The Meeting was called to order at 7:32 p.m., with Chairman Harrington presiding.




Present: Members Meyer, Brennan, Reinke, Harrington, Antosiak and Bauer.


Absent: Member Baty (alternate)


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 quorum and the Meeting is now in session. The Novi Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by Novi City Charter to determine applications for variances or special use permits. Generally these cases are in the nature of appeals after denial of an application by the City of Novi Building Department. The variance request seeks relief from the strict application of the City of Novi Zoning Ordinances. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to grant a variance request. We do have a full Board this evening. It will require a vote of four (4) Members to approve a request before us. Any Board decision made tonight will be final.



Approval of Agenda


Chairman Harrington indicated we have one change to the agenda this evening. It is my understanding that in case no. 96-095 The City of Novi, Department of Parks and Recreation has asked to be withdrawn from the agenda; for the reason that there may be other methods by which they could obtain the relief that they would have sought before us.


Chairman Harrington indicated by acclamation that matter will be removed from the agenda.



Approval of Minutes


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




Roll Call: (voice vote) All yeas. Motion Carried



Public Remarks


Chairman Harrington indicated all comments that are related to specific cases before are before us and are on the agenda are properly made at that time. However, if there are matters of general interest or concern to this Board that someone in the audience would like to address, this is the time by which we entertain public remarks. (No one wished to be heard at this time.)



Case No. 96-079 filed by Dewey Marlow


Continuation of case filed by Dewey Marlow who 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: I have lived there for 21 years and had a porch all that time; I rebuilt it.


Chairman Harrington: When did you rebuild it?


Dewey Marlow: It has been about 4 months ago, maybe 5 months ago. Mr. Korte saw fit to file a complaint and I saw fit to do with what you all said; I stopped the progress.


Chairman Harrington: So, if I understand and irrespective of who filed a complaint; I would assume that the City of Novi issued a citation or a stop work order or something of that nature because clearly the porch was in violation of the Novi code, correct?


Dewey Marlow: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: Could you explain to the Board Members why it is that you believe that you need a porch of the size that is out there now?


Dewey Marlow: Well, in the operation of the doors and the remodeling permits that I have filed, it wouldn’t even let me put a refrigerator in the front door or a washing machine or any kind of....well it just wouldn’t do it. It has been there for the 21 years that I have lived there and I did increase the size somewhat but just for the structure of the new one. I set the posts on the outside of the old structure and proceeded. In fact it is built over your City requirement, over size.


Dewey Marlow: I have a letter here on the Notice that you sent out. I have 4 signatures dated tonight. Copy presented to the Board. These are from the immediate neighbors and they are not 10 houses away as Mr. Korte is.


Chairman Harrington: We have received an approval and I was going to comment before we went to audience participation that we do not have approvals or objections reflected in the file. I do recall that there was some objection at the last meeting and I also recall that this Board Member specifically wanted to inspect your porch and take a look at it because I had not had the chance to do so. We do have Joyce Enoch as well as Kimberly Friendl and Shannon James all located on Duana Street who have approve of the proposed porch or the porch as it exists.




James Korte: I have some information that I would like to quickly pass out. (copies given to Board).

The only different one was given to the "Chair", ant the "Chair" has exact copies of the paper work that has come from the City. I have cut out parts and have blown up parts, but the "Chair" has the exact without the cutouts.


James Korte: I was not going to get involved in this after the first time; four months is a long time to go on and I presumed that you could legislate on this without my input. Then there was an incident in the street that the police were summoned to which of course has nothing to do with this case, but I cannot let it go on. Therefore, I am here again. In the back of this there is a copy of the police report, during your free time you might be amused by it.


Chairman Harrington: Let me just address that issue. We don’t set and I am proud that this Board does not set arbitrary time limits; but it is our request that the comments from the audience as well as the petitioners for that matter be directly related to the matter before us. I would assume and infer from the materials that there may be some hard feelings between yourself and the petitioner for reasons which may involve discussions over this porch or may not; but if you could address the specifics of his petition and the "Chair" will acknowledge that there appear to be hard feelings in this case, without going through all of that. Please talk about the porch, Mr. Korte.


James Korte: I have written it and it is quite brief. I would first like to thank this illustrious Board for pulling and allowing a month for the petitioner to get the paperwork in order and of course it has been postponed several times through no ones fault. It is my presumption that he has done nothing so therefore I present this to you for consideration. According the field sheet, portions of same enclosed, the property is outlined in blue. The property is 59 by 87 and of course it is rather peculiar in shape. The diagram of the structural perimeters talks of 20 and 30 and that is the garage and the house respectively. A visual inspection from Charlotte tells me that the garage is or is now a was 15 feet roughly back from the house. Now when you add all these lengths, 24, 15, and 30 you come up with 69. Now, if you look; the authenticity is outlined in red on your sheets and this gives us 18 feet at the most to fit our back and our front and everything in. So, we have 18 feet in the front if the garage specifically sat on the back lot line. Now, therefore, the man has less than 18 feet as a front yard and if we subtract the original 6 foot porch and the original porch is 6 by 9 and that is outlined in yellow there; we have a maximum of 12 foot in the front yard. If we subtract the other foot that it is growing we are down to 11. For the new front porch a 7 by 14 this gives a maximum of 11 feet in the front yard. Now if we look at that his front yard is 25 foot wide, and 25 foot is awful; even at the north end 25 foot is awful; and there does appear to be less than 20 feet between the houses so I can presume that there is not 10 feet on the side. Therefore, in conclusion no one has yet claimed the linear footage needed for the variance. The statement made at the last meeting regarding difficulties in appliance entry; the original porch was a 6 by 9 and I don’t know what kind of appliance that you would put that would be bigger than a 6 by 9 porch. Therefore the existing 6 by 9 porch which Mr. Marlow states has been there 20 some years and I presume that it has been there since the early 80's; so that is correct.


James Korte: In this situation I think that the porch has to go back to his original 6 by 9, which of course also encroaches to far out but it has been there for a long time. If we get into that, there is no hardship and he certainly should be allowed to recreate what had to be removed due to deterioration and mother nature. Thank you.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Mr. Korte: I assume that you have seen the porch, you have inspected it close up?


James Korte: Yes, but only from the street.


Chairman Harrington: So you would not have a comment or an opinion on what size the porch would properly be or in your view if something in the nature of a variance is required, that you could make a suggestion as to the proper size but perhaps less than is suggested?


James Korte: I don’t know the measurement of the porch obviously; and I am not so silly that I would get that close with a tape measure. I just don’t see a hardship. We have such terrible encroachments in and around all of those houses already due to the nature of the beast and the fact that they started and crept along in the 30's. No one is arguing that. How many times have you had to do things with real hardships. I think that the 6 by 9 is fine and the 6 by 9 has been there 20 some years. But to encroach any farther........this piece of property is surrounded on 3 sides by the City of Novi either in berm or road right of way or whatever. So any encroachment that does come upon this property is going to potentially affect what the City owns. You people don’t like to hear parking, parking and parking. There appears to be adequate parking at this point in time because they park on City property. Is that always going to happen, I don’t know and I don’t think that anybody can know. I don’t find a hardship. Thank you.


Chairman Harrington: Thank you. With respect to your file materials that you have submitted, the "Chair" in his discretion has accepted for filing the 7 pages which the "Chair" views as germane to the issues before us tonight. The "Chair" will not accept for filing the document which is a police report which the "Chair" has reviewed and does not believe that it is material to the petition this evening.




Don Saven: The ordinance indicates that an open unenclosed porch can project into a front yard up to 4 feet. In this case Mr. Marlows’ was already existing prior to the adoption of the ordinance which was a 6 foot; prior to the change that has taken place now, that being the 7 by 14. He has now encroached one more foot towards the front.


Chairman Harrington: He is one foot over what would have been allowed?


Don Saven: Over what was existing for the repair, yes.


Chairman Harrington: Have you seen the porch, Mr. Saven?


Don Saven: I have seen the porch.


Chairman Harrington: In your view was the one foot occasion by construction a necessity?


Don Saven: That would depend upon Mr. Marlows’ interpretation of what accessibility is.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: There seems to be some discrepancy between Mr. Kortes’ depiction of the setback and Mr. Marlows’ depiction of the setback; one is saying that the porch is 22 feet setback and I think that Mr. Korte has inferred that it was 11 or 12 feet setback; do you know what the actual number is?


Don Saven: No sir, I do not.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Was there a permit ever pulled for this?


Don Saven: No sir, not from the very beginning until such time that he received the Stop Work Order Notice.


Chairman Harrington: Would a permit have been required to replace an existing porch that was in disrepair or simply old age; would one have to pull a permit if it was in the same foot print?


Don Saven: Yes they would.


Member Brennan: As I recall our conversation with Mr. Marlow a couple of months back, the reason for placing the footing where he did was to save the expense and trouble of digging out the old footings and putting them on the outside of the envelope, which is one way of doing it. We are looking at an additional foot into the setback towards the road as well as a 2 and 1/2 foot encroachment and I guess that the encroachment isn’t or that the width isn’t an issue it is the 4 foot towards the road. Is the length any issue?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that the whole thing is an issue. I think that the lot and when you look at the lot size and no matter which way that you go, it is an encroachment. The lot is over built. Anything that you build on it is just extending it just that much more. They don’t have adequate parking. They park in front of the porch and that puts it out that much more into the roadway. That is a constant problem. It is a real problem on those sized lots. I see no reason for the porch to be bigger than the existing was; and the existing is really to big for the lot or what was in existence.


Chairman Harrington: My first reaction when I inspected your property the first time and I have been by there several times; but the first inspection that I did I went up, touched it, looked at it and today I went by again. I am not offended by the porch, I think that you have materially improved the property by the addition of the porch. What really offended me was the condition of the property around the house and the clear storage of what generally would be referred to at least in the "Chair’s" view as an eye sore condition around the property. If I were the neighbors I would be begging you not to rip the porch down; I think that you have increased the taxable value of the house by putting it up but to clean up the yard and clean up the lot. That was my concern. I did note that this is not what would classically be a through traffic street and it has a very strange configuration where you come in from South Lake and then go around. I wasn’t offended by the porch and if the issue is that you have to rebuild the whole thing just to shrink it back a foot to where it was, that is not a problem for me although it may be for other Board Members. I had a significant concern with the overall condition of the property and I could see where that could affect some Board Members or many of your neighbors as they drive by there. That is a concern.


Dewey Marlow: I obtained a permit to demolish the garage. The garage is jointly owned. I paid $1150.00 to have the garage torn down and hauled out. The rest of the stuff is still there. It is an ongoing procedure. I haven’t worked for 9 weeks. As you remember the first time that I was here, I had a cast on my arm. I cut my arm, etc. I know that is not your problem or the Board’s problem or anything else like that but I am doing what I can and when I can. As far as the debris and stuff, that is all set up to be taken away. Mr. Korte’s concern is more personal than reality.


Chairman Harrington: Well, it may be. He has expressed his concern and the Board will consider his concern.


Chairman Harrington: A question that I have because I didn’t walk all the way around your house, the front door there, which you go up the porch and you walk in; is that the front door to your property? So that you need some kind of elevation there to get into your front door?


Dewey Marlow. Yes. What I have done is to add maybe a foot outside and I took it over to the edge of the house. It is a secondary road. Duana Street is no more than a big driveway. You have South Lake Drive as the main street that goes through.


Member Brennan: You have already said that you have gotten this older and smaller garage and it is now gone and Mr. Harrington has suggested that his observation was that there was quite a bit of garbage or debris.....


Dewey Marlow: That is not only mine, some is the other owner of the garage. The middle of the garage is on the property line.


Member Brennan: Is the debris on your property?


Dewey Marlow: Some of it and some of it isn’t. We are not done.


Chairman Harrington: Mr. Brennan, just so that I can describe what I saw. I would refer to and I did not as garbage or debris but it is obviously vintage stuff....


Dewey Marlow: An eyesore.


Chairman Harrington: OK we are in agreement it is an eyesore. The junk that was in the garage is now stored in the outside around the house and that was much more of a concern to me than the porch was.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that we are getting away from........what is there on the side of the house has no bearing really on the porch deck.


Chairman Harrington: It does to this Member. We can fashion relief any way that we choose.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand that, but whether he moves the stuff or not, the size of the deck is what we are looking at.


Member Meyer: If I understand correctly you added the extra foot because of the footings......


Dewey Marlow: The existing porch; I didn’t want to tear it down and have to climb up a ladder to get into the house.


Member Meyer: Did you know at the time that you put those footings in that you were really infringing on the ordinance? When did you discover this? After you built it?


Dewey Marlow: I was rebuilding an existing porch and I did add on 3 foot 8 inches.

Member Meyer: When did you discover this? Did someone come up to you and say "by the way you have added........"


Dewey Marlow: Mr. Korte filed a complaint.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Chairman Harrington: We have a 3/3 tie the motion to deny the variance fails for the absence of a majority.


Chairman Harrington: I will reiterate my thoughts which I think for want of a foot; had the new porch been placed on the foot print of the old porch I think that we would probably not have a problem in reaching a quorum and granting relief to the petitioner. We are looking at a one foot encroachment further than the old foot print and I think that it is a darn good looking deck (not that it is the test) but I think that you have done a nice job or that your contractor has done a nice job. I am concerned about the overall condition of the property. I think that the deck is a portion of that, so that any motion that I would support or make myself I would specifically condition on the removal and clean up of the construction materials that I observed in the first visit, the deck materials that are there and the other stuff that is there. Those are my concerns and I would want to fashion relief in a motion that I were to support relative to the overall condition of the property which I think is important.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The encroachment of going one foot further into the front yard; my question is and I cannot support any encroachment until you tell me what is the front yard variance that you are seeking. Duana Street being that it is a side street and not a main street is coming out on top of that street one foot further and that cannot be afforded.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Don Saven: What is permitted?


Don Saven: The setback requirements in the R4 District requires 30 foot, but in the case of an open unenclosed porch it can encroach up to 4 feet so you are looking at 26 feet as the limitation.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Is there 26 feet there?


Don Saven: No sir, there is not.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is why I say that we cannot go any closer than the 6 foot that is in existence and that really shouldn’t even be there.


Chairman Harrington: Let’s work backwards from the house. What would be permitted from the house?


Don Saven: It would be that which would be allowable pursuant to that 4 foot encroachment into the front yard setback.


Member Antosiak: We don’t know......


Chairman Harrington: You have to work with me on this. He does not need a variance for a porch or a deck, he needs a permit, not a variance, which falls within City code. What size deck would be permitted in his front property? Would there be any width restrictions such as he faces now?


Don Saven: The width restriction would be based upon the setback requirement of the width of the house on the existing building. We are talking about an existing structure there now. He can come out only 4 feet into the required front yard, which is the front yard setback which is established by the existing building.


Chairman Harrington: What about the width or the length of the house?


Don Saven: That would be 2 inches for every 1 foot of side yard setback. In other words, if he has a side yard setback of 10 feet he is allowed to go 20 inches into that required side yard....


Member Antosiak: Beyond the foot print of the house.


Don Saven: That is right.


Chairman Harrington: For we who are mathematically disadvantaged; what size deck can this gentleman put in or shrink the existing deck to, which will not violate code.


Don Saven: I couldn’t tell at this particular time.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Which is not an issue. He is not going into the side yard.


Chairman Harrington: OK, so the only problem that we face now is the 4 feet versus the 7 feet. Correct?


Don Saven: That is correct.


Chairman Harrington: So, if he takes a chain saw and cuts it to 4 feet he doesn’t even need to be here.

Don Saven: That is right, just to get the permit. He must obtain a permit for the repair.


Member Antosiak: I beg to differ. The width of the porch is important if the porch is at the angle to the street that Mr. Marlow’s drawing depicts because according to his drawing it does not front squarely on the street. It is the width and the combination with the depth of the porch which is moving it closer to the street. The problem that I have is that I don’t know how much of a variance we would be approving.


Dewy Marlow: No more than what the other porches are or the existing porch.


Member Antosiak: The question that I have difficulty is; could Mr. Marlow build a porch without a variance?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Of course, he could.


Chairman Harrington: I think the sense is that he could. Perhaps we are uncertain of the width, but Mr. Reinke did not have a problem with the width which basically runs the width of the house, or it squares with it. If he is willing to work within 4 feet on his deck that would be permitted and as I understand the old deck was 6 feet which is another 2 feet and what is there now is 7 feet.


Chairman Harrington: What kind of footings do you have on that deck?


Dewey Marlow: 4 by 4, wolmanized, 4 foot in the ground.


Chairman Harrington: Did you sink them into concrete?


Dewey Marlow: Certainly. There are 2 by 10 joists with 16 inch centers. This is more than you usually require. It is 4 foot in the ground. As I said before, Duana Street is like a long drive way and not a primary or even a secondary road. I have had to stop work. There are multiple permit requests for aluminum or vinyl siding, new windows; it is not that I just decided to do this to make Mr. Korte mad. I want to improve the property. I have been in the process to improve the property.


Chairman Harrington: We have a handle on that. What we are trying to do is to see if we can obtain a consensus on a motion. The first motion to deny has failed.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Chairman Harrington,





Discussion on motion:


Member Antosiak: Is the motion to approve a variance of 4 foot?


Member Brennan: No, as I understand it; Don says there is a pre-existing structure of 6 foot and that was grandfathered.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: But, that structure was removed which then at that time ........


Member Brennan: Are the old footings out? Did you pull the old footings out?


Dewey Marlow: No, they are still there.


Member Brennan: You could build the same old porch on the same old footings?


Dewey Marlow: No, I couldn’t, because they were put on steel and they were rusty. I couldn’t reuse the old footings, so I had to go on the outside or I would have had to dig them all up.


Member Brennan: Mr. Antosiak’s question was; is my......


Chairman Harrington: How much is the variance? I read 3 feet. Four foot is permitted. The existing deck is 7 feet which would be a 3 foot variance.


Don Saven: That is correct.


Member Antosiak: But that assumes that the house is 30 feet from the road.


Don Saven: He is looking off of something that is existing right now; looking at the project as it was and what is existing right now and what can be allowed.


Member Antosiak: I am looking at Mr. Marlow’s request in which he says that the corner of his porch is 22 feet off of the road, which is a 4 foot variance as I understand it because the setback is 30 feet and the porch can extend 4 feet into that setback.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: No, the required setback is 30 feet. He doesn’t have 30 feet to begin with.

Member Antosiak: How much does he have?


Don Saven: That we don’t know. We had requested the information and he supplied us with the information and we tried to ascertain what that setback was with the existing structure that was out there and the Board at the last meeting had wanted to go out and take a look at the porch because of the information that was provided that night.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: If it was defined 30 feet there would be something that we could work with and I wouldn’t really have the trouble with being 23 feet off the right of way from the road edge. But it is not that. They cannot 3 foot more going into something that is not even half of that there now.

Member Bauer: Will you change your motion to stating that he will endeavor to try to that he will do it?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Do what?


Member Bauer: Clean up.


Member Brennan: The variance was stated that it will be conditional upon him cleaning up the property.


Chairman Harrington: Not just making an effort, but doing it.


Chairman Harrington: You are correct Mr. Bauer, the motion as the "Chair" heard it was that he would endeavor to clean up and if I understand your question correctly you are asking Mr. Brennan to amend his motion to make it a condition precedent; that he does in fact clean up.


Member Brennan: I have no problem with that.


Chairman Harrington: I would second that.


Chairman Harrington: Before we vote on this let me just indicate what my feeling is. I am trying to take a look at the larger picture. We had a 6 foot deck irrespective of the setbacks and the like what we are looking at here is a new and improved wolmanized deck which happens to be one foot more of an encroachment. The "Chair’s" feeling is given the unique configuration of this property and with due regard, I agree with Mr. Reinke and I think that our choices either are to give this gentleman 12 inches or basically he can’t have a deck out there. Four feet will not work. Four feet will look ridiculous. Four feet will not affect what he is attempting to do. With due respect to Mr. Reinke and I agree with many of his comments; it makes sense to me to consider a 7 foot deck. It makes sense. Tearing this down with a chain saw and cutting it to 4 feet, to me, does not make sense. That is my thought.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Don’t answer for me, because I didn’t state that a 4 foot deck wouldn’t work. My statement is that he could live within the ordinance and have a 4 foot deck there. It is a walkway and it is an entranceway into the house. There is nothing really wrong with that. That can look very well. Looking at the front of it, you couldn’t tell if it was 7 foot or 4 foot.


Member Meyer: I was wondering and it seems like one of the issues here though is the parking of cars. In other words, will cars be able to park without having a part of the car out onto the thoroughfare?


Dewey Marlow: Yes, they have for years.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Without sticking out into Duana?


Dewey Marlow: No one has ever been hit on Duana who has been parked there.


Chairman Harrington:: Under what some call the law of unintended consequences or another version is the Lord may grant you what you really don’t want, you may have a larger problem with this deck which this Board and no Board can remedy if this is granted, but I guess you will have to live with it.


Member Antosiak: I have a question and a comment. I conceptually support the motion and the discussion on what seems to be a bigger problem on the property. My question is who will determine when the property is cleaned up and how will they make that determination.


Chairman Harrington: The Building Department.


Don Saven: Yes, that can be done. Is there a time factor that is going to be involved in this?


Chairman Harrington: It isn’t done yet, but .........


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Really that doesn’t have to be a part of this motion because under ordinance he is required to clean it up anyway and he could be cited for that by itself anyway.


Member Antosiak: That is really what I was getting to. I was afraid that we were setting a subject of standard for the petitioner to meet.


Chairman Harrington: The Building Department is always objective, we know that.


MemberAntosiak: That was my concern.

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


Chairman Harrington: Your variance has been granted, Please see the Building Department for the necessary permits and be prepared to comply with the granting of the variance which includes the clean up, like right of way. Especially before the snow falls.



Case No. 96-094 filed by John Harvey


John Harvey is requesting a variance to allow for the construction of a 3 car attached garage for a new single family residence, for property located at 1321 West Lake Rd.


John Harvey and Starla Bright were present and duly sworn.


John Harvey: We purchased a piece of property on West Lake Drive and are having to build our house there. We live on West Lake Drive now. It is our intention to live in Novi for a long time, we like it here. I designed the house myself and at the time of design I wasn’t aware of the limit on garage space and storage space. Irregardless of that fact I wanted the garage large enought so that we could park both of our cars in there as well as a third car as we plan to have a family in the future. We would like to be able to store a boat there. The property is lake frontage property. We want to be able to put those 4 items in the garage as well as normal household items. We would like to be able to move around the garage without banging into things or tripping over things. I have copies of the house plan if you would like to take a look. The house meets all of the required setbacks from the street, from the lake, and both the side setbacks. Looking at the house from the street or anywhere you really wouldn’t know that the garage is larger than the required limit of 850 square feet. On that note I am requesting a variance to make it 129 square feet larger than it is currently allowed.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 51 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one wrtitten response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




James Korte: I am not familiar with this piece of property. I would like to remind you that what you have done on South Lake and Eubank, awful pieces of property, and they have found a way to get a 3 car garage in. You people that don’t live on lakes, I don’t think that you understand the acculmation that happens. Three cars is really a must in this day and age. Thank you.


Chairman Harrington: Your comment, Mr. Korte, is that you would be in favor of the proposed variance? Thank you.



Don Saven had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: They meet the side yard setbacks for the construction. Understanding the size of the garage and the storage of toys with the concern of the lake and everything; the thing that I like is that it is moved back and it is attached to the house. It is not out on top of the road. I would support this. I think that they have done a good job.


Chairman Harrington: I concur.


Member Antosiak: I would concur with that. I appreciate the fact that they have met all of the setbacks plus have a 30 foot long concrete apron on the driveway.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Antosiak,





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


Case No. 96-065 filed by Beacon Sign Company, representing Extended Stay America


Continuation of case filed by Beacon Sign Company, representing Extended Stay America, requesting a variance to allow a wall sign 9'3" x 4'3 1/2" (39.5 sw. ft.) with the verbiage ‘EXTENDED STAY AMERICA", to be placed at 21555 Haggerty Rd.


Terrance Aulch was present and duly sworn.


Terrance Aulch: As the Board I am sure is aware, I was in front of the Board with this case in August. At that time the monument sign was not installed and the Board requested that we table the case until the monument sign was installed. We have installed the monument sign. In Septemeber there was a dirt hill in front of the sign that the Board could not view the sign, due to that factor. We have had the dirt hill removed and at that time you could see that you had a problem with visibility on the sign travelling northbound on Haggerty Road. At that time there was a request made that we put a mock-up banner on the wall, which we did so that the Board could see it. Now I am hoping that the Board has had a chance to view it and can see our point for a hardship with the fact that you cannot readily see the monument sign when you are travelling north on Haggerty Road and that the wall sign will help especially at night with it being lit on the wall, you will be able to recognize Extended Stay and safely enter the driveway.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Bauer: I go by it at least once a day. The monument sign is very nice looking. I can’t see the Extended Stay sign on the side of the building.


Member Brennan: I had the same impression heading south and heading north. I purposely went that way a couple of times. With the lay of the property that monument sign is quite prominent. I also noticed that the other hotel on the east side of Haggerty is in the same configuration where they are using a monument sign on Haggerty and there is no signage on the building. I kept looking for an angle where there is hardship and not being able to see that monument sign but both north and south it was very prominent.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I agree with the previous comments.


Chairman Harrington: I think that you have a great monument sign there. It is probably to good, because it really does the job for you. That was my thought as I drove by today.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 96-088A & B filed by Murray’s Car Audio


Continuation of case filed by Murray’s Car Audio requesting variances to allow graphics to be put on two (2) wall, for property located at 41843 Grand River Avenue.


Brian Murray was present and duly sworn.


Brian Murray: We came in last month and our case was tabled. We talked about some graphics on the sides of the building. We came up with some new graphics from our artist and wondered if you had the chance to look at them and review them. I would like to hear some comments from you folks to see if we can get this job done.


Chairman Harrington: For those and I know that there was at least one Board Member who was not present at that Meeting and who is present this evening, could you review a couple of your comments on the hardship issue that you face out there? The "Chair" notes that you have a canopy sign. Is it a dark green, which covers the front of your building?


Brian Murray: Teal green is the official color. A sort of medium green. I would say that it tends to be lighter rather than darker.


Chairman Harrington: And what is the problem that the sign doesn’t work for you?


Brian Murray: The copy is small and faces the front of the building. With traffice going east and west and travelling as high as 50 mph on Grand River it is very hard to notice the awning beside the greenish blur that is seen while driving by. I think that Members of the Board have concurred on that subject.




There was no audience particiaption.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of Alan Amolsch: What is the square footage on the existing sign?


Alan Amolsch: That would be 24 square feet, the maximum that is allowed on an awning sign.


Brian Murray: We submitted graphics last time that were rather large and we kind of got laughed out of the Meeting. We just are kind of trying hard to make our business work in Novi. It is a very competitive City. We would like to have additional signage due to the hardship of the building and how it is configured on the property. It is rather awkward compared to modern day buildings. We get our customers by our signage. It is hard to do with one sign.


Member Brennan: I will give you my comments, if I may. I am somewhat in agreement with your point and the way that the building is constructed. It is skinny and quite deep. All the visible space for signage is on the sides and those sides are the east and the west sides where the traffic is running by. I’ll concede that. My question to you is, we have ended up with a signage request of 20 inches high but 73 feet long? So we are looking at a humongous variance request, which always makes my left cheek twitch a little bit here. I think it is really an overkill, but I think that personally you have some foundation for signage on the 2 sides. I think that the 2 sides would give you more than anything on the front, because like you said, by the time you go by the place.... and I really didn’t know that you were there and I have lived here for 12 years.


Member Meyer: My son does though. He introduced me to your business when he decided to buy some speakers and that is when I first learned that you were there.


Member Brennan: Maybe I will just carry it on. If the signage in the front doesn’t do you any good, would you be that just painted on the front?


Brian Murray: No, it is actually decals of some sort, I believe; partially stitched, embroidered with the different colors and then the copy itself is decals. I don’t know how easy they would be to remove if that is a question.


Member Brennan: The question for me is that we are dealing with a chunk of real estate that you can use for a sign and what you have asked for is a cazillion over that allowable.


Brian Murray: We did down size the graphics substantially.


Member Brennan: There are about 5 drawings.


Brian Murray: Did any of them seem reasonable enough to talk about? What we are trying to gather is an opinion on the copy the versus the picture of the radio and what would be more acceptable to the Board. We sort of compared ourselves in the past discussions to the produce store down the road that sells produce and they have a graphic picture of produce at the front of their business. We sort of thought that it was possible that if we asked for it just right and we presented it to you in graphic art with the proper size that maybe we could accomplish that.


Chairman Harrington: Are you talking about Vic’s?


Brian Murray: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: I don’t know how Vic’s got through without coming to this Board. Did they receive approval for all of those flags out front?


Member Antosiak: Not for the flags, but for the sign.


Alan Amolsch: That is a whole other story.


Chairman Harrington: Vic’s isn’t a good argument.

Brian Murray: I didn’t mean to argue, I just noticed that they were able to get that approved and I thought that it was a similar situation.


Chairman Harrington: Let me make my comments and then let’s move it along. When you were invited to come back from last time the vote was 4 to 1, and I was the one who voted against it. The reason that I voted against it was that I didn’t want you to waste your time. You make money by working in your shop and not by coming over here. I could not see any scenario in the fashion in which it was initially presented or with the modified drawings that we could distinguish your situation other than a pure marketing objective from any other building in the City of Novi where they want to put graphics on sides of buildings. Extended Stay America, if they came after you they would probably say "well you turned me down on the sign, can we put graphics on the building, we need that". I don’t see it. I think it is incompatible with the image that the ordinance speaks to and what we are doing on Grand River and I don’t see that it fits and I haven’t really heard the hardship of the necessity other than you and I chatted at length about the difficulties of a small business person, etc. and those are legitimate concerns but the criteria in my view for obtaining a variance on signage is not marketing strategies. It has to be legitimate and genuine hardship and I don’t see the graphics on the side of the building in your situation or in any other one that I looked at as the solution. That is just my opinion. Mr. Brennan probably doesn’t agree with that. So let’s hear from some other Board Members.


Member Antosiak: I will make 2 comments. One is that I tend to agree with Mr. Brennan, I think that something is needed here. I am not sure that we have seen it yet., but I think that something is needed. As for the graphics on Vic’s. Vic’s got a sign variance because of the size of the building and their setback from the road, primarily. They presented a request to us that included the graphics and that was included in the size of the sign. So the variance reflects the fact that there are graphics on the sign. I am not opposed to graphics done in a different manner than had been depicted last time. Like Mr, Brennan, I think that the signs that have been proposed are to big. I think that something is needed. I would share his idea about removing the front sign, but in response to your concerns you may not be able to without taking the awning down. I would support something but I don’t think that I have seen it yet, is my point.


Member Brennan: Perhaps a point of clarification. The request here is for 2 signs, 20" tall and 73' long. Which one of these portrayals represents your request? I don’t think that all 5 are a 20" by 73'.


Member Antosiak: Actually it was 20 feet by 73 feet. Which was the entire side of the building.

As I understand it that was the original.


Brian Murray: We have toned them down significantly. We are trying to get here at the negotiating table trying to come up with something that is reasonable and that you guys would consider. We thought that by downsizing the total concept of what we showed last month that this would seek possible approval and I think that maybe we still need to go back to the drawing board and try something else. I guess I would like to cut to the chase, and just ask what do you prefer? What can we do to fix our problem without stretching it out any further? Is there such a way?


Chairman Harrington: I will tell you what I would like to see is a monument sign out there like we have approved for other new businesses in Novi, like Extended Stay America. That is a terrific looking sign. That is consistent with what we are doing. If a monument sign needs to be a little bigger, it is a ground sign.


Brian Murray: I am not familiar with what you are discussing, I don’t know what you mean by a monument sign.


Chairman Harrington: A ground pole sign, one coming off of the ground.


Member Bauer: I don’t think that would work with the right of way.


Chairman Harrington: Do we know? He is probably parking in that right of way, too. What would you rather have there - parking or a sign? That is what I would like to see, but I think that the Board Members have some different ideas. I would like to see you work within the code or if you need something a little bigger than that we might be able to consider that on a showing of hardship. I don’t like the idea of graphics on walls.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I see no reason for no more than one sign, whether it be in the front of the building or a ground hugger sign in the front of the building. I can nowhere abide putting a sign on each side of the building. I think it is over signage and I think that it makes it look gaudy. Maybe you need a larger sign on the front of the building to draw more attention to it for your location and I might be open to work with that situation. But I could no way, my opinion only, work with a sign on each side of that building. I think it is over signage.


Member Bauer: When this sign (awning) was put up and I think that you might have it in the file there, it went around and around. This would have been prior to this case.


Brian Murray: I can answer any questions on past sign issues with my business, I am familiar with them. If there are any questions, I remember.


Member Bauer: There was a variance made for that which you do have, for the canopy.


Alan Amolsch: The awning sign had to go to the Board in 1989 because Mr. Murray’s business is practically on top of the right of way. Even the awning overhangs the right of way. That is why he went to the Board of Appeals, to get the awning in the first place. The sign on the awning meets today’s and at that time the code restrictions. The variance was for the awning itself, with the structure being over the right of way.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: So really he wouldn’t be able to put a ground pole sign up.


Alan Amolsch: He would have a hard time because he would have to put it one or the other side of the building. He needs 63 feet and he cannot meet that under the circumstances and I believe there is a 50 foot county right of way there. If you remember long enough ago, Bob’s Speedometer Shop sign that was there was in the middle of the building because it couldn’t meet the setback regulations for the old sign ordinance. So the sign looked like it was coming out of the building.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That’s right, I think I do remember that.


Alan Amolsch: The building is practically on the right of way.


Member Meyer: I just wanted to say that hearing the conversation and remembering the designs that were here last time; I am of the opinion that you could have a sign on both sides and it would not have to be gaudy and it could be a way of letting people know; in light of the information that I received here that there is no way that you can have further signage up in front. What I am thinking is that we are really trying to keep this City from becoming a sign mecca and so it is important for you and for the people who are employed by you to realize that whatever sign that you come up with and I would welcome you coming back one more time, and I think that you went from one extreme to another. Last time you came here with all kinds of color and now you have black and white. I would like to see what the actual sign would look like.


Brian Murray: Actually, to submit the drawings you people request 14 copies of each drawing and the cost of that would have been so high for a small business man like myself, I preferred to give you the black and whites and then if the ideas were acceptable I brought with me the actual color renditions that the artist has prepared. I would like to show you them if I could.


Member Meyer: I do believe that the 73' by 20' is way beyond the ordinance at this point.


Brian Murray: Certainly I think that this was the largest one and there was a rather small rendition that was done. If I could show you guys, what I thought was rather tasteful and it tied into the awning and it just had our name and it went to the side of the building. I thought it was pretty reasonable.


Member Brennan: What would the square footage be?


Brian Murray: The square footage, I would approximate and I don’t think that we put a measurement on it, but I would approximate at 15 feet across and perhaps 4 feet tall at the most. It was color coordinated with the colors of the awning and so to me it looked good. But, my point was to my artist and sign company that I hired for this was simply that our goal was to possibly show what we sell on the side of the building rather than just putting our name on the side of the building because our name does get confused with the discount auto parts company all of the time. We thought that it would be, perhaps, more representative of what we actually sell and to show a radio and then I can get back to my same analogy about the produce market which doesn’t seem to and I realize that it doesn’t matter and it is not the same case, but my goal is to just have some type of signage on the side. Again I want to discover what is expected and whether you people prefer this type of art versus with copy or the type of art with graphics that represent what we sell.


Chairman Harrington: It is not the Board’s job to design your sign for you and I know that you are trying to work with the Board and I know that the Board’s pre-disposition is to work with the applicant; we view ourselves as an applicant friendly Board. But, we are not going to sit here and pick through a potpourri of 5 different versions of a sign. What we would like you to do is to live within the ordinance. If you can’t live within the ordinance, what is the absolute bare minimum that you would have to have to accomplish your purpose. One of the problems that I have is; isn’t the reason that you are here is because the green canopy sign isn’t working for you? Correct? Well, this Board Member feels let’s take the signage off of that canopy or remove the canopy itself and if what we are going to do is to go to something on each side of the building, perhaps within what would generally be code of 6 feet by 4 feet and certainly not 60 or 70 square feet of signage. Maybe that is the direction that we ought to be headed in. I will not and cannot approve in good conscience leaving that canopy up and leaving the signage on the front and adding in 50, 60 or 70 square feet of more signage on both sides of the building. That is "over signed". That is just my opinion.


Brian Murray: Due to the unique shape of the building and how it is plotted on the property.......


Chairman Harrington: It is a square, what is unique about that? Rather it is a rectangle.


Brian Murray: Actually it is not a rectangle, it has a strange shape to it and I don’t know what you would call it. It was built by some "do it yourselfers" way back when and to my knowledge and I believe the name of the family was the Ortwines; but anyhow and not to go off on a tangent it is peculiar. It is really strange.


Chairman Harrington; How does that affect the signage?


Brian Murray: The way that it is platted on the land, it is so close to the road as we have discussed and we don’t have the luxury of putting the traditional ground sign.....


Chairman Harrington: I concur. Probably people whiz right by without even looking at that green sign, right?


Brian Murray: That is right. I guess there is no sense in going down that road, I am not here to argue with you guys. Obviously I am at your mercy. I am a small business man. I am hoping to accomplish something and where do we go from here?

Vice-Chairman Reinke: Well, whichever way it ends up going; I could support no more than one sign. Now, whether it be and I think that the best that you can do in any fashion would be to the front of the building. Whether it be increasing the size of the sign or possibly something perpendicular mounted to the front of the building and coming out that would be visible from both ways.


Brian Murray: I am not sure that could be accomplished.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am not sure either, it was just a thought for your consideration. But, I would no way support a sign on each side of the building. That would be "over signage".


Brian Murray: Your idea as to coming out........


Vice-Chairman Reinke: From the front of the building where your canopy is now; let’s say something perpendicular to the front face of the building.


Brian Murray: Right, the perpendicular. The problem that I would foresee and I think that Alan would foresee and I think that Alan would agree with this is that it would not meet the setback requirements, due to the position of the miserable building on the land.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Anything that you do is not going to meet the setback requirements. But is it better than what you have there right now?


Brian Murray: The awkwardness of mounting a sign like that; I would have to talk over with a sign person.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I don’t know if it is feasible or not. It is just a thought.


Brian Murray: I can accept the idea. I can research it, if you would be willing to give us the time to research it and perhaps come back next month.


Chairman Harrington: I think that the Board would be interested in new information which would assist us and it may be that looking towards the graphics solution that you may not have had access to other possible sign configurations which a different approach from the same or a different vendor might furnish you. But, I think that you have picked up some information from the Board and my sense is that it is going to be tough to get a consensus on graphics on the side of the building as it presently sits and until and unless all other options are eliminated. I think that you need to explore those other options. If you would like to explore those options and come back to see us next month in December (assuming that we have sufficient cases to merit a December hearing) or in January if you need more time; we will work with you on that. I don’t mean to speak for the Board, is there a Board Member who would like to make a motion on the signage or?


Member Bauer: I would like to see them come back with something specific.


Chairman Harrington: Would you like to come back to the next meeting of the Board?


Brian Murray: Certainly.


Chairman Harrington: You will be on the agenda, at the top of the signs after the regular zoning cases.


Member Brennan: I think that we have also suggested in the past that when petitioners have had trouble dealing with the ordinance and what is acceptable and allowable and what is historical, Alan is helpful.


Brian Murray: Yes, I would agree that Alan is helpful although he goes right by the book because that is what he is instructed to do. When discussing signage that requires a variance that is over and above the what the sign ordinance allows Alan is not at liberty to speak on those subjects. So actually he is not helpful in that regard because it is impossible for him to be. That is just the nature of the beast. So referring me to Alan only tells me what falls within the code or the ordinance and I am finding it very difficult to ascertain what I need to do to be presentable and accomplish this task.


Member Brennan: Well you made the comment earlier that you were not familiar with the ground sign, so I thought that you might need some help.


Chairman Harrington: The ground sign won’t work, maybe something else will. The starting point would be, of course, what is allowable within the ordinance and Alan is one of the world’s foremost experts on that; so that is a good starting point for you. When you are talking about getting beyond the ordinance obviously this Board is where you have to come; but I think that input coupled with some feed back from some sign specialist and this is not your routine garden variety sign here you have some pretty special needs. The Board will address those needs if you will come up with some fresh ideas in December.


Brian Murray: Could I ask this at this time; rather than trying to come up with a creative idea to put additional signage on both sides of the building which seems like it is a very difficult task to accomplish, is it possible that and I know that I am asking an art question and I probably shouldn’t but I will ask anyway, instead of copy or a picture of something is it possible just to continue lines from the awning across the sides of the building, is that within the ordinance?


Alan Amolsch: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: I am sorry, if I understood his question.....


Alan Amolsch: He is talking about striping the building.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Running the color scheme like a belt around the building.


Chairman Harrington: But not verbiage?


Alan Amolsch: Not verbiage, he is only talking about painting. We have allowed many businesses to do this.


Chairman Harrington: With his existing sign, which is the green there and he has Murrays on the front, what would he be allowed to do within ordinance?


Alan Amolsch: He wants to do something about putting a stripe on the side of the building.


Chairman Harrington: Do you want to come back and see us next month?


Brian Murray: I am not sure that I understood the answer to that question.


Chairman Harrington: His answer was as he explains that simply painting a continuation stripe, in his opinion, would be within the ordinance.


Brian Murray: OK, then I think that we could have a possible meeting and discuss something in that order and that might just be acceptable to us and we could go from there.


Chairman Harrington: We would love to see you within the ordinance. We will see you next month if you choose and if you choose not to come back, be sure to let us know.



Case No. 96-089A, B & C filed by Maher Jabero, representing Beverage Warehouse


A continuation of case filed by Maher Jabero, representing Beverage Warehouse is requesting A) a variance to move the existing sign from Novi Road to Ten Mile Road and to change the verbiage, ZBA Case No. 1441 dated May 5, 1987, (Sign face on existing sign was changed without permit); B) a variance to allow a 10' x 4' (40 sq. ft.) marquee sign to be placed on the east side of the building facing the parking lot; C) a variance to allow a 10' x 4' (40 sq. ft.) marquee sign to be placed on the west side of the building facing Novi Road for property located at 24150 Novi rd..


No one was present for the case.


Chairman Harrington: I will file a motion to dismiss the variance request. I assume that we have not heard anything regarding this?


Alan Amolsch: I believe that Mr. Jabero is going to endeavor to live within the ordinance. I had a discussion with an awning company and he was talking about having a conforming awning sign on Novi Road and changing the other sign into a business center sign.


Chairman Harrington: He does need some signage there and if he can do it within the ordinance that would be terrific.


Member Antosiak: What is the disposition of this variance request?


Chairman Harrington: I would presume that it is withdrawn. Did he inform you, Alan?


Alan Amolsch: He never officially said that he was withdrawing it, but I had these discussions with the sign company about the awning.


Member Brennan: That was the last conversations that the attorney made; he thought that there was a way that they could find to meet code.


Chairman Harrington: Let’s do it this way, I would move to deny but I would explain in making the motion to deny that if there has been a communication problem he shouldn’t have to go through the hassle of refiling and he wants to bring a motion for rehearing I would entertain that motion or the Board could entertain the motion for a rehearing.


Moved by Chairman Harrington,


Seconded by Member Brennan,





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



Case No. 96-093 filed by SignGraphix, representing Lear Corporation


SignGraphix, representing Lear Corporation, is requesting a variance to allow a ground sign 120" x 36" (30 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 54", to be placed at 39650 Orchard Hill Place.


Bill Lutz was present and duly sworn.


Bill Lutz: As you are probably all aware that is an industrial park on a secondary street. The visibility is difficult there. To conform to the 63 foot setback we have a problem. That puts almost any signage behind trees that were required by Planning when the building was constructed. We do have visibility problems and there is a hardship. We have done some visibility studies that show us that if we set the sign back to 45 feet and just behind the oak tree that is right at the curb cut there, it would provide us the best visibility both northbound and southbound on Orchard Hill Place. Basically that pretty much stays within the intent of the ordinance and would also grant this property owner pretty much the same rights that are enjoyed by the other property owners there because they all have signs which encroach upon the 63 feet setback and they have all been granted variances because of the same problems. Both Hewlitt Packard, BrassCraft, Crystal Glen Office Center and Orchard Hill Place have all been granted variances for the same reasons. It is pretty consistent throughout that project.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 8 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think the configuration and the location as the petitioner has stated has been pretty much common with the alignment and the arrangement of the area there. It is a low placement sign. I think it looks aesthetically pleasing. The amount of variance requested in square footage and setback and the physical location; I really don’t have a problem with what the petitioner is requesting.

Chairman Harrington: When I drove by there today and then looked at the 30 square feet, I thought that 30 was probably a little larger than you need but Mr. Reinke has just persuaded me.


Bill Lutz: That meets the ordinance. I have not requested for a size variance, just a setback variance.

Chairman Harrington: I am looking at the petition that we have in front of us, which tells us that you need 7.5 square feet that the 22.5 is permitted based upon the 45 foot setback and you requested 30 square feet. So the variance request that we have in front of us, is in fact a request for a 7.5 square foot variance.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: Am I correctly interpreting that?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, the ordinance is based on size per setback; formula 1 square foot of sign for every 2 foot of setback.


Chairman Harrington: If setback is granted then there is no need for the square foot variance, is that correct?


Alan Amolsch: That is correct.


Bill Lutz inquired of Alan Amolsch: So that I understand, the 7.5 reduction is because it is located closer to the street?


Alan Amolsch: That is correct.


Member Antosiak: You just asked a question that I didn’t understand and that is, if the setback is approved then no square footage variance is required?


Chairman Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: Did I have it backwards? If we grant or is the reason that he needs the 7.5 square feet is because of the setback?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, I am sorry that I didn’t explain that. If he had the setback he wouldn’t need the square footage. That is the way the ordinance is written.


Chairman Harrington: If the variance is requested, you have a terrific tree out there; the installation of the sign will not require the removal of that tree, will it?


Bill Lutz: No, if you notice the temporary sign there it is set almost in the exact location where the permanent sign would be and we did that for a reason. The leading edge of that sign will be where the leading edge of the permanent sign will be.


Member Meyer: When it says externally illuminated, does this mean that there is a light that is going to be shot onto it or........?


Bill Lutz: Onto the sign but not on anything else.


Member Meyer: And it will be done in an aesthetic way so that it is not a huge and bright light?


Bill Lutz: Yes, that is right.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: What ordinance criteria affect the lighting of signage all night long?


Alan Amolsch: There is none. The only lighting requirements we have for signage is that it has to be directed on the sign itself, it cannot be directed towards traffic nor can it cause a nuisance. We have no hours of limit on lighting.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Other Matters


Chairman Harrington: That concludes the formal agenda this evening, at least with respect to the cases. We will now turn to other matters. Are there other matters to be visited by the Board?


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of Don Saven: Was there a MSPO Conference this year? Is that ongoing or is that not happening or?


Don Saven: I understand that there is supposed to be one, in December. We haven’t received anything yet. I heard that there may be something going on in December.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is an odd time, because usually before it has been in October.


Chairman Harrington: I have one matter to bring before the Board’s attention and that was a discussion that I had with our secretary today, who indicated that at least as of today that we have a rather unique situation at least in my tenure on the Board and that is only a couple of matters are now scheduled for the December Meeting. My inclination without passing a formal rule of procedure, but it seems to me that if we have an agenda of 5 or less matters scheduled for an evening or 4 or less I would be inclined to poll the Board having reviewed the nature of the matters and if we don’t have anything critical that requires our attention I would suggest considering moving a short agenda a consolidating it with the January Agenda or March or April whenever that may occur; but I wouldn’t do so without the Board’s concurrence. The reason simply being is a conservation of resources; we have a lot of people here on this Board who work for a living and also work for the City and I think that we should have in the nature of a full agenda or close to a full agenda in order to bring us all here. Comment or discussion?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand your point, but I think it is going to be kind of hard to take some of these cases and put them off for an extra month.


Chairman Harrington: I think that we could extend the courtesy to the applicant’s and ask them what their feeling is. It is something that I think that we can handle in a pragmatic or a common sense matter. But if there is a strong feeling that if we have only one or two matters and we need to go then so be it.


Member Brennan: Besides Murray’s what else is scheduled for December?


Nancy McKernan: A construction trailer, a new home, Murray’s and possibly another sign that is to come tomorrow.


Chairman Harrington: And probably this discussion tonight will remind people to clear off their desks and get them filed by the dead line on Thursday.


Ernie Aruffo I am with the Rotary. They have brought up something that I thought maybe should come right to you and could tell me what to do. You know that the Rotary has signs entering the City saying "Rotary Meets at the Methodist Church at noon on Thursdays"; I think that they have that in mind. I don’t know how many they wanted to put up; but they probably want to put them at the entrance ways like Eight Mile Road, Nine Mile Road or Ten Mile Road, along the perimeter of the City. I would imagine that what they should do if they have that in mind, that they should draw a picture and bring it to the sign ordinance and get some sort of movement on that. Would that be the proper procedure for that?


Chairman Harrington: I would think not only proper it could be required.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: I suppose that they have to go to the City and get a permit? County as well?


Vie-Chairman Reinke: Well it depends on where they are going?


Alan Amolsch: If they are in the county right of way, they will need county approval.


Chairman Harrington: Does the ordinance speak to an association like that who wants to put signs up?


Don Saven: I think we have to be very careful in this area, due to the fact of the many charitable organizations that are out there. It could become a bit of a problem. I think we should probably run that by the City Attorney and see what he has to say about that.


Ernie Aruffo: I will suggest to them that they take the proper steps. They just asked me to see if it could be done and I think that you have answered the question. They just have to go through the procedures.


Ernie Aruffo: There is one other sign group that has an interest, but it isn’t signs of the same sort; it is the Commission of the Beautification. They have in mind that they have the roadways that they want people to adopt the green way. To adopt something and to plant flowers along the perimeter of the City. They are not talking at the moment about the internal, but we have some 28 entrance ways to the City. Maybe you haven’t counted them, but I have. Beyond that there are some subdivisions that are on the perimeter of the City or on the main roads. You can go westerly or easterly on Eight Mile Road and you are in Novi Township and if you make a left turn you come into Novi. So it might be that some of these area ways should have signs. Now we presently have the sign in blue and maybe they might want to improve on those or they might want to put flowers around them. I can just tell you that they are thinking about that for next year and when they do they will have to come before your group or whoever to see what should be done.


Member Antosiak: I have a comment on your suggestion, Mr. Harrington. I can envisions situations where we would have a short agenda but an item on that short agenda might be holding up construction or some similar type of event. So I would hope that we would have some flexibility to address that problem should it happen.


Chairman Harrington: All I was doing is suggesting that we take a look at it at that time and I would not want to prejudice any applicant’s rights and each applicant has a right if they insist on going forward I believe in having us come in and listen to their single matter.


Member Antosiak: But the best sentence in the ordinance I noticed that when I was "Chair Person" was that the Meetings were called at the pleasure of the "Chair Person".


Don Saven: I have 2 issues that I would like to bring up tonight. Number one is just basically giving you an update on a couple of cases that we had previously before us. As you are well aware that Glenda’s Market was with us and Glenda’s is moving along in the permit process and the construction of their building. The anticipated completion of construction may not be in time for their opening season. Therefore chances are that they may back before us, or it may be very close. We understand that you gave them through December 31st and their business is not to open up again until such time that they have their new business. It looks like they are going to be running really close in this particular area. I just wanted to inform you of the particulars. Number two is that the Board had suggested that we do something with the subdivision signs for greater than one year and I am sure that you are aware that it is now before City Council and they have just had their first reading which was approved referencing subdivision signs, temporary subdivision signs and extending them to a point where the subdivision is 75% completed. That will take some of the work load off of us here in terms of the constant renewal of the requests on a yearly basis. I don’t know if Alan would like to add anything on that.


Alan Amolsch: Basically the Board requested that some months ago and I presented it to the Ordinance Review Committee which was met with favorable response. It is before Council right now.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is good because a lot of times we have had those and that would eliminate a lot of different things that we were doing.


Don Saven: One final issue; we had a situation happen today which Nancy brought to my attention. I kind of have some feelings about certain things and I know that people do have a right to come before Zoning Board to be heard, but I really don’t wish this to be a situation whereby they are taking chances and gambling and going along this avenue to see whether or not they are going to make it or not especially when they haven’t received preliminary site plan approval for a project. We had a business come in today that wanted to get onto the agenda for December, dealing with signage and flags. To me in this particular case, I would rather see something there and tangible and something that has meat to it that can be presented to the Board rather than not even having preliminary site plan approval and wanting to come to the Board. I don’t know whether we can establish a policy in this area but I would like to talk to Dennis and maybe get the feeling from you whether or not you want to see anything unless there has been preliminary or some major step moving in the appropriate direction.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that we need to see something there because otherwise we are going on and we are going through formalities on something that may not materialize. Plus, without having something tangible there to look at you don’t really get the true perspective of what you are looking at.


Don Saven: I agree.


Chairman Harrington: I think that Vern has hit it right on. We are not in the business of giving out advisory opinions and we want to feel that what we are ruling on is in fact related to something that is going to occur and if it is simply in the speculation stage where they haven’t even gone through initial; I think that their chances of getting any relief are remote and why waste their time and their application fee. I wouldn’t say that as a rule we would never look at something if there was an emergency situation but by and large I think that they are wasting their time and the Board’s time. Don Saven: That is why I am bringing this to the Board, I did not feel that it was doing them any good strictly for the fact that it is only going to get you irritated because you are not going to know what you are looking at to begin with.


Member Antosiak: I would certainly concur and I would encourage applicants in that situation to present us with a total sign package if they are seeking signage variances because I want to see the total picture.


Alan Amolsch: This business that Don is talking about; they have their building, they have all the signs that they want on the building; but the problem is that they don’t have a building yet. They don’t have a shovel in the ground yet. We can’t deny them the right to file an application for the Zoning Board of Appeals at any time; I will check with the City Attorney but I am pretty sure that if they want to file a case they can file it. I had advised them that they are wasting their time because the Board doesn’t have a building to look at how are they going to grant a variance on a hardship.


Member Antosiak: Wouldn’t they have to seek an extension? Don’t they only have 90 days to pull a permit?


Alan Amolsch: That was also the other problem. If they applied and you tabled it we would have to have them on the agenda for a year or whatever to get the final site plan approval. The other problem is that they have 6 months to pull a permit for their variance.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that we have tried to discourage this at least until they have preliminary site plan approval. That they have gone through the process and that they are close enough that it warrants us to sit down and work with them on it. But until they get to that point in don’t know and they don’t know what other variances or what other possibilities that they are going to require or need.


Alan Amolsch: Take the Extended Stay, they have come before the Board for a wall sign variance based on the fact that their ground sign wasn’t working and it wasn’t even up yet. In this case the building hasn’t even been approved yet.


Member Antosiak: That would be particularly troubling to me with a sign case because how can they demonstrate that there is a hardship when they haven’t even complied with the ordinance to see if in fact it works.


Member Meyer: In other words, to change the name of the group from Zoning Board of Appeals to something else because you are supposed to be appealing something that is already there.


Don Saven: It just seems that to try to approve something and you are basing it upon something that could be; possibly, maybe and it doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t know how it is to you. Of course they have the right but it doesn’t make any sense.


Member Brennan: Are we meeting or not the first Tuesday of December?


Chairman Harrington: Right now we are scheduled to meet the first Tuesday in December, and we will proceed on that basis unless advised otherwise.





The Meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.






Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary