TUESDAY - MAY 7, 1996


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





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

Baty (alternate)


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 quorum present this evening, this meeting is now in session. The Novi Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to determine applications for variances or special use permits. Generally these cases are in the nature of appeals after denial of an application by the City of Novi Building Department. The variance request will seek relief from strict application of the City of Novi Zoning Ordinances based upon the facts of the particular case. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to grant a variance request. We do have a full Board this evening and that being the case we will not consider postponements on any duly scheduled matter to the next meeting.





Chairman Harrington inquired if there were any changes to the agenda? The Chairman does note that we have a variance request from Marathon and Total under our principal cases as well as a sign variance for Marathon and Total later on in the agenda. It seems to me that if they are so inclined that we should consider those variances jointly. That is both the principal Marathon variance which would be 96-030 as well as the sign variance 96-029 at the same time rather than having them sit here and wait for an extra hour; and similarly with Total 96-031 should be joined with 96-032 and taken in that order.


Member Brennan: I had listed the same issues; to combine the two and address them at the same time.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,




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




This is the section whereby comments which are not related to a particular case that we have before us may be made to the Board. Is there anyone in the audience who would like to comment on matters not directly related to our scheduled agenda? (No one wished to come forward at this time.)


Chairman Harrington indicated I would like to note that we have 16 cases scheduled this evening; 13 of which are on our regular agenda and 3 of which are sign cases. We will proceed in the order as set forth in your handout; but for the Total and Marathon matters that we have advanced.





Steven Loe is requesting a variance to construct a garage addition to his existing house at 1507 West Lake Drive.


Steven and Paulette Loe were present and duly sworn.


Steven Loe: I trust that everyone got this letter that I enclosed with the packet, the heading on it is "this appeals is based upon the following grounds". I know that you have a full agenda, would you like me to run through what I have written here or is everyone up to speed on this, or?


Chairman Harrington: Let me help you out. Can you state the nature of the hardship related to your proposed addition that you would like to make. I think that is what the Board would like to hear and you do have a size variance, I believe, and you wish to have a larger than usual garage addition. So, tell you why you want it and how we can help you.


Steven Loe: Pretty much the variance is for lot coverage. I am exceeding the lot coverage by 4%. The other variance that we are requesting is for storage area and I believe that the ordinance states a total of 850 square feet and we are going to be going over that.


Steven Loe: The hardship involved is that we don’t have a basement. The existing house has no basement in which to incorporate typical design features. If there were a basement we would have 1224 square feet in which to house a recreation area for the family, a workshop, hobby and a utility area for the furnace , hot water heater, water softener, pressure tank and electrical panel. Those basically we have to incorporate the utility room in the first floor foot print. The design of the house incorporates a room over the garage. The intended use of the room is to provide the study area and recreation/hobby area. This is a lake residence and one of the design features is to provide secure storage for our boat. We are looking to do a 3 car garage. Our boat and trailer requires a 32 foot space in order to store inside (that is 32' in length). In addition to providing the space to park the boat and 2 cars we have allowed 3' on each side of these parking spaces when you pull into the garage. One side is designated for work benches and that sort of thing and the other side is designated for storage of the typical garbage cans, bikes, snow blowers and that sort of thing.


Steven Loe: Other considerations that I would like the Board to consider is that this addition does not encroach onto a side, rear or front setback. The most typical lot on Walled Lake is 40 feet and this lot is 60 feet. One of my concerns during the design phase was not to create a monster on the lot and I feel confident that we haven’t done that.


Steven Loe: I believe that there has been precedents set on the lake in terms of exceeding lot coverage in storage area. There is many examples that we could look at where this has occurred.


Steven Loe: Probably my biggest hardship is that I am renting my neighbor’s garage from him and he has politely asked me to move out this summer. I was supposed to get this thing done last summer and we haven’t quite done it yet. Aside from the fact I don’t know of any objections from the neighbors and I don’t know what kind of response you got with your mail out, etc., but I am sure that the neighbors will appreciate the overall appearance of what we are trying to accomplish there.


Paulette Loe: I just wanted to mention that we are re-doing the whole house not just that, so this is going to help us re-arrange our living space because it is older and this home was probably built in the teens and we are trying to come up with a good traffic pattern and have places where we can store things and we also need places for extra things like lawn furniture and the stuff that the kids use in the lake and things like that. We need the extra space for the storing of all those types of things.

Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total 27 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 3 written responses received all voicing approval. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Will there be a second story over the existing house?


Steven Loe: Yes, it is now a story and a half and the plan that was approved involves us tearing the top of the house off and turning it into a full 2 story and then that room will go out and over the garage.


Don Saven: My concern would be your close proximity to the property line on the little extension to your existing home. Whether or not the second story would encompass that.

Steven Loe: No, not at all.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: What is the zoning, is this R4?


Don Saven: Yes, it is R4.


Member Antosiak: Isn’t the minimum aggregate 2 side yards 25 feet required?


Don Saven: This is a pre-existing lot of record. It goes by the "grandfathering" which is part of Section 2400 of the Zoning Ordinance. It is 10 foot on each side.


Member Brennan: Just a quick question regarding homeowners associations, specifically LARA; typically anything involving the lakes area generally have those people here and they are not; and that being the case are you a member or is there any issue........?


Steven Loe: As a matter of fact I am. I guess Paulette spoke with Harry Avagian and he offered to be here but I just didn’t think that it would be necessary.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: With driving out there I think that what you are doing is a positive improvement, seeing what is there and what storage you need, etc. It really is not encroaching into the side yards and it is fortunate that they have a 60 foot lot. The biggest thing in the area up there is side yards because everything is built so close. With what they are proposing I really don’t have a problem with the variance request.


Chairman Harrington: I concur with Mr. Reinke.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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




Richard Herbel is requesting a variance to use a home located at 40705 Thirteen Mile Rd. as a two family dwelling. The ordinance does not permit two family dwellings in a RA District. A variance is needed to allow a continued use of the existing two family home.


Richard Herbel was present and duly sworn.


Richard Herbel: About 10 years ago we bought 2 pieces of property side by side. At the time that we purchased the property we were informed that the previous owner had used it as a rental and that the adjoining property owners also had 2 homes on 1 lot that they were renting out as well; living in one and renting the other. Over the years we have tried to improve the property. We have put in 3 septic fields and are now in the process of putting in 2 engineered fields in. We put in new furnaces, done new roofs, windows and have tried to keep it up.


Richard Herbel: In this unit that we currently have, we have not expanded in any way. All we have done is added a porch for separate access and have taken a window and made it into a doorway, we had 2 full baths upstairs so we took out the tub and put in a washer and dryer. We brought in circuit breakers, separate electrical lines and all that we are trying to do is just to maintain.


Richard Herbel: Our position is that we feel that we have a "grandfathered" use. In your packet there is a letter from the daughter of the previous owner indicating that her family rented this home out. We have rented it out consistently for 10 years and we have not had a problem. As you know, this is an area in transition. There are no homes on either side of me, except for just one family and my other rental. If you have driven by you may have noticed, that we are really in the country. It is only a matter of time where this has a new use and what it is I don’t know at this time. We feel that our use was "grandfathered" in and we have tried to live by the ordinances. All the work was done by licensed contractors and we had inspections by the City and they have found no violations.


Richard Herbel: In reading my document, primarily I think that you got involved with the complaint because of a difference of opinion on some things. It was a dispute between neighbors over dogs running loose and things like that. We just want to mind our own business, live our own lives and enjoy our property as we have it.


Richard Herbel: The hardship would be that if we would lose the rental from the upstairs it would substantially reduce the amount of repairs and the things that we could do for the property. You have read my documents and that is my case.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 6 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Richard Herbel: I would just like to respond, you may recall that when Mrs. Kenney came up for a license to breed dogs or to house dogs, the remark was made that they would have between 4 and 14 dogs on their property at one time. I came forward and indicated that I had no objection as long as the dogs were on their property. I can’t see where tenants would create as much distraction as we might have from other sources. I am just trying to let things lie as they are. I think that we can if we can get the ZBA approval.


Don Saven: I have a couple of comments. Number one, regardless of the issue of the dogs we are talking about an issue regarding the zoning for this district. This was a R1F, I believe, RA zoning district which never did allow a 2 family unit. An inspection was done which revealed that there is a 2 family dwelling unit in existence at that particular location. At this particular time, I believe that Mr. Morrone had contacted you referencing what your options were and that is why this gentleman is here before us.


Richard Herbel: That is correct, he said that we can convert back to a single family, we could pay a fine or we could go to the ZBA. Our position was that we had an existing use and we were just continuing it.


Don Saven: The question of existing use in terms of what was allowed, there was commentary supporting documentation that this was not a 2 family dwelling. You have got to bear in mind that there is a difference in the amount of rooms he may have within the structure and have 2 complete separate units whereby existing that you have a 2 family dwelling.


Member Bauer inquired of Don Saven: Recently he added the bathroom and so forth and these different things?


Don Saven: I believe that it was about 10 years ago, is that correct?


Richard Herbel: We didn’t add any bathrooms, sir. All we did was to take one tub out, we had 2 full baths upstairs. We took the tub out of one of the bathrooms and we still had one full bath. We had a vanity in the half bath left and we just put a washer and dryer in where the drain was for the bath. All we did was to put in a doorway where a window was.


Member Bauer: Did you add the stairs recently?


Richard Herbel: The stairs were about 4 or 5 years ago. That was for safety reasons, that is all.


Member Brennan: I have a question of clarity for Mr. Saven. In 1985 the zoning of that area did not support a 2 family residential?


Don Saven: That is correct.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: When you purchased that property, did you inquire what the zoning would allow?


Richard Herbel: I spoke with the owner.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Did you inquire with the City what the zoning would allow?


Richard Herbel: No sir, I did not.


Member Brennan: I will discuss what appears the obvious. This property has been in violation of the zoning since 1985 and the gentleman just got caught. It is as simple as that. I don’t know that there is any specific law about grandfathering even if the zoning was supportive of that at the time, and it wasn’t. Like any other case that comes before us the gentleman can’t support a reason why a variance should be granted, then it shouldn’t.


Chairman Harrington: My feeling is that it is not quite that cut and dry at this point, all though it could very well be by the time the matter is concluded. When I initially reviewed the petition that was filed by the applicant and the argument about "grandfathering in" and the concept of shall we say grandpersoning, is that if there is a pre-existing use of a parcel of property or the equivalent which proceed an ordinance being in acted there is an argument that can be made that there is a right to continue that use. When I saw that argument my first reaction was that I think that this is an area where we need input from the City Attorney on as to whether or not this would or would not be an arguable case of grandfathering in the use. But, having heard the position of the Building Department, that changes my own posture to the extent that I think the burden lays on the petitioner; at least as far as I am concerned, to demonstrate before this Board that there would be a valid claim to grandfathering. So while I would not support this variance, in fact I would vote to deny it, I would also reconsider this variance at some point in the future if the applicant can make a showing before this through legal council or legal authority or the equivalent that in fact that is a valid case for a grandfathered situation. I am not inclined to refer this matter to the City Attorney based upon the position of the Building Department. I think that the burden lays upon the petitioner to establish his claim. I would listen to those proofs in the future but they are not here tonight, only his claim. That is my thought.


Member Antosiak: My thinking, is that the petitioner should be demonstrating to us that the home cannot be used as a single family home and must be used as a 2 family home. I haven’t heard anything along those lines tonight.


Member Bauer: Those are my thoughts completely.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Antosiak,





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




Nick Bogoevski, representing Sam’s Cafe, is requesting a variance to allow five (5) tables with umbrellas for temporary outdoor seating at Sam’s Cafe, Inc., for a period of five (5) years, located at 39777 Grand River Ave., in the Pheasant Run Plaza. Refer to Case Nos. 1430, 1619, 1867, 91-70, 92-080 and 94-082.


Nick Bogoevski and Sam Bazzi were present and duly sworn.


Sam Bazzi: I am the previous owner of Sam’s Cafe and I have been granted variances for the last 8 years to put tables outside in front of my cafe. I kept those tables to the standard of the City and the new owner, Nick, has promised to keep the same standards and he is asking for a variance for another 5 years on those tables.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: The department has no problems, we haven’t received any complaints. As a matter of fact he has always kept it in a clean and orderly fashion.


Chairman Harrington: I would note that the prior variance of August 1994, was for a period of 2 years in which the 5 tables with umbrellas were permitted.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Normally a 5 year duration is something that we don’t get into for that length of time. My reason being is that what you have done in the past has been great and you have done a very good job. But, I have a reluctance to go 5 years. I could go probably 3, but I don’t think that I would want to go further than that.


Chairman Harrington: I would concur with Mr. Reinke and I would also note that of the 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners there were 2 written responses received voicing approval. Copies in file.

Member Brennan: Not having the information in front of me and maybe Nancy can remind us of the similar case from last month of the similar use and the length of duration that the variance was granted; would that have been 3 years? Thank you.


Member Bauer: I would have no problem with 3 years. They have kept it clean and I can’t see why it wouldn’t stay that way.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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




Richard Bale is requesting a variance to build an additional garage which is 816 sq. ft. for a total aggregate building area of 166 sq. ft. for property located at 25893 Clark St.


Richard Bale was present and duly sworn.


Richard Bale: I have a new home on Clark Street that I purchased last year. It does not have a basement. I added a garage. I have an interest in older cars and I need extra garage space to store these cars and I also have woodworking, radial arm saw, etc, tools for the hobbies in woodworking. I require the extra garage for the storage of these 2 vehicles and for my woodworking hobby interest. One of these cars I would like to restore over the next several years or for however long it takes for my retirement hobby to have something to occupy my time, if you will.


Richard Bale: My hardship is that these vehicles are currently stored elsewhere and similar to the first party that wanted the extra garage, the party that has the cars now would like definitely for me to get them remvoed and I would definitely like to get them at home also so that I could work on them. I have a homeowners association approval on my proposal. I don’t know of any objections to the proposal from the neighbors. Some of the lots in my neighborhood have an existing additional garage which is comprobable to what I am requesting. The use that they have is similar to what I would prefer to have and 2 of those parties have appeared before this Board for the same the reasons and were granted a request of similar type. I feel that the lot size that I have, 3/4 of an acre, and the extra building will be compatible or condusive to an additional building and will be well below the neighborhood average percentage of building to lot ratio.

Richard Bale: I feel that my request is not an unreasonable request for the neighborhood and I would appreciate a favorable judgement call on the proposal.


Chairman Harrington indciated there was a total of 31 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 23 written responses received voicing approval. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: First of all I would like to apologize to Mr. Bale and to the Board; there was a little inconsistnecy in terms of the request. I needed to sharpen my pen a little bit. There was a difference in calculation of 10 square feet, so there was actually a reduction in the amount of space that he needed by 10 square foot, so the the requesting variance is 806 square feet.


Member Antosiak: I can’t tell from your drawing, how close to your side yard do you intend to build this garage?


Richard Bale: There is a 42 inch drain sewer through between the neighbor and my yard and there is a 5 foot easement that I have to respect there. So I put it at 6 foot from the property line to respect the 5 foot easement on the drain which I don’t know if it is adequate but I assume that it is.


Don Saven: Six foot is required on a detached garage.


Member Bauer: With all of his neighbors pitching in for him, I can’t see where there is going to be a problem.


Member Brennan: A point of clarification, there is a metal shed that is noted on this drawing; that is coming out?


Richard Bale: That is long gone.


Member Bauer: This is an old plan that you have just updated?


Richard Bale: Yes, initially I brought the drawing to have a house built and then a garage added and I talked to Mr. Saven and he said just propose the house for expediiting the building and the garage was added later and I still had the print so I just added that part where my additional garage would go on the same plot.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Due to lot size, and it is mainly the lot size that I am looking at; that it is not overly built. The neighbors have similar situations out there and that is not my total reason for it, but the whole lot supports the petitioner’s request and I have no problem with the request.


Member Bauer: This has been approved by the homeowners association?


Richard Bale: That is correct.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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




Bryan Monaghan, representing Ameritech Cellular Services, is requesting a variance to allow the placement of three (3) antenna "whips" to be mounted in a 10' radius from center of top of the Twelve Oaks Water Tower, in a RC zoned property.


Bryan Monaghan was present and duly sworn.


Bryan Monaghan: Let me first point out exactly what our proposal is. (Board with drawings was set up.)


Bryan Monaghan: The actual application or agenda speaks to whips. What we are proposing is to construct 3 antenna panels. These panels are approximately 9 feet tall, 1 foot in width and 4 inches thick. I would like to point out before I make further comments as to the particular practical difficulties that have brought us here before the ZBA, the fact that we received approval from the Planning Commission on April 3rd and we obtained approval from the City Council for this exact proposal just two weeks ago on the 22nd.


Bryan Monaghan: Our proposal is a very simple one. As I have indicated there are panels (antennas) on top of the existing Twelve Oaks Mall Water Tower. The reason that we are requesting the various variances and I know that there is a number of them that we are called upon to entertain in this project is really an outgrowth of cellular technology itself. What I would like to do is to show you a quick map that Ameritech prepared. What this map shows is the current cellular coverage of the greater Novi area. If you know anything about cellular technology, it operates on a grid pattern whereby the area that is sought to be covered is divided into various cells of differing length depending upon topography the height of existing towers already providing cellular service and other factors. Each cell needs an antenna in it in order for the cellular signal to go from cell to cell to cell. What we have in this particular area is no cellular coverage because there is no antenna. That area is right here basically along Novi Road to the north of the highway. I would like to point out that this cell here is currently being serviced by an existing cellular antenna tower located at the Novi Post Office. The north face of this cellular antenna tower which is currently doing it’s best to keep up with the traffic through this area is the busiest antenna face that Ameritech has in it’s entire system here in southeastern Michigan. We are licensed by the Federal Government to provide cellular communication to the southeastern Michigan area from Port Huron to Lansing all the way down. That is the practical difficulty that Ameritech is facing. We have to relieve that tower in order to provide coverage to this area. It is both a capacity issue because there are simply to many customers both residing in Novi, approximately 8500 Novi residents actually use Ameritech services and there are obviously to many people on the cell phone passing through the area, which is a very heavy traffic area.


Chairman Harrington: I don’t mean to interrupt, but for at least this Member of the Board some of those street names and the like are hard to read from here, could you bring the chart forward.


Chairman Harrington: Is the area of your drawing without the horizontal or vertical lines, would that be in the nature of a dead zone where you are not getting adequate service?


Bryan Monaghan: Absolutely. That is the coverage problem right there. Right there we have no signal whatsoever. I should point out is that these lines point out the strength of the signal if you are carrying a hand held phone which is what 90% of our customers do at this time. If you have a car mounted phone, like I do, you could conceiveably get service in this area; it may be erratic but you would have some service. The tower that we are proposing is the red area and these panels will cover that area and take care of the coverage problem.


Bryan Monaghan: Now why is this a hardship to Ameritech and what is the particular significance of this location to any other? Well, it is really the grid system itself. We need an antenna tower in that area. Your zoning ordinance allows for antennas only in I-2 districts. There are no suitable I-2 districts anywhere near the gap area. So what Ameritech is then faced with is the decision of where should we look to construct a tower. The first thing that we thought of and quite frankly, John Coles a radio frequency engineer who is here tonight, he would prefer in his perfect engineering world to have the tower somewhere up here and actually build the tower and really do the service up well, but in the perfect world being what it is; we determine that maybe it is going to be a better idea to look around for some existing tall structures and that is what we have done. We have tried to be very creative with respect to answering Ameritech’s technical concerns and it’s technical needs and still address the very legitimate concerns of the City that these types of panels be as unobtrusive as possible. I think that we have done that. Certainly the Planning Commission and the City Council, I think would agree with us because they have approved of this project.


Bryan Monaghan: Based on all of that, we would ask that the various variances be granted.


Chairman Harrington: Has anyone seen a picture of these panels?


Bryan Monaghan: Attached to the site plan, and I don’t know if that was in your packet, there was a 4 page description that was provided to both the Planning Commission and the City Council.


Chairman Harrington: Do you have a photograph?


Bryan Monaghan: I don’t have a photograph, but I would happy to get my plan that has a picture of the panels drawn on it.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: I understand that this is still Twelve Oaks Mall property, is that correct? Do you have some type of an agreement with them? Is it on record?


Bryan Monaghan: Yes we do and it was filed with our Planning Commission papers and I could certainly provide that to the ZBA. It is a lease that we have executed with the Taubman Company.


Don Saven: Is there any hazardous lights that are associated with this tower?


Bryan Monaghan: There is an existing light on top of the tower now. We are required as part of our application process to submit an application to the FAA and they will tell us what they want done in terms of lighting. We have not heard back from them, but based upon our prior experience we don’t anticipate any additional lighting requirements.


Don Saven: Is there any special mounting features that are associated with the tower?


Bryan Monaghan: Yes, there are. I am not as technically as versed in that as I should be, but all of those things were.......

Don Saven: I would request that if this should be approved, that engineering will be provided to this office for review.


Bryan Monaghan: I would be happy to do that.


Member Brennan: I have a question and it is pretty much a take off of some comments at the Council Meeting because I watched that Meeting and the question concerns technology. Given that we have such rapid increases in technology, what you are planning on putting up might be quite old in a given period of time. We are not looking at any period of time to this request and I wonder if it might be appropriate to ask the petitioner if we consider a time limit on this and then ask him to come back. I would suggest perhaps 3 to 5 years or something like that; just so we don’t end up with something that is antiquated sitting on top of the water tower.


Bryan Monaghan: That is a very real concern, if I could address that briefly. Our lease with the landlord which I will also be happy to make part of the record for the ZBA purposes, requires that if for any reason we are no longer actually utilizing those antennas within a 30 day period we have to take them down. It is not a situation where we are going to put this equipment up and it is going to stay up forever. Even if we move one or we all move to satellite personal communication devices. In terms of any limitations placed by the City, I think that concerns that we would have are 2 fold. First we really do not have a concept of the rate at which the type of technology that you are talking about which would be capable of substituting for this type of current existing technology. It is not commercially feasible then we would not want to utilize that. I think that the concern of the City with respect to having obsolete antenna towers about the City or the antenna posts and panel is well addressed by our private obligation to the landlord; which if we are not using it we have to take it down.


Member Brennan: As long as that is on record, that answers my problem.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that with new technology as it comes about and with the landlord’s request that it will either be updated or removed and since you are increasing the signal coverage and everything I hope that this eliminates the PIN numbers that go with it.


Bryan Monaghan: I can’t wait for the technology that gets rid of those PIN numbers.


Member Bauer: Just from what I have heard and my wife has called me from Twelve Oaks Mall inside of the Mall, and it was just like she was next door; and that is your dead area.


Bryan Monaghan: Did she have an Ameritech phone?


Member Bauer: Yes, she did.


Bryan Monaghan: All I can tell you is that maybe there was no one else using the phone that day. But the way that this technology works there is a number of panels available for any face of any antenna and I think that number is 19. So, if you have more than that at a given time you have to start carrying and bringing coverage over from another cell site. That is why the north face of the Novi antenna tower is the busiest in the entire system.


Member Bauer: This was at 5:30 in the evening, the worst time in Novi.


Bryan Monaghan: I can’t explain that; other than to tell you that her experience has been dramatically different than the balance of the customers in that area.


Member Baty: Now that you mention it, we did have the opposite experience at Twelve Oaks Mall. We couldn’t get out.


Member Baty: My question is will these 3 antennas only provide service to the red lines or will the 3 antennas extend into the black lined area?


Bryan Monaghan: I really think that is going to be a question of how much traffic is going to be there at a particular time. What you see here is the best picture that the radio frequency users draw based upon what they believe will be normal traffic flows and there will be a little gap in our coverage area. Quite frankly short of building very large towers here and I don’t know if it would ever come to pass, this is the best solution that we have. We are unfortunately faced in a lot or areas and we are taking the best that we can get, rather than going for what would be perfect for our radio frequency users.

Member Bauer: The higher you go with the tower the better service area?


Bryan Monaghan: Not necessarily. That is true within a certain limitation, a lot of it depends upon the topography and a lot of it depends on the number of customers that are traveling through the area. Certainly some of it also depends on the cell height and cell power of existing towers that you are building off of.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





Discussion on motion:


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of Don Saven: You have requested certain information on this?


Don Saven: Just basically in regards to landlord acceptance and the engineering will become part of the review process.


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




Case No. 96-030, Lisa Brown, representing Marathon Oil (Speedway) is requesting a variance to rebuild and relocate an existing automobile service station facility on a .937 acre site for property located at 24210 Novi Road at the northeast corner of Novi Road and Ten Mile Road.


Case No. 96-029, Lisa Brown, representing Marathon Oil (Speedway) is requesting a variance to allow a ground sign to be places at the Speedway Stations located at the corner of Ten Mile and Novi Road. The requested sign is 9'6" x 5'1 7/16" (50 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 6'3".


Richard LaRue was present and duly sworn.


Chairman Harrington indicated we will talk about the lot size variance first.


Richard LaRue: Currently we have an existing station and a small convenience store and it offers the same products that we are proposing to put into the new store. We have worked with the Planning Commission and we feel that we have a very good layout. We are not overcrowding or overdeveloping our site and the Planning Commission has agreed to accept the layout so they concur. Our hardship is that this is the lot size that we currently have that is available for us to do this upgrade on.


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




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Do you have roof top screening for your roof top HVAC units?

Richard LaRue: Typically we put up a handrail, but it is not problem for us to add a fascia to that handrail for screening.


Member Brennan: With regard to this particular case I would be very supportive of this variance request because of the current nature of that corner. Accessability, getting in and out and everything associated with that corner. If they are going to overhaul it, I support it.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Really entrances and exits are not going to change. The thing is I think that what they are doing is correct, but I guess I have a problem that when we originally put it together and there was property around there they didn’t assemble a little bit more than they did. To use as a hardship the lot size for a company of this magnitude and everything I really have a hard time accepting it.


Member Brennan: Is the availability of associated property on either side been looked into?


Richard LaRue: There is a piece of property and it was ruled out because it would have to be rezoned and it was also being looked at by another party. This had come up at the Planning Commission Meeting, so it was considered but not actively pursued.


Member Brennan: This station has been there how long?


Richard LaRue: At least 10 or more years.


Chairman Harrington: Maybe you could help to focus us because Mr. Reinke has indicated, and I believe that he thinks that you are going in the right direction but on the other hand he has concerns. Could you help the Board with what it is that you are trying to do out there and what the hardship would be if we don’t grant this variance? What does the future hold, that you are trying to do versus what is there now?


Richard LaRue: Let me address the corner situation. We have currently 4 entrances at that site and we have worked extensively and eliminated 2 of those entrances and we have also extended back from the intersection to the full 100 foot ordinance requirement to cut down the congestion and the traffic flow at that area. We are also completely clearing out all of the existing and remodeling and putting up a new building with a shingled, hip roof so it is more of a residential type of look and completely redoing the entire site. We are just a little bit shy of the 1 acre requirement which was the minimum. Most of that is due to the greenbelt and right of way widths that are required at this time. We used to have a 33 foot right of way, that has been changed over the years and that has taken more of our property. So, our property has been reduced not through us in selling it off but through right of way takes or additional right of way widths that are required.


Chairman Harrington inquired of the Building Department. The Notice and the description reflects that the current site is .937 which is almost 1 acre. Is it the difference between the .937 and the 1 acre that is the issue here?


Don Saven: Yes, it is.


Chairman Harrington: So they are just a "smidgen" short and they wouldn’t even be in front of us; but for that requirement.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven. Should the applicant elect, they could continue to operate the station as is with no remodeling and no variance from us?


Don Saven: That is correct. I think that one of the features that these gentlemen had given to you earlier on was the fact that there is a reduction in the amount of entrances and exits to this site which is very important from a traffic standpoint of view. As you can see in the hidden lines right at that intersection, it is a very close intersection which has created a lot of problems congestion wise. I think that there is a movement to try to improve that area and they have been trying to work that out with the Planning Commission.

Chairman Harrington: What are the building or structural renovations that you are doing?


Richard LaRue: It is a complete new building. As you know convenience stores have become much more popular and people are using them a lot more often. The current store that is there is a very small trailer like building and we are trying to put in larger stores with nicer bathrooms, larger cooler areas for pop and the convenient items that you are typically going into the store for. We are just trying to provide the area or the surrounding customers with an easier access to their everyday groceries. We do provide 5 products, kerosene for space heaters, we provide diesel for cars rather than trucks (one at these sites) and we provide your 3 basic petroleum products. So, I think that access for the customers, convenience in getting in and out of the site without causing traffic problems, we have provided adequate parking per the ordinance and we should have no problems there, nicer trash enclosures, a recycle building for the pop can returns which is always a hassle for the everyday people. We have worked with the Fire Marshall and working with the storm water discharge and cleaning up these ditches along the front of the property I think that there is just going to be a vast improvement to this site if we can get the authorization for this small amount of property deficiency that we have.


Member Brennan: Without even talking about what they plan on doing and the renovation; that is before us is that they need a variance because they are missing a "squidgen" of property. I would, again, be supportive of this because I think that they are improving the property and the intent of the variance is to improve the property and I think that there is probably build a case that they lost the .070 of property due to road acquisition and widening of the road; so therein lies their problem. So I would support.


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of the Building Department. The setback requirements and everything didn’t decrease the actual lot size, correct?


Don Saven: I don’t believe so.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: So that has no bearing on the situation there. I can support the motion for 2 reasons. One this cutting down the number of curb cuts which I think is very important to the safety situation to that intersection and for that reason alone I can support the gentleman’s request and I think it is a definite improvement to that area there.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 96-029 was heard at this time.


Richard LaRue: As I said we worked very hard with the consultants of the City and the Planning Commission to come up with a site plan that was acceptable to everyone and met the needs of the community as well as ourselves. We had anticipated leaving the existing sign as it is, until at the Planning Commission Meeting it was mentioned that they were really in objection to the existing pylon sign. I am sure that any of the Board Members that have seen the Novi newspaper are familiar with the existing sign. So based upon that meeting, we do want to replace that sign. However the reason that we didn’t consider it in the beginning was because we realized that we would have to seek variances and we were trying to avoid those if we could. In order for us to replace that sign our hardship would be that we are decreasing the height of the sign from the current 20 foot sign which is visible from quite a distance down to our 6'4" sign. If we were to comply with the ordinance completely for height it would be down to 5'. Square footage wise we currently have 67 square feet and we advertise 4 of our products, our 3 gasoline products and our diesel product. In order to go to our monument sign that the Planning Commission would like to see, at the 40 square feet we would really be cramped. It would take 64 square feet for us to advertise all 4 of our products, but in order to comply with the wishes of the Planning Commission we would be willing to give up the advertisement of the diesel product and bring it down to a 50 square foot sign. We would also ask that we could put the proposed ground mount sign in the same location where the existing sign is as with the current design and greenbelts there is just no other adequate to put that ground mount sign where it would be visible.

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 had no comment.


Member Antosiak inquired of the Building Department. Is the proposed location of this ground sign any impediment to visibility on the corner?


Alan Amolsch: No. It is in the same location as the other one was and there should be no problem.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: But, this is down on the ground. This is not above the way the other one was. I really have a problem with that height sitting right out on the corner without somebody making or giving us some input as to possible obstruction of traffic visibility; especially somebody going westbound on Ten Mile and coming up to the intersection. I really have a problem with it.


Member Brennan: I also have a question/comment. Most gas stations are located on corners. Can the Building Department tell me what the history is with the new gas station erection in the last 5 years pertaining to complying with the sign ordinance? For example we have a couple of new Mobil stations and I believe that those signs are not sitting 6'3" up in the air.


Alan Amolsch: I could find that out, I don’t have that information at my finger tip.


Don Saven: I think that we should be looking at where the right of way is at and how far back from the right of way is the corner clearance. Maybe that is something that should be looked at through the traffic engineer.


Member Brennan: My question was that whether there was anything compelling in that business that requires a sign to be higher.


Alan Amolsch: At the time of the adoption of the ordinance Council didn’t feel that there was because they didn’t make any stipulation that a gas station would be allowed a taller sign than anyone else.


Richard LaRue: May I make a comment regarding the setback? If you will notice on the drawing the 33 foot right of way that used to be there is shown and the new 60 foot right of way is there and our sign is behind that. So if you look where the proposed sidewalk is and you look at the greenbelt, it shows quite adequately on this plan that there is a huge amount of distance between where our property line is and the sign and the road. Quite a bit more than some of the other signs. Typically there is a 25 foot clear vision. Here we are looking at 35 foot, even if we put the sign here.


Member Brennan: Where is that sign going to go? Right there on the corner?


Richard LaRue: Right here, typically our 25 foot clear vision is here which is less than.......otherwise we would have had the same concern as you.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch. Do we have the capability that we can get traffic and safety out there and perhaps report back to us at the next meeting to address the safety issue?


Alan Amolsch: We could ask Mr. Jerome to do that. We don’t normally do that, when the sign is on private property.


Chairman Harrington: It is germane to my consideration. I agree with Mr. Reinke, I would want the assurance that this Board has an independent person telling us that granting the variance as you propose either in terms of size or height would not increase the risk to the public that is one of the heaviest traveled intersections in Novi and I think that we need that assurance or at least I do before I could approve either or both variances and with that assurances that would materially affect my opinion. Are you willing to come back to see us next month if the Board is so inclined?


Richard LaRue: That would be an option, but I would like to propose another option if it is all right.

We still have to go to final site plan, if we could just stipulate that your traffic and safety consultants agree that it is a safe location I think would give you the comfort level that you are looking for.


Chairman Harrington: No, he will not vote for me. I will vote for myself upon consideration of his report whatever that may be. But, I don’t speak for the other Board Members. Do you wish to address this issue this evening or would you like to have input from Mr. Jerome at traffic and safety?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I would like to see input and the other thing is that if I was going to vote on this tonight, I see no reason that he can’t live within the 40 square foot ordinance because it is right up on top of the corner.


Member Brennan: I agree with Mr. Reinke. This is a new construction and I see no reason why the ordinance can’t be met.


Member Baty: That would be my opinion also. So for me a traffic report isn’t necessary.


Member Bauer: Can we also have feedback since we are going to be having this come back to us next month as to what the other gas stations have done in the last 4 or 5 years?

Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am not really concerned about what other gas stations have done. I think that we need to look at this situation. This corner is different than other corners in the community. It is one of the heaviest travelled intersections that we have in the City of Novi. What somebody else has done at some other corner really is maybe significant in a small respect, but it doesn’t reflect this corner and the situation of traffic here.


Alan Amolsch: I can certainly provide that information for the Board is they so desire for the next meeting.


Chairman Harrington: There seems to be, if not a consensus at least an expression of opinion that perhaps a vote could be taken on the square footage issue; if a Board Member wishes to make a motion either on that issue or a motion to table the entire matter until next month.


Don Saven: You may want to ask the petitioner whether or not he could do a mock up of his sign for the location so that number one the traffic engineer could take a look at it and number two that you could get a better view of what is happening in that particular area.


Richard LaRue: That would be perfectly possible. I have 2 other concerns though that I would like to bring up. One is that we explained to the Planning Commission that we were as concerned about changing this sign as you are and that is why we didn’t want to change the existing sign. However, the pressure has been before us to do that, which puts us kind of between a rock and a hard spot. Secondly the City has asked us to try to avoid both projects being constructed at the same time; so we are trying to expedite the process of starting this construction and again in wishes of the Planning Commission so that we have this traffic flow between the 2 rebuilds not going on at the same time. So anything that we could possible do to get us through all of the process that we need to get through in a more efficient manner we are trying to do for the Planning Commission. But anything that you need to help you make these decisions we can provide you.


Member Bauer inquired of Greg Capote. Will this hold them up completely?


Greg Capote: The applicant can proceed with the final site plan submittal. It subsequently could be approved and a building permit could be issued without a sign theoretically. It could go either way. There is nothing really holding them up. They could proceed for final site plan approval.


Member Bauer: This is not going to hold them up for their final?


Greg Capote: No.


Chairman Harrington: My reaction is that the pylon signs are horrendous. I don’t think that they belong in this community and obviously you are willing to make a concession hoping that you can obtain cooperation from this Board regarding your new plans. But my sense is that the Board needs further information at least on one of the issues, if not both but I haven’t hear a motion yet.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Chairman Harrington,





Richard LaRue: None of that is a problem. Our main concern is being able to continue our process of permitting and as along as we can do that and coincide with this we are more than happy to cooperate in any way that we can.


Discussion on motion:


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I really think that some of the information that we are asking for is relevant. What other gas stations have done in the community without taking into the traffic that is generated in this intersection, it is irrelevant. For the position of this sign I feel that the petitioner should be able to live within the ordinance. I will vote against the request to table.


Member Baty: We are not really voting on the location, right now......


Vice-Chairman Reinke: We are voting on tabling the request.


Member Baty: At which time we will vote on the area variance and the height variance.


Member Bauer: Only with the information coming back to us.


Member Antosiak of Don Saven: The location that the petitioner originally showed for the location of the sign was within the ordinance. Is that correct? It was the appropriate setback from the street?


Alan Amolsch: Yes. The minimum setback for a ground pole sign is 63 feet from the center line of any thoroughfare. I believe that they met that. There is no setback issue here, just square footage and height.


Member Baty: Will there be other signs on the property, besides this one?


Richard LaRue: On your plan you will see that there is one other sign. It is a 40 square foot building plan that is shown on the face of the building.

Greg Capote: I would just like to suggest should the applicant and the Board agree to come back to

next month’s meeting that an elevation drawing be provided to the Board. It will give you a better idea of what the whole project is going to look like.


Roll Call: Yeas (3) Nays (3) Brennan, Reinke, Baty


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





Discussion on motion:


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: We had a discussion on a prior case about "grandfathering", is this a case where the current pylon sign is actually "grandfathered" on this site?

In other words the petitioner could keep the existing sign.


Don Saven: Yes.


Alan Amolsch: Yes, as long as he doesn’t make any structural alterations to it. It is a legal nonconforming sign.


Roll Call: Yeas (3) Nays (3) Harrington, Bauer, Antosiak


Member Brennan: I think that the biggest issue that Mr. Reinke and I have is the height and the concern over the safety issues. If we can get some way of maintaining code in the height and the petitioner getting the information that he needs, be it 50 square feet or 49 square feet perhaps there is some room for movement along those lines. My biggest issue with any new sign construction is that there is no reason why the code cannot be met. I realize that there are some pre-existing conditions with the Planning Commission which really are not relevant here but at the same time I have some concerns over the height of the sign.


Chairman Harrington: Let me ask you, are there engineering considerations or pre-requisites that account for the need for 1.3 inches variance on the height?


Richard LaRue: Typically the common sign that we have proposed has 1 foot of brick as a base and the rest of it is the sign; our standard sign that we use. May I confer with my client?


Richard LaRue: My client says that we can find another standard sign and we could get it down to the 5 foot height that is in the ordinance requirement.


Chairman Harrington: Then you could live within the ordinance?


Richard LaRue: I am not sure if the square footage would be exactly 40, it might be 42 but it would be very close. Whatever our standard sign is and then we will custom make the base so that we will meet the height exactly. How about 39.6 square footage?


Chairman Harrington: So that we can follow you both those present and those watching on TV, what is the significance of 39.6? Are you telling us that you can live within the 40 square feet?


Richard LaRue: Yes and the 5 foot height.


Member Brennan: Then you no longer need to be here.


Alan Amolsch: I hate to throw a monkey wrench into this but; there was a mention of a second sign on the building and we did not review any additional signage on this property. Any additional signage would require a variance.


Chairman Harrington: However, that is not before us tonight.


Alan Amolsch: That is right. I just wanted to make the petitioner aware of that becuase we did not review any other sign.


Chairman Harrington: Do I correctly understand that you have found a way to work an accomodation within the ordinance that would not require an area variance as to square footage or a height variance; is that what you are telling us?


Richard LaRue: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of Alan Amolsch. If he were to put a standard building sign on his building, what square footage would he be allowed?


Alan Amolsch: That would depend upon the setback from the centerline of the adjacent roadway. It is a 1 and 3 formula. You get 1 square foot of sign for every 3 feet of setback.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: If we grant them a variance for this sign as a second sign within the ordinance structure, then he could have the sign on the building is that correct?


Alan Amolsch: If you stipulated to that and made that part of the motion. However, it was not advertised that way.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is true, then we couldn’t do it.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,





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




Case No. 96-031 filed by Amy Nowlan, representing Total Petroleum, is requesting a .57 acre variance and curb cut variances to relocate and rebuild an existing automobile service station facility on a .43 acre site at the corner of Novi Road and Ten Mile Road.


Case No. 96-032 filed by Amy Nowlan, representing Total Petroleum, Inc., is requesting a variance to allow a ground sign 8' x 5'4" (42.66 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 6'4" and a wall sign 8"6" x 2' (17 sq. ft.) to be placed at the Total Station located at the corner of Ten Mile and Novi Road.


Leroy Asher was present and duly sworn.


Leroy Asher: We are on the opposite corner from the Marathon proposal. I would like to briefly show you the changes an improvements that will be brought to this corner by Total. The existing site is even smaller than the Marathon site; we are .43 acres and they are in excess of .9. So we are a dramatically smaller parcel. The first portion of the variance request this evening that has resulted in us having 2 requests. One for a reduction in lot size and the second for a reduction in the dimensional area here.


Leroy Asher: The site as you can see in the lower arial elevation, there are 4 driveway curb cuts currently on the site. This site has 2 canopies located here. (Charts being shown.) We are proposing as you can see on the colored rendering to eliminate 2 of the driveway curb cuts. With the building location, right now the current setback is at 40 feet, we are going to push this back to 90 feet. So in terms of opening up the site lines and opening up the corner you will have a 50 foot improvement in that direction and on Novi Road it is 90 and it is 65 on Ten Mile. There is one single canopy, instead of the 2 and it is also a more attractive and more modern design as well.

Leroy Asher: Signage wise I will pass these photos down. These are 3 pictures that don’t reflect what is currently there, but reflect the signage that was there before Total altered it’s color scheme and went to more of a red as opposed to the orange. Previously there are pole signs and you can see the pole signs that are currently there. We have 2 pylon signs. One to reflect the east/west traffic and one the north/south traffic. There is also pricing information that covers and is up that pole sign about the 3 1/2 or 4 foot mark and goes up the pole to about the 7 foot mark. Again there are 2 sets of pricing information. One north/south and one east/west. We are proposing to limit that and reduce that to a single sign. In addition, prior to the repainting there were 3 signs on the building face and you can see those in the picture. One on the angled frontage. One on the side that faces diagonally to the intersection and one to either side of the building. We are proposing in that sign that will come with the second part of the request to locate a single sign on the frontage of the building.

Leroy Asher: Those are the improvements and in addition the overall landscaping is going to improve from what is currently 18% to 27% of the overall site. We have really made dramatic moves to improve this corner. We have also and even before we were asked, decided that we were going to take out the pylon signs. We would prefer as we come to the height to have a little additional area, but we as good corporate citizens and in trying to do this in terms of the modern standard; we have agreed to remove those signs.


Leroy Asher: In terms of the specific requests. The question to the prior gentleman was "what have you done to improve this property?" For those of you who that recall back to 1993, there was a combined proposal between Total and McDonald’s that would have involved purchasing the Michigan National Bank property and this building and consolidating this entire site back up Novi Road and back further west along Ten Mile Road. That would have given Total enough site that they would have had the acre and it would have given McDonald’s a parcel here. That proposal was not approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council. It required a rezoning of the office property. So, there has been a something in the works and currently those other properties are not available and it would require to get us enough size that we would have to go back and take out both of those buildings and that is not economically feasible to do that because they are existing structures and they are not zoned properly and the City Council has said that the do not wish to rezone those properties for a commercial use.


Leroy Asher: So, in terms of structure we are limited and as one of the Board Members has pointed out that part of the problem and maybe not all of it in our case is created by the fact that we have 120 foot right of way and the increasing right of way expansion over time at this intersection.


Leroy Asher: That having been said this is a hardship to the extent that our existing parcel, not of self created but of time self created; at an earlier time it was probably not big enough under your ordinance currently but it was bigger than what it was with the right of way. With that hardship we would respectfully request that the Board grant a variance allowing us to rebuild and reconstruct the Total Station on this parcel which is a .43 acre parcel and it is a variance of .57 acres. The second part of the initial proposal is the dimensional both along Ten Mile and along Novi Road. You require 100 feet, and because of the limited site this total dimension is only 125 feet. The driveway has to be 30 feet. So even if we pushed it all the way to the edge which is not permitted under your ordinance because of the turning radius of the next parcel, we still could not comply. It is physically impossible to comply and to provide a 30 foot driveway. This dimension is 150 feet and there is 92 feet here so we need an 8 foot variance along Ten Mile Road and this is 30 feet and this is 27, and again it is to comply with the turning radius as to why we are pushed to the east and why we need that variance.


Leroy Asher: Since we are taking this in 2 parts this evening, I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was at total of 9 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written repsonse received.




There was no audience particiation.




Building Departmen had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: It is unfortunate that they can’t acquire more property. But I think that we are all well versed in the situation that is there and it is just not available. I can support the petitioners’ request. Number one it is taking 2 curb cuts out that are to close to the intersection. I think that we have all, espcially experienced when going southbound on Novi Road going across Ten Mile and having somebody make a right hand turn in front of you and you jump on your brakes probably more than one time in that situation. The second part gives you a little bit more leeway to work with. So, with what they have to work with I think that they have done a good job. I think it is an improvement and I can support the petitioner’s request.


Member Antosiak: I think that all of the comments that were applicable to the prior case are also applicable to this case.


Chairman Harrington: I would note that there are 2 variances that are required. The first being the lot size and the second being the curb cuts.


Moved by Vice-Chariamn Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




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


Case No. 96-032 was heard at this time.


Leroy Asher: Our request is similar to the Marathon request. I would like to modify our request. I don’t know if you have this sign diagram in your packet, what we would like to do is this. If you look at the dimensions it is 8 feet across and there is 4 feet in terms of the basic pricing information and there is then the information about the food store; 4 feet and 1 foot 4 inches. What we would be willing to do is to take a foot off of our request, which still leaves us 4 inches higher than your 5 foot requirement. As you can tell however, it does fit our sign package here. That would be our first preference, and we would be willing to amend the request to eliminate the brick work at the bottom. But in order to fit our sign package to leave this at 5 feet 4 inches.


Leroy Asher: As to the second sign request which is the wall sign. I would point out that there is currently by our calculations about 130 square feet of signage. You have the 2 large pole signs, you have the pricing information on the pole, and that is only counting the one current sign that is currently on the building. What we would like to do as to that second sign; that sign that you can see here at the current location for the new sign will provide visibility in a north/south direction. The current sign would only replace and in fact it is smaller than the existing sign that is already on the building face and it would provide visibility for traffic traveling westbound on Ten Mile that do not see this sign because of the orientation of the sign. We loose in this request by taking the pylon signs down but also by reducing from 2 to 1 pylon sign we loose the visibility of the east/west direction. We can’t pick it up for traffic heading eastbound because it is on this face of the building. We would like the opportunity to still maintain the visibility in this direction.


Leroy Asher: The other issue and there are pictures, you can see there is a tree that is currently located here and the sidewalk location at site plan time allows us to retain that tree we would like to do that and the way that the tree is configured the extra 4 inches would assist us in terms of visibility at that location.


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 had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I don’t think that we need to advertise that it is a food store. I think that everybody knows that it is a convenience store that is there. I think that 1 foot 4 inches could be eliminated and just have the brick base with the pricing structure sign there and that would live within the ordinance and not require a variance for that sign. Now, placement of the sign for what you are proposing on the building that combination I can go along with together in that respect. But, the sign out on the corner you would have to live within the square footage and the height under ordinance for me to allow and approve the second sign.


Leroy Asher: If we are able to special make a sign at 40 that is within your ordinance that would be permitted as opposed the 32 that is shown here.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Correct, but that is only my input.


Member Antosiak: Which is the second sign? Is it the ground sign that we are discussing and it is the wall sign.....................


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Well, he is listing 2 signs in his request.


Member Antosiak: That is right, but one is allowed under the ordinance and the other is a second sign. I just want to clarify which is which.


Alan Amolsch: He needs a variance for 2 signs.


Leroy Asher: The one on the wall is only 17 square feet, which in total give us close to 60 reducing down from about 130 which is there now. So we are reducing by more than half of what is currently there.


Member Brennan: I would tend to support Mr. Reinke’s take on this all. I would also support the wall sign if the petitioner could meet the regulations on the ground sign.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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




Luigi Cervi is requesting a variance to allow the existing foundation and wing walls to project into both side yards for property located at 45583 Irvine Drive, in the Royal Crown Subdivision, lot 204.


Luigi Cervi was present and duly sworn.


Luigi Cervi: Luma Building in the mid-summer of 1995 purchased 20 lots in the Royal Crown Subdivision. As we began to build the model, a prospect by Mr & Mrs. Chirrone approached Luma Building about building a home other than the model. As we met a few times we arrived to their own plan and at this point we hired an architect to draw the plan. After the plans were drawn we submitted the plan to the land survey, civil engineer to draw for a plot plan. When the plot plans were completed we came to the City and made application for the building permit. As a normal procedure a permit was issued to Luma Building to start construction on the home on lot 204 in the Royal Crown Subdivision.


Luigi Cervi: As we installed the basement and backfilled at that point we trenched for the garage and the foundation for the wing walls. As we went along and constructed the home and we installed the brick and the wing walls at that point on February 22nd the City wrote a letter to Luma Building and made a statement that the wing walls were encroaching into the side yard. At this point Luma Building inquired with the City and at this point Luma Building wrote a letter to the City Attorney and the result or the answer was that the wing wall will be permitted only if the City of Novi Board of Appeals would issue a variance. As we went on we made application to the Novi Zoning Board and that is where we are at today.


Luigi Cervi: Mr. Chirrone has already moved inside of the home and the wing walls are still there with the permission of what is going to be here today.


Luigi Cervi: The wing walls were drawn on the plans; but of course they were not drawn on the plot plan. Somehow the plans were approved and we went along and we built according to the plan. At the same time the plot plan did not show the foundation for the wing walls.


Luigi Cervi: The home now is complete and Mr. & Mrs Chirrone would like to have the wing walls remain on the home. The hardship would be the alteration of the house. That is what we are here for.


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




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Basically the wing walls are a decorative feature on the home. They are not adding to the square foot of the home but it does project out into the required setbacks. One is also located in the easement, and if the Board so decides to approve this issue they would still have to go back to the City Council for approval for being in an easement. In other words we have a setback issue that has to be addressed and then we have the issue regarding the easement that has to be addressed through City Council.


Member Baty: Is the hardship the fact that removing the wing walls will make the elevation less attractive? Or is the hardship having to remove the wing walls?


Luigi Cervi: By removing the wing walls it will make the home less attractive, yes.


Member Baty: Do you have an elevation available?


Luigi Cervi: Yes. Copy shown to Board Members.


Member Antosiak: Just a comment. Had we been presented with the request for a variance at the time this home was being constructed, I certainly couldn’t support it because I do not generally support variances for new construction. Now we are being presented with a request for variance because wing walls were built into the required side yard setback due to error. Someone’s error along the way. On the petitioner’s side, I don’t believe that the City was at fault in this. I can’t support the request for a variance under that guise because I think that would totally negate the effect of the ordinance because we could easily have people making mistakes when building and then coming to us for a variance. For that reason I don’t believe that I can support the variance.


Chairman Harrington: Do these wing walls serve anything other than an aesthetic purpose or a decoration?


Luigi Cervi: Mostly for decoration, a landscaping decoration.


Chairman Harrington: In other words removal of these wing walls would not affect the structural integrity or the foundation of the home?


Luigi Cervi: It would because the wing walls are inserted with the main wall going on the house on both sides. The wing walls are in the brick work. They are tied in with the main structure of the house.


Don Saven: They are on a foundation and they are toothed together, just like the normal interlocking of a brick would be.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Don Saven: Would it jeopardize the structural integrity of the house to tear these down?


Don Saven: For the fact that they are integrated together there would have to be some reorganization of the existing building at the point of where the toothing would take place.


Chairman Harrington: What would that consist of?


Don Saven: Removal of the brick and the re-laying of the brick in that particular area.


Chairman Harrington: And after you put the new brick back in, then the house is intact, correct?


Don Saven: That is correct.


Chairman Harrington: Sir, apparently there was an error that was made. Who made this error?

Was this the architect?


Luigi Cervi: No, the architect drew the plan. The one who probably made the mistake was probably the civil engineer. Because he did not show the foundation of the wing wall, but they were shown on the blue print. Somehow it was approved that way.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: On the foundation plans, for them to construct the foundation it didn’t show up, correct?


Luigi Cervi: It did show on the plan.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I said the foundation plan, they were on there?


Luigi Cervi: Yes, drawn by the architect.


Member Brennan: Are the homeowners here, by chance? Do you have anything to say? It might be relevant, this is your house.


Homeowner: What I want to say is that I like the wing wall for a decoration. It will hide the electrical meter, the electrical casing and all of that. It is very nice. I would like to have it.


Member Brennan inquired of Don Saven: Are there any issues with regard to safety, fire hazards, any negative impact?


Luigi Cervi: The rear part of the section is open and it is a common area. It is wetlands on the back.

Don Saven: I don’t think that there are any safety issues that are involved relative to that wing wall issue. I will point out that there issues where we allow protuberances to extend into a required side yard setback; basically 2 inches for every 1 foot of setback. This is greater than that, so it wouldn’t have the same connotation as the protuberance issue.


Member Brennan: I don’t wish to put words in your mouth but these wing walls were part of the aesthetics and part of the features of the house that were desirable to you?


Homeowner: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Mr. Antosiak brought up a good comment. I don’t like the idea of somebody coming in and saying that it is a mistake. Approve our mistake. I can see somebody jumping on that real quick. That point bothers me. Now, my question is, could these wing walls be shortened up at all? That you could have something there but not necessarily projecting out 48 inches.


Luigi Cervi: I guess that they could be cut back a little bit.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am just throwing something out for discussion.


Luigi Cervi: The only thing is that on the east side, Luma Building owns lot 203 for example and maybe a possibility we could put the house way................................


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is not what I am looking for at this point. A hypothetical situation, if you took 12 inches off of each wall what would that take away from what you are presenting?


Homeowner: The way that the house looks right now it is beautiful, and then you will see all of the pipes. It is a beautiful decoration. Everybody looks at it and says "look how beautiful’. It is very nice and it finished the ends of the house.


Chairman Harrington What I hear Mr. Reinke suggesting is "can you live with something other than what you have now?" Or do you want the Board to vote on all or nothing? For example, could you live with a 24 inch wing wall or as Mr. Reinke can you live with a 36 inch wing wall? What you would like to live with is what you have, but my feeling is I think that Mr. Antosiak has hit it right

square on the head; this Board Member and speaking for myself only, gets very upset when government says that you have to take something down. I don’t believe in destroying things that have been built. But on the other hand, there is a strong policy that where there has been a mistake and clearly the mistake is by a person who is not present here this evening and you clearly have shall we say recourse against the person who made that mistake. It is not our job to fix his mistake when it was right there and as you present the case it was wrong what happened. It is significant to me that

this is decorative and aesthetic only. If this went with to the integrity of the house that would affect my opinion. Right now my inclination is that Mr. Antosiak is correct and you ought to take the wing walls down and look to your engineer. Mr. Reinke has perhaps suggested that there might be room for compromise on the Board, but is that an issue that you would want us to waste our time with?

Is it all or nothing?


Luigi Cervi: Maybe we could make it a little bit smaller, but let me show you the problem.

(prints shown to the Board.)


Chairman Harrington: Not only as the photograph shows, which would have been helpful to see, is a wall but there is also a stone column or a brick column at the end of that. Correct?


Member Brennan: So to shorten that you would have to take a section out of the middle and move that whole column in or change the entire design.


Chairman Harrington: Mr. Cervi rather than to do this on the record, would you like to confer with the owners for a little bit and then we could pick up on this matter?


Homeowner: We could go a little bit smaller.


Luigi Cervi: We would like to go with maybe 36 inches. We didn’t do this intentionally. I have been building here in Novi since 1975.


Member Antosiak: I hope that you don’t interpret my comments to intimate that I thought you did it intentionally. That wasn’t the point of my comments. The point of my comments is that we are looking at a zoning ordinance that requires certain setbacks and I think that if you look at the voting of the Board you will see that we generally do not approve a variance for new construction, with the feeling that you should be able to build within the structures of the code and I see a potential problem if we began to approve variances for people who make innocent mistakes and I will say that I believe that this was an innocent mistake made somewhere along the line. That doesn’t change what I think is our ultimate obligation and that is to make sure that there are true hardships; not self-imposed hardships for approval of variances. That was the reason for my comments.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Chairman Harrington: The variance itself is 16 inches, coupled with what is already permitted.


Member Bauer: In addition they have to go back to Council to get the easement isssue resolved, because it is still in storm sewer.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The total projection would be 36 inches from each side of the house.


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




Pamela Smith is requesting a variance to allow the continued use and placement of recreational equipment parked on the site until the fire repair to their home is complete, for property located at 204 Monticello. A temporary use permit has been granted for a one (1) month period until such time the ZBA has ruled on it.


Pamela Smith and Susan Smith were present and duly sworn.


Pamela Smith: Our hardship is something that I hope that nobody here has to go through, a house fire. I brought some pictures for you to look at while we talk. My daughter will bring them to you. Our problem is this we wanted to have a travel trailer, specifically an air stream and have our daughter Susan live on site to take care of our 3 cats, to be night security, to make sure that the property is taken care of and to accommodate her health problems. They gave us a temporary use permit until we could get to the ZBA because of the situation with my daughter’s health being affected with where we were staying. The doctor’s have told us that an air stream is OK for her to live in because it is aluminum inside and out and does not have any press board. She has multiple chemical sensitivities that create for her a great hardship.


Pamela Smith: We have accommodated in our house before the fire to provide for her living accommodations by stripping the house down and getting rid of things that create her problems and now we have quite a challenge to rebuild the house in such a way that she can live in it. I don’t know if any of you are acquainted with those types of allergies but it does allow for our 3 cats 2 of which who are old and arthritic not to have to be penned up in a kennel because she is there to take care of them.


Pamela Smith: You have been in the trailer 2 1/2 or 3 weeks?


Susan Smith: It is probably about 3 weeks now.


Pamela Smith: And since that time she has seen a marked improvement in her health since she has been there, instead of where we are. Hotels are not an option, because of the carpeting and the press board, etc.


Susan Smith: Cleaning chemicals.


Pamela Smith: The only job that she can hold right now is an outdoor one. Inside buildings affect here.


Susan Smith: Even being here tonight, is a great challenge.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 73 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 3 written responses received, 2 voicing approval and 1 objection. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Pamela Smith: We don’t own a travel trailer, the insurance company has provided one because of the special temporary living situation and to provide security on the property so there is no vandalism. She is like a night watchman. It is sel-contained. The downstairs bathroom is in operation in the house but she cannot live in there while the work is being done.


Don Saven: The air stream is self contained, correct?


Pamela Smith: Yes, it is.


Member Bauer: I have no problem at all with this.


Pamela Smith: The 6 to 8 months was suggested by the Temporary Use Board. I was not sure. We have never had a fire before. We have had 2 months now since the fire and the insurance company still hasn’t come up with the money for us to start the building. They had the last estimate this week so we are hoping by next week to have it settled and to be able to start. They keep calling it a 4 month fire. But with a fire repair you never know. That is why they ask for 6 to 8 months because they don’t know how long it takes.


Member Brennan: They being "who".


Pamela Smith: The gentleman at the Temporary Use Board, he was saying that he didn’t know if 6 months would be enough or that 4 to 6 months would be enough and he didn’t want our variance to run out before we could get back in the house.



Don Saven: Our authority in this case is only 90 days and extension on that would be required to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals based on the unusualness of this particular situation and with fires there are some extenuating circumstances with starting times and what have you. In this case it was an immediate need and that is what we addressed, to get us time to get to the Board and make a decision.


Member Antosiak: It certainly appears to present a hardship to me.


Chairman Harrington: I think that if someone out there wanted to know what kind of case constitutes hardship under our ordinance; I think that this is a classic text book.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: There is no question in my mind at all about this. Speaking for myself, I don’t think that there is any question in the Board’s mind.


Vice-Chairman Reinke There is no question in my mind about this and I don’t think that there is any question in the Board’s mind just speaking for myself, that I would highly recommend that we give them a variance for a minimum of 9 months because I think that they are trying to get the thing finished up and going as quick as they can. This will give them an additional small amount of time rather than having to have them come back; which I really don’t want him to do.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Will you have to issue an occupancy permit before these people can move back into the house?


Don Saven: Yes, before they move back into the house.


Moved by Member Antosiak:


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





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




Darrll Meyers, representing Mr. Enclosure is requesting a 3.2 foot rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a sun room at 23670 Maude-Lea Circle in the Willowbrook Estates Subdivision.


Rick Haddad was present and duly sworn.


Rick Haddad: I have a letter of authorization to speak on behalf of the owner, Mr. Prest. For the record I don’t know what correspondence the Board has received but I do have several letters here that have been written by the neighbors on behalf of Mr. Prest.


Rick Haddad: I represent my company in the metropolitan area for most Zoning Board Meetings and it is my understanding that the intent of the rear yard setback ordinance is so that someone cannot build something so deep into their property as to have an impact of the visual, when looking up and down the lot lines. In this particular case and I have taken photos here that you can clearly see that the neighbors to one side have a privacy fence and a shed that totally blocks their view of our proposed structure. On the other side there is a bank of hedges that are fully mature and are approximately 6 feet high that have the same affect. To the rear of the property it is directly adjacent to a park and there are no homes that can be affected by this. The proposal that we are making here, I don’t think is really violating the spirit of the ordinance in this particular case.


Rick Haddad: One of the reasons that we are asking for a variance is that there is an existing slab in place where we are proposing to put this structure. Another thing that I would like to point out is that the structure is going to be architecturally taken back into his roof line and it will shingled to match and it will not look like an after thought on his home. They have taken the time to make sure that it isn’t. I have in my brochure a photo of something that will be very similar to what we are proposing to do, if the Board would like to see that as well.


Rick Haddad: Initially the main argument I don’t think that anybody is going to be impacted by this structure. We are only looking for a couple of feet here. There is an existing slab the size that we are looking to build on and the hardship being that we would have to cut that back and thus add cost here. Mr. Prest, being 88 years old, has arthritis and being indoors in the summer with air conditioning affects him; he needs a place to be able to spend some time outside and be able to enjoy the outdoors without being bothered by mosquitoes, etc. For those reasons we are respectfully requesting that the Board consider our proposal.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 22 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 4 approvals given to the Board at the Meeting. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: The one note that I had written in preparation of this case was the question regarding neighbors directly in the back and the petitioner has addressed that; there is no neighbors to the back.


Member Bauer: I would have no problem with this.


Moved by Chairman Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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




Michael Falk is requesting a 3'4" side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an addition at 48371 Nine Mile Rd.


Michael and Elizabeth Falk were present and duly sworn.


Michael Falk: I just purchased this house in December. It consists of 670 square feet. Two bedrooms, a 10 by 10 kitchen and a 10 by 10 living room. I would just like to extend the actual trusses down 16 feet to add to more bedrooms. I have 2 children and down the road I will require an extra bedroom and which in turn one of the bedrooms will turn into a living room, a small living room but that is our intention.


Elizabeth Falk: Here is a picture of our extremely humble abode. (Pictures given to Board.)


Elizabeth Falk: We have 2 1/2 acres there, which was the main reason we wanted the house; the land for the children. We wanted to make it our dream because we plan on living there forever.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 21 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: It is an extremely unusual piece of property. The house sits back a substantial amount and the aggregate total in the RA district is 50 foot and that is basically what you are looking at for the side yard setback.


Member Brennan: You have a neighbor to the south, I assume.


Michael Falk: Yes we do, his property is for sale right now. It is actually 2 houses right on top of each other.


Member Brennan: I assume that we didn’t hear from them, and they would have been included in the mailing.


Michael Falk: There are 30 foot pine trees on that fence line.


Elizabeth Falk: They wouldn’t see it. I talked to her and she said that she didn’t have a problem with it.


Michael Falk: With the letter that she received, she thought that there would be 3 foot from the addition to the fence line. She didn’t understand.


Elizabeth Falk: We explained to her.


Michael Falk: We told here it was going to be about 23 foot and 7 inches away from the lot.


Chairman Harrington: What is the lady’s name that did not understand?

Elizabeth Falk: I am not really sure, we just moved in.


Chairman Harrington: She is your next door neighbor?


Michael Falk: Yes, she is. She just mis-understood the actual letter that she got.


Member Antosiak: Could you explain why you decided to go off in that direction, rather than to the back where you seem to have more room?


Michael Falk: I have a septic tank right behind the house.


Elizabeth Falk: We have a well that we just put in, it is in the front of the house. You can see that the lawn is tore up.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: They have 2 1/2 acres and a 23 foot side yard setback is more than sufficient and the way that the lot is shaped there would be restrictions.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,





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




Morris Stein, representing Soccer Zone, Inc., is requesting a variance to allow an indoor soccer rink to be built which is not specifically listed as a permitted use in an I-1 zoning district for property located at Grand River and Meadowbrook Roads.


Jim Clark was present and duly sworn.


Jim Clark: Our hardship comes from the fact, and you are not the only community that we have run into this, that indoor soccer still has not been addressed in any zoning ordinance. The zoning ordinance that is closest to what we need is the light industrial, which in your zoning allows as a permitted use subject to the approval of the Planning Commission (which we already have that approval), indoor tennis courts, roller skating rinks, and ice skating rinks. It is very similar to our use, just at the time that these were drawn up I don’t think that indoor soccer facilities were addressed as an issue. We need a variance to your zoning to allow the indoor soccer as an approved use.

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


Jim Clark: I can address his comment. The entrance on there is due to the consent decree on that property. We didn’t really have a choice where that entrance went. That was dictated by the court. The spot was chosen for us. It worked out pretty well. When you look at it and the traffic people looked at it they were very happy with it. We will actually have 3 entrances to this one. Our other locations have a single entrance, which has been adequate. So I think that the traffic problem should not be an issue there.




Joyce Stickley, what corner? It doesn’t say what corner, south side, north side, west side or east side?


Jim Clark: That is on the northwest corner.


Bill Bowman, Sr., 30180 Orchard Lake Rd., Farmington Hills, Michigan. I am here representing the owners of the adjacent properties. Just to let you know that they all approve and encourage the approval of this Board for this use.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: I have a question for more seasoned Members of the Board. Are we looking to make an interpretation of the code or to give them a use variance?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: A use variance.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Member Antosiak inquired of Greg Capote. Does Soccer Zone have final site plan approval?


Greg Capote: They have preliminary site plan approval. I am not aware at present if they have final.

Jim Clark: We won’t have final site plan approval until June 5th. We had to go through and get a change in the consent decree for the one exit off of the property which the City Council approved last night.


Greg Capote: I would only add that this particular use is consistent with 1903.4 and I know that the implementation committee has been looking at a variety of changes in this section of the ordinance. That might be another section where we could add some language and the fact that these uses which are listed and those uses which are similar to could be included under this district. It is a special land use and it has been approved by the Planning Commission.


Member Antosiak: Given the similarity in use, I could support it.


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




Continuation of case filed by Glenda’s Market requesting an extension of the variance that was granted on April 4, 1995 to allow Glenda’s to do business as it is currently situated.


Chris Cagle was present and duly sworn.


Chris Cagle: To date we have submitted all letters to the consultants for their final review. Have addressed all of the issues that were drawn out in letters. I have made phone calls and have had conversations with Mr. Rogers, Mr. Capote and I have met personally with the landscape architects’ office regarding any issues just to make sure that there would be no letters back other than acceptance. Trying to make sure that this is expedited as quickly as possible.


Chairman Harrington indicated our records reflect 22 Notices sent out with one written response received, voicing approval. Copy in file.




Joyce Stickley, you sent Notices out for this Meeting today? I didn’t get one.


Chairman Harrington: The file reflects that there were 22 Notices sent, although this may be a reflection on the prior proceeding seeing that we tabled and extended for one month.


Joyce Stickley, things are still the same. Just a little bit more of supplies that have come in. Trees, shrubs and all that. As far as the lot on the corner of Joseph and Grand River it is still looks messy.

Chairman Harrington: Besides your appearance at last month’s Meeting, have you spoken to Ms. Durham or Mr. Cagle about this in the interim.


Joyce Stickley: No, I have spoke to them; but not really about this issue. I was just wondering how things were going.




Greg Capote: I have been in contact with Mr. Cagle and they have resubmitted revised final site plans to our department. They have paid their fees. They are in the hopper. I spoke with the consultants and I would imagine that I would have review letters by the end of next week. It appears that they are going to make it this time. But, that is not the final word at this point. They have shown due diligence in changing the last final site plan. They have paid their fee for revised final site plan. We will have letters by the end of next week as I have been told and as soon as I have those letters, if you would like, I can forward them to the Board as I did in the past.


Chairman Harrington: Would those correspondences reflect a need for variances from this Board?

If such variances were required?


Greg Capote: Yes, I believe so.


Chairman Harrington: Would the timing be such that if variances are required this matter could be timely set relative to the variance issues for next month’s meeting; or is the timing to tight?


Nancy McKernan: At this time I have 13 cases for the June Meeting.


Chairman Harrington: By acclamation, this is to tight.


Greg Capote: It would be very close.


Chairman Harrington: Properly addressing and giving due consideration to the variance issue we would be looking at the July Meeting.


Greg Capote: The first meeting in July would be when?


Chairman Harrington: It would probably be the second week, or whenever it is set in July.


Greg Capote: I think that would be the safest.


Member Antosiak: The responses that you are talking about, that you have received, are responses to the comments made in the letters that you sent to us last month?


Greg Capote: Precisely.


Chris Cagle: I did talk to Jaunita today at the Planning Commission and she said that there has been one letter of recommendation at this point and like Greg said, they should be coming in shortly.


Greg Capote: Was the from the Fire Department?


Chris Cagle: Yes, it was.


Member Brennan inquired of Mrs. Stickley. Last time you were here you voiced a concern about the side street being used for construction and in and out and there was supposed to be an effort made to slow that or to cut it out, has that happened?


Joyce Stickley: I haven’t really noticed.


Chris Cagle: I have informed employees of Glenda’s to restrict from using Joseph unless it is definitely necessary to have to go out that way. They are using the front. I have tried to comply. We have moved quite a bit of the stuff. We are not stock piling anything there for any length of time. There are a couple of small piles of boulders, but those will be gone this week. I am sure that any concerns of the neighbors, I would appreciate and do appreciate their concerns, and want to work with them to make it look good.


Don Saven: One of the issues that was brought up with Greg was that there might be a need for further variance requirements, is that correct? Pursuant to the planning review.


Greg Capote: In what respect?


Don Saven: Is there a potential......or anything that is a violation of the ordinance?


Greg Capote: I am only aware of those, if there are others then we should discuss that.


Don Saven: I guess the question is, if they are coming back again before the Board there is going to be an issue. If you are going to table this, then we table. Then if there is an issue regarding Planning there will be a renotification process that will be involved and everybody would be notified within the 300 foot parameter. They would be on notice, so that Mrs. Stickley, would definitely get contacted for the next meeting if that was such.


Greg Capote: I don’t know of any other variances that are required by the ZBA than those which have already been mentioned and outlined in Mr. Rogers correspondence all along. If there is something else, we should discuss that.


Chairman Harrington: I think that what Don is saying....


Don Saven: I am saying if they should have to come back to the Board, it is not an issue of tabling any more it is an issue of renotification. That is what I want to make sure that we understand.


Member Antosiak: That would be a new request.


Chairman Harrington: It is a new request, because right now we don’t have those variance requests before us. What we have is the continuation of the use for the property. Those variance requests will have to follow the ordinary and regular procedure which it seems to be the consensus that we couldn’t possibly get to before the July Meeting. So the issue as the "Chair" sees it would be what if anything we do in terms of extending the use variance which expires this evening at midnight.


Member Baty: Is that the only variance right now?


Chairman Harrington: Yes, do we allow them to continue in business? Which we granted last month until today.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that we are getting closer and unfortunately it has taken us a year or more to get to this point in time. Since everything is in and they are kind of looking to put everything together, I would move,


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,





Discussion on motion:


Member Bauer: They are going to file for the variances, is that correct? Do you understand that?


Chairman Harrington: That is correct.


Chris Cagle: Yes, I do. If I would have had the letters back, I would have filed already.


Chairman Harrington: I am going to support the motion, but I would strongly encourage you to have some dialogue with Mrs. Stickley who feels strongly about certain areas of concern to her which may or may not be related to you ultimate variances. It has been my experience that supportive neighbors are much more persuasive and helpful to an applicant than those who are objecting. This lady has been to several meetings and has expressed her concerns and I would suggest that before your final variances come before and perhaps even when you walk out together because this case is going to wrap up in a minute that the 2 of you take the time that you are here to talk and between now and the next meeting talk and then perhaps that lady would be supportive of your ultimate variance requests.


Chris Cagle: I appreciate that. That is my intent.


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




The Taubman Company is requesting a variance to allow four (4) wall signs with the verbiage "TWELVE OAKS", A) a 16' x 2' (32 sq. ft.) to be located on the lower level at the northwest corner of the building between Sears and Hudsons, B) a 14'3" x 1'10" (26.13 sq. ft.) to be located at entrance #3 on the lower level southeast corner adjacent to JC Penney; C) a 16' x 2' (32 sq. ft.) to be located at entrance #4 on the upper level, northeast corner adjacent to Sears; D) a 16' x 2' (32 sq. ft.) to be located at entrance #5 on the upper level at the southwest corner of the building between Hudson and JC Penney.


Phil Moresko and Miles McFee were present and duly sworn.


Phil Moresko: This evening we are here requesting a variance for a sign which will read "Twelve Oaks" on 4 of our mall entrance ways. As you may have noticed, we are in the process of going through a renovation of the shopping center which is primarily customer driven and things that the customer has told us in the past that are needed to improve our center which will include a new elevator, family restrooms, new handrails, an enlarged information center, and children’s play area and also new entrance ways which are being enclosed, waterproofed and we are adding sliding glass doors so that customers with wheel chairs and strollers can come into the center a lot easier.


Phil Moresko: As part of that renovation and change in the entrance ways we are requesting the signage on the 4 entrance ways into the Mall. As you may be aware this is actually 5 buildings, the department store are separate and were approved separately. The center part where the smaller tenant stores are our responsibility. Currently besides the signs on the department stores there are 3 signs on the building for 2 restaurants and the movies and these were requested and approved because of they are open later than the shopping center normally operates. We would like to have the Twelve Oaks signage approved. We believe that they are to scale of what want to accomplish and are of good taste. From what I have heard from the customers and particularly on our more busier days if you happen to be driving on the ring road or parking further out, that the entrance ways themselves are not very strong in terms of their presence. We want to make them clearly identifiable so that the customer feels comfortable knowing exactly where he is going in the shopping center. The location of them and the distance is not intended to provide additional advertising signage to the roads because of the distance they are just to enhance the visibility from the ring road or the parking lot.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 18 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Bauer: The square footage that they are asking for seems like if you are in the parking lot that is the only place you are going to see it.


Phil Moresko: We have an elevation drawing as well so that you can see as it relates. (chart shown)


Member Brennan: Are there any signs on this whole complex currently that just say Twelve Oaks Mall?


Phil Moresko: The only sign that has the words Twelve Oaks on it is the monument sign at the primary entrance on Novi Road.


Chairman Harrington: You have to help me out, there is just to many pictures. I didn’t understand it when I read it the first time and I don’t understand it now. So help me out and let’s make it real simple. You are adding a total of 4 signs and these signs do not say entranceway they identify existing anchor tenants, correct?


Phil Moresko: No, the signs that we are requesting just say Twelve Oaks and they will be located at the entrances to the mall. The department stores have their own signage which was approved for their separate buildings.


Chairman Harrington: So you are not adding in new "Lord and Taylor" signs even though I have 4 pictures of Lord and Taylor signs here. You are not adding in new "Sears" signs even though we have 4 pictures of Sears signs. The signage that you are going to add and that you want us to approve says what?


Phil Moresko: Twelve Oaks.


Chairman Harrington: That is it and it is going to be at the entrance ways. We are not adding any signs for Ruby Tuesday’s or United Artists. Thank you for making this clear.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: How long has the mall been there.


Phil Moresko: It will be 20 years next year.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I can see the image change but I don’t think that the signs are really needed. In 20 years I don’t think that to many people get lost in the parking lot.


Member Baty: I was out in the parking lot and I lost my car and had to be driven around by the Novi Police for I don’t know how long. It was because when I was going in I thought I went in one entrance and I actually went in a different entrance. So I came out the other entrance. It would help me maybe to have a sign over the entrance so I am not coming out of Lord and Taylor instead of Twelve Oaks.


Phil Moresko: I think that eventually people do find the entrances. I think that particularly in a busier time period when the parking lot is fuller it is much easier to have that to go to as identification as an entrance point in the shopping center instead of trying to figure out where they need to go to.


Chairman Harrington: Will your signs have any more specific identification other than Twelve Oaks?

Presumably people who are there at least have an idea that they are at Twelve Oaks, like north entrance or south entrance or east entrance?


Phil Moresko: No, just the words Twelve Oaks. They will be back lit and we felt that was all that would be necessary to identify the entrance itself.


Chairman Harrington: Do you think that it might be a good idea to put down north, south, east or west entrance? I am not designing your sign for you but I think that people have the idea that it is Twelve Oaks. But, if the orientation of customers and especially people on the ring road and actually locating your car and what entrance you are at is a problem. It is not just humorous it is because sometimes you come out of the mall and you are not sure what entrance that is. Just a thought, but that is not part of your petition.


Member Brennan: I, to, have been carted around by security looking for my car. I had 2 kids with me, this was 6 years ago and they still give me a hard time about it. I concur with Mr. Harrington, although I am not a big proponent of signs as you may know, I think that this is a unique center. You do have 4 distinct sides and I think giving some identity to the mall entrance in difference to the department store entrances; because you can’t see them now and you don’t know where they are located. I always go to the theater because I can find that and I know where it is. I think there is some merit in Mr. Harrington’s suggestion.


Phil Moresko: Certainly I can pass that on to the designers to add that element. I guess their thought and where we had it in other situations in our centers using the identification of the center itself being strong enough to focus where they are headed and hopefully remembering where you walked into and then walk out of. The parking lots are all color coordinated now, in terms of blue lot or what have you to help you understand where you are at and there is signage inside of the center that says "blue lot" and the numbers.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: A lot of work went into the signs at this mall. It was looked at very diligently and with a lot of concentrated effort. I am not prepared to add more signs, without going back and reviewing the whole sign package. Number one, I don’t see the hardship.


Member Brennan: The signs on the department stores were signage that the department stores had to come for, you had the control over that.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The whole package came through at one time.


Member Brennan: They went through Council.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I really don’t see the hardship or the need for these other than aesthetics. They are all the same.


Chairman Harrington: I understand the intent as expressed by the petitioner which is to draw attention to the 4 major entrance ways, separate and distinct from signage related to the anchor tenants. I am not sure that what you propose is the most artful way of solving traffic confusion or pedestrian confusion about where the entrance ways are. We are not in the sign design business. We made a suggestion that you can deal with as you see fit. If this were simply signage unrelated to the entrance ways I couldn’t support it. But those entrance ways as independent entrance ways are not readily visible especially from the ring road. So, I don’t have a major or significant problem. I am not totally opposed to Mr. Reinke, I think that he has legitimate concerns. Maybe we ought to take a look at the whole sign package. But you haven’t come to us for that. You have come to us for entranceway identification. I feel really strong that there should be directionals on there but that is up to you your sign people and your architects. That is only my thought.


Member Antosiak: I concur with you Mr. Harrington. Trying to get into Twelve Oaks, when you could not get into Twelve Oaks and trying to get out when you could not get out of Twelve Oaks,

I am convinced that the signs are not there as an attempt to draw more people in. People know where Twelve Oaks is. I work with folks who live on the other side of the metro area who shop at Twelve Oaks, people know where it is. I also agree with your comments of whether or not this is the answer to directing people to the entrances. But, it is what we have been presented with and at this point I am not really interested in reviewing the sign package for Twelve Oaks unless it is presented to us.


Member Baty: I would support the 4 signs.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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




Chairman Harrington: I believe that concludes the formal agenda for this evening. There is one or two matters for Board discussion that I would bring to the Board.


Scheduling :


Vice-Chairman Reinke indicated he would have a conflict with the July Meeting.


Member Baty indicated that she would also have a conflict with the July Meeting.


Chairman Harrington inquired if there were any objections of the Board to move the July Meeting one week which would be July 9, 1996.


Meeting will be rescheduled.


Chairman Harrington inquired if there were any other schedule conflicts?


Member Antosiak inquired of Nancy McKernan. Earlier this year you distributed a schedule, is everything as noted on that schedule. August has been changed and the November has been changed.

Nancy McKernan indicated that schedule is correct, that way we do not interfere with the elections.


Chairman Harrington indicated the September Meeting is currently set for the Tuesday of Labor Day weekend, is there any sense at this point that because of vacation or weekend plans that we need to move that to the following week. Why don’t we see how it shapes up. We will leave it as stands for right now.


Chairman Harrington inquired if there were any other scheduling conflicts.


Member Baty indicated that she would have a conflict with the new date of the August Meeting.


Member Antosiak indicated hopefully we will have a new member by then.


Chairman Harrington indicated on that issue, we do have an opening on the Board because of the resignation of Mr. Harris. Anyone who is watching on TV at this late hour is probably a perfect candidate for the Board because of your interest in bearing with us for a couple of hours for this meeting. Please come to the City Clerk’s Office to obtain an application for appointment to the Board. As you can tell this is a very exciting Board and we have a good time and you are welcome to help us out. That may also affect our scheduling of the meetings as to whether we have a full Board or not because we are going to run into conflicts.


Chairman Harrington indicated I have 2 issues and 2 suggestion which I would request feedback from the Board on. The first was a suggestion made by Mr. Antosiak which I think is an excellent idea, in terms of Board accountability we do not have any formal mechanism whereby anyone ever reports to us as to what happens to our Board cases particularly with respect to cases which may be the subject of litigations. Nor in fact does anyone ever report to us as to what happens to those litigations. I think that we have a pretty good track record but that is not the same as formally being advised. Nor is there any input to the Board regarding legal issues involving zoning cases and the like which could directly impact on us. Specifically zoning cases involving Novi or other general Novi cases. If the Board is so inclined I would be of a mind to request that Mr. Fried and Mr. Watson’s office report to us, if not in person perhaps on a quarterly basis by letter or note or memorandum what is going on with Zoning Board cases which may be the subject of litigation. For example I have heard that Chase Farms has been the subject of a law suit, but I don’t specifically know. I think that would be of interest to the Board. And when we are successful or unsuccessful in defending those cases I think that is also of interest to the Board. Where there are other issues of zoning significance I think that it is appropriate for the City Attorney to provide feedback to us. Not to increase his burden or the City’s burden but that is Mr. Antosiak’s suggestion and I think it is an excellent idea. Board comment.


Member Bauer: I think that we should request it.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that any information along this line that is happening is a useful tool for us to work with. I think it is an education process, just like anything else that we would go through.

Chairman Harrington indicated I would then forward a correspondence both to City Council and to Mr. Fried and Mr. Watson’s offices along those lines requesting input on some kind of regular basis although certainly not every month and only on those issues which are of interest to us.


Vice-Chairman Reinke indicated I think quarterly input would be sufficient because it would still give us a guideline as to what is happening.


Chairman Harrington indicated the next issue is one that I have mentioned to a couple of Board Members and my predicate for this suggestion is first of all a stipulation that we are not a court and we don’t follow precedent here. Every case has to be judged on it’s own facts and I accept that. I also feel that where you have identical facts you ought to have at least similar results because otherwise you can run into issues of arbitrary or fairness and the like. My second comment is that I think that there is a learning curve associated with new members to the Board. I would guesstimate that the learning curve is at the best case many months and certainly in other cases it could be a year to a year and a half before a Board Member sort of picks up the unwritten lore of how we make our decisions and what the rationale is and believe me there aren’t secret meetings. We do it here on the floor as best we can. On various occasions it would have been helpful to me as a Board Member and for example Chase Farms; when the petition was for a 5 year on the temporary signs. It would have been of interest to me to know as a matter of fact that we had never approved a sign in the 5 year range and that the 2 longest running other cases were 2 year or 3 year signs. But I don’t know that and there is no record kept of what we have done on prior occasions.


Chairman Harrington indicated to address that issue and to provide additional input to the Board, and not by way of precedent, but as a tool for us as a sitting Board and a tool for new Members, my suggestion is that Council be approached and Council be asked to provide us with a summer intern witch access to a computer, who can take the decision that this Board has made for whatever period of time is reasonable and annotate those decisions by subject area, by petitioner, and by result. So that we could have some kind of summary tool available to us on specific issues and we will be in a postion when the petitoner says that "I know of 5 other cases, which you decided this way and now you are deciding my case differently". I may not know and other Board Members may not know that in fact that we voted consistently in 22 straight cases, other than by memory. I think that it is a project which can be readily accomplished. I think that it is relatively easy. But I think that a college student or a law clerk would be perfectly suited to spend the summer analyzing those decsions subject to our supervision. This is not a task that I would suggest that existing City Members do; they are already to busy. But, if Council is willing to fund an intern I would be willing to suprevise them and work with them to see if we can come up with a tool which would of assistance. That is my suggestion. Board comment.


Don Saven: I am not part of the Board but I would like to offer this information to you. The City is diligently working in an effort to come up with a General Information System. A GIS System, whereby all the information that is going into computers is going to be logged into the computer. Decisions, Zoning Board of Appeals and everything and having this information available relative to zoning cases and to be able to pick them apart by general issues regarding maybe sign cases and things of this nature. What I am understanding from you that you want to be site specific for zoning case and maybe for signage and just keep everything with the signs to say this is what we have. I believe that we can do this down the road with the GIS, which we are working on right now. It is going to be a totally remarkable system, but it is going to take like 2 years to probably put this whole thing together and I don’t know if you want to wait that long. There is some movement going around in that particular area right now and there is a lot of things happening computer wise in this City that are knocking everybody’s socks off. This will be very helpful. For example, I don’t know whether you are aware of this but in our computer system now if we had some type of a linc you can get into the system and come up with the Novi Code of Ordinances and if you want to anything about nonconforming you just hit nonconforming and go into an issue called Socrates which is our whole Novi Code of Ordinances and nonconforming and it will come up and every issue that you want to know about nonconformity is right there, any part of the ordinance. It is a very remarkable system that we have and the changes that take place will move us in a very positive direction in that aspect. If we have the ability to break it down and maybe I can ask them whether or not they could break down the Zoning Board of Appeals cases and how long it would take to do it; I could probably have that information for you at the next meeting.


Chairman Harrington: Why don’t you. Is there any other comment?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think this would be good because it would give us some idea of the direction that we are going and maybe it will suffice for what we are looking for. There is no sense in re-doing the wheel twice.





The meeting was adjourned at 10:50 p.m.









Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan, Recording Secretary