REGULAR MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF NOVI
CIVIC CENTER - 45175 TEN MILE RD.
TUESDAY - MARCH 11, 1997
The Meeting was called to order at 7:31 p.m., with Chairman Harrington presiding.
Present: Members Meyer, Brennan, Reinke, Harrington, Bauer, Antosiak,
Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official
Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer
Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary
Chairman Harrington indicated the record will reflect that we have a full Board present this evening. The City of Novi Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the City of Novi Charter to determine applications for variances or on occasion special use permits. These cases are generally in the nature of appeals after denial of an application by the City of Novi Building Department. The variance request will generally seek relief from strict application from the City of Novi Zoning Ordinances. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to approve a variance request. We do have a full Board this evening, including our alternate, so all decisions made by the Board this evening will be final.
Approval of Agenda
Chairman Harrington: It is my understanding that the first case No. 97-007, filed by FG-38 Corporation has asked to be tabled to the next Meeting. I am unaware of any other changes to the agenda.
Chairman Harrington: All in favor of the amended agenda which would exclude 97-007, say "aye" by acclamation. (All yeas.)
Approval of Minutes
Chairman Harrington: Any additions, deletions, modifications to the minutes of February 4, 1997?
Hearing none, all in favor by acclamation. (All yeas.)
Chairman Harrington: The Public Remarks section of the Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting allows members of the public to comment regarding cases or matters which are not before the Board at this Meeting; but are of general importance. Is there anyone in the audience that would like to speak to matters of importance not related to a specific matter? (No one wished to be heard at this time.)
Chairman Harrington: I would like to use this section of the Meeting to incorporate comments made by Council Member Richard J. Clark, regarding the various sign matters which are before the Board this evening. Mr. Clark, by way of general comment, has specifically objected to any of the proposed sign variances. Council Member Clarks comments are as follows: "If we are to maintain a quality community it requires that the zoning ordinances, city codes and in particular those provisions relating to signage be strictly construed. Limiting the number of signs avoids visual blight which you may see in many communities which have all most limitless use of signs."
Chairman Harrington: I have taken this time to incorporate his objection to the sign variances, rather than repeat this each time we call a particular sign case. Thank you, Mr. Clark.
Case No. 97-011 filed by Greg Gnatek
Greg Gnatek is requesting variances to allow for the construction of an uncovered ground level deck into the required side yards (south side would be 2'3" from the property line and the north side would be 2'8" from the property line) for property located at 2023 West Lake Drive.
Greg Gnatek was present and duly sworn.
Greg Gnatek: My wife and I purchased our home on March 29, 1996. At the time of the purchase our home had a "temporary occupancy permit". The home we purchased was a complete remodel. The reason that I am here tonight is to ask to a variance to be granted for a deck to be added onto the back of our home.
Greg Gnatek: The reason that we need the variance for a deck is to make the deck architecturally correct and proportionate to the home. The hardships that we propose are as follows: the width of our lot is only 31 feet wide. Number 2, the hardship is not of my own actions. When the home was purchased it already had a temporary occupancy permit and if I had been involved with the plans it would have been submitted along with the original building plans. Th practical hardship given current building requirements, the deck would not be architecturally correct, it would be to small, unpleasant to look at and give me a non-functioning door wall. I do have some pictures if I could give you some type of an idea of what I am talking about.
Pictures handed to the Board.
Greg Gnatek: This shows that I have 3 door walls facing the water. It also shows you the distance between my north neighbors and myself being 46 feet 7 inches; my south neighbor being 48 feet 3 inches which gives me a very good distance both houses.
Greg Gnatek: Given the current position and distance of our home and our neighbors homes the proposed deck would not obstruct any view for either of our neighbors. With the unique portioning of our home, the survey shows that our home is very uniquely placed on that piece of property. Given the unique positioning of our home that allows us to put a deck out there without obstructing any type of view. Our home was designed to have a deck, as you can see from the photographs with the 3 functioning door walls. Without Zoning Board relief and given the current building restrictions we would be unable to construct a deck proportionate to the home. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 32 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 5 written responses received; 2 voicing approval and 3 objections. Copies in file.
Deborah Simon, 101 Pickford. The easement that is for the lake access for our street, is right to the south of his property. I am not exactly sure where the property lines run, but in looking at the map of the property and how much distance, part of the house is right or very close to the property line. If he builds a deck it is going to come into our easement. At this time he has stored his boats on our easement and we have asked him to remove them and he wont. He said he has 36 feet of property, that is why I went to get the map from the county to see exactly how much footage he had and it is 31.38 feet; the same size as the easement. Nobody on our street, and speaking for all of the neighbors that I have talked to, want to lose our easement. That is our lake access. That is part of our property value. We did use the easement and we did take care of it up until the construction of his home. With all of the construction materials it has kind of turned into a mud hole now, it used to have grass there that we mowed. We dont have a problem, we understand that when they were building the house that they had to unload some of the materials there but the boats we would like to have removed because that is our easement. I have a feeling and I havent seen the exact plans of this deck, but I know that the only way to put a deck that he is speaking of is that it would have to go into the easement. I dont see how it could be built around the house without going into the easement. That is our main objection, we dont want to lose that.
Chairman Harrington: If it could be built without going into your easement, would you object?
Deborah Simon: I guess it would depend on exactly where it is. Is it on the property line or where does it fall. I would need to see exactly where it is going to fall.
Deborah Simon: I have several objections that I wanted to enter into the record. I didnt know that they needed to be mailed in, I thought that it would be OK to bring them in and give them to you tonight.
Chairman Harrington: The problem with that, and I will accept your objections, but the problem is that the Board Members not only try to inspect the properties but also review the various file materials and consider the objections and when they are presented at the moment of the hearing; it makes it difficult to consider the content. But if you would like to bring them forward, I will take a quick look.
(Copies of objections given to Board.) (Copies in file.)
Roger Mahlmeister, 156 Pickford. You have one of my objections up front. As you noted the 2 approvals are on West Lake Drive, both of those houses do have lake front already. I purchased my home approximately a year ago and part of my value was assessed because of the lake access, that is my only opportunity to get to the lake. As noted, he has his boats on that property. I take true objection to that. The question of whether I would object as to whether his deck went over on the access or not, I probably would depending upon how it was situated. I do not want to lose that access. It does not belong to Greg, nor should it be used by Greg.
Fred Simon, I was here probably long before any of you people. I have been here for 50 years; a resident and I lived at 101 Pickford across the street from the easement. Until I got sick where I couldnt help; my sons and I and our family took care of that easement. I take a little bit of objection to these fellows coming in and taking......actually the lots were to small for a home and they were allowed to build on them. I think that we shouldnt have to give any part of our easement up to these people. My sons and I and 3 or 4 families that lived up there at that time, took care of that easement for many years and now somebody wants to take it away from us and I dont think that is fair.
Diane Siancome, 123 Pickford. We have placed our objection tonight. One of my concerns as when Mr. Greg Gnatek was building his home, I walked down there and had some conversation regarding construction material on the easement and there was a little chat about the easement and he made a reference that the "City said if the price was right". So I think that leaves us all with a little bit of a bad taste that if we let him start here, by placing his boats and leaving them and then asking for the variance that our concern is what comes next? So maybe the deck, if it doesnt go to the property line, might not be a bad thing. But we want to be sure that nothing more comes after this. That is our fear.
Jane Squillis, 151 Pickford. I object to the easement being given at all. We purchased our home in 88; we are in the process of selling our home now and that is with lake access. We have already had it appraised with the access.
Fred Simon: When I bought this place, the gentleman told us we had the easement and that it was for us. That is one of the reasons that I bought that house. I have been there for 50 years. So you can figure it out. Novi was just 4 corners. That is how far back that goes.
Chairman Harrington: Before turning this over to the Building Department, I would comment to the audience and to our viewers that an easement as being discussed here tonight generally refers to a right of access to a piece of property and may commonly be shared by a number of other property owners. That is different from a variance. Just because a petitioner is requesting a variance, doesnt necessarily mean that the petitioner is infringing on an easement or a right of access. They are 2 different concepts. I think that what we are going to get to as this case develops is whether or not this variance request, in fact invades the easement. I am not sure that I have heard anything about that yet, but we will get to it.
Building Department had no comment.
Chairman Harrington inquired of Don Saven: Does the variance invade the easement?
Don Saven: As I am looking at the plot plan, the variance does not involve the easement that is adjacent to this parcel of land.
Chairman Harrington: Is the variance that is being requested a modification of the setback lines from the property line?
Don Saven: It is from the property line.
Chairman Harrington: So the granting of the variance as requested would not, as you understand it, would result in any incursion on the easement; is that correct?
Don Saven: That is correct.
Chairman Harrington: If there are issues involving storage of boats or of trespass on the easement rights of other persons, that is a separate issue than what we are dealing with?
Don Saven: That is correct.
Chairman Harrington: Following my inquiry with Mr. Saven, is the variance that you are requesting going to result in construction of your deck into the easement area?
Greg Gnatek: No, it will not.
Chairman Harrington: From your perspective in terms of what you are asking the Board to approve, will the deck interfere with the use of the easement?
Greg Gnatek: No, not at all.
Chairman Harrington: Help us out with this boat storage situation, which may not necessarily be relevant to our decision but has really attracted the attention of your neighbors. Are you storing boats there?
Greg Gnatek: Well actually there are 3 boats stored there and one of which is mine.
Chairman Harrington: Why?
Greg Gnatek: The only reason that I thought that we were able to store them there is because there are 2 other boats which I have no idea of where they came from and I dont have a problem with my boat. My boat is 16' and it is on a trailer and can be pulled anywhere. I dont have a problem purchasing storage for my boat, if that is the case. I know that there are 2 boats out there that I have no idea of where they have come from. No, I dont have a problem at all. I have never spoken to anybody about having a boat on that piece of property and if I had I would be more than happy to remedy that situation.
Chairman Harrington: One of the things that the Board feels strongly about is a good neighbor policy. A lot of these issues should be worked out before they come before the Board. Has anyone spoken to you or complained about the boat storage?
Greg Gnatek: No.
Fred Simon: Yes, we did. We talked to him about the boat several times.
Chairman Harrington: This isnt a trial on the boat issue. Obviously you can see that while not germane a decision as such; that is an issue of concern to your neighbors and it doesnt look good when you come in here looking for a variance. If you dont have the power or the authority to store your boat, then dont store it there unless you have all of these peoples OK and then they can store it there too and then you might be a little offended if there were 14 boats out there.
Greg Gnatek: Actually I was pretty surprised when 2 boats did appear there.
Member Brennan: The one comment that I had written down when I was looking through this, was there any consideration to giving the extension of this deck from the 2 corners of the house and why you had to go beyond the width of the house for that additional....
Greg Gnatek: Just to give an additional access there is what I was mainly looking for. An access from people walking from the side of the house.
Chairman Harrington: If Mr. Brennan is focusing on the same issue that I spotted, which is the reference to 2'3" to the side of your house; is that intended to be a stair access to your deck?
Greg Gnatek: Yes.
Chairman Harrington: If you shrunk the deck in and put it flush with the side of the house would you be able to have stairs there?
Greg Gnatek: No.
Member Meyer: If I understand correctly, you have 3 door walls and it appears that at this time you cannot use them because they are at a level if you walked out of the door wall you would sustain some injury.
Greg Gnatek: Yes.
Member Meyer: Also in light of what the "Chair" just said regarding the stairs, is there a door wall on that side of the house or are the 3 door walls just on the back side?
Greg Gnatek: They are just facing the water.
Member Brennan: Just following on with Mr. Meyers comments I wasnt suggesting that he doesnt need a deck, I am suggesting that he may not need a deck as wide as he is proposing and that the petitioner has already stated that the extra width extending beyond the width of the house and this is an incredibly narrow lot to begin with; so we are asking for infringements on both property lines but the purpose of having the extension beyond the outside edges of the house were for convenience for a set of stairs. Now I dont think that he needs 2 sets of stairs to get up onto the same deck. Is one for up and one for down? Is there a possibility of making this a little bit closer to what code may be or at least within the envelope of the house?
Chairman Harrington: Your suggestion or your question to the petitioner, Mr. Brennan; could the deck be shrunk 2'3" without interfering with access to the deck?
Member Brennan: Yes, we have dealt with these very narrow property sites on many occasions and while we hate to refer to previous cases it has been accepted generally that we like to keep within the same overall dimension of the home when we are looking at extensions, additions and my take on this was that it is no more different than that; this is an extension of the home. It makes sense that a deck is there. It is an obvious natural for the property. I just wonder why it has to be extended beyond the overall width of the house when the entire lot is relatively narrow to begin with?
Greg Gnatek: The only thing that I was looking for is styling and extra access to the deck as well.
Chairman Harrington: Could you live with, in terms of your proposal and what you are attempting to do, a deck which started at your lake side corner foundation of the house and paralleled the property line from there which would effectively shrink it 2'3" in size?
Greg Gnatek: So, removing the stairs. Yes.
Chairman Harrington: Well, you already have stairs in front?
Greg Gnatek: Yes, that is correct.
Chairman Harrington: It looks like the house is right on the property line?
Greg Gnatek: Yes.
Chairman Harrington: So anyone using those stairs as presently configured would have to walk on your neighbors property or someone elses property any way?
Greg Gnatek: That is actually the easement right there.
Chairman Harrington: So your visitors to those stairs would have to use the easement, which is commonly owned by the other property owners, correct?
Greg Gnatek: Correct.
Chairman Harrington: One would presume that if you were to shrink or to eliminate that access and bring the deck 2'3" closer in, it might to some degree curtail some of the use of your guests of that easement property. True?
Greg Gnatek: True.
Member Brennan: To follow along that line; if indeed this parcel or lot 3 is fenced that would make that proposed step on the south side unusable.
Greg Gnatek: Correct.
Member Brennan: Why not avoid a problem and take it out? That would be my comments.
Member Bauer: On the south side lake corner, how far would you say it would be from your deck to the ground from that corner?
Greg Gnatek: Approximately 3'6".
Member Bauer inquired of Don Saven: How many steps would you have to have on that drop?
Don Saven: About 6 steps.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I echo the rest of the Board Members comments. I think that it should be built no greater than the width of the house. If the gentleman would want to put some steps in at another point, he can place them wherever he wants to. I really dont think that he should exceed the width of the home.
Greg Gnatek: OK.
Chairman Reinke: In that vein, Mr. Reinke, as we follow the diagram that the width would be parallel to the property line.
Member Meyer: I would like to say that you have a right to this deck and yet I am trying to picture it built and you being out there and all of these neighbors are really upset with you. So, I really hope that whatever comes with our decision this evening that you would really work on the good neighbor policy that we have mentioned, in the sense that whoever those other 2 boats belong to let them take care of that but as far as your own boat it would really seem that it would be a good step in the right direction.
Greg Gnatek: Remedying that problem is....
Member Meyer: I am fully aware that it is not directly connected to this, but I cant help believing that you are hoping to have a lot of good times out on the deck and you want to certainly make sure that neighbors coming by are part of that good time.
Greg Gnatek: Absolutely.
Member Antosiak: I have a brief comment and I think that Mr. Brennan pretty well summarized my feelings about the deck. I have a question for Don about the easement. Is this a public easement or is this a private easement held by an association or the residents?
Don Saven: That I couldnt tell unless I have seen the tax records.
Member Antosiak: It is not necessary for this decision, my only point is that if you have a problem with somebody using the easement improperly, as you believe it, if it is a public easement the duty is on the City of Novi to enforce it; if it is a private easement held by lets say a homeowners association then that association has the authority to enforce it up to and including the right to sue people for using it improperly. So, I think that you should look at that and see who has the right to enforce your easement.
Chairman Harrington: We dont normally engage in rounds 1, 2 and 3 of debate, but I am going to extend the gentleman a courtesy of making whatever comment he is going to. Recognizing an exception is being made and that we dont go back to "Audience Participation" once it is concluded.
Fred Simon: What I want to know is that if they do approve this and you give him the 2'3", what is to stop him from coming back in another year, 6 months or 7 months and wanting more of that easement? The first thing you know, us people who have access to it have nothing.
Chairman Harrington: Let me address that comment. Responding to that, the "Chair" would point out that nothing before the Board this evening has thus far suggested that any invasion of the easement is occurring. What we are talking about is the minimum length of distance that you are allowed to put a structure next to the property line. This deck as proposed and were a variance approved this evening would not invade the easement. It is not going beyond the property line. It is closer to the property line than code would allow, but it is not going over into the easement. That is not what is being asked; that we allow an invasion of the easement tonight. In fact my position would be radically different than what it is if that is what was being proposed. In fact I dont think that we have the authority or the jurisdiction under law to allow the invasion of an easement. But that is not what is before us. That is not what he is asking for, as I understand it. Any relief that is granted would be conditioned upon his remaining within his property lines as requested.
Moved by Member Brennan:
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-011 THAT THIS PARTICULAR REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE BE DENIED, DUE TO A LACK OF HARDSHIP GIVEN BY THE PETITIONER FOR THIS SPECIFIC DESIGN.
I might add that you have the right to have a deck and I hope that you take our comments in a positive mode.
Chairman Harrington inquired: Is there a second to the motion that the request for a variance be denied in its entirety?
There was no second/motion fails for lack of support.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-011 THAT A VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED AS WAS MODIFIED BEFORE US HERE THIS EVENING, NAMELY BEING THE DECK AS THE PETITIONER REQUESTED EXCEPT THAT THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF THE DECK WILL BE NO WIDER THAN THE EDGE OF THE HOUSE. THE REASON FOR THE VARIANCE IS DUE TO THE NARROW WIDTH OF THE LAKE LOT.
Chairman Harrington: Clarification Mr. Antosiak. With respect with the narrowing issue, the length of the deck would commence at the foundation at the southeast corner and follow the property line in a parallel direction?
Member Antosiak: That is my understanding.
Discussion on motion:
Member Brennan: I must apologize, I must have been distracted because I didnt hear the amendment to the petitioners request.
Chairman Harrington: I support the motion only based upon the representation before this Board that the deck as proposed and modified will not result in any invasion of the easement. The easement will be intact, the easement will not be affected by the deck. The deck wont extend over the easement and it is based upon that I will support the motion.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 97-012 filed by Jeffrey Hagar
Jeffrey Hagar is requesting variances to construct an uncovered ground level deck into the required side and rear yards (variance of 8.08 inches for each side and a variance of 4 feet for the rear yard), for property located at 2109 West Lake Drive.
Jeffrey Hagar was present and duly sworn.
Jeffrey Hagar: The original plan for my home was to have a deck. The reason why the ground level deck plans were not submitted with the original building permit was simply for a finanacial reason. I have one document, which is an enlarged photograph of the backside of the home, which will show exactly where the deck will be placed in relationship to the home. (Photo presented to the Board.)
Jeffrey Hagar: If I would have submitted my deck proposal with the original plans I would have been approved for the side yard variance. As illustrated in the photograph that I have submitted I have a deck above. That deck is the same width of the home, which is 21 feet wide. Again that is the width of the home.
Jeffrey Hagar: I would like the proposed ground level deck to match the rest of the house and match the deck above. There is really no benefit in having the deck 8 inches shorter on each side. The proposed deck will not require rails, so it will not cause a distraction of the view of the lake from either one of my neighbors.
Jeffrey Hagar: The practical hardship as given the current building requirements for this specific and unusual piece of property would not produce a deck which is architecturally correct in my opinion. It would look more like a mistake rather than an architectural feature. I guess one might assume that the unusual lot size is a hardship by itself.
Jeffrey Hagar: In summary the proposed deck will not affect any of the surrounding neighbors. The deck height will not distract the view of the lake. It will add value to the surrounding area. Basically it serves no purpose and no benefit to build something that would decrease the quality of the appearance. Any and all support given tonight will be appreciated.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 27 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 4 written responses received; 2 voicing approval and 2 voicing objection. (Copies in file.)
Deborah Simon, I have objection I would like to give you for a matter of record. I think that these should be noted in the record.
Six (6) objections were received and placed into the file.
Gordon Wilson, 2009 West Lake. I would just like to say that since these gentleman have moved down the block, one house was a condemned piece of property the other one was a vacant lot and since they have moved in there they have done nothing but brought pleasure to the neighborhood. They look nice. This is the one corner of the lake that really needs some help. I dont know if you folks have been by there but those 2 houses stand tall throughout the neighborhood. Hopefully there will be more in the future. As far as granting the variances, if you have looked at the back of these homes from the lake they definitely look like an unfinished project. If you could grant these variances and any in the future; I think that any building on that area of the lake is definately needed and long over due.
Don Saven: I have just one question for Jeff. You have here 30 inches off of grade. You wont have any problem with the stairs in staying within that parameter?
Jeffrey Hagar: Yes, absolutely.
Chairman Harrington inquired of Don Saven: It is my understanding that the side variances are only 8 inches?
Don Saven: Basically yes.
Chairman Harrington: That would follow the footprints or the dimension of the house?
Don Saven: Of the existing house, yes.
Chairman Harrington: The variance on the lake side would be an additional 4 feet?
Don Saven: That is correct.
Member Antosiak: I just have a question for Mr. Hagar. Are you proposing that this deck be the exact size of the upper deck?
Jeffrey Hagar: Correct in terms of width.
Member Antosiak: How about in length, away from the house?
Jeffrey Hagar: It would be an additional 5 feet beyond that.
Chairman Harrington: How come? For example, I can handle that 8 inches may or may not be minimal; it sounds kind of minimal, why do you need an extra 4 feet toward the lake?
Jeffrey Hagar: The deck above is 21 feet wide, which is the width of the home and then it is 16 feet in length. The deck below, I would like to have sunshine on it and hence the reason that I have asked for the additional 4 feet. If you take a look at the architectural drawing of the proposed deck, you will see where there is an octagon; that is exactly where I would like to put a table. As noted in the drawing I have a support beam that is going to be positioned there and that has put me in a little bit of a tricky situation which I didnt realize until it was to late.
Chairman Harrington: If you had to do it over again, would you build the upper deck as big as it is?
Jeffrey Hagar: To be perfectly honest with you, I dont think that I would have built the home. This building of the home is for the birds.
Member Meyer: If I understand correctly, what you have done is that you have always intended to have a deck there.
Jeffrey Hagar: Yes. Because of financial concerns, the Deputy Building Official suggested that I not propose the ground level deck at the time and to build it at a later date to avoid any problems with getting a temporary occupancy permit and not fulfilling the original building plans as submitted. Hence the reason that I didnt include it when I originally submitted the plans.
Member Meyer: It appeared from the discussion thus far that there is a question of privacy in the sense that you are so close to the 2 neighbors; I dont understand how this would relate to you building a deck on the bottom?
Jeffrey Hagar: I understand what your question is and I certainly dont have the answer. But, I can tell you that one of the reasons why I made the deck as low to the ground is not to have rails. Obviously is you did have rails that could cause an obstruction and that is the reason why I kept it as low as I could so that there would be no rails needed.
Chairman Harrington inquired of Don Saven: Are there any code issues associated with a 30 inch elevation and no rails?
Don Saven: Above 30 inches requires a railing. You had better do it now, because the code is going to change.
Member Brennan: Mr. Antosiak raised a troubling issue and that is the additional footage towards the lake. I understand the petitioners interest in having some of this deck out further in order to gain some sunlight; but is that really a hardship for a 4 foot extension? You do have a whole beach in front of that, do you not?
Jeffrey Hagar: To answer your question, is that a hardship; no, I cant honestly say that. I can just say that it would be more of an architectural advantage rather than a hardship for that additional 4 feet. However, it would reposition that octagon in an area that I dont think would be eye appealing.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I would agree with Mr. Brennans comments. The small variance required for staying within the footprint walls of the home, I have no problem with. But, the extension 4 foot closer to the lake I really cant support.
Member Bauer: I cant either.
Member Brennan: For the sake of time and moving on with your project, would you like to reconsideration that extension at this point or do you want us to move on the petition as submitted?
Moved by Member Brennan,
Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke:
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-012 THAT THE APPLICANTS REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE ON THE SIDE YARDS BE APPROVED (8.08 INCHES); BUT THE REAR YARD PROJECT OF 4 FEET BE DENIED.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Meyer Motion Carried
Case No. 97-005 filed by Planet Neon, representing Workbench Furniture
Planet Neon, representing Workbench Furniture is requesting a variance to allow a second sign 13'6" x 18" (20.25 sq. ft.) the sign is to be placed on the side elevation of the building to be visible from Grand River Avenue, for property located at 26056 Ingersol Drive in the Novi Town Center.
Ed Goralewski was present and duly sworn.
Ed Goralewski: When Workbench Furniture initially took this building a number of years ago, we were allowed a sign that was oversized on Ingersol. The way that the Novi Town Center is built there really isnt any visibility off of any main street to see Workbench Furniture. We have a lot of new people moving into this area on a regular basis and the comment is that if Workbench Furniture did not advertise, people would not see them. They are not like a Thomasville which is on a main drag, or a Cort Furniture. They are kind of buried and not visible. We are asking, not for a monument sign but just a small sign of approximately 20 square feet to let people know as they drive down Grand River that there is a Workbench Furniture. We are not even asking for the word Furniture, just the word Workbench.
Ed Goralewski: There is another problem that arises, too. Evidently when these people are getting deliveries from their vendors, the truck drives around this center and happens to fall upon Ingersol Drive and they pull up right to the front of the store and really the delivery entrance on this property is on the east elevation facing Grand River and that would be according the drawing that you have, would be just south of where that sign is positioned. We know for a fact and there are several stores in there that have had variances granted and that was like "Running Fit" who has visibility now from Grand River and we would hope and ask the Board to see fit that we are able to put this sign on the building to help the hardship that Workbench Furniture has. Thank you.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 29 Notices sent to adjacent property owners, with no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Meyer: Is the sign on the front of this building right now?
Ed Goralewski: The front of the building has the sign that is 57 square feet, which meets the criteria. That building used to house Bavaarian Village before they moved to where the domes are; and Bavaarian at one time did have a side wall sign. What we did is, our client asked us to use that usable signage up on Ingersol Drive which was probably a mistake at that time. As I said, they do have a front wall sign but it is not visible from anywhere. You have to be directly there.
Member Meyer: But, that is where people go in and out of that building, correct?
Ed Goralewski: They would have to go into Ingersol Drive and Workbench Furniture is the most easterly building on Ingersol Drive and their front elevation faces north. It is very difficult to see. They are having a real tough time.
Member Meyer: And yet it is on the front entrance of this building?
Ed Goralewski: Right.
Chairman Harrington: You are in the old Bavaarian Village Center, correct?
Ed Goralewski: The area that Bavaarian Village occupied at one time.
Chairman Harrington: And you are kiddie corner from Running Fit?
Ed Goralewski: Yes, sir.
Chairman Harrington: And the elevation with a sign at present is the north elevation?
Ed Goralewski: It is the north elevation.
Chairman Harrington: And you want to put a sign on the east elevation?
Ed Goralewski: The east elevation, so that it would be visible from Grand River.
Member Bauer: I voted no for the other one and I would have to vote no for this one, too.
Chairman Harrington: Is there any magic to the 13.6 x 18 inch dimensions? Let me make it clearer than that; can you shrink the size of the sign and still accomplish what you want to accomplish?
Ed Goralewski: I think that sign is not very large with 18 inch letters especially with the distance from Grand River. It has to be readable; it cant just be a line. We are into the 20 foot parameter which actually and I believe that Running Fit was granted for their sign.
Chairman Harrington: We dont care about that; just tell us what is the minimum that you need.
Ed Goralewski: I think that 20 square feet would be. Really it is a very small sign. It is not very big.
Member Bauer: The reason why I would vote no is because people can not walk in where that sign is located. They would have to go around to the other side to get into it.
Chairman Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: Do I recall that there were 2 Bavaarian signs there?
Alan Amolsch: No there was not, there was only just one.
Member Meyer: And that was on the north side?
Alan Amolsch: Yes.
Member Brennan: If this large sign on the north elevation is doing you no good, why not move it to the Grand River side?
Ed Goralewski: Move that sign?
Member Brennan: I am just re-packaging what you have stated. You said that the there is very little traffic or very opportunity to see that sign.
Ed Goralewski: Visibility. We were allowed to have 57 square feet for that particular property. If you moved it to the Grand River side, I dont know if we could do that or not. I dont know how Alan Amolsch would feel about that.
Alan Amolsch: They would still need a variance. The ordinance states that the sign has to be located within the lineal frontage of the business.
Member Brennan: But we wouldnt be dealing with 2 signs.
Alan Amolsch: No, just the placement issue.
Member Brennan: So you could have one really big 57 square foot sign facing Grand River if that would be what you would want.
Ed Goralewski: We want identification on Grand River. Like all the other stores in the center, they have signs over their buildings. Once you are able to drive around the center, we want their customers to be able to see Workbench Furniture and where there entry is and that is where the initial sign is. But what is happening is that there is no visibility from any main street for that sign as there is for a number of businesses. It is just the nature of the way the center was laid out initially. That is the problem. If all of those stores faced either Novi Road or Grand River we wouldnt have this problem. But the problem is there just isnt any visibility. As I said, it is tough trying to attract new business when you are in this kind of a position. We have also tried to put directory signs into that center and it was the Linder Company that asked us to build these, but people are not getting out of their cars to take a look at these signs to find out where things are. We did not want to do them like that, we thought that they could be done a better way for stores to be identified; but of course, that wasnt our decision. We only build the signs.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am usually against a second sign, I think there is a confusion factor here because there is no doorway there. I think it would be more confusing for people. They might need to try some other form of advertising. I cannot support the petitioners request.
Chairman Harrington: I may be the only one who is empathetic to your situation but that is because I am through that center every day, all the time. I think that particular location, unlike for example Borders or Comp USA or the movie theaters or whatever; you are in a particularly difficult situation because you are facing north and that is not where the direction of traffic is coming from that is going to find you. It just isnt. You are basically land locked on 3 sides without signage and I voted in favor of the Running Fit situation and I think that your case is more compelling than theirs, because at least they are on the outside looking in but you can only be seen from one direction. I dont know about the size of that sign, I still think that it is a little large but I am not offended by the proposal. I think that you have a genuine hardship there. That is where I am at, but I am not sure that there is any other Board support for that position.
Member Antosiak: I believe that I am closer to your position, Mr. "Chair" than to Mr. Reinkes, although I typically dont like to approve sign variances. I agree with your comment. As I recollect the gentleman from Running Fit made similar arguments and I thought that he was also correct in his arguments. I believe that I could support a variance.
Member Brennan: I will just reiterate my earlier comment, I dont feel any different now. I think that they erred in where they placed the large sign to begin with and probably could have done themselves better located by having it located on the easterly side. So, I dont really have any sentiment to approve.
Moved by Member Meyer,
Seconded by Member Antosiak,
THAT INCASE NO. 97-005 FILED BY PLANET NEON REQUESTING THAT THE WORKBENCH FURNITURE HAVE A VARIANCE TO ALLOW A SECOND SIGN AS INDICATED HERE BY FOOTAGE AND BE PLACED ON THE SIDE ELEVATION OF THE BUILDING BE GRANTED DUE TO THE HARDSHIP INVOLVED AND THE LOCATION OF THIS BUILDING.
Chairman Harrington: Would this motion be limited to this particular tenant only and not apply to subsequent owners of the facility? Mr. Meyer, would your motion be limited to this particular tenant?
Member Meyer: Yes, limited to this particular tenant.
Discussion on motion:
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Without having a door there, I look at this as on off premises sign and for that reason I cannot support it.
Roll Call: Yeas (3) Nays (3) Bauer, Brennan, Reinke
Chairman Harrington: We have a 3/3 split in the Board which is not sufficient to approve your motion. Do we have further Board discussion or an alternate motion?
Chairman Harrington: I would inquire and usually we dont run into these situations, but is it the "Chairs" memory that while an approval of a variance would require a 4/2 vote; that a denial of a variance would require only 3 votes?
Member Antosiak: A denial requires a majority of voting Members. With 6 Members here it would be 4.
Chairman Harrington: Then we need the same 4 votes to deny a variance.
Member Brennan: I think it is worthwhile in discussing Mr. Reinkes observation and this was a second sign on the side of the building that the public could access it would be different consideration, I believe. But, it is not. It is no different than putting a Borders sign on the rear of the Borders building.
Chairman Harrington: Let me comment on that one. My memory of that particular location is that it is kiddie corner from Running Fit, right next to Mervyns, right next to the flower shop and that is where a significant portion of traffic parks; not just around the other side. They use that and walk to the entrance which is on the north side. So, you get parking from both sides going to the common entrance. True?
Ed Goralewski: Absolutely true.
Chairman Harrington: And when traffic is heavy, as a matter of fact, because I have done it; often you will park in the south Mervyns, flower shop, Tan Lines area and then walk across to your main entrance. True?
Ed Goralewski: True.
Chairman Harrington: Or you may get people who park in the Coneys area and then walk around to your door. Correct? There is no magic in the placement of that door.
Ed Goralewski: There is no magic, no.
Member Brennan: If there is no magic to the door, is there magic to the size of the sign?
Chairman Harrington: Could you live with a 12" sign?
Ed Goralewski: 12" vertical letters, it would be awfully small.
Chairman Harrington: Better than nothing?
Ed Goralewski: It is better than nothing, but would you consider 16"?
Chairman Harrington: We are not playing lets make a deal, this is not deals and steals.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Before we even go into negotiating and looking at a smaller sign, it is not going to change my position on this. My position is that this is a second sign.
Ed Goralewski: I think that the hardship situation still arises. When you drive westbound on Grand River you have no knowledge that the store is there. The other thing is that they are really concerned about their business. There is a lot of competition over there. There is a lot of people that are turning into that complex and I think that our hardship is basically the way the whole center is laid out. That is the problem. Of course, Novi is not going to allow a monstrous pylon sign over there indicating what businesses there are and I dont think that we are over-sized. I think that there is a company like Closeline, for example, that has 2 signs and they are fairly visible because you can see them off of Novi and also off that drive as you drive around the center itself. With this one, the only way to see their building at all and their sign is that you have to be driving northbound on the drive, not on Novi Road but the drive going around it. Then you would know that there is a Workbench Furniture, because they are set back so far. If they were set towards Novi Road or any other position we wouldnt be here asking for any other visibility. That is what our hardship is.
Chairman Harrington: Let me see if I get this straight. I am looking at a rendering which references partial east elevation. I assume that is where you want your sign. That is not the south elevation, but the east elevation. The east elevation would not necessarily be visible from Grand River anyway, correct?
Ed Goralewski: Yes, it would. Even though there are restaurants you would be able to see this sign. If you drive westbound on Grand River you would be able to see this wall.
Chairman Harrington: Just so the Board Members will understand where this Member is at; I have no sympathy for some argument that in this or other cases we need to increase visibility from adjoining roadways. I am concerned that people who are the main traffic in the mall have identification as to where you are and I couldnt care less what the people on Grand River see or dont see. You are off Grand River, you are not on Grand River, you are a street away. I am not concerned to grant an exception to the zoning code based on what people on an adjacent thoroughfare might see or not see. I am concerned, if there is to be an exception to the variance or the code that the sign is bigger than it has to be and I think that 18" is bigger than it has to be and that is my concern. So, I could support a second sign. I think that your location is unique. But I could not possibly support it by virtue of appealing to a marketing device for Grand River traffic. I wont do that in this case.
Ed Goralewski: Kind of a directional device?
Chairman Harrington: Whatever, but I just think that 18" is to big.
Member Meyer: I believe that you need a sign. I believe that it should be a sign that people can see. I believe that the "Chair" has very clearly indicated that people that are in that parking area. I also know that it is the spirit of the law or the ordinance that we have here, that Novi would not become a "Sign Mecca" where it would be a City filled with signs. None the less I think that the sign could be done with a certain amount of dignity and a certain amount of style that allows for you to get across what you want to do without necessarily being obnoxious or outlandish. I think we might be able to do something here. It appears that the sign that you want right now is to big.
Ed Goralewski: We would be interested in hearing possibly Alan Amolschs input on this. Would you?
Alan Amolsch: No.
Member Bauer: I think that having that second sign is going to be misleading to the public and I dont believe that there are many businesses in that Town Center that have 2 signs.
Chairman Harrington: Mr. Bauer is firm. Mr. Reinke is firm. Dr. Meyer is firm the other way and so am I. Mr. Antosiak?
Member Antosiak: I voted in favor of the previous motion. I do believe that a sign is necessary. Obviously I could support a smaller sign. I want to point out as you did, that the basis for my opinion is that you get into the parking lot and you are still confused. It is not that I cant see it from Grand River, it is once that I get in there I am still not sure where the store is at. Because you have parking on both sides of the building. I am not troubled by the lack of a door on the Grand River side. I can understand Mr. Reinke and Mr. Bauers point and I dont believe that I would approve such a request if there was not substantial parking on both sides of the building. That is the rationale that I am thinking about for that. I am not sure what other stores in that facility have 2 signs, but I also know that there arent a lot that are in this situation. Borders I know for example have 2 signs, but they front on a freeway or at least we deemed them to have. So, I could support a motion along the lines that you have suggested but perhaps a sign with 1 foot high letters.
Member Brennan: What has changed? Whats changed is now that we dont need the sign to be visible from Grand River because we are concerned about the traffic that is already in the Town Center. So, if we dont need to see it from Grand River, it doesnt need to be this big. If we are already driving around the parking lot at 5 miles per hour, because that is as fast as you can drive in the parking lot, I dont know that it needs to be 20 quare feet. So, if it is strictly for identification and you cant enter from that side anyway, if you can live with something smaller than that you might move me.
Ed Goralewski: If we would be allowed to do and I am sure that I could talk my client into considering 14 inch letters. That is reducing the size of the letter 14 inches and of course it will drop the total length of that sign to probably about and I am assuming 10 feet.
Member Brennan: So can you ball park what the square footage would be then?
Ed Goralewski: I dont know, maybe 14 or 15 square feet. I am not really sure, I think that it will be somewhere around 10 foot. If we reduced the size of the sign to 14 inches then, of course our computer will tell us exactly how big that will be.
Chairman Harrington: There would presumably be some shrinkage in the length of the sign as well.
Ed Goralewski: It would have to, sure.
Chairman Harrington: Then you might end up cutting the proposed variance size in half or that range.
Ed Goralewski: I dont know if it would be exactly in half; but I would say it would be about a third off. I dont have those figures in front of me and I cant really tell you at this moment.
Moved By Member Brennan,
Seconded by Member Meyer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-005 THAT IN PRINCIPAL WE HAVE GRANTED A SECOND SIGN FOR THE EASTERLY ELEVATION, THE PETITIONER IS GOING TO WORK AT MINIMIZING THAT SIGNAGE TO THE EXTENT THAT THE LETTERING WILL BE 14 INCHES TALL AND REDUCE THE OVERALL LENGTH TO IN AND AROUND 10 FEET WITH THE AWARENESS THAT IT IS THE BOARDS WISH THAT THIS BE DRASTICALLY REDUCED TO WHAT WAS PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED.
Discussion on motion:
Vice-Chairman Reinke: We have had other situations where they have had a blank wall and the petitioner wanted to put a sign up and we have refused it and I think that we are looking at the same situation here. This is a second sign. I cannot support the motion.
Member Antosiak: I have a question for Don or Alan. It is not clear to me that the motion that Mr. Brennan has made is specific enough for you to enforce or issue a permit, am I correct in my assumption?
Alan Amolsch: That is correct. It is either 10 feet or not. Or 9 feet or not.
Member Brennan: Well can we nail you down to 14 inches by 10 feet?
Ed Goralewski: I am not sure that 14 inches will fall into that parameter. It may be 11 feet. I may be 9 and 1/2; I am not sure. Ten feet is an arbitrary number.
Chairman Harrington: The "Chair" would invite you subject to the concurrence of the Board, to come back and see us next month with a rendering of what the 14 inches would look like. Ordinarily we would not do that but I am sure that you can count heads and you are within a whisker of being totally denied. Mr. Brennan has indicated that he could support a 14 inch high, but we have an unknown width which the Building Department cannot respond to. So, why dont you come back next month with a 14 inch rendering. Run it through your computers. That will also give us another opportunity to drive by both Grand River and do the circle route again. Hopefully, when there is not another Expo thing going on and we can get through there and see it. We will back to see you next month if the Board concurs. Would you like to see this gentleman next month?
Member Brennan: We have no choice.
Member Antosiak: With the lack of specificity I would say yes.
Chairman Harrington: Sure we do, we can vote and not have a majority and not have it approved.
Member Brennan: We have to have some specifics for Alan to issue a permit and that is what we are faced with. We cant get that. So....
Ed Goralewski: I can do this. If the Board would vote on this. If the Board would grant me a 14 inch high letter that would fall somewhere in the parameters between 10 and 11 feet; and I am not or I cant put this in stone right now, that I shall not exceed 11 feet. Would the Board vote on that?
Chairman Harrington: Come back and see us, that is my thought. I want to take another look at it and I want to see what 14 inches looks like and in fact you may have more of a majority or the Board in reflection may decide simply to turn you down. I feel uncomfortable given the nature of the discussion simply somewhere within the range of 11 feet.
Member Baty: One comment, I am not a sign designer however, each letter is approximately 18 by 18; because 18 x 9 gives you the 13.6. So if you were 14 and you wanted to stay with the square design you would end up at 10 1/2 feet in length.
Chairman Harrington: Run it through your computer, come back and see us next month. You will be number 1 on the sign docket; not the zoning docket, but number 1 on the sign docket. That is my thought and I want to see how the computer spits it out. I think that Board in fairness to you and in fairness to Mr. Clark who believes that we should have a strict construction of the sign ordinance, and in fairness to the other Members of the Board, we should see exactly what you are proposing. You are within a whisker of being totally denied.
Ed Goralewski: OK. Is this or is it my understanding that this is a continuation of this Meeting.
Chairman Harrington: Yes, sir. This is being tabled and we will bring it to a conclusion next month. Be sure to file a rendering so that we can have it with our materials and packets for the next meeting.
Case No. 97-008 filed by Best Buy Company
Best Buy Company is requesting a variance to allow a wall sign 22' x 13'6" (297 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "BEST BUY", to be located at the High Point Shopping Center at Eight Mile And Haggerty Roads.
Tim Palmquist was present and duly sworn.
Tim Palmquist: I am here to request a variance for the building signage at the store currently under
construction. You have before you a series of exhibits that show the current construction of that store. We have some aerial photos identifying the photo locations and small photos of the existing conditions and some larger computer modified photos showing the allowed and the proposed signage in each case at various locations. The locations are identified by the numbers on the sheets. Mr. Harrington has a color set of the same large scale photos that can be passed around amongst yourselves.
Tim Palmquist: We are requesting this 297 square foot sign. The letter height is 46 inches, the square footage of the letters alone and excluding the ticket area is 122 square feet. The ordinance allows 40 square foot sign which for out ticket means it would be a 5 foot by 8 foot ticket and the height of these letters would only be 16 inches. A signage rule of thumb is that you need 1 inch of letter height for every 20 feet of distance from the sign. On the site plan in front of me I have indicated distances from points along Haggerty Road. The shortest distance is 440 feet from Haggerty to our sign, which using that rule of thumb would give us a letter height of 22 inches. From the intersection of Haggerty and Eight Mile Road the distance is 900 feet and this would translate into letter height of 45 inches and this is one inch shorter than what we are requesting.
Tim Palmquist: The series of photographs along Haggerty Road show that there is a visibility problem caused by the topography of the site. Our store front signage would be visible from the intersection of Haggerty and Eight Mile Road but at the 40 square foot size it is unreadable. The retaining walls and the landscaping also act to block the view for a time. The photos currently do not show any landscaping. There is extensive landscaping planned for the retaining wall areas. I believe that there are crab trees at about 20 feet on center so that when these are planted and have grown for a couple of years I believe that we will not see much of the sign if any.
Tim Palmquist. As you are all aware, Eight Mile and Haggerty Roads are very busy roads and we dont want to create a further problem. So what we are asking for this variance so that the customer coming to Best Buy and the center can identify Best Buy ahead of actually being on top of the entrance point. The entrance point, is probably in the future about the only place that you will see the sign and I think that from the photos at the 40 square foot sign at the entry it is not extremely readable.
Tim Palmquist. If Best Buy were considered a free standing building, I believe that we would be allowed a sign in the neighborhood based on the distance from our storefront to Haggerty Road. We would also like you to consider the fact that Best Buy is a regional draw retailer. This means that we count on traffic coming from a 60 mile radius to the store so our customers need to be able to identify the location from the freeway. We are not asking that they be able to read the sign and I think that from the exhibits you will see that they really cant read the sign, but from our advertising they might be able to put 2 and 2 together given the shape of our copy-righted ticket.
Chairman Harrington: Did you say with the proposed sign the 200 some odd square foot sign that you wouldnt be able to read that? Is that what you meant?
Tim Palmquist: I think that if you look at the exhibits, the photos numbered 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 which are taken from the southbound and northbound exit points. Photos 13 and 14 we didnt even bother to show what a 40 square foot ticket would look like because you cant read the 297 square foot ticket. You can see it, but you cant read it from 10, 11 and 12. Ten is shot through the trees.
Chairman Harrington: All I am trying to do is to get an answer to and I dont mean to interrupt your presentation, I dont normally do that, but I didnt want any confusion. Was your statement that the large sign you would be unable to read or was it the sign which conformed to our ordinance you would be unable to read?
Tim Palmquist: You would not be able to read the sign that conforms with the ordinance and from the northbound exit point you would not be able to read the large sign. You probably would be able to identify that it is the ticket copy-righted shape of Best Buy.
Tim Palmquist: I would like to state that Best Buy is very excited about opening our store in Novi and we have been willing to work with the City on the design of our storefront. Our prototype store typically has a 43 foot tall entrance element and we have modified that to 40 feet. Our prototype sign is 391 square feet with an additional side sign of 6 foot in height. We are not asking for any side signage. We have gone from 391 down to 297 square feet. We would like to you to seriously consider that request. We understand that the ordinance allows for a maximum sign of 250 square foot sign if we were considered a free standing tenant, which we are not.
Tim Palmquist: I have also personally witnessed an accident along Haggerty Road, right in front of the project on my one previous visit to look at the construction of our store. We dont want to aggravate that potential. We want to give our customers time to locate the store prior to hitting that access point and be prepared to make the turn prior to making that point.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 17 Notices sent with no written response received.
Chairman Harrington: Before going to audience participation, the "Chair" will comment that we treat all of our cases seriously and especially when they are commercial cases involving mass marketing and the like; they receive most serious consideration. I think that it is a severe handicap to the Board to be presented with, as I have commented earlier, a bulk of exhibits which the petitioner wishes us to take seriously and to review because we can either take an adjournment and look at all of these things carefully or sort of page through them while you are talking to us which makes it difficult. I am not so much speaking to you as a petitioner, but to others out there. If you wish us to consider exhibits, attachments and the like, we will review each and every piece of paper as we do for every meeting. We will go out and look at the site as we do. It is really a problem for us when we get mass submissions at the time of the hearing. That is problem for us. That is a problem for the "Chair" and I simply note that.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Antosiak: On the color photos that you circulated, you had outlined the Best Buy building in a purple or a bright blue color; was that just for identification on the photo or is that the color of the building?
Tim Palmquist: That is the color, or close to that color.
Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: If this were a free standing building what would be the maximum sized sign that would be allowed?
Alan Amolsch: If it were, it would be based upon the setback from the centerline of Haggerty Road to where the sign is located on the wall. I dont know what that is. It is a 1 and 3 formula; you get 1 square foot of sign for every 3 feet of setback. Whatever that distance is and I dont know.
Member Antosiak: For example, if it were 450 feet they would be allowed 150 square foot sign.
Alan Amolsch: Right, all you do is to take 1/3rd of the figure.
Chairman Harrington: The berming which is substantial, when I drove down Haggerty Road and examined the site, as well as the site of the other applicants as well as examining the 24 square foot of signage that most of the other businesses seem to be able to live with on that stretch; but the berming itself were you aware of the berming requirement before you made your decision to assume tenancy of that property?
Tim Palmquist: I personally didnt make that decision; but I believe that Best Buy was aware of the berming.
Chairman Harrington: So they kind of went in with their eyes open with that being a site or visual problem, to the best of your knowledge?
Tim Palmquist: To the best of my knowledge, yes.
Chairman Harrington: Is a significant factor for you in your petition this evening that the signage be sufficient to allow visibility from I-275, is that why we have all those little numbers there?
Tim Palmquist: No, I was merely trying to show that you really cannot see it from those points even at the 297 square foot sign. I think that what we are trying to get to is that from the corner of Eight Mile and Haggerty Road where you also have photos, is that you are able to identify Best Buy from that point so that you are prepared to make a turn into that entrance point when you reach it. From Eight Mile and Haggerty when the landscape is in place you are going to lose the visibility of Best Buy and if you havent been able to read the Best Buy sign from Eight Mile and Haggerty you are going to have one opportunity and that is when you hit that entrance point.
Chairman Harrington: Your position would be that it is not important and it is not a consideration that the traffic on I-275 be able to see your sign? Your concern would be the traffic on Haggerty Road.
Tim Palmquist: That is correct.
Chairman Harrington: I would be concerned about rubbernecking traffic on I-275 looking out and taking their eyes off of the road and being attracted by your sign.
Member Antosiak: I think that is a valuable question, Mr. "Chair", because that was in their written materials as a rationale for requesting the sign. I think it deserves comment, at least from me, that it would be an irrelevant consideration from my perspective. The reason that I asked about the color is because it appears to me that the building is going to stand out, at that color. In every photo that I looked at and the color photos that color which may be more vivid as depicted on the photos then it will be in real life, but it did stand out. In every photo that color was visible. I think that color is going to make that building visible and I wont say irrespective of the size of the sign but I think that the size of the sign will become less important with the color of that building being so visible.
Tim Palmquist: I guess my only response to that would be that you can have a blue entrance element that is visible but unless people know what it is it serves no purpose.
Member Antosiak: I agree, but I think you referred to it as your trade mark color or your standard color or whatever and I think that if you drive through Novi you wont find to many buildings that are that color.
Tim Palmquist: It is a prototype color. I would agree with you.
Member Brennan: My initial read on this whole case when I reviewed this at home was that the petitioner was portraying that this needed to be identified from the freeway and now we have a change in that position and the building identification be able to be made from Haggerty or at least Eight Mile and Haggerty. I guess my initial thought is what is any different than any other large commercial facility on that strip that meets ordinance?
Tim Palmquist: I guess I would say it is the topography and the visibility once all of the landscape is in place that you will not be able to see or read the sign.
Member Brennan: Is it not the design and the marketing of your company that specifically puts the signage in the upper right hand corner of this uniquely shaped building, at the very top? So unless you build it higher that is as high as you are going to get it any way; no matter what size it is.
Tim Palmquist: I guess usually we try to center that sign. We have never had a project where we have had a 40 square foot sign so we did place it at the top of the wedge to gain as much visibility as possible. I really couldnt say that in the final analysis that is where we would place that 40 square foot sign if that were all that was approved. I think, architecturally it is not a pleasing placement of that sign and I guess I would say that we probably would not locate it in that exact position.
Member Brennan: For the sake of anybody that is watching, I will state the obvious. What the petitioner has asked us to consider is a sign that is 7 times greater than what the ordinance allows and my own personal feeling as I reviewed this at home was huge.
Chairman Harrington: While you may not be speaking to and in fact you are probably not speaking to the companion cases which would be the Office Max and the Copy Max cases, would the "Chair" correctly understand that all of you gentleman are located within the same structure?
Tim Palmquist: That is correct.
Chairman Harrington: They are within one continuous building structure, so to some degree the signage needs if any would be similar; not identical but similar perhaps. Within that particular structure on the next case and I dont want you to speak to that but they are asking for an east elevation sign and a south elevation sign; where are you guys? Are you in the middle of that structure or on the north end?
Tim Palmquist: We are on the north end.
Chairman Harrington: When I tried to access the structure the other day it looked like there was an unpaved access accessible from the north, not just from Haggerty but also from the north, what is the roadway that goes around there? Orchard Hill Place, will there be an access to Best Buy from there?
Tim Palmquist: There will.
Chairman Harrington: Do you have some plan that you are going to come back to us sometime down the road and say that you need additional signage for the back road entrance.
Tim Palmquist: No. Let me show you the elevations from 1994. This is what a prototype Best Buy would look like with at 43 foot hallway. That is not what we are proposing. We are proposing no signage for the side of the building.
Chairman Harrington: The traffic accident that you referenced; that didnt have anything, to your knowledge, to do with a signage problem did it?
Tim Palmquist: No, but I just believe and being out there tonight before the Meeting that Haggerty is an extremely busy roadway and if we have people trying to look for a Best Buy they are going to be looking for a sign and the easier we make it for them the less chance that we have for people making sudden turns when they finally realize at the entrance that here is Best Buy and I better get over into that turn lane. I think that we could alleviate some accidents.
Chairman Harrington: Where is the nearest Best Buy?
Tim Palmquist: We have some in Detroit.
Member Baty: Will there be a sign that is identifying the complex?
Tim Palmquist: Gary Kroll is here from the developer, there may be a submission for an identification sign. We dont have the final nature of that signage.
Gary Kroll: I am with American Realty the developer. I would like to answer one question that you had asked Tim earlier, Mr. Harrington. We had a meeting last Wednesday with the City Forester on the front wall and we have been asked to add additonal trees in the terraces to basically cover up things. He mentioned a crab apple, we are putting crab apples in those terraces to further block the view of the center. I wanted to reitterate that. One of the things as far as the signage with the architecture and the size of the building I think that a small sign would be out of proportion to the building and we would support a larger sign as well.
Gary Kroll: To answer your question, Ms. Baty; we are considering putting some identification signs and coming in for a variance. Right now we are evaluating exactly what we want to bring in to present to the Council. We have looked at a monument. We have looked at some wall signs. Something to identify the entrances because they are hidden into that area. That is something that we may be looking at in the future.
Member Brennan: That raises a bit of a concern, I think. If we have other signage that we are going to be considering I would like to see the whole package. If we are talking monument signs, additional wall signs we dont need to negotiate one deal and then six months later we are back at the table. If there are plans for additional signage I would suggest that you would consider right now what you want and bring it in.
Member Meyer: My concern is did you know ahead of time what the ordinance was regarding the size of the signs?
Tim Palmquist: Yes, we routinely need to go in for signage variances. Some are successful and some are not. So, it is a part of my job.
Member Meyer: I guess what I am asking is and I have heard tonight that you have made this effort to pull it down somewhat in size and yet it is still 7 times the size that the ordinance permits. How could you imagine that we were going to be able to approve anything along that line?
Tim Palmquist: Well, I guess I am not really sure how to answer that. It has happened. If you look at what our prototype sign is and it is nearly 400 square feet; so what we are asking for is more than a hunderd square feet less than what we put on our buildings if there is a relatively lenient signage ordinance. Not to mention that there are cases where we have signs on 4 sides of the building plus 2 pylons and the pylons will be 250 square feet. So, I guess for us, it doesnt look like we are asking for a lot of signage.
Member Brennan: Have you ever developed or done anything in the City here before?
Tim Palmquist: No.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: You mentioned before the distance from the point of where the sign is going to located on the building to Haggerty Road, what was that distance?
Tim Palmquist: From the center point of Eight Mile and Haggerty Road to our sign is 900 feet.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am not talking about that road.
Tim Palmquist: From that point it would be 440 feet. Perpendicular it would be 505 feet.
Member Baty: Did I understant you correctly, you said you had an alternate proposal just in case this one didnt go?
Tim Palmquist: Yes. This is a 200 square foot sign, which measures 11 feet by 17 foot 9 inches. This is what we consider a minimum of what makes a Best Buy store work. The letters on this sign are 30 inches high. We are not going to get visibility or readability from the freeway. I think that you will get some readability from Eight Mile and Haggerty Roads.
Chairman Harrington: Let me share a couple of thoughts that I have with the Board and see if we can get some direction on how we want to go or where we want to go. I think that there is a significant problem there. I think the signage problem is linked between the 3 tenants, although we havent heard from the other 2 yet. I am not sure the approval of any of these signs is going to fix the problem becuase number one the berming is significant. You drive by there and it is difficult to see the buildings. Nubmer two with the planting of the crabapples and the appurtenant growths you are not going to be able to see whatever is up there anyway. It is a real problem and I think that it needs some creativity. I dont feel comfortable, particularly given that this is a brand new business center and granting wholesale variances based on existing conditions which arent even included yet. We dont know what the other variances are, we dont know if there is a ground pole sign or a shopping center sign or what else is going in. I am not convinced based on the presentation that even granting a sign which is even 7 times what the ordinance permits is going to solve the problem. I think that the situation needs more creativity. I think that it needs some more architectural perspective and I think that it needs some kind of common approach. We will listen to all 3 cases. I do note that the CopyMax sign is 69 square feet and thankfully not 297, but I think the signage for that project to some degree should be linked. There should be some comprability between the signage of the various stores and I dont feel comfortable right now in approving any variance for a brand new center which havent even opened yet. I am not convinced that there has been showing that people cant find it or wont be able to find it and I am not convinced that there is a hardship that the ordinance needs to be set aside; but that could very well be the case 2 months or 3 months or 6 months down the road. I just dont have enough information and I am troubled by that.
Member Bauer: I agree with you.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: What is your target opening?
Tim Palmquist: I am sorry I cant answer that. I think that Gary might be able to tell me.
Gary Kroll: Your targeted opening date is late June.
Tim Palmquist: I guess one thing that had been brought up in a meeting with Alan Amolsch is the possibility of erecting a temporary sign. We do have "coming soon" kind of banners that we could put up on the building for the Board to take a look at for a matter of 2 days or something during the construction and before it is complete. I guess we would be open to doing something like that.
Vice-Chariman Reinke: I think that we are really need to do something like that to get a visual perspective of the location of the whole parameter that we are taking inton consideration here for your benefit as well as our benefit. We can sit here and throw numbers around and with the location, and with the visibility and with the identification you really cant comprehend it with the distance away and all of the parameters that we have to take into consideration.
Member Meyer: Is the entrance to this building going to be off of Crescent Blvd. or will the entrance be from this driveway going up?
Tim Palmquist: It will be off of Haggerty.
Member Bauer: Please dont put up any banners or flags.
Tim Palmquist: What I meant by a banner was really just a flexible fabric that would replicate what the ticket sign would look like. We have them in stock and when we are doing a remodel of a store the signage will come down and we put up a banner that says "remodeling" or "re-opening" or "coming soon" and it will just give you an idea of what the sign size will look like.
Member Antosiak: I guess I would like to sort of back up what Mr. Brennan said earlier. I realize that there are 3 businesses involved at this location and they are separate and distinct and they all have separate and distinct needs; but from our perspective we do to a certain extent have to look at that as one business center. I would feel a lot more comfortable looking at all of the signs that will be required for all of those properties at one time so that we could assess the total impact of the decisions that we are making. I am not sure that sitting here tonight that we could do that. I am not sure and you know at this point in time what other signage you will be asking for; whether it be monument signs at the entrances, directional signs or anything like that.
Tim Palmquist: The timing of this thing was that OfficeMax and Best Buy did come in together at the same time so that we could address these kinds of issues at the same time.
Member Brennan: But you dont have all the information?
Tim Falmquist: We dont.
Member Brennan: The comment has been made that there is still some conversation about a pedestal or common sign. We have the City Forester here, can I ask him a question?
Member Brennan inquired of Chris Pargoff: This barrier that they are putting up along Eight Mile, it is 3 tiered and I would guess that it is 6 or 7 foot walls and so from Haggerty to the top of this thing is in the neighborhood of 21 to 24 feet and then they are going to have apple trees on top of that?
Chris Pargoff: No, the apple trees will be in the terraces. The original landscape that was approved without the terraces is still going to be on top of that. That was approved by the Planning Commission and I believe that the original plans called for the entire site to be a few feet lower than what it is right now. That is why the original plans are going to be planted along the top of the wall and then the crabapples or some vertical planting is how we directed them to break the line of the concrete wall. That is what we were looking for, more than to add anything to the top of the wall; it was to break the line of the concrete wall so that it wouldnt look like a fortress.
Member Brennan: The point of my question, is to get some sort of jist of how much of a barrier that we have and my take on this is that by sitting in the car on Haggerty I have a wall and trees 30 feet plus and it may be that sign could be a zillion square feet and you are still not going to see it.
Chris Pargoff: That would be my take on it, but I would really have to go back. When I looked at it and asked them to put some plant material on the terraces I was reacting more to the wall than anything else. I would have to actually sit there on the shoulder to tell you whether or not you would be able to see it.
Member Brennan: Again the point is, you are trying to make it look nice but it further adds some difficulties in even seeing this building and may require a totally different design.
Chris Pargoff: I dont know that the terrace plantings would add difficulty but the fact that they are going to put what was originally approved on top of the terrace may create that situation because that was approved by the Planning Commission without the terraces. I am not sure and you would probably have to ask Mr. Kroll why the terraces are there rather than the original plan because I am not really sure exactly why the terraces were added to the original plan.
Member Meyer: Will these trees be tapered trees so that they never grow taller than 7 feet?
Chris Pargoff: The ones that are on the top of the terrace that were approved originally I think are regular shade trees. They can be good sized trees.
Member Brennan: I think that those comments further support the contention that there is a lot more information to be gathered here and that perhaps the parties involved in this development should work together in coming up with a common signage proposal that fits their requirements for the traffic to see it on Eight Mile while still being closer to the ordinance.
Tim Palmquist: I guess I would like to make one point regarding the landscaping and the visibility from Eight Mile and Haggerty Road, if you look at the plan the elevation at this area is about 812 feet. Our finished floor elevation is set at 833 feet and that wedge is another 40 feet. So we basically have about 60 foot of difference from the top of our sign to the intersection. So you are looking up over and through this existing Chilis parking lot. I believe most of the landscaping is in here.
Chairman Harrington: Let me tell you what I think the Board is aiming for. First of all I think that it is probably going to be impossible to put closure in terms of a yea or nay and especially on a yea for your variance request this evening. The sense that I am gathering as Chairman is that there is additional information of a substantial nature that is needed to provide you with intelligent feedback on your request. First and foremost if the anticipation is that there is going to be additional variances requested I think that the Board in fairness should be entitled to consider all variances associated with this project at the same time. If there are no other variances requested or contemplated that is fine, but we sure wouldnt want to see requests come back later. Number one, if there are additional variance requests to be permitted I think the Board would like to consider this as part of a total package. We are on a time frame and a time scenario where we meet the first Tuesday of every month (this was an exception) we will be meeting the first Tuesday of April, the first Tuesday of May and the first Tuesday of June for your own planning purposes and additional variance requests have to be turned into the Building Department 2 weeks in advance of the Meeting. If you can or you anticipate additional variancess and you can get them by 2 weeks before the next meeting we could come back and take a look at this in April or we could look in May or we could look in June. Nothing the Board is doing here this evening should convey to you and your principals any lack of enthusiasm for your businesses to join our community. We are always excited about new businesses. But we do have an ordinance that we have to enforce and if there are to be variances they have to be based on hardship and they should be based upon the minimum incurrsion on the variance and not the maximum and not what is convenient; but the minimum that would be needed to accomplish your purposes based upon your hardship. You have some unique situations there. I am not convinced that architecturally I have heard all of your options about what is out there. Maybe someone should be taking a look at those barriers that are out there for signage purposes. Maybe there is more of a gound pole variance and less of a wall sign that should be granted. There is a problem and the Board, I think, will want to work with you. I would think that we would want to have all possible options presented to us so that we can help you out consistent with the demands of the ordinance. I also think that the sense of the Board may well be that we dont want to look at in isolation while we certainly will consider all of the variances as part of a total package. Certainly consider the cases individually. But, I dont feel comfortable piecemealing off and doing Best Buy in April and then Office Max in May and maybe consider Copy Max in isolation from the other two. You are all a part of the same center there, you all have the same problems, you all have the same visibility difficulties which I think as a Board that we should address as a whole.
(Board Members all agreed.)
Chairman Harrington: Would you, and I would adress this to you and your principals and I would also address the Copy Max persons and the Office Max persons, have an interest in coming back and seeing us either in April; perhaps with an update, maybe you dont have everything that you need or all of your architectural options established, or getting a little more time and coming back in May? We do meet the first Tuesday of every month. Would you like to have some more time to present some additional material to us directly with the concerns and the feedback that you have had this evening?
Tim Palmquist: Answering for myself only, I guess that I would like to come back in April for the sake of our schedule. It will be difficult for us to pull together the information in the 2 week time frame, but I think for the sake of our knowing what our signage is going to be and the production schedule for our signage people and the opening dates, we will need to be here in April.
Chairman Harrington: So you would like to come back to see us the first Tuesday of April, correct?
Do you anticipate that there will be additional variances?
Tim Palmquist: I anticipate that there will be some form of center identificaiton requested and what form that is....
Chairman Harrington: Will it need a variance?
Tim Palmquist: I believe so. That is a question for Mr. Kroll, he is responsible for the center signage and Best Buy is not.
Alan Amolsch: Until they have at least 4 businesses in the center, up and operating, they are not even allowed a business center sign. So, the answer to the question right now is yes. They will need a variance for any pole sign.
Chairman Harrington: What the "Chair" is inclined to do subject to approval of the Board is to table your matter and I will also inquire of the other cases before us. To table your matter until April. It being the understanding that if you need more time you dont have to come back in April and say that "we dont have it toghether yet and we want to see you in May", you can deal with the Building Department and tell us that you would like to come back and see us in May rather than April. We will accomodate you. It takes time to order signs. It takes time if you get an approval to do what needs to be done. We want to work with you and we want to help you, but we want to make the right decisions for the right reasons. We want all of the information in order to do that. Would you like to come back and see us in April? If you cant get it all together for April, come back to see us the first Tuesday in May.
Tim Palmquist: We will coordinate with Mr. Kroll and the Office Max folks to coordinate a time. Whether it is April or May.
Chairman Harrington: The case that you have addressed is specifically the Best Buy case, are you aslo speaking for the Office Max matter in that regard.
Tim Palmquist: No, I am not.
Chairman Harrington: Would someone like to speak to Office Max hearing the discussion that has been heard so far? Given the preference of the Board to see this in its entirety rather than piece meal, would you like some additional time to provide any additional material to us?
Unidentified Person: Actually I would like 5 minutes to confer with my associates on this. We have travelled in from different points of the country and would like to address some of your concerns and 5 minutes would do that.
Chairman Harrington: If there are in fact persons who have come in from out of state and would like to have the opportunity to say whatever they have to say, we will accomodate them. We have the time set aside this evening and we will not bring and drag them back for another Meeting. If they want to talk to us tonight we will listen, but I think that consensus of the Board is pretty clear. We want to look at this shopping center package in its entirety. If you wish to confer with your principals, please do. Same inquiry of Copy Max?
Unidentified Person: I will speak to both.
Gary Kroll: I would like to state one thing. We have Copy Max, Office Max and also Best Buy. We still have one space in the center that we have not leased out yet. So, when a comment was made that we want all of the sign package together, we dont have that center space. The other thing as far as the identification of a monument sign, we have held off basically to get the landscaping in. We would like to see how the center looks. In the Planning Commission, they had requested us to get some shopping center identification signs off of the right of ways and we have been working with Wayne and Oakland County in trying to get those. We want to wait and see exactly what kind of impact we are going to have on the traffic before we come in with something that no one wants. We want to work with the City and be able to give them what is aesthetically pleasing as well as what will work for the center. That is one of the reasons why we have held off. With the direction of Mr. Amolsch we were looking at that.
Chairman Harrington: We will briefly pass on those two matters and call the next case.
Case No. 97-013 filed by Beztak Companies
Beztak Companies is requesting variances to allow the continued placement of two (2) additional entranceway signs 30" x 24" (5. sq. ft.) to be located at Broadmoor Park and Ten Mile Roads and Baker Street and Beck Road. These signs were erected without a permit.
Fritz Franstead was present and duly sworn.
Fritz Franstead: We submitted to the City some entryway features, wall and columns; which we received permits to construct. On those plans we had a plaque. It is 5 square feet, 24 inches by 30 inches. It was shown on the right hand side of each entryway. We constructed the walls. We ordered one plaque for each enrtry; one off of Ten Mile Road and one off of Beck Road. We installed those plaques. Unbeknown to us, our sign erector did not get a permit for those. They are solid brass plaques. We kept them small intentionally. We thought that they were very tasteful. It is something that we havent seen in Novi. They were so nice, that we decided to get 2 more. Unfortunately the same person installed them without a permit and that is why I am here this evening.
Fritz Franstead: We know our competition directly to the south of us, Autumn Park, has a similar situation. They have taken up 20 square feet on both sides of each entry. Both at Nine Mile and Beck Road, giving them a total of 80 square feet of signage. We are just asking to keep our total of 10 feet and Ten Mile and 10 feet at Beck Road.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 18 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objeciton. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Antosiak: Just so you know Autumn Park did come before us to seek a variance for their other signs.
Fritz Franstead: I know, we got a Notice in the mail for that.
Member Meyer: You really didnt know that there was no permit given for these signs?
Fritz Franstead: No, sir. We used Accent Signs for the first time. We had to buy the signs. They were made out of state. He had a vendor who made them and I believe he was in Utah. We purchased them through him. He erected them. We have built other signage in Novi at subdvisions and we always make our sign people get the permits. We know as a company permits are required. Unfortunately this one fell through the cracks.
Member Antosiak: Also as a resident of Beck Road, I drive by these signs and have seen them since they have been up and I think that they are fairly tasteful.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-013 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE FOR 2 SIGNS AT 2 DIFFERENT ENTRANCES FOR A TOTAL OF FOUR (4), FIVE (5) SQUARE FOOT SIGNS BE APPROVED DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE SUBDIVSION DOES FRONT ON TWO (2) MAIN THOROUGHFARES.
Discussion on motion:
Member Meyer: These arent permanent signs are they?
Fritz Franstead: Yes.
Member Antosiak: Yes, these are subdivision entryway signs.
Member Meyer: So we are giving approval to these signs.
Member Brennan: Just to be clear, the total square footage of all the signage is still under what overall would be allowed?
Fritz Franstead: There is a total of 10 square feet on Beck Road and 10 square feet on Ten Mile Road.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 97-014A & B filed by Sullivan & Leavitt
Sullivan & Leavitt is requesting a variance to allow two (2) ground signs for property located at 22375 Haggerty Road. A) a ground sign 5'6" x 1'4" (7.15 sq. ft.) to be placed 33' from the centerline of the road; B) a ground sign 5'6" x 1'4" (7.15 sq. ft.) to be placed 60' from the centerline of the road.
Martin Leavitt was present.
Martin Leavitt: I would like to pass out some photographs before we start.
Martin Leavitt: I handed out pictures and I think that the most relevant picture would be the lower picture on the first page that is entitled Haggerty and Nine Mile Road. It shows a half of a mail truck.
Martin Leavitt: We moved out here in 1973. One of the first things that we did and things were a lot different out here. We erected a fence right outside of the tree line. We are quite proud of the trees on our property, they have been there for many, many years. We have some beautiful blue spruces; 6 of which are behind the fence line, we have some black walnuts at least 6 of them and a number of lesser trees. In fact we are losing some of our trees closer to the building due to a canker that we have been unable to control even though we have been working with it for a long period of time.
Martin Leavitt: The point that I am trying to make is that we kept these trees knowing that they obstructed the visibility of our office, but we believed on balance that the aesthetic quality of the tree and keeping the rule of nature and the aesthetics out-weighed the identification situation. You know back in 1973 that was really not a problem because there wasnt much there. We didnt even have a gravel road, we had a dirt road. I personally busted 3 steel wheels on my car the first year going down Haggerty. If one hadnt been here back then, they would think that I was puffing but I am not. We put a sign on the fence. We werent to educated, we have 1 or 1 and 1/2 inch letters on that sign and it is visible only from Farmington Hills and I to this day when I describe our location people say "gee, I didnt know that was a law office, how long have you been there?".
Martin Leavitt: Now it is a high speed road. We have heard earlier tonight that cars whiz by. I wont get into the accident situation, but it is very difficult for somebody who is not familiar with our building to identify it. You can tell from these signs that it is not an advertising device. We are giving the name of our firm, we are not giving the address, we are not giving the phone number. We are identifying that this is where we are at.
Martin Leavitt: We feel that we have a unique property. We have restored the building. We went all the way to Vermont to get these signs. Our architect located a source in Vermont that he felt was of the highest quality and would be in keeping with the overall aesthetics. I have to confess I informed our architect at the beginning that Novi had a very comprehensive sign ordinance and to make sure that we were within compliance. Enough said. We apparently were not in compliance due to the setback requirement. We are really stuck at this point. If we were to comply with the setback requirements I think that we need about 3 feet off of Haggerty and about 30 feet off of Nine Mile Road, we would have to in effect move our fence back, cut down those trees in order to hang the sign as originally intended. Our second alternative I guess would be to put up a pole sign and back both signs up on that and that surely would not be doing justice to the signs and I think that it would be much worse than any possible objection to having the signs on the fence as they currently exist.
Martin Leavitt: We dont want to take down the trees. That is why we are here tonight. We are asking for a variance on the setback requirements to permit us to put these 2 signs on the same fence line that has existed in the 24 years that we have been there. There is one sign on Haggerty and one sign on Nine Mile Road. We would request that this Board favorably consider our proposal.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: The aesthetics of that corner and the way they have maintained it have been a great asset to the community. You should be commended on what you have there. The signs are not large. They are very tasteful, very decorative and I see no problem with the placement of the signs and the size of the signs.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-014A & B THE VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED DUE TO BUSINESS IDENTIFICATION AND LANDSCAPING REQUIREMENTS.
Discussion on motion:
Member Antosiak: I would suggest that it be amended to be limited to this petitioner only.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is so amended.
Alan Amolsch: Will the applicant be required to remove the signs that are currently on the gate house?
Martin Leavitt: Excuse me, we do plan to remove that sign.
Chairman Harrington: The sign that is visible in the rendering with the mail truck in it, that sign will be removed?
Martin Leavitt: Yes, it will.
Chairman Harrington: The motion will be so amended.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 97-009A & B filed by North American Signs, representing OfficeMax
North American Signs is requesting variances to allow two (2) wall signs for OfficeMax, located in the High Point Shopping Center at Eight Mile and Haggerty Roads. A) a wall sign 49'5" x 72" (294 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "OFFICEMAX" (east elevation); B) a wall sign 40'10 1/2" x 60" (204 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "OFFICEMAX" (south elevation).
Case No. 97-010 filed by North American Signs, representing Copy Max
North American Signs is requesting a variance to allow a wall sign 23'1 1/2" x 36" (69 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "COPYMAX", to be located at the High Point Shopping Center at Eight Mile and Haggerty Roads.
Chairman Harrington: We have the gentlemen back in on Best Buy, Office Max, Copy Max.
Art Cairns: I am responsible for the domestic real estate for Office Max based in the Cleveland area. We service each of the divisions of the company. The Office Max stores, the Copy Max stores and the Furniture Max stores. They are divisions of the company. Copy Max and Furniture Max have their own divisional vice-presidents and in fact those 2 divisions are overseen by a senior vice-president. We are good retailers. We are also good listeners and for that reason I have spoken to North American Signs the company that represents us. What I would like to do is to amend the application to remove the request for the side sign. I have heard your concerns, we have sat through the entire meeting. There is not an entrance on the south side of the building so in the interest in paring this down to more pertinent issues what I would like to do is to remove that request from the variance request for the Office Max division.
Art Cairns: We have a tape that we would like to show. We have brought in a specialist that has prepared that and we would be interested in showing that but keeping the time to a minimum. We have had the opportunity to work on this site at great length. The size of the sign that has been requested for the Office Max and the Copy Max is a very standard sign within the company. We are in 220 markets and 48 states, including Puerto Rico and now Mexico. We are certainly not here to insult anyone or to disregard the interests of the City of Novi. It is simply a sign that we have used in the vast majority of our store openings and we now have 575 stores open. So again there is no disrespect intended by the application.
Art Cairns: I have had a chance today to take a look and to drive around the site. There are problems that are related to the landscaping efforts but we also appreciate that you want a good looking building and a site that is well landscaped. I would like to address the point that if it is all going to be blocked that it doesnt matter the size of the sign. In fact it becomes more critical so that you can get the little bit of sight lines that are available. That is why we are here for a variance and I am sure that is why Best Buy is here as well. We have noticed and this doesnt have a great deal of bearing, I understand that the community to the south of this site but it still has retailers that impact that corner. Meijers, Target, and HQ have more traditional signs if you will. As I say, I understand that it doesnt amount to anything as it relates to the ordinance here. I did have the opportunity in checking into the hotel across the street from the Mall to notice the Circuit City which is a relative newcomer to the community and has a industry standard type of signage on the front and also on the side. I just point that out by notice this afternoon.
Art Cairns: With that I would like to turn it over to North American and I will make myself available for any questions. We would like to show you the tape that shows the vantage point from Haggerty and shows the planing and some of the problems that exist.
Chairman Harrington: Before we get to the tape; so that we are all on the same page. The suggestion of the "Chair" and supported by the Board was whether or not the 3 of you would like to come back and furnish us further information relative to our concerns. The gentleman speaking to us was speaking on behalf of Best Buy and I dont know who is speaking for Best Buy now. I dont know whether our suggestion has been that Best Buy would like to come back or not or that Best Buy would sort of like to wait and see what happens to you. Where are we in terms of your proposal. We are perfectly willing to watch your tape. We are perfectly willing because if people come in here from out of state, we dont want them to have to come back. I just want to know where we are going with the Meeting.
Chairman Harrington: Best Buy, what is your pleasure?
Tim Palmquist: I guess what I would like to do is let these people present their case and coordinate with them if we come back in April or May or?
Chairman Harrington: OK. You had the floor and you are stepping back and letting us now turn to Office Max and Copy Max?
Tim Palmquist: Yes.
Chairman Harrington: You have a video of not more than 4 minutes and 59 seconds in duration?
Art Cairns: I think that is accurate. I would also like to add that with respect to the identify sign; normally it is the case to bring in everything at the same time. It is a risk for us as well in that you take it piece meal; but we were simply responding to our understanding and some of the direction that we had gotten that with respect to any kind of identification sign or monument or whatever you want to call it that the store would have to be opened before that would even be entertained. So, we have not talked to the landlord about how that might be developed or to Best Buy and it is no intent to split this up. I just wanted to add that to the developers comments.
Peter Hauser with North American Signs and with me this evening I have Ozzell Gothard he is with Professional Engineering Associates. Ozzell is a landscape architect and he is also a specialist with computer animated designs. He was able to create a tape of the site and we would like you to take a look at it.
Peter Hauser: I am hoping that the information that we are going to be able to provide will help clarify several issues. The tape, I hope, will go a long way with that. It should show a lot of the landscaping that is in there.
Chairman Harrington: How long is your tape.
Peter Hauser: The tape is just a few minutes long. It is very quick. The site is going to have over 200 trees and we werent able to get all 200 in there. I do hope that we have the representation of what the site will look like.
Tape was shown to the Board.
Peter Hauser: I have prepared these little flip books to go along with my presentation. I am sorry that I didnt give them to you ahead of time; but I am sure that you can go through this very easily.
Peter Hauser: I will try to keep this as short as I possibly can. I would like to make a few points that I think are very important to make in this case. Of course, OfficeMax is asking for 294.49 square feet on the front elevation. The little first page in the flip gives an elevation of the store and the needed information of the sign. Most importantly the reason that we need that type of signage is because of the exceptional topography combined with the extensive landscaping and like I said before there is going to be over 200 trees plus numerous shrubs and ground cover. It is going to look like a park and for the most part from Eight Mile and Haggerty that is what you are going to see. You are going to see a park, the signs are not going to be a major factor from that point. You have a wall which is approximately 18 feet. There is a difference in grade between Haggerty and the site and I think that these combine to make an exceptional topographical hardship that is unique only to this site.
Peter Hauser: High Point Center is unique from other centers in the area, other multi source centers like Novi Town Place which is kind of destination where you could go and shop at several stores and to spend the afternoon. Well, this one at the High Point Center is not like that. It has a very few destination oriented stores, Office Max, Best Buy, Copy Max and you go in there specifically for that. Now it wont be recognized as the same type of center as Novi Town Center or the West Oaks or other ones that are in the similar code category. I think for that reason Office Max should be treated as a stand alone store for signage purposes.
Peter Hauser: Now as far as traffic safety, well before I go there if you could look at #4 and #5 in your handout, those are both views from Haggerty Road and they show the obstruction and they show that visibility is extremely limited from those points on Haggerty Road but if we look at #6 I have a couple of statements from Dr. William Taylor of Michigan State University. Dr. William Taylor is an expert in traffic safety. He is a traffic engineer. He is well renowned and he is making the relation that a commercial signs serve the same purpose as traffic control guide signs and signs that are not visible or are to small to be visible in time cause erratic driver behavior which in turn causes accidents.
Peter Hauser: Now because of the extremely unique topography and the extensive landscaping and the traffic safety issues, we are at a situation where we need to give the motorist enough lead time and access the knowledge of where it is in order to make an informed and careful decision while they are driving. Now if we could look at #8 in the fold out this is an aerial that I got from Oakland County that shows our site, Haggerty Road, Eight Mile Road, I-275 and the southbound exit. Now on page 8 is the photograph taken from point A and the southbound ramp that was also on the video that is the point of visiblity that drivers coming from that area can get a reasonable sight on the sign. It is 962 feet away from the sign at that point and we feel from that distance it is necessary to have the type of letter to be able to easily be read and the driver can make the necessary steps to get to that point.
Chairman Harrington: Did you hear the comments of the Board earlier when you made reference to being a good listener? Did you hear the comments of the Board that we have no concern whatsoever with the view angle from I-275 or its ramps?
Peter Hauser: Yes, I did.
Chairman Harrington: Then why are we going over this ground again?
Peter Hauser: Well, we feel that drivers coming from that area need to see the sign in order to make the decisions that they need. If we have obstructions from Haggerty the drivers that are coming from the north part of Novi through 96.......
Chairman Harrington: What you are talking about is advertising on I-275 and that has nothing to do with safety, at least in the view of the "Chair".
Peter Hauser: I am sorry about that, sir. I dont mean to go in that direction for you. I am trying to establish that Haggerty and Eight Mile is an extremely complex traffic situation. I am just trying to show that it would be nice if motorists could have or imperative that motorists have as much information as possible before they reach that intersection in order to make informed decisions on where to turn, what lane to be in, etc. If we look at location page #9 in your handout that is from Eight Mile Road and it shows an accurate representation of the visibility of the sign with some landscaping from that location and we feel that is the first unobstructed part that can be seen.
Art Cairn: It is topography. It is safety. It is being able to be seen by your customers so that they come into the store. We can come back, but we would like to know a little bit more of what this Board would be looking for because we dont want to waste its time. We have found in our experience that 24 inch letters and again using the 20 feet for each 1 inch doesnt get you much beyond the parking lot. We are looking for some reasonable compromise that will let our customer know where we are located. That is where we are looking for some direction from the Board as well. If you are asking us to return we would just like to come prepared and be able to respond to your concerns.
Chairman Harrington: One of the concerns which I think was clear and unequovical is that if there are going to other variances associated with that development that we would like to consider all of the variances as a package. We dont want to get into a scenario where for example we have granted you a variance size wise and whatever size in the descretion of the Board is appropriate and then a month or two or four months later then have to deal with brand new variances. We want to make sure that in your best interest that if there is a package to be considered it do the job for you, consistent with the philosphy of the Board and the Novi Ordinances. So number one if there are other variances that you guys are going to need and we are not going to tie your hands you can come every Tuesday of every month of the year and file a variance request, but what we would like to do is to get you off on the right foot and let you hit the ground running. If you need variances that you know you are going to need lets have this Board address them as a package; that is number one. That is information that we would like to hear at a subsequent meeting. Number two, I think that it might be helpful for the Board to have you turn it right back over to your architect and the traffic safety and whoever your experts are and take a hard look at the berm issue which I am telling you is a problem. I agree with you, there is a real problem out there. I am not convinced and I am not in the business of designing signs; that is not my job, I am not convinced that we have explored all of the creative options sign-wise that are possible and I am not sure of what they are.
Member Antosiak: I would just like to emphasize that from my own perspective. Like Mr. Harrington has said, I am not concerned whether these signs can be seen from I-275 or even from Eight Mile where the exit ramps end at Eight Mile. What I am concerned is that when you drive down Haggerty and your are not really sure and you may see a flick of a building but you are not really sure what building it is back there; so I would support Mr. Harrington in saying maybe the answer isnt necessarily signs the size that you have requested but signs in different places. Maybe we need to consider ground pole signs somewhere near the entrances and smaller wall signs that would more or less direct people once they got into that area. I know and I can recollect a couple of instances where we have approved business center signs when perhaps only 2 or 3 of the 4 tenants were known at the time and the developer was willing to come forth and say that we will fit the remaining tenants into the sign that you approve but we think that it is important that we have identification at the roadway so folks driving by know where to turn. So, I think that is a concern for me and my large concern from what I have heard is the arguements seem to be focused to be focused that we just need larger signs because it is difficult to see our store and my instinct tells me that I am not really sure that large signs are the only answer to this problem. I think it is fair and I will speak on behalf of myself that if I were to vote tonight on the variances that we have been presented with I would vote against all of them.
Art Cairns: I think that it would serve everyones purpose to have that considered in the whole and as I mentioned earlier it was no intent to circumvent the decision process. We thought that we were following it, but we are more than happy to come back.
Chairman Harrington: It wasnt taken that way. We are trying to work with you. We are excited about having you in the community but we are also concerned about accomplishing and helping you to accomplish your objective which is adequate and appropriate signage; that is why we have variances. Unique situations demand exceptions. That is why we are here.
Member Meyer: I would like to mention that this one Board Member; the reason that I hear the word variances is that we are not just looking at the sign that identifies the building like here on #5 as people drive down Haggerty Road there may be a creative way of using that wall to let them know that this is indeed the entrance because they are obviously not going to be able to look above the wall and see signs. So there may be a need for a variance on a sign that may be aesthetically compatible with the wall. Using the wall so that people know Office Max and Best Buy are right up the hill as they are coming down the road. In other words what I am hearing is that when you come to us next time, you are going to be asking for a variety of variances and not just one.
Art Cairn: A total package.
Chairman Harrington: I would go further than that. Again you have a time deadline, you have to get this place up and running and if you have substantive ideas which are different than what we have seen already and if you are stuck on 292 square feet of signage and that is it then my recommendation to you is to put a rendering up there and we will drive by and look at it; if that is all there is and if that is the only solution to the situation let us know in advance and we will drive by and look at the 292 square foot sign and the alternative. If you have other creative solutions between now and the next meeting put the Building Department on notice; we get our packets in advance of the Meeting, we run around and we look at the stuff which is why I am concerned about that berm. I looked at it Saturday and I am concerned about that. If you have other options in advance of the meeting let us know so we will be prepared to tell you what we think because we went out to look at it.
Art Cairn: That is fair enough.
Chairman Harrington: Would you like to come back and see us next month which is only 3 weeks from now or do you want to see us in May? What is your pleasure?
Art Cairn: April.
Member Antosiak inquired of Nancy McKernan: When do they have to submit materials to you?
Nancy McKernan: No later than next Wednesday.
Member Brennan: The gentleman opened these comments by asking for input and I would like to give that because I got the jist that many of you may be from out of town so I think that you need to be familiar with the karma that we have in this community. We have what has been called a very tough ordinance relevant to signage, but one thing that we have been is very consistent. We have had top fortune 500 companies, like yourself, standing where you are standing telling us that they have this standard they have to adhere to. Well by golly, they have all had to make concessions and they have gotten within ordinance or very close to ordinance. That is important to know. We are not going to budge with a lot of pushing. Secondly, what has been the overwhelming thing that I have learned tonight is this whole issue of this berm and your information presented further tells me that you are going to have a long way to go to convince me that you need any substantial signage on the buildings. I dont think that is where your problem is. The problem is seeing it from Haggerty and giving that wall or the monument that is going to be in front of you. I think that you need to find another way of getting signage and if you want a suggestion I think that it is pole signage on Haggerty.
Art Cairn: I have made notes on that and we will be back in April.
Chairman Harrington: Gentlemen, you would like to come back in April?
Art Cairn: Yes.
Chairman Harrington: This case will be tabled until April.
Case No. 97-016 filed by Bruce Clark, representing Rhino Lining of Southeast Michigan
Bruce Clark, representing Rhino Lining of Southeast Michigan, is requesting a variance to allow a ground pole sign 6' x 4' (24 sq. ft.) located at 41787 Grand River Avenue.
Bruce Clark was present and duly sworn.
Bruce Clark: I am a new business owner. I used to work for a fortune 500 company and I am in a new life right now. I have had a lot of fun and I am looking forward to continued success. I have heard about this tough sign ordinance and it has been a challenge. Let me just tell you briefly that I decided upon Novi because of the location. My exclusive territory included Novi, Farmington Hills, this northwest corridor of Detroit. I felt that Novi, mainly for its location, would give us a great opportunity to service a lot of areas. 96, I-275 and 696 as they intersect right at the corner of Novi provide a good opportunity and easy access for many people to come out.
Bruce Clark: My biggest problem right now is not only my signage but that my customers cant find me. To give you a couple of quick little stories. What we do is to spray on polyurethane. I have been in and talked to Don with Victor and explained what we do. We do spray on polyurethane mainly like for truck beds, jeeps, trailers and all kinds of applications. We do a lot of commercial jobs; flooring and things like that. I had a customer that worked on Meadowbrook just north of Grand River and he called me the other day and wanted his jeep done. I told him where I was located. He told me I work at Grand River and Meadowbrook so where are you at. I said do you know where the picture frame shop is? He says "oh yea". Well I am in the same building just the back part. He says "are you kidding me"; so he was able to find me after that. Another customer that walked n the same day I came down to apply for the variance and this was really the kicker that said Bruce you had better go do something about this. He walked in and said "I couldnt find you guys, I stopped at Belle Tire up the road and I wanted to know where the place was that did spray on truck bed liners and they said that they didnt know of any place around here that does that". That is really my predicament. I am trying to figure out a solution. I am not convinced I am here for more information purposes to try to figure out what would look good and what the Zoning Board tell me to do. I am not convinced that a 4 x 6 sign and actually I would like to change that because as a new business and being on a very tight budget I would like to just take my existing wall sign down which is 3 by 8 and do the back side of and use that instead of going out and purchasing another $500.00 worth of signage.
Bruce Clark: But, I am not convinced that the 4 by 6 or the 3 by 8 is really what needs to be done and I am not sure of where to turn. I have a hardship with financial, we are trying to operate a business on a shoe string but with a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication. I like the Dan Wood sign and I think that a lot of people can see that. I like that concept and idea. I also realize that there are some restrictions and I am really not sure where to turn or what to do from here.
Chairman Harrington indicated there was a total of 27 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection. Copy in file.
Bruce Clark gave the Board a letter of approval from the landlord, Victor Cassis.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven had no comment.
Member Brennan: I think that it is pretty clear that the gentleman has a big problem. I think that even if he were to remove the wall sign on that building he might still have a problem.
Bruce Clark: I would agree with you. I would authorize this, I believe that at one point in time I will be back requesting another variance for some type of sign. Anybody will tell you I am as honest as the day is long and as I sat listening to these guys; it has been a good experience sitting through the whole thing. I hope to be finished to a point. But my job is to make my business run. My life depends upon it. My financial life. My life at home. My concern is that when you look at those pictures I am really hidden. This building obviously is not where Rhino Linings is going to be successful at. This was a building that we looked at as an opportunity. It was a low rental and it fit well with our budget scheme and we decided to take the chance with it. Most businesses fail within the first 3 to 5 years and we felt that this would be a good opportunity for us to get our feet wet and see where we can go. As you can see if you are headed southeast on Grand River you are never going to see that. With a pole sign out front I think that there is a good opportunity. Grand River unless you are there from 4 oclock to 6 when the traffic is stalemated out there, it flies by pretty quick.
Member Antosiak: My observation is that after reading the package when I received it and then driving around and looking at some of the locations, this was the only case that initially struck me as calling out for a variance because you are very difficult to see. I cant respond to question as to whether what you have requested is what you need, I dont know that. I would be concerned if I were you about taking the sign off of the wall and putting it out front and then where does someone go after they turn in. But I would easily support a variance as the petitioner has requested.
Chairman Harrington: What are you requesting in terms of a ground sign?
Bruce Clark: My vision was about 3 feet off of the ground.
Member Antosiak: 4 by 6 was in the variance request.
Bruce Clark: 4 x 6 was the sign, but I would like to change that to 3 by 8 officially so that I can use my wall sign.
Chairman Harrington: How far off of the roadway?
Bruce Clark: We need to stay at least 60 feet from the center of the road.
Chairman Harrington: That wont be a problem for you?
Bruce Clark: If you look at the picture there is actually a flag pole that is basically at that location. To be honest with you, I didnt know what I could come in and ask for and I didnt want to take a chance of not being approved. I was told it was 60 feet back.
Member Meyer: I am a little confused and maybe you can help me out. Initially I was hearing 3 feet off of the ground, now I am hearing 60?
Bruce Clark: The sign itself will be 3 by 8. How high up off of the ground that will be I really havent come to a determination. I would assume maybe 2 or 3 feet.
Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: What is the ordinance? Is that 5 feet?
Don Saven: Five feet to the top of the sign.
Bruce Clark: So really if I go to the 3 by 8 I will be 2 feet above the ground and that would be acceptable to me, I have no problem with that.
Member Baty: The sign on the building is being removed?
Bruce Clark: That would be the case and that would really only be because of a financial hardship.
Chairman Harrington: How are they going to find your door?
Bruce Clark: In our window we have one of those little electronic signs, the lighted ones that hopefully dont take up more than 20% of our window space. What is acceptable?
Chairman Harrington: There is a problem with illuminated signs.
Bruce Clark: Along that line, I guess my question is, the Dan Wood sign is lighted; my neighbors to the front of me A. Kean has a lighted sign; is there........
Vice-Chairman Reinke: The lighted sign is not what we are talking about; it is the lighted sign in the window or in the door; the neon sign. It is a big problem.
Bruce Clark: That sign is waterproof. The sign is maybe 1 foot by 1 1/2 feet; would there be a problem with me putting it right above the door on the outside?
Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: If he were to take his sign off of the wall and put a similar sign on the back, which is what I understood that you wanted to do to create a ground pole sign; would that be allowed under the ordinance?
Don Saven: The problem is and he can either do one of two things. You can put a ground pole sign up or you put a wall sign up. At this particular point his request is for more than one sign.
Member Antosiak: But, what he said here tonight is that he intended to take the sign off of the wall and have an identical sign painted on the back or made for a backing and to use that as a ground pole sign. Is that within the ordinance?
Don Saven: No, sir.
Member Baty: What portion isnt?
Don Saven: Because you either have a ground pole sign; there is 2 businesses in this building and one has a wall sign already and he has a wall sign; so either they both have a wall sign or a ground pole sign.
Member Antosiak: So, the 2 businesses have to have the same type of sign.
Member Baty: Is that the variance, that the 2 businesses have to have the same type of sign?
Don Saven: They have to have continuity.
Bruce Clark: We are staying within the 24 square feet.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: If he has the ground pole sign, is he allowed a door or an entrance identification sign?
Don Saven: I cant answer that question; you are saying what kind of entrance identification. Can he put entrance sign above the door, possibly yes. The name of the business, then you have a problem because it then becomes a wall sign.
Member Meyer: You can here tonight to ask about a ground sign, right?
Bruce Clark: Yes, my request would be to have the ground sign approved. I do have other problems and I understand that. I have to figure out a way and maybe I can meet with Alan about that. Or I may be back. But at this point in time, in order for my business to get the signage I do need a ground sign.
Member Meyer: You do remember at the beginning of this discussion, you said that you would not be back.
Bruce Clark: I said that I did not want to come back.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: Let me throw out a hypothetical question. If you got a variance for a ground sign, how long do you think it would be before you are ready to put that sign in?
Bruce Clark: I have already been in touch with the sign people and as soon as he can put the lettering on. If you give me the approval tonight after I go pull the permit I will have that sign down and over to the sign company. So I would say within a week. It is critical to my business to get it up there.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand that because with your location you definitely have a problem. I have no qualms about that at all. Now the only question is what do you use for the door identification?
Bruce Clark: We currently have that problem with this building, constantly people for the picture frame shop come to my door.
Chairman Harrington: My sense is that maybe we ought to deal with his ground pole sign as presented. He is going to take the one sign down and fix it up on the back and that will be his sign and I think that the first time that someone wanders around to the wrong door he is going to figure out something else to do regarding door identification and then he can come back and see us if he needs a variance for it.
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that maybe your big point is now is to get a ground pole sign up. If a person goes to the wrong door at least he got to the building.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 97-016 THAT THE VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED FOR A 24 SQUARE FOOT (3' X 8') GROUND POLE SIGN, FOR BUSINESS IDENTIFICATION FOR THIS PETITIONER ONLY.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Chairman Harrington: That concludes our regular docket this evening. I thought that we were going to do Board Elections, but apparently we have to say that we are doing Board Elections at the next meeting; which we didnt say last meeting. So, we will have the elections for Board Officers at the April Meeting following the regular agenda.
Don Saven: We had a Zoning Board of Appeals matter that came before us about a year ago that referenced a company by the name of Pro-Tech which is located on Novi Road which a variance was granted and the stipulation of the variance basically indicated that there would be no outside storage. During that time another company came in and this variance was transferred to Collex with the same stipulation that there would not be any outside storage of any vehicles, parts or what have you. A recent concern of someone from our community was pointed out that we are getting vehicles at that particular location stored outside. I think and also conferring with Alan on this particular issue, I think it would be in the best interest of the Board if we brought them back for a "show cause" hearing.
Chairman Harrington: Why dont we just ticket them and send them over to see one of our judges?
Don Saven: We could do that, but apparently this person was not aware of the judgement of the Board on the transfer of this variance.
Chairman Harrington: What is the Boards pleasure, do you want to invite them to come and see us?
Vice-Chairman Reinke: I dont have a problem with that, usually if that takes care of it I think that it saves a lot of hassle and a lot of trouble and a lot of cost.
Member Meyer: It makes sense.
Chairman Harrington: Then lets bring them in.
The Meeting was adjourned at 10:55 pm.
Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan