TUESDAY - JUNE 4, 1996


The Meeting was called to order at 7:33 p.m, with Chairman Harrington presiding.





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


Absent: Member 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 do have a quorum present this evening. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a hearing board empowered by the City of Novi 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. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to grant a variance request. I would note at the beginning of this Meeting that we have five (5) persons present tonight; which is short of our normal full Board. However, a vote of four (4) Members will grant or rule upon the variance request. Any applicant this evening at this time who would like to have their case tabled until next month are encouraged to do so. You are entitled to have full six (6) Member board vote upon your decisions, if you so choose. Are there any members of the audience or participants or applicants who would like to have their case tabled until next month’s meeting?

(No one wished to be tabled at this time.)





Chairman Harrington indicated it is my understanding that the case which is No. 96-050 filed by IDOD Systems has asked to be tabled to the July 9, 1996 Meeting. Any objection? Move to table by acclamation. favor. (voice vote - all yeas). This case will be tabled until the July Meeting.



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





Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Member Antosiak,





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





We now turn to what we call the Public Remarks section of the evening, which is the opportunity for members of the audience to comment on matters which are not specifically before us. Is there anyone in the audience who wished to speak to a matter not formally before us.


Norman Hyman: You have a letter, I believe, from me. This is a request for an extension on case No, 95-097. Ms. McKernan suggested that the appropriate procedure would be to write the letter and appear under Public Remarks and then you would either decide to grant the extension or if you felt that there was need for a full hearing you would give us a date for that. The letter is self-explanatory. It wasn’t until May 1st that we received final site plan approval and that triggers the time period under the ordinance. So we are here before you because the time period is now running; this is a very complex development. A number of changes were required as a result of input from the City and it’s consultants so it wasn’t until May 1st that we were finally able to obtain final site plan approval. There are still a number of engineering items and that kind of thing to pass through the Building Department; I am not sure exactly where they stand at this point with the Building Department; but I think that Mr. Saven will confirm that there are some open items in terms of submissions or approvals. We therefore, would request an extension. I don’t know exactly how the extension ought to run and I have suggested one way of doing it which is 30 days after we have gone through all of the hoops of the Building Department.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Norman Hyman: Do I correctly understand that your request is not for a 30 day extension per se’ but rather that you are requesting 30 days after the conclusion of the Building Department and the administrative reviews?


Norman Hyman: That is correct.


Chairman Harrington inquired: Is there anyone in the audience who would speak to this request?

(No one wished to be heard at this time.)


Member Bauer: I see no problem.


Chairman Harrington: It would seem that the sense of the Board that there is no problem with this request. As Chairman it would be my position that there are substantive issues which should be the subject of Notice and full Hearing and there are procedural issues that I think that the Board can deal with and there may be some cases where there is a mixed bag that requires further debate or discussion. If you are simply looking for 30 days, this "Chair" would have no problem with your request. Granted that you are looking for a period beyond 30 days; should there be someone out there who is monitoring and/or has an adverse position they could always bring that extension to our approval. I do not believe that it is necessary for you to re-Notice under these circumstances; if there should be objection to be filed then we can deal with that accordingly.


Norman Hyman: Thank you, we appreciate that and we have no problem with that. We just wanted to make sure that we got in under the wire with our request. We didn’t want somebody to come back at some later date and say that you waited to long. That resolution is perfectly acceptable.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: In the time frame of what you feel has to be done, when do you feel that this time frame is going to take to elapse?


Norman Hyman: I think this is better resolved in a dialog between Don Saven and Jeff Sobel, I can’t answer that myself.


Don Saven: I would be very comfortable if the Board would consider 60 days, as this is a very unique site.


Norman Hyman: That is acceptable and if that turns out to be a problem and Mr Saven would support a further request in view of any unforeseen problems, we could come back.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I would feel more comfortable with a time duration rather than an open ended situation; 60 days I have a no problem.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried


James Korte, last November 7th you had a Meeting and a house on South Lake, 1099 specifically was passed and I think it was the second time that they were here.


Chairman Harrington: And the petitioner was, sir? Who was the petitioner?

James Korte: By name, I don’t know. The petitioner is no longer involved; he has dropped out of the situation and the builder has taken over. I find it interesting that we can take a variance given to a homeowner and give it to a builder construction person. I think it is a whole different ball game. When you start with a resident to be in the area and a developer and a prospectus it is a whole new ball game and I think that somebody should look into that. That is 1099 South Lake.


Chairman Harrington: It would be easier for us to comment specifically if we knew the name of the petitioner or if we had further facts. The Board is at a disadvantage in terms of being able to respond because I don’t recall by address that particular variance. The name of the petitioner or the issue involved might allow us to discuss with some intelligence your comments; but in so far that I don’t have a memory and I don’t know that the other Board Members do either; we will note for the record your objection.


James Korte: Then what I will do, to your pleasure, tomorrow morning I will give Don Saven a copy of all of the above and if it needs to be researched then I hope that it would be. Thank you.



Chairman Harrington: I would note that we have a full agenda this evening; but for the one tabling. We have 14 Cases.





Lee Mamola, representing Craig & Lynn MacGowan, is requesting a 6% lot coverage variance, a 1.08' side yard variance on the south side and a 4.92' side yard variance on the north side to allow for the construction of a new single family residence at 1312 East Lake Dr.


Lee Mamola was present and duly sworn.


Lee Mamola: We are the architects for Mr. and Mrs. MacGowan. With me tonight is Deborah Gardin from our office, she is the designer of this residence that we will be talking about and Mr. Craig MacGowan who is the owner of the property.


Lee Mamola: The project entails the construction of a 2 story house, which would include approximately 2530 square feet of living area. It would replace an existing single story house with full basement with 1140 square foot of living area. The new house would contain 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, a living room with a future family room, a dining room and a kitchen. I mention these rooms because they are the very normal type of contents in a house that you would find in this City.


Lee Mamola: Some of the features of a hardship that we feel are particular and unique to this particular piece of property and this particular project include the lot width. The current ordinance would allow us to construct a house of only 17 feet in width. Nearly everybody has a 2 car garage. Your normal 2 car garage door is only 16 feet. If we were to build a house per the ordinance the front facade of this house would be nothing more than a 16 foot wide garage door and 2 6 inch walls on either side of that door; it would look rather strange.


Lee Mamola: If you look at the site plan, you can see that there is an existing well on the property; it is about 3 feet north of the south property line and to maintain access to that well we need a certain amount of room to get in and perhaps one day put a rig in and do what not. I will point that out a little further on. The location of the well presents us with some difficulties in where to place this house.


Lee Mamola: The existing house there (we will pass out a photo) is a house that is about 60 years old or there abouts. It is in a state of deterioration. The MacGowans are living there currently. They claim that the house literally shakes when you get a good wind off of the lake. The walls and the windows rattle. There has been several additions to that house, there are several separate basements at different floor elevations over the years that have been added to that house. While you are looking at that photo, and I will come back to this point, but please look at that photo carefully; to look at the house on the left of that photo; it is their neighbor to the south. It is a 2 story house. That photo was taken in midwinter when the sun angle was at it’s lowest Notice the amount of sunlight hitting the existing MacGowan house; practically in full sun. That is about a 13 foot distance between the south house and the existing MacGowan house. In a moment I will show you the drawings where we are proposing our wall line and it will be approximately within inches of that existing residence.


Lee Mamola: This is a site plan of the property. You have East Lake Drive here and the lake on the bottom and the existing structure is to the north and the south. The dark outline represents the proposed house as the model that you see in front of you and the white area is the proposed foot print area. The dash line is the existing footprint, so we are substantially well within that existing house footprint, we go beyond it slightly to the north, slightly to the west and about the same to the east.

Lee Mamola: There are some peculiar situations when you try to combine a narrow lot and you try to design a functional house. There are situations that start to set forth in the basic criteria for a house. A 2 car garage is a given in today’s metro area and in much of the country frankly. We are trying to provide them a 2 car garage which will accommodate both of their pick up trucks. We are looking at a garage that is 24 feet in width to accommodate that. In addition to that to have a door that faces the street we have a 4 foot wide part of the house; 24 feet plus a 4 foot wide is a 28 foot wide house in total. Here is the garage on the main level and it faces East Lake Drive and the main entry door is 4 feet wide but it is recessed back a bit. The reason that it is recessed back a bit is to minimize the amount of variance that we are here to request tonight. This whole design is based upon that. The house at it’s widest point is 28 feet (this shaded area here), it is about 10 feet wide and 28 feet across and again that is generated from the basic requirements for a standard garage and a 4 foot wide and long wall for the entry; 10 feet wide and over 80 feet of length. So, that is 10% of the length of that house.


Lee Mamola: What starts to set up then beyond that and some of the other parameters; the entry was pushed down so that we have a 10 feet rather than an a 80 foot wide length of house that is 28 feet wide.


Lee Mamola: You start to work with what is coming across the house this way. What sets up all of the spacial requirements in the house is the circulation patterns. The yellow on the diagram represents the circulation patterns. You will notice that it goes lengthwise, parallel to the axis of the property. Off of that hallway of circulation patterns at either end we have the larger rooms, the bedrooms or the living rooms or the garage and we have where most of the circulation is the smaller spaced rooms, your bathrooms, the laundry and the like. So when you look at what constitutes the width of that house it is set up dimensionally by standard items in a house; 5 foot wide bath tub, 3 foot width for a toilet facility, a 40 inch hallway, a double return stair.......



Chairman Harrington: We understand, we don’t you get to the hardship issue?


Lee Mamola: Let me return 2 or 3 important points to the massing of the house and to the neighborhood here. When we situated the house to the neighbor to the south, again it was about the same wall line. We moved to the north and what resulted here was a massing or the physical construction of a house in the center of 2 existing neighbors. We are at 13 feet 2 inches to the neighbor to the north and 13 feet 4 inches to the neighbor to the south. Mr. MacGowan told us that there he was sensitive to his neighbors to the north’s need for light. I would like to point out that this is the north elevation and this was a one story house at the north wall. We stepped back a bit in making the building narrower, and what that does is it allows more natural light into that yard. It reduces the massing and the height of that wall. We are trying to be sensitive to the neighbor to the north. We knew this as a design criteria. Remember the photograph and look at the photograph that was taken in the middle of the winter. We have also been sensitive and changed the design so that we would not have so many windows on that side and have a sky light so that they would not look out into one another. The designs have been altered likewise to the south to not look into one another on either side.


Lee Mamola: The final point for your consideration here is that we would not necessarily have to be before you for a variance tonight if the MacGowans had decided to repair or alter their house on the existing footing and foundation presuming that it was structurally stable. They don’t have a garage, they could make their alterations, they could end up parking nearly in the street as they do with their 2 parking spaces. This project results in a garage, gives them 2 parking spaces indoors and 4 more additional parking spaces to clear up parking on the street. We have done all that I think that we reasonably can to minimize the request for this variance and provide an attractive facility within the neighborhood and again I think that when you look at the issue of the site with the well which is in this vicinity and dictates where we can really start this house and we have to go northward from that point. The deteriorating structure of the house and the alternative to what else could be built there without a garage and other, it would aggravate parking situations in the neighborhood. I think that we have done all that we can on this particular matter.


Lee Mamola: I think that Mr. MacGowan would like to say a few quick words.


Craig MacGowan: Thanks for hearing our request this evening for variance. My wife, Lynn, has been living on that lake for 9 years. She bought the property about that time. That is presently where we live and we love living there because it is on the lake; it has a nice western facing and we have noticed that something nice is going on in general in the neighborhood and that is that there is an improvement of the homes in that area. We want to do the same to ours because there are some structural problems that we have with it; like Lee mentioned about the winds and we can deal with that because we are adults. It does make it a little creaky at night sometimes when you have nothing to stop the winds and you are facing due west.


Craig MacGowan: Also to fix it in the present condition that it is in right now, I think it would be a really tough item for us and wouldn’t let us do some of the pretty normal things that we want to do that other people have recently done in the neighborhood. However, when we went about wanting to do this we did have a considerable concern for trying to make something that would be attractive to the rest of the neighborhood. Something that would improve things and something that our neighbors would find pleasant and a plan that they could go along with. To that end we went around a showed as many neighbors as we could find up and down East Lake Dive and including our closest neighbors, the model for the house and the blueprints. I have here the signatures of 25 neighbors up and down East Lake Drive on both sides of our street. This would include people who live in older existing homes on both sides of the street and some, of course, who have recently put new homes in and there is quite a few there.


Craig MacGowan: We wanted to build something unique in the area on the lot, and we chose an architect from Novi that was familiar with the restrictions and legalities here in this community and carry it through the entire project. A lot of people in our neighborhood have built their own houses and we applaud them for that effort; but we chose to go with an architect who would do a design sympathetic to the area, to our neighbors, and also follow that project all the way through the completion of the project; through the bidding process so that make sure that we maintain all of those standards because we do intend to live there. This is going to be home that is not unlike a New England cape cod type house that you would find in a similar water situation; so it should be quite complimentary to the neighborhood.


Craig MacGowan: We did very thorough presentations to both of our immediate neighbors. Our neighbors to the south, the Nessels’ whose signature you will find on the petition. Also to our neighbors to the north Arnie and Judy Ray we extended the same full presentation including a complete walk around the house. We had put some little paint marks down where the property line was and where the new lines would be for the variance. We had the model out there plus all of the blue prints and went through everything. There is if you will notice on the footprint, an old stone boat and changing house that is half on the Ray’s property and half on ours and it is kind of in a state of disarray and that would present a problem so we had offered and made a verbal offer which we also have in writing to the Ray’s that we would remove that at our own expense and terrace it to their specifications. Also, we are aware that light and closeness would be a problem so we have done what we felt and instructed our architect to do everything that they could do to make these problems minimized for the Ray’s. Again the positioning of the well is a little unusual for starting it further over.


Craig MacGowan: That is about it. We love living in the area and we have gone to a lot of trouble, I think, to try to keep it something that will be pleasant and an improvement and not a huge objection to everybody. Thank you for your time.


Chairman Harrington indicated we have accepted the approvals of the 24 interested parties or neighbors, some of whom are also contained in specific comments that we received. There was a total of 32 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total 5 written responses received. One voicing objection and 4 voicing approval. Copies in file.




Judy and Arne Ray, 1310 East Lake Dr. We are the neighbors and yes they did show us everything that he did say. I have a statement that I have written out and I would just like to read it. It is stating our objection. We are here in opposition of the use of any northern variance as requested by Craig and Lynn MacGowan. We spend 95% of our waking time in the lower level of our 2 story home. We have a bi-level without a basement. This level contains our kitchen, dining area, bath and living room. With the approval of the north side variance, the angle from the top of the window to the skyline to the floor will change from 9 feet to 4 feet. This will change our lower level from bright and cheery to dull and dreary. We will lose a substantial amount of natural light. More importantly we feel that this will be a tremendous liability to the sale price of our property. We were told by Craig and Lynn the reason that they don’t want to go further south is because replacing their well would cost them $7000.00. We feel that this northern variance will reduce the value of our home by more than $7000.00. One reason for setback standards is to keep people from feeling cloistered in their homes, to have space and light between houses and a feeling of privacy. We presently have the open the sunlight atmosphere on our south side and having a 31 feet high house almost 5 feet closer will be detrimental to our existing feeling of comfort and well being. Allowing the variance and bringing the house in closer to our home and with it being so much higher will certainly eliminate a substantial amount of the southern sunlight and radiant heat. As a result our electricity and heating bills will be increased slightly due to the diminished outside natural light. Craig and Lynn want a 49.2 on the northern setback and a 24% allowance over allowable square footage of building. As part of the new home construction and landscape plan Craig and Lynn have offered to tear down our adjoining change houses and necessary landscaping will be handled at their own expense. We would prefer that our section not be torn down. We would benefit by our upgrading this building and continue to use it as a deck and for added storage. We do understand that there may be a need for this building to be torn down to accommodate proper grading on their lot and ours; therefore we will consider allowing the building to be demolished but we are concerned because no landscape plans have been submitted for our approval and we don’t have anything in writing to show how the grade level will affect our property. Our lake side is a steep grade where their’s is terraced; to tie the 2 into together without losing our flat area at the bottom will have to shown in drawings. We would appreciate an architectural landscape drawing and in addition to show how erosion will be avoided on our property during construction and the date the landscaping will be completed. We are asking you not to approve any northern variance. Thank you.


Chairman Harrington: Before you sit down, just so that I understand the thrust of your comments; there are 3 variances that are requested. One of which is a 1 foot variance, the other of which and I think that you mis-spoke and said 49 or that is how it sounded; it is 4.9 feet variance on the north side and there is a 6% lot variance. Is your major concern the north side variance or all of the above?


Judy Ray: Just the northern.


Arne Ray: Excuse me, she meant to say 49%. Now she did say 24% increase in building size. Now I don’t understand if you have 100 square foot lot and your are allowed 25 foot; now if I want a 76% increase I would have to use the neighbors property. You are using the 6%, I don’t understand.


Chairman Harrington: We understand the math. These are the way that these cases are framed in terms of the percentage increase. You are correct, as I understand your comments, that an increase from 25% lot coverage to 31% if you look at the increase that is 25% and that is not 6%. That is the way the cases are presented to us and the Board Members understand that, so we do understand your comments on the math.


Arne Ray: Well I didn’t understand that.


Arne Ray: Now in the front of the house I see 3 stories, 31 foot and you are going with a 2 story house. He has a steep grade for his garage, why can’t he put it on the basement level? The lower level of my house will be approximately at the same level as theirs. I have a walkout to the street. They kept using the word variance. It is variances, they are asking for 3 and not 1. When he explained that we wants a variance he is using singular.


Deborah Gardin: I work with Lee Mamola. I just wanted to address a couple of the issues that the Rays’ addressed. If you could pass around the photograph again that is the distance that will be between their house as well and that is in the winter and you can see how much light is there and the fact that theirs’ is a 2 story and this will only be one story and I don’t think with my own professional opinion that they are going to have a problem with the light. As far as us calling it a 2 story, it is according to the Novi Codes because the majority of the basement is covered by grade.


Arne Ray: When is the middle of the winter and can I see the snow in that picture? I have never seen the picture.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: The question that I typically ask on issues regarding construction on the lake area, is whether this plan has been presented to LARA? Whether there has been any input from them?


Lee Mamola: No, sir.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The unfortunate situation is the lot widths up there. Everybody want to have a place on the lake and the problem is with this kind of lot width (42 foot) it is really an over built lot situation. There is no good way to address it. It is a problem. The homes are being built to close. The existing homes on each side are not within the lot variances, they vary from what the lot setbacks are required. I think that what you have presented and what they want to do is a beautiful situation; but I think it is to big a home for the lot.


Lee Mamola: May I ask in what type of size?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am just saying that the lot is over built. I understand the situation that it is a small lot but the variance request when you are going down to 5 foot on the one side; it is just to close. The size and the massiveness of the home is way to big of a house for that sized lot.


Lee Mamola: Again, if I may repeat part of the reasoning for going in that direction was based on the starting point and working south to north with well location and moving the building as far to the south as we could. The basic interior requirement and spacial flow in the inside necessitated us moving to the north and we tried to keep the minimum distance the codes required, BOCA Code requires, from the property line being 5 feet. Now if perhaps it should please the Board, and I recognize that there is not 6 people here we would be willing to do a little further analysis if necessary and come back, tabling it to the July Meeting.


Chairman Harrington: I don’t want to have you come back if there is no point in doing so; but I do have a specific question which you may need some time to answer. Let’s assume that we tell you that there are no variances that we are going to give you; how is that going to impact on the design criteria of this house? Can people live in it in terms of normal rooms, normal hallways, normal occupancy or are any them flexible whether it be lot size, whether it be the one foot on the south side or the 5 feet or the 4.9 feet on the north side? Is there any give in terms of bringing it closer to conforming with the ordinance? That is a question that I would like to have answered? If you need to next meeting to go back to the drawing board and to come back in front of us; I would not oppose that. But that is where I am headed.


Lee Mamola: That is difficult to answer on the stand here tonight and I would appreciate more time to do that. We have given it a very thorough effort. There are 3 items to look at, the lot coverage, the dimension from north/ south and south/north. It is a complicated question to answer at the podium tonight.


Chairman Harrington: Let me tell you what my thought is because Mr. Reinke has shared his with you. I know that this Board has been understanding in cases of merit in the north end and on that lake and we have granted variances. But, we have only done so when we have been convinced at least in my mind, that this is the minimum necessary incursion beyond the ordinance. I don’t know tonight as I hear the request that this is the bare minimum that you need in order to put this house up. We have given variances where we have been convinced that there is genuine need and genuine hardship and you have a well there, you have a unique lot configuration. I am not persuaded by an argument that if you increase the value of your house that the value of my house is going down, that is not an area that I need information on. But, in terms of architect and design criteria do you have to have this to build a house or can you work with us in terms of coming closer to what the ordinance demands?


Lee Mamola: I firmly believe that the side yard variances are within inches and I don’t know what could be gained by a matter of inches of what we have to do. We could go back and do some analysis and we may come back with the same conclusions and we could share that analysis and you could perhaps have a better understanding of those conclusions. The other question with respect to lot coverage, today it is 6%, maybe it is 5.95, maybe it is 4; perhaps there could be a clearer explanation to that particular question. I would be willing to do that research and come back in July.

Chairman Harrington: There seems to be a sense that Mr. Mamola would like to come back next month. Comments.


Member Brennan: That is fine. I have a very simple question. What is the purpose for having the jut in the building to the north instead of maintaining the building line down? Why do you have the off-set? Why don’t you just run that whole building all the way down?


Lee Mamola: Here is the garage, here it is 24 feet wide, you walk under a covered area (a 4' wide walk) and that is 28 feet. That is what generates that. Again, this shaded area is 10 feet wide and 24 feet in through there. A 24 foot wide house is not a common thing. I have sat in the audience watching other houses obtain variances. In fact when the MacGowans came to us they said "we would like you to get a 5 foot variance on either side", and our challenge was that maybe we should try to do more and minimize the request. That is why I say we may be within matters of inches in terms of the north/south dimension and the variance for it. But, I would be willing to go back and look at the percentage question.


Chairman Harrington: If you are willing to go back and come back next month.....Board Members?


Member Antosiak: I would encourage that because I tend to agree that I think that the house is a little to big for that lot.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Member Antosiak,





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


Arne Ray: Until I see in a drawing and to scale the landscaping, I can’t understand how you can give a permit because he is grading into our lot. Now one more thing, I live in a 20 foot house and 12 years ago when I started remodeling that house I was told directly that I could not....


Chairman Harrington: One moment. Mr. Mamola and Mr. MacGowan, if you could just stick around for a minute I think you ought to hear what the gentleman has to say and I certainly want you to hear my reaction to it.


Arne Ray: I had the nicest house in the area until they started building these mansions. I am 65 years old and I do not have any intentions of changing my life style. But, it is sure going to change if they move that house that high. The plan is 31 feet high or 32 he told us. It doesn’t increase a shade. That is kind of far fetched. We live in the lower level, and they are not taking advantage of the lower level. They are running their garage up above and they could put the garage down on the lower level and still have a good grade for the street.


Chairman Harrington: My response is as follows and I encourage you and I encourage Mr. Mamola and Mr. MacGowan to speak with you and not by telephone, not by telefax, but in person at your home, between now and the next meeting because the first question that I am going to ask them if they come back next month is "have they spoken to you?" and you need to express your concerns to them about soil erosion, about landscaping and the like and they should be prepared to address your concerns or see you next month back here at this meeting. I encourage you two to get together because you, Sir, are the only one opposing this variance and if they appease you and can convince you that in fact that this property and this development is going to enhance your property values you may have a little bit of a different position to take next month. So, I encourage the parties who are affected by this proposal to get together and attempt to resolve it and that doesn’t mean that you can; but I encourage it because the place to resolve it is really not in front of us. We are simply going to vote one way or the other. If there can be compromises put in place in the plan which is going to help you with some of your objections and you can come back together next month in front of us, we are going to listen to that very carefully.


Arne Ray: Now, one more thing. They use the well as an excuse for not going in the other direction. I am willing to put in a well for them and let them go the other way. I will foot the bill for the well and they can go the other way.


Chairman Harrington: We will see you next month.





Kathleen Anderson is requesting a side yard setback variance of 9 feet to allow for the construction of an attached garage for property located at 27047 Wixom Road.


Kathleen Anderson was present and duly sworn.


Kathleen Anderson: We are asking for a variance. We would like to build on a 3 car garage to our house. We are asking for the variance listed, it is 9 feet. We have an existing detached garage that has a setback of 8 feet and we would just like to upon building the 3 car garage we would like to take it 2 feet over.


Chairman Harrington: Do I understand , that there are wetlands on the north side of the property?


Kathleen Anderson: Yes, on the northwest side is wetlands and we couldn’t build on that side. If we attached it to the north side of the home the entrance would be going into the master bedroom.


Chairman Harrington: So, it would basically impossible to build it on the north side?


Kathleen Anderson: Yes, that is correct.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Just a couple of things and I don’t know if it was brought up or not; but what I would like to point out to the Board is on the very last piece of paper you will see that the adjacent properties that are immediately to where she has requested the variance it is a large parcel with a 79 foot frontage area in that particular case. Now, this I believe is a R1 Zoning District and in that particular case that there has to be certain requirements that are met for setback requirements. This is very similar in nature to almost a flag lot where that frontage is only 79 foot and taking into consideration for the setback requirements and also what they may plan to do with that parcel in the future would be something that the Board should take a look at in considering this variance. I don’t know whether or not they could build a house on this lot based on if they did split the property, I don’t believe that they would want to land lock the property. Are they going to use it for a road? The requirements for a public road would have to meet a certain requirement. Certainly they are not going to create corner lots under this particular situation. There is some concern relative to that issue.


Chairman Harrington: Is it your sense that the development or the variance as proposed might restrict their ability to use the remainder of the parcel?


Don Saven: No, I don’t believe so. We have an existing garage that is already 6 foot to the property line on the site as it exists right now. What I am saying is that the width of that frontage on the adjacent parcel given consideration to what the ordinance would require if they would split; that parcel would have to come in for a variance also.


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


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Are you planning to retain the garage that is in existence there now?


Kathleen Anderson: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I can’t agree with that sized garage being built that close to the lot line. It either has to be setback or off-set somehow or set behind the home or have a curved driveway or something come in. I cannot buy going 6 foot to the lot line.


Kathleen Anderson: OK, we couldn’t build the garage to the back. If we brought it around to the back our well is right there.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am just saying that for that size lot, some way something can be worked out that it doesn’t have to be 6 foot from the lot line. There is no reason for that. You are going to keep the existing garage...


Kathleen Anderson: Yes, we have 2 classic cars so we need space.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is fine, but you are going to have to work out something different because I cannot support building 6 foot from the lot line on that sized lot.


Kathleen Anderson: Even when the existing garage is 8 foot from the lot line?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: No, I couldn’t even buy that. You have enough property there that you can uniquely do something without needing a variance.


Kathleen Anderson: But, if we built a garage in front...


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am only one person, I think that you need other input from other people on the Board.


Member Antosiak: Rather than going 3 cars wide have you considered perhaps 2 wide and 2 deep?


Kathleen Anderson: No. We have considered 2 wide; we would like 3, but we didn’t consider 2 wide and 2 deep. Could I call my husband up to assist me?


Kenneth Anderson: The reason that we are asking for a 3 car there is due to the classic vehicles that we have. It is going to be a drive thru type of garage so there wouldn’t be any driving around it onto someone else’s property. She mentioned that the well was directly behind the garage and we couldn’t build behind and we couldn’t build on the side because of the wetlands. The only think that we could do was to move the garage in the front of the house, which I think would detract from the architecture. We are trying to maintain the same lines, maintain the same type of house in the neighborhood. There is only 5 houses on the street. The existing garage is within 6 or 8 feet of the line now. I don’t see how 2 feet could make any distance.


Chairman Harrington: It does. Is your proposal to leave the existing garage intact?


Kenneth Anderson: Yes, it is.


Chairman Harrington: Then you will basically be expanding your home to include this larger garage?


Kenneth Anderson: Yes, it is going to be attached to the house.


Chairman Harrington: The problem is that if you didn’t have any garage at all and you wanted to put your existing garage where it is now, you would need a variance. I think that you would have problems getting that variance because the Board seems to sense and I agree with Mr. Reinke, that there appears to be a lot of room on this property. Now maybe there are unique considerations on this property as to why that garage cannot fit on that parcel but it is a humongous parcel. It doesn’t appear that it is only location on the property that you could put the garage. Naturally, you want it attached to your house. Naturally, you want to keep your existing garage there. But, you are going to double or triple the amount of the incursion into the side yard setback, when the hardship is that you don’t want to put it anywhere else on the property.


Kathleen Anderson: We can’t put it to the front of the property because it would be in front of the house.


Chairman Harrington: We are not going to design it for you.


Kathleen Anderson: We can’t put it to the back because the existing garage is right there and we can’t drive over our well.


Chairman Harrington: Let me give you an example, and again we are not in the design business. We give people opportunities to consult with specialists and come back with design criteria which we can or cannot go along with. But, an example would be tear down the existing garage and build your brand new proposed garage in conformity with the side yard setback. Is there a reason why that can’t happen?


Kenneth Anderson: We would like it attached to the house. We would like an attached garage like the majority of the homes that are being built in Novi right now.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Can you point out to me on this sketch where your well is?


Kenneth Anderson showed where the well was on the site plan.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Why couldn’t you make a short attached breezeway and put your garage right here and come around to the garage?


Kenneth Anderson: I suppose that is a possibility. I like the idea of the garage in the front.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: There is a lot of things that I like but what I am saying is that your garage is big enough that I think that you should be able to have a building to do what you want to do. I can’t agree with where you are putting this and going that close to the lot line. You have capabilities with that sized lot to put it in conformance with what the side yard setbacks should be. I think that you need to explore this opportunity because I can’t agree with what you are proposing here tonight.

Member Brennan: Is this sketch to scale?


Kenneth Anderson: It is not to scale, but it is very close.


Member Bauer: There is no hardship.

Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried




Brandon Kaufman is requesting a 10 foot front yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an addition at 109 Penhill.


Brandon Kaufman was present and duly sworn.


Brandon Kaufman: I guess after listening to the previous cases the only way that I think I could best present my appeal would be to go around the perimeter of the house and just kind of talk about each side yard or each side of the house and explain our reasoning why we feel that the location is a proposed.


Brandon Kaufman: First of all we are asking to build a garage. We submitted pictures and some floor plans just to point out the width of the garage; it is 22 feet. We tried to keep it as minimum as possible. I was told by a lot of people that I should ask for 24 feet.


Brandon Kaufman: If you are facing the house to the east side there is only 13 feet between our house and the neighbors house, so to put anything there would not be practical. The south side of the house is the back of the house, it would be very awkward to drive through our yard to get to the back of the house and also to put any kind of garage back there would require a variance as well, leaving us with roughly 10 feet or so to the back lot line. To the west side, you can see based on the site plan, there is enough room to put a garage there but I guess my wife and I along with some architects looked at this and said we have existing drives, there is a corner that is pretty much ideal to receive a garage and that is the west side of the house which in the afternoon received quite a bit of sunlight, etc. The other thing about putting it on the west, if you are familiar with this area it is up by the west side of Walled Lake and having a nice yard is pretty desirable especially because we are young and want to have kids and want to have a place for them to play more to the side or the back of the house opposed to in the front. Another thing, if we did put the house over there it would make the house very long opposed to us trying to increase the aesthetics by keeping it in the front and more of a natural elevation. We are asking for what you would consider a 10 foot variance. I would like to point out that the existing house does have a covered porch in the front and that is going to remain and the proposed addition is only going to come forward one more foot. There are 2 very nice trees in the front of the house as well.


Brandon Kaufman: I suppose that is it, I am not an expert at asking for variances. Before I forget, we did receive in the mail 2 more responses if I could submit them.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 49 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 5 written responses received with 3 voicing approval and 2 objections. Three more approvals were received at the Meeting. Copies in file.




Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. Before you bring up the issue, Mr. Brennan, as to LARA or SES Homeowners Association approval, we have not discussed this as far as SES goes and I have no idea of LARA. Or on the one previously or any other tonight.




Don Saven had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The petitioner is a very fortunate person around the lake. He has a lot big enough to build something as he wants. There is no way in that subdivision area up there that I can anything come closer to the road than what is already in existence today. The gentleman has enough lot coverage and it can be shifted over. He can make a little cove in there to have a picnic table because he already has concrete there or something like that. Basically he can use his driveway without any additional cost. There is no hardship to come closer to the road at all in that situation.

Don Saven: I would like the petitioner to explain that he does have a covered porch and that covered porch extends to the front of the building approximately 4 feet. I believe that he was trying to indicated that he was coming forward from that front porch approximately 1 foot. Is that correct?


Brandon Kaufman: Yes that is correct. I am a member of LARA and I didn’t think that it would be and maybe I was ignorant or wrong but I didn’t feel that it was appropriate to bring this up to LARA, I wanted to get this approved on my own merits. I apologize for that. I know that the neighbor that had the comments about "go for it", he was going to deny it and we talked to him. He was confused in the sense that he thought that we wanted to be 10 feet back from the road. Opposed to only coming forward one more foot. After we discussed it, that is when he said "that is great". It was confusing to me when I read it in the notice. There is a covered porch and it does extend forward 4 feet towards the road, so the house is not in compliance. There is a 21 foot setback to the front of that covered porch right now. So we are asking for one more foot. I know that it is closer but I think that it would greatly improve the aesthetics of the house and it would provide off-street and covered parking as well.

Chairman Harrington: Is what you are saying is that because of the existing projection of the home you would only be coming one foot further forward than that? Why couldn’t you just follow the line straight across?


Brandon Kaufman: The garage that is being proposed is only 22 feet wide and that is outside to outside, so it is not even 22 feet where you park a car. I was kind of told and everything that I read said that 22 feet is pretty narrow. We are trying to make it decent enough to get 2 cars in there, but not ask for 24 feet or anything like that. We were sticking with what we were told was the bare minimum. I guess if you told me that I would have to or if you wouldn’t want to grant the variance but give me a grandfathered variance and say that I have to make my garage 21 feet, I would much rather consider that then try to take up more of a future playground that I would hope for my kids.

Chairman Harrington: We give a lot of unique variances but we don’t do "grandfather variances."


Member Antosiak: I agree with Mr. Reinke, it is unusual to have a 100 foot wide lot in the lake area. I think that more of the lot could be utilized to build a garage than to come closer to the road.


Member Bauer: I agree, there is no hardship.


Chairman Harrington: My sense is that if you came back in front of us and you had consulted with an architect or a planner or somebody and they said "look we can’t build that on that property because of this factor, this factor and this factor" rather than simply convenience then that would be hardship. But the sense of the Board and we are not in the design business, we are looking at a pretty big lot there and we would need to be assured that there is no other way that this could be done to live within the ordinance.


Brandon Kaufman: My question is, am I better off as a homeowner to try and to use more of the existing land and have a house that is longer, flatter or whatever and stay within the variances and the setbacks then to try to get a one foot variance and to keep everything more compact and to keep more of a green area? I guess, there is concrete there and he is going to save some money for the concrete; it is not necessarily that it is just there is a nook in the existing house that whatever structure I would be asking for the same thing.


Chairman Harrington: And the "Chair’s" answer to your sort of rhetorical inquiry is that if you choose to design this garage within the parameters of the setbacks you don’t need a variance and you can do it anyway that you want, subject to Building Department approval. If however, you are going to get into a cost benefit trade off between green space and the like versus a one foot variance then that is an issue for us to deal with. The problem is that we are not looking for a one foot variance here. That is the problem. We are looking at 10 feet. You are expanding the nonconformity that exists in that property and the Board always takes a dim view of expanding nonconformities unless there is really serious hardship, which there could be on this site. But, we haven’t heard it yet.

Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried




Michele Martinez is requesting a variance to allow a pool to be placed 6'6" from the house, a variance to allow a fence to be placed in a front yard setback (corner lot) for property located at 25920 Mulberry Lane. The following will also be required: a minor land improvement permit, association approval, easement clearances for the concrete walk and the fencing form a) Type III well, b) drainage, c) public utilities.


Michele Martinez was present and duly sworn.


Michele Martinez: We were requesting a 3'6" variance in the rear yard setback for the placement of an inground pool and also a 7' variance to have a fenced placed. We are on a corner lot. Our hardships are number one that we are a corner lot and our setbacks are larger than an interior lot would be. Also our lot is irregularly shaped and the rear line of the house and the lot line are not parallel. We have a 12' sewer and drainage easement at the rear of the lot. Any pool that we would place in our backyard would need to be placed in this location. We have researched where the sewer and drainage lines extend from our home and they extend from and if you take a look at the plans in front of you there is a little jag on the house, they extend southeasterly toward a drain at the back of the property. We have obtained easement clearances from Consumers Power stating that they had no objection to the proposed pool and walkway. Ameritech had no objection to the incurrsion of the utillity easement for the purpose of placing a walkway for our new pool. We are having to go 4' into the 12' easement to place a concrete walk around the pool for safety and then for the fencing. Detroit Edison stated that they had no equipment within the limits and that maintainence of the encroachment on the easement must be at our sole risk. We have also been notified by the City of Novi that we would have to sign a hold/harmless agreement that if we did place concrete there that needed to be torn up we understand it would be at our cost. We consulted Time Warner Cable and although they are not a public utility and they have nothing back there either. We also needed to have type III well clearance. I contacted JCK and the water distribution system for the type III wells is located in the northwest corner of our lot where our driveway is. There are no water lines along the east property line of lot 80 and in addition I contacted Bill Corso whose company placed the wells through Pulte Construction and they state that there are no wells within 150' of this property. Drainage and the minor land improvement permit are in process. I have submitted through the Building Department the minor land improvement permit plan from my contractor who is also here this evening should you have any technical questions. We are waiting to hear from JCK regarding approval for the change in grade. There is going to be about a 1' change in grade with the appropriate sloping toward the rear drain so that there are no flooding areas there.


Michele Martinez: What we are asking for is that the above variances be granted with a contingency that the drainage issue be approved by JCK.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 34 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 3 written responses received, 1 voicing approval and 2 objections. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I must commend you for doing your homework before coming before us. You have answered questions that we have sent people back 6 times to come in with. A very good job. I am one that doesn’t like to give variances but I think that they have done just about everything that they possibly could. Looking at the safety issue, the way that they have it fenced in and having everything controlled if it wouldn’t be for the corner lot they wouldn’t have to much of a problem at all, other than the utilities, etc. With the lot configuration being a corner lot, I can support the petitioners’ request.


Member Brennan: Where did the picture come from, if you haven’t built this pool?


Michele Martinez: That picture came from Pietela Pools, our contractor, they have a computer program that projects that. They take a photo of your property and they project it.


Don Saven: Should the Board decide to give consideration to this variance, I would like to indicate that the issue regarding the drainage, the land improvment permit and the grading concern be a part of that approval.


Michele Martinez: That is what we have asked for with that contingency.


Member Bauer: Also the hold/harmless letter.


Member Antosiak: This is a fairly common problem we have with corner lots and I agree with Mr. Reinke, I think that the petitioner’s are well prepared and have done their homework and have selected a plan that is probably the least intrusive into the ordinance requirements as it could be; so I could support it.


Michele Martinez: As far as the fencing goes, we were very congnizant of the neighbor who is selling their home in that we are not going to take the fence all the way to the lot line to therefore diminish the appearnace or size as far as their property goes. We are actually going to be 8' in off of our lot lline with that fence. It also will be very aesthetically pleasing in addition to being 54" high, it is going to be safe number one, and also number two it will be of a decorative aluminum that will compliment the color of the house.


Member Antosiak: I take it that they live in lot 89 of your drawing?


Michele Martinez: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: My only comment which is not related to your variance petition, but I would urge you in constructing a swimming pool in a prominent location where this will be visible from almost everywhere to contact your insurance agent and check into an umbrella policy because the liability exposure is substantial. If you are going to spend thousands on a pool, check an umbrella policy.


Michele Martinez: Definitely.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried




Michael P. Zielinski, representing Johnson Controls is requesting a vriance to continue the use of the property for the storage/parking/staging of their trailer and to construct a parking lot without a premit and without first going through the site plan review process, for property located at 43500 Gen-Mar Drive.


Michael Zielinski was present and duly sworn.


Micheal Zielinski: As you may or may not know, the Johnson Controls Plastic Recovery Center is one of two manufacturing operations that Johnson Controls runs here in Novi. The charter of the recycling center when it was started 7 years ago was to develop the technology for bottle to bottle

closed loop recycling; especially bottles, that were deposit bottles out of the state of Michigan. About August of 1994 we were granted by the FDA approval to use the plastic that come from these bottles that went through our wash process for food use again. A revolutionary type of technology. We tried to make this an economical process and we succeeded at that about a year ago. We are in competiton with some of the largest chemical companies in the world supplying resin to the plastic bottle market like Shell Chemical, Eastman Chemical. The recycling center itself has put Novi, Michigan on the world map. There have been high level executives from all over the world come to license our technology. It is state of the art. No other company in the world is doing what we are doing here.


Michael Zielinski: With regard to the situation that brings us to this meeting, I would first like to clarify the statement which is a little abstract in the agenda. Yes, it is true that we do want to build a parking lot an we want to build it to code with pavment, striping, lighting, drainage, curbs and in a proper fashion; but we also want to do it with permits. We have no intention of doing any of this without permits and without the studies that are required to get those permits. In the packet that I have prepared, you can see that early this year around January we started talking with our landlord who has the option to buy this property adjacent to our factory and he was going to make the improvement of the parking lot and lease it back to us; just as we lease the building that we operate out of now. We worked out all of the terms, all the payment schedules, etc. About February I came down to these offices to find out what it would take in the way of permits to get this parking lot installed and I was told by Tony Nowicki that there were plans to widen Novi Road and build an overpass over the railroad adjacent to the industrial park there. That would necesitate that the interseciton of Gen-Mar and Novi Road would have to be relocated south of where it is today and it was going to go right through the property that we wanted to put the parking lot in. I pleaded my case with Tony and I said "let’s try to keep the new Gen-Mar Drive as close to Novi Road as possible" because we need the space for a parking lot. I talked with Brandon Rogers, the consultant here, who told me that as long as there was any question pending about where this road was going to go that I was not going to be able to get a permit to put in a 2 code parking lot. So now, our landlord is waiting to hear something from the City that says where this road is going to go and how much property he will be allowed to buy to put in the parking lot, and that is kind of where we stand today.


Michael Zielinski: The recycling center handles about 30 to 35 trailer loads of bottles, deposit bottles, from Michigan every day. Trucks come in, they drop a trailer and immediately pick up an empty trailer and then they leave. If we don’t have the space or we are not allowed to use this lot adjacent ot our factory to stage the trailers, then the hardship is that the plant will have to close. We have 70 employees.


Michael Zielinski: A parking lot that is structured and is built to code is really what we want. We want one that has pavement and a place where we can orderly park our trailers because we have problems too. The trailers and the soft gravel in the winter time and eary spring get stuck out there. It is an inconvenience for us too. What I am asking for is a variance until we can find out from the City exactly how much of that property we can use to build our parking lot.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there was a total of 4 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: This is certainly a unique situation in that Mr. Zielinski wants to try to comply, but we are kind of stuck with the issue or where Novi Road is going to go. But still in all we have the issues with the trailers, the outside storage and the issue that he is leasing the property from Kensington Corporation, is that correct?


Michael Zielinski: We lease the lot from Cunningham Limp, we lease the building that we are in from Kensington. Kensington has the option to buy that property which is what they were ready to do.

Don Saven: In as much as this is very complicated we went through or are trying to go through all of the concerns that would address this issue relative to those variances that were needed. We tried to cover them all.


Chairman Harrington: Mindful of your April 24th letter to Mr. Saven, in which you indicate "I have filed an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a temporary use approval that will allow us to continue to use the unimproved lot as a staging area for our trailers". Is that the relief that you are seeking tonight? A temporary extension of your ability to use this unimproved lot as a staging area?


Michael Zielinski: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: Making it easy for the Board and not speculating can you pick a reasonable period of time that you are looking for that will provide you relief, knowing of course that you can always come back and see us again. Like 6 months?


Michael Zielinski: I would hope that in 6 months or a year. I don’t know how quickley.....I have talked to the road commission and these plans for Novi Road and the overpass, they are talking the year 2000. The first rendition that I included in the package shows where they wanted to put the road.


Chairman Harrington: I just want a number. You can do a better job at picking that number that you want us to help you out with than we are.


Michael Zielinski: I would say a year.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: This is a gentleman that wants to comply and he can’t comply unless he has some direction. I agree too. I think that he needs at least a year and it is questionable if he is going to know at that time.


Greg Capote: I think that we are not going to be able to ascertain that until we have had a more difinitive direction from the road commission as to their design criteria for Gen-mar Drive and the grade separation of the CSX tracks over Novi Road and where that curb cut is going to be and how it is going to work. Until that is nailed down, we just don’t know.


Member Bauer: He has a hardship. He can’t get a permit to do what he is supposed to do by ordinance. I can’t see any problem.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The person needs relief on this situation. He has tried to comply with everything that he can do.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





Member Antosiak: Before you go on with your motion I have a question as does Mr. Saven. My question for the petitioner is simply; you understand that you may go to the expense of paving this property only to lose some of it given the ultimate outcome of the location of the road.


Michael Zielinski: Well we gave that some thought, but after talking with Brandon; he told me that until a decision is made on the where the road is going to go that we would not be able to get a permit to put in the parking lot. So,.......


Member Antosiak: I understand that, I just wanted to make sure that you understand that there is potentially a risk of paving part of the property that won’t be yours a couple of years from now.


Michael Zielinski: I understand that.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Reinke, regarding your motion, which I intend to support; given that 90% of the construction occurs during the 3 months of the summer and the other 25% occurs in the other 9 months I would not oppose a permit through September 1 of next year and to give them the summer to do what they are going to do.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I have no problem to extend it to that time.


Member Antosiak: I will second the motion.


Don Saven: I do have concerns and Mr. Zielinski and myslef have discussed the issue regarding the issue of probably increasing the landscape around this particular site somewhat to insure that we have a clean and orderly site because this was one of the concerns that was presented to this department. Because of the parking of the truck trailers they were relatively high in nature and we wanted to make sure that we had a berm or something along this line and I would suggest that if at all possible in your motion should you so decide to do this to give the consideration for increased landscaping around this area and to be approved through Planning.


Chairman Harrington: The motion as amended will reflect conformity with the Building Department landscaping requirements or desires.


Greg Capote: A point of clarificaiton. Any proposed parking lot improvements require site plan review and those reviews would be contingent upon the review of the Planning, Traffic and Landscape Consultants.


Chairman Harrington: I don’t think that has to be a part of the motion. I think that if there were site plan issues that would raise independent jurisdiction of those Boards and I don’t have a problem with that. But, to the extent that site plan would be required in the ordinary course we could neither waive nor include something that was not in our jurisdiction anyway. At least that is my thought.


Greg Capote: This is true, but you had I believe mentioned that the Building Department’s review of the site plan and that is the only reason why I mentioned that.


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried




Arnold Fisher, Maven Investment, is requesting a variance to allow for the reconstruction of a fire damaged home in excess of 60% of its replacment cost and including new foundations for property loacted at 132 Maudlin.


Matt Quinn was present for the petitioner.

Matt Quinn: I am appearing on behalf of Maven Investment Company and Arnold Fisher, it’s agent who own the property at 132 Maudlin. Very simply this was a nonconfrming residential home that was partially destroyed by fire. While the applicant was waiting for the insurance matter to be taken care of a wind storm came up which further knocked down the remaining wall causing really a total destruction of the home. Upon the inspection of the Building Department of the foundation it was noted, I believe, that 1/3 of the foundation is satisfactory and that 2/3 would have to be replaced because of it’s deteriorated, nonconforming nature.


Matt Quinn: What the petitioner is asking for is nothing more than to rebuild a brand new home on the existing foot print. Also because of the damaged foundation they will have to replace the damaged portions of the foundation. Now, the ordinance and I believe that you have a letter from Mr. Saven regarding nonconforming structures and this particular matter; basically stating that since the reconstruction is not enlarging or increasing the nonconformity and the existing footings and foundations will be improved that really there is no problem with the size and the configuration being a corner lot. If a variance is not granted you would be denying the owner the total use of this property. We are asking that you allow the variance to reconstruct the house on the existing foot print and allow the owners to place a new foundation on the existing foot print.


Chairman Harrington: Before you sit down and we turn this over to the Audience and the Board, what is the variance requirement that is involved here? The ordinance suggests that reconstruction on an existing foundation and footings shall be permitted.


Matt Quinn: The question of existing footings, they cannot rebuild on the existing footings because they have to be partially replaced. You talk about a technical matter, on the ordinance that is it. Mr. Saven, I am sure, can answer that if I am speaking in error. But that is the variance. They have to replace the footings, therefore they cannot rebuild on the existing footings.


Chairman Harrington: Are we talking about reconstruction of all of the footings or is it a diminious reconstruction/repair of the existing footings?


Matt Quinn: They can build, as I understand, on 1/3 of the existing footings. The 2/3 would have to be reconstructed.


Chairman Harrington: Was it a porton of the footings that were damaged in the windstorm?


Matt Quinn: No, as I understand, without being an engineer that these footings may have been defective under City Code from the beginning. At least the 2/3 part. The 1/3 has always met the City Code.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 50 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with 2 written responses received, both voicing objection. Copies in file.



Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. I speak as private resident only. I think that it is interesting that in the Notice of variance that only th 60% rule is cited. There are no variances noted that need to be required as far as I understand the ordinance. This property is extremely substandard. Since it is a corner lot there would be 2 front yard exposures. A couple of the letters from my neighbors brought up off street parking. This has been a rental property since I moved in across the street in 1983 and there has always been an awful parking problem. This was before Mr. Fisher purchased the property, by the way. To the point. In 1994 several neighbors circulated a petition and we did get a stop sign on the southwest corner of Maudlin and LeMay. We also got No Parking signs for about 100 feet on the south side of LeMay. There was an awful problem because tenants of this property and their guests would park all over both sides of LeMay. When the school bus comes down Maudlin it would have to stop partially through the curb which you can see that onto LeMay is a very acute angle and back up to finish making the turn. Having the No Parking sign there has worked almost 90% of the time and since the tragic fire in January there have been virtually no parking problems in the area.


Chairman Harrington: That is because the house is burnt down, right? And that has fixed the parking problem?


Sarah Gray: The rear wall is standing. Portions of the north and south walls are still standing.


Chairman Harrington: Is the point the fact that the house is not occuppied that has fixed the parking problem?


Sarah Gray: The house is not occuppied, so there is no parking problem.


Sarah Gray: As far as ownership the vast majority of the owner occuppied homes in our area are multiple lot combinations and I am going to refer to this graph that we put together. I personally own 2 lots. My neighbor to the south owns 3 and they are all color coded here (graph shown) for your information by address. The site that we are looking at is 132 Maudlin, which is lot 28. You have a small blown up subdivision situation that we gave you. There are several other areas in the subdivision on these 2 streets that are single lot ownership, by the owner who is a resident. The vast majority of the rest of them that are single lot ownership are rentals; and you have heard me here numerous times about rentals. As to what we passed out to you, this is a blow up of the area and the site is in yellow. The next sheet is an actual measuring blow up of the site. If you look at the measurements, if you look at the deeded lot size you can see how substandard this lot is. The frontage is adequate, 48 feet along Maudlin. However it narrows down to 31.3 feet, which is almost at 17 foot decrease at the back or the rear to the west lot line. The footprint of the house is shown, along with the size. What Mr. Quinn was referring to with the foundation, I understand that about the back third of the house is continuous foundation and the rest of it is on concrete piers. Mr. Saven told me that the ordinance does not address continuous versus open foundation. Those piers are concrete block piers, I do not know how deep they go; I don’t know. I think that you can look at it and if anyone has driven by and I am sure that several of you have; it is going to require an awful lot to bring it up to code and if it is built to code then I would have to presume with the 5' setbacks on the rear and the north that those are going to be fire codes. I don’t know about windows. Don you will have to address that. I do know that fire break would have to be in there for code. As to the existing foundations and footings, you brought up that point already; there are no existing to the front 2/3 - there are piers.


Sarah Gray: The field sheet that you also have been given shows lot size and shows square footage of the house. The lot size it says is 38 by 77 and I have to presume that they average that; because if you could see the actual deeded lot size it is not 38 by 77.


Sarah Gray: Several of my neighbors would have been here tonight; but there was also a meeting of our access lot. Several were not aware that they could make comments on the back of the Notice. Most of them expressed concern about, "well if this is going to be rebuilt, what is going to happen in the future?"


Sarah Gray: My final question is rhetorical, this is a rental; what is the hardship? My last comment is that I would like to know who in the City or the Building Department regulates when that dumpster is going to be emptied. It has been overfull for over a month now and it is sitting in the City road right of way and we are very concerned. Thank you.


Jim Korte I am going to be speaking from the direction of the Sector Study which of course has not been active for awhile. The Sector Study was put in motion by our ex-honorable Mayor Quinn, to provide a better start for the lakes area. That is what we are trying to do tonight, at least Sarah and I are. One comment from the attorney’s letter "this valuable piece of property". The City lists the value at 16,200 now that means house and land is worth 32,400. So, if we are talking value we are talking a value of 32,400 with the house and land. Now, compensation should come from insurance in this kind of situation. It certainly is a tragedy. There was no loss of life when the house burnt. Thank God. Anyone to talk that it will take something away from him; it won’t. Now, as you see it is so substandard there isn’t one lot line that comes anywhere near any kind of anything. As I look at the ordinance and the reason they are here is to make a better tomorrow. How are we going to make a better tomorrow when this house is put back together. All right, we are going to spend $40,000 plus and that is my guess on doing a nice house on the lot. What happens when this house gets sold and the couple or the individual that buys it and says I want a one car garage or you are going to deny me life, liberty and happiness. Where do we go from that point? My favorite statement: Where are you going to park? Where are you going to park? Where are you going to park? Now, have you ever in your life, seen such a configuration of a corner. It certainly is not Mr. Fisher’s fault. Whoever did this in 1917 obviously should have been shot or missed the hanging noose, because it is so very sad. There isn’t anything that we can do about it except look at the problems that we have. Now, a new house and we are going to get an all new house. That was the only house on Maudlin that underwent total reconstruction. Inside and outside. And immediately it ended up in a trash situation. Tragically that is what the rentals give us at the north end. As a landlord .........


Chairman Harrington: Mr. Korte, I am not going to evoke the venerable City Council gag rule of 3 minutes but if you could limit yourself to factual comments rather than simply argument we will move along a lot quicker. I think that we have the flavor or your and Ms. Grays’ concern.


Jim Korte: Thank you! Substandard! No Parking!




Don Saven had no comment.


Chairman Harrington indicated I have a question for the Building Department. If they conform with the ordinance and let’s assume that we do not give them a variance to build on the 33% footings, what kind of house could be put up there?


Don Saven: As it exists right now it would be a very small house.


Chairman Harrington: How small is very small?


Don Saven: About 1/3 of that site.


Chairman Harrington: How many square feet are we looking at?


Don Saven: Whatever 1/3 of that square footage is, because that is where the existing approved foundation system exists.


Chairman Harrington: I am looking at 840 sq. ft. on the diagram; are we looking at a 300 square foot house?


Don Saven: Possibly that or in that area.


Chairman Harrington: That is what would be permitted if conformity with the ordinance demanded?


Don Saven: We have to bear in mind a couple of things, this house had a tragedy in terms of the fire and then we had a wind storm and in most instances a home can be reconstructed within that 6 month period provided that the foundation system exists. According to the building codes, continuous foundation is what Sarah had indicated, is not the only foundation system that is available. You have caisson, you have piling, your have pier structures and these are all acceptable through the building code. The problem in this case and the expiration for the piers that were there they were insufficient to take on the new construction, therefore, it was not acceptable and therefore this gentleman came back to us. I would not allow a new house to be put on substandard foundations.


Chairman Harrington: So, if you are going to do it right then you have to re-do the foundations.


Don Saven: That is correct.


Chairman Harrington: But, if you aren’t going to re-do the foundations and you comply with the ordinance you are looking at a 300 square foot house.


Don Saven: I think that then we would have to look at the change of the foot print of the building, and that is whether it is increased or decreased. I think that would be an issue too.


Chairman Harrington: What I am trying to figure out is that code would demand a 300 square foot house on it’s new foundations?


Don Saven: Along the same lines we are taking into account the 300 square foot, we are talking about habitable areas within a home and allowable habitable areas per room size, ventilation, window glazing and all of these other requirements that are part of the building.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Well it is unfortunate that it is on the corner. We have another situation here now since it is almost to where there is really nothing left. You then have the question of whether anything should be built there at all.


Member Bauer: In reading this it says that except that the reconstruction on the existing foundation or footing shall be permitted. It doesn’t say the reconstruction of those footings or on the exact footings; if you want to hold it and dot the I and cross the T.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: But is says that he can reconstruct on the existing footings and the existing footings are not sufficient so he can’t.


Member Brennan inquired of Member Bauer: What was your point with that?


Member Bauer: There is no reason why he can’t put new footings in. It doesn’t say that he can’t. If the ordinance was to be enforced and written up that way, they could have said so. It is ambiguous.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Don Saven. There is nothing unlawful about a single family rental in that area, is there?


Don Saven: No, sir.


Chairman Harrington: The zoning code doesn’t distinguish between single family residences which are owned versus single families which are rented, correct?


Don Saven: That is correct.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I have a distinction. I tend to be lenient with an individual trying to do something for himself than I am for somebody as an investment process that is going to impact the neighbors that he is not around to be part of. I think that is unfair to the neighborhood when you allow somebody to come in and do that.


Chairman Harrington: I disagree, because it is not written in the ordinance. I think it is an absolutely irrelevant consideration and if Council thinks that it is an important consideration we should be looking at in these decisions. Then Council should so instruct us through an amendment to the ordinance. I think that is a consideration which we can look to but I don’t think it should be determinative; it may be determinative relevant to the emotional position to those who are objecting. Looking at the facts as we face them, we have a house which may not essentially be condemned if we do not grant this ordinance or this variance but functionally, in my view, I think that the taking argument is substantial. That is, if you take a 900 square foot house and the only reason why the house can’t be rebuilt on it’s existing footing is the desire to make those footings comply with health, safety and welfare: I have a sense that is a substantial taking. You are taking 2/3 of the size of this house. The parking issue to me is irrelevant. If there is unlawful parking that is a code enforcement issue. If the parking is lawful, albeit inconvenient for the neighborhood; we are not a neighborhood improvement here and that is not our function. So, my sense is at this stage and I will listen to other discussion; I think that there is a tremendous hardship to the point that there has been a taking which may merit compensation, not by the insurance company but by the City if we don’t grant this variance. This is about as hardship as you can get and all they are trying to do is to put some footings down on the existing foot print so that the guy can rebuild his house.


Member Antosiak: I concur with you. We could not condition the granting of a variance on the condition that a property owner lived in the residence. Mr. Fisher could have come here tonight with full honest intentions that he would live in this house, build it move in and 30 days later decide that it was to small for him. The house would be built, and we would have appropriately granted a variance had we done so. So from that perspective, the fact that it is rental property alone isn’t determinative to me. If there are problems with renters that is a whole other issue and is not to be handled by this Board. I am troubled by the parking. But on the other hand the ordinance doesn’t require residential structures to provide for parking. It is unfortunate that this is a location with 2, 30 foot streets at an intersection, but once again the ordinance doesn’t require that we provide for parking. Had Mr. Fisher been looking to enlarge the structure, I might have had some questions. Here he is looking to build a structure no larger than the one that was there. I would approve of this variance.


Member Brennan: Those were my thoughts exactly. I don’t know how you can deny the fellow rebuilding his home. It is a small lot, it is unfortunate that it is that small; but the gentleman has a right to have a home on that piece of property and he has the right to rent it out.


Member Antosiak: In the best of worlds perhaps it would be better for an adjoining property owner to buy this lot. I am very reluctant to create a situation where we force the City of Novi to buy this lot.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (1) Reinke Motion Carried




Mark Adams is requesting a variance to place a permanent foundation under a nonconforming structure (garage) for property located at 1811 East Lake Dr.


Mark Adams was present and duly sworn.


Mark Adams: I own 1811 East Lake Drive but I reside about 3 houses down at 1737 East Lake Drive. What I am asking for a variance or permission to do here is to simply put a foundation under an existing garage. The house was built in the mid 1920's and at that time it was not built with what we would consider an adequate or a code foundation. It is a foundational change, the foot print will remain the same. To upgrade the structure it needs an adequate foundation. Again, this isn’t a house, it is a garage. It backs up to what is known as Chapman Drive. I think that I put in my appeal that there are no houses that face Chapman Drive, only garages and there are 4 or 5 other garages that are within 4 to 5 feet from the road easement. Without a survey I couldn’t tell you exactly how close, but there are several other garages that are right on the road. Personally I consider this significant that it is a historic structure. It was noted by a couple of different historical architects because of the architecture of the home itself. It is a very unique construction. Stone pillars, 1920's windows, all cedar construction and in repairing the garage I would keep it historically accurate. I have all of the old siding to make it an original 1920's garage.

Mark Adams: I don’t know what more there is to add. I just want to upgrade the building and I need a variance to do that.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 19 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 5 written notices received, 2 voicing approval and 3 voicing objection. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Do you intend on repairing this structure?


Mark Adams: Yes, totally. My intention is to restore it back to it’s original condition of 1920's. I have been collecting old siding so it will be brought back to the original condition.


Don Saven: How much time will this take you?


Mark Adams: To play it safe I would want to say 6 months. Three months would probably be optimistic.


Don Saven: The survey which you are presenting to us indicates that the garage does exist on your property, is that correct?


Mark Adams: That was the information that I was provided with by the surveyor.


Member Brennan: You noted on a couple of different occasions that there was some historic significance to this building, is that something that was given by the City of Novi or The State of Michigan or Oakland County or?


Mark Adams: I am on the historic district survey committee and myself and my brothers own several historic houses. This was noted architecturally that this was one of the more important houses around the lake. The owner of this house was the owner of the amusement park and was also the man who subdivided most of the or the first portion of East Lake Drive. It was Herman Zenkowicz. He owned the amusement park and owned a lot of East Lake Drive. One of the subdivision is Zenkowicz subdivision. One of the streets down there is Herman.


Member Brennan: In answer to my question there is no formal or official recognition as a historical site?

Mark Adams: It is not on State or National Register, but as a result of a survey of early construction in Novi it is noted as one of the outstanding structures.


Member Brennan; The house and not the garage. I will just add one other comment that the ordinance regarding this nonconforming structure is pretty clear. Very specifically that this existing structure is not to encourage their survival is the part of the ordinance that strikes my eye and that is specifically what you are intending to do.


Chairman Harrington: Mr. Adams if you would like to come back to the podium I have a few questions for you. Is it your intention to do this rebuilding yourself?


Mark Adams: Yes, sir.


Chairman Harrington: Are you a builder?


Mark Adams: I am a licensed builder.


Chairman Harrington: Do you have an estimate or something like that we can look at in terms of the nature of the construction, your cost to rebuild and the like?


Mark Adams: No, I don’t have an estimate for you. It would really be just the cost of the concrete and renting a trencher. Again, all the labor I would provide myself.


Chairman Harrington: Is the work that you will be doing yourself on this project more than the foundations?


Mark Adams: There is some siding repairs that need to be done. Some of the base plate where the structure would be sitting on the footing, some of those base plates need to be replaced, which are just 2 by 4's.


Chairman Harrington: Are you doing interior improvement in the building?


Mark Adams: None at all.


Chairman Harrington: Are you running any electrical or plumbing?


Mark Adams: No. Anything that I would do, I would do through the permits with the City knowing.

Chairman Harrington: I want a little more specific information on what it is that you would do. Here is my concern. If the permission to rebuild this foundation results in your ability to basically gut, demo and rebuild the entire structure that is a dramatically different situation for me than simply making some repairs to a foundation. In fact, if that permission that we give you to do the foundation work allows you to walk into the City and basically put in a new structure from the ground up that is a material consideration for us. Or at least it is for me.


Mark Adams: That is my intention to just stabilize and maintain the existing structure. It is gutted inside as it is, it is a garage. That is it’s utilitarian purpose to be a garage.


Chairman Harrington: I thought that you were going to try to restore this building to what it was.


Mark Adams: When I say that some of the original siding has been pulled off and plywood has been put up in place; so I would just be replacing some removed siding with the original. If I replaced garage doors it would be with original garage doors.


Chairman Harrington: I am sorry, this garage is about how old?


Mark Adams: The house dates to the mid 1920's so 1926 or 1927 would be my guess.


Chairman Harrington: So you are probably looking at a if the garage was built around the same time about a 70 year old structure.


Mark Adams: Correct.


Chairman Harrington: Would it be your observation that if we didn’t permit this foundation to be rebuilt that the building would probably have just about reached the end of it’s useful life?


Mark Adams: The problem is again and I will go one step further that there was kind of a grading or drainage problem that has been there for years, so it is starting to rot out from the base plate. So if I don’t replace that base plate, you know.......I am not saying that it has outlived it’s useful life but I believe to continue it’s life it need maintenance and to maintain it, it needs adequate foundation.


Member Antosiak: Is the front entrance the only entrance to the garage off of the driveway or is there an entrance from Chapman?


Mark Adams: There is front and rear garage doors on this structure. So, I guess the answer would be that Chapman at this point is still and entrance to this garage.


Member Antosiak: The drawing or the survey shows that the garage to be 18.3 feet deep and I am just curious as to how useful that is? As a garage.


Mark Adams: It has 2 cars in it today, so.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: The lot doesn’t have a lot of depth. None of the lots along there do. The objection that I have is that it is on the back extreme part of the lot and the only way it could be changed is if you would move it forward and connected it to the house and then by that time it really turns into a one car garage because of the access along the side of the house. I don’t know what else could be done with that configuration. He could only move it 2 foot further because you would have to be 10 foot away from the house; that is not a big change.


Mark Adams: I think that I would need a 35 foot back yard.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Without having to get a variance of being to close to the house you could only move it 2 feet.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is this City satisfied that this garage is in fact on Mr. Adams property and doesn’t....


Don Saven: I am looking at a sealed survey in front of me and basically that is about as good as gold, unless somebody else comes up with a different survey contesting this one. But bottom line is that it appears that it is on the gentleman’s property. I did notice that there was another person in the audience that might want to make a comment.


Pat Schreer, 1885 East Lake Dr. I really have no objection with Mr. Adams doing the garage if the road were closed. As it is, it is just unsafe. There are cars coming in and out of all directions of the garage. It is really not up to code and I think it should die a natural death otherwise. But, if he had an extra 15 feet, if the road was closed, he would gain that. If it was officially on the books. The road really has no use, it is an alley. I have some further comments about the road and the traffic on it. It is actually an alley. Kids play in it. People coming out of their garages never used to happen. When the house was torn down next to me the fence and all was taken away and now it is a problem. However, if the alley was officially closed on the books Mr. Adams would gain 15 feet, he would have ample room and I would have no objection. Otherwise it is just not safe.


Chairman Harrington: Mrs. Schreer you have handed us a pile of documents and the "Chair" will not entertain review of some 10 to 12 pieces of paper some of which is single spaced some of which is handwritten and the like, but would you like to summarize for us what these documents signify?


Pat Schreer: It is just about the alley itself, it has nothing to do with the garage except that the garage sets on the alley.


Chairman Harrington: The import of these documents would be that the garage is placed in the alley way. Is that true?


Pat Schreer: The documents mean that the alley itself was closed long ago by the amusement park...


Mr. Schreer: Maybe I can help you, what she wants you to read is the letter from the City that this section of Chapman Drive was closed and vacated by the City in 1987. Which is still showing open on the books but if it was not showing open on the books he would have another 15 feet and there would be no objection to him putting footings and redoing his garage. But, as it is now that garage is on the road. It is setting right on the road line.


Mark Adams: My only comment is that I went to the Clerk’s office to see if there was any record of Chapman being vacated in the area and there were no records of it being vacated. It went before Council and Council denied the vacation.


Chairman Harrington: Are you aware of the letter that the gentleman has?


Mark Adams: From the assessors office? I have not seen it, that is why I went to the Clerk’s office and then the Assessors office. They showed it a s a City right of way.


Member Brennan: Personally I haven’t heard where the hardship is to grant a variance to help maintain a nonconforming building that is need of repair. As I pointed out earlier, the ordinance is very clear that the intent is to not allow older buildings that are nonconforming to not give them any reason to continue. I think that is exactly what we are doing if we grant a variance here. That is one of the reasons that I was asking the questions regarding the historic noting; was that a case that the site, that the building, that home and it’s garage were matching and had some historical significance that might have some bearing. But from what I have heard it is an old building.


Don Saven. I had the ability to sit in on a Meeting referencing significance to repairs to structures that have historical significance relative to certain organizations that pursuant by ordinance which we are planning on adopting and that is taking a look at situations like this and going forward and bringing them back for a review committee to see that could be done in this particular case. There is a degree of sensitivity to maintain historical significant buildings to which there is a numerous amount of these buildings located on the Walled Lake area. So, I think that we should exercise due care and caution on this particular case relative to that particular building . The question that I would rally ask Mark is whether or not you had indicated that there was s a door existing on that Chapman Drive side or did you add this door?


Mark Adams: That was all the original construction.


Chairman Harrington: Mr. Saven, my comment is that I would certainly be sensitive to historical buildings if there were some suggestions that this was a historical building other than simply being old, obsolete and in fact on it’s last legs. I tend to agree with Mr. Brennan that in the absence of some kind of suggestion or even an inference that this is in the nature of a historic building I think that the ordinance is clear. I think in my view it is only capable of one interpretation, which is that this building has reached the end after 70 years of it’s useful life and should not be essentially put in a position to be rebuilt on site. That is my sense.


Moved By: Member Brennan,


Seconded by Chairman Harrington,





Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (1) Reinke Motion Carried




Ray Cousineau, representing Tri-Mount Homes, is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of an 8' x 8' (64 sq. ft.) development sign for Walden Woods Subdivision I and II located at Eleven Mile and Arcadia Drive. Refer to Case Nos. 93-104 and 95-010.


Krista Cousineau was present and duly sworn.


Krista Cousineau: I am here to request a variance for the continued use of our sales sign at the entrance of Walden Woods Phase I. We currently have a temporary sales sign at the entrance of Walden Woods Phase I. We are marketing Walden Woods Phase I and Phase II out of the sales office in Phase I and we would request that we are allowed to use the sign for another year.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 16 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 3 written responses received, voicing objection. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Krista Cousineau: We do have our sales model in Walden Woods Phase I, that is the reason that the entrance sign is still there. We would be willing to move it and it would probably go to Phase II but we would request that we have 60 to 90 days to do so. To adjust the sign, we haven’t poured the City walks in the front of the second phase and we would like to do that before we move the sign. We would just request that we have, if anything, at least a 90 day extension of the variance.


Member Brennan: Is it my understanding now that you have modified your request from 1 year to 30 to 60 days?


Krista Cousineau: We would like to continue to use it there for one year. It would probably be the last year. Like I said, we are still selling out of Phase I. If you feel that we need to move it we would obviously do so. But we are asking that we would have adequate time to make adjustments to the sign and move it to the second phase.


Member Brennan: When did that sign first go up?


Alan Amolsch: That was in 1992.


Member Antosiak: Can you tell me what the percentage of homes that have been sold in the various phases?


Krista Cousineau: In the first phase the only home that we have available at this time is the sales model. In the second phase we still have 17 homes available out of 64.


Chairman Harrington: When did Phase II start?


Krista Cousineau: Phase II started probably about a year and a half ago.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think it is time for the sign to leave.


Member Antosiak: How many homes were in Phase I?


Krista Cousineau: That was 66.


Member Antosiak: So really out of 130 homes all together you really only have 18 left unsold.


Krista Cousineau: Yes, that is true.


Member Antosiak: Well it seems to me that we had a long discussion a couple of meetings ago about when a a temporary sign is no longer temporary. I think that after 5 years it is pretty clear that this is no longer a temporary sign.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Krista Cousineau: How long do we have to remove the sign? Does it have to be done immediately?


Alan Amolsch: That would be in 20 day from today’s date.





Varsity Lincoln Mercury is requesting a variance to allow the continuation of the sign that is on the base of the revolving car stand located on the far east end of the property at 49251 Grand River Avenue.


Michael Stanford was present and duly sworn.


Michael Stanford: You have before you the pictures that I sent over. Basically it is the revolving car stand that is situated at the east end of the property. There is a very small sign at the bottom of the stand that reflects sales model of a Lincoln Mercury Division which states "Lincoln, Mercury What a Luxury Car Should Be". It just basically underscores the car that it revolves around.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Bauer: It seems a little funny that the picture that we have, the sign says Lincoln on it and we have a Mercury on the stand.


Member Brennan: This has been here since the dealership has opened, is that right?


Michael Stanford: Yes, 18 months.


Member Brennan: So this is just something that Alan just happen to note that there was additional signage? Alan was that your interpretation that this was a sign?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, it is.


Chairman Harrington: Do I recall that this is the parcel in which a smidgen of the property is located in the City of Wixom and upon that smidgen lies an enormous tower pole sign?


Michael Stanford: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: Which my memory serves me well I think because I was concerned that when we granted the original sign package that we could not take into consideration that smidgen exception and could not count that in the total allowable signs; that concerned me then and as I recall this matter it concerns me now. I think that property, from my perspective, is "over signed". Whether the signs are within or without the City of Novi because people don’t know where the City border is.


Member Antosiak: I just have a comment. Corporate marketing not withstanding, I quite frankly don’t see where this sign serves a purpose. Your own photos that you submitted shows that the sign is only visible only from very close to the vehicle. I am not really sure that it serves a purpose and as such absence of the sign, I can’t understand how it would be a hardship.


Member Bauer: It was not submitted in the sign program that they gave us for variances.


Member Antosiak: I understand the desire to fit within Ford Marketing Programs, but if the sign had value then lack of a sign would be a hardship. I don’t see where this sign has any value other than corporate compliance therefore I am not really sure what your hardship would be without the sign.


Michael Stanford: I don’t refer to it as a sign. Mr. Amolsch refers to it as a sign. I look at it like a window sticker on a car. It just indicates what it is basically. It is not lit, it is not illuminated.


Member Brennan: Just so I understand....


Michael Stanford: The hours on my door are not illuminated either, it says Varsity and my hours, it is basically the same lettering and it is reflective of that.


Member Brennan: Mr. Harrington, the big pole sign on the corner that is in Wixom?


Chairman Harrington: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: Sir, my response to your question is that a sign and as we have dealt with in the past like whether the Big Boy personage is a sign, and is the Caesarman a sign and this from the view of the "Chair" clearly is a sign. It clearly is a marketing device. It may contain and identification symbol but it also identifies Lincoln, which is what you are and Mercury on the back side. You have a sign there!


Moved by Member Antosiak,

Seconded by Member Bauer,





Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (1) Reinke Motion Carried




John Richards Homes is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of two (2) subdivision signs; one located on lot 1, Beck Road and Sunnybrook Lane and the other located on lot 21, Nine Mile Road and Autumn Park Blvd., for the Autumn Park Subdivision.


Chet Collins was present and duly sworn.


Chet Collins: I am here today to request on behalf of John Richards Homes that let us continue to use 2 marketing signs that we currently have at the Autumn Park Subdivision, one on Beck Road at our entrance there and also at the entrance on Nine Mile Road. Currently we have approximately 25 to 30% of the subdivsion sold, which consists of 96 lots. We would like to continue to use our marketing signs for sales for an additional 12 months.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 22 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan inquired of Don Saven: How long has this sign been here? Is this the first request for an extension?


Don Saven: I believe so.


Chet Collins: Yes, it is.


Don Saven: The subdivsion was just recently approved and I believe that was sometime last year.


Chet Collings: That is right, our models have only been open since the end of January.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I have no problem with the continuation of this for a period of one years time. The 20% factor, that I think he is at right now, shows significance in the little over a year that he has been there especially starting out in a new subdivision. I could support the sign for a year.


Chairman Harrington: I concur with Mr. Reinke and I would indicate to the petitioner that while we judge these requests each in their own individual merits, I think that there is a sliding scale of difficulty which tips against the petitioner as time goes on. I don’t have any problem giving another year, but we would take a much closer and harder look at how your sales have been and again back to when then sign was first put in because there is a point as Mr. Antosiak and other Board Members have stated "where a temporary sign is no longer temporary".


Member Antosiak: I could support this for one year. I am not sure that I could go beyond that. I would be surprised if you are back here next year. I live near the area and I think that your subdivision has established an identity and judging by the traffic it appears to be fairly popular. I could support a variance for one year.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke:





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried




Euguene Granowicz is requesting a vriance to allow the placement of a temporary sign on the corner of Grand River and Karim to announce a new business which will be built on Karim Avenue.


Eugene Granowicz was present and duly sworn.


Eugene Granowicz: The first thing is that I have a letter that was requested from the owner of the property on the corner there and actually it was his idea for the sign so it was no problem getting the approval.


Chairman Harrington: The letter expressses that he has no objection to you placing the sign and that he welcomes your business.

Eugene Granowicz: Just briefly, day care is really selected for a lot of reasons and a lot of purposes. One of those being convenience to drop off and pick up. I choose the location of the day care being off the main road mainly for the quiet with the lack of traffic on Karim. I do need for the time being and prior to opening some type of announcement that it is there because it is not readily visible or readily known that there will be a day care there. Obviously the normal advertising will be done, etc. but a lot of day care is choosen by your driving by; it is convenient to a lot of the new subdivsions going in and people will see the sign"coming soon" it will have an 800 number on it so that they can call for information, which will help with the opening.


Eugene Granowicz: This will be a temporary sign, I am not looking for 3 to 5 years or anything; it is going to say "coming soon", not building or whatever. We are strictly looking for that as a way of announcing a new business so that people can see it and know that it is there.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Bauer: The sign is there now, is it not?


Eugene Granowicz: No, it is not.


Member Brennan: Your request is for one year?


Eugen Granowicz: Yes.


Member Brennan: Do you have plans for permanent signage?


Eugene Granowicz: Not at that point. There will be a permanent sign in front of the building that has already been approved. But again, the front of the building is not visible from the main road. Karim doesn’t have any other facilities or buildings yet; so there is not a lot of traffic up and down Karim yet.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: What is your planned opening date?


Eugene Granowicz: Right now it should be between mid-August or September 1st barring any other problems with the building or the weather or anything like that. It is getting pushed back slowly, like all construction does but it is going up pretty fast right now.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: I can support maybe a sign to the end of the year, but not for a year.


Eugene Granowicz: That is fine, actually when I wrote it up I asked Alan how long is typical, and he said put down a year and you can always cut it back. So I just put that down. He was also real helpful in helping me fill it out. Through the end of the year would be fine, as long is it is past opening.


Chairman Harrington: Maybe the Board Members can help me out, have we dealth with this issue before, like a brand new opening for a business which is off site? I can’t recall ever grappling with this before.


Member Antosiak: I can’t either, the only thing that I can recollect is a sign on a building.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: We have dealt with off premise signs, not necessarily indicating an opening but we have had off premise signs.


Alan Amolsch: The issue here is that the sign is not located on the property that is being built upon. They want to put a sign on the corner of Grand River and Karim and the site is actually farther down.

Eugene Granowicz: In a slight way it is on the property only in that landlord owns that property as well as this property; it is only on a different parcel but it is the same owner.


Member Antosiak: I think that I could concur with Mr. Reinke and vote for a variance to the end of the year, just given the location of this business and that it is not readily visible from a main road and he will need some time period to attract peoples attention.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I agree also that they need some kind of identification for location and once they have that established and have the sign in the front of the building I think it should be self-generating at that point.


Eugene Granowicz: Most day cares are by word of mouth. Once you get the first people in or 20 or 30 people started then it is more word of mouth than anything. It is getting the first kick to let people know that it is there.


Chairman Harrington: I can support your request and would concur with Mr. Reinke that it should go through the end of the year but not further; but it is a qualified support because I, as a Board Member, can’t remember dealing with this issue before and I am concerned that we might see a flood of other applicants regarding this issue; although again if we haven’t dealth with it, it is not a problem. But, I would not want to be going on record as supporting as a general proposition that when it is a new business and it is off-site you just put up a sign for a temporary basis. That troubles me and if we get more applications I am going to think through that. But on this one you have my support.

Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried




Krista Cousineau, representing Tri-Mount Homes, is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of an 8' x 8' (64 sq. ft.)development sign for Mockingbird Subdivision located at Ten Mile and Woodham Roads.


Krista Cousineau was present and duly sworn.


Krista Cousineau: This is for the Mockingbird Subdivsion. This sign has only been here one year. We own 39 lots in the Mockingbird Subdivsion and we currently have 15 lots still available. This sign is our primary source of advertising. I am requesting to keep it there for one more year. I am sure that we won’t need it for any longer than that because our sales have been so excellent. We would just like one more year, please.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 17 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Brennan: I have no objection to another year.


Chairman Harrington: I just want to make it clear that you have every confidence that you will not be back in front of us or another representative of Tri-Mount requesting an extension on this sign?


Krista Cousineau: Yes, I have every confidence. I don’t think that I will be coming back.

Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Caried




Cohen Associated, Inc. is requesting a vriance to allow the continued placement of a subdivision sign located on lot 61 in Westmont Village at Ten Mile and Westmont Drive.


Laurie Rakestraw was present and duly sworn.


Laurie Rakestraw: We have a sign located at Westomont. A marketing sign that has been there for approximately a year. We have 61 lots and we have sold probably about 50% of them. Hopefully we will only need one more year.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Chairman Harrington,





Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried




John Colucci is requesting a variance to allow a 32" X 48" (10.66 sq. ft.) wall sign to be placed at 40255 Grand River Avenue.

John Colucci was present and duly sworn.


John Colucci: I would like to give you some photographs of the building. I have 3 sets. They will give you an idea of what my problem is.


John Colucci: The first photograph shows the building as one approaches on Bashian from the south going north. The second one is in the parking lot looking directly at the building. The third one is from Grand River looking east.


John Colucci: The problem that we have is that Dr. Hill occupies suite 100 which is the section on the north side of the building. When you are right on Bashian looking at the center of the building you can’t see the sign on Grand River and you can’t see the sign on the doorway. If you are approaching from the south it is totaly obscurred. If you are coming from the east, by the time you see the main sign and what is going to be the center sign, you have passed the building.


John Colucci: The ordinance says that I can’t have a wall sign until I have 75% occupancy. Right now I have 50% occupancy. I may go from 50% right to 100% unless I get a tenant that takes half of the center part and then I could meet the 75% requirement. Meanwhile Dr. Hill, who is here in the audience and would like to address the Board, he will attest to the fact that his patients have been passing up the building. I own the building to the east and I hear from Tab Products who are the tenants there that some people who go to Dr. Hill’s office park in their lot because they pass the building and they wonder which is the lot. To complicate matters the way the building is set up you have to enter from the west side second entrance and it is one way, so everybody is coming out of the area where suite 100 is.


John Colucci: What I am asking for is this, the permission to put up one wall sign for Dr. Hill. When I have the building fully occupied or 75% occupied I will take the sign down that is on Grand River where it has the individual lenses that show suite 100-Dr. Hill and suite 400-Ramsey Ceramics and I will replace that with a lens that simply says Williamsburg Office Plaza. Then I am complying with the code. Right now I am in a dilemma, I can’t comply with the code because I don’t have 75% occupancy and people are passing suite 100.


Michael Zak with Sign Text, Livonia, Michigan. What we are requesting essentially a 32 by 48" panel consistent with the architecture of the building which would house a single panel indicating Dr. Hill as the tenant in suite 100. We feel that the sign is aesthetically pleasing, it is 10 sq. ft. in configuration and allows Dr. Hill’s suite to be identified more easily for visitors to the property. The main marquee sign would be changed eventually to read just the address and the name of the plaza. It currently has space for the 4 or 5 tenants and their are 2 that are currently occupied in the plaza. We feel that the placement of the one 10 sq. ft. sign would not be a detriment and would be keeping and consistent with the other signage on the building and would aesthetically be a pleasing statement and of course aid in the identification of Dr. Hill’s suite.

Chairman Harrington: As I recall, sir, Dr. Hill already has a sign on the building? Is their a temporary sign there?


Michael Zak: He has a temporary sign on the front of the building now.


Chairman Harrington: And your proposal is to replace that with a new sign, do you have a picture or a rendering of that sign?


Michael Zak: You have a rendering in the package before you. That sign would replace the temporary sign on the front of the building now.


Dr. Hill: The current sign that is on the building adjacent to the front door is a temporary sign or a grand opening sign, which is basically until quite recently the sign on Grand River the only identification of my suite. We have what I would consider a hardship in that several patients both new and patients of record have on their initial visit to the new location passed us by and called us from a pay phone down the street or a cell phone or had to turn around and come back and even had someone call from their cell phone in the parking lot that was not able to see around the little wing wall to see our sign and they were literally 30 feet from the front door and didn’t know that they were there. So, in what the previous 2 speakers have said we are looking to put a permanent wall sign in place of the temporary grand opening sign that is there.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch: Just to clear up something, the issue here is not the majority of tenant spaces leased; the ordinance provides that the parcel of land is either allowed a ground a sign or with multiple tenants they are allowed their individual wall signs. In this case the parcel already has a ground pole sign on the property which limits the property to no other signs whatsoever. Now, what they asking for is a variance to that section of the ordinance that only allows one sign per parcel. It doesn’t have anything to do with the percentage of occupancy of the building, it has to do with number of tenants in the building.


Chairman Harrington: So, it is really a second sign issue?


Alan Amolsch: Right.


Chairman Harrington: If for example Ramsey Dental Ceramics wants to put a wall sign up then we are dealing with a third sign?

Alan Amolsch: They would need a variance also. At some point in the future when the parcel has 4 tenants then at that point they can all have the wall signs and they can apply for what we call the business center sign, which strictly says the name of the business center. At this point there is a ground sign on the premises and that is all that the ordinance allows.

Chairman Harrington: When the building would be 100% occupied are there size limitations on the wall signs?


Alan Amolsch: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: What are the size limitation?


Alan Amolsch: They are limited to the lineal frontage of the business, generally for this business or building it would be about 24 sq. ft.


Member Antosiak: Per tenant?


Alan Amolsch: Per tenant, yes. The issue here is the multiple signage. There is a ground sign on the premises and they are requesting an additional wall sign on the building.


Chairman Harrington: So the 32 by 48" sign proposed by Dr. Hill would be well within that limitation?


Alan Amolsch: Way below. They could have a 24 sq. ft. sign by ordinance if there were no other signs on the property.


Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Are there any requirements should they want wall signs for each tenant that they all be the same size and/or design?


Alan Amolsch: They all have to be the same type of sign. They have to be either individual letters or box signs or marquee signs but not necessarily the same size or dimensions.


Chairman Harrington: I have a comment and I don’t speak for the Board, I am sure that we will hear from the other Board Members; but to move the discussion along I don’t have a major problem with Dr. Hill’s proposed sign although I would note that this initial construction required a variance and there was considerable opposition from affected residents and it would have appeared that some of their concerns which I joined in at that time were about traffic through essentially a residential subdivision and apparently people coming up from the south are having trouble getting in. That is a problem and it was a problem that was foreseen by the landowners and addressed by the Board. I don’t have a problem with Dr. Hill’s sign. I would have a problem, however, and I would condition my approval at least at this juncture that the future signs that would be placed on the building be the same dimension as Dr. Hill’s sign and I would condition my approval based upon that. I think a series of 6' by 4 signs on that building would be horrendous.


John Colucci: It would never happen.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I concur. I think your are putting it on the right line and direction.


Member Bauer: The owner says that once he gets the 75% or the 4 tenants out of 5 then he would take this sign down and they would all have the other.


John Colucci: The sign would stay, the lens changes.


Michael Zak: The copy would change. As opposed to being a marquee type of sign, simply have the address and the name of the center.


Alan Amolsch: When they have 4 tenants on the property operating in business, then they could switch that sign over to a business center sign and just say Williamsburg Office Center and the address.


Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Do they have to do that with 4 or can they do that with 75% or 3 out of 4?


Alan Amolsch: No, then they would need a variance because the ordinance does not allow business center signs until you have 4 tenants. It is strangely written.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





Discussion on motion:


Member Antosiak: I can support the motion as long as the petitioner understands that should he appear next month or the month after with a request for variance for the ceramic company or a third tenant, it might not be favorably received; at least by this Board Member. I don’t want the petitioner to interpret any approval of this sign variance to mean that the next sign variance request will also be approved.


Chairman Harrington: Interesting, I guess when ceramic or whoever comes in for their sign we can deal with that issue at that time.


John Colucci: I have already talked to them.


Dr. Hill: Ceramics is currently in operation and they don’t draw from the public, they draw from professionals like myself that don’t necessarily visit the place of business, things are sent with a courier. So they are not concerned about signage.


Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried


Other Matters


Don Saven: In your packet you did have a commentary from Mr. Capote regarding Glenda’s Market final site plan, the status or the update of what is happening.


Chairman Harrington: That is correct and the Board has reviewed that commentary and I think that Glenda’s is back up again in July as I recall. We will see them then.





The Meeting was adjourned at 10:55 p.m.












Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary