REGULAR MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF NOVI
CIVIC CENTER - 45175 TEN MILE RD.
TUESDAY - APRIL 2, 1996
The Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m., with Chairman Harrington presiding.
Present: Members, Bauer, Harris, Brennan, Antosiak, Reinke, Harrington,
Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official
Greg Capote - Staff Planner
Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer
Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary
Chairman Harrington 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 application 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 any decision made will be final.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Harrington indicated any petitioner who for any reason would like to postpone, adjourn or table their request can make their request known at this time. (No one came forward.)
Chairman Harrington indicated I am unaware of any changes to the Agenda tonight. I would indicated that we do have 9 matters on the agenda; 7 regular matters and 2 sign cases.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MARCH 5, 1996 MEETING AS WRITTEN.
Roll Call: (Voice Vote) (All yeas) Motion Carried
Chairman Harrington indicated this is the portion of the Meeting whereby comments of a general nature regarding "Other Matters" than those specifically scheduled may be made and brought to the attention of the Board. Would there be anyone in the audience who would like to speak to general matters not specifically before us?
Kingsley Cotton, I am the attorney for the Hughlan Development Corporation which is the developer of the project that you know as the Vistas of Novi. I wanted to just take a couple of minutes tonight and update you on the status of the project. When I usually come here; I have my hand out for something, so tonight instead I am just going to give you some information.
Kingsley Cotton: As the Board is well aware Phase I is well under way. We recently received final site plan approval for Phase II, which is an entirely single family detached residential portion of the development. Also with regard to Phase II, last night your Construction Board of Appeals granted us a variance for a technical matter having to do with fire separation distance. In addition our Phase III residential portion is well under way in terms of design and plans will be submitted for that probably later this spring. We have begun preliminary work on future phases for the town home section of the development and the commercial sections. We are dealing right now with some issues in the City regarding storm drainage and grading. We, still at this point, intend to be back before you at some point down the road to seek some relief regarding signage for the entire commercial, retail and live-work areas of the development. The Board will recall that we discussed our intentions of creating a unified signage plan for the entire commercial, retail development which probably will not coincide specifically with the Citys sign code so we will be back at some time in the future for that.
Kingsley Cotton: In addition we have spoken with you in the past regarding an issue involving garage heights in parts of the development and that too is down the road and we expect to be back to visit you about that. At this time we are not aware of other issues that may require the action of this Board, but this is a multi-year project involving 1200 units as well as the commercial and retail. It is difficult for us at this time to anticipate exactly what is going to come up down the road.
Kingsley Cotton: I am available if anyone has any questions. You may know that Decker Road is now open at both ends so that the traffic can go through; which is helping with the marketing of the Phase I homes that are being built now.
Chairman Harrington: Would it be a fair summary that reasonable progress is being made in this complex multi-year project?
Kingsley Cotton: That is a fair summary. We had some delays. We were disappointed that we are actually not farther along; but we think that now with the approval of the Phase II site plan and the Construction Board variances that we are anxious and expectant to get going fast on that.
Chairman Harrington: I believe that we had granted you on earlier occasions some preliminary variances relative to the Phase I signage and the like and I assume that has not been a problem and has worked as we had intended.
Kingsley Cotton: Absolutely and some other variances that you granted regarding distances between dwellings are or will be utilized in the Phase II site plan that was just approved.
Don Saven: I would just like to remind Mr. Cotton that the issue regarding the signage request, that he reviews the minutes of that particular meeting referencing what the Board would like to see.
Kingsley Cotton: Yes, you can be sure that we will.
Joyce Stickley, I live on Joseph Drive in the Lesley Park Subdivision. Regarding the Glendas case, they are up on the corner of our street and Grand River. I was just wondering why do they have to keep coming back to get permission to do what they are doing up there; which we are not happy with. I was wondering; you gave them the variance once and how long is the term each time that you give it to them?
Chairman Harrington: I would invite you to stick around and to bring that comment to our attention when the matter comes up. That is pertinent to the Glendas case tonight and that is concern that the Board Members have expressed in the past. If you could simply hold those thoughts, we will give you a full audience to speak to and as much time as you need on that issue.
Joyce Stickley: OK. Thank you.
Chairman Harrington: Are there any other general audience participations? (No one wished to be heard at this time.)
CASE NO. 96-015
Lee Mamola, representing Ray Electric is requesting a variance to allow retail sales in a zoning district which does not normally permit retail activities in excess of 500 sq. ft. or 10% of the floor area of the business, whichever is less; for property located at 25673 Meadowbrook Road.
Matthew Quinn indicated I will lead the case and Mr. Mamola will follow.
Matthew Quinn: Good evening, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the Zoning Board of Appeals. I am here tonight on behalf of Rays Electric, but they are also backing me up. This group of gentlemen here is the Ray DeSteiger Family and Associates and as you know they have been involved in the electrical wholesale supply business for over 38 years. Previously they have built stores in Sterling Heights where they have been for 16 years. In Troy they have been for 28 years and the original store in Roseville where they have been for 38 years. They want to come to Novi and be a part of our family here and the business community and hopefully spend at least that long of a time operating their wholesale electrical warehouse here in the City.
Matthew Quinn: You are aware that we appeared in front of the Planning Commission and received a special land use approval to have a retail use in this industrial zone. The building that they are intending to purchase is the former Federal Express Building on Meadowbrook Road north of Grand River. You will recall that the use of that Federal Express Building really was that of wholesale and a retail use; you had people coming and going and dropping off packages and picking up packages and you had traffic coming in and out constantly in that industrial zone. Really they are asking nothing more than to continue that type of use at that site.
Matthew Quinn: The purpose of the business is 90% electrical wholesale warehousing. They will sell large electrical equipment lines and whatnot for such construction projects like they have done in Novi of selling the products to build all of the additions on the Novi High School. One of their most popular local customers would be McSweeney Electric, and those of you who know McSweeney they deal in the very heavy duty and commercial contract electrical business. So that is what the approximately 20,000 feet of warehouse is going to be used for; but as part and parcel of this type of business there is always a retail component. In each of their stores, the Roseville store is really a true retail store so we wont use that for a comparison. The Troy store first of all has a wholesale warehouse in the back and a 3,000 square foot retail use up front; that is allowed by the Troy ordinance. In the Sterling Heights store they have a 3,600 square foot showroom for retail purpose. Their proposed use is very similar to another use that already exists in the City of Novi and that is Michigan Chandelier. Michigan Chandelier has a 3,600 square foot show area for lighting. Now I just use that for comparison sake.
Matthew Quinn: What they are asking for here is no more than 10% of their building, which is 2,000 square feet to be used as a retail showroom. Now, the ordinance says that you are allowed 500 square feet or 10% of the entire building whichever is less; but 500 square feet is virtually impossible and impractical for them to comply with here.
Matthew Quinn: Now, Lee in a minute will go through and show you the floor area and show you sizing of lights to show you why it is very difficult.
Matthew Quinn: I want to touch first on something else that of course is important to you. There isnt any zoning district really in the City of Novi and the ordinances that will allow this type of business to be here. You cant have a wholesale component and a retail component that fits anywhere in the City of Novi. Now Brandon Rogers, I think, in the Planning Commission minutes said "well this could possibly go in a B-3 zone, but we dont want this type of use in a B-3 zone because of all of the truck traffic that will constantly be coming and going to the warehouse component". So therefore, they want to come to Novi and Novi doesnt have a place for them to come to. Therefore, we look at the ordinance that they are requesting that you look at to interpret. Now, we could attempt to skirt this issue by claiming that this 2,000 square foot area is not a showroom for retail customers at all but is instead for the builder clients that they have. They sell an awful lot to builders that build homes in the City of Novi and we could come here and say that. But, the DeSteigers want to be straight with the City and they have taken that position all along.
Matthew Quinn: You have to picture how this use goes. If you are building a new house and you go to your builder and you ask the builder "what type of lighting fixtures do you think that I should have in my home?", what the builder is going to do is one of two things. He is going to take you to Ray Electric and the builder is going to walk around this showroom area with you and you will pick out which lights you want from what is hanging in this area and the builder will purchase them for you and put it in your building contract and that is it or the builder may tell you as the homeowner "go ahead and go down to Rays Lighting, you walk through the showroom, you pick out the lights you want and get me the information and then I will buy them and put them into your home". So is that really a retail customer? Well it is kind of a vague area, it is kind of ambiguous, because the customer is not purely retail in that scenario; the customer is there on behalf of the builder and the builder would be a wholesale user or a wholesale customer. The only time that you are really going to have true retail is in the unsual situation where somebody is looking to replace a light in their own home that is already built and walks in a looks around as sees what they like or they need a new light bulb or some electrical type supply.
Matthew Quinn: Now, I go regularly and currently to Reid Lighting here in Novi which is a retail, commercial use. I can truly say that I have never been in there when there has been more than 4 or 5 cars in the parking lot; and that is a true retail use. I say that because that becomes important why this limitation in the ordinance currently exists. The retail limitation exists to keep traffic down and to avoid any parking problems on a site. Now, lets look where this building is located. First of all this building is located on a major thoroughfare on Meadowbrook Road. It is not in an industrial park where this ordinance intended to limit retail use, so people wouldnt be driving all the way back into a large retail park and trying to do shopping. So they are on the thoroughfare, there is easy access in and off. Additionally the site plan that Mr. Mamola will talk to has more than sufficient parking for this square footage of proposed retail use. So the intent of this ordinance to limit traffic and avoid parking problems is totally and really not applicable to the situation that we have here. Additionally when this ordinance was adopted by the limitation of the 500 square feet, they also had no idea of what types of businesses were going to come in the future and ask for this variance and therefore the existence of this Board. When you limit somebody to 500 square feet of retail sales that might be fine and dandy if you are selling watches or if you are selling basketballs or baseballs; but it becomes very impractical if not impossible if you are selling larger objects. For example, if you are selling lawn equipment or as we have here if you are selling electrical supplies.
Matthew Quinn: Now, we believe that the stict application of this ordinance would result in a peculiar practical difficulty because Ray Electric would not be able to locate in this City. We also believe that the ordinances adopted did not take into consideration the minimum square footage necessary to adequately display various sizes and styles of light fixtures and that is why this variance should be allowed. There is not any substantial detriment to the public good nor is there any substantial impairment of the intent and purpose of the underlying ordinance. So, we are here requesting that you allow 10% or up to 2,000 square feet of this building to be used for retail purposes.
Matthew Quinn: Now, Lee Mamola will show you the diagram and explain to you the sizes necessary to display retail lighting.
Lee Mamola: I would like to also add, for the Boards knowledge, that this type of business providing retail activity in this I-1 District is permissable by ordinance. The light industrial ordinance does allow a very limited amount of retail of certain types of products and this is within that definition.
Lee Mamola: As Matt has outlined, part of the significant nature of the Ray Electric business is sales to the residential customer; particularly the residential customer who is building through a builder. I understand that this may be a little difficult to see from the distance you are (chart shown to Board) I will try to summarize this chart. What I have is a listing on the far end of the different types of fixtures that you would find in a home and the type of fixtures that would need to be displayed in the display area of the building. We are talking about fixtures such as outdoor wall lights, ceiling fans, chandeliers, floor lamps, wall sconces, recessed fixtures, miscellaenous fixtures, bath fixtures, lanscape lighting, track lighting and other types of fixtures. There is a variety of fixture types to begin with. Within each type of fixture there is a variety. Let me take one example of a ceiling fan. You take a ceiling fan you have one basic type and lets call it a tradiional, a second basic type call it contemporary. We have all of a sudden two. You start dividing each of those two up again in terms of colors and for description presentation lets say black and white. You start dividing each of those colors up in terms of finishes like wood and metal and it doesnt take you very long to come up in that one example of over 36 different and individual kinds of fixtures for a ceiling fan. A simple ceiling fan will take up an area of 5 feet by 5 feet for display. This box that we have shown on the diagram is to scale relative to the 5 foot by 5 foot diagram of a ceiling fan and this is a 500 square foot area. If you take 36 ceiling fans, you all of a sudden need 900 square feet or almost twice the alloted amount of the ordinance. I havent even gotten into a discussion of all of these other fixtures.
Lee Mamola: We took the Troy showroom, which is about a 3,000 square foot showroom and took a count of their fixtures and did a proportionate count for the proposed Novi facility, assigned some square footage for each fixture because obviously everything is not as large as a ceiling fan and we arrived at the number of square feet needed to do their display. The bottom line is that there are 2,156 square feet and we havent even added any space for circulation, pathways and the like. So we are upwards of 2,300 square feet and we still have to trim this down a bit to fit into the request that we are requesting.
Lee Mamola: The floor plan of building represents about 20,000 square feet total gross area. Much of the building from the pointer upwards is what we would refer to as the high bay or warehouse area. The little solid area here represents 500 square feet of floor plan area, the diagonally hatched area represents approximately another 1,500 square feet. We are seeking 2,000 square feet which represents 10% of the total floor area. I would also add that this floor area here is what we would refer to as the low bay portion of the building. It is really not functional for any other type of use other than this type of retail showroom, other than an office type function or a similar type of function that dont require the high spaced area.
Lee Mamola: The Planning Commission on their deliberations on this matter noted that this may perhaps be the time to reconsider on their part the issue of should we have 500 square foot minimum or 10%. I throw that out only for your discussion that it may go further at the Planning Commission level in the future.
Lee Mamola: We think that this request is very reasonable request and living to within the 10% requirement of the ordinance. We are not trying to totally seek anything beyond what is reasonable. With that, we will stand by for any questions.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 8 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven had no comment.
Greg Capote had no comment.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: The topography or the footprint of the building allows it to fit in with the area that they are looking at and it separates it from the warehousing activity. It falls within the 10% section of the ordinance and I really dont have a problem with they way that it is presented.
Chairman Harrington: Mr. Quinn, was this particular limitation which is the 500 square feet, do you have any historical or anecdotal information on why that magic number was selected? Was that implemented during your tenure as mayor?
Matthew Quinn: I think it was just as I was coming in. The historical information there was the Citys battle to attempt to find how to limit retail use in industrial. One of the ways that it was looked at was the economic arguement; lets limit them to 10% of their gross income as pertaining to retail activity. The other arguement was to try a square footage arguement. There wasnt any fine line distinction but the City felt that it was to difficult and probably to intrusive to get into the gross income arguement and it would also allow paperwork fudging and things like that. So the City ended up adopting the square footage. Now, my bellief is and I mentioned that the intent of this was thinking of a large industrial park where you might have a furniture warehouse inside a large industrial park or a business like this inside a large industrial park where you did not want regular retail commercial traffic going into that industrial park to do shopping. But, that is not what we have here. We have this business sitting on a main thoroughfare and I think that there are some major differences there. If that helps you that is some of the historical information.
Chairman Harrington: The other question that I have is that whenever we are dealing with exceeding numerical limitations we always want to know how much is necessary and how much is desired; is there magic to the 2,000 square foot number?
Matthew Quinn: Yes, they would like 3,000 or 3,600 because that again is the way that they normally operate in their other stores and have for 16 years and 20 plus years in those stores. They are really going to have to limit their own abilities to sell at retail by coming down to the 10% figure. If you look at a business like Michigan Chandelier, with 3,600 square feet and almost identical businesses between the two. They have 3,600 square feet in their showroom.
Chairman Harrington: Do they have a variance?
Matthew Quinn: They probably pre-existed this ordinance. I tried to do a little research on that because I thought that maybe I could use that, but of course I knew that we couldnt, but I still think that they pre-existed this ordinance. But, that gives you an idea of what the business construes as necessary for this kind of retail. By my client saying that they can live with 2,000 square feet that is from them really shrinking as much as possible.
Chairman Harrington: As that pretty much the break point for them coming into Novi?
Matthew Quinn: That is, they cannot buy this building and will not buy it if they cant. The 10% economic potential may not sound like a lot but it is kind of like the make or break in the profitability of a business like this.
Member Harris: Is the low bay area as described, the square footage that is 1972; is that part of where it is derived from?
Matthew Quinn: Yes.
Member Harris: So that is the natural or logical break between that and the high bay portion.
Matthew Quinn: That is absolutely right.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Harris,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-015 THE VARIANCE BE GRANTED DUE TO THE UNIQUE NATURE OF THE BUSINESS AND THE PHYSICAL SIZE OF THE MATERIALS THAT THE PETITIONER IS DEALING WITH. THIS VARIANCE WOULD BE FOR ONE YEAR AND AFTER SUCH AND DURING THE CONTINUED JURISDICTION THAT IT BE REVIEWED AND IF THERE ARE NOT ISSUES TO DEAL WITH IT AFTER THE YEAR.
Discussion on motion:
Vice-Chairman Reinke: For consideration and for this type of business and since we have continuing jurisdiction of the variance, I would suggest that we remove the one year limitation.
Chairman Harrington: But limit it to this petitioner only?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Right.
Chairman Harrington: Mr. Brennan, do you wish to reconsider your motion with respect to the time limitation?
Member Brennan: I will take Mr. Reinkes suggestion and amend the motion, to remove the one year limitation.
Chairman Harrington: The time restriction is removed; but limited to this petitioner only.
Member Harris: I will leave my second in place. I will support this motion, principally because I believe that there is some additional work being done on this ordinance. This is an ordinance that is very difficult to apply reasonably and I think that the petitioner in this case has done a nice job of trying to find within the ordinance. I think that the ordinance itself is one that is ambiguous and very difficult to otherwise apply. From a stand point of support of this, I dont necessarily know that there is really full hardship to this particular business man but I think that the ordinance itself creates the hardship and that is really where I get my support.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
CASE NO. 96-017
Roberts Pools is requesting a 3' variance to allow a pool to be constructed 7' from the house for property located at 45735 White Pines Dr. The walking surface surrounding the swimming pool, which is located in the easement, requires utility clearances as required in Section 4.06 of the Subdivision Ordinance.
Robert Trinkle was present and duly sworn.
Robert Trinkle: I am the homeowner. I was before this Board 11 months ago at the May 2, 1995 Meeting at which time a variance was granted approving a 6 foot variance for the same pool. I did not know that I had a limitation of only 90 days at the time to construct the pool and for a variety of reasons it has not been constructed to date. But, since then we have re-designed the pool and at this time we are only asking for a 3 foot variance which is half of what we asked for before. With that, I request that the Board grant the variance which was already granted once before, last year.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 31 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 2 written responses received, one voicing approval and one an objection. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: In reference to the drainage concern that was mentioned in the letter, this will be covered by virtue of a Land Improvement Permit on submittal of the plans, which will be reviewed by our engineers to insure that the drainage pattern in the rear will be maintained in accordance with the approved drainage pattern for that particular sub.
Chairman Harrington: The affect of this to be that the pool would not be permitted if it were to result in an unusual or unacceptable amount of diversion of the rain water or the like?
Don Saven: That is correct. It would have to stay in accordance with the design and construction standards that were approved with that subdivision. In other words, that drainage pattern would still have to be maintained. If it has to be altered somewhat to maintain it, then it would be reviewed by our engineers and still be functional as it was at the very beginning.
Chairman Harrington: The point being, that whether we did or did not grant a variance this evening, the City has its own independent requirement in that regard that would have to be complied with.
Don Saven: That is correct.
Member Bauer: He has cut down the variance by 3 feet.........
Member Brennan: That explains why this layout looks awful familiar. Where is the 3 feet though? I am looking at this layout and between the closest dimension from the house to the edge of the pool is 4 foot 8, am I reading that right?
Dave Simenti: What you are referring to there is the amount of concrete deck that you are looking at on the plan there. From the chimney area to the outside wall of the pool is 7 feet. Do you see where the chimney area comes out from the back of the house? Upper left corner. Does that answer your question?
Member Brennan: It sure does.
Chairman Harrington: My question is one of clarification, you are requesting a substantially smaller variance tonight than we had previously granted you, is that true?
Robert Trinkle: That is correct.
Chairman Harrington: What alternative would you have if we gave you no variance at all?
Robert Trinkle: None. We have re-designed it to the best specifications that we could for the City and for us. There was a lessening of the width of the pool at the area that would have been within 3 feet of the chimney.
Don Saven: As an additional concern, as a point taken in terms of the latter portion of the request where it talked about clearances. I would like to make that, if you do give this consideration, as part of the request for variance.
Chairman Harrington: The utility clearances would be a matter of City Code, is that correct?
Don Saven: That is correct.
Chairman Harrington: Is there an actual request for a variance on utility clearances? I dont think that we could grant that.
Don Saven: No.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that what Mr. Saven is saying is that he is going to be required to get utility clearance. We are not granting the exception.
Member Brennan: It seems that we came to an agreement some months back; we saw some practical difficulties with this lot in order to put this pool on the lot. We had approved a variance at that point and we are looking at less of a requirement today and I would have no objection to that.
Member Harris: My comments are usual for a new subdivision. The density of the lots and the placement of it which is not the homeowners concerns; but it is general statement that I like to make in these cases; basically it precludes you from doing some of the things that you would normally expect to do in terms of setback and other requirements. We did debate this last year, and we did grant a variance and I believe that from that standpoint I would support this variance subject to the conditions that we have out lined.
Moved by Member Harris,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-017 TO APPROVE THE THREE (3) FOOT VARIANCE TO ALLOW THE POOL TO BE CONSTRUCTED SEVEN (7) FEET FROM THE HOUSE FOR THIS PROPERTY, CONTINGENT UPON THE HOMEOWNER OBTAINING ALL APPROPRIATE APPROVALS FOR THE EASEMENT OR UTILITY CLEARANCES.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
CASE NO. 96-018
Charles Rickard, representing Provident Family Dentistry, is requesting a variance for deficient site size and landscape screening and a waiver to allow curb cuts on Olde Orchard Road, for property located at the southeast corner of Grand River and Olde Orchard Road.
Charles Rickard was present and duly sworn.
Charles Rickard: With me tonight is the architect for this project John Marusich.. Provident Family Dentistry is currently located in Novi on Ten Mile just west of Haggerty Road. The doctors have been in business in the City for approximately 15 years. What they want to do is to construct a new facility for themselves. It will be located on Grand River approximately one block west of Haggerty on the south side of Grand River and the corner of Olde Orchard.
Charles Rickard: The pictures that you see here before you representing the elevations, the views, the lot size itself as far as the proximity of the building location on it, the parking in the rear. The variances that we are looking for in regards to the lot deficiency size; first of all, the property size is 1.17 acres. The NCC Zoning that it is currently under requires 200 foot of frontage on Grand River and 2 acres minimum. Obviously we dont have that. To compensate for this deficiency size in the City Ordinance it recommends that we possibly approach the people who own property adjacent to it, that was done and we have a letter stating that. The property to our east was the only parcel that could be purchased, and that had already been sold. Is there any comments in regard to the deficiency in size?
Charles Rickard: The second thing is the landscape screening; currently on the south side of the site there are condominiums. These condos as you can tell from this one drawing, represents the survey of the property and these are the closest condominiums that abut to it. This is the south side. Currently right now there is a 6 foot wooden fence structure. That structure carries itself around the whole condo project. It runs from the east side to the west side. The condo project runs all the way through to Ten Mile. This fencing has been carried through, the aesthetics and designs through the whole project. Currently it is in excellent condition and it is maintained and painted and the people in the condo association like their fence and that is the easiest was to state it. What the City requires in their zoning is that a 6 foot hand laid cement brick fence be installed. We feel that with sufficient landscaping basically trees and aesthetically with the trees forming a green belt of evergreens. We worked with a lady by the name of Linda Lemke who is the landscape consultant, Mrs. Lemke and I met at the site and we went through it, we looked at it, she photographed it, and when we met at the Planning Commission she recommended that we stay with the tree concept. If we would have built the fence, that would be another 6 inches taller and it wouldnt serve any purpose because these condos; a few of them do have balconies and the privacy of the concrete fence wouldnt serve any purpose for the people on the second floor with the balconies. They would still be looking into the parking lot at the site. So, with her recommendation on landscaping and the landscaping being evergreens; the evergreens would form the density with the remaining fence that is there that is sufficient. This is what they look for and this is what she recommended. Is there any questions in regard to that one?
Charles Rickard. The last subject, requiring curb cuts. I think that Mr. Marusich has talked to a gentleman by the name of Mr. Arroyo, who is your traffic consultant with the City.
John Marusich: I am the architect for the project. We have talked extensively with Mr. Brandon Rogers and Rod Arroyo in regards to this matter. We have considered multiple placements of the building on this constricted site with regards to landscaping as well. We feel that the placement of the parking to the rear of the building forms a very significant citing of the parking away from the main thoroughfare. To be able to do this, we choose to locate the parking access and egress off of Olde Orchard. Mr. Arroyo felt that in the consideration of the constricted site the location of and the potential access to the corner and the potential limited access considerations for the future that the potential of locating this was in the best interest of the City. He felt that under certain conditions that are stated within the ordinance that allowances for that would be available.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 134 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 4 written responses received. One voicing approval, 2 objections and 1 conditional. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven had no comment.
Greg Capote had no comment.
Member Harris: This I believe is an example of what we have talked about in some other instances in the City and there is specific zoning. This property has only 1.169 acres which is not even close to 2. The curb cuts on Olde Orchard which in fact belay the residential nature of the street or area. I can understand the berm and the fence, I think that there is some compromise to be looked at in that But, I cannot support this variance request for this site. I think that it would be overbuild and I dont believe that we have exhausted "what else could be done with this piece of property?", therefore making it only usable for this variance.
Chairman Harrington: Let me ask either Don or Mr. Capote. Can this site be built? The minimum lot size is 2 acres and this is only 1.1; what other uses are available for this parcel?
Greg Capote: I think that what I would ask the applicant, "is there available space along Grand River to increase the size of the lot?".
Charles Rickard: Currently there is not. I made an inquiry at the time that we went into option of the property; with a broker that had the site listed to or abuts to the east side of this. At that time the property had already been optioned and purchased by the people who currently own the Atlas Auto Leasing building on Grand River which is a white contemporary building that is 3 doors down. They have already purchased the site to the east which is a little bit smaller than this site and they are currently putting together a proposal to build a building there for themselves. So as far as any property which abuts to this that you can purchase, it is not available. That letter was given to the City from the broker that sold the property to the people in the Atlas Auto Leasing building and they are proceeding with brining their prints and coming before you people, which they will, because they cannot meet the 2 acre site and they cannot meet the 200 foot front onto Grand River. There is no other property.
Member Harris: Did you understand the zoning when you purchased the property?
Charles Rickard: Correct.
Member Harris: So you understood that there was a deficient to this piece of property when you purchased it.
Charles Rickard: I have spent extensive time with Mr. Rogers at the City and going throughout this site as to what this site could be used for prior to us exercising our options on it. Working through Mr. Rogers and the City and the Council and people in the various departments; with this NCC Zoning this is what they thought and we felt that our customers could live with. It is the only thing that could possibly be used on this site. There is no other parcel available. The site is a corner site, south of it is the condominiums and that was it.
John Marusich: Because of the fact that the allowable land isnt available to fill the requirement of 2 acres there in a sense is limitations as to what can be done. If in fact that we cant develop it in coordination with the City, then under the restrictions of the ordinance it is undevelopable to a certain degree. What we tried to do is to take this parcel and under close working with the City to try to develop it in a way that was most compatible to in sense the spirit of the requirement of the City. One comment was made during the Planning Commission was that this in fact was finally a site that was being developed by the spirit of the intent, quality that they were looking for with the development. If it is noted and I am not quite sure, we are not required to set the building back 50 feet as we did, the current zoning requirement for setback is 40 feet. We worked with the spirit of intent of a future direction of the City to set the building back 50 feet. It is not in the requirement to put parking to the rear of the building; we did place the parking to the rear of the building. Therefore we felt that screening an obtrusive view of parking and therefore presenting a positive building condition to the frontage of Olde Orchard and Grand River. We felt that if to put a road access off of the site onto Grand River is actually more congestive and more confusing to future development and therefore because of the location, as I stated earlier, the parking to the rear of the site we are actually providing a much more pleasing and compatible working relationship. I guess the bottom line is that if you are going to develop this site we feel that the project as we presented it is possibly your best opportunity to develop the site within the constrictions. We accept the fact that sure its a lower than what is required with the 2 acre; but if you are going to do something we feel that we are presenting the best possible alternative and in many ways I think that it will be a considerable addition to your community.
Chairman Harrington: I tend to agree with Mr. Harris, but, I need some more information. You are just a whisker over 50% of the minimum requirement set by ordinance. The difficulty I have and the additional information that I think that I need is how did we get to the position that you guys have invested in a parcel of property which would appear as a matter of public record cannot be developed in its present site. Are we simply rubber stamping developers who chop these parcels in half for profit, sell it to you for speculation or otherwise and then we are supposed to OK it because it is half the size that code requires. The information that I need is that if we say no and if Mr. Harris comments are in fact the voice of the Board; what other development potential does this property have. Can either of you gentleman address that tonight or do you need additional information to come back to us? Because if the answer is that there is other development potential, but perhaps not in the same profit range that is a different issue. If the affect is that by not giving you a variance that we have condemned the property then that is another issue. I would like information, what else can be done with this property if we say no to you this evening. Do you need time to address that information?
Charles Rickard: Please give us a moment.
Charles Rickard: I dont know how I can describe this to you sufficiently; but I have with me tonight; when I looked into purchasing the property for my customers first of all I did some research with the City and went back through records as to far as what was proposed on that site prior to our optioning it. Another architect had taken this project to the point of submitting to the City for approvals for an office building in the year of 94. (Dont quote me on my years, I have the paperwork and I will dig it out.) Prior to that another developer had come into the City with another development of an office site for that parcel. Being that I saw that there were 2 other proponents bringing that option into the City and this was the only use available for the site; this is what led me to tell my customers that "Yes, this could be viable with the City and yes, we would have to get a variance, but as the City people have explained to us this is the only proponent and this is probably the only uses that they can bring into it". Now, my understanding and this is the opinion that I will give you, is that taking a site of this size which does not meet your ordinance the NCC of 200 and 2 acres, what else can be done with it? I explained that to my customers because I am investing their funds; so now I am the one who is responsible for this. I sat down with them and showed them minutes of meetings prior to their looking at it and they said "OK, we will take that option", The second thing that I looked at and I said to them "being that they are residents of the City and they have been doctors in this City for years and they want to stay in this City, their people are in this City, and the office is currently less than a half a mile from this site, their restrictions as dentists and their consultants were dont move to far, get something that will be compatible to your clients", that is their business - their customers. Now dental consultants say that when people go to a dental office they go there by habit, they know where to turn and how to get to it. By them moving - stay as close as you can to your present site. So this brought this parcel back into affect as far as what they wanted to purchase. Their sizing of a building, they couldnt go on anything larger. Their budgets tell them that they can only build 8,000 square feet. This site right here and you had a comment from a letter from somebody previously in response to the letters that you sent out; that there is an office building that is 2 doors down that is vacant. This building here is being built and the dentists are going take and occupy approximately 65% of the building when they move into it. This is what they needed, this is what their sizes and their budgets could handle; so this is how we approached it.
Charles Rickard: If you will give me a minute and let me speak of this one item. I took Grand River which is what they could go, this is as far as they could move; they wanted their address on Grand River, they didnt want it to be Olde Orchard, they wanted to come off of Ten Mile and stay on a main thoroughfare as their business address. I researched Grand River from Haggerty and went up to and I heard previous discussion tonight as far as Glendas and Joseph Drive; I contacted the people who have the 2 parcels on both sides of Joseph Drive. Neither of those met the 2 acre or the 200 foot frontage. I worked myself all the way down to where your NCCs and your business districts were and this is what my customers could afford, could handle and could work with. So now, we took that parcel and said "can we get the City to approve it?" "Yes". Planning Commission said that they were favorable to it. Numerous discussion with the planning people and working our way to the ZBA. This is what we feel, this is what they gave us the impression and this is what my customer said to me is "lets go through with it". It is a substantial investment to do something like this, but we were confident that we could bring it to the Board. The Board would see what the situation is, would see the parcel that was there. An attempt was made to purchase the site to the east and wasnt available. So we said "here we are and what can we do with it". We feel that we have presented a product that will blend into the neighborhood, will add a value to it and it has been pleasing. Everybody in the City so far has said "yes it is". So far as determining what else it could be used for, I dont know that.
Chairman Harrington: The parcel immediately to the east is of similar size?
Charles Rickard: Correct.
Chairman Harrington: One would anticipate that perhaps at some future point in time if they want to build something different than what is already there....Is that developed by the way?
Charles Rickard: No, when they bought the parcel there was a home on it. Two sisters owned up. The home has now been torn down.
Chairman Harrington: So we have 2 parcels immediately contiguous which would clearly comply with the ordinance; but by virtue of it being piece meal we are being asked to give a variance when you are approximately one half of the required size and one could reasonably anticipate that at some point in the future they are going to be coming in for a variance because they are half of the required size and they need a size variance as well.
Charles Rickard: Exactly and they demonstrated that by purchasing the parcel, which I wasnt able to purchase and demoing the house that was on it to bring this to you.
Don Saven: I just have a question. I have been looking at the plan and I have a question in regards to the finished floor elevation of the building referencing the perimeter elevations directly outside. Is this an error, by chance or is this actual documentation? I have a finished floor of 55.67, directly outside of the building I have a 63.50; I always have concern for barrier free design and accessibility to buildings. That is a rather extensive slope.
John Marusich: I would have to assume that is a mistake on the part of the Civil Engineer and that 10 foot discrepancy,.I dont think, would be an acceptable condition for construction.
Chairman Harrington: Are one of you the owners of that parcel? Who owns the parcel?
Charles Rickard: No. The parcel of owned by Sarafa, they are the brokers that are currently offering the parcel on the market. There are 4 to 5 members of the Sarafa family that own that parcel.
Chairman Harrington: Do they own the other piece too?
Charles Rickard: No, that was owned by 2 sisters who have already sold it to Atlas Auto Leasing.
Chairman Harrington: The Sarafa Group that purchased your parcel, when was that?
Charles Rickard: They have owned that parcel since the 70's and they have at numerous times made proposals to sell it. They have sold it a couple of time. The last time it was sold to International Office Companies, I believe. The reason I have this information is that we just got back the Phase I bank title search. That is why I am remembering the dates and who it was. This parcel was sold a year ago and then Sarafa called me a few months after that because one of the partners in this had died and it became available on the market. I had left my name with him, because I was interested in purchasing at that time also. So that is how we got a hold of it. But, my understanding from my research is that other developers had made proposals to the City for office.
John Marusich: I am getting the impression from the Board, and excuse me if I am making an assumption, that we are trying to force an issue here of a restricted site. That was never the impression that we received in any of the previous involvements of pursuing this particular project. In no way, other than stating the ordinance and we would be required to produce a letter of denial for trying to acquire the land that they felt that we were in no way going to be able to pursue this project in a pleasing manner. I feel that what we have done over a quite extensive period of time is try to work with the officials in the City to produce a viable development project. We are not as Mr. Rickard has stated, we are not developers here trying to ravish the corner and take advantage of outstanding conditions. This is a group of dentists who have had a considerable length of time in this area and who wish to move their home to this corner. In as much as they are occupying approximately 65% the remaining is for specialist that they are going to bring in to occupy the remaining of it. If you have an opportunity, and I can show this to you closer, the look of the building isnt necessarily a speculative office building and it is not going to stay vacant. We, again, worked extensively with the City and received approvals from everybody concerned and felt they indicated during that Zoning Board Meeting that they felt positive about this development. I just wanted to make sure that the posture here isnt that we are trying to take advantage of a situation, we are trying to work with the situation. At no point in time did we receive a very negative support. Actually we received considerable support on behalf of all of the people concerned with the project.
Chairman Harrington: It would be erroneous to infer from my comments that I have any quarrel with your group. What I do have a significant problem with is the effect of what has occurred. The effect of what has occurred here is because one party doesnt want to sell to the other party, and one party is going to hold out for a higher price. We have effectively sabotaged the literal wording of the ordinance. We are left with a situation where you are half of what you need. I still feel that I am at a loss for information that I need; if I have to vote in this now I would tend to support Mr. Harris. I havent heard a justification for why we should be cutting the ordinance requirement in half; but the flip side is that I would personally be interested in input from Mr. Fried, the City Attorney, or his office and or JCK or whoever else can give us input as to what the alternatives are if this size variance is denied. Obviously the berm issue is moot and the access issue is moot because it cant be built. But, I would like to know and have someone standing on behalf of the City tell me that if we vote no on the size request that in fact the lot cannot be built and in fact the effect of what the City will have done here by denying this variance is to condemn the parcel. That is important for me to know and I am not prepared to accept whatever your opinions may be as the petitioner when this is an issue that I think that we need input from the City on. That is just my own opinion.
Member Harris: In previous cases where we have dealt with the NCC, we have always understood that you can go to less restrictive or less dense or less intense uses all the way down to residential. There has been no showing that this property can only be used in this case, which is really where I am at with it. Further information aside, I believe that this is not even close to the spirit or the intent and I believe that this is a self induced hardship and I am prepared to vote on the matter.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Inquired of Greg Capote. The zoning of the 2 acre requirement, how long has that zoning been in effect?
Greg Capote: I believe that is 10 and 1/2 years.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: So that is after the current lot boundary lines had been established.
Greg Capote: I presume so.
Chairman Harrington: Do you know?
Greg Capote: Precisely I dont know.
Member Brennan: Even if it is plus or minus a bit, it is still substantially well after the property owners bought this piece of property, if they bought it in the early 70's.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is what I am saying. The reason that I want to bring this up is technically the zoning has made the lot unbuildable, no matter what the usage is.
Greg Capote: The NCC requirement is 2 acres. It is 2 acres for whatever else the ordinance allows. So regardless of what else you want to put there within the confines of the NCC ordinance, it must have 2 acres.
Member Harris: It is 2 acres and it is also 200 feet of frontage, it is also a single cut on the thoroughfare. This is just more than a size difference in my opinion. This is a significant over use of this piece of property, which intrudes not only on the 2 acres or the frontage but also on the curb cut taking it to a residential street. This goes past some of the other ones that we have even talked about.
Member Bauer: But, if you cant get any other property this is just going to be like the City taking this property.
Member Brennan: We may be back to the question that you raised then; what else can be done with this parcel?
Member Bauer: Nothing, you cant do a thing with it. no matter what you put into it, as it stands..
Member Antosiak: Nothing as it is currently zoned. The situation that I am seeing is that we have a lot that is approximately 1.17 acres; created prior to the current zoning, the adjacent parcel is owned by an unrelated third party was attempted to be acquired but was not. I believe that this people have a legitimate concern with the property as zoned. It is in a zone that requires 2 acres and I agree with Mr. Harris; this would be a significant variance to grant. It is a close call for me. Had we had a stronger support against it from Olde Orchard residents or the Olde Orchard Association. Then perhaps I might have been swung the other way. I think this is an acceptable use for this property and I could support the variance.
Member Brennan: I feel the same as Jim. We have a very positive motion from the Planning Commission which is certainly not common. We had a full support based upon the ZBA granting these 3 variances; 2 of which I will agree are rather moot. The lot size is the biggest consideration. I move that the petitioner really has nothing else to do. He has no other use for the parcel. I am a bit moved whether it means anything or not that this is a good Novi business that seeks to improve their business and to stay in Novi. I would tend to support the applicant.
Member Harris: I would only add to my previous comments that if this was the original land owner that in fact owned this land through that entire time I would probably be persuaded to agree with the other comments. But since this is a speculative situation with full knowledge of the zoning ordinances when they entered into this agreement with an understanding of it albeit whether they got the right message or not from the rest of the City officials, is that it takes it right out of the history category and into the present form.
Moved by Member Bauer,
Seconded by Member Brennan,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-018 THAT THE REQUESTED VARIANCE FOR THE DEFICIENCY OF THE SITE SIZE, LANDSCAPING SCREENING AND THE WAIVER OF THE CURB CUTS BE GRANTED DUE TO THE LOT SIZE AND CONFIGURATION AND DUE TO THE FACT THAT THERE IS NOT VISIBLE WAY ANOTHER STRUCTURE OR BUSINESS CAN BE UTILIZED ON THIS PROPERTY.
Member Harrington: I will not support the motion because I do not feel that we have or that this Board Member has sufficient information in which to conclude what other Board Members have concluded; which is that we are sort of stuck with this parcel. If the City tells me that, or if Mr. Frieds office tells me that, then I would take that into consideration. But until or unless I hear that or until or unless I hear the history of the various owners of this property and the like, I cant support the motion simply based upon the conclusions from the petitioner.
Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Harris, Harrington Motion Carried
CASE NO. 96-019
Robert Cvetkovski, representing Baskin Robbins, is requesting a variance to allow 6 tables for temporary outdoor seating at 39765 Grand River Avenue, in the Pheasant Run Plaza, from April through October for the next five (5) years.
Robert Cvetkovski was present and duly sworn.
Robert Cvetkovski: We have been successfully doing it for the last 3 years. Customers enjoy having this privilege. Tables are always checked and cleaned. Like in the past, we hire more people to make sure that it is well maintained out there. This year we are asking for a 5 year because of the seasonal usage.
Chairman Harrington indicated that there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: We have received no complaints and that we should maintain jurisdiction over this particular area and make sure that we have accessibility.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that in the past in this type of situation the maximum that we have extended a variance is 3 years.
Chairman Harrington: I believe that you are correct, Mr. Reinke. I am not sure that would be a rule written in the tablets, but that is usually as far as we wish to go in the future.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-019 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST BE GRANTED DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE BUSINESS BUT THAT THE VARIANCE LENGTH OF TIME BE FOR THREE (3) YEARS. THIS WILL BE FOR THIS PETITIONER ONLY, WITH CONTINUING JURISDICTION BY THE BOARD.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
CASE NO. 96-020
Library Sports Pub & Grill is requesting a variance to allow for temporary outdoor seating for property located at 42100 Grand River Avenue, from May 1 through September 30, 1996.
Robert Barnett was present and duly sworn.
Robert Barnett: I would like to approach the Board Members. I have a letter regarding this case.
Chairman Harrington: For the audience and other viewers this would be a letter from Ken McLaughlin apparently on behalf of Thomasville, the owner of the shopping center, confirming his support for the outdoor seating. He has seen the drawings and believes that it will fit nicely with the upgrades.
Robert Barnett: Very simply, particularly since we have some nice days in the past month, we have had comments from a lot of our guests which has been increasing since we opened last July, if we will be having an outdoor cafe this up coming summer, since it seemed a natural with the overhang at the McLaughlin Shopping Center. We would like to provide that as an option to our guests coming in. Last Friday we had to turn away numerous families because we were already full. We also feel that with the iron gating it will enhance the appearance of the whole shopping center, which has really turned itself around. McLaughlin has done a nice job as far as repainting the center and we feel that the iron gating will help enhance that.
Robert Barnett: We have also had approval from the MLCC as far as outdoor sales for liquor, beer and wine, that would not be outdoor sales but outdoor service. I have also been in contact with Detective April from the Novi Police Department and they seem to have no problem; he is just waiting on an answer from this evenings meeting.
Robert Barnett: I will be happy to answer any questions you have regarding the layout, the design or how we intend to manage this outdoor cafe.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 12 Notices sent to adjacent property with no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: Could you elaborate on your iron railing? How close is it going to be to the curb?
Or to the edge of the walkway?
Robert Barnett: From the edge of the walkway it will be approximately 3 feet and about 70 feet from Grand River. It will run along the posts that support the overhang. We were just going to fit it nicely between those posts.
Don Saven: In other words, you have 3 foot between the railing and the parking area.
Robert Barnett: Right.
Don Saven: And it is still underneath the overhang?
Robert Barnett: That is right.
Don Saven: The doors that you have that are existing on the building that are swinging out into that particular area, are those doors operable at this present time?
Robert Barnett: One door is and the other door is an emergency exit; they both are operable but we are going to use the one as the entrance and exit.
Member Antosiak: Will the iron railing stay after September 30th or will you take that down then?
Robert Barnett: We really havent discussed that. I imagine that it will be permanent fixture. The conversations that we had with the landlord, Mr. McLaughlin, his only concern was that when someday when we do move out that we would remove the iron gate.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: What is the total square footage of this area?
Robert Barnett: We are talking 44 feet by 10 feet 9 inches wide. It runs a good portion of the front of the restaurant.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Number one, I think that it is way to much of an outside area, it is like creating another room. Number two, I dont see anything detailed as to what is the walk way that is left, as to what the sidewalk is to walk past there. I feel that this is just to much of an area.
Robert Barnett: The walkway within the cafe?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Between the railing and the curb of the drive area. It is not defined here.
Robert Barnett: It says 32 inches.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: 32 inches is the width of the post.
Robert Barnett. I have measured it myself and it is 3 feet.
Member Brennan: That is 3 feet from this iron rail to the parking area?
Robert Barnett: That is right, give or take 4 inches. I could double check that just to make sure. I didnt really look at the width of the posts.
Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: How does this compare to what Shields had out there in the past?
Don Saven: Very similar in nature, but I dont recall the barrier.
Member Antosiak: I dont recall that either; but the number of tables was approximately the same.
Don Saven: I believe that it is pretty close.
Chairman Harrington: The file that we have from the prior meeting reflects a variance granted in 1993 for six tables with a maximum seating of 12 people. It would appear from the rendering that we have in front of us that substantially more tables are encompassed within your proposal.
Robert Barnett: That is correct. We actually felt that we had room for about 32 seats. I did see the pre-existing drawings which were lacking in professionalism; we have taken the time to have everything measured out and Shields was only looking to where it actually begins. They were going to put umbrella type of seating under there larger six tops. We are just looking for tables of 2 or small tables of 4 which would allow us to have more dining. It is not going to be a standing room area it will be a dining and seating area only.
Chairman Harrington: Did your investigation disclose whether Shields continued to have outdoor seating during the years of 94 and 95?
Robert Barnett: I am not sure. I remember going there one particular year. It wasnt in 94 or 95 during the 50's festival. But, I believe that in 94 and 95 the owners had really pulled out with their interest. They werent on premise. They really made no effort to have the outdoor cafe for those years.
Chairman Harrington: Does the City know if they continued the outdoor table usage beyond the initial variance?
Don Saven: I couldnt tell you without investigating the records.
Nancy McKernan: They didnt apply after that.
Chairman Harrington: The other question that I would have, is anyone from the City aware of whether there were any adverse incidents that occurred as a result of the placement of these tables outside. If six tables was a reasonable test and there were no problems, I think that would be in the nature of a positive indicator.
Member Baty: I am in favor of the outdoor seating. The more outdoor seating the better. I am an outdoors type of person and I think that there are a lot of people in Novi who like the outdoors. My question is, if there are no ordinances in Novi governing outdoor seating what could we end up with? That is the problem that I have.
Member Bauer: You have liquor, that is what probably sets it off.
Member Baty: We have ordinances spelling out exactly how the signs should look, but we dont have anything that tells if this table needs 4 legs or whether there is an umbrella above it or..............
Member Brennan: I think that the fact that the petitioner is asking for less than a year or seasonal is perhaps worth consideration. They are relatively new to the City. They are looking to expand their business and to improve their offerings and a seasonal temporary use I would support for the year and see how things work out.
Chairman Harrington: Is that a motion, Mr. Brennan?
Member Brennan: If you dont need me to rephrase it, it is.
Seconded by Member Harris if it included for this petitioner only and with Board jurisdiction.
Discussion on motion:
Chairman Harrington: My only concern is, and I tend to agree with Mr. Reinke on this one; you can run into more of a problem with over building or over usage in this kind of an establishment than you can in many of the other cases that we see. Just because we allow you to fill every square inch with tables, use your common sense because if it comes back in front of us next year and there have been problems or incidents which means that we were to generous and should have been more conservative that will be very problematic for us. So use a lot of common sense and discretion out there if the variance is approved.
Member Harris: In support of this motion I am being very heavily reliant on the Building Departments insurance that all of the accessibility items and issues are in fact totally addressed. I have some concerns about the accessibility and movement through the space with the number of chairs and I think that the petitioner needs to be very carefully and keenly aware of that. This is a relatively restricted space. All accessibility should be there both inside and outside of the railing and that there is an ability since this railing will now encompass an area that was previously an escape area through the emergency door that you do some consideration with the railing itself with a special gate or an emergency gate or something so that we dont have individuals trapped in that area after they have exited the restaurant in an emergency.
Robert Barnett: That is in the plans.
Don Saven: I also have a concern relative to the railing in itself, that it be of a permanent nature. I would like this issue to be reviewed, if possible, through the Planning Department because we deal so much with facades on buildings whether or not this would be a distraction for this particular center. I just want to make sure that issue is covered. If we decided, maybe next year when this gentleman comes back there is a permanent nature. For this year I would suggest that we take a look at it as a temporary structure.
Chairman Harrington: Mr. Brennan, is your motion so modified that the railing aspect will be temporary only to reviewed next year.
Member Brennan: Well that and I guess that maybe we should back up because the petition didnt really designate the number of tables or the number of parties and perhaps we should extend the variance to insure that it does not exceed anymore than 28 people if that is in the Boards favor. I would support the addendums as noted and also add that the petitioner explain that this outdoor seating would be limited to 28 people in some configuration and that you will insure that through the Building Department that all safety and welfare is addressed.
Chairman Harrington: My problem with that addendum to the motion and I will not support that; is number one I think that we are micro-managing by telling this gentleman how many people can be out there not necessarily the number of tables. Number two if you have 4 people at a table 7 times 4 is 28, and he has more tables on his drawing than simply 7; this is an area where the gentleman is going to have to comply with City Codes including fire safety rules as well as reasonable prudence. People are not going to come out there if they are packed, on the other hand, he shouldnt worry about the ordinance police ticketing him because there is 28 people plus 3 little children drinking diet pop there. That is micro-managing and I dont think that belongs in this particular motion. If there are problems he is going to get cited and he is going to have to deal with that when we ask him were there any problems next year. So I cant support a people limitation. He has a square footage limitation, we dont do people limitations in other restaurants and other facilities and I dont think that this is a good precedent to set.
Robert Barnett: I would like to add that myself as a manager and the other 2 managers have all operated restaurants that have had outdoor cafes before and we understand the commitment and the responsibility that is there and once the seats are full that is it. If somebody comes to talk to a table that is a different story; but it is not going to be allowed to be a group gathering place. It is just going to be seating and dining only.
Member Brennan: I will retract the addendum that relates to the number of people or tables.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that in most situations and I am not going to say all because I havent done the research to say that, in outdoors it has been the best of my memory we have had as part of the motion the number of tables that were considered, to my estimation in looking at this and what has been there in the past; it has increased significantly and unless there is some definition of some type I cannot support the motion.
Member Harris: On that point, I am supporting the motion based upon the fact that I believe that the City will do a accessibility assessment including the fact that there would not be an allowance for any tables that would incur or stop people from moving normally or regularly through that and I think that would in fact then generate the final number of tables or the final amount of seating that can reasonably placed in there. We had much the same kind of discussion the first time that Baskin and Robbins was here and over the course of that first year they readjusted their tables and their locations to find a suitable and reasonable way to make it acceptable to everybody. I think that I would see the same thing happening here.
Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Reinke, Bauer Motion Carried
CASE NO. 96-021
Glendas Market is requesting an extension of the variance that was granted on April 4, 1995 to allow Glendas Market to do business at it is currently situated. This variance expired on December 31, 1995. Glendas wishes to open for business at the end of April 1996. ZBA Case No. 95-046.
Chris Cagle was present and duly sworn.
Chris Cagle: We were in front of you several times in the past. We have a project in process right now for final site plan approval, in which we will be in front of this Board for some variances. We had hoped at this time to have that in front of you. Unfortunately for some engineering difficulties it was delayed longer than we wanted it to but it is in the process and we hope to be in front of you at your next meeting.
Chris Cagle: We would like to extend the variance to do business so that we can open the doors and begin generating some income for the family for the business; but we are and will if the project is developed and gone through be in that building for next season.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 22 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.
Joyce Stickley, Joseph Drive in the Lesley Park Subdivision. I was just wondering as to what "currently situated" what is the business exactly that they are going to be conducting there? Also I think that there has been a plan of how they were going to landscape their lot and have a berm all around and the story was that the City had stopped them from doing this before. They are not supposed to be coming out onto Joseph Drive out of their property, that is in this plan that was supposed to take place before; so they have been going out onto Joseph Drive to get onto to Grand River. They blocked the existing driveway that was from a house that was on a property with trees and shrubs and what have you. I was also wondering if they were going to be putting the berm around and the plans that had executed before. Nothing has happened and it has probably been a year or more. The situation that is up there now looks kind of like a mish mash of stuff. They have piles of rocks here and there and they have shrubs laying around and trees laying around; it is just an eye sore really when you come into our street. I feel that they havent lived up to what they said they were going to do. Nothing has happened and I just wanted you to be aware that we are not real happy with the way that it looks now or recently or further back, every day it changes because they move supplies around, take them away, sell them or whatever. Also, they go under Glendas Market but then there is also the Panorma Landscaping Company and I was just wondering what kind of business are they doing there?
Chairman Harrington: Mr. Cagle we dont normally do point/counterpoint between audience members and petitioners; but do you have any additional information that you can furnish us regarding the ladys comments on berming, the mish mash and the landscaping company that she mentioned?
Chris Cagle: Last year we did try to put some berms up along side of Joseph Drive, we were not ticketed but we were visited by the City and told that we were not allowed to do that. So, we stopped that process. Right now I do and I will apologize there are some trees on the ground and there are some boulders and rocks in 2 or 3 piles there. The trees were just dropped off roughly a week ago, we had hoped to already have them in a nice array but do to the weather conditions this spring, which we all know, we have been putting them away in the last day or so and they will be in a nice array and they will be cleaned up. As far as going out onto Joseph, obviously the guys have gone out or pulled out onto Joseph to get out to Grand River in the past and if that is a problem at this immediate time I will make sure that it doesnt happen. But as far as the Panoramic, we have been there and our part of d.b.a. of Glendas and have been for the last 15 years. We havent changed the nature and I dont intend to change anything on anybody at this point either.
Don Saven had no comment.
Member Harris: I would really like to hear where this is at in Planning before we go much further.
Greg Capote: Glendas Market has submitted to our office for final site plan approval. I checked the file before the Meeting, and there is a receipt in the file dated March 15th. So I would anticipate that the consultants review letters will be in our office shortly. I know the Fire Departments letter has been received and they recommended approval. That is where it stands right now.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: It is not really practical to say that it is going to go through the whole process and be ready to come before us for whatever variances would be needed on our May agenda.
Greg Capote: I wouldnt say that. I think that it is certainly possible. Without having the opportunity to look at the consultants reviews this is the first time that they are coming through the hoop, if they made it through the first time for final they would be the first. But, given that there may be just some minor changes that might be required, it might be possible to come to the May Meeting. But, we have to see what the comments are and we will probably have them some time at the end of the week.
Member Harris: But May is not a magic date either, because what we are being asked for is to give them the authority to operate for this business season because even if they get the approval it is going to take them this year or longer to move to the new plan. So, even if we do variances at the next meeting if it came to us, that would be to a future use; we are still going to be asked to allow this current use to exist or I think that is what we are being asked to allow the current use to exist during this year and at this point.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand that, but I think that a lot of my consideration is to try to get this thing to the final stage.
Member Harris: That is absolutely right.
Chairman Harrington: I have a couple of questions for Mr. Cagle. At any time over the last month have your doors been open to the public?
Chris Cagle: No, sir.
Chairman Harrington: Have trucks been coming in and going out and making deliveries, pursuant to your plans to open for business?
Chris Cagle: No, we have had one load of nursery stock delivered and it wasnt to my knowledge that it was supposed to be delivered because I havent had anything scheduled for delivery until after April. But, the truck was there and unfortunately the driver was to either drive back down south or for us to unload it. We havent opened to the public. We havent sold to the public. We havent done business since December 23rd. So as far as the variance ending at December 31st, we werent in business at that time. We havent opened the doors yet. We wish for this variance so that we can proceed and put everything in order and open the doors to the public. There is nobody that wants this project to come to a head faster than I do. I have been working on it for 4 years back and forth. I believe that the Building Department and the Planning Commission knows that my diligence has been. I dont want this to go on. I would like to be in operation by the end of the season, but I will be in operation if this does come to a head for next season, so I am just asking for the year variance.
Chairman Harrington: Have you had any employees on your payroll at that site in the last month?
Chris Cagle: No, sir.
Member Antosiak: Just a comment. I am not inclined at this point to support any extension for a variance without having their final site plans gone to the Planning Commission or the Planning Department for review. I think that one of the reasons that we continue to see Glendas back before us is because we keep extending their variance and we have yet to draw the line and say "no longer". I think that if we were to deny their request tonight we would see a pretty immediate response in terms of planning. So for that reason that we have asked them numerous times, I wont even attempt to recollect all of the times that we have asked for something and not gotten it. I just cant approve any further extension.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I totally agree with Mr. Antosiak; but they have their final site plan submitted to the City so it is really out of their control at this point in time if there are some minor changes or corrections that have to be made to that. I would like to see it done on a expedited basis also, but yet since they do have the documentation in presently I dont think that we can really hamper them because there isnt anything more that they can do at this point in time.
Member Antosiak: I would like to agree with you, Mr. Reinke, but I cant. The variance expired at the end of December, they were on the agenda for the January Meeting and 2 and 1/2 months later the site plans come to the Planning Department. With another year extension, if the final site plans are not approved as submitted and Mr. Capote indicated that it was not a likely scenario on the first submittal; I dont know when we are likely to see the final site plans get finally in a form that is approvable. I think that as long as we keep extending the variance, we will see Glendas back before us seeking to extend the variance further. I think that this is as far as I can go. I think that we have been more than fair.
Member Bauer: It has been a long hard road, to get this far. I really dont know.
Member Brennan: Perhaps there is nobody here that can officially give the answer to the question, but I have to ask it because I am still relatively new to the Board. If the variance is not granted, they cant open for business?
Chairman Harrington: That is correct.
Member Brennan: If that is the case, then I would tend to agree with Mr. Reinke. It is out of their hands, they have passed it to the City with Planning. In all fairness to the petitioner, they have proceeded and granted it might not have been with the pace that we would like to have seen, but it is off of their finger and it is in Planning and I dont know that we can ask them to shut the business down when it is out of their control.
Member Baty: I thought that they could open for business, because they were grand fathered in. They could open for business in their prior form.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: It has gone way past that.
Member Baty: That is an option that would be available, right?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: No. They dont exist as they were before. It is a whole different situation.
Member Baty: The footprint is still there or is that gone?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is all gone.
Member Bauer: I could support this, but not for a year. Absolutely, not.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that we have to do 2 things here. Number one, since they have the final site plan application back into the Citys hands to work with and to get whatever additional information that it needs. The only thing that we have control to make sure that this is completed in an expeditious process is the variance request and I am very reluctant to go for the whole season because then I can see this thing slipping and sliding. Yet, I feel that since they met the requirements even if not on a timely basis, they still are where they should be at right now and I think that they should be allowed to open for business and this should proceed in a timely fashion. Now what is the optimum center in between, I dont know.
Chairman Harrington: I have an opinion and optimum center in between is next month. We use the phrase continuing jurisdiction loosely; but if there is any case that has sorely cried for continuing jurisdiction by this Board it is the Glendas case. This matter should have been brought to us in December. It should have been here in January. February we were looking for it. In March we commented "well when the snow melts, I think that we will see Glendas" and here is Glendas and the snow hasnt melted yet, so maybe they are early. I think that they should come back next month. I am prepared to support a 30 day granting of a variance and continue our jurisdiction at that time and if we are not satisfied that they are opting with all possible speed to make up for thier lost time (not our lost time, but theirs) yank the permit in May and/or June and/or July. I can support a varaince for 30 days.
Member Baty: I couldnt support a variance for 30 days. It goes back to December, January, February, March and now we are going to do April. I couldnt support it.
Member Bauer inquired of Greg Capote: Is it all within the realm of possibilities that it would be outside of little clean up things to be approved by the Planning Commission through you?
Greg Capote: It is certainly very possible, the plan was submitted in the middle of March. By the ordinance and the site plan manual the consultants are allowed 15 working days to review the plan and to produce a letter. So, those letters are real close. Should there be a few minor outstanding things then the ball is kicked back to the applicant and the burden is then on them to respond, make the changes and resubmit. It kicks it back into the system. Another fee. Another 15 days. I would imagine that with the pressures on this particular applicant if they are back for the second time, if there are minor items, it probably can get approved relatively quickly. So, 15 days I wouldnt anticipate that happening, if they have to go back for a second time. It is hard to say to put an exact date on it because there are many other petitioners before them and it just depends upon what the issues are.
Member Brennan: May I make a suggestion? We are looking for Glendas to drive this, to finish it. If we were make Glendas an agenda item on the next meeting and every meeting thereafter, with the objective of insuring that the continuation and the progress is always at the Citys pace and not being stalled by Glenda. So, when we are here next month and we ask Greg where are we at, "well the Citys got this or the tree people have that or whatever it may be", but that these guys are not remiss in what they have to do. We continue from a month to month basis, keep them in business, let them earn their money and as long as they are progressing and not imeding the progress that we grant it on a month to month basis and just make it a line item. It doesnt have to be anything much more formal then at the end of the meeting "hows Glendas going?" and if there is a problem then we raise the flag. I would hate to put the people out of business, that is what is troubling me. This is their life blood and they have 8 months to make their money.
Member Bauer: When and if you get an OK, are you financially able to to start it immediately?
Chris Cagle: We have at this time approached 2 different financial facilities for this development. It does look very favorable. We also have some personal money to put toward the project. But, they also want a final project approved to really give the definite here is the money for the project. They dont want yes it is in the process or it is at the City or it is at the architect; they want a final site plan that is approved. So, I guess the question is yes; if and when we receive a project that is acceptable and ready to go forward then yes we will be ready to proceed with this. I have already lined up different contractors and have gotten prices and I am ready to proceed immediately.
Member Bauer: So, there would be no hold up as far as you are concerned?
Chris Cagle: No. Like I said, I am very serious about wanting to be in this project by the end of the season or sooner. It is going to take some time as far as just putting the project together and reorganizing. So the latest that I want to be in this is next spring. But, I would really look forward to being in it at Christmas time for our season.
Greg Capote: If it provides any comfort to the Board, once the review letters are in from the consultants to our office; our office could forward those letters to all the Members of the Board so you can keep track as to where the applicant is in the process. If that would provide any comfort.
Member Harris: I would propose as a middle ground in this, that we as a Board table this until the May Meeting. They were looking to begin business the end of April and the May Meeting is not terribly far from that. Tabling with the conditions for them that if they so choose that they could prepare to open for business should the rest of the material or information be there. I think that at that point we would have a much better base of information in order to make the decision. It strikes me that we are talking probably about a 2 week delay in their opening at that, but considering the rest of the information and I am very much in support of Mr. Antosiaks comments about the length of time that it has taken to get to the steps even though it is now in the Citys hands; but would propose that we schedule it for the May Meeting as an administrative tabling from this Meeting and then receive that information and consider it and determine whether or not there is a short term variance or a long term variance. Personally I would believe that I would extend the variance for the season if in fact the site plan had been approved and we know that by the end of the season we would be in a final resolution of this, but if we find ourselves were we found ourselves before with just more confusion and not doing it then I think that we pull the plug. So, my suggestion is that we table this pending the rest of the information to the May Zoning Board Meeting.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I still think that I agree with the Chairmans initial comment that we extend this on a month to month basis and that it be an item on the agenda each month until we have final site plan approval or if we deem that if there is no progress being made; then the variance will be dealt with at that time.
Member Brennan: Do you expect to swing the doors open on May 1st? Do you have a set season opening?
Chris Cagle: Well the nature of our business is a very short term business. We have very little time to prepare and the reason that we are asking for the April or April 15th for that matter, so that we can present to the community that we are an open business and we are open for business. If we wait until May, Mothers Day is the bottom line our biggest week end. If we are not open for Mothers Day Glendas Market is bankrupt.
Member Brennan: That is why I asked, because the paper work talks about the end of April. I suspect that you probably want to be open a little before the end of April.
Chris Cagle: Or even if it is to where we can proceed with progress and getting the establishment ready for business even if it is just the first of May or the end of April. But, to go to the next agenda being May 7th, I believe that Mothers Day is May 8 or 9; it is our biggest week end.
Member Baty: How long have we been extending this variance?
Chairman Harrington: Years.
Member Baty: I still favor, Mr. Antosiaks comments; but I think that Mr. Harris suggestion to table to the May Meeting is a good compromise. I dont think that at this point and after years and years it is right to say all of a sudden that it is in the Citys court.
Member Bauer: It has taken a long time to get to this point.
Member Baty: It shouldnt have.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand that, but we finally got to this point of closing this.....
Member Baty: But we are not there yet, though.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: But we are a million miles closer than we have ever been.
Chairman Harrington: Not that it would have been particularly productive, it probably would have been more distressing; but we have not heard any explanation as to why March 15th was the magic date for submitting to Planning. Why nothing was done February 15th, January 15th or December 15th or November 15th. The delay directly attributable to Glendas Market and/or its architects and/or its other professional representatives and/or their own inability to decide what they are going to do financially has been the reason that this has languished for years in front of this Board. That is the problem that we are facing, like are we finally getting the message across and I am not sure that we are, I dont like personally or as a Board Member the idea of using a financial punitive sanction that we are basically going to fine you 2 weeks of business. I would have thought that they would have anticipated that punitive sanction themselves and been in front of this Board in December and been in front of Planning in January and not waiting until March to get it in front of Planning and come in here in April and say Mothers Day is coming up. The Board has bent over backwards time after time after time for Glendas Market and in fact I dont think that there is another busines who has received more Board friendly treatment albeit couched with some strong suggestions as to what they ought to do to get it in gear. But, no business has been before this Board and received such favorable treatment. On the other hand, are we going to sit here as a Board and say that we are going to put you out of business for a week or 2 weeks and make you suffer that consequence? I dont think that is the solution. It is a consequence but I dont think it is the solution. I think that they should read the handwriting on the wall and I believe that they should be allowed to open, reading our comments or at least some of our comments for what they mean which is that we do not shy away from putting you out of business. If there are any more delays attibutable to Glendas Market you will be out of business. This Board needs to be satisfied that you are doing what you told us you would do years ago and what you told us you would do last year and we had hoped to receive progress reports in January, February and March Meetings and never did. We need to break the impass.
Moved by Chairman Harrington,
Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-021 THE VARIANCE PREVIOUSLY ISSUED BE EXTENDED UNTIL THE MAY MEETING.
Discussion on motion:
Member Antosiak: Just a comment, although this is not the suggestion that Mr. Brennan made it hints at it and I am not comfortable with the Board taking more or less a supervisory role in this process and I would hate to see the Board put an item on the agenda month after month after month just to insure that progress is being made. I dont see that as the role of this Board. As I mentioned before, I am not inclined to support any extension of the variance until the City has final site plan approval and we know then what we have before us. At this point, they have a site plan. I dont know what it is, Planning doesnt know what it is, we dont know how it will have to be revised although we are fairly certain that it will be. So, I really cant support the variance. I would have considered supporting a variance such as Mr. Harris had suggested but I cant support any continuation of an operating variance for Glendas.
Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Antosiak, Brennan Motion Carried
Chairman Harrington: You have received a variance until next month and we would expect to see you back here next month and report to us on the progress of your proceeding through the Planning Commission and any other relevant developments.
Member Bauer: Can we have Mr. Capote supply us with those documents that he talked about?
Chairman Harrington: Mr. Capote, if you would favor us with copies of the material that you referenced that would be most appreciated, so we will be up to speed at next months meeting.
Greg Capote: I will.
CASE NO. 96-022
Robert Crawford is requesting a variance to allow the continued use of a patio deck stairway in the required side yard setback for property located at 25761 Lochmoor Lane.
Robert Crawford was present and duly sworn.
Robert Crawford: I have a letter of approval from my next door neighbor who is most affected by this and some pictures that I would like to present to the Board.
Robert Crawford: I have not much in the way of a presentation. I am finding myself in a kind of an interesting situation being the homeowner and the one that is sort of at the mercy of third parties involved in it. Just to recount the story briefly; prior to my relocation from Ontario I contracted Coy Construction to build an addition and a deck on the back of our home. Along with that, of course, is obtaining a building permit and that was done by Coy Construction. On November 9th Coy received approval from the City based upon the site plan that was submitted. After that there was a further inspection of the post holes and that was also approved. In December there was a rough inspection that primarily involved the addition. The deck was completed at that time. At no time during this process was there anything mentioned about the encroachment on the 10 foot setback until the final inspection at which time the inspector noticed that the stairway access to the deck did in fact encroach on the 10 foot setback. That is basically it.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 26 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response given to the Board. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: Based on the fact that if you take a look at the picture, which I think is really important and I think that there may be some work done with deck and stairway configuration because this is a problem especially on the smaller lots and the setback requirements in that area and also including the drop offs or the changes in grade which we encounter in situaitons like this. If it was a standard walkway, a sidewalk initself, this wouldnt have been a problem. Because it is part of the deck it becomes part of the problem. It is a situation where it is a real tough call because you need that set of stairs to get off in certain areas and it becomes a very difficult situation. I feel that we may be addressing this at some time in terms of decks and the construciton of decks based upon elevations and the ability of the set of stairs as means of an exit.
Member Harris: I would have to agree with Mr. Savens comments particularly when you start looking at the fact that you can only project 20 inches into a required setback which has no real relevance in terms of a dimension. I think that from a standpoint of typical homes built in Novi, we are going to see more and more of the need for a stairway because of coming down on the garage side or the entranceway side door. I think that this is very reasonable. Further I think that the fact that he went through a couple of inspections and through legitimate channels attempting to do this, certainly weighs very heavily in his favor. I think that this is a hardship that is not of his own making and should be supported.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I agree with what Mr. Harris says. The only thing is a comment that I have to make and that is on the inspection it says "submit revised plan to reflect change in stairway", which could or could not be that it was on the original drawing that was submitted. I think as long as it is a stair way that is projecting into it and not a whole deck area is a small request in a situation for certain elevations of decks and that is something that we are going to run into. I really dont have a problem in supporting this.
Moved by Member Harris,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-022 TO APPROVE THE REQUESTED VARIANCE BASED UPON THE UNIQUE CONFIGURATIONS OF THIS PARTICULAR DECK AND STAIRWAY.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
CASE NO. 96-016
Louis Piccariello, representing Windridge Place is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of a sign for the Windridge Place Development. the sign is lcoated at Ten Mile and Windridge Lane.
Lou Piccariello was present and duly sworn.
Lou Piccariello: We have a sign on Ten Mile and Windridge Lane and we are requesting an extension for 6 months. The hardship would be that we are not yet 50% sold of the 45 lots that we have. We have approximately 17 that are sold right now. We feel that it is essential for us to compete and to sell the other remaining lots. The sign is an essential part of the marketing value of the property and I dont see any adverse affects to us having that sign in place. It is professionally done and it is maintained.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 9 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch: The sign has been well maintained and we havent had any problems with it.
Member Harris inquired of Alan Amolsch: How long has the sign been up?
Alan Amolsch: For one year.
Don Saven: This is a relativley new project and it is just getting off of the ground and I am not sure whether 6 months is enough. Is he going to be back before us again? You might want to consider that issue.
Member Brennan: You say that you are about 50% sold out at this point?
Lou Piccariello: A little less, we are 5 less than 50%. Sales have picked up since we opened up the model.
Chairman Harrington: Will 6 months do it for you? We have people with greater proportions sold who come and tell us that they need signs like yours for years and years in the future. Will six months do it?
Lou Piccariello: The letter I received, I believe that it said you could only get a 6 month extension.
I would like a year. The longer the better.
Chairman Harrington: Is 6 months realistic? Will 12 months do it for you?
Lou Piccariello: Yes.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconced by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-016 THE PETITIONER BE GRANTED AN EXTENSION OF THE SUBDVISION BUSINESS SIGN FOR ONE YEAR, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SELLING OUT LOTS.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
CASE NO. 96-023
Robert Higgins, representing Oxford Inn is requesting a variance to allow a ground sign 8' x 42" (28 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 5' for property located at 43317 Grand River Avenue.
Robert Higgins was present and duly sworn.
Robert Higgins: It has been about a year since I came before the Board; I had requested 2 signs at that time and I was denied. At that time I had an existing sign that could be seen going east and westbound on Grand River; but it wasnt able to be seen coming down Novi Road. However, the sign on Grand River was sort of blocked by the chiropractor office if you were going westbound, because of the height of the chiropractor office. I had requested an additional wall sign on the front of the building and at that time I was denied and was told that I could have one or the other. I choose to take the wall sign so that it could be seen from the Town Center and Novi Road. As I put the sign up now you cannot tell what the restaurant is facing Grand River and actually coming east and westbound on Grand River. The sign cannot really be seen. Therefore the traffic until you are actually up on the restaurant and maybe stopped at the light you can actually tell what my establishment is.
Robert Higgins: If I was exactly on the corner, I would be allowed 2 signs. I am really close to the corner and actually we have 2 lots, we have a lot that is actually located at 20920 Novi Road, which is part of our parking lot and the lot on Grand River. We are very close to the corner.
Robert Higgins: I understand the City has a strong ordinance on signs and I agree with the City on trying to keep the City beautiful with all of their new development. I am not asking for anything that is going to take away from the Town Center development or anything; I am just asking for the City to allow me to have 2 signs where I can actually see it from Novi Road and Grand River.
Robert Higgins: In approaching Alan after I was denied last time, Alan did say that I could have a directional arrow three square feet on Novi Road but I didnt install that because, to me, just a directional arrow at the drive wouldnt really tell the people what it was that they were driving into. What I am asking the City is to please allow me to have a sign and actually I want to put the sign back up that was up where you could see it coming east or westbound on Grand River and to also keep my sign that you can see from Novi Road, or the Citys recommendations as to how I could have 2 signs that would be visible from Novi Road and Grand River.
Robert Higgins: I also brought some pictures. I know that everybody has already looked at it but I have a drawing layout of the parking, my property, and the pictures.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 10 Notice sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.
Victor Cassis, 22186 Daleview Drive. Many of you know me because I used to own the place that Mr. Higgins now operates. I was sent a Notice and that is why I am here, because I do own property adjacent to this property. I am here to support Mr. Higgins in his request. I think judging from the previous case I think that this Board might be in the mentality of giving him an approval. Seriously now, I have operated this place for a few years and have been in town for a long time, I am very sensitive like you are about the need to have a good sign ordinance and have everything being really good on Grand River. However, the main thing that I want to impress on you is this; the attention to restaurants has shifted towards the freeway. The only restaurant in the area that is on Grand River is Mr. Higgins restaurant. More people are tending to go towards the freeway and patronize those other places and that is number one. Number two the problem is, I think that I have bought good property and it is in a good location but yet in a sense it is a paradox. Its close to the corner, but not right on the corner. The next door property has 2 floors, 2 high floors; so this building is in a sense hidden. By the time a person makes a left turn off of Novi Road on Grand River going eastward they are already passed the sign that he has up there right now.
Victor Cassis: In a sense there is a safety hazard situation. By the time they go beyond his entrance they have to turn around and come back. Another thing is that I have heard so many people when I operated my place come into my place and say "Vic, you know you have such a nice place here it looks nice, very nice aesthetically done, but yet we dont know that it is a restaurant, it looks to nice to be a restaurant". So, the identity of a restaurant is not there. Usually a restaurant have a certain way of really indicating to the public that they are a restaurant. So, that is another thing.
Victor Cassis: The other idea is this. The real problem here is that if this man was doing the business that is supposed to be done by this place he would not be here seeking relief. But, I do know that he needs help. He is a good operator, he has another place in Royal Oak and if many of you know about him he is very successful there. He is a great operator and yet he needs that help to get more customers into his place. I know that once he gets them in he will take care of them very well.
Victor Cassis: I think that I have made a case to support this man and his request and now it is up to the Board to give their judgement.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Antosiak: On your drawing of the sign, off on the right side where it says copy; what does that mean?
Robert Higgins: Stanton Sign designed that sign and actually that was like a changeable letter sign and the reason for that was that last Mothers Day I got ticketed because I put a Mothers Day Brunch thing out in front of my building with a phone number for reservations. I had to go to court and they put me on 90 days probation. I wanted it to put something like this week I have Easter Brunch or something like that. Just so people would know that I have stuff like that.
Member Antosiak: Is it really necessary to say Novi/Royal Oak?
Robert Higgins: No it isnt. That doesnt have to be on there. Whatever your recommendation is, that is what I am asking. I would take that off.
Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of Alan Amolsch: If he had an approved sign, and he put something out there for a one day event; he wouldnt really be ticketed for that because he has an approved sign there?
Alan Amolsch: The City does not allow portable signs.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: No, I am saying that if he attached something to this sign....
Alan Amolsch: The ground sign? If it was a changeable copy sign and it was designed that way, he could do that.
Chairman Harrington: Sort of like the Expo Center.
Alan Amolsch: That is right. Exactly. The City does not prohibit a changeable copy sign if they are designed that way.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: The only problem that I have with a changeable copy sign, it turns out to be a billboard and they dont look to pleasing.
Member Baty: You are requesting 2 signs in order to be visible to both the Grand River traffic and the Novi Road traffic, which sign do you anticipate being visible from Novi Road based upon the 2 pictures that I have in my hand; it doesnt appear that either one will be visible?
Robert Higgins: Right now the existing wall sign is visible, actually before I even did that the realistic thing that I thought to do would have been to put a sign on each Novi Road entrance of the drive and one on Grand River. Therefore, cars coming northbound on Novi would know that would be the Oxford Inn and they would pull into that driveway rather than to make the turn or tie up the traffic light.
Member Baty: So, you are thinking of putting a sign on Novi Road?
Robert Higgins: No, originally I asked and I would rather do that and take the wall sign off of the wall and put the old sign back on Grand River that was originally there and put another sign on Novi Road. When I first originally applied for the 2 signs last year, I originally had a wall sign in mind which to be very honest with you one on Novi Road and Grand River would definitely be better as far as traffic and everything else. I am just trying to see what the City would allow me to do.
Member Harris inquired of Alan Amolsch: Our interpretation of the ordinance is that this is not a corner lot?
Alan Amolsch: No, it is not.
Member Harris: Even though it abuts 2 thoroughfares?
Alan Amolsch: That is correct. Even if it was, this would not apply because the ordinance only allows 2 wall signs on a corner lot; not a combination of a ground and a wall sign.
Member Harris: I understand that, but we are still dealing with the fact that we have a unique piece of property here and in both cases the entrances would be very close to the corner which makes visibility not matter what you put up, you could put bells and whistles and lights and search lights, it is still very distracting to pull through there. But it is not considered by ordinance a corner lot.
Alan Amolsch: That is correct.
Member Harris: I do however believe that there is a significant visibility problem with this particular building. If we were to grant both signs, both the wall sign and the ground sign, we still have visibility problems but we have reduced some of them. It is a very serious area to try to move through. I think that there is certainly some things that can be done to help a unique situation out and I think that this a unique situation. I would support the second sign particularly after we have gone through an entire year and have seen the affects the businessman is bringing forward. I would also, however, believe that it would be fair to say that from my own personal experience that you dont hear much about it in Novi where most of the other restaurants are very active. The fact that the Oxford Inn is here in Novi is not terribly well known on a regular basis. I think that there is a need for doing, when you try to go to most restaurants in Novi on a Friday or Saturday evening and there is 120 minute wait you start wondering where to go. So part of it, I think, is marketing. The sign might help you with that, but I think that also just bringing people in and the treatment of them and that is a personal comment on my part in terms of whether I will come back, but the issue is one of the business here in Novi and I think that he has made a diligent effort to attempt his business and I would certainly support the second sign based upon the demonstration of the last year.
Chairman Harrington: I absolutely agree with Mr. Harris. I think that your location in Novi is unique and unless you are staring at your wall sign which actually when you come down Novi Road north to south it is not even right there either. I am not convinced that this additional sign is going to fix your problems, I personally believe that if you allowed a 1 by 3 sign which says anything about Oxford Inn and the Novi Road entrance that you absolutely should do that; but that is up to you whether you can do that or want to do that. But, it is not clear when you come up Novi Road from south to north before you get to the intersection that in fact that is a back entrance and you can go in there and park. That is not clear and I think that might help some of your visibility, too. If you are entitled to that kind of sign as a matter of right, I would suggest that you put it in. As to the sign that you are proposing here, I always am a little hesitant when applicants are intimidated by what they think that the Board might do before they come here because we want to be petitioner friendly and we want to know what you want. We dont want you to come in here shooting for second best if there is a first best in your own mind, nor do we want you tearing down signs 2 years from now and asking for new ones because you figured out well now we will go for the Novi Road sign. The petition that you have before us for the additional sign makes sense, it is unique, there is a genuine hardship and I can support it. I just hope that if we grant it, that is what you really want.
Member Harris: Is the sign that you are requesting a virtual replacement size wise of the sign that you took down?
Robert Higgins: It is exactly the same size sign. It is exactly the same frame and it is going to go in exactly at the same height of the original sign was and the only difference is that the inside panels are going to be changed.
Member Harris: Do we have a height variance issue, Alan?
Alan Amolsch: No.
Member Baty: Where is the second sign going to be located?
Robert Higgins: Actually the original sign that was there for Victors. It is right on the side of the drive on Grand River Road. It is visible driving down Grand River. There is an existing concrete support that is still there that it was sitting on.
Member Baty: I could support a second sign but not in the front of the building. I dont see that a second sign is going to add. I could support on Novi Road if that is allowable.
Member Brennan: If you will recall and I know that we dont like to reference previous cases, but there is like and likewise a couple of months back a very similar case where there was a wall sign on the front of the building on Grand River and the petitioner was saying that because of the traffic and the topography of the road that you really dont see it until you are on top of it. He wanted another sign out front that was perpendicular to Grand River and I think that we have a very similar situation here and a very similar need. I would support the sign as requested with the exception of the Royal Oak.
Chairman Harrington: One other comment in supporting your sign, I am also sensitive and agree with Mr. Reinke that while we dont like to get into aesthetics other than the Royal Oak which we are freely getting into, avoid use of the changeable portions of that sign so that it hasnt the appearance of a billboard. Make sure that it is professional and tasteful as the existing sign is and as I am sure that this rendering will be.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
Seconded by Member Harris,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-023 THE PETITIONERS REQUEST BE GRANTED DUE TO BUILDING LOCATION AND LOT LOCATION TO ASSIST IN THE SAFETY FINDING THE LOCATION.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Member Harris: I have a matter that I would like to bring to the attention of the Board and that is that I want to notify you first that I am submitting my letter of resignation from the Board effective with this Meeting. It is for personal reasons; health, family reasons and business reasons and I do with a significant level of regret to leave this Board. It has been an extreme pleasure serving with this Board and I wish you nothing but the best in the future with whoever your new Board Member becomes.
Chairman Harrington: If we could refuse to accept your resignation, we would. But, we cannot and will not and as the "Chair" I would like to commend you for your loyal and tremendous service to the Board over the years. Thank you, Mr. Harris. You will be missed.
Board Members all agreed with Chairman Harrington.
Don Saven: There should be some other information in your packet, there is a class that is being offered on a Saturday and I dont know if anybody is interested in that particular issue. If you are, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can process this.
Member Brennan: I was just planning on filling this out and submitting the check.
Don Saven: Yes, you will be reimbursed, so you can do that.
Member Brennan: City Council asked me if I would take a class a year ago and I said yes, and I have signed up twice now and they have always canceled them. So I am going to fulfill my obligation or at least attempt to; for the third time.
The Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan