REGULAR MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF NOVI
CIVIC CENTER - 45175 TEN MILE RD.
TUESDAY - SEPTEMBER 3, 1996
The Meeting was called to order at 7:32 p.m., with Chairman Harrington presiding.
Present: Members Meyer, Brennan, Antosiak, Harrington, Bauer, Baty (alternate)
Absent: Member Reinke
Also Present: ` Donald M. Saven - Building Official
Steve Cohen - Staff Planner
Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer
Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary
Chairman Harrington indicated we do have a full Board this evening, consisting of six (6) Members. It will require four (4) votes for an approval of a variance. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to determine applications for variances or special use permits. Generally these cases are in the nature of appeals after the denial of an application by the City of Novi Building Department. The variance request seeks relief from strict application of the City of Novi Zoning Ordinances. As indicated, it will take a vote of at least four (4) Members of this Board tonight to approve a variance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Harrington inquired do we have any changes, additions or deletions to the agenda, this evening? (None were presented.) Move to approve the agenda by acclamation.
All in favor? (Voice Vote) (All Yeas) Carried
Chairman Harrington indicated the Public Remarks portion of the Meeting involves comments of a general nature not related to a particular case. Those comments which are directed to a particular case; we request that you defer those comments until the case is called. Is there anyone who would like to address the Board under the Public Remarks section?
Sarah Gary, 133 Maudlin. I am speaking as President of the South, East, Shawood Homeowners Association. We have met with one of the cases tonight and on a general note I am going to let you know that we will not be here every single month on every single item. Last month the ZBA was the night of our Meeting; and thank you for getting it off of Election Day. But, our Board met and discussed that yes we care very much what happens in our area, yes we are concerned, do we need to be brought in and give an opinion if it is for a deck or a minor item and the answer was no. So we will not be here every single time. We will, on a major issue or as directed by the ZBA should you choose to ask an applicant to meet with us, we will be happy to become involved. If we do not have an opinion on an item we will say "no comment". I just wanted to let you know what our ground rules are going to be.
Case No. 96-050 filed by IDOD
Idod Systems, LC is requesting a variance to allow outside storage of scrap pipe in and I-1 zoning district for property located at 25220 Trans-X Drive. (tabled in June, July & August).
Chairman Harrington indicated there is no one who wishes to speak to this matter.
Chairman Harrington inquired of the secretary: Have they called?
Nancy McKernan: No, they have not called this month.
Chairman Harrington: My suggestion is that this matter simply be taken off of the agenda.
Member Brennan: I would support. What happens in the mean time, because they are still storing that stuff in the parking lot?
Chairman Harrington: That would be an enforcement matter.
Member Antosiak: I would support a rejection of this variance request because this has been tabled 3 times.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-050 TO DENY THE VARIANCE FOR FAILURE OF THE PETITIONER TO PURSUE THE MATTER BEFORE US TONIGHT.
Chairman Harrington: Particularly in light of the fact that this was tabled in June, July and August of this year?
Member Antosiak: Yes .
Member Bauer: Yes.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Meyer Motion Carried.
Case No. 96-073 filed by Thomas VanOyen, representing Jeffrey Sobolewski
Continuation of case filed by Thomas VanOyen, representing Jeffrey Sobolewski, wishing to extend the variance that was granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals on November 7, 1995, Case No. 95-099. "No order of the Board permitting the erection of a building shall be valid for a period longer than ninety (90) days, unless a building permit for such erection or alteration is obtained within such period and such erection or alteration is started and proceeds to completion in accordance with the terms of such permit." A variance is needed for the extended length of time. (172 days. This property is located at 1099 South Lake Drive.
Thomas VanOyen was present and duly sworn.
Thomas VanOyen: I was here at the previous meeting. There are a few changes and what I would like to do is to pass out a new plot plan.
Thomas VanOyen: This would have been in the file, but it turned out that the packet had already been sent to you. Nancy recommended that I just bring them to the Meeting.
Chairman Harrington: Is it your request that this be made part of the official record?
Thomas VanOyen: Yes. I just dont want to sound like I was being negligent on bringing this in.
Thomas VanOyen: I was before you last month and it seems that the neighbors had a few concerns, particularly SES. The people had a good complaint. A complaint that said it would be difficult for parking with the structure that was proposed earlier. I have met with them. Have talked it out. I think that what we have done is that we have gotten the best of 2 worlds. We have a design that would work for me and a design that will keep parking off of the street.
Chairman Harrington: Could you explain the changes that are incorporated in the document that you just handed us, versus what was presented at the last meeting?
Thomas VanOyen: On the previous document, there was a side entrance garage and when you pulled up to the side entrance the tail end of the car would most likely stick out into the street. On this document here, the garage entrance is now in the rear of the house. So there wont be any problem with getting the cars fully into their driveway. In addition to that, the lot across the street will be set up so that there will be additional parking on the water side.
Thomas VanOyen: I think that this will work for everybody and keep everything, shall we say, non-cluttered.
Chairman Harrington: In your view, this is a significant improvement on the health and safety aspects pursuant to the original design?
Thomas VanOyen: Yes, I believe that it is.
Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin, President of SES. We met with Mr. VanOyen and found him delightful to work with. Suggested the rear entry garage as is constructed across the street at 1101 South Lake. We pointed out the questions, the concerns with the 30 foot road and the off street parking and suggested the rear entry garage which he found quite easy to work with. Basically pointed out that we dont want him to over build as far as price for the area, but that is his risk and not ours; we dont want a white elephant. We are in support of what he is proposing because we know from work that he is doing in the area on West Lake that it will be a quality project.
Chairman Harrington: With reference to the approval that you have voiced have you seen the rendering that was presented to the Board this evening?
Sarah Gray: Yes, sir.
James Korte, I was also present at that meeting and since then I have had the opportunity to take a quick run on the 1400 block of West Lake. The builder is building over there now and I dont think anyone can argue the credentials of this mans ability. What is going on over there is beautifully being done. It is a shame that this piece of property isnt as large as that one. There is no doubt in our minds that when something is built, it will be a piece of quality. My only concern, and it is a concern, is that the building be demolished immediately or as immediate that we can get it demolished. That foot print is not unlike the Beshears foot print. In our discussions, I dont think that he will be quite building as large as that. There are several other options that we threw out to him and he was eager to listen and I think eager to learn, and I dont mean that nasty. That foot print is fine, there should be no reason that it isnt blanketed. That gives the man a nice house. That gives the man a saleable commodity. It gives the area the best that you can expect in an awful situation. Remove the house immediately. Thank you.
Don Saven: Just a few comments in general. There is the fact that on the east wall we are going to be looking at more fire protection than normal with the construction of the home and I just wanted you to be aware of that particular issue. Secondly, the changes for the requested variance would probably be a little different than what was outlined in the original variance, so we will have to go over that.
Member Brennan: Can we perhaps tie down to a date for this extension of the variance? Being that the first one lapsed, do you have an idea of when this might be completed?
Thomas VanOyen: Yes, I believe the customary 90 days is going to be adequate for me.
Member Brennan: You want 90 days from today?
Thomas VanOyen: Correct.
Don Saven: Again, I would like to bring to light that the variance that was granted before does not apply in this particular case because he is asking for additional change that were made to satisfy the group that was interested in making sure that those changes were made.
Chairman Harrington inquired of Don Saven: What kind of timetable are we dealing with?
Don Saven: The timetable as far as from the variance standpoint of view, 90 days is fine; but when granting this variance I think that we should be aware that the variance has changed from the original extension requested.
Member Antosiak: Each aspect of it has changed.
Member Brennan: If we make that all tied into a potential motion would that satisfy?
Don Saven: Absolutely.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-073 THE VARIANCE EXTENSION BE GRANTED FOR A PERIOD OF 90 DAYS, FROM TODAY. IT INCLUDES THE OUTLINE AND FLOOR PLAN, ADDRESSING THE PARKING ISSUES AS GIVEN US TONIGHT. ALL OF THE VARIOUS DETAILS MUST BE WORKED OUT WITH THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 96-076 filed by Charles Provan
Charles Provan wishes to cover an existing porch in the front yard. The proposed roof over the porch would now be considered part of the main building and not be allowed the same projection an open unenclosed porch would have; for property located at 40281 Ladene Ln.
Charles Provan was present and duly sworn.
Charles Provan: What I am asking is an extension of the setback to put this cover over an existing porch. We are doing it for several reasons. One of them is the elements, the rain, the snow, ice, etc. on the porch. The second would be to make it more attractive to the area. We could have put one up of aluminum covers that would not really attribute to the aesthetics. That is essentially it.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 42 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 5 written responses received, voicing approval. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: No comment. It looks good to me.
Member Brennan: The last page of this handout had an OK "WMHA", I assume that is the homeowners association?
Charles Provan: Yes, it is.
Chairman Harrington: That would be the Whispering Meadows Homeowners Association.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-076 THE VARIANCE BE APPROVED FOR THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF THOSE THAT ARE ON THE PORCH IN THE INCLEMENT WEATHER.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 96-077 filed by Ronald Wisniewski
Ronald Wisniewski is requesting a rear yard setback variance of 10.8 feet to allow for the construction of a patio enclosure at 24018 Glen Ridge Ct., in Willowbrook Estates.
Ronald Wisniewski was present and duly sworn.
Ronald Wisniewski: First of all, this same variance was OKd last year by the Board unanimously; but I didnt get it done because of financial reasons. I just want to do it to add looks and value to the house. All of the neighbors approved of it last year.
Chairman Harrington: For those of us who may not have attended last year or may not have been on the Board last year, if you could give us a little more of an idea of what you are trying to accomplish, and why you need a variance from us.
Ronald Wisniewski: It extends 10 feet farther back closer to the back yard, than it should. I guess it is supposed to be 35 feet and is going to be 24 feet from the back fence of the yard. I am going to put on a sun room, with windows all around. Basically it is just going to be a sun room with maybe a hot tub in it or something like that.
Chairman Harrington: And the reason that you need the variance is because otherwise it wouldnt fit on your property as designed?
Ronald Wisniewski: Right, I cant extend it far enough back to fit.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 49 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 3 written responses received voicing approval. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven had no comment.
Member Brennan: The parties that gave the approval on Rock Hill, that is behind you?
Ronald Wisniewski: Yes.
Member Brennan: Those are the people most affected by it.
Ronald Wisniewski: Yes, they would see the most of it.
Member Bauer: On the drawing from last year, the association also approved of it.
Chairman Harrington: If we were, which is not to presume that you will gain approval, but if you do are you going to go ahead and build it?
Ronald Wisniewski: Yes, I do plan on building it this time.
Member Antosiak: I could support this variance request. It seems that anyone who wants to do anything to their homes in Willowbrook ends up before us. So, I would not have a problem supporting this.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Brennan,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-077 THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE BE GRANTED DUE TO LOT SIZE AND THE INABILITY TO DO ANY REMODELING OF THE HOME WITHOUT REQUIRING A VARIANCE.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 96-079 filed by Dewey Marlow
Dewey Marlow wishes to keep a replaced front porch deck which measures 7' x 14'. The maximum projection allowed into the required front yard of 30 feet is 4 feet, a variance is needed to allow a front yard encroachment; for property located at 301 Duana.
Dewey Marlow was present and duly sworn.
Dewey Marlow: Well, we replaced the old porch. It ended up being 22 foot where they required 26 on Duana Street where there is South Lake Drive going into the main road or in front of us. I wasnt aware that I had to go in front of you people to do this. I did it. It is 22 foot. That is all.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 31 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.
James Korte, Austin Street. I am the one that reported this originally for going on without building permits and I think that everyone understands that especially Mr. Marlow. From the direction of the Walled Lake Sector Study, we have fought that piece of property constantly. It is a shame and an embarrassment to the north end. It is an embarrassment to the City of Novi; the condition of that property. It is very difficult to condemn a piece of property when people live in it. We have asked that it be condemned several times knowing that as long as it is occupied it is never going to happen. No one is arguing the replacement of the front porch. The structure as it now stands is not the replacement of the front porch and I would venture to say that it is twice as large. I never got out with a tape measure so I dont know the exact size. I said to the City that this is probably going to be a ZBA Case and we have pictures of the original porch and Don Saven has seen certainly not the specifics, but that house was in a video that Don Saven is aware of and saw several months ago. We can go back to the specific replacement. No one is arguing specific replacement. What is the hardship of coming farther on all sides on a terrible piece of property. I guess if this renovation or addition were the beginning of a new tomorrow or the finish of a lovely house nobody would argue. It is not. The rest of the mess is going to stay the way it is; therefore there is no hardship in this case. He should be able to replace the porch as it was and that is all according to City code. So, I would like the porch to be replaced as the porch was and that is all. Thank you.
Chairman Harrington inquired of James Korte: Is your position that the improved porch should be removed in its entirety?
James Korte: Yes, and built to the size of the previous existing porch.
Chairman Harrington: The improved porch may stay subject to the original dimensions, or you want the whole improved porch taken down?
James Korte: Well, I think that the portion of the improved porch that fits the size of what existed should be fine. It would be ridiculous to have the man tear it all down to build a 4 x 4 or 4 x 5 or whatever. That would be dumb. But I think that it has to come back, there is no hardship in this case. If you are here for a hardship on the ZBA we still havent found where does the porch fit in the confines of the property. I dont think that anyone knows that. I dont think anyone knows how close the lot line it is. I dont think that anyone knows how close to the front yard it is. Therefore the existing old porch that was falling off, is certainly acceptable. Thank you.
Don Saven had no comment.
Member Brennan inquired of the Building Department. If there is not an official architect supplied schematic or floor plan of this house as a part of our packet, do you establish exactly the distance from the corner of that porch to the road? Do you verify what he has submitted here?
Don Saven: This is based upon a submission of the applicant at the time that he applies to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which all evidence is supposed to be factual and accountable for the Board.
Chairman Harrington: A reference was made in "Audience Participation" to photographs or whatever, do we have anything in your official files, Don?
Don Saven: The only thing that I could indicate is that at one time the Walled Lake area was trying to do a clean up and in the efforts of the clean up operations, there were areas where photos were taken of those specific areas. I do not have that particular tape and I dont believe that I have anything as far as photographs of this particular home as far as a porch is concerned.
Chairman Harrington: So that I can understand the variance dimensions that are at issue; the petitioner has built a porch 7' wide by 14' long. Do I understand that to comply with code it would have to be 3' wide and the 14' would not pose a problem?
Don Saven: This is an open unenclosed porch, I would like to make that a fact here. An open unenclosed porch can project into the front yard up to 4' into the required front yard setback. In other words, between the edge of the front porch and the property line you could have 26' for the 30' setback requirement.
Chairman Harrington: Then we are talking about 3'?
Don Saven: Yes.
Don Saven: That would be 4'.
Chairman Harrington: The incursion is the extra 3', is that correct? We are looking at the 7' and 7' minus 3 is 4.
Don Saven: Right.
Member Baty: Is it measured as shown on the drawing? Is that 22' measured at that kind of an angle because then it might not be exactly 3'.
Dewey Marlow: There is a curvature of the road there.
Chairman Harrington: Is there a front door that opens onto this porch?
Dewey Marlow: Yes, a 36" door.
Chairman Harrington: So if one is standing on the porch where the front door opens, if you are on your toes and could hang there by 12", it might work?
Dewey Marlow: No, you couldnt take an appliance into it. The porch has been there for over 20 years. Yes, I did increase the size. I set the outside 4 x 4's on the outside of the poles and I did extend it longer.
Chairman Harrington: When? When did you make your improvements?
Dewey Marlow: About a month and a half or 2 months ago. The other porch wasnt........and I was getting ready to put siding and everything else on the house and I wanted to do the porch first.
Chairman Harrington: You did this yourself, you didnt have a contractor do it?
Dewey Marlow: I work home improvement. It is my business. I work for Home Window.
Chairman Harrington: Are you familiar with the procedure whereby if you make major renovations that you may have to run it by the City to get approval for your project? You are in the business, correct? Are you familiar with that concept?
Dewey Marlow: Yes, I am. But, I didnt think that rebuilding my front porch was a major renovation.
Member Brennan: Are you the owner of this property?
Dewey Marlow: Yes, I am, my wife and I have owned it for 21 years.
Member Brennan: Just to confirm what you have said; when you put the new porch on you planted these 4 x 4 posts next to the existing posts.
Dewey Marlow: On the outside perimeter, yes.
Member Brennan: So the expansion of this deck is roughly 48" wider?
Dewey Marlow: I would say that it is probably about 11 or 12" wider. I had to go on the outside of the old pyramid for the cement when I drilled the holes. I went on the outside of that so it wouldnt be......
Member Brennan: So that you didnt hit the footings from the old ones?
Dewey Marlow: Yes, that is correct.
Member Meyer: If you were to comply this request to go back to the original size, would this mean that you would not be able to open your front door?
Dewey Marlow: Yes, I have a 36" front door. In order to bring in an appliance or something up the porch and in the door; if I stayed within code with your 4 x 4's and your railing and all of that, I would only have 32".
Member Meyer: Whats difficult for me is that if you are going back to your original porch size it means that you were never able to open your front door, am I correct?
Dewey Marlow: Well, I was able to open the front door because it opened the other way. I am replacing the entry door and the storm door to open the opposite way from what it is. On the inside it opens from the right, right now. Now I am looking to open it from the left or have it swing away from the area that the traffic is coming through.
Chairman Harrington: Do I understand that the porch as you have replaced it, is finished at the present time?
Dewey Marlow: No, sir. It is not completely finished. It is 80%. I was kind of waiting to come here and do this before I finished.
Chairman Harrington: What is the 20%?
Dewey Marlow: The railing and stuff like that. I have railing around it and it is all safe so no one would slip or fall or anything else like that; but it hasnt been screwed and glued.
Chairman Harrington: Board Members, I will be candid. I have not seen this porch. Most of the applications I either see in person or this supporting photographic materials. I havent seen it. I dont feel comfortable certainly approving something under these circumstances that I havent seen. The project is basically in a suspended state. Before I could vote on this matter, I would want to physically see it and at least this Board Member would suggest tabling this until next month. I am not persuaded by the argument that the whole house should be demolished and it is not within our jurisdiction anyway; but it appears that this is a significant incursion and one which does not leap at me from the file in terms of being able to deal with it. So, I would be inclined to table it. But I would defer to the other Board Members as well.
Member Brennan: Is the porch useable as it stands right now?
Dewey Marlow: Yes.
Member Bauer: I would like to have this tabled too.
Chairman Harrington: My suggestion is this, the Chairman of the ZBA wants to see your porch and I think that the other Board Members do too. I would be willing to table this. I will tell you right now that if I were to vote on this tonight I would not approve it. I want to see what is out there. I would be willing to ask the Board to table this until next month which will be the October Meeting, subject to no further construction being made to the porch. You will leave it just like it is. Is that agreeable to you?
Dewey Marlow: Yes, it is.
Chairman Harrington: I move that Case No. 96-079 be tabled to the October Meeting. Motion by acclamation. All in favor. ( All Yeas)
Chairman Harrington: Sir, can you come back and see us in October?
Dewey Marlow: Yes.
Chairman Harrington: We appreciate that. Dont do anything else out there. Do you understand?
Dewey Marlow: It is safe now.
Case No. 96-081 file by Lawrence Lotrey
Lawrence Lotrey is requesting variances to construct an in ground swimming pool and a fence in the required exterior side yard (corner lot); for property located at 25408 Sullivan Ln.
Lawrence Lotrey was present and duly sworn.
Lawrence Lotrey: I would like to hand out a couple of addendums that werent in the original package. One is the overview of the entire subdivision of Cedar Springs 3 and 4; which show the cul-de-sac, the size of the cul-de-sacs and also a photo album where we took some panoramic pictures of the area where the pool is going to reside and the surrounding property including the cul-de-sac.
Lawrence Lotrey: Basically the cul-de-sac on Kalli Ct. or all of the cul-de-sacs in the subdivision are 120' in diameter. Unfortunately, my cul-de-sac on Kalli Ct. versus the other ones are kind of shallow from the main road which cuts into the side yard and you consider that a front yard. So I have to go by the front yard setbacks for this pool.
Lawrence Lotrey: I have very little back yard and the only back yard that I can use based on the house is oriented on the property is on that side on Kalli Ct. So I am using that as my back yard, even though it is a side yard and is considered a front yard setback. So I have a triple dilemma here.
Lawrence Lotrey: The pictures kind of show the large berm of mine with white pine trees there that were planted. The landscaping is kind of the buffer zone of the cul-de-sac to the house. The pool would be hidden from just about everybodys view except the neighbor to my immediate left and they really look at the pond or the wetlands behind their property.
Lawrence Lotrey: Another thing that we did when we first built the house is that we moved the sidewalk over. The end of the sidewalk is 10' from the curb line and we had a variance from that. Tri-Mount didnt want to get involved, but I went to the City and got the sidewalk moved 6' from the curb line. So even the setback is 30', we had the sidewalk moved a little further into the cul-de-sac curb line. The pool would be quite away from the sidewalk and then there is also the treed berm there.
Lawrence Lotrey: It seems like to the pool would be completely hidden from site and from everybodys view. It is kind of a private area right in that area because it is kind of an "odd ball" shaped property. The cul-de-sac is huge it would be at least 150' to anybodys direct backyard to the pool. that pool would be further than any other pool in my subdivision that was constructed.
Lawrence Lotrey: We are missing the utility easement. The fencing would be line to line with drainage easement in the back. The fencing kind of goes behind there but there isnt a problem with the drainage back there.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 30 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one objection received and it was unsigned objection. (The "Chair" will not consider an objection that is not signed.) I will note that there was an objection but it is not signed.
There was no audience participation.
Lawrence Lotrey: I have the Cedar Springs Homeowners approval also, you will need to see that.
Don Saven: It is an unusual piece of property. It also backs up to the park which is a bit of a positive feature here. But again, the configuration of the property is very difficult to work with. I can remember this one specific in laying out the house on this property. It is a very difficult piece.
Member Brennan: It certainly is an odd shaped lot and the petitioner has already gone through the investment of shielding this from the cul-de-sac. That is already in place. A lot of variance requests that we look at have potential for that and is not there already. The fact that he is backed up to the park would make it appear like this unobtrusive to virtually anybody.
Chairman Harrington: Do I correctly understand that without a variance you would not be able to build a pool as configured?
Lawrence Lotrey: Yes and this was a premium lot, too. I couldnt imagine anyone wanting it with no back yard.
Member Antosiak: I think that he could not only build the pool as configured; he could not build a pool without a variance.
Chairman Harrington: I want to commend you on the photographs they go a long way in demonstrating the lot configuration and the hardship that you would face under these circumstances.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Brennan,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-081 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR THESE VARIANCES BE GRANTED AS REQUESTED; DUE TO THE CORNER LOT LOCATION AND THE ODD LOT SIZED CONFIGURATION.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Lawrence Lotrey: I do have one comment. It is a fiberglass pool and we are looking at tolerances.
Those dimension in my submission were nominal. I was talking to Terry upstairs and he kinds of gives a plus or minus 6" tolerance. I was wondering if the 14.6' could be 12'? Just in case the pool happens to be.....the perfect configuration of a fiberglass pool might not fit those dimensions. Could that be granted?
Chairman Harrington: Take us through that again. What is the rendering that you submitted?
Lawrence Lotrey: 14'6" to the property line and 5' to the house. I dont have a problem with the 5' to the house, I want to maintain that; but the third dimension because it is kind of a triangulated type of dimension and depending upon where your curve line is and if the curve line is off a few inches one way or the other too, as far as what I measured off of the building; I was wondering if given tolerances (I am a mechanical engineer) the fiberglass doesnt hold shape or perfect shape as to how it was templated to that form. I was wondering if the 14.6 could be 12' to give me a couple of feet?
Member Brennan: This is going to move 2'?
Lawrence Lotrey: Tolerances. I wouldnt move the fence, I would just need a variance on the pool.
Don Saven: The Notices were sent out based upon that configuration. You could have a tendency to jockey a little bit.
Lawrence Lotrey: It is a preformed pool. With a cement pool you could do a perfect dig. This is coming out of a form die out of Florida. It is a one piece form pool.
Chairman Harrington: Rather than to get into technical discussions; because this may not even expand at all. You may be right on the button. We dont know what is going to actually happen to that fiberglass where it is poured. It would be the sense of the Chairman that the 14.6 is a nominal dimension plus or minus and in the event that the actual swimming pool as poured were to substantially exceed that variation then I am sure that the Building Department would be talking to you about that and you would probably be back in front of us. But the variation and the rendering as submitted and what was "noticed" to the public and available for their discussion references that. Whereas some neighbors or some person might have an interest if you were 2 feet closer and that has not been published and that is not a part of your package; so I am not inclined at this point to give you a theorotical 2' leeway. I think that you have your remedies, including coming back to this Board if there is a problem with the pouring or the construction. That is my thought only.
Lawrence Lotrey: What would you consider an acceptable tolerance? A construction tolerance for that.
Chairman Harrington: Two feet is a big tolerance. Your people who are pouring the pool and have done tens of thousands of pools over the years, if they are reputible should be able to give you a better idea than 14.6 versus 12.6.
Lawrence Lotrey: The template that we used was off a .......and the accuracy of the template to form dies can be off by as much as a foot.
Chairman Harrington: Why dont you express the concerns of the Chairman to the person who is doing the pouring for you and if it turns out that you need an extra 2 feet, I suggest that you come back and see us because I am approving 14.6; that is what you asked for.
Chairman Harrington: Board Members do we want to engage in a discussion about another 2 feet on this?
Member Antosiak: No, I think that you are correct.
Lawrence Lotrey: It is already poured. They made a 100 of these. It is not a question of pouring to the dimensions. It is a preformed pool. It is already establilshed. Those dimensions are established with the die down in Florida. You dont want to change a 2 million dollar die.
Chairman Harrington: We have approved your variance. Mr. Saven, his having brought this to our attention would you be sure and take a look at it after it is poured.
Don Saven: I will and I will get my 5' away from the building. I have to have the 5' away from the building because I am concerned about other issues.
Chairman Harrington: You understood what he just said? It better not be 4' 11".
Lawrence Lotrey: Five feet will be the minimum.
Chairman Harrington: The record will reflect that I have noted specifically an approval at 14.6' as per the application and not 12'. We will see how this utilmately works out.
Case No. 96-075 filed by Krista Cousineau, representing Tri-Mount/Wintergreen
Krista Cousineau, representing Tri-Mount/Wintergreen, is requesting a variance to allow an 8' x 3' (24 sq. ft.) permanent sign in the island at Wintergreen and Ten Mile Roads, with the verbiage WINTERGREEN PARK". City Council approval is needed to allow the sign in the right of way.
Krista Cousineau was present and duly sworn.
Krista Cousineau: We are requesting a variance to construct a permant sign on public property. This sign is located in the Wintergreen Subdivision on Ten Mile Road. The primary hardship that we have here would be the cost factor. If we were to construct signage outside of the island area to maintain a quality appearance we feel that we would have to construct 2 signs on the corner lots of Wintergreen Circle and Ten Mile Road. By doing that, we would construct signs that would have to be surrounded by extensive walls and landscaping that would exceed our budget by about $10,000.00. Also it would encroach upon the existing corner lots and we feel that from a marketing standpoint that it would make those lots less desirable.
Krista Cousineau: Also very importantly, we are requesting a variance that has been approved several times in the past for many subidivsions on Ten Mile have constructed signs within the island area and we would simply like to maintain the standard and the appearance that they have.
Chairman Harrington: And you are also suggesting that a single sign would reduce sign pollution?
Krista Cousineau: Yes.
Chairman Harrington incidated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Brennan: I would never give much credence to a petition based on hardship in economics, but the fact that you want to have only 1 sign instead of 2, certainly works. I think it is obvious that a sign positioned like this is much more visible than signs that are either parallel to Ten Mile or an angle; with the speeds at 45 or 50 miles per hour along Ten Mile that is probably a wise location.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-075 THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED BE GRANTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFICATION AND SAFETY.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 96-078 filed by Singh Development Co.
Singh Development Co. is requesting a variance to allow a second entry wall sign at Nine Mile and Kensington for the Beckenham Subdivision. The sign will be 8'10" x 30" (23.3 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "BECKENHAM - A Singh Development".
Mike Kahm was present and duly sworn.
Mike Kahm: I would like to use this Board to show you this blow-up of our entry at Nine Mile Road and Kensington. The 2 ground monuments are existing monuments that we already have permits for and are installed at the intersection. We currently have a sign permit for the westerly monument. We put them at angles because along Nine Mile we preserved several existing large oak trees and we try to keep the character of Nine Mile as consistent as it was before development. With a perpendicular sign it was difficult to get visibility in one direction or the other because of the obstruction of the trees. In looking at these I highlighted these 3 trees because these are the very large oaks, probably 20 inches or more in diameter and coming from the west to the east which at this point is more of a rural road than in the future Nine Mile will be paved and be a more well traveled road that sign visibility at Beckenham is important for emergency vehicles and what not. So we are requesting the ZBA to consider and allow us to place another sign that is the same as this sign on this particular wall so that there is also identification entry from eastbound traffic on Nine Mile Road the same as we have now provided for westbound traffic.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was two written responses received. One voicing approval and one voicing objection. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Antosiak inquired of Mr. Cohen or Mr. Saven: I was under the impression that Nine Mile was designated as a historic road.
Steve Cohen: I dont believe that it has been yet. It is gravel. I believe that in the future, 5 to 10 to 15 years down the road unless there is any change to what is planned it will be paved. That is my, understanding. I dont believe that it has been designated as a natural road, to the best of my knowledge.
Don Saven: I am not aware of that at all.
Chairman Harrington: In contrast with the lady who spoke before you who had a drive configuration conducive to placing the sign in the middle of the drive; why cant that be done here, so that we only have one sign?
Mike Kahm: Because we dont have a boulevard as they have. We did do that on Beck Road. We do have a sign on the boulevard dimensionally but there is no boulevard at this particular entry or we could have done that.
Chairman Harrington: Why couldnt you have?
Mike Kahm: Because there wasnt enough room. We would have lost a lot, to be honest with you.
Member Antosiak: Despite Mr. Cohens statement I am not convinced that Nine Mile will be paved knowing the opinions of the people who live along Nine Mile and those of us who live on the west side of town and I am not at this point inclined to approve a variance that would encourage traffic from the west towards the east down Nine Mile . I just dont see a particular hardship at this point. The whole idea, and in fact there was some discussion early on about where to put the entrance to this subdivision on Nine Mile and it was my impression that it was going to be closer towards Beck and that has also raised the concern of some of the residents in the area. I am not, at this point, encouraged to support this variance.
Member Brennan: I will make note and Laverne isnt here to chastise me so I wont say of another case; but there is a similar case very close by on Ten Mile Road that had similar construction where they appealed for a second sign. That particular case the speed limit on Ten Mile is 50 miles per hour and I believe that the speed limit on Nine Mile is 25.
Mike Kahm: It is 25 or 30.
Member Brennan: I am not completely convinced that it is necessary now.
Mike Kahm: I admit that Nine Mile presently does not have a lot of traffic which is why we originally didnt consider it important. But I know of more development already planned west on Nine Mile Road in addition to what traffic we are going to add and as much as people dont like to see this kind of development it unfortunately is inevitable and we are just trying to see that as Nine Mile got paved between Taft and Beck; I think it is inevitable that Nine Mile is going to paved between Beck and Garfield. I think that there has been some talk that as Steve has indicated that natural beauty designation of this road but it doesnt preclude its paving. There are going to be more people living out there, whether we like it or not. So, we were just trying to make sure that we planned for that event and emergency traffic will eventually come from the west and we wanted to make sure that we provided a reasonable identification. The walls are already set up for it. Someday in the future, I guess it could be, if not today.
Chairman Harrington: What you are telling us is that you would like to have both signs, but right now it is not presenting a hardship to you?
Mike Kahm: It depends on whether........if one emergency vehicle comes from the west instead of the east and they miss our entry; I guess it would depend upon how you would define a hardship. To me, if it happens once that is a hardship. But, the level of hardship is certainly going to increase as time goes on.
Chairman Harrington: Any reports of emergency vehicles from the City missing the subdivision so far? Has anybody suggested that yet?
Mike Kahm: No, but that is one of the reasons that we have these kind of signs to help identify how to get into the subdivision and where the subdivision is. No matter which subdivision.
Member Bauer: Is it lighted at night?
Mike Kahm: Yes, it is.
Chairman Harrington: My comments are that I dont think that it makes a whole lot of logical sense to have a sign facing one direction where it is primarily visible and not have a companion sign the other way. I think that the cases where we have approved those companion signs far outweigh those where we have denied them. I am trying to think of a situation where we have denied in the past, to me it makes sense; but on the other hand listening to Board Members Antosiak and Brennan there doesnt seem to be the compelling hardship at the present time. My sense is that I am not offended by the sign request. I dont think it presents a major problem. But I havent heard a compelling case why we should be giving a second sign at this point either.
Member Baty: I dont have a problem with the second sign. It seems like precedent indicates that we should grant this variance as we have in the past with other similar cases. I am curious if the other sign mentions that it is a Singh Development?
Mike Kahm: Yes, it is just in small letters and all of the signs on other developments that we have done and not in just this City but all around the metropolitan area to identify our product.
Chairman Harrington: Would you comfortable if we approved a second sign but the removal of the Singh Development from both legends? Or are we really talking marketing? The EMS people dont care whether it is a Singh Development, do they?
Mike Kahm: The other sign that has been approved has been approved that way. This would be the only one that would not be. The other permits we already have.
Chairman Harrington: For geographical location or people coming out and looking for the Singh Development, or are they looking for the subdivision?
Mike Kahm: With all due modesty, I think that they are.
Member Meyer: I am impressed by the fact that it would at least provide for the safety of the people living there to know that if an emergency vehicle did have to come down there and even if there has never been one down there to this point, if one had to come down there I certainly would want that emergency vehicle to be able to identify the property quickly.
Member Brennan: I agree with everyone; except that you dont need it now. It is 25 miles per hour, who is going to miss it? It is a dirt road and nobody is going to go down that road at 50 miles per hour looking for the subdivision. I think that in time it makes sense and in time it is in keeping with other variances that have been granted. But, those other variances were always tied to hardships and in most cases it was because of the speed limit and you just didnt have time to react and see it. I think it is premature. I think Singh will be around for another 10 to 15 years and if Nine Mile is paved in another 5 years, lets put it up then.
Mike Kahm: I would like to offer one comment about that. As a developer develops subdivisions when the houses are built and the subdivision is built out, we turn over the operation of it to the homeowners association so at that point we would really be out of that subdivision and the burden of having to put the sign up would then fall upon the homeowners because we would essentially be gone and have no ownership interests in the subdivision. So we are proposing to do it now at our expense rather than doing it later on at their expense.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Antosiak,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-078 THE REQUEST BE DENIED FOR LACK OF HARDSHIP.
Discussion on motion.
Chairman Harrington: I will concur in my vote with the motion made by Mr. Brennan; but for different reasons. I am not offended by a second sign. But when it is clearly or substantially a marketing device and I am drawn to the attention of Singh Development which is part and parcel of this sign which will be there long after you are gone. You havent made a compelling case tonight.
Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Baty, Meyer Motion Carried
Case No. 96-080 filed by Chrysler Corporation/Peter Gentelia
Peter Gentelia, representing Chrysler Corporation is requesting A) a variance to place an 8'1" x 12'1" (97.67 sq. ft.) ground pole sign with the verbiage "CHRYSLER PLYMOUTH JEEP/EAGLE, plus logo", height from grade to be 22 feet; B) a variance to place a 6' x 2' (12 sq. ft.) twin pole sign with the verbiage "logo USED CARS", height from grade to be 5 feet; C) a variance to place a wall sign 10'7" x 2' (21.16 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "SERVICE"; for property located at 24315 Haggerty Rd.
Timothy Stoepker was present..
Timothy Stoepker: This is a request as submitted by Chrysler Corporation to erect 3 additional signs on this particular piece of property. One would be a single pole sign on Haggerty Road, the other would be a twin lower pole sign to identify pre-owned cars - 120 feet off of Haggerty - to identify the new pre-owned car dealership on that site and the third sign would be a service identification sign over the new service bays that have been erected on the site this year. Both the pre-owned or used car dealership portion and new service bay portion have just been completed from a construction standpoint.
Timothy Stoepker: It is our opinion that pursuant to Section 28-15 of the Sign Ordinance and Article 31, Section 3104.b of the Zoning Ordinance; that there is a topographical condition that exists in relationship to this property which prevents the existing sign from property identifying the location of the dealership to the public and a potential customer both in the used car/new car/service business.
Timothy Stoepker: The condition that exists creates a practical difficulty which cannot be overcome without the granting of the variances. The site has unique characteristics and therefore the granting of the variance cannot necessarily be precedential to another business within the City of Novi. Due to the location of the dealership and the type of signage that we propose and the minimal variances that are proposed, we believe the variances will not be detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Novi; but in fact from a safety standpoint that the signage proposed will be an asset to the City. I might point out before I go into the geographical context of the property that the property is zoned B-3 and that the signs proposing are permitted as a matter of right. What is being asked for essentially, area variance and additional signage.
Timothy Stoepker: I dont know if you have copies of the McKenna report in front of you; but if you would refer to map 1 of the report that identifies the specific location of the dealership. Approaching the dealership from the south you would note that there is an obscuring hill there and an existing building. When you look at the location of the dealership which is 450 feet off of Haggerty Road at that location an automobile approaching from southbound on Haggerty coming off Ten Mile or whatever cannot find the dealership. It is not visible. There is no recognition at all. It is not until you are immediately in front of the dealership and if you would look at the photographs that are also a part of the package that was submitted to you, the photographs show when at first the dealership is in view and the one photograph shows that it is not until you are all most exactly in front of the dealership that you have the first of the dealership at all. In fact traveling at about 30 mile per hour as we noted to you in the report, you have about 1.6 seconds to observe that the dealership is there. It is my understanding, and I could be corrected if I am wrong, that the speed limit at that location I believe is 45 miles per hour.
Timothy Stoepker: There is nothing that Farmington Chrysler can do about the hill or the existing building. That is there and it blocks the site. There is nothing that they can do about the location of their dealership and I will explain how that arrived at that specific location. Nevertheless 450 feet back you cannot identify. The other difficulty is that the dealership building itself is below street grade. So not only do you have the hill, if you were to approach this site, the building itself is below street grade which also creates a difficulty. The other issue pertains from viewing to the north. Again, if you were to look at the map if you were approaching the dealership from the north off of Grand River or just coming down Haggerty the dealership itself again is not visible due to the location of both the Mobil Gas Station and the Infiniti dealership that exists on the corner. Again, the dealership is below the grade of those 2 facilities and again is set back 450 feet. We noted in our report that viewing time at 30 miles per hour at best is 4.5 seconds; we just click, click. Then as a motorist you have to make a decision within 4 seconds or in the case of the other direction 1.6 seconds to decide to shift lanes and that is where I want to go. So from a traffic safety standpoint, we believe that providing an identification sign on Haggerty Road will prevent a motorist who is traveling either northbound or southbound; but particularly northbound from making a knee jerk decision if they are in the right hand lane and all of sudden seeing boom and then making the transition crossing lanes into the center lane. The road at that location is 4 lanes plus a turning lane. Clearly a sign from a driving perspective at 450 feet setback is not within a drivers viewing range.
Tim Stoepker: From a historical perspective the dealership was built in 1992. The concept at the time pursuant to the approved site plan was that this was to be a motor mall with 4 separate dealerships. As a result of that a fascia sign was placed on the dealership identifying what it was and in a like manner there would have been a fascia sign on the other 4 dealerships that were placed within the motor mall and then pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance and I believe Section 28-6 (3) A3 a business center sign identifying 4 distinct businesses on the parcel would have been permitted. Unfortunately or from the development perspective the motor mall never evolved. What you have is an Infiniti dealership, you have the Chrysler dealership and the other 2 dealerships were not built. As a consequence the only signage on the Chrysler dealership identifying that it is there is 450 feet away from the road. Since that time in 1996 if you have driven by the site you will notice that the dealership has expanded into the used car or pre-owned car business. That small building is located essentially where one of the other dealerships would have been located on the property. In addition to that a significant service area was added to the dealership at great expense in 1996. Neither one of those areas and their business purposes are identified at all on the property. What is being asked for in reference to them is in essence a small sign whose dimensions that we have identified; identifying the entrance pre-owned car or used car business and a fascia sign over the service bays identifying to the customer where to go on the property to deliver your car for service. Delivering a car for service is sometimes frustrating enough to a customer without having to figure out where to deliver the automobile on the property. Making it easily accessible to the customer is important, particularly in this case due to the expansion of the dealership for that business.
Tim Stoepker: The same also holds true for the purpose of the pre-owned or used car business. Particularly since this dealership did not conduct that business on its property since 1992. Identifying that in fact, that the business is important. It is important because it identifies and attracts a different customer than a customer that is going for a new car. Therefore, it is critical to that.
Tim Stoepker: From an identification standpoint, I might want to add that in 1993 I believe the Board granted a variance to the fascia sign itself to allow for that to increase. That was a minimal effort being made by the dealership at that time to still comply with the one sign per building intent and though the signage itself has increased somewhat in size on the fascia, it did not make it any more visible to Haggerty and the problem of identification which existed in 1992 was hoped to be remedied in 1993 with the small variance and it has not been remedied.
Tim Stoepker: Advertising to a dealership is critical. It is only critical if you know where the dealership is and the name is very critical as well as the product line. It is important to a potential customer that they know that this is a Chrysler dealership, that used cars are sold there and that service is conducted there. Without those identifications, you do not know the type of product that is being offered and without the identification of the name of the dealership you certainly dont know who the dealership is. Since there is repeat business or there is reliance upon a particular type of dealer that someone has dealt with over the years, being able to identify both that a service standpoint
when you are delivering your car or buying a new or used car is very important. Certainly recognition should be made by this Board that Chrysler in the last few years has gone through a significant resigning of its properties with a whole new design of a sign; both to meet standard zoning ordinances across the country and to be aesthetically pleasing to the community as well as the business owner who will have that sign there.
Tim Stoepker: In considering the type of signage that we proposed, we looked at a number of factors. Particularly 4 factors. Chrysler standard signage across the country, the topography and setback of the existing buildings, the other signage in the area as well as the business needs of our particular client. In referring to the packet that we submitted to you, if you will look at page 7 of the packet, you will note that we have cited 2 or 3 other examples within the City of Novi as well as outside of the City of other signage within the area relating to dealerships. The first one I could give you an example of is the Marty Feldman dealership.
Chairman Harrington: I dont mean to cut you short, but we have reviewed the packet. We dont need to summarize everything that is in there. But, I can guarantee that there will be questions about those other examples that you have cited.
Tim Stoepker: What I would like to point out in reference to that is that in 1981 a variance was granted to Feldman and I realize that it may have been under a different ordinance, but in reference to the height and the area requirements of the zoning ordinance that is where a variance was granted. What I would note just from a distinguishing standpoint is that parcel and the buildings are much closer to Grand River than this dealership is to Haggerty and there is no topographical feature of that property which prevents it being seen by the public or a potential customer as it passes by. More recently variances were granted to Varsity Lincoln Mercury on Grand River by this City and I wont deal with the one that was granted for Wixom and I am familiar with this particular parcel because I appeared before you and requested the variances. But the Service variance was granted there if the Board will recall because of the way the building sat on the property. Service was on one side of the property with a separate entrance, used car was on the other side and I believe that there was a recognition of the Board at that time that those were distinguishing features and identification needed both for entrance to the used car or pre-owned car business and the service business which were on other side of the building. The Farmington Chrysler business has a separate pre-owned car facility from the service facility, and therefore I think the same rationale would apply to that. We also looked at the signage which is both in Farmington Hills, the Infiniti dealership, as well as other businesses within the area and believe that the signage that we are asking for does not result in an over-proliferation of signage on Haggerty because in essence what we are asking for is one sign on Haggerty, another sign 120 feet back. So once you entered the property you will see the used car sign, you will not see that from Haggerty. So if there is a concern about over-proliferation of signs within that area on Haggerty itself on the Novi side that certainly will not occur with this proposal. Further the proposed signage is smaller than the number of the signs that have been permitted by both municipalities in the past within that area. Our only size which we believe is necessary to meet the criteria to specifically identify the location. I might note that the ground sign proposed on Haggerty is 22 feet high; while the standard Chrysler sign for this location and this type of dealership is 30 feet high. The color scheme that was selected is a neutral color scheme, these are different from the old Chrysler color schemes that have been before municipalities in the past. Also, the light within the sign is contained within the sign and it is not a spread out light sign. The sign face itself is opaque because the light stays within that area.
Tim Stoepker: I have specifically identified within the report the types of sign that we are asking for. Since the Board is familiar with that I dont believe that I need to go into the detail of the exact signage itself. The ground sign is 22 feet high. But what we have done for you on one of the maps is to specifically identify the location and by photographs super imposed on the one location where the sign would be. I would like to refer you to that; refer to map 2 of the proposal. This is the existing dealership and the ground sign that we are talking about which is identified as the exhibit on Haggerty, the pre-owned or used car sign will be at this location 120 feet back off of Haggerty and the service sign would be located over the service bays itself. I believe within the package you have a photograph which identifies the service sign imposed upon the building itself and right over the service bay areas.
Tim Stoepker: It is my understanding, the sign Ordinance Officer and the Building Official can correct me if I am wrong, I believe that the signs proposed for used car and the signage letter size for service meet the code requirements as to size and the issue again is the number of signs on the site. So again, there was every sensitivity to comply with the spirit and intent of the ordinance while properly identifying what we believe is a good business within the City of Novi that would like to be able to attract customers to a specific location.
Tim Stoepker: In summary, we believe that there are unique characteristics at this site not created by the developer. That being the topographical nature of Haggerty Road at this location; the changes within the business that have existed since 1992 which prevented a motor mall from being developed and the other understanding is that really the number of signs that are ultimately being requested would have been permitted had the motor mall been developed. One sign per building, plus the business center identification sign. And the fact that what we are asking for is aesthetically pleasing, there are no residential areas anywhere within this property, we have not asked for a multitude of signs on Haggerty as with the Marty Feldman who has 3 pole signs or whatever identifying what it is along that area. We are trying to do is to confine those to the customer so that when they enter they know where to go, they know what part of the business that they need to see. We believe that there is a practical difficulty here and that is what we have to establish in attracting the customer and being able to identify both from a safe enter and just from a business standpoint.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Brennan: First of all, it is my opinion, that there is sufficient hardship for this petitioner. I will concede that, I specifically went up Haggerty and I missed it. This property and this site does sit substantially back. I agree with the petitioner that there is and it does make sense for identification for the used car and service. I give no reference to anything in Farmington Hills, the other 2 dealerships in the City of Novi; one pre-dated all of the sign ordinances and if we can get those tower signs down one way or another that will happen; the other dealership I believe that if you investigate you will find that tower sign is in Wixom. So with that being the case, we are looking at what is in Novi. I think that we have established some history there. So, my thoughts are that I agree in the petitioners request for signage to identify service and the used car lot. I would ask him to reconsider the size, being a 60 square foot variance on the pedestal out on Haggerty and also the height because I think that we have been pretty consistent in maintaining that limited height.
Chairman Harrington: Are any of the signs that are proposed to be added going to refer to Farmington Hills Chrysler Plymouth?
Tim Stoepker: No, they will identify Chrysler Plymouth Jeep/Eagle.
Chairman Harrington: I would tell you the reason for that question is that I had great mis-givings when I approved the other variance package that we granted to a Farmington Hills auto dealership which is located in Novi and I have consistently driven by that and I have consistently been convinced that it was a mistake. If you are located here in Novi, you are in Novi, your are not in Farmington Hills that is geographically where you are at and I am pleased to hear that you are not going to have Farmington Hills logo on whatever signs that would be approved. I am glad to hear that.
Chairman Harrington: You referred to a wall sign which is obscured and not able to be seen from the roadway; I didnt hear what you were saying as part of the consideration for our granting one or more of these variances is the removal of that sign because it is not doing you any good anyway?
Tim Stoepker: I did not offer that, because that is the only sign that identifies the name.
Chairman Harrington: Then I assume that you are not offering to take that down.
Tim Stoepker: The reason why we are not, and I think that it is a fair question to ask, is because that sign just placed over the new car dealership portion of the business.
Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: What is the square footage of the wall signs that are up there now?
Alan Amolsch: I could get that information for you if you would like, I dont have it with me right now.
Member Antosiak: Has it been 3 years since we approved that variance?
Alan Amolsch: Probably.
Member Antosiak: In general, I tend to agree with Mr. Brennan. I look at the service and the used car signs as more directional in nature than adverting in nature. But I am troubled by a 90 plus square foot ground pole sign although they say it is shorter than normal at 22 foot above grade. It seems to be a little to big and a little to high.
Tim Stoepker: I erred in a comment that I made to the Board. It doesnt say Farmington Hills on the fascia.
Member Antosiak: That came down the last change.
Tim Stoepker: And the pre-owned car is strictly direction, it will be at the entrance to the drive there.
Chairman Harrington: One other general comment that I would make is that simply as one Member of the Board is that I am not impressed whatsoever by the signage that sits on the other side of Haggerty Road. I think that the signage that is approved by Farmington Hills is consistent with their philosophy and running their City as they see fit and it is totally in conflict with what we are attempting to do here in Novi. So an argument that the proposed signage would be consistent with Sams Club or Tom Holzer probably cuts the other way this Board Member. What we are more concerned with is what you need to help you do business here in the City of Novi and that is what I want to hear. Not that some other municipality conflicts with our philosophy which is a strict sign ordinance.
Member Bauer: On the ground pole sign, 5 feet high on the used cars; is that facing the internal roadway coming in?
Tim Stoepker: It is, I believe that the sign is parallel to Haggerty.
Member Bauer: I would like to see it the other way.
Tim Stoepker: Perpendicular to Haggerty? If I can explain why it is; we did not try to duplicate we
wanted to see what was there and then we evaluated what we needed which is smaller than what exists across the street. We did not try to duplicate what was there, we looked at the nature of the sign and then said "what do we need?" and then took it from there.
Tim Stoepker: The purpose of the sign being parallel to Haggerty is because the driveway into the pre-owned car dealership is parallel to Haggerty. So when a person needs to know where to turn that sign shows that it is there. Otherwise you would drive right by the sign. That way someone is looking right at the sign and makes the left turn. It is like a street sign when you are approaching a street, the name of the street is not parallel to it. It is perpendicular. That is the reason for it.
Member Bauer: But you are also pulling in so you are going to see it as you go by and you have a driveway coming up just after that. Very easy. That bothers me facing Haggerty.
Tim Stoepker: The sign is on the west side of the drive and it serves the same identification as any street sign. If I were to come to an intersection and wanted to look for Winterpark, I would look for a sign that run perpendicular to the way that I was driving and not parallel.
Member Bauer: I understand what you are talking about. You are going to see the sign faced forward.
Tim Stoepker: That is what I would normally see on a street sign. I would read the street sign perpendicular, never parallel. I dont know if I am making myself clear on that, but that is how you would read any street sign. The grade there is significantly below Haggerty at that location.
Member Bauer: I understand that. The Chrysler Plymouth Jeep/Eagle sign that is 22 feet high, I think can come down in size.
Tim Stoepker: I dont have any authority to negotiate, but I am willing to hear what the Board has to say on the height.
Chairman Harrington: Let me suggest that we try to narrow the issues and proceed logically through this. I would propose in reverse order that we consider the "Service" sign first, my sense being that it is not drawing a lot of conflicting discussion and then turn to the "Used Car" sign second and then deal with the ground pole sign with Chrysler Plymouth Jeep/Eagle. How does that sound? Three different motions, one at a time. As I understand from Alan or Don, with respect to the service sign the basis for the rejection of the permit was simply no more than one sign permitted, we dont have an issue on size of the sign or copy.
Alan Amolsch: That is correct. If this was brought in as standing on its own, it would be approved.
Chairman Harrington: So, the only variance that would be required for the "Service" sign which would identify the service portion of the facility is numeric.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT INCASE NO. 96-080 "C" WITH RESPECT TO THE SERVICE SIGN, THE VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED FOR DIRECTIONAL ASSISTANCE; DUE TO THE DISTANCE OF THE SERVICE ENTRY FROM HAGGERTY ROAD.
Roll Call: Yes (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Chairman Harrington: Lets turn next to the "Used Car" sign, which is 96-080 "B". As I understand the "Used Car" sign application the basis for the denial of the permit is numeric. You are only allowed one sign on site and we dont have a problem with logo and we dont have a problem with height from grade or size or anything else, simply the fact that this would constitute an additional sign. Is that correct?
Alan Amolsch: Yes, that is correct.
Member Antosiak: I cant tell from the drawing, but approximately how far from Haggerty will that sign be?
Tim Stoepker: 120 feet.
Member Meyer: If I heard you correctly that was your point, namely that it is 120 feet.
Tim Stoepker: It is a 120 foot setback, and again it is below street grade and it is right at the driveway. The south driveway entrance of the pre-owned car dealership, which in essence is a separate business or a separate use, it is owned by the same company but it is a separate type of business.
Member Meyer: And if I heard you correctly if the Mall concept had gone as originally planned where there would be 4 dealerships there would have been 4 signs.
Tim Stoepker: Yes, that is correct.
Alan Amolsch: That would have been 4 wall signs.
Tim Stoepker: Correct, but that building would have been much bigger and yes there would have been 4 wall signs as opposed to a ground sign. But never the less it is the number again that is the issue. What I am saying is that had there been 4.... what I am saying is that the number of signs that I am asking would have been permitted anyway.
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Meyer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 96-080 "B" WITH REGARD TO THE "USED CAR" SIGN, THE VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINDING THIS PORTION OF THE SERVICES AS IT IS DIRECTIONAL.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Chairman Harrington: I would assume that in approving both of those motions that we are approving the actual content and the rendering that has been submitted to us, and that it is for this applicant only.
Member Antosiak: That is correct.
Chairman Harrington: Turning to 96-080 "A", which is the proposal for a ground pole sign which contains a number of variance aspects as presented to the Board. First of all a variance would be required for this sign because again it is numeric, there is more than one sign involved. Number 2, there is an area variance on this sign and Number 3 there is a height variance. The area variance is that 35 square feet is permitted under code and they have requested 97 square feet which requires a 62 square foot variance; this is 62 feet above code. Second, the height requirement of the City is 5 feet and the petition has asked for a 22 foot variance and that leaves a total of 17 variance feet in height that is requested. Alan, have I correctly phrased what the issues are?
Alan Amolsch: Yes, you are correct.
Member Baty: Assuming that the Board grants a variance for allowing another sign, could you state your hardship again for having this particular size and height?
Tim Stoepker: Hardship for the sign is that even if you granted and you have done, the "Service" and "Used Car" signs, those actually would be worthless if you dont know where the dealership is.
Member Baty: Assuming that we did allow another sign, why does it have to be of this size and height?
Tim Stoepker: Due to the location of the hill when you are going northbound on that side and how close that it comes to the edge of the road or to the right of way. To be able to get over the topography of that hill at that location we believe that the height is necessary at that particular location. Mostly from that standpoint on the southbound side. From the northbound side, it is obvious that you could see some type of signage. Also the copy on the sign is identifying what is sold there and it somewhat dictates the size of the face of the sign. Chrysler has attempted to customize those sign faces to accommodate ordinances across the country to identify their product. In this particular case this dealership is selling more than a Chrysler car, it is selling Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep/Eagle and from Chryslers standpoint and certainly from the dealers standpoint the penestar is a critical identification or logo. Chrysler has probably paid millions of dollars to protect and evolve over the years. Due to the size of the lettering and the penestar to make that readable to anybody passing by at 45 miles per hour. The sign size is dictated by that. The speed limit at that location, the topography of the hill south of the site requires that it be of that particular size. Though we looked at other signage in the area it is clear that other businesses felt that other signage of even larger size was required. So we looked at what would be the most readable sign passing on Haggerty at that location, the smallest lettering that we could achieve to make it readable and safe for a customer and also for a marketing standpoint to let them know that we are there. We reduced the size from the smallest standard Chrysler sign of 30 feet to 22 feet. and then it is being developed with the neutral color base as opposed to the bright colors of the old Chrysler dealership and with the type of lighting that is internal as opposed to external. So due to the topography going southbound, due to the identification of the nature of the business on site which in essence a business center sign is about and the size lettering and the need to identify the logo that is the request for the size of the sign itself.
Chairman Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: Do I understand that the sign code simply doesnt contemplate ground pole signs? I am looking at the 5 foot height that would suggest to me that ground signs are what the code permits.
Alan Amolsch: Correct. The only exception to those are what we call business center signs which are allowed to be 15 feet high, which contains the name of the business center. Other than that all other signs have to be 5 feet or less.
Member Meyer: If this one was 5 feet, would the people really see it coming from the south going north?
Alan Amolsch: I really wouldnt know, the petitioner has to demonstrate some evidence in that.
Member Brennan: It appears from this one layout here, that the proposed location of this pole sign is 10 feet from the edge of Haggerty Road.
Tim Stoepker: That is from the property line.
Member Brennan: That is from the edge of the sign to the front property line?
Member Baty: Will that be east of the berm that is there?
Tim Stoepker: Yes.
Member Baty: Looking at appendix A, page 1 of 3. The photograph at the top is titled partially obscured by the hill; does that show the approximate location of the sign?
Tim Stoepker: No, it does not. That driveway that you are looking is before the dealership.
Member Brennan: So the sign location is going to be north of the driveway that we are looking at in the picture?
Tim Stoepker: Correct. If you would look at page 2 of 3, the photograph, the sign will be to the right of the used car building.
Tim Stoepker showed pictures to the Board.
Member Brennan: There doesnt appear to be any hills on either side of that location.
Tim Stoepker: I am talking about if you go back to the photograph 1 of 3, if you are coming down to that location this is all above the grade of where the sign would be. This berm runs all the way to the right of way line. Because of the setback of the sign, due to the right of way location and the property line it is essentially set back behind this existing berm. We are trying to get the sign over the top of the hill so that when you are going north bound on Haggerty you can see the sign.
Member Meyer: I still dont understand. Where exactly in 1 of 3 will this sign be?
Pictures shown to the Board.
Tim Stoepker: If you look at map 2, it shows the location. The actual hill to the right of there when you are looking east, is in front of where that sign is. The sign cannot be placed passed the sidewalk passed the hill because that is the right of way. The sign is also required not to overhang the property line, it has to be set back behind the property line. To do that we looked at the minimum height clearance over that hill on Haggerty and came up with 22 feet. As I indicated the standard sized sign that Chrysler has for this is 30 feet. We then looked at where we could put it and still see the sign and that is what we came up with and contained the copy on it that was necessary to identify what is sold there.
Member Baty: On page 2 of 3, the bottom picture. I can see the tops of cars, farther away than what the sign would be placed, and yet you are saying that it takes 22 feet to clear this?
Tim Stoepker: An artist I am not. This is Haggerty here and the hill comes down to here. The hill runs along here and comes all the way out to here. The sign has to be set back here behind the hill and the hill is right here. The sign cant come up to the road. The hill is like this and if your looking
or if I am looking straight towards Alan and he is my sign and I am on the right of way, I can see Alan as my sign but if the berm comes up over like this on the hill you cant see him. What we tried to do is to get the sign taller than the hill so that we can see the sign; and that is because of the location of the hill south of the property.
Chairman Harrington: Is the hill on your property?
Tim Stoepker: No, it is not on our property at all. That is the problem, the hill comes straight down and is tapered at the right of way line where the sidewalk is. Our sign has to be behind that.
Member Baty: I am clear as to what you are saying, when I took a look at this I must have had the sign in the wrong location. Because if I was traveling northbound on Haggerty where I thought that you were going to put the sign; I didnt have a problem with that hill. My sight line wasnt being obstructed by the hill. So, I need to take a look at the site again.
Someone from audience: I think one other point though is that you need to be able to see it from distance as you are coming down Haggerty and not have it appear when you get by a truck or something like that which is blocking your view at kind of eye level driving and that is the reason for having it somewhat higher. Certainly at 5 feet you wouldnt be able to see it, you could easily be blocked by anything that is in front of you. And to pretty much see it from a distance you would still have the same problem only lesser than what we have right now where you cant see it at all until you are practically there and you cant turn in time.
Chairman Harrington: Let me give you my comment and again I speak only for this Board Member and not the Board. I am not impressed by the speed argument. Any car that drives 45 miles per hour it is either 2 in the morning or they should be cited for reckless driving. That is one of the most congested areas in the in the City of Novi day and night. Number two, I dont recall that it is a 4 lane roadway, it clearly was not intended to be a 4 lane roadway; it may some day. There may significant movement of traffic through that area but my experience day in and day out every day, I live and work in this City, is that the speed of traffic is not a problem. Number 3, I am not impressed by the arguments for a 22 foot pole sign. I think that is contrary to what the sign ordinance is intended and I have not heard that there is a lesser height incursion that could be proposed and be acceptable. What I would like to hear is other options that are available. We have heard what you want and what you would like to have; I would like to hear other options starting with the ground sign. Lets assume that you cant live with 5 feet, can you live with 6 feet? Can you live with 7 feet? I am not offended by a proposal of a larger area sign and you want 3 times what is permitted; 97 square feet is requested and 35 is called for under the code. That is 2 and 1/2 times and that doesnt bother me so much but the approval of a 22 foot pole sign which is not even contemplated under our sign code is problematic for me and I think that is the wrong direction for us to be going and I am sure that in the future we would probably be seeing you again here for another auto dealership and you would cite this as precedent for that as you have the dealership at the west end of Novi, which I have re- thought as I have thought about this tonight and I dont think that there is any justification in terms of what the Novi Code is trying to do to approve more pole signs unless there are unique configurations. What I would like to see and have your architect come back and tell us that there is simply no other way to accomplish architecturally what we are trying to do. This is the only way that it can be done or we could do this and perhaps we dont need as much area or the pole doesnt have to be as high or if we go 9 feet above grade instead of 5 feet above grade we can do something in that fashion and I would be prepared to listen to those arguments. But, if I have to vote tonight I am voting against your pole sign. There is no justification for a 22 foot pole sign.
Tim Stoepker: If I heard the inspector correct or the code enforcement officer a business center sign which would have been permitted had there been 4 separate dealerships on this site, is that correct?
Alan Amolsch: That is correct.
Tim Stoepker: The permitted height of that would be 15 feet. I am trying to get a sense of where the Board is so that if I go back and go to my client, Chrysler Corporation, and say lets talk to the architect; I am trying to get a sense of where the Board is on this.
Chairman Harrington: Fifteen is a lot closer to the ground than 22, right?
Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Were this a business center sign, what square footage would be allowed?
Alan Amolsch: As I wrote in the variance request, the size is based upon the setback. You get one square foot of sign for each 2 feet of setback as measured from center line of the nearest adjacent roadway which is Haggerty Road in this case. He indicated that they were 70 feet back from the centerline; there is 60 foot of right of way there and they indicated that they were 10 back from that. That gives you 70 feet and half of that is 35, that gives you the square footage and the height on a business center sign is not permitted to be more than 15 feet.
Tim Stoepker: The ironic thing is and it is good to know, that if we went further back we would be way below grade because it drops right off there. So we are trying to stay on grade.
Chairman Harrington: Yes, but the grade is on your property, right?
Tim Stoepker: No, that was the topography there. We cant adjust the grade. The street is above the land there. So there is a retaining wall that supports the Citys right of way at that location. If we go below that and come further off which would make us have a bigger sign, the sign would have to be higher because then it would not only be below the hill but below the grade which is what the problem is now. I am hearing what you are saying that it is not so much the size, it is my height.
Chairman Harrington: I am not speaking for the Board, those were just my comments.
Member Brennan: You have a lot bigger problems than just the height. Square footage to reiterate Mr. Harringtons comments; 2 and 1/2 times what is permitted is going to be tough to stomach. I will concede that maybe there is some hardship. I am going to look at this again. I will go back there again because I am still not absolutely convinced that the location of the sign versus where the hill is; I will look at it tomorrow morning.
Tim Stoepker: But you have to concede that when you drove by it, that you didnt see it, the dealership.
Member Brennan: There wasnt any sign out front. I also said that I agreed that there should be signage. I am not going to agree that you need a 22 foot tall sign at 97 square feet.
Tim Stoepker: That is the feel that I am trying to get. What size are we talking about. So if I go back there is not or we dont present........we need something here that identifies what we are and we need something acceptable to us but also I know that I have to deal with the Board and is it acceptable to the Board as a body that interprets and applies the ordinances of the City.
Chairman Harrington: But you dont want to take down the one that is there that no one can see any way?
Tim Stoepker: Which identifies where the new cars are sold.
Member Meyer: I am certainly willing to recognize that there is a hardship here because it certainly not recognizable from coming north on Haggerty until you are almost right there. I really welcome you revisiting this and complying with the information that has been shared with you this evening. I couldnt vote for it myself.
Tim Stoepker: So, if I am hearing correctly I am hearing 15 and 35?
Chairman Harrington: There is no echo because it wasnt said. We are simply discussing concepts here and the only point that I made was with simple math was that 15 is less than 22 and my suggestion is what do you really need. Not what would you like, but what do you really need to accomplish your purpose. I think that you need architectural input on that. I dont think that it is a matter of caucusing and coming back to play lets make a deal. Mr. Brennan wants to see that site again, I want to see that site again. I want to take a look at how fast those cars are going. I know how long it takes to get through that intersection there and it is slow. People whizzing by that is not a problem.
Tim Stoepker: We timed it off of 30. We recognize that you dont go the speed limit there, so we did it at 30 miles per hour on viewing range as opposed to 45. So we did take that into consideration. Because of Ten Mile there and Grand River you cant accelerate. So we did take that into consideration.
Don Saven: It has been brought up on several occasions here as to the location of where this sign was going to be placed. If you do plan on revisiting the site, maybe they should stake out the area where that sign is going to be so that everyone can have an idea of where it is going to be.
Tim Stoepker: We can do that. We will put a marker there.
Chairman Harrington: The marker will have something on it saying like "proposed sign"?
Tim Stoepker: Proposed sign. What I can do is maybe a flag test for the architectural design. We can do a flagging so that you can judge the potential height in the front of the sign in relation to Haggerty and the hill, I think that might help.
Chairman Harrington: I think that might really help. Do I take it that you would accept our invitation to come back and see us next month?
Tim Stoepker: Yes.
Chairman Harrington: Board Members move to table by acclamation? All in favor? All Yeas.
Tabled to the October Meeting.
There were no other matters.
The Meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.
Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan