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




Present: Members Meyer, Brennan, Reinke, Harrington, Bauer, Baty (alternate)


Absent: Member Antosiak


Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official

Steve Cohen - Staff Planner

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary




Chairman Harrington indicated Mr. Antosiak has an excused absence. Ms. Baty is sitting in his absence. We have a full Board this evening. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to determine applications for variances or special use permits or on occasion interpret ordinances. Generally these cases are in the nature of appeals after denial of an application by the City of Novi Building Department. The variance request will seek relief from 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 have a full Board this evening. It will require four (4) votes for an approval. Any Board decision made tonight will be final.





Chairman Harrington indicated there are no changes to the Agenda tonight. We do have, by count, four (4) zoning cases and (5) sign cases.





Chairman Harrington indicated we have the Minutes from the November 12, 1996 Meeting and the December 3, 1996 Meeting for approval by the Board this evening. Any comments, additions or deletions or changes to the Minutes from those Meetings?


Chairman Harrington indicated all in favor by acclamation? All yeas.


Member Meyer: I have an aye on the November Minutes and I wish to abstain on the December Minutes, since I was not here.





Public Remarks


Chairman Harrington indicated in general terms, Public Remarks are comments from the audience regarding matters of general importance but not related to specific matters on the agenda. The appropriate time to make those comments and those remarks are when the cases are called. Are there any members of the audience who would wish to comment on general matters during our Public Remarks Section? (No one wished to be heard at this time.)



Case No. 96-102 filed by Robert Andrews


Robert Andrews of 1262 East Lake Rd. was granted variances on July 6, 1993 to construct a new single family home and to convert the existing home into a garage. He is asking the Zoning Board of Appeals for an interpretation as to what is meant by "garage".


Robert Taub, attorney, was present.


Robert Taub: I am going to cut right to the chase. What happened here is that several years ago you had a situation of one of the old Walled Lake cottages right on the road on East Lake and originally my client purchased the property and lived in the small cottage and then proposed to build a new structure or home on the water. The issue was that if he was going to build this new home on the water that he should not be able to simultaneously live in the new home and then rent out or otherwise have people living in the small cottage by the road.


Robert Taub: This is, by the way, in the face of his neighbors to his left and to his right on Walled Lake who have similar configurations with new homes in the front and older structures in the back because people are living in those structures to either side.


Robert Taub: He agreed with the Zoning Board that with the idea of the new home being built that no one would live in the old, antiquated structure and that it would become a garage.


Robert Taub: I think that if you look at the language that is in your packet, the idea is that it would be turned into a garage with the understanding that at no time it shall be used for any residential purposes. So, I think that the common sense idea and the bottom line for the City is that no one should live there and then the idea is that it is less crowded on the north side. The idea of traffic, privacy and legitimate concerns like that.


Robert Taub: My understanding in retrospect and I did not represent him at the last hearing because I took an appointment to the Planning Commission. So I originally represented him at a hearing, it was put off and at the time that it happened again I had to bow out because I was on the Planning Commission here in Novi. I think that the understanding is the idea of turning it into a garage meant that it would be a non-residential structure. No one would live there. No one could live there, etc. I don’t think that the idea was to create a garage that would impress garage owners across the country. I don’t think that the idea was to require a lot of expense and time to create some ultimate vision of a garage.


Robert Taub: I can tell you myself, as someone who has owned homes here in Novi and elsewhere, that many people who have garages keep cars in them but a lot of people have garages and don’t keep cars in them. They tinker in their garage. They store things in their garage. What I am getting at is that I think that idea should be that no one should live in this structure, by the road. It is an older structure. That is the bottom line.


Chairman Harrington: Is someone living there now?


Robert Taub: No one is living there now.


(Pictures were passed out to the Board)


Robert Taub: If you look at the photos primarily my client has stored a boat in there. I think that at one time he was going to re-furbish or restore a car and many of us have had fantasies of restoring a car and that has never come to fruition. Basically it has kind of a barn door on the non-street side. Quite frankly, no one would live in there. Whether theoretically my client could conspire to live in there himself or to rent it out; is dealt with by the fact that here on the record and there is a corresponding ordinance case in 52nd District Court that is pending. Is my client to the satisfaction of the City Attorney and the Building Department will stipulate that no one will live in there.


Chairman Harrington: Will or is?


Robert Taub: Will not. In other words no one is living there now but we want to go farther to satisfy legitimate concerns. We would agree and stipulate that no one will ever live there while he owns the property. Obviously the City would deal with any subsequent owner as it could. But, no one is living there and no one will live there and we will legally bind ourselves to the satisfaction of the City Attorney that no one will live there. So that is the legitimate concern.


Chairman Harrington: What is the relationship of this proceeding with the pending District Court Case?


Robert Taub: Well, my feeling is this. He cannot get a permanent certificate of occupancy because the Building Department feels that he has violated the intent of the ZBA in 1993. In other words, he can’t get his final certificate and because he can’t (it is like a catch 22) because he can’t get his final certificate because of the issue about the garage not having all of the attributes of the normal garage or something.


Chairman Harrington: The City Attorney is not here to speak to what he would have spoken to in District Court; would you summarize the ........


Robert Taub: Basically what is going on is that there...


Chairman Harrington: If you will listen to my question you may be able to answer it. Would you summarize what the position of the Novi City Attorney is expressed in District Court so that we can focus the issue, why do they think that someone is living there?


Robert Taub: No. No. What he is being charged with in District Court is a ordinance violation, because he does not have his permanent certificate of occupancy for the new home. He does not have a permanent certificate of occupancy for the new home because he has not converted the older structure sufficiently into a garage that we would ordinarily see as a garage. In other words, it doesn’t have an overhead door.


Chairman Harrington: Why not? Isn’t 4 years long enough?


Robert Taub: The reason why is this. Because if you look at it and the idea and if you look at the language here where....


Chairman Harrington: My question is, isn’t 4 years long enough? How much time does this gentleman need?


Robert Taub: Well, I think that it is for all intents and purposes for the City’s concern that it is a garage. No one is living there and as you can see it is a storage type of a garage. I have looked at BOCA and BOCA talks about private garages but it does not dictate the 7 point that a garage is. What I am saying is that the City certainly has a right to say no one should live there and we will comply with that and enter into any agreement so that no one will live there. But for the City to say that my client has to spend $10,000.00 or $15,000.00. My client has been on strike. He is a newspaper employee of the Detroit Free Press and he has been on strike for the last 18 months. As a practical matter for him to spend $10,000.00 or $12,000.00 to create an overhead door when basically he is using the thing for storage. We all know that the people in Novi use their garages for storage. A lot of them use it to stick their cars, but I know myself, that many people who just use it for storage. It is a garage and that is what we are saying. It should be enough of a garage as long as someone doesn’t live there. If I am sitting where you people are sitting I am going to say "Gee we don’t want someone living there or residing there", and we are willing to enter into any binding agreement that no one will live there. And if no one lives there then who cares if it has an overhead door or not, except Mr. Andrews. I mean does anyone really care. I might care if I am a neighbor or if I am Jim Korte I might care that there is people living in there. No one is living there now and no one will. He shouldn’t have to spend money to turn it into someone’s conception of a garage.


Chairman Harrington: You have indicated that you were going to cut to the chase, maybe I can help you focus on the chase because we are going to come full circle to is that the City is going to tell us why it is that they feel that it is not appropriate that the current use continue and what their particular specifics are that they want done. Somewhere in there it is closing off a sewer tap, somewhere it is doing an overhead door, etc. We are going to come around to that and if you want to save us a lot of time you can indicate why it is that you feel that your client cannot or should not comply with what the City wants him to do.


Robert Taub: Because if he were to spend whatever time and money to put in an overhead door....


Chairman Harrington: Does he have an estimate?


Robert Andrews: There is an original estimate that I had a few years ago about pricing of the door. But I don’t have an estimate as far as any other work.


Robert Taub: I will address it because I have obviously talked to the City people. The kinds of things that have been suggested to me which sometimes it is the door and sometimes it is the floor, sewer taps; I mean that the kind of things that are suggested to my mind could easily cost $10,000.00. The question is; why turn it into the ultimate garage as long as no one is living there and no one can live there. If no one lives there and no one can live there and we agree legally and we legally bind my client that no one can live there then do we have to create this? It is like creating a movie set or something. Why go through a lot of work and expense, if no one is going to live there because the City doesn’t necessarily want a garage there, they want no one living there. I think that City feels that by requiring certain things to be done no one can live there. But if we just sort of circumvent that by agreeing that no one will live there "in futuro" no one is going to ever live there. And if no one is ever going to live there then does it matter. Do we have to paint it green or?


Chairman Harrington: Is it fair then and I believe that it is the position of at least the majority of the Board, not always the Chairman, but that the majority of the Board the position is that economics are not a hardship and that we ought to take a serious look at. To me, it is always a factor that is relevant and can be argued one way or the other and whether it is given any weight is up to the Board Members. But is it fair that this evening your client does not have an estimate for us; that we can even consider what the cost to comply with what the City has in mind?


Robert Taub: Well, in my discussions with him......


Chairman Harrington: Do you have a document? Do you have a document from a contractor?


Robert Taub: We do not have specifics. But as you have said the issue isn’t so much how much it is going to cost; I think that the issue is this Board and the City and the residents have legitimate concerns. The specific concern here and I think that Mr. Saven would confirm that; the legitimate is concern is that no one should live there. That is what we are talking about. The problem that we are afraid of facing is can someone live there; we don’t want someone living there. But what we are willing to do is to address that head on and legally stipulate that no one can live there. No one is living there now and the Building Department knows that. No one is living there now. As far as anyone living there if we agree and again we are in the middle of this ordinance case in the 52nd District Court and if we go in front of the judge as well as sign papers through the City and the City Attorney that no one will live there; then no one will live there and then it doesn’t matter what kind of garage you have or haven’t. Because the idea isn’t and I don’t think that the Building Department necessarily wants a garage, what they want is no one living there. That is what I want to address. It is not even an economic hardship, it is should the City be telling you what is going to happen in this uninhabited, uninhabitable structure which you are going to legally bind yourself to not having anyone live there. Economic hardship; I don’t even have to address that. It is just should the City be telling anyone "well we don’t want anyone to live there and to make sure that no one lives there we are going to make you do this, this and this" or should the City say "we don’t want anyone living there and should you agree in writing to bind yourself such that if anyone lives there it is a violation and there is going to be a penalty and everything". Like I said, we are already in District Court on a violation because the City will not give my client a final "c of o". I am prepared to walk in there in February when we are going for the pre-trial and put on the record and otherwise sign with the City that no one will live there. If no one lives there, everyone should be happy. That is what I am saying and I know that I am repeating myself. But I think that you can get the point. The point isn’t what kind of garage or this is a wonderful garage here and why can’t you have one like that; the issue is that no one is living here and no one should live here and we agree. But the City should not tell someone or should not over-regulate someone and tell them what they should have inside of this non-inhabitable or non-inhabited structure. I think that if you look at the photos, I don’t know who the heck would live there. I mean you won’t catch me living there.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 25 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 4 written responses received; one voicing objection and three conditional. Copies in file.


Robert Taub: I have been in the garage recently, the Building Inspectors have been in there because I met with Mr. Morrone in there; it is a storage garage. It is not being remodeled to live. No one could live there.


Chairman Harrington: We are going to get around to, Mr. Taub, as to what living means. I don’t see living in the ordinance and I don’t think that is what is at issue in this case. I think that perhaps you have missed the boat, but we are going to get around to that.



James Korte, Shawood Lake. I am coming from the direction of Walled Lake Sector Study. During the study and I think that Don will correct me if I am wrong during your discussion. Here we have 2 buildings and one sewer tap. We don’t allow that. Now if you give him another sewer tap you have made him a legal multiple. So, you are not going to give him another sewer tap to leave the plumbing in the structure. What happens if this structure is allowed as a separate structure to be connected to the sewer tap? That means that everyone with a garage and we have several 2 story garages in the greater area; can have a 2 story garage now with water. Now we have a living structure and it becomes all most impossible to get someone out of those structures. We have numerous ones that multiples have been done, and Mr. Saven knows that, and it is all most impossible to get them out once it has happened. The only comment that I can make from having been in many more homes then this illustrious attorney; "inhabitable"? I can name 6 addresses which I won’t do right now which make that little place look like Cinderella’s palace and one of them just got a front deck. Now, maybe he wouldn’t live in and maybe you wouldn’t live in it but heat, electricity, water and plumbing...somebody will move in and that is sad. I think that the major problem is what are we doing with 2 structures on a sewer tap. Sandstone Vistas, wasn’t there a great deal of gnashing of teeth with 2 story garages in the back that could have living quarters for some of their work/living areas and it creates to many problems. Therefore, it can’t have plumbing. Thank you.


Philip Charlet, you have received one of my letters. I also have 3 more which are basically the same thing. (Letters given to the Board.)


Chairman Harrington: The Board will accept correspondence from Dave Dixon, Michael Condon of 1193 East Lake and John Bolton of 1197 East Lake.


Philip Charlet: The summary of all 3 of them are basically the same as mine; that I have no objection as a garage but anything that could be at any time made into a rental is what we are opposing and trying to clean up on East Lake. We have all, and Bob Andrews is included, have spent a great deal of money and we think that it will only enhance to clean up East Lake even more. I don’t know the condition of the garage itself as it is, but any time that you grant something like the last gentleman has said; it is very hard to change things and to turn things. We currently live next door to a house that has 4 families living in it and to the north of Bob there is 3 families living there. These are supposed single family dwellings but once they get in, it is my understanding that it is very hard to change things and I think this would just be bad for the City and that is our opinion.




Don Saven: I think that one of the things that we have to take a look at is definitely what would be considered the definition of a garage in terms of what the order was or what the decree was of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Basically, there is 2 issues. One would be in the Zoning Ordinance and certainly one would be within the Building Code. Rather than cite it verbatim, unless you wish it to be done, basically it is for the housing of motor vehicles. That is basically what we are looking at. The second issue is one basically dealing with the Building Code Requirements; as you take something away that is an R3 Use Group in accordance with the Building Code (residential use) and putting it into a Utility Use classification there is certain code requirements that have to be met. Mr. Taub basically indicated one issue that was referencing the floor area or the strength of the floor in that particular area. The other issues is how close it is to the property line and I don’t think that he is going to do any major renovation but to take that particular building which was looked at by the Zoning Board and turning it into that particular issue of a garage. With those 2 things in mind I am looking at a garage, in my opinion, is that which is going to house vehicles or at least a vehicle. In your packet, and I do believe that Mr. Taub has a copy of Mr. Morrone’s report which indicates what he felt that would be in compliance with the requirements for completing the issue of the conversion to the garage. That would be stipulated in the 6 requirements on his December 26, 1996 letter. Mr. Taub do you have a copy of that?


Robert Taub: Yes, I have it right here.


Chairman Harrington: I assume that the code section that you are referring to is Section 201, which defines garage, private; as a accessory building or portion of a main building designed or used solely for the storage of motor driven vehicles, boats and similar vehicles owned and used by the occupants of the building to which it is accessory. That would be the pertinent section?


Don Saven: That is correct and following in with the Building Code Requirement under Section 407.2 under definitions; it says garage, private; a garage for 4 or less passenger motor vehicles, 4 or less single motor airplanes, or 1 commercial motor vehicle without provisions for repairing or servicing such vehicles for profit. That was the determination of the building code.


Member Brennan: I was very angered by this case. As far as I am concerned this gentleman agreed to convert this dwelling in 1993 to a garage. He has had 4 years to do it. He has been in noncompliance for 4 years and it is still not a garage. You cannot park a car in that garage. My garage has no bathroom. My garage has no furnace. My garage has no sewer line and it doesn’t have a washer and a dryer. That is not a garage! With regard to other homeowners and other situations on that same strip of property; that has no bearing with this case at all. If there are issues to be made, take it up with ordinance enforcement. We are being asked to consider to cave in on this issue and what happens if this homeowner sells this property in a week or two weeks or two years and then we are stuck with this same dwelling that has this pre-conditioned variance that allows perhaps another homeowner or the next person down the road to make it into a rental. These pictures really don’t tell me anything. I tend to agree with Mr. Korte, people can live in this dwelling. It has all the necessities to live. As far as I am concerned, the gentleman has been in non-compliance for 4 years. My question is to either the Board or to the City Attorney, what is involved and is it possible to rescind a variance?


Member Bauer: Going back into 1992 when this first came up. We have a number of papers that state that the petitioner and Mr. Taub, especially the petitioner, needed 4 to 6 feet to put in a new home and his hardship at that time was that he wanted to live in the old cottage while he was building the new one; no problem. But we came up to the point where we said "fine, as soon as you complete the new home you will make it into a garage like you requested and convert it to such’. All along he has been saying the same thing. I see no reason to make any change or make any difference as far as what a garage is concerned. It says in Section 201, it says in the dictionary that a garage is for an automobile and also a repair shop for such vehicles. I can’t see any difference. I would not grant this variance.


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of the Building Department. Would the wood floor in there have a sufficient load rating for a garage floor?


Don Saven: Probably not.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Under that situation, I feel that it must meet the code requirements of a garage. I can’t support the petitioner’s request.


Member Baty: That was my question also. I couldn’t support this request either, if it doesn’t meet the load requirement.


Member Bauer: What he is trying to do is to only get the interpretation of the garage and I think that we have given that to him.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that the stipulations that have been set out in Mr. Morrone’s letter very well stipulate what I believe should be accomplished and required as part of the classification of a garage.


Chairman Harrington: I am actually troubled by procedurally the issue that is framed for the Board; which is an interpretation of a garage. I don’t think that is the issue that the Board is really facing. I think and with the presentation that I listened to this evening, indicated that what we are talking about is living and if we don’t live in it then it’s a garage. Well, I am not persuaded by that. But where that does lead to is the proper issue before the Board which is the "use". We aren’t being asked for a variance. We are being asked for an ordinance interpretation. We are really being asked to sit in the shoes of Judge MacKenzie, or Batchik or Bulgerilli and indicate whether or not what is happening here is in violation. I am not sure that is our job, but we have been asked the question and I think that we are going to give an answer this evening. But, the :"chair" feels that this is really a use issue. We have not been presented with a use variance; either short term for a week or a month or 3 months or long term. That is how I see the actual request that is being made; "can I continue granted that I am in violation according to the City; can I continue to use it for this purpose based upon a legitimate hardship". We haven’t heard any legitimate hardship issues other than financial, is a relevant factor. Whether it is the one that carries the Board is always a case by case basis. But, it is the use which is presented here. Not is this garage a garage. I think it is pretty clear based on the Zoning Ordinance and the City Building Code that this is not a garage. In no way shape or form is it a garage. Nonetheless, we are being told that "well, we won’t live in it". Even though it is not a garage. My personal feeling on this issue is that the homeowner has a choice here which is to comply with the code or not and go where he will if he chooses not to comply. If his choice is to comply, I don’t have a particular difficulty in wind chills below zero of granting him a use for 30 days or 60 days to come into compliance if that is his choice. I don’t that this is the kind of situation where we need to send bull dozers out there and start from the ground up. Although maybe that is something that could be worked out in the District Court. But, from my view, in no way should it be continue as is. It should be brought into compliance. I would be inclined to give the petitioner a reasonable opportunity to comply if that is his choice and if that is his economic decision to do so.


Member Bauer: I would agree with you. I would give him some time.


Member Brennan: I am still struck by the timing of this whole thing, even as of this past summer or March of 1996 from Mr. Andrews who wrote the Building Department and says "the building now used as a residence shall be converted to a garage". He has been leading the City Building Department for 4 years that he was going to convert that to a garage, and he hasn’t done it. He has been in non-compliance for 4 years. What other case have we allowed to be in non-compliance for 4 years, that is crazy.


Robert Andrews: I haven’t been leading anyone on for 4 years saying that it was going to be converted into a garage. For one thing, I didn’t understand that the statute of the garage would have been more than what I have done. I didn’t expect to be hit with load weight and concrete floors. I thought that it would be an easy conversion and I thought that I converted it to a garage. It has a big door on it. I have my boat stored in there now. I thought it was converted to a garage. If my interpretation was wrong from the City’s interpretation. Nobody was leading anybody on.


Member Meyer: Do you intend to ever use this existing home which is now a garage, for a summer cottage to lease out or rent out to anyone?


Robert Andrews: No, never. It is just for storage. That is what I have in there now. You have seen pictures of my boat and all of the storage. I have all kinds of other junk in my home that I want to be able to move out, that I haven’t been able to move into the garage because of the pending litigation is going on and I didn’t want to move everything in there and then move everything out. I have no intention of using it for any kind of a residence. I personally hope to be living there for the next 20 years or so. So nobody should be worried about anybody else using it.


Member Meyer: I have 2 other questions. If I understand correctly, you have been impacted by an 18 month strike?


Robert Andrews: I have been on strike from the Detroit Free Press for over 18 months.


Member Meyer: So in essence it is really cost you to not comply, although if I heard you correctly you feel that you have complied?


Robert Andrews: I have tried to comply, I thought that I had converted it into a garage. I spent and I don’t remember exactly what my bills were to do what I did there. To put the doors on, to tear down some walls, take out some things - I spent approximately $1200.00 to do that. $1200.00 out of my pocket today isn’t easy for me to do.


Member Meyer: The last question that I have is that what you are asking us to do here tonight is to actually interpret Noah Webster’s definition of a garage? Am I correct?


Robert Andrews: I thought that I had converted it into a garage. I could put a car in there now. The weight load has never been ......the pictures that you have you can see that there is a new wood floor there. I did have to go in it and shore up that wood floor because I wasn’t about to put a vehicle or a boat in there and have that thing collapse and then have to try to get it out of there. So I did shore up the floor, but I don’t know what kind of weight load it will and I don’t know what the codes say and I don’t know what it will actually hold. But it does hold weight. As you can see, my boat is in there and my boat weighs a minimum of 2500 pounds and it is sitting there. What the maximum weight it will hold I don’t know.


Member Meyer: I really wonder if this is our responsibility to make definitions regarding a garage.


Member Bauer: Yes for an interpretation.


Chairman Harrington: We may interpret the ordinance. That is within our statutory powers. Whether the interpretation is proper under these circumstances is another issue.


Member Meyer: So it doesn’t have to be in any way shape or form be conditioned by a hardship in this case?


Chairman Harrington: No, it doesn’t.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Don Saven: The factors which are problematic for the City involving what is in this structure described as a garage are as follows; there is a furnace in there, correct? Which is not normally within a garage; although I guess it could be. There is a sewer tap in there, correct? Is there water in there or plumbing? A hot water tank?


Don Saven: Yes, I believe so. I have not been in the building per se, but it is my understanding that there was. I think that what I could to try to help expedite this just a little bit. What we are looking at is 2 separate issues here. One is dealing directly with the zoning ordinance and one is dealing with the building code requirements. Whether you approve this issue or deny; let’s say that you would approve this issue regarding the garage interpretation that whatever is there may be acceptable as it exists right now then this gentleman would have a building code concern through our department to which there would be another regulatory body which he would be sitting in front of to maintain what he is maintaining.


Chairman Harrington: And an appeal procedure?


Don Saven: Yes, another appeal procedure.


Chairman Harrington: Which would not come through us, because that is construction code, correct?


Don Saven: Yes, that is correct. It is construction code requirement and he is looking at preserving that particular building and whatever is involved in that building and then he would be looking at the issue regarding the zoning requirement as to what the garage is right now. We had looked at the issue regarding the garage; the motion was made regarding the garage and that what I think we are looking at right now.


Chairman Harrington: There is no garage door as we understand them to be on this structure?


Don Saven: He has a sliding barn door on the front, is that correct? The lakeside of the building according to the pictures here which he can put the boat in is that correct?


Robert Andrews: It is not sliding, it swings out.


Chairman Harrington: I would indicate that the "chair" has not exercised and is not aggreived by the petition; but if one takes simply to look at the cold files in front of us I could see where one could have some adverse energy to this request. Back in 1992, Mr. Taub submitted a petition to us and he told us that he wishes to convert his home into an acceptable garage, not any kind of garage, but an acceptable garage which we would understand in common parliance to mean one which would conform with the City Code Requirements and he is currently obtaining plans to do the same and that he is planning on restoring a vehicle in the garage which is consistent with the definition of a garage and after 4 years and after the receipt of that kind of communication to learn that it sort of doesn’t sound like the garage as we understand them to be; that could produce an adverse reaction. It has simply been the way that it has worked for you. That is simply the way that it has ended up. But, the "chair" doesn’t think that it sounds like a garage as it sits there now. It doesn’t sound like a garage. The pictures don’t make this look like any garage that I have ever seen in my life. If this is used for a garage, it is something betwixt and between. It is a structure that started out to be house and was going to be converted to a garage and it looks to the "chair" that the conversion has not ben completed. I think that is what I am hearing from the other Board Members.

Robert Taub: I would just like to make a couple of comments. First of all I would like to state on behalf of myself and my client that about in 1992 when this first overall project came before the Board, there has certainly been no conspiracy or intent to flim flam the Board. Obviously what my client intended to do and what he has acheived is that he has built a new house on Walled Lake. These are ancillary issues. Obviously no one goes in to put up a new home on Walled Lake with their focus on the old antiquated cottage and what is going to become of it. But, first of all I want to point out to the Board that I defy the Board or the Building Department to show me where the 6 points that Mr. Morrone brings up in his December 26, 1996 memo fit into BOCA, because I have BOCA right here and the definition of a private garage 407 which was referred to by Mr. Saven is: garage, private; a garage for 4 or less passenger motor vehicles, 4 or less single motor airplanes, or 1 commercial motor vehicle without provision for repairing or servicing such vehicles for profit. So, all I ask is for the Board to be fair. There is no where in anything that you are going to look at, in any ordinance or statute or BOCA that is going to translate into the kind of what I think are somewhat owners requirements. Expensive, owners requirements for a garage. Basically what the Building Department is doing and that is their function, the Building Department is saying a garage and this is what we think that the garage should contain. I ask any of you to show me where the general definition of a private garage in BOCA which is the basis for a garage translates into these items. I think that it has been mentioned that my client 4 years ago intended to restore a car in there. Well, he hasn’t restored a car in there. What he has done is that he has dismantled it to the extent that it is really not liveable. He has his boat in there. He has the hot water tank drained. The other items are not functioning. But again, before the Board makes a decision, I think because you are a body of law, show me where these 6 provisions are contained somewhere before we swiftly order my client to rush out within a period of time and comply with 6 requirements which are basically a good faith opinion of a building person.


Chairman Harrington: Maybe you can help us out. Is there a bedroom in the structure? I don’t care if it is being used as a bedroom and I don’t care if anyone is living in it as a bedroom, but is there a bedroom in that structure?


Robert Taub: I don’t think that there is a bedroom. I didn’t see a bedroom. I guess those questions, you would have to ask my client. I have been in there.


Chairman Harrington: You were asking us to show you, so I thought that maybe you knew the facts out there.


Robert Taub: My point is that the Building Department is recommending 6 different things. Submit construction documents for the conversion, a permit for termination of the sewer lead, and there is no where that you can show me where it says that they must do that.


Chairman Harrington: Let me ask some things of Mr. Andrews. Is there a bedroom or what was formerly a bedroom currently in the structure?

Robert Andrews: There are 2 separate rooms in the structure. I wouldn’t call them bedrooms any longer because they are not....


Chairman Harrington: They are not being used or lived in as a bedroom? Are those the former bedrooms which are still in the structure?


Robert Andrews: Yes, they are.


Chairman Harrington: Is there a former kitchen still in the structure?


Robert Andrews: No, there is not.


Chairman Harrington: Are there piping and tap leads for hot water and cold water in what where the kitchen in that structure?


Robert Andrews: They have been tapped off.


Chairman Harrington: Are they still in there?


Robert Andrews: They are still in there, but they are tapped off.


Chairman Harrington: Is there now what was a bathroom in that structure?


Robert Andrews: Yes, there is.


Chairman Harrington: Is it now used as a bathroom in that structure?


Robert Andrews: No, the water has been drained. The hot water has been drained. The furnace has been turned off.


Chairman Harrington: So, that when the Building Department suggests that you demolish the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom you at least comprehend what they are talking about? Correct?


Robert Andrews: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: What is the problem with doing that? Why can’t you just tear the walls out?

You will have more garage space. You can put 2 cars in there.


Robert Andrews: Well my intent was to just put the one in. My intent was to do it the easiest and least expensive way possible. And that is just what I did.


Don Saven: I have some concerns about tearing down walls on buildings that are not of a truss design or under the current standards of construction as it is now.


Chairman Harrington: I was just speaking conceptually. I was not giving him a directive.


Chairman Harrington: Is there, and I think that we have established that there is a furnace in the garage, correct?


Robert Andrews: Yes.


Chairman Harrington: It is not being used or as part of the living space, but we do have a furnace in the garage, correct? And in your new house, you have a furnace there, correct?


Robert Andrews: Of course.


Chairman Harrington: Would you agree with me that mechanically there would be no difficulty that if you wanted to in the future of using and operating that furnace, correct?


Robert Andrews: I intended to do that to work in the garage, yes that is why I wanted to keep the furnace and the plumbing. If I got dirty I wanted to wash up.


Robert Taub: I would like to make one last comment. I understand your concerns. But we could enter into a irrefutable, imputable agreement that would preclude or legally preclude anyone from living there. Unless I am missing the boat, again I see the bottom line concern is making sure that no one lives there. That is the legitimate concern. That is the concern that I think the Board has to keep in the forefront. I think if that can be accomplished short of making my client spend money that he doesn’t have or basically fullfill requirements that quite frankly I don’t find in BOCA because BOCA just defines a garage. I think that the Board has served the purpose that it is trying to pursue. I would ask the Board and I have heard the comments, but I would ask the Board to react to the offer by my client to legally bind himself and his wife, the owners of this property, in precluding anyone from living there. Because the comments of the people of the audience that I heard where concerns about people living there and the problems of nearby structures where there are numerous families or whatever living there. So, I would ask the Board to react to and I don’t know if you would call it a palm branch but my client’s willingness to legally preclude the house/garage subject to dispute the garage from being used for living purposes. If no one could live there, I had hoped that this would then prevent my client from having to just go down this road of creating this ideal garage that he doesn’t necessarily need. Again, there is no intent by my client; my client is a simple man, he is a working person, he had no intent to play the technicalities and avoid a garage. I think it was a human nature thing where he thought, " I was turning this into a storage area and no one is going to live here and this should be adequate". Now, we are told that this has to be the kind of garage that Tri-Mount would build on a $300,000.00 house or something. I am saying that maybe that is over-regulation or over-kill. Again, I ask you to react to the idea of a legally binding stipulation that no one could live there.


Chairman Harrington: I will give you my reaction and then we will turn to the other Board Members and then we will take a vote on this one. The issue is not whether he can live there, he can’t live there. He is going to agree to do something which would be illegal anyway. So the offer doesn’t address the situation but when you talk about over-regulation and you talk about government incurrsion I think it is much more significant for local government to be policing whether there has been a violation of someone living or not living or how many overnights in a row and sleeping bags would be living or not living. I find that offensive and I don’t think that the City of Novi ought to be particularly worrying about has someone violated a stipulation in the future and have neighborhood patrols out there. The issue is a simple one; the issue is a structural issue. The issue is: is this building used and designed as a garage solely for the storage of motor driven vehicles and boats. That is a very simple clear cut issue and his agreement not to live in it isn’t found anywhere in the ordinance and it isn’t found anywhere in the BOCA code and I don’t think that is the issue before the Board. That is my thought.


Robert Taub: All I would respond is that there is really nothing in any of the law in front of us that tells us that a garage should have these 3 things or these 5 things. All it says is the general definition that I read was it being for vehicles or whatever, which is 470 that Mr. Saven addressed. What I am saying is....


Chairman Harrington: I am looking at Section 201 and we are here to interpret the ordinance and we have to look at the facts of a particular case and give an interpretation and it is subject of descretion before the Board and we take into consideration the testimony and the evidence and the facts that are presented to us.


Robert Taub: I still don’t think that Section 201 defines specfics that he should have to do or not have to do. To me if it is a non-residential garage structure where there again there is a legal stipulation offered where no one is going to live there. But again, the Board has to make it’s decision. I just obviously wanted to present our thoughts and we appreciate our thoughts being considered. Again, this is a situation with no one living there and there is no one going to live there. So, I think that this isn’t a situation where someone is living there and my client has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. No one is living there. It is obviously a storage type of garage. If you look at 201 and you look at BOCA, 6 points of what should be done or not done for however much money is not included.


Chairman Harrington: On BOCA, again, and what we are referring to Members of the Audience; that is the Building Code which is applicable to buildings which is not within our purview or jurisdiction. If there are particular problems with compliance of what we call the BOCA Code like the floor is not adequate or the truss issue or we take this wall out it may collapse and we have to do it different way, that is for the Construction Board of Appeals and again another branch of the City which is not part of our purview. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t look at the commentary that would be involved in compliance and getting the certificate of occupancy which this homeowner needs. He has to do what everyone else has to do. He doesn’t need a Tri-Mount home or the worlds greatest home whatever that may be or the Vista’s out there; he needs to minimally comply with the requirements of the City. Not the maximum but the minimum. I think that what the Board is presented with is an issue as to whether the City thinks that there is compliance or noncompliance.


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of Don Saven: BOCA Code does not define sepcifications for construction of a garage?


Don Saven: It certainly does. It does by the use group which is being a utility use group and it has certain conditions and requirements that are associated with it. There is also mechanical codes that you have to consider and certainly what the intent is of the building as a garage or being specified as a garage. Habitabilty, when you are talking about habitabilty you are talking about issues where you talking about bathroom facilities and things of this nature that are associated with not being in a garage but in a principle building by itself.


Member Baty: Let me understand something. If the Board defines this as a garage, there are certain codes that you just went through that this garage will have to meet?


Don Saven: That is correct.


Member Baty: If the Board says that this is not a garage, that it is a structure or a shed or a former residence then it wouldn’t have to meet the garage type building codes?


Don Saven: In some instances. You are throwing around words here that are shed, garages.....


Member Baty: If it is not a garage, what would this structure have to meet?


Don Saven: A storage building or that type of a thing. A shed, an elaborate shed. We can throw out all kinds of words but I think that we need to do is to develop what exactly is meant by what the Board had indicated that this building was to be constructed as or to be looked at for the finalization of the project.


Member Baty: I think that it is clear from all of the back up information, that the intent for this structure to be a garage. A garage according to the ordinance is something that houses motorized vehicles and therefore it should meet the code. So I say, let’s call it a garage.


Chairman Harrington: Well, we haven’t quite voted yet; but I can see your drift.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Just going back to Mr. Morrone’s letter, the building must comply with the provisions of the State Construction Code and the City of Novi Ordinance for change of use of R-3 Utility Group as a Utility Use Group. I think that he defines the whole thing out in his letter as to what he is stating by ordinances required and I see no reason to deviate from that.


Member Brennan: I agree.


Chairman Harrington: Board Members, as Chairman I will try to frame the issue in the form of the interpretation and if there is a second that I have formed it properly then we may take this as a motion and vote yea or nay.


Moved by Chairman Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Chairman Harrington: That is a fair framing of the issue for interpretation. A vote yes will mean that yes the structure at 1262 is a garage and a no vote will mean no that it is not.


Discussion on motion:


Member Baty: We are not voting whether this is an acceptable garage, just whether or not it meets the definition.


Chairman Harrington: This definition under the ordinance and pursuant to the history of how it got where it is here, is the structure as it sits today and as described to us in the testimony under oath...


Member Baty: Not whether is meets the building code.


Chairman Harrington: Not whether it meets the building code. Is this a garage?

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


Chairman Harrington: Well it sounds like we are a 3/3 split as to what it is. Comments. I assume that those who voted yes think that we have a garage here.


Member Brennan: I will make a comment and maybe we can get a little closer to putting this one to bed. At issue is the cost involved albeit relative or not; the issue is whether Mr. Andrews can afford to make this a garage; reinforce the floor and everything else. The concerns of the citizens and adjoining neighbors are is this going to be a residence. I think that the comments made by Mr. Korte regarding the sewer tap are probably the most significant. If there is no sewer, you don’t have a bathroom and if there is no bathroom I don’t care how grungy the guy is you are not going to rent it out and you are not going to convert it to a facility. I would make a recommendation that this might be considered a garage by implementing item 2 of Terry’s letter and number 6 of Terry’s letter and maybe ask the Building Department to give us some help on whether number 5 is in compliance or not, given the fact that he is storing a boat in there now.


Chairman Harrington: Here is the problem I have. In my mind there is not even a whisper of doubt; this is not a garage. It is not being used for a garage. It has bedrooms in it. It has a furnace in it. It has a hot water heater in it. The original promise that was made to the Board to convert this into a garage has not been kept. What we are not presented with are arguements in the nature of financial hardship or the like. The very first question that I had was "do we have a cost estimate so that we can access the burden"? Well, no we don’t have that. So, we can’t even get to the issue of a special use exception and I don’t even think that it is appropriate for us to get into construction code issues and play let’s make a deal on items 1, 3 and 5 and we will call it a garage and we will forget about 3 and 6. Those are construction code issues and I don’t think that it is within our purview to waive those issues; if there are legitimate hardship issues that is for the Building Department to determine. I mean I don’t think that we are here to sit on floor loads and trusses and on removal of walls and the like. We don’t even have the back up to that would allow us to make that kind of decision and whether we could even safely do that and say go ahead and do that. We would probably be in conflict with Building Department end of it over construction codes. He has other avenues and other remedies. If it can’t be done economically and if there is a legitimate basis for a hardship that is what the Construction Board of Appeals is all about and that is not in front of us.


Member Bauer: I think that we are missing something. We are asked for an interpretation of what a garage is; not what this building is.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: But, we are looking at this building.


Member Bauer: That is what his request is and nothing else. What our Chairman read out was a garage. I didn’t say it was this. I said it was a garage what you read. That is the interpretation that we are supposed to give; what is a garage.

Chairman Harrington: I think that I now understand your vote. How can we bring this around in your fashion to the specifics of this gentleman’s request this evening?


Member Bauer: We can’t for the specific thing; except the interpretation of what is "a garage". It has no bearing on anybody. What is an interpretation of a garage.


Member Baty: In other words you would phrase it, does the Board agree that a garage is an accessory building or a portion of a main building designed or used solely for the storage of motor driven vehicles, etc.


Member Bauer: That is exactly what our Chairman said.


Member Baty: That is what is before us tonight.


Member Meyer: Exactly.


Member Bauer: That is why I voted yes.


Chairman Harrington: That is a little bit different. I am also prepared to vote on that one.


Robert Taub: I just want to react to Mr. Brennan’s concern and that was to say for purposes of moving ahead with this and to satisfy the City, my client will take any action to tap off or do anything with the sewer tap. Again, I am not trying to show you disrespect or the Chairman’s analysis that it is not this Board’s particular duties to address construction issues; but for purposes of my client being able to go further and not spend an endless amount of time and energy in tangling with the Building Department which is just a negative. The idea of addressing the sewer issue if that is of significance, to further assure the Board and residents that no one is going to live there and that no one can live there, obviously. My client for purposes of the record will indicate that he would take any action to address the sewer and perhaps that would give more information to Mr. Brennan so that we could move forward. And again.....


Chairman Harrington: All right, Bob, I hear you. But what I have tried to communicate is that I think that the jurisdiction of the Board would be different if we were dealing with an issue of special use which could encompass those kinds of considerations; but that is not what is before us tonight. We are not looking at a temporary or a permanent special use. We are not looking at a variance. We are looking at an interpretation. We have a very strict construction of that interpretation as suggested by Mr. Bauer and presumably seconded by Ms. Baty. Which is: is a garage as it is set forth in the ordinance; and I am prepared to vote on that one too. I am not convinced that we couldn’t go further and relate and interpret how that ordinance applies to that particular situation, I think that would be in the pervue of our responsibility but we are dead locked at 3/3 on that one. So, let’s take a stricter approach and I would suggest that the issue to be voted upon by the Board is under Section 201.




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


Chairman Harrington: We have, after some deliberation, provided an interpretation of what a garage is. I am not convinced that moves us to where we ought to be; but that is our interpretation under Section 201 by a unanimous vote of the Board.


Robert Taub: The ordinance as related to the case presented, I think that was the interpretation of the garage as sought for purposes of this situation obviously. Section 201 speaks for itself. The first vote was a deadlock regarding whether this was a garage, but now we have a ratification of the 201 definition. Obviously my client is here at some expense and wants to be enlightened....


Chairman Harrington: Everyone in this audience is here at some expense.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: There is nothing before us to look at in your case. We took care of what you asked for. There is nothing for us to address. We addressed what was asked of us to do.



Case No. 96-104 filed by Champagne and Marx


Champagne and Marx is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of an existing construction trailer on Unit 5C, Orchard Hill Place Condominium (Eight Mile and Haggerty Roads) for one year. A Temporary Use Permit was grantedon July 15, 1996.


Jeff Croucher was present and duly sworn.


Jeff Croucher: I would like to go ahead and ask for a year on the temporary use for the trailer there. I know that we will be out in plenty enough time before that but with the frost laws coming on; gees everybody knows here in Detroit too and from our area that 60 degree weather the big trucks being in and out and dragging mud and things on the road which we can’t have and getting into that time of the year with the snow and things the construction goes a little bit slower in the spring time of the year. I would like to go ahead and ask for a year on the temporary notice for the job trailer and I do know that we will be out in plenty of time before that. We have been averaging 6 1/2 to 7 months on these malls where we have been doing them.


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




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: There was a temporary use approval for a 6 month period of time issued on July 15, 1996 regarding this particular matter with stipulations that were set forth and our requirements; which is part of your packet. We have received no objection nor any complaints referencing this matter.


Member Brennan: The trailer does sit well back on the property. You can’t see it from Haggerty. I guess I wonder why you really need a year, but if that is the last that we are going to see of it.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Vice-Chairman Reinke: Why don’t we terminate it at 12-31-97 and end it up at the end of the year.


Member Brennan: That is a little bit different than what he has asked for.


Chairman Harrington: So that we know what we are voting on, are we amending the motion to December 31, 1997?


Member Brennan: Yes.


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


Case No. 96-106 filed by Lee Mamola, representing Mercedes Benz of Novi


Lee Mamola, representing Mercedes Benz of Novi, is requesting a variance to allow overhead doors to be facing Haggerty Road, for property located at the corner of Grand River and Haggerty Roads.


Lee Mamola was present and duly sworn.


Lee Mamola: Several months ago when we began this project we were in front of the Novi City Planning Commission and the Novi City Council with a request to rezone this parcel to B3. As a part of that presentation and it is a matter of record, that it was determined and it was the consensus of both bodies that a automotive dealership was perhaps the only like use at this particular piece of property given the unique circumstances that exist with the geography of the property and some of the existing conditions of the buildings.


Lee Mamola: I would like to outline some of those conditions now and get to the heart of our case. The map in front of me here, the first map, locates the property. Haggerty Road up at the top to the east, Grand River to your right and the orange part of the property is generally the buildable part of the property. Some of the peculiar characteristics here are the fact that we have moving from Haggerty Road westward that we have 135 foot right of way and that is a public right of way owned by the Oakland County Road Commission because of a rather wide and rather deep drainage ditch and again part of the Oakland County Drain arrangement. Even further from that line at 180 feet back and right where my pointer is, we have a flood way line. The impact of that is that we can really make no substantial improvements for that first 180 feet off of Haggerty Road. The balance of the area is the existing property and that is the area that we are effectively allowed to make improvements into. The whole property however and this is a floodway line and this is a floodplain line; we are allowed to build the building in a floodplain line under certain situations. Essentially we must have the finished floor one foot above that floodplain topography. Right now this existing building is one foot below the floodplain line, roughly a foot, it varies but we can call it a foot. The existing building is also a fixture. The existing building is 80 feet wide and while we are tearing off a little bit of the front we are going to leave about 500 feet of length of that building. It is a permanent fix. It was built in the mid 70's or early 70's.


Lee Mamola: I have what I am going to call an alternative design and this is a schematic of a design that would represent what we would have to do in terms of a layout to comply with the ordinance requirements solely for an overhead door orientation issue. There is the property. We are not improving anything where the ditch is for the right of way. Here is the floodway line. You are allowed to do a certain amount of paving in floodways, but that is a knit picking area. We are building an addition to the front. We are improving a situation relative to a floodplain and that addition is out of the floodplain area considerably. We would have to orientate these overhead doors that service the customer write up area or the service write up area. When you bring your car in for repairs as a customer these are the doors that you are going to drive thru, each of these little blocks represent cars that are lined up. So we could comply with the ordinance only if these doors face this way or north and that presents some rather peculiar difficulties. A number of situations occur here; one, imagine yourself as a customer driving in off of Grand River and driving around, once you have learned how to drive to where, and making an almost immediate hairpin turn around and through and you are not driving any old jalopy you are driving a very nice car that you are going to be very careful of how you drive around. No matter what you do you will have to do some maneuvering to align your car to face into that building in a proper way. Once you get into the building, the car again would face a series of circumstances to maneuver around within the building.


Chairman Harrington: Why can’t you come in from the back? You have them coming through the building, why can’t you use that as the entrance? Follow the diagram all the way through where the cars go through the building and keep going down, why can’t that be the entrance?


Lee Mamola: We do have an overhead door here. We are proposing an overhead door here. This does not face the road and that is a legal overhead door. To make this entrance, we have even a tighter situation of getting a car into the service bay area, we just don’t have the turning radius to do that.


Lee Mamola: Another point is to make this addition comply we would have to build the finish floor roughly 2 feet higher than this finished floor. There is no getting around it. Mr. Saven can talk about the impact of building in a floodplain with regard to the City’s case for floodplain insurance. He has been very strict with me in telling me what we have to comply with and we do intend to comply. But, to make that addition work we would have to seek a waiver from some body regarding the floodplain and it is probably not a giveable kind of waiver, it is probably not a doable situation. Another situation that occurs here is that by facing the building this way the access along Haggerty is dictated by 2 points; essentially the traffic management says that you are dictated by the curb cuts that are there across the street. This is a curb cut to Pace and this is a curb cut kind of a boulevard approach to the Saturn facility in Farmington Hills and this is a preferable curb cut position opposite of that which we would not be able to do. This is the best curb cut arrangement and it provides some difficulties with on site circulation.


Lee Mamola: To add this building out here and this is roughly an 80 by 100 foot building addition, we are placing the building 80 feet closer to Haggerty Road. When we made the presentations to the Planning Commission there was representation given that this building would become a nice appearance as a gateway to the City. I think the more that we can do not to have a building take up that air space and maintain as much as the open air area as possible, the better off we are in achieving that goal.


Lee Mamola: Customers would have difficulty driving in and around through here. One area on this diagram that I haven’t explained yet is this little diagonal area, what I call the Service Administration. There are some mandates that the Mercedes organization dictates to their dealers as to how these areas must be set up. When you drive a car in there is generally a horizontal or lineal fashion type of arrangement and the long and short of it is that you have to have a wide open area here; we cannot move this down a little bit and have holes in walls, it doesn’t work. They are very particular about how these have to function internally here.


Lee Mamola: The proposed design gets rid of a number of those factors or a number of problems. We can come in and this is where the overhead doors face, where we are proposing, they are on the existing building. A car could come in from either direction, Grand River or Haggerty and make some very easy turning radius’ in there and not to mention the fact that the customers would know where the doors are. As a first time customer or somebody that is not familiar from this area coming in they would know where the doors are. We maintain the open space. We get rid of any issue regarding having to comply with floodplain, floodway laws. What we did try to do, however though, was to try to say if the doors are here, what can we do to mitigate the appearance of those doors. What we have done in the floor plan arrangement, this is the proposed addition and we are remodeling some of the existing building and taking it out of the floodplain. The red area is what I am going to call the drive thru for the service write up and 12 feet off of the door is a covered overhang or a canopy that we extend on the facade and I will show you the elevations in a moment. The existing building addition will give you the appearance that the building addition really comes out significantly farther, it is about 65 feet and it comes away from these doors by 12 feet in a perpendicular dimension. We have tried to mitigate the visual aspects of those doors. You also have to consider that when you look through these doors you are looking at a finished dressy area. There is hard tile, painted surfaces, bright lights and hopefully nice cars being delivered to clients. It is not like a mechanic type area such as at a tire store, repair shop, or a body shop. It is a little bit different characteristic.


Lee Mamola: I think that those of you who know these ordinances and the history of the ordinances, that the overhead door ordinance is referred to by your Planning Consultant as the Belle Tire Ordinance. It was there because of the Belle Tire store on Grand River, you had the overhead doors with the glass in the close proximity to the main road. Here we are far back from the main road and we tried to mitigate the appearance of those doors.


Lee Mamola: Here is the partial elevation. It is a very long building. The building addition has a lot of horizontal character going to it. Here is the band going over the doors and the 2 doors are recessed back. These are the 2 glass overhead doors that we are talking about. The doors are 12 feet high and they vary in width, I think 16 feet and 10 feet or somewhere in that territory.


Lee Mamola: The final point that I would like to make is that we are still finalizing the design, I think that the overall appearance of this building will be one that I will be quite satisfied with as a designer of the project and I think that the City will be quite happy with as a nice development when people are able to drive into the gateway of the City. That is what we represented initially and I think that in the end that is what the project will be.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Steve Cohen had no comment.


Member Brennan: Can you expand on the landscaping plans that you have on the one drawing for the sake of the many homeowners that are watching us? Is there anything in the design that also impedes the visual line from Haggerty?


Lee Mamola: Let me try to explain the landscaping, if I can and our attempt to screen there. In the back part of the parking area is what we call the new car inventory. The balance of this area is customer parking or public parking if you will. For the new car inventory area there are 6 to 7 to 8 foot pine trees in a row to screen that area. Where there is public parking, per ordinance, we are proposing the landscaping per ordinance in a way and by that I mean that it has to meet certain requirements with the types of species of trees and all. That is at a slight angle and not a straight line so that when people do come in from different direction they get some variation to the landscape. It is not a straight somewhat boring line. It works in a manner to screen the biggest area of this paved parking area. There is landscaping along Grand River and when you enter in off of Grand River there is a drive that you go left or right and there is a little area here that we call the patio and it is several feet above this area and in front of the patio I believe there is a 4 foot wide strip where there is green belt plantings and the like.


Member Brennan: Can you tell me what a ...Maiden Hair tree is? Is it an evergreen or is something that is all year round or?


Lee Mamola: Where about are you looking on the plan?


Member Brennan: I am talking about all of the trees that are in front. This is the area that I am talking about, where the overhead doors are, what is around there or what are those trees?


Lee Mamola: The Gingko tree, as I understand it, is a tree that has a relatively small leaf to it and a light branch structure. That is done for a couple of reasons. One to give a sense of lightness to the landscaping immediately adjacent to the building. Also as you get into open parking areas you will find that it is in a lot of commercial developments and you prefer to have the trees that have a small leaf to it. Whether it is the Gingko which has been recommended by the City Landscape Architect that we not use the Gingko because it is a slow growing tree and they have a concern that it would not grow fast enough. So, we have accepted that. I am not sure what the other species is but we are working in spirit with the City Landscape Architect to develop something there.


Chairman Harrington: I would indicate that I am actually troubled by this request and it is the kind of situation where to make an intelligent vote I would like to understand what other intelligent other design alternatives there are in the situation. I haven’t heard that, except for the one it looks to me like the situation is caused significantly by the use of Grand River Avenue as what would be anticipated to be a primary ingress causing the hairpin turn; although no suggestion has been made why some other design alternative might not be more feasible. I am troubled by that. This is not or it is not a cosmic issue for the City but is an issue that does concern me and the code speaks to that and we are not going to have that and my intuition is that there has to be other ways that other automotive and service facilities comply with code without having to troop before us for a variance. I am troubled and I would like to have input from Mr. Rogers or the Planning Commission or whoever that all the other alternatives are simply impossible or economically unfeasible and then I could enthusiastically support your petition.


Lee Mamola: May I please go on with an explanation, often when I am in front of you I do try to rush through and be as concise as I can; when I am allowed to elaborate....


Chairman Harrington: Could you briefly, try to meet that concern. What are the other alternatives that are there? But before we get to Lee, Don or Steve are there any other alternatives that you are aware of?


Don Saven: No Sir, I am not aware of any alternatives.


Member Brennan: If you look at it, he can’t put it on Haggerty; he can’t put it on Grand River and meet the code. He can’t put it at the rear of the building and the only option is the short side on the west end.


Chairman Harrington: Assuming that you are driving all the way through the building in contrast with.....


Lee Mamola: The nature of this use is that it is a drive thru structure. Different then, let’s say a mechanics’ place where you have to drive in and then back out. This is an area where customers or the public drives in.


Chairman Harrington: This drive thru will be solely for customers? You are not going to be using your big trucks coming in to use the same thoroughfare?


Lee Mamola: On occasion there will be a tow truck coming through; but I would say easily 90% and the owner could collaborate that, that there will be owners or private citizens that are driving cars in.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: Basically this is a write up, delivery area then, is that correct?


Lee Mamola: Yes, it is. The cars must drive through and they go through the back of the building at that point for service and repair. We are also under the scrutiny of Mercedes of North America. We have a fellow in New York who is scrutinizing these plans as we go through them and we must comply with his requirements. We are fighting a battle with them. The way the back area is laid out, this building is 80 feet wide and has a row of columns down the middle. So right where you want to drive cars through there are columns and these are very nice cars. Cars have to go through and go into bays. This building is a little wider than a normal brand new auto dealer would be for the similar type of function for this area. A brand new auto dealer would not have columns in here. To make this work and to make the turning radius work we have to take out some of those columns, but that is just to let you know the kind of extent that we have to go through here. The fellow in New York would prefer us to have a door here and a door here and bays going this way, so in other words the bays would be 90 degrees to one another. That would mean that in addition to these doors here which face Keeford Collision facility we would have to add 3 to 4 doors towards Haggerty Road. We told him no. We are fighting that quite emphatically because of your ordinance. So we are doing all that we can and it has been a battle.


Chairman Harrington: All right, I am satisfied. If Don tells me and Steve tells me and Brandon isn’t here to tell me otherwise that there is no other alternative then my concern is satisfied.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 96-108 filed by Linda McKay


Linda McKay is requesting a 5 foot side yard setback variance and a 3.6% lot coverage variance to construct a new single family residence at 1517 East Lake Drive.


Linda McKay was present and duly sworn.


Linda McKay: I am requesting a variance because my home burnt in May and I am requesting that I get a 5 foot side yard setback and a 3.6% lot coverage variance. I tried to find the smallest home that I could that would fit on my lot that fit all of our needs. That is why I picked this house to fit on it.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 30 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 2 written responses received both voicing approval. Copies in file.



Jim Korte, the direction of Sector Study again. My only comment from driving thru and you have heard me holler about the awful narrow lots and the impossibility of building. I want to know and I think that someone should ask "who owns the side lot next door?" Is this in actuality a 40 or is this an 80? Is it a double? I think that is the only thing that you need to know that maybe you don’t know and I don’t know the answer, but if that should be a double or owned by the same people then it puts things in a different light. You are looking at me strangely. There is an empty hunk next door.


Chairman Harrington: No, I was processing it and what different light would it be. Let’s assume that we have an 80 and it is a double lot and how would that impact on this?


Jim Korte: If we have an 80 foot parcel versus a 40 foot parcel we have a big difference as to what hardship we have with regard to 5 feet, 10 feet or 2 inches.




Chairman Harrington: Linda, do you know the size of the lot?


Linda McKay: The size of his lot over there? I know that there is 2 lots and the one lot that the duplex is on is 30 foot. My lot is 45.


Jim Korte: I am not attacking....


Linda McKay: I know what you are saying. See this is what I am doing. I am trying to center my house so that it is between the homes because when my home caught on fire, my original foundation is 3 foot away from the other neighbor. What I am trying to do is to move my home in between. These are both old homes and I am just trying to be more conforming to get away from the homes. That is why I am applying for the 5 foot so that my home is more centered.


Don Saven: As Linda has indicated the existing home, if you take a look at the plot plan, shows that it was approximately in line with the existing house which was at 22 foot. She now has the house back to 31 feet which was a very good thing and also try to maintain 10 foot away from the house which is very close to the property line on the opposite side. I think that she has done just about everything that she could do to center that house in that particular area and the 5 foot variance for fire protection purposes is good.


Member Bauer: I think she is doing a great job.


Member Brennan: Typically on these houses on the lake, we have a whole stream of people coming up with one issue or another. You have had nobody with any complaint. LARA isn’t here. Mr. Korte has spoken. You have done a nice job.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I want to echo Mr. Brennan’s comments. I compliment the petitioner for moving it and having a 10 foot space between the 2 existing homes because if they were going to try to position it where it was in existence I could not support because it would be to close to the existing home. I think that you have done a good job with the layout and I can support the petitioner’s request.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke:


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 96-088 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) walls, for property located at 41843 Grand River Avenue.


Brian Murray was present.


Brian Murray. I went to a sign artist and I had a mock up or drawing of the sign as requested by the Zoning Board. We rigged it in a fashion that hopefully was acceptable so that you guys could check it out. It is a temporary sign and no way do we mean to leave it up there because quite frankly it is not up there to good.


Chairman Harrington: And quite frankly it has blown away as about 3 o’clock this afternoon when I went by for a last minute peek.


Brian Murray: Yes, it was quite windy. Did you get to see it before it blew away?


Chairman Harrington: No, sir. Do you have a picture of it with you?


Brian Murray: Oh no.




There was no audience participation.



Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Brennan: The mock up was what square footage?


Brian Murray: The mock up was 12 by or 55 square feet, or perhaps smaller than that.


Don Saven: Do you want to restate that? It was 12 by what?


Brian Murray: I believe that it was 12 x 5 or 60 square feet and I think that when the sign guy mocked it up I think that he actually made it smaller than we requested.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think we were looking at, if my memory serves me right, we were trying to portray a 48 square foot sign. Which only includes the lettering, not what you put up there.


Brian Murray: I see, it is measured by the lettering and not the it is substantially smaller.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is what I am saying. What I was looking at there, I was looking at the size of the lettering configuration. I felt it looked like and could be lived with, with what you had there and what was portrayed I thought it was 48 square feet because that is what we were talking about looking at a mock up of.


Brian Murray: Again, not being completely familiar with how the sign is measured by the ordinance. What I did with the sign person or the artist so to speak, is that I indicated to him that we needed it to be 48 square feet and then I gave him the letters and he put it inside of that piece of Tyvek is what he called it, and I thought it complied in that regard.


Member Brennan: Would the permanent sign be like the mock up with the white background and the Murray’s lettering?


Brian Murray: What we tried to simulate was that the fact that the building is white and originally I merely wanted the letters to be painted on. That is all.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: So really we are looking at a configuration that the size of the sign would be the lettering itself. Am I correct in that assumption, Alan?


Alan Amolsch: Yes. What he had up was a banner sign and he was probably taking the whole banner into consideration. We only measure letter size.


Member Brennan: But again, to confirm what you are planning for the permanent sign was represented in the mock up with the size of the lettering and every thing.


Brian Murray: It would look exactly Like that, except that it would be painted or somehow bonded to the cinder block building. I am not quite sure if the painter can do that in the winter and I don’t think that he can. If that is the case, we may have letters made that would look exactly like that and the letters would be bonded to the cinder block somehow.


Chairman Harrington: Board Members, we did receive in a comment from Mr. Minasian of Minasian Development Corporation. Copy in file.


Member Brennan: I read that as well. I looked at this and I wondered if Mr. Murrays’ mock up sign was up for him to see before he wrote this letter? When did the mock up sign go up, do you remember?


Brian Murray: I would say approximately a week after we met last.


Member Brennan: When was the December Meeting?


Member Bauer: The December Meeting was the 3rd.


Member Brennan: There is a good chance and I am kind of stretching here, but there is a good chance that this gentleman did not see the mock up and may only be looking at the graphics as his contention.

Unfortunately he is not here to ask him the question, but if you put the time line here he is probably referring to the graphics.


Member Meyer: We are being asked for a temporary sign here, right?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: No, we are being asked to grant a permanent sign.


Member Meyer: But there would be time for us to find out if indeed this is the sign that he was referring to?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: No.


Member Brennan: Mr. Murray is here tonight and he has done what we asked him to do at the last meeting. In fairness to him we should probably vote.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke:





Discussion on motion:


Chairman Harrington: My only comment on the motion before we vote. I think that the petitioner is being rewarded for his persistence which is admirable. But this Member of the Board doesn’t see any hardship whatsoever.


Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Baty, Harrington Motion Carried


Case No. 96-101 filed by Sandstone Associates, L.P.


Sandstone Assoc. L.P. is requesting variances to allow the continuation of signs for the Vistas of Novi. 1) a construction identification sign located at 13 Mile and Decker Roads; 2) three (3) construction identification signs located at Novi Road and Decker Road, these signs were granted for a period of one (1) year under ZBA Case No. 95-102 granted on November 7, 1995; 3) two (2) real estate signs located at 13 Mile and Decker Roads, these signs were granted for a period of one (1) year or until the barricades come down at the intersection under ZBA Case No. 95-102 granted on November 7, 1995; 4) a construction identification sign located at Decker Road and Ledgeview Drive which was put up without a permit and not included in the original ZBA Case.


David Lanciault was present and duly sworn.


David Lanciault: Well, we would like a variance continuance on all of these signs as they currently appear. We have a couple of folds in the problem here and one of them is that because the Sandstone or Vistas development is a large PUD which is bi-sected by a new road which was called Decker and which is now called Novi; it was difficult to get people in and out especially when the road was barricaded and closed, etc. etc.


David Lanciault: Because we do try to be good citizens, we came into the City and tried to work out something with Don Saven. We were able to get this Board to grant some appeals of variances on theses signs for that period of time. We have tried to work out some things with the Building Department in terms of the kind of signage that would be applicable to this kind of development because this is not necessarily one development; it is a series of a lot of small developments included in one planned unit development. IE, Phase 1 out there has 144 single family home sites that is one project with 2 builders. Phase 2 will have 56 single family home sites and it will have another builder or possibly 2 builders. Phase 3, Phase 4, Phase 5, etc. etc. All of these areas need separate signage to identify that particular development, that subdivision that has a different name. It could be the hills, the valleys of the Vistas or whatever. So those things need separate identification with separate recognition for those builders who may not be the same builder from phase to phase and they probably won’t be.


David Lanciault: For that reason we have tried to come up with some signs that would work and I think the Building Department has been helpful in that regard so far so that we could identify the individual subdivisions within the planned unit development as well as recognizing that this is a planned unit development. It is the Vistas Development within which there are several sub-sets.


David Lanciault: That is the reason that we are asking for an extension of these signs.


Chairman Harrington: I note in your materials that basically the gist of your request is to extend already existing signs and the first 3 categories of which we have already considered and the bulk of them date from November 1995 so we are looking at basically extending from November 1996 on forward. There is no identification on the construction ID sign at Thirteen and Decker, how long has that been up?


David Lanciault: Probably a year and a half or the same time frame.


Chairman Harrington: How is it that the construction identification sign located at Decker Road and Ledgeview Drive was put up without a permit and not included in the original ZBA petition, how did that come about?


David Lanciault: That is another fold to this whole deal which I was just leading to. I want to make it clear that I have come here as a good citizen trying to participate in the process and keep Don Saven’s paperwork altogether; but in no way should this be considered a waiver or an aberration of some other rights that we have.


David Lanciault: The signs that are currently on this project are there by court order and they cannot be removed even by an enforcement officer who would maybe like to take one sign down that they may not like. We have had occasion where a City truck did go out there and take down one of our signs. In any event there is a court order that those signs remain in place until the judge issues......


Chairman Harrington: That is not before us tonight is it? Those signs are not part of your petition, right?


David Lanciault: No, I am making the Zoning Board aware of it.


Chairman Harrington: We don’t need to know that, we don’t care about court orders over here. Usually they order one way or another what we do and that is where the appeal is from. So whatever wrinkles you guys have had in court, good luck, but we don’t need to even talk about that.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 168 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




Jim Korte: I have represented in the past both LARA and SES and of course Sarah has sent a letter. We fought desperately 10 or 11 years ago not to have this PUD in our area. The minute we lost, we changed our tune and fought directly to let him get in and get out. Now a lot of people think that signs are ugly and they are; if you look at some of the land in preparation for building that doesn’t look so good either. If these signs help somebody buy, purchase or be a progression to finish then we are all better off. The minute more is sold then he has no choice but to landscape. I have seen many of the landscape plans and the sooner that we get the trees put back in, the better off we all are. So, if it is question of looking at their nothing or a sign for a little while longer to get the progress going, then the sign is really quite arbitrary as to the final product. I would also like to remind you that this is 300 acres. One sign isn’t enough. I don’t think that we have anything going on in this City or will in years that is 300 acres. That is a big parcel. That might sound like a lot of signs but breaking it into acreage and then you break it into your other subdivisions and he really isn’t asking for any more proportionally because of the magnitude of the property than anybody else. Please let them stay.




Chairman Harrington: One of the issues that we are dealing with is the continuation of the signs, what period of time are you requesting that they be continued? Or putting it another way, will one year do it for you?


David Lanciault: I would request another year from today. We could revisit the issue a year from now and if things have changed substantially and we worked out something with the Building Department on proper signage because I don’t think that the ordinance doesn’t really property addresses this kind of development with signage; then we change. We have a dialogue going that we are trying to work things out. But a year from today we could take a look at it and if you think that it is unreasonable then...


Chairman Harrington: If you come back to see us a year from today we are going to have to take a look at it; but I was trying to get a sense for what you really needed. A lot of times when we deal with the extension of these sign issues there is a pretty good sense as to where they are in the project and if what you really need is 14 months or 16 months or 18 months rather than 12 months or 6 months, we would like to address the real needs rather than set ourselves and have to revisit the same issue.

David Lanciault: I can’t define the problem to say it is going to be 14, 16 or 18 months. But I think that a year is a reasonable time for us to try to work this thing out.


Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven: I have one concern. I know that we are getting onto Phase 2 and getting pretty close to dealing with that, this additional signage - will there be any additional signage or directories that you are going to be looking at? Anything alluding to that phase?


David Lanciault: We are going to need the signs as we discusses some time back, like a 64 square foot sign that indicted who the builder is and the name of the subdivision at the entrance.


Don Saven: We understand that, but you are looking at one end of the road you have the Hills and Decker Road open to the Hills sign; are you going to have the same thing for phase 2?


David Lanciault: No. I am not asking for any more signs up at Thirteen Mile Road or anything else. Phase 2 will have that sign at their entrance.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand the signage but the 2 additional signs that were to come down when the barrier came down I really wonder if they are warranted or needed? I am assuming that the 2 we are alluding to are the "a-frames" at Thirteen Mile and Decker Road, am I correct?


David Lanciault: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: We have signage at that intersection already and I really wonder if those 2 are really warranted and required at this point in time.


David Lanciault: Well, I think that I would prefer to change the verbiage on there to say that the project is down Novi Road rather than what it currently says as down Decker Road. It doesn’t give the proper information. We have had so much confusion in the last couple of years with people trying to find us that is why we want to keep it there.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I can understand the point that you had the confusion as long as they were working on Decker Road and the road wasn’t really routed through your development as it was intended to be, I think a lot earlier than it actually really happened. I think that is probably going to take care of one of your biggest obstacles that you are running into.


David Lanciault: The last time we were telling people to go around the barricade, we are right down the road.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand that and that is why I am saying that your other signage is done tastefully and I think it directs people. I don’t really care to see the sandwich signs there. I really wonder if they are warranted?


David Lanciault: Do I want it? Sure. Mr. Harrington said that the other thing is a separate issue and that you guys are going to vote on here on what you want to vote on in terms of this application. But, I think that we are going to change the verbiage to say Novi Road rather than Decker since the name of the road was changed. It is going to help people that are coming across Thirteen Mile Road to turn onto Novi Road to find our development. The State has Thirteen Mile Road closed from Meadowbrook to the M5 connector to do some preliminary work for paving early in the spring. There will be more traffic then coming across Thirteen Mile Road because it is paved regardless of whether the M5 interchange is complete. So those people are going to drive by and potentially miss what is now the new Novi Road. So those signs will help them find us easier.


Member Meyer: Is there any possibility of taking that type of a sign and turning it into one of the more attractive signs that you have here? Since you are going to change or you are indicating that you are going to change it to read Novi Road instead of Decker Road would it be possible to do that?


David Lanciault: To make it a sign that is stuck in the ground as opposed to an A frame?


Member Meyer: One of the more appealing signs rather than the A frame.


David Lanciault: Sure.


Member Brennan: I will start with a little discussion and then I will make a motion. I like Michael’s suggestion because I think that it does dress that up a little bit and if the petitioner is willing to do that as well as make the changes to the script for identification purposes.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Chairman Harrington: My only comment on the motion, before calling for the vote is that you are way early in the project and I think that the signage is appropriate and I would intend to take a real hard look next year at this time at the signage that is out there and how far along you are, we have seen analogous not similar; there is nothing similar to the Vistas of Novi but we have seen analogous difficulties with signage up 3 or 4 or 5 years which are problematic when they are inception signs such as these. But right now I feel perfectly comfortable with your petition.


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


Case No. 96-103 filed by Adams Outdoor Advertising, representing $2 Car Wash


Adams Outdoor Advertising is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of the rear east elevation wall sign of 37.5 square feet which was changed without obtaining a permit. This sign was granted with ZBA Case No. 1414 and limited the rear wall sign to a maximum of 30 square feet, for property located at 26100 Novi Road.


Jamie Higgins was present and duly sworn.


Jamie Higgins: In 1994 the $2 Car Wash purchased the previous Soft Shine Auto Wash. I was made aware at that time from the City that there was a variance granted to the Soft Shine Auto Wash for that east wall sign and that any replacement sign for the new name of the new car wash could not exceed the size of that existing sign. So, I measured the existing sign and found it was 26 inches tall by 18 foot 9 inches long which is just slightly more than 40 square feet. So, the new sign for the $2 Car Wash was designed and fabricated not to exceed that 40 square foot size. The $2 Car Wash sign is 32 inches tall by 15 feet long which is exactly 40 square feet. It was only after applying for the permit and not receiving it that additional information was discovered by the City that this 1987 variance for the Soft Shine Auto Wash only allowed 30 square feet, when their sign all of this time had been 40 square feet. So at the time I believed that I was following all of the guidelines. It was just during the permit process period that they discovered this additional information.


Chairman Harrington: So the previous owner got away with a bigger sign and never caught.


Jamie Higgins: He violated for 10 years, yes. I take it that I was the first one to measure it.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 13 Notices sent to adjacent property owners with no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch: Unfortunately I could not find any of the files for the previous owner of the car wash. I couldn’t look at the old files and find out what exactly was approved. I didn’t do the field check on the sign that was up there, so I don’t know what it actually measured. I couldn’t find our paperwork from our previous sign. I can’t say one way or the other whether it was or was not. However, the original Zoning Board of Appeals did limit it to 30 square feet and he applied for one that was larger than that so we denied the application. He went ahead and put the sign up anyway thinking that it was approved and that is why he is here tonight. So you are looking at a 7 and 1/2 foot square foot variance to the original variance.


Member Brennan: I think that we had a situation in the past where there was not sufficient information available from the City records to verify or not verify information and we can only go by what is presented tonight. It seems like the gentleman in all candor and honesty tried to fulfill and meet the sign ordinance by replacing the existing sign that he was under the impression was approved. I think that he has some case for hardship given the fact that he couldn’t get the information from the City.


Member Bauer: I agree with you.


Alan Amolsch: It wasn’t that he couldn’t get the information. He thought that the information or the sign that was on the wall was the same size.


Member Brennan: He thought it was 30 square foot and he had the sign made up the same way.


Alan Amolsch: If he would have asked first he would have found out that he was limited to 30 square feet, be that as it may another sign was up there in a possible violation and I don’t know that for a fact or not. The sign that was up there is gone now. Our permit indicated that it was the proper size. Now whether the permit was filled out wrong or the field check wasn’t done on, I don’t know that.

Chairman Harrington: Let me ask you, when the City measures signs and I am looking at the Original Soft Shine has soft on top and shine underneath which is actually physically a larger dimension in terms of the vertical run on it than auto wash which is shorter because it is a single line going across, would the City measure the area of soft/shine and treat that as a different measurement from the auto wash letters or would one run from the highest portion of soft shine across and the lowest portion across?


Alan Amolsch: We measure from the highest, if it is stack letters we measure the total vertical times the horizontal of the message; we block the whole message off.


Chairman Harrington: So, it may well have been if one were to reverse engineer the dimensions of the prior sign that they may have figured that you simply measure the size of the actual letters which might well bring it into that 30 foot range.


Alan Amolsch: Like I said, I couldn’t find our records that were approved by the original variance. I couldn’t find any measurement that was made to find out if that was the way that they measured it at the time and if the Board approved that sign the way that it was measured or not. I couldn’t find any information. We have a drawing in the file from the other Board case but it doesn’t have any dimensions on it, only the picture of the sign.


Chairman Harrington: Similarly using the same configuration the tombstone as it is described portion of this sign, the $2 sign, is significantly higher and lower than the car wash portion. But if one were to measure the actual letters, it probably is less than 40 square feet.


Alan Amolsch: Yes, just the way that we measure the sign area according to the ordinance.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I don’t think that there was anything that was flagrantly done or tried to circumvent one thing or the other. The amount of square footage difference, 7 1/2 square foot, is something. The sign looks tasteful. It is not overbearing. I really don’t see any problem supporting the petitioner’s request to bring it into conformance with what has in existence today.


Member Meyer inquired of Alan Amolsch: When new owners take over a business, do we send them a notice of congratulations, welcome to the City and do we make them aware. It seems like this man made every effort and I am picturing him up on a ladder measuring this thing. But he had no idea that you existed. He didn’t know how.....


Alan Amolsch: Well, he had the idea that we exist. The owner of the business moved in there about 2 years ago. They changed their sign out front and Mr. Higgins was employed to change the back wall sign. The owner contracted him to do the job. No, we don’t send letters of welcome.


Don Saven: In most cases they are in the business already before they make communications with our department. In most cases they contact the Chamber of Commerce and they pretty well let them know what is going on.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 96-105 filed by Ronald Rowe, representing Ingersoll-Rand


Ronald Rowe, representing Ingersoll-Rand, is requesting a variance to allow a ground sign 10' x 3' (30 sq. ft.) with the verbiage INGERSOLL RAND PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT, for property located at 43100 Nine Mile Rd. There is an existing sign on the building.


Ronald Rowe was present and duly sworn.


Ronald Rowe: A little bit about Ingersoll Rand for those of you that may not know our company. Ingersoll Rand is a 6 billion dollar a year New York Stock Exchange Company. We are a multi-national business with our headquarter in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. The division for which I am responsible for has grown to be about a 200 million dollar a year business and over the last 25 years we have been located primarily in the Farmington Hills area on Halstead Road near Grand River. Our products are custom engineered robotic automated assembly systems for the automotive industry.


Ronald Rowe: In 1996 Ingersoll Rand made the decision to expand its’ business. After about a 6 month search we made the decision to move to Novi as our next operating facility. We selected the building at 43100 Nine Mile Road. Prior to finalizing the lease, we met with several of the appropriate people within the Novi government. We had a lot of discussion to make sure that there were absolutely no problems with us moving into the building. We met with Don Saven and I got a little chuckle out of the last comment that Mike made, because Don certainly made it very clear to us what the regulations would be in becoming a member of the Novi community. I can honestly say that to date we have been delighted with that decision.


Ronald Rowe: Our products are very expensive commodities. They are multi-million dollar machines. They are primarily built for the automotive industry. We are the integrator of many different types of technologies. Therefore, we are in constant working relationships with executives from the automotive industry as well as large companies like Allen Bradly and General Electric. We have customers in and out of our plant every day of the week.


Ronald Rowe: It is for this exact reason that we have to have some sort of signage on the front of the building that directs, not necessarily on the front of the building but in the area of the building that would direct our visitors to the plant.


Ronald Rowe: In addition, Ingersoll Rand has some pretty stringent rules and regulations on what signs must look like as do many corporations and that goes all the way from our letterhead on our stationery to our envelopes and our business cards and the types of signs and the type of advertising brochures, etc. that we use.


Ronald Rowe: Recognizing the need for the sign we went to one of the local suppliers in Novi, we went to Neon Sign and asked for a quotation; and they informed us that we would have to have a permit and that we were going to have a problem because of the second sign that is on the building. I am not certain, personally, that this is a conflict because if I understand the issue property it is in reference to 28-6 which refers to the number of premises of advertising signs permitted. I don’t be able to claim to be able to interpret all of these rules and regulations but it states that no parcel of land shall be allowed more than one sign. Ingersoll Rand is only requesting one advertising sign. It would seem that since the owner of the building, Mr. Arkin, could continue to be identified as the Arkin Building. Now we as Ingersoll Rand are leasing the building and the Arkin name could remain on the building with Ingersoll Rand’s advertising sign on the lawn area and the signs in no way would be competing with each other.


Ronald Rowe: I have with me some photographs that may be helpful as well as a copy of the sign from Neon Sign. (copies handed to Board.)


Ronald Rowe: That is the type of sign or the general display of the way that Ingersoll Rand likes their name displayed. We would certainly be in compliance with the 30 square foot requirement. So with that I am hoping that you will find that we don’t have a conflict or in the event that we do have a conflict that you will grant a variance.


Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 9 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 2 written responses received, both voicing approval. Copies in file.




Irwin Arkin owner and also an occupant of the Arkin Building. I am here representing the interests of the Arkin Building and also Ingersoll Rand and hopefully I would like to think the interests of the City of Novi.


Irwin Arkin: The Arkin Building is a 31 foot tall building with 97,000 square feet located at 43100 Nine Mile Road. It was built in 1973 and the signage on the building has been there for over 23 years. (Pictures presented to the Board.) The sign ordinance back in 1973, if there was one and I am not sure that there was, I believe would have as today allowed a wall sign for our sized building up to 40 square feet. We choose a modest, very discreet sign of approximately 12 square feet as indicated on the drawings there.


Irwin Arkin: We are proud of the Arkin Building and surely do not want to deface the building by removing our owner/identification sign; leaving holes in the building and discoloration of the brick due to the time and the weathering. I don’t think that it is the intent of the sign ordinance to cause future eyesores. (pictures handed out to the Board.) A good illustration of this is that when a tenant leaves the building and a sign comes down holes are left in the building and discoloration as I am showing you.


Irwin Arkin: Our tenant, Ingersoll Rand Company, is a multi billion dollar company occupying nearly 90% of the Arkin Building. It is merely looking for a much needed business identification sign. Ingersoll Rand would have preferred a much larger sign of approximately 55 square feet, but have in their ground sign request conformed with Novi’s direction of 30 square feet.


Irwin Arkin: Changing times are causing many companies to down-size or as we have heard right-size with results often necessitating the sharing of building space. (pictures passed out to the Board.) Typically a building is cut in half and each one of them would have their own signage in accordance with their need. The Arkin Building now has become what I would call a mixed use building. I believe that changing times could necessitate sign change needs such as are allowed in mixed use buildings of OS-1, OS-2, RC, or TC districts; where as a second wall or ground pole sign may be utilized to identify a major tenant provided the following conditions are met. (pictures presented to the Board.) A) that the building is no less than 3 stories in height and no less than 50,000 square feet (we are reading on page 1776 number 6) B) the tenant for whom the additional signage is sought leases no less than 50% of the gross leasable space in the building, C) the building otherwise has a separate name different than the name of the major tenant, the Arkin Building I believe would qualify in all cases.


Irwin Arkin: My last point, is that of pride. My pride is that of building ownership and being part of Novi for over 25 years. I don’t want to see our sign come down. I realize that Ingersoll Rand needs identification and a business sign. The City of Novi’s pride is in it’s structures; signage and overall City appearance. Ingersoll Rand’s pride is in the Arkin Building or as they call it the Novi Plant. Ingersoll Rand is so proud of the Arkin/Novi Plant that they showed the building off to over 400 outside employees this Christmas. (pictures presented to the Board.) You will notice in the pictures how they set up the tables and the chairs and so proudly decorated everything and brought everyone in; it was a delight for me to see.


Irwin Arkin: I am confident that the Ingersoll Rand Novi Plant will prove to be a very productive facility. They are doing things there that they haven’t done elsewhere. The building lends itself to a lot of good things. It is going to prove to be a very good location for them. The City of Novi should also be proud to have and to welcome Ingersoll Rand Company by granting them the much needed identification and business sign as requested. Thank you.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: With the size of the building and the identification that Mr. Arkin has on his building which is very modes and low keyed and for the size of the company that is in there, I think that they need some type of identification and I think that with what they are requesting is well within a size that is tasteful and not overbearing for that size of building.


Member Bauer: I have no problem with it.


Member Brennan: I agree.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 96-107 filed by Warren Signs, representing PM Realty


Warren Signs, representing PM Realty is requesting a variance to allow a ground sign 7' x 5'8" (39.662 sq. ft.) with the height from grade being 5'8", setback from the road 63 feet and the verbiage "NOVI BUSINESS PARK", located at 41551 Eleven Mile Road.


Kim Deserou was present and duly sworn.


Kim Deserou: We would like to install a sign on Eleven Mile Road due to the lack of identification for the park. The sign will be constructed and fabricated out of brick material with concrete caps, we could have gone with less expensive anodized aluminum but we chose to conform with signs that are existing in the area as well the new developments in the area. Due to the setback there is a problem with the size, but because of the woods that are right off of the road we are requesting a variance for this petition.


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




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Bauer: Are there going to be names that are put below this?


Kim Deserou: There may be up to 4, no more than 4 tenant names. They would be 3 inches in height. We have a sign along Meadowbrook which this sign is basically duplicated. It has the verbiage Novi Garden Office Park and below it is Walsh College. The letter size will be the same for both the business park name as well as any tenant names we decide to have on there.


Chairman Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: Do I correctly understand that the only variance that is being requested is that of the setback, is that correct?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, it is.


Chairman Harrington: In other words the size of the sign and the fact that they may put the tenants on the sign is not at issue, and the only issue is the 17 feet.


Alan Amolsch: That is right. If you went out to look at it, you would see the numerous trees that are there. If they put the sign up without the variance the sign would be in the woods.


Member Bauer: I have no problem with this.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Member Meyer,





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




Vice-Chairman Reinke: Just to give the Board some indication, I will not be here for the March Meeting which is scheduled for the 4th of March.


Chairman Harrington: That is correct. The "chair" will also be out of the area that same night. If the other Members of the Board would be available as near as they can tell the following Tuesday which would be March 11th we could tentatively set the Meeting or in fact set the Meeting for that time.


Chairman Harrington: We will change that Meeting to March 11, 1997.


Don Saven: Just a point of interest. We had an Ordinance Review Committee Meeting not to long ago at which time we were bringing up the issue of home occupations as it relates to our changing times that we have now and taking a look at the ordinance. If there is any comments that you wish to make about that particular provision because the chances are that you will run across it at one time or another, please get them to me as quickly as possible.


Chairman Harrington: I do have some feelings on that issue. We have had some significant home occupation cases come before us and my sense is that they have just been the tip of the ice berg. Do we have any preliminary drafts of a proposed ordinance, or are we just in the comment phase?


Don Saven: Right now, I brought up before the Board to take it to Council to have them beat it up a little bit to see if they want to hear it. Something has to be done in this area, strictly for the fact that day car centers or things of this nature or home care centers are now becoming an issue in areas where there may be consideration for disturbing one’s peace and solitude when you have a lot of kids in the back yard running around and some guy is working a night shift. That is not a good issue. We do get these complaints. I think that those are things that we have to take a look at. Plus with the changing of times when computers are now really changing a lot of issues regarding home occupations and people are staying home getting deliveries and services to their homes. Those are some of the things that we need to take a look at in that area. If you have any concerns about this, please get them to me so that I can bring them before the Ordinance Review Committee.


Chairman Harrington: To your knowledge does Ordinance Review at this point have companion ordinances from other cities that they are using as a guideline?


Don Saven: They are looking at them right now. But, I would assume that they are probably in the same stages that we are, being very honest with you because they are going about the changes just as much as we are. We can probably get with the Michigan Township Association and the Michigan Municipal League to see what they have on board right now and take a look at what they have as a model ordinance. The changes have taken place so much and so fast....


Chairman Harrington: We are now in the position, unfortunately, where 2 income families are not sufficient anymore and people have to take on part time third jobs or the equivalent to pay for what used to be a single family. I think that it is very pertinent and very timely.


Don Saven: One of the things is the Zoning Ordinance only alludes to home occupation by definition, meeting certain requirements. So if you went to your zoning book and looked at those requirements you would see what I am talking about and how does that apply in today’s society. This should be up for some pretty interesting discussion.





The Meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.









Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary