see it and I could pass that around too. (Rendering passed out.)

 

Brent Beshears: Basically the variances that I am going for, obviously the 3 variances are for the garage as you can see and I believe that all of you folks have a site plan. The main concern is obviously all of the houses on South Lake Drive do not have parking. What I am trying to do and I will sacrifice my back yard for the parking. OK. The fourth variance would be to add onto the house. As you can see in the illustration, I am just continuing the house line back to the end of the property which will tie into the garage. It would be ludicrous to not get that variance because all that you have there is dead real estate which cannot be used. I wouldn’t have access to it, so that is the reason behind that variance.

 

Brent Beshears: One other thing that I would like to note is that many other variances similar to these variances that I am asking for have been granted on South Lake Drive and I am sure that you folks are all familiar with the development that is going on over there. Also, today’s standard of living obviously as you have seen in Novi all the new construction and the homes are 3 car garages; I am not doing that of course I am doing 2 cars. Another issue that I wanted to pose is that obviously the lot size doesn’t conform with the standard lots built today for today’s standards of living for a house that we all used to living in. An 1100 square foot summer cottage just doesn’t fit for all folks today.

Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 79 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 3 written responses received. One voicing approval, one voicing objection and one "other", copies in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. I am glad to see something finally being done with this house. This house has been an eye sore for years and years. I really have no problem for adding onto the back of the house and I am going to be thrilled to see a second floor. I am sure and I know that it is going to be an improvement because what there now is awful. My concern is with the size of the garage. I think for a 3 car garage on that awfully small piece of property is over built and in this case it is new construction.

 

Brent Beshears: It is a 2 car garage that is being built.

 

Sarah Gray: There is going to be no backyard. Prior residents have always used the front yard for parking which has been an awful site on South Lake Drive. There are probably going to be problems with parking in the future. Mr. Korte brought this up last month with the house across the street. That is a 30 foot road, there is a telephone pole on the corner. It is an awful corner. I can’t object to a 2 car garage, but this is an awfully small lot. Thank you.

 

James Korte indicated I am the reason for the 3 car garage. Why am I wrong? She is not wrong. I am. I do think that the size of the garage is a real problem. If we get into a situation and you were to double the size of that house and go straight up architecturally it could be charming, it could be wonderful and certainly the inside could work in various ways to fit who is ever doing what they need. Why don’t these people and this is a rhetorical question, why don’t they nestle that garage close and put the house over the top of it. Then we are "glumping" things together and we are giving as much free space in area that there is just no free space. When I think in this that we have a garage apron of 12 feet, my suburban won’t park there. That is a problem. What do we do? Cars are not going to get any smaller. Trucks are going to get bigger. It is a problem. My only other comment on the paperwork that you have in front of you is that one of sketches talks that the house 36 foot back from the road. We were just over at 1105 with the front step and her house is 32 feet back and the road angles to the north as it goes west which means that she should be 38 if he is 36. It is not 36 feet. Those houses are in perfect alignment. If you go to other ones in and around there and I don’t carry a tape measure with me but my head is fairly decent, if that 36 feet demarcation is wrong how many of the others are. Now the times that I have been to the ZBA I had to have decent surveys or at least staking situations so that we know what is going on. I guess that if this were in the middle of the block it wouldn’t be so awful, it is at a corner. In case that gets over another 2 feet where it shouldn’t be then we have a 10 foot driveway and now what do we do. I am amused and I will shut up quickly, the house is not compatible with the area; the house has been there and unfortunately has been compatible with the area for 40 years. That is what we are trying to re-do. As I say, my personal opinion is that this is not ready for you to make judgement on. Don Saven has to be thrilled, there is problems with this place. Obviously it is in the midst of re-do. Is it over built as the house sits, no. As he proposes, yes.

 

Brent Beshears: Can I comment on those. The 36 feet from the front property line to the house is it relevant whether it is 36 or 32? The architect who has drawn these up is licenced and has been an architect for 35 years. The emphasis is on the back of the house. He could be wrong, it could be 32 feet. Obviously his attention in focused on the back of the house. I can get that correction, but I certainly don’t think that we should have to wait 30 days just to see if there is a typo in the print. Also to scrunch the garage forward or whichever way and I don’t know what the folks were proposing and to build the house over the garage; if they would like to fund my construction costs to do that let’s build over the garage. But obviously we are on a limited budget and to do that and already talking to my construction guys that increases your building cost dramatically. If there are any other questions and I think that I have commented on everyone else’s’s questions it is a 2 car garage and not a 3 car. The front of the property I think is irrelevant and obviously the construction costs will double if we build over the garage.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Don Saven: I certainly take exception that the property description becomes irrelevant whether it is 34 or 36 feet; we bring people to the Zoning Board of Appeals for as much as 6 inches sometimes. The fact that you would have to have an accurate survey or at least in that particular area be as accurate as possible before this Board, so that they can make judgement. Yes, it has to be there. One of the concerns that I certainly have is the issue that if you start tabulating all the feet that you have in the garage and the residence and you have that plus or minus that could be the difference in what we are asking for with a rear yard setback and you would then be back before this Board. That is a concern that I have and whether it is irrelevant or not I take exception to that.

 

Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is a 25 by 30 garage typically considered 2 car, 2 1/2 or 3 car?

 

Don Saven: It is in the eye of the beholder. If there is a garage door on there for 2 cars, it would be considered a 2 car garage. That depends on how many cars you can fit in there. Normally and in this particular case this is a large 2 car garage.

 

Don Saven: Another concern that I do have is that being that this is a corner lot and as it was pointed out the issue of being able to get a vehicle off of the street is very important. We do have standards in terms of design and construction standards which talks about driveways that are perpendicular to a garage or a front garage. In terms of a side entrance garage and in this particular case it is very similar nature to this you need to get the vehicle off of the road. The design and construction standards on an interior lot although this is an exterior lot for similarity purposes, that would require it to be at least 25 feet. So if you do give a variance tonight for a setback requirement he would still be required to go to the Construction Board of Appeals.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Mr. Saven, with respect to your comment that it is important to get the cars off of the street; are you suggesting that it is important to get the cars off of the street and into the garage?

Don Saven: I can’t answer that question. Off-street parking should be taken into account, that you could get at least 2 cars off the road or onto the properties.

 

Brent Beshears: There is no parking on the street right now from what I am told or led to believe, so that is the whole point in doing this garage; to get the cars off of the street. Obviously, we don’t want to park across the street that would be a hazard.

 

Member Brennan inquired of Don Saven. Is your concern this 12 foot here that they can’t put a car in the driveway not necessarily in the garage but on the driveway? So the 12 foot is the issue.

 

Don Saven: That is correct.

 

Member Brennan: With that being clarified, what is the minimum depth of a garage that would satisfy most building requirements? If he is showing a 25 foot deep garage, is there anything to sacrifice there to expand the driveway?

 

Don Saven: We cannot get involved in designing structures for individuals to whatever there specifications are that they are looking at. I am sure it would have to be practical in nature to allow a car to be put in there.

 

Brent Beshears: Is that a deciding factor to get a variance granted tonight? Whether or not that garage can be 25 foot deep or 23 feet?

 

Chairman Antosiak: I don’t think that we have determined what a deciding factor is yet.

 

Member Reinke: Two comments that I have. Number one: the 12 feet to park a vehicle in front of this garage is totally deficient. Half of the car is going to be hanging out into a narrow road that doesn’t have any amount of latitude for vehicle traffic to go down through there. Number two: the lot is grossly over built. Number three: The only way that I can see any kind of a variance being granted is if the garage is rotated 90 and moved up tight to the house and have an "L" shaped drive coming into the back of that house and getting vehicles totally off of the roadway.

 

Member Bauer: Those are my sentiments completely. It is over built.

 

Member Reinke: What I am saying is that your entrance way to the garage is going off to Eubank. There is not sufficient room even if you shortened the garage up to park a vehicle and not have that vehicle extending out into the roadway. The only way that I could see that and possible agree to any type of variance is if the garage was rotated 90; have the doors of the garage face the rear of the lot; that you would have an "L" shaped driveway coming into the lot and getting vehicles totally off of that roadway.

 

Member Harris: What are the dimensions of the existing house in comparison to the existing drawing? I am not quite sure that I know where those are.

 

Brent Beshears: The dimensions of the existing foundation, it should be passed around.

 

Member Harris: I have the drawing in front of me. I am not sure as to what liners relate to the existing. Is the existing house based on your drawing of 4.2 feet from the west boundary for instance?

 

Brent Beshears: You are looking off of the site plan. I gave all my site plans out, can I grab one of your folks?

 

Member Harris: I am looking at the side on the opposite the Eubank frontage, so it would be on the west side of the piece of property where you indicate on the drawing that we have that it is 4.2' to the lot line, is that the new building or is that the existing footprint?

 

Brent Beshears: Existing footprint.

 

Member Harris: How far back from South Lake Drive does the existing building currently come?

In comparison to the garage, does it come all the way back to where the new garage is proposed or does it come to the point to the other side where it says future addition?

 

Brent Beshears: I want to make sure that I am answering you correctly or understanding your question. Could you rephrase it?

 

Member Harris: Coming in from South Lake Drive to the front of the building there is a side which is the front of the house, coming back from that is existing house; how far back does that existing house come in the lines? Does is come to before where it says future addition or after?

 

Brent Beshears: Before, if I am understanding you correctly.

 

Member Harris: So the area from where it says future addition back through the new garage would all be new?

 

Brent Beshears: Correct.

 

Member Harris: Including this 10.2 x 18.5 existing part of the house, that you are looking to put on currently?

 

Brent Beshears: The 10.2 x 18.5 exists.

 

Member Harris: So that is part of the existing house.

 

Brent Beshears: Yes.

 

Member Harris: So, from the garage to the back of the lot is in fact new to the footprint.

 

Brent Beshears: Yes, you can see how it is darkened in. The darkened in lines will be new.

 

Member Harris: I have the same kinds of problems that the some of the other Board Members are having in terms of the size of the garage and the impact on this piece of property. Understanding for my own purposes where the existing house is; I don’t have nearly the problem for instance with the west request which is to continue along that same line that the footprint currently has. I do, however, have a problem with the other two, or in fact the other three. The back one, and the one on the east side because I don’t think that the 12 feet will get us there and consequently with the size of the garage which I think is a very large 2 car garage. Certainly much larger than any that we normally see, that we have a problem with lot coverage. We have significantly gone beyond 25% of the lot coverage and most of that is in the garage in terms of what we are looking at in this case. My sense at this point, is that you are probably not going to get this variance approved as it is drawn here. Now I have additionally the problems with whether or not these are accurate dimensions. We are talking speculatively about whether they are or they aren’t. From the standpoint of where I sit on this, I told you that the west one I have no real problem with but the other 3 that I do as well as if these are actual dimensions. You may want to request that this be continued to allow you to do it. At this point, you would not find from this Member support for these other variances.

 

Brent Beshears: Could I get support for the variance of the future addition?

 

Member Harris: No. I rarely give a speculative variance. What we were looking at is a plan, what we are looking at is a complete plan. A future addition and I am not sure that it is in the square feet or not at this point, it would certainly be involved in the lot coverage. What I would want to know before I would approve any variance, is that what I had before me was an accurate description and what I had before me addressed all of the concerns that the Board has brought forward.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: You are receiving feed back from various Members of the Board and let me tell you what my reaction is. As I am not offended or outraged by what you propose here. On the other hand I have the sense of the Board which is that they are suggesting that you use alternate designs which obviously would also have alternate cost parameters because cost is an issue. It seems to me that what the Board is suggesting is that can you work with something a little less than what you are asking for here and could you do it in a different design configuration. If you are so inclined to present additional information to us at next month’s meeting I am sure that the Board will entertain it and despite the fact that I personally would support your variance as proposed; my sense is that it is a minority view because we don’t have all of the information in front of us that we would like to have; like confirmation on the dimensions. Possible alternate designs and the like.

 

Brent Beshears: When you say confirmation on dimensions, what do I need to confirm those dimensions? An architect to sign off of them?

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: If the Building Department is satisfied that you have met the requirements that it normally demands in presentation of these matters before us. It was Mr. Saven who made the comment; then I will be satisfied. Right now there is at least one issue in terms of 36 versus 32 feet. There may be others.

 

Brent Beshears: I can see, and it just dawned on me and my memory that dimension was missing and yours truly had to put it in there. So, the discrepancy in the measurement is coming from me and not the architect. You can see how it is penciled in and obviously the penmanship is 2 different penmanships.

 

Member Harris: Are you the owner of the property?

 

Brent Beshears: Yes.

 

Member Harris: And do you plan to live there?

 

Brent Beshears: Yes. A couple of questions that I have was one; when we come back and readjourn this next month will the architect if he signs off on all of these dimensions and I don’t know if he puts his name on it or seals it somehow, will that be acceptable? I don’t want to have you folks think that these numbers are not true.

 

Member Harris: My objection was not just to the numbers, that is a minor part for me. My feeling is that the dimensions of the garage in particular and the setbacks required on the south side and the east side and thus the lot coverage itself are of concern to me. I think that the garage is to large and I think that the request for the variance is to large for this piece of property. What I am suggesting is that if you choose to table it, I would also expect you to come back, if that was your choice to table, with a reconfiguration of this part of it that greater or better those concerns from my perspective. I am only speaking for myself in this case. I am not saying that I would or I wouldn’t grant a variance based on any of that information. I am telling you that with the information that I have before me this evening, right here in front of me, I would vote to deny the variance.

 

Chairman Antosiak: I sense that is fairly universal and I will just add a comment that I believe when we granted the variance across the street that apron that we approved on the driveway was 16 or 18 feet an which I personally considered the minimum at that time. I too agree with Mr. Harris that the garage is just to large and I strongly urge you to re-think that. I do sense that we would be willing to postpone a decision on this until January and to answer your specific questions about what sort of plan to submit, I would suggest that you talk to the Building Department who can fill you in on the type of plans that are normally submitted to the Zoning Board. Is it your desire to postpone this until the January Meeting?

 

Brent Beshears: Yes.

 

Moved by Member Harris,

 

Seconded by Member Bauer,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-119 TO POSTPONE THIS CASE UNTIL THE JANUARY MEETING.

 

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

 

CASE NO. 95-120

 

Stewart Burcham is requesting a 2' side yard setback variance to allow an existing shed to remain at 230 Endwell.

 

Stewart Burcham was present and duly sworn.

 

Stewart Burcham: I have a couple of photos that I would like you to see. (Photos given to the Board)

 

Stewart Burcham: We do have a small lot size over there and I think that you guys know that the area is kind of rough. We are working on improving the whole house. I need the variance for the new shed. There is an existing shed as you can see, which isn’t much.

 

Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 34 Notices sent to adjacent homeowners. There was 4 written responses received all voicing approval. Copies in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

James Korte, I can take the blame for this one being here. I am the one that reported it. Sheds you have problems with and I know that you do. This is a small lot, the house is relatively neat and has always been that way in my recollection. There is a hardship. There is no room. It should be passed. The only thing that I do have to comment on coming from the Sector Study direction is that it appears that a hunk of the City fence has been removed from the back end of this property for entry and exist, I presume, for construction. That is going to have to be replaced. That is not a driveway, it is City property. Thank you. Approve, it is not over built.

DISCUSSION

 

Member Bauer: Are you doing away with the other?

 

Stewart Burcham: Yes.

 

Member Brennan: Just a clarification; it is going here because that is where you wanted it, there was no other place to put it or you weren’t aware that there was some setback requirements?

 

Stewart Burcham: There was not a whole lot of choice in the backyard there.

 

Member Brennan: I was looking at the sketch and trying to figure out if there was any other alternative.

 

Chairman Antosiak: Mr. Korte, we will remind Mr. Saven about the fence in the back.

 

Don Saven had no comment.

 

Chairman Antosiak: Mr. Korte did raise an issue about the fence at the rear of this yard and strongly urging that it be replaced.

 

Don Saven: That could be an issue, but I don’t think it may be relevant to this setback requirement. It will be a nice recommendation.

 

Member Reinke: I am assuming that you went ahead and started the construction of this without applying for a building permit, is that correct?

 

Stewart Burcham: Yes, I did.

 

Member Reinke: I have a problem when an individual does that and doesn’t look into what the setback requirements are and I have somewhat of a problem and a reluctance to approve the application due to that fact.

 

Moved by Member Harris,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Harrington,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-120 TO APPROVE THE 4 FOOT VARIANCE AS REQUESTED DUE TO THE UNIQUE LOT CONFIGURATION.

 

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

CASE NO. 95-121

 

David Olson, representing Circuit City Stores, Inc., is requesting a variance to construct a truck dock in the required setback area, for property located at 43525 West Oaks Dr

 

John Fredrickson was present and duly sworn.

 

John Fredrickson: First of all I would like to say good evening and that I am very pleased to represent Circuit City Stores on this site in Novi. Circuit City as you may know is coming into the Detroit area, we are currently under construction on a number of stores and we have plans to have approximately 10 stores in the Detroit area. Circuit City is known by many analysts as the nation’s premiere consumer electronic store. We are very much a service oriented retailer and we have a very strong balance sheet as well. We are very strong economically. We consider ourselves to be a good corporate citizen and in particular with this site we are very excited about this particular location. We have a lease with Ramco Gershenson to take over the Kroger lease which you are no doubt familiar with in West Oaks I. This is a very high visibility site for us. We feel that although this may not be the highest amount of sales store it certainly will give us a great deal of visibility and a very good location for us.

 

John Fredrickson: We were in front of the Planning Commission earlier this year, on February 1st where we gained a preliminary site plan approval with this particular layout. The situation that was presented by Dave Olson shows and the reason that we are coming here tonight; it shows our truck dock at the back being relocated. We are requesting a variance for a setback. We are currently in a building that is legal nonconforming. The existing truck dock as it is now and really much of the back of the center is in technical violation of what an existing or new 100 foot setback would be. What we propose to do is to take the existing truck dock, demolish it and relocate it to the opposite side of the building. The reason that we are requesting this flip is that when it was presented to staff last January and presented to the Planning Commission hearing the Fire Marshall had a particular problem with our requirement for customer pick up parking at the front of the store. We typically have a supervised 5 minute customer loading zone with head in parking spaces. We very often come up with an objection by Fire Marshals and in this case the Fire Marshall objected to the head in parking. Our proposed solution was to have our customer pick up parking at the side of the store. We are on an end cap position there and the solution was apparent to us that if we had parking at the side we would not be in front of the fire lane so that the Fire Marshall would have a clear fire lane.

We have a warehouse attached to this customer pick up area and at the back end of the warehouse is the truck dock.

 

John Fredrickson: There exists on this site a practical difficulty in that the requirement that the fire lane be free and clear necessitated our moving the truck dock. We didn’t want to initially, but the request of the Fire Marshall necessitated that we flip the building. I also would like to add that we believe that we are actually improving the situation in this case. We are not making it any worse. The flip of the truck dock will tend to screen it or will screen if effectively from Novi Road. We will have additional screening along the back to the rear property lines. We feel that this variance has merit in that it is a practical difficulty and that we will be improving the present situation as it is.

 

Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 11 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Greg Capote had no comment.

 

Don Saven: Just for the location of the truck well, there wouldn’t be any problem backing a truck in that particular area?

 

John Fredrickson: No sir, because you can pull straight in and back and it may be, in fact, somewhat easier as you approach from the front.

 

Don Saven: I was just looking at the projection of the building in that particular location and whether or not there would be a degree of difficulty in trying to get the truck in there.

 

John Fredrickson: We make certain that the radius there is sufficient for our trucks.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: When do you plan to open?

 

John Fredrickson: We would like to open as soon as possible. We plan to open in March, our first fiscal quarter which begins in March, April, May. Certainly no later than May.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: You are familiar with the Novi sign requirements, are you satisfied with the signing that will be allowed there?

 

John Fredrickson: Yes, I would like to address that. We have carried with the property a variance that Kroger had that has a restriction of 105 square feet and also on the side of the building. We had a discussion with Alan Amolsch.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: I don’t want to cut you short but I just wanted to make sure that we are not going to see you again with a request for a half dozen sign variances.

 

John Fredrickson: No sir, you are not.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: You are perfectly satisfied?

 

John Fredrickson: Yes, we recognize that our full proto-typical sign package wouldn’t be approved here; so we will simply have a Circuit City sign on the front and the side that will comply with the 105 square feet.

 

Member Harris: So the matter before us this evening really deals with just the proposed truck dock and it’s incursion into the 100 foot setback on the back of the piece of the property and that this appears to be a reasonable resolution to that issue.

 

Moved by Vice-Chairman Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Bauer,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-121 TO GRANT THE 40' SETBACK VARIANCE TO ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF A TRUCK DOCK IN THE REQUIRED SETBACK AREA FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 43525 WEST OAKS DRIVE, DUE TO LOT SIZE AND CONFIGURATION.

 

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

 

CASE NO. 95-122

 

Douglas Steward, representing Profile Steel, is requesting a variance to construct a portion of the required berm on the adjacent property; with the adjacent owners agreement and easement for property located at 26700 Wixom Road.

 

Philip Garcia was present and duly sworn.

 

Philip Garcia: This is an existing property it was the old Corvo Iron Works which sat vacant for a couple of years. It is a rather large parcel, I believe that it is about 26 acres and it has a narrow strip of land leading out to Wixom Road which basically has the existing entry drive in it. Between the north edge of our entry drive and our property line is just under 40 feet as it exists and as it existed when the property was purchased. That is not enough to get the required 10 foot high berm that is needed to separate our I-2 property from the abutting residential zone. We need 62 feet basically at a 3 to 1 slope with a 4 foot crown. So we have entered into negotiations with our neighbor and the neighbor has agreed to let us build approximately half of the berm on his property. He has granted an easement for that. We have been through preliminary and final site plan approval and one of the conditions of the final site plan approval was that this Board grant the variance to build a portion of the berm off premises. It is approximately half of the width of the berm. To the south of the existing entry drive we are getting into wetland areas because if a new drive was to be built it could have been shifted to the south to leave more room on the north of our entry strip but then we get into the wetlands in that area and that is why we left the drive where it was since it was an existing condition. Essentially our hardship is that we do not have the required land on our site to build the berm completely on our property. Any questions I will be glad to answer.

 

Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 9 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Karl Wizinsky, 26850 Wixom Rd. I am the resident that abuts the Profile property and have granted an easement for the purpose of the berm and support the request for the variance this evening to build the berm.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Greg Capote had no comment.

 

Don Saven had no comment.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: My only comment is that I am most pleased that in an issue which came before us in an adversarial context a number of months ago; that the interested parties have been able to work out this most reasonable consideration. I support it.

 

Moved by Member Reinke,

 

Seconded by Member Bauer,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-122 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE REQUEST DUE TO SPACE REQUIREMENTS REQUIRED TO CONSTRUCT THE BERM.

 

Discussion on motion:

 

Member Harris: The only thing that I would hope is included in that is the conditions of the letters of agreement and the easement as conditions of that variance.

 

Member Reinke: Yes, definitely so.

 

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

CASE NO. 95-115

 

Matthew Borovoy is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of a real estate sign 3' x 5' with height from grade being 5', for property located at 41200 W. Twelve Mile.

 

Matthew Borovoy was present and duly sworn.

 

Matthew Borovoy: We have a sign that replaces 2 signs on the site that were up there for 3 years by a real estate company and we decided to put our own sign up. If the sign is not large enough weeds grow over it and when it is to low you can’t see it. We have owned this particular piece of property for 23 years and the house is not visible on Twelve Mile Road. I, as an owner, and my partner don’t live there. It is rented to a tenant and as I said the practical difficulty is that it can’t be seen. It is a hardship to us because we can’t do business if no one can see the sign and we would like to sell the property. I did bring a couple of pictures if I could show the Board.

 

(Pictures were presented to the Board.)

 

Matthew Borovoy: They show you that from Twelve Mile Road and the southern curb you can hardly see the sign and the sign is setback 60 feet with Meadowbrook on one side and Twelve Mile on the other side. We respectfully ask for this variance. We did call Mr. Amolsch and he said that he just happened to drive by there since the road has been fixed and spotted the sign and that is why we got ticketed otherwise the other signs were never even seen for 3 years.

 

Chaiman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 8 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Member Baty: Is the sign setback 60 feet because.....is that a requirement?

 

Alan Amolsch: He set it back that far, we only require that they be on the property not on the right of way. They can set it back 100 feet, that is up to them.

 

Member Baty: How close could they set it?

 

Alan Amolsch: I don’t know how close, it would have to be on their property and as far as the ordinance goes it is OK.

 

Member Baty: So you could move it closer to the road?

 

Alan Amolsch: Only if he has the property. I don’t know how much right of way there is there and how much property he has abutting Twelve Mile Road.

 

Member Brennan: When did the new sign go up?

 

Matthew Borovoy: The new sign went up, I think, in October and I think that is when we got the ticket that same week.

 

Member Brennan: Have you had any bites on the property since you have had the bigger sign?

 

Matthew Borovoy: We have had about 3 or 4 calls on it; but at this time nothing at all. But people are starting to see it and we appreciate that.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Would you reasonably anticipate that because of this new sign that gives you added visibility and is generating new calls that sometime within the next 12 months that you would sell the property and be able to take the sign down? Is that reasonable?

 

Matthew Borovoy: With God’s will, I would hope so. That is the reason that we put the sign up, sir. I would hope that now that we are getting calls that we can sell the property.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: The real issue may be that if you had signs up there for 3 years that you have to hire a new lawn cutter so that they can see the signs or maybe reduce your price.

 

Member Harris: I have a problem with real estate signs being larger than the ordinance because there are so many requests or places all over the City for it. I think that because you have decided to sell this by owner as opposed to a multi listing tht creates a different set of circumstances. But, I don’t find any compelling reason to support this variance.

 

Matthew Borovoy: I don’t know if I am able to respond or not. I now would like to be able to sell the property. There is personal reasons why we would like to put it on the market. I don’t think with responding to Mr. Harrington that we have asked to much for it before. We would like now for personal reasons to be able to sell it. I think that the reason that it was ticketed is that we now have a different color of the sign and that it can be seen and also that the road has been widened. We have been very cooperative with the City when they wanted to put sewers in etc. and I think that now is the time that we could sell it. We don’t think that we have to give it to a real estate person and share that with them if we can sell it ourself. So I respectfully ask that we do have some variances only a

few inches larger than I guess what the City has asked us to do. But we did not know that because we put the same size of sign up that the real estate company had previously for 3 years.

 

Alan Amolsch: Just for the record there was no ticket issued on this, it was strictly a Notice of Violation. Mr. Borovoy came in under the notice time line and filed for this variance. There was no ticket issued on this.

 

Matthew Borovoy: I stand corrected, we never got a ticket. We answered the complaint.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: I tend to agree with Mr. Harris and one of the problems is and it hasn’t come out on the record yet is that it is not just a little bit bigger sign but double the size of what is permitted by the ordinance. The ordinance permits 6 square feet and you are asking for 15 square feet. Basically a 2 x 3 sign would be in compliance the way that other real estate people here in the community have to comply. Yours would be 15 square feet. A concern to me is the fact that I don’t know how close you could get your sign to the road way and apparently you don’t know that either. It might very well be that a sign in conformity with the ordinance could be placed significantly closer to the roadway. I don’t know that. To me that is important information.

 

Matthew Borovoy: I don’t know how close we could come but if you give us as you stated before even a year with it we could try to sell the property. I would be happy with that.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: We might give you another 30 days to provide additional information if you felt that would be of help. I am not sure that you are going to get a majority of this Board to allow a sign double the size of the ordinance. But, if that is where it has to be placed on the lot and that is as close as you can get to the road way and we would be satisfied that there is a visibility issue then we might entertain it or I might entertain it; I won’t speak for the other Members. Right now you don’t know where it has to be placed on the property and one of the argument s that you are making is that we can’t see it from the road because it it to far back; my suggestion to you is how close can you get it to the road way.

 

Matthew Borovoy: I remember now why it is placed this far back, because there is a little hill there. So people can see it. If it is placed up to the road way it gets lost entirely because I think that there is kind of a ditch there or something.

 

Member Bauer: You have to find out the distance closest to the street that you can place your sign, otherwise I don’t think that you are going to get your sign.

 

Matthew Borovoy: You want me to find out how close to Twelve Mile Road that we can place it behind the fence.

 

Member Bauer: By going to the Building Department and finding out.

Matthew Borovoy: I can only ask for the variance and I respectfully thank you gentlemen for listening to me.

 

Member Reinke: Just a suggestion that since the petitioner has worked very well with the City, if we table this to give him a month’s time to get will Al to see where he can place the sign and he would have a chance to look at the topography of where the sign would go and just try to work things out in that fashion. We could table this for 30 days.

 

Alan Amolsch: Do you mean this sign or a sign of a conforming size?

 

Member Reinke: A conforming size sign as to where his locations would be and he would have a chance to look at the lay out of the land at that point and could really see what the visibility and the locations would offer him.

 

Chairman Antosiak: The problem that I am having is as Mr. Harrington has stated, I don’t think that we know what the alternatives are at this point. We have a sign before us and there may be other alternatives that may be within ordinance or may not be. At least a second look will see if there is anything in ordinance that would work.

 

Matthew Borovoy: We are in a definite hardship position, we need the money and we have to sell the property in order to get the money. We have always paid our taxes on time for 23 years to the City of Novi and we feel that we are good neighbors to the people around us and now we would like to have all of the consideration that we can get to sell the property.

 

Vice-Chairman Antosiak: Sir, we are giving you the opportunity to come back next month with additional information. The problem being that you are arguing to us that we can’t see the sign from the road way; what we want to know is how close can you get to have a conforming sign a 2' x 3' sign to the road way. Maybe that is exactly where it is at which is why it is where it is at. But we don’t know that and if you would like us to consider this matter next month, then I think the sense of the Board is that we would consider this next month, if you would like us to. Meanwhile, your sign can stay up that extra month, not an extra year, but an extra month. Give us the additional information and we will take a look at it after the first of the year.

 

Matthew Borovoy: I appreciate that. I am new at this type of procedure, so all of the help that you can give me will be appreciated.

 

Moved by Vice-Chairman Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Reinke,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-115 TO TABLE THIS CASE FOR ONE MONTH (JANUARY MEETING) TO ALLOW THE PETITIONER TO FURNISH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION TO THE BOARD.

 

Discussion on motion:

 

Member Harris: As a condition, just so the petitioner understands, we expect that he will spend some time with the Building Department to look at all of the options available so that we have all of this information when we come back in January.

 

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

 

 

CASE NO. 95-118

 

The Selective Group is seeking a variance to allow the placement of five (5) flags to be located in front of the model homes in the Haverhill Subdivision on Kingswood Blvd.

 

David Zaitchik was present and duly sworn.

 

David Zaitchik: I am here representing The Selective Group. We are asking for a variance to fly 5 flags in front of the model homes instead of the 3 that are laid out in the ordinance. The model home is pretty far back from the road. We feel that it is necessary to have those flags in order to attract attention and to create some sales traffic to sell the homes there.

 

Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 1 Notice sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Don Saven had no comment.

 

Member Bauer: I don’t care for flags under any circumstances except the American flag and the State flag; that is what the ordinance reads and that is what I will hold it to.

 

Member Baty: What kind of flags are these?

 

David Zaitchik: One is an American flag, one is a Selective Group flag, and the rest of them say Open. They are red, white and blue and just say Open to indicate that we have a model home there.

Member Baty: I also don’t like flags, except the United States flag and the State flag.

 

Member Brennan: In practicality those are up 24 hours a day, so if someone is driving by at 9 o’clock at night you are not open.

 

David Zaitchik: Yes, that is correct.

 

Member Brennan: You do have the sign that is on the road way that is of a pretty good size and represents the property that there are homes for sale. I know where this piece of property is and it is pretty obvious that these are new homes under construction. We have generally had a difficult time accepting variances to the flag ordinance.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Sir, the problem that you have is that I am unaware that we have ever granted an exception to the flag ordinance because it is so clear and concise and I think the case that would have to be mounted to show hardship has been so impossibly difficult. That is in contrast with the fact that ordinance if you read it is rather generous in terms of the "flaggage" that you could associate with each parcel. You can have American flag at each parcel. You can have commercial flag on each parcel. The ordinance is fairly generous, but to go beyond that we would need compelling evidence of a hardship.

 

David Zaitchik: So the ordinance is.....

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: Read the ordinance. I am looking at it.

 

David Zaitchik: Per lot?

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: It says each parcel of land may display and then it goes on. What I would suggest is to consult with the Building Department, take a look at the ordinance with them and see whether or not your purposes can be addressed. The problem is that you have Open signs, which are the equivalent of pennants. They are the equivalent of banners. All of which are prohibited under the ordinance for obvious reasons.

 

Member Harris: I agree with you Mr. Harrington. I don’t object to flags or banners or any of the rest of the kinds of decorations that you see from time to time; but I think that the ordinance is very clear. Without a demonstration of hardship there really is no basis for approval of the open flags.

 

Moved by Vice-Chairman Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Bauer,

 

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 95-118 TO DENY THE APPLICATION FOR VARIANCE FOR THE REASON OF INSUFFICIENT HARDSHIP.

 

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

 

OTHER MATTERS

 

Chairman Antosiak indicated we have one other matter regarding Glenda’s Market. In April a variance was extended to the end of the year with an expectation that Glenda’s would appear tonight. They have not. I do understand that they have just received preliminary site plan approval subject to several variances. I am open to suggestions as to how we might address this situation.

 

Don Saven: If I may interject something; I guess it was understood that he was to diligently pursue this matter before the Planning Commission and this if you take a look at Mr. Rogers’ letter this is his fourth revised preliminary site plan that he had submitted. I assume that it would take some time to take care of that particular situation. In Mr. Rogers letter in the summation he included that I recommend preliminary site plan approval subject to ZBA review of expansion and relocation of a non-conforming building and use on site and two expansion of a non-conforming use on property not previously used by non-conforming use. I just received JCK’s approval engineering wise with commentary on this also and I don’t believe that I had the opportunity to package it all together, but the information is starting to come in right now relative to this particular site. That is basically what I wanted to indicate to you. It looks like there is some movement going on there now and there may be some light at the end of the tunnel to now come before us to take a look at this particular situation.

 

Member Bauer: I was just going to ask in the final site plan that is your mechanics and everything that where we run into our problems.

 

Member Reinke: As Mr. Saven has alluded to, I think that maybe they are starting to move. I would like to see a monthly update on this situation that it doesn’t seem to fall and to die which it has done periodically in the past. Not to the Building Department’s problems or situations I think it is more with the lack the attitude of the petitioner. But, I think that it has been left go and I would like to see this maybe even at a snails pace to move forward rather than to die. So I would request that we get a monthly update on this case.

 

Member Harris: What we asked for in April was a monthly update. What we agreed to was to allow them to do business as currently situated. We did not give them any indication that we would support or endorse the other variances. I think that we really have a right to expect that by January there will be full disclosure to this Board as to what is happening and what in fact they plan to do in terms of pursuit of that. What I don’t want to leave is the impression that because they got a preliminary site plan approval with those variances required that it is going to be an automatic coming through the Zoning Board of Appeals. I think that what we were most generous with in April in asking them how much time that they wanted, was enough time for them to get to the point where we should have been at this evening. I do think that there is a need for a monthly update. But, I would expect that we would have an agenda item with full discussion as to what the Board was planning on doing. My sense of recollection of the discussion in April was that there was not a large amount of support at that on this Board for even the variances that they were requesting because we seemed to be having a property creep in terms of the use. At some point there was a need to deal with it. Our sense was that there was a new attempt or a diligent effort being made on the part of the petitioner and we were giving them an opportunity to do that and see in that reconfiguration how it comes out. What I am seeing in Brandon Rogers’ letter is that they are basically in the same place. Although they have a site plan that has now received preliminary approval they are in the same place, it appears, as they were in April, which doesn’t necessarily take into the concerns that this Board had with what we have been through over the last couple of years with our discussions with them.

 

Vice-Chairman Harrington: I view the directive that we issued in April which was "the applicant will be back" not if they feel like coming back, not would they like to share seasons greetings with us; but they will be back before the Board no later than December 5th and they are not here tonight.

 

Member Harris: If we treat that as we would anyone else who didn’t show, I think that we would do a directed letter to them indicating that we will make a determination in January with or without them.

 

Chairman Antosiak: As I read the extension that was given on April 4th it was that there variance to operate was extended to the end of the year. They have no variance to operate after December 31st. So, I would strongly urge that they be here at the January Meeting with something in hand. Just a comment Mr. Saven, I realize that this is the fourth preliminary site plan, if you will read the Planning Commissions notes concerning Glenda’s I am not so sure that I would consider that diligent pursuit since they continued to bring the same issues back to the Planning Commission. So, I would urge that a letter be sent explaining that the Board perceives that their variance expires on December 31.

 

Don Saven: I would request in this letter that we do send them that you take a look at the letter before we send it out.

 

Chairman Antosiak: That is fine.

 

Chairman Antosiak: The only other question then is as the schedule would normally go, our January Meeting would be January 2nd; Nancy has informed me that the space is available on the 9th should the 2nd prove to provide difficulty for folks. I just wanted to ask the Board, other than Mr. Harrington, is there anyone who could not be here on the 2nd or would rather not be here on the 2nd? Chairman Antosiak: It appears that it will be the 2nd.

Vice-Chairman Harrington: One comment if I could before concluding the Meeting this evening. In picking up on the note in which we commenced the Meeting this evening. I believe in fair criticism of this Board and I believe in fair criticism of the City; but I will also resist what I view as unfair criticism. The discussion that we just had is a perfect example of this Board’s willingness for good cause to satisfy scheduling conflicts or the like. We have traditionally done so. Our agenda are posted. First of all our schedule is posted months in advance. Second our agendas are matters of public record. To suggest that our sacrificing our own personal interests to be here at the last Meeting somehow was poor planning on our part or the part of the City, I find unfair criticism and in fact I find it offensive. We were here this evening in what can only be described as hazardous duty conditions given the weather. All Board Members here operate without pay. All Board Members here operate and set aside their personal schedules and needs in order to be here when needed and when duty calls. I reject or resist the suggestion that somehow our attending a meeting when we presumably would have been out celebrating at post election parties and the like, but we were here and not elsewhere, I resist the notion that it is some kind of unfair planning and as this year concludes that is my congratulations to this Board for a 1995 well done.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The Meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary