TUESDAY - MAY 6, 1997



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




Present: Members Brennan, Harrington, Bauer, Antosiak, Baty (alternate)

Reinke (arrived at 7:45 p.m.)

Absent: Member Meyer


Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official

Steve Cohen - Staff Planner

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary




Chairman Antosiak indicated we have a quorum present and the Meeting is now in session. The Novi Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of Novi Zoning Ordinances. It takes a vote of four (4) Members to approve a variance and a vote of the majority of those present tonight to deny a variance; with our alternate here this evening we have five (5) Members present so any decision that is made tonight will be final.



Approval of Agenda


Chairman Antosiak indicated we have one proposed change to the agenda tonight. Soccer Zone has requested that their variance request be tabled to the June 3, 1997 Meeting. Are there any other proposed changes to the agenda?


Hearing none, by voice acclamation do I hear approval of the agenda for the meeting tonight?

All yeas. Agenda Approved


Approval of Minutes


Chairman Antosiak indicated we also have the minutes of the March 11, 1997 and the April 1, 1997 Meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Are there any proposed changes to those minutes?


Hearing none, by voice acclamation do I hear approval for the minutes of the March 11, 1997 and April 1, 1997 meetings? All yeas. Minutes Approved


Public Remarks


Chairman Antosiak indicated it takes a vote of four (4) Members to approve a variance request, we have five (5) Members here this evening. Is there anyone who would seek to have their request tabled to the June Meeting? (No one wished to be tabled.)


Chairman Antosiak indicated this is the Public Remarks portion of our Meeting. All comments related to cases before the Board this evening will be heard at the time the case is heard. If there is anyone in the audience who would like to address the Board on any matter that is not on the Agenda, this is the time to do so. Is there anyone who would like to step forward? (No one came forward at this time.)



Case No. 97-022 filed by Russell Fasnacht


Russell Fasnacht is requesting variances to allow the continued placement of a shed at 40969 Hollydale. The shed was put up without a permit. City Council approval for the encroachment into the easement was give at the Meeting of February 10, 1997.


Russell Fasnacht was present and duly sworn.


Russell Fasnacht: The shed in question was the replacement of a kit shed that was on the property when I purchased the property. I replaced it with another kit. Basically that is all that it was. In doing so, we put in a rat wall and kept the existing slab. The added rat wall added a foot to the building. Other than that, I just felt that I was replacing a building that had been there for 30 years with a much nicer building. That is all there was to it.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 47 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received, both voicing approval. (Copies in file)


Russell Fasnacht: I have 2 neighbors who are present tonight that want to make comments. One is the gentleman that owns the property that I am too close to the lot line on. They all felt and did the association feel that I made a big improvement on the property. The two parties who are here tonight are probably the only two neighbors that can see this building. The people behind me are on a corner lot on a circle in the road, so they are not directly behind me. There is a line of trees and I can’t even see his house and I am sure that he can’t see my barn. The people right next to me and the gentleman across the street from me are the ones that have to face this. It is a nice barn.




Cecil Burgess, 40985 Hollydale. I share the backyard with Russ. There is no fence line there. Every time we go out we can see this and it is a very nice improvement to the neighborhood. It looks nice. It is a vast improvement from what he had before. No complaints at all about it. He asked my opinion and approval on it and I said "that was fine, everything looks good".


Tom Marcus, 40976 Hollydale. I live across the road and I have lived there for 33 years. I looked at the old rusty shed for many years. I am 100% for the shed. It is a good looking little barn. Thank you.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Harrington: Sir, do I understand that this is a reconstruction or a rebuild of the original shed that was there for years?


Russell Fasnacht: What is left of the original shed is the slab, the cement slab.


Member Harrington: And what you have done is basically follow the footprint of the original shed structure?


Russell Fasnacht: Yes, with the exception of increasing the width by about a foot by adding a rat wall. We dug down 2 foot to add a rat wall around it.


Member Harrington: And the addition of the rat wall is per City Code?


Russell Fasnacht: Yes.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Member Harrington,





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


Case NO. 97-023 filed by Library Sports Pub & Grill


Library Sports Pub & Grill is requesting a variance to allow for temporary outdoor seating for property located at 42100 Grand River Avenue from May 7, 1997 thru September 30, 1997. Refer to ZBA Case No. 96-020.

Robert Barnett was present and duly sworn.


Robert Barnett: Last year we were granted the temporary permit based upon the seating arrangement that was given to the Board. Last year it was a welcome and positive addition to the business, the community and to the strip center. It was also approved and liked by our landlord. With that in mind we would like it approved again this year. There were no problems last year as far as crowd control. It was a nice addition for our lunch and early dinner patrons. We kept it very clean and sanitary.


Robert Barnett: There will no problems this year as well. Based on those things we would ask for approval again.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 11 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




The layout is similar to what was previously approved, so I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I have not received any complaints about this company.


Member Brennan: Again, I don’t have any problem either. In fact, this is one of the modifications to ordinance that were made in writing to that department; or as a suggestion for modification that would allow this as long as the Building Department had the authority to monitor it and make sure that there weren’t any problems. I would hope that the staff would take another look about modifying that ordinance. But, back to the basic case I have no objection.


Member Harrington: Sir, my memory of this matter is that there was some discussion in the initial application regarding the number of tables and the arrangement of tables and pedestrian traffic flow and parking lot traffic flow and the like. Is it my understanding here this evening that there have been no adverse incidents of any kind?


Robert Barnett: That is correct.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: I know that in the motion that was made and carried last year that there was a requirement that if there was renewal was requesting the railing must be reviewed by the Planning Department....


Don Saven: I think that it was more of an issue regarding whether it was more of a permanent structure. We were looking at that as being more of a permanent structure and they wanted to keep it up, if I am not mistaken. I think that is what we were looking at.


Robert Barnett: That is correct.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Harrington,





Discussion on motion.


Member Baty: Is there a reason why we wouldn’t want to extend this beyond one year but for the same time periods? Maybe 3 consecutive years.


Chairman Antosiak: From my own personal perspective I believe that this is just the type of variance that we like to see each year to make us look at what has occurred in the prior year, since this is not in accordance at all with the City’s Zoning Ordinances.


Member Harrington: I will defer to the "Chair’s" sense on that issue but I happen to agree with Ms. Baty on this issue and on similar types of issues. I think that where there is a history of compliance with the spirit and the letter of the ordinance that the Board should consider being a little more flexible. My sense is that usually we like to take a look at these when they are in their initial phases for a year or two or a year at a time. But, in this kind of circumstance and in other circumstances because we have had other outdoor seating issues and we have had farming issues and the like, it seems to me that it unnecessarily clogs the docket unless there are problems and by virtue of our continuing jurisdiction we can always intervene if it is appropriate. So, I happen to agree with Jill on this one, but Mr. Antosiak I can agree with you also.


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


Case No. 97-024A & B filed by Ramco Gershenson, Inc.


Ramco Gershenson is requesting variances to allow for the renovation, retenanting and upgrading of the West Oaks I Shopping Center. A) a setback variance of 3'10 3/4" for proposed Building "E"; B) a variance of 35 parking spaces for the additional building area.


Joe Sutschek was present and duly sworn.


Joe Sutschek: I am with Ramco Gershenson, we are the owner of the West Oaks I Shopping Center and with me tonight is Mr. Fred Zantillo who is the Senior Vice-President of Asset Management. We are here to present our plans for the second phase of the West Oaks renovation which we started approximately a year and a half ago.


Joe Sutschek: I am sure that you remember that there used to be a Kroger’s grocery store at the east end of the shopping center. We replaced the Kroger grocery store with a Circuit City electronics store, which has been a huge success for the shopping center. In order to do that we had our own architect design the facade which is currently on the Circuit City store and then we negotiated that facade through with Circuit City so that facade would become the model for the balance of the shopping center as we proceeded to Phase II, Phase III and Phase IV.


(Charts were shown to Board)


Joe Sutschek: Our second phase consists of removing all of the existing retail space which is green between Half Off Cards and Service Merchandise. We will completely remove that portion of the shopping center and will replace it and add a little more square footage to the back and a little more square footage to the front and adding approximately 11,000 square feet to the shopping center, which is about 5% of the existing gross leasable area.


Joe Sutschek: The Half Off Card store is actually being shrunk by approximately 20 feet in width so that we can accommodate the proto-typical store for Designer Shoe Warehouse which will be located here (a national store) and Office Max which is a national office supply store in this location.


Joe Sutschek: You will also notice that in doing that we will then have a consistent front building elevation which runs straight from Circuit City down to the K Mart store. We will get rid of the indentation which currently is there. When that is completed, the shopping center will look like this. A consistent front along the front building elevation. There will be extensive new landscaping installed along West Oaks Drive, along Donnelson, additional landscaping along the rear which does not show on this plan (which was suggested by the Planning Consultant and we agreed to on the record both before the City Council and the Planning Commission) and we will be adding landscaping also to the interior of the site and of course we will duplicate the Circuit City facade. This elevation will be exactly the same as Circuit City and we hope to continue the same pattern through the balance of the shopping center.


Joe Sutschek: In order to accomplish that, what we had to do was deliberately allow the existing leases from Rite Aid to Half Off Cards expire and absorb the lost rent while those spaces were becoming vacant. We also had to buy out the remaining portion of the Rite Aid Drug Store lease. We have accomplished all of that and that then freed up the space to do the renovation.

Joe Sutschek: In terms of timing, we hope to start the project by the middle of June and complete the project and deliver the space to the 3 tenants, 2 new tenants and the Half Off Card Shop; by December 31, 1997. We have been before the Planning Commission and received the recommendation of the approval of the site plan by the Planning Commission and the site plan was approved unanimously by the City Council at the April 21st meeting.


Joe Sutschek: There are 2 variances required. The first variance is a waiver of 4 feet from the required 100 foot setback for the Office Max building only. You will notice that the Service Merchandise building extends further into the rear yard and that is a 55 foot setback. Circuit City has a setback of 38 feet. This setback will be 96 feet and the other building will be far in excess of the 100 foot requirement. The second waiver is a request to waive 35 parking spaces caused by a number of factors. First of all when this center was originally developed in 1981 this portion of the site was used as part of an area wide detention facility and it actually blends in behind the hotel property and it becomes an area wide detention pond and eliminates some of the useable portion of the site. Also West Oaks Drive was to originally be more of a straight line and in order to line West Oaks Drive up with the main entry into the Twelve Oaks Shopping Center we dedicated the land to the City to allow that to happen. The site is smaller than we originally acquired.


Joe Sutschek: When the shopping center was built in 1981 it conformed with all of the ordinance requirements at the time. Now as the case with most cities as time goes on the ordinance requirements change and typically if you are developing a vacant parcel of land you have the flexibility to create a design which can comply with all of the current zoning standards. When you do a major renovation project with an existing asset which is 15 years old sometimes you can’t always comply with the exact letter of the zoning ordinance but you can certainly comply with the spirit of the ordinance. That is what the hardship is creating.


Joe Sutschek: The overall design of the shopping center established in 1981 with this being the rear building line and this being the size of the site. We can modify the locations of the buildings within the overall footprint but obviously we can’t move the building this way or that way and we can’t add land to the site. The plan does meet the intent of both sections of the ordinance that we are seeking a waiver on. Obviously the purpose of the setback requirements is to make sure that there is adequate light, air and open space around the perimeter of the site. I think that clearly based on the existing setbacks of these 2 buildings the 4 foot waiver is quite modest and certainly provided adequate air, light and open space around the rear of the shopping center. In terms of parking, the intent of the ordinance is to make sure that there is adequate parking on site to cover the parking demand of the customer. We did a traffic study between Monday of 1996 prior to Thanksgiving and for the next 2 full weeks; the peak shopping season of the year and at no time did we find that the shopping center was used to more than 40% of it’s capacity. We certainly hope the additions of DSW and Office Max will improve that but we are not expecting a 2 1/2 increase in parking demands.

Joe Sutschek: So I think that the hardship is definitely created by the fact that we are trying to expand and improve and renovate an existing asset which the design was established approximately 15 years ago. We need to accommodate the pro-typical footprints of the 2 new national retailers and that is what necessitates the additional 11,000 square feet of space.


Joe Sutschek: When completed the site will look like this with all of the new landscaping. The front

facade will be the same as Circuit City. We will then have the first 2 phases of our renovation project completed and we hope to be able to do Phase III and Phase IV and eventually complete the center. We request that you grant the variances that are necessary. We believe that they are quite modest. This will allow us to continue bringing West Oaks I into the 1990's and now the year 2000.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 12 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Steve Cohen had no comment.


Don Saven: I have noticed that you have 27 feet on what would be the westerly side of the buildings where Half Off Cards are there; I would really like to see 30 foot in that area based upon the potential for Building Code concerns that we might have at a later date.


Joe Sutschek: I am sorry, I don’t understand.


Don Saven: Directly west of Half Off Cards, there is an issue where you are showing me 27 feet between that wall and the retention basin, at that particular location we would like to see 30 foot in that area for total accessability around that building. There is a concern because of when the plans come into our department. We will work that out.


Joe Sutschek: It is an existing wall and I don’t know what I can do with an existing wall.


Don Saven: The reason being is that you are showing that there is a fence line there and what we are trying to do is to obtain as much as 30 feet between that end of the building.


Member Bauer: I think that it is very nice that we are getting up to the 1990's.


Member Brennan: I had the same impression, there are two variance requests here and both of them are very minimal. 4% variance on the setback and a 3 to 4% on the parking and I think that is quite modest compared to what this is going to look like when they are done.


Member Harrington: I assume that these variances are what you need to get these tenants in place and we are not going to see a bunch of sign variance requests further down the road?


Joe Sutschek: No, we intend to conform with the City’s sign ordinance.


Member Harrington: I was influenced by the traffic study, which I believe was during the Thanksgiving period, was that 1996?


Joe Sutschek: Yes, that is correct this past Christmas shopping season.


Member Harrington: Were all of the stores that you referred to who have now been bought out, were they in operation at that time? None of them were shut down for renovations which would affect the traffic count?


Joe Sutschek: Yes, there were 3 of them that were shut down. But the square footage is so modest in those sections.


Member Harrington: So that study as suggested with 3 of the stores shut down, would Krogers be one?


Joe Sutschek: No, the Circuit City was in.


Member Harrington: Your sense would be that the traffic which would be expected to have been generated by those stores would not have any statistical significance on your traffic count and that similarly there were no unique situations when you did your study; like gridlock - the nightmare that we experience on occasion in the City where no one can move and no one can get in and out; that wasn’t occurring at that time which would affect your study?


Joe Sutschek: The counts were taken and we started the Monday before Thanksgiving on November 26th and we counted through Sunday, December 8th.


Excuse me I would just like a clarification. You asked for any questions from the audience. As you know I am up on the agenda later, I am Art Cains from Office Max and frankly I didn’t realize that this was being presented tonight. We have an interest in the property and we are discussing with the Ramco Gershenson Company. The question on the sign variance, if the signage that is currently out there is grandfathered and we have taken note of the new Circuit City sign, if that is the nature of the signage then I think that it will work out very well; but I didn’t want to just sit there while the discussion of variance was raised and not look for some guidance on that.


Member Harrington: There is nothing to comment on, the only reason that I asked is when generally have done variance packages in the past we like to do them all at once rather than be hit sequentially with variances. It is important for the Board to know going in what they are facing. Your silence would not have been acquiescence.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: As the traffic count and everything has shown I don’t the parking has ever been in a maxed out situation. Some of the additional requirements due to the additional square footage I think is well within the realm and it is very feasible to be operational for what their existing parking is.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 97-027 filed by Luma Building


Luma Building wishes to maintain the overall front elevation appearance which is too similar to the adjacent homes for property located at 22523 Fuller Dr. in the Royal Crown Subdivision. The ordinance would require (as an option) a change in the style of roof. A variance is needed to maintain the existing roof style with no changes.


Luigi Cervi was present and duly sworn.


Luigi Cervi: We are building in Royal Crown Subdivision Number V. What we did was apply for a permit for lot 235. So, we start construction on lot 235 and the front elevation on that particular house was with the hip roof. At the same time we also applied for another permit for lot 234, even though the interiors are the same but the front elevation of that particular house was with the gable roof. So as we proceed on with lot 235 and then we put the basement on lot 234, at a certain point we got stopped because they claimed that the elevation from 235 was to similar to lot 234. So what we did was to re-draw the front elevation for lot 234 to make the dis-similarity of lot 235. We have 2 points that are acceptable but at the same time over the front of the living room they claim is too similar to lot 235. So what we did, we made some comparisons between the 2 houses. (copy given to Board).


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 29 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written objection received. (Copy in file.) Applicant gave 2 letters to the Board from residents on Fuller Drive, voicing approval.




Mark Grover, I am the future property owner on lot 234. I just wanted to state that we are very happy with the changes made to date as the list provided to you contemplates some additional changes; both the changes that have been made to date and those contemplated that are on the list. I have spoken to a future neighbor on lot 235 and the homeowner across the street and they are both happy with the changes that have been made and we certainly appreciate your consideration.


Chairman Antosiak indicated for the record Mr. Grover is the signatory on one of the letters of approval that was handed to me this evening.




Steve Cohen had no comment.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Harrington inquired of Don Saven. Don, to educate our loyal following out there; the similar to dissimilar ordinance is basically intended to do what?


Don Saven: Basically that a house cannot be to similar in nature to the one adjacent to it in mass and architectural features.


Member Harrington: You don’t want cookie cutter houses, right?


Don Saven: That is correct.


Member Harrington: In terms of the mechanics of what occurred here, at what point is there a check point along the way to determine in the first instance before construction that a house or a proposed house is in fact too similar or too dissimilar? How do we get to the point that they are in the middle of construction and you get a stop work order?


Don Saven: Basically sometime it gets involved in what the client wants also. We do go through an ordinance review through what is called a similar to dissimilar ordinance review. It is part of the permit process. Sometimes we get involved where a homeowner would like something else which really causes a little problem because at that time a resubmission of plans has to be submitted and reviewed and then this is where it can become a little bit of a difficult situation.

Member Harrington: We have been presented with a document which compares lot 234 and 235 and pointing out the differences. Has this document been presented to the Building Department?


Don Saven: I can’t say that it has been to the Building Department, because I did not see that document that is before you. What I can say is that our engineers that do this review probably had that to look at in terms of their review for the similar to dissimilar ordinance for 234 and 235. They are the ones that picked up the differences.


Member Harrington: So someone has made the call that even though there has been changes made to the construction of the home in order to try and comply with the ordinance, someone has determined that it is still too similar?


Don Saven: Yes sir, that is why it is here.


Member Harrington: Is that person here to speak to us tonight?


Don Saven: No, but there is a notation in your packet from that company.


Member Brennan: I have read this letter from JCK a couple of times and maybe you can help me here, but it appears from my impression that there was communication ongoing between the builder and JCK, but actual construction was different than what was presented.


Don Saven: That is correct.


Luigi Cervi: We did go back and forth and in fact I brought the architect to go over to JCK and we tried to make a change on the front elevation. But, because the house ....... the gables and the truss plans were already there and there was not to much that we could do at that point. So we did change the gable over the garage and we changed the one over the library and the fourth bedroom. We did make the change over the porch and the only one that was left that could not be changed was the one over the living room. All the others were changed and we did change from the one next door.


Member Brennan: But, I am to understand that JCK and it is still of their opinion that we have a problem.


Don Saven: With JCK right now, all the reviews that I believe that this gentleman has gone through there is one remaining item that was dealing with the gable end over one area and that was the remaining issue that brought this particular problem before us today.


Member Brennan: Here is what I am getting at, I am not a contractor, I am not a building inspector and I am looking for some guidance as to whether the Building Department sees this as a settled issue and we have to issue a variance because the construction has already taken place. Is that the gist of it?


Don Saven: This is not a settled issue. This is a violation of the similar to dissimilar ordinance as was the opinion of JCK and Associates that do review this matter for similar to dissimilar. They have tried everything that they possibly can to make this work and the only remaining item is the issue of whether a gable should be installed over that living room area. That is why they are here today. He is indicating that he has a truss plan configuration that you are dealing with that is a problem.


Luigi Cervi: Yes, that is what it was. Also as I pointed out here when we strike this line here, there is a slope right here and they thought this was supposed to be raised up. That is where there is confusion. This is the only part that we are talking about.


Member Baty: I have a question for clarification, as I am a little lost on this one. According to the notes from JCK, item #6; it says on December 17th a revised front elevation was submitted for lot 234 and was approved for compliance with the similar to dissimilar ordinance, what was the reason that you couldn’t comply with exhibit F?


Luigi Cervi: We had a different elevation. We tried to put that particular elevation and when we submitted to JCK again it was rejected.


Member Baty: JCK is saying that they approved exhibit F.


Luigi Cervi: I didn’t see that one.


Member Brennan gave Mr. Cervi his copy of the letter from JCK. If you get to Section #6 it says that your plans were submitted and they approved them and then after the fact you did something different?


Member Baty: My question is why?.


Luigi Cervi: That is the confusion from this point to this was acceptable, but what happened was the truss. They are down instead of up. That is what has caused the confusion on that.


Member Baty: So a mistake was made when it was built and this plan wasn’t followed?


Luigi Cervi: The trusses were already at the job site long before the issue was brought up.


Member Baty: Did you submit this plan?


Luigi Cervi: Yes.


Member Baty: And you didn’t realize that they were similar?


Member Harrington: Are you to far that the house cannot be modified to comply with JCK recommendations, that is; under sound engineering principles that it cannot be done or is the issue one of cost and cost convenience?


Luigi Cervi: At this particular point it cannot be done because like I said the trusses were there. Without realizing that the truss were not made to be higher and they were not high enough to keep the straight line from the top of the porch.


Member Harrington: I understand that with precut trusses it makes it efficient to build these houses and you order them precut; apparently you received precut trusses on site and that is what you are stuck with. The issue is - can those trusses be modified?


Luigi Cervi: No, unless you change all of the trusses from the front to the back of the house you cannot change them any more.


Member Harrington: So, it can be done; but the issue is monetary?


Luigi Cervi: Yes.


Member Brennan: Where are you at with construction of this house?


Luigi Cervi: We are doing the trim work on this house.


Member Brennan: So this is built.


Luigi Cervi: Yes, this is built. It is drywalled. It is built. The only issue is the front gable over here on the front of the living room.


Member Harrington: When was that issue first brought to your attention?


Luigi Cervi: It was brought up on the construction site.


Member Harrington: How long ago?


Luigi Cervi: Had to be around February.


Member Harrington: My sense as one Board Member is that I think that there are some engineering issues that I would like some input from JCK or somebody on. I would not be prepared to vote in favor of this variance and we don’t even have a motion yet. But, I would want some additional input here as to what the real engineering issue is. I am not satisfied that I have the information that I have the information that I need to vote in favor of a variance here. I think that JCK or somebody; I would like to have some information from. I would be incline to suggest tabling this but I throw it out for Board consideration.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is it the City’s position that all of the requirements were adequately communicated with the petitioner on a timely basis?


Don Saven: Absolutely, yes.


Chairman Antosiak: I would jog the Board’s memory that we also had a similar variance in the same subdivision involving a wing on a house extending into a setback in a very similar circumstance. At that point I made a comment that I was unprepared to approve a variance on new construction and I believe that my comment is appropriate here also.


Member Brennan: I have the same problem that Mr. Antosiak has. But at the same time I have some sympathy with the homeowners who are probably waiting to get into the house. I tend to agree with Mr. Harrington that I would like to hear from JCK who is not here. Not necessarily to find or pinpoint the point of fault but to get a little clearer definition of what is the magnitude if this variance is granted. That is what I would like to have some definition on.


Member Harrington: My sense is this and I have been admonished by none other than the City Attorney who I am going to speak about later this evening; that economics and cost are not issues properly within the Board jurisdiction. I think that the cost issues always underline at some level our decisions. If we are looking at $180,000.00 to re-do these trusses that is certainly a fact that I would want to know about. If we are looking at modest engineering changes in order to do this and bring it into compliance with ordinance and nominal cost to do so. I would be interested in that fact and maybe the petitioner would be interested in that fact too. I just don’t feel that I have any kind of a cost base or engineering base upon which to approve a variance. As you have correctly pointed out if the position of the City which is unrebutted and that these problems have been brought to their attention from day one and construction has gone on nonetheless; then maybe the real notion is maybe to deny.


Chairman Harrington: I conceptually agree with you on the economic issues. I tend not to consider economic issues when a petitioner has already violated an ordinance before they have come before us to seek a variance to that ordinance. That is my personal opinion and I will follow the majority of the Board, wherever it may go.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The thing is, if I may allude to this; the correspondence with JCK in December is saying what would be needed to be in compliance and what was agreed to was not followed. I have a problem with why this was not followed. There was ample time to make changes in whatever direction they needed to go. They proceeded to go on their own and not follow the direction.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: What brought us here tonight on this particular house?


Don Saven: Basically it is my understanding that the issue regarding the similar to dissimilar ordinance has not been satisfied and we need to address that issue. This gentleman is getting very close to going for a final on this home and they need to be resolved.


Member Brennan: Is it your sense that this is something and maybe you cannot answer this question, but short of tearing off of the roof of this building is there.....


Don Saven: I have some reservations as Mr. Harrington had indicated from early on relative to the truss configuration to match what may need to be required at this particular point. Whether there has to be something else that would have to be done to that roof and that particular area and what was specified and needed to be done. What may take place or what else can be done to achieve this result; depending on your actions tonight.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





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


Case No. 97-028 filed by Brent Beshears


Brent Beshears is requesting a 21.3' front yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a deck at 1101 South Lake Dr. (corner lot, variances will apply to Eubank side).


Brent Beshears was present and duly sworn.


Brent Beshears: Basically we are just wrapping up the construction of my home at 1101 South Lake Drive. Obviously to do that we need a deck off of the front of the house so that we can come in and out of the house. We did our best to comply with all the variances, easements, etc. and I would just like to run through that real quick to show that a lot of concessions have already been made here prior to constructing this deck. That is why we are only down to one variance instead of three variances with this property.

Brent Beshears: The width of the deck is only 9 feet, which makes it approximately 26 feet from the road which does comply with the City Ordinance. Our initial plans were to make the deck about 12 feet wide. Again, on the west side of the property which would be a side yard setback; we planned on making the deck about 30.5 feet which is the width of the house which is very similar to a lot of the houses on South Lake Drive. Once again to comply with the City Ordinance we have reduced the size of that deck to 27 feet 5 inches. Lastly we thought that there might be some complaints that

possibly the obstruction of view from Eubank to South Lake Drive and you might get some complaints about that; even though we are 26 feet from the street we still wanted to see if we could try to accommodate people in that nature. With that being said we are going to lower the deck down one step from the step of the house; so initially if you are standing on the deck you are going to take one step onto a stair tread and one step onto the house. Obviously once you are standing on the deck to get onto the ground; one step from the deck to a stair tread and then a step to the ground. So the point that I am getting at, is by doing that we won’t have to put a set of railings up around the deck and that will make the deck less noticeable to people in the community. With that, the only variance that we are asking for is the front yard setback. Obviously the house doesn’t comply with the front yard setback being that the house is only 4.7 feet from the front yard. Basically we are continuing that line over.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 74 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 4 written responses received all voicing objection. Copies in file.




Jayme Thomas, I live to the immediate west of Mr. Beshears at 1105 South Lake Drive. Because I am still in litigation with the petitioner and have been for several months over the property line; you have to understand why I can’t be fully at liberty speak my mind or to participate in this case but I should make you aware of the fact that his submitted survey is still in dispute. However, I have several concerns that have immediate bearing on this case. Number one this is new construction and what is the hardship? Number two why does the deck have to expand the full width of the house. The west side yard setback of 10 feet should be enforced, you can’t enforce it on the east side because he put his front door at the corner of his house which is within 10 feet of the road. But you can enforce it to the west by my house. In regard to the visual or site obstruction, while I question the need for such a large deck I am more concerned with the obstruction of my view and not necessarily of the lake but the view to the east and the oncoming traffic which is getting worse by the day on South Lake Drive. I must demand an assurance that there will be no obstruction to the view to the east such as seeding or fencing or posts or railings or planting, etc. that will block my view while I am backing out of my driveway which is directly next to the proposed deck. I had to fight for a one foot front variance when I built my porch and he will be well past my porch. This brings up the lack of privacy at my house; him and his guests will be able to look into my dining and kitchen area as they sit on his deck. I think this is to close. The lots are to narrow. His house is too big. I would like it if you just wouldn’t let him make this front deck as big also. Thank you.

Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. I am not one of the 74 who received a notice and one reason you don’t get a lot of response is because the bulk of the houses in that area are tenants, they have absentee landlords. However, I live in that subdivision. I use that street to come in and out to go to my home. I use Maudlin and I use Eubank. This is new construction for all intent and purposes. I think that we have all been here many times before on this; when he tore it down and then it blew down and everything else. The rhetorical question is who approved the plan to put the door at the corner within 5 feet of the road. We the neighbors, we SES fought for him to get the best and biggest house that he could on this lot with the rear entrance 3 car garage and there is a problem now that he wants to put such a huge deck on the front of the house that is going to be within 5 feet of the road. There is no way that he is going to put a fence. What is going to happen in the winter time when those roads get icy and someone takes the corner to quick? What is going to happen if the bus loses control, because the bus goes in there 4 times a day to pick up the kids? You have to take these into consideration. Yes, Mr. Beshears does have the right to have a porch on the front of his house; but he had that option to push it back more and to do it right and he choose not to. The hardship is self imposed. Thank you.


Brent Beshears: Just a response to those complaints that you heard. The letters mentioned the fact the deck was to close to the road; but after checking with the City the deck is not to close to the road because we are not asking for a variance from the deck to South Lake Drive and I think that a lot of people were referring to that. The only variance that we are requesting for is from and because I have two front yards being on the corner, is from the deck to South Lake Drive. Also Ms. Thomas was complaining about the deck being to close to her property line and that would be the west property line. Once again, we are not asking for a variance there I comply with the City Ordinance. That is not in discussion. The only thing that we are discussing is whether I would be granted a variance on the front yard setback to the east portion of the property. Thank you.




Don Saven: I just have a question. Did anyone from your organization or did you have an opportunity to look at this plot plan at all?


Sarah Gray: To begin with the plan? No, there has been so many changes. SES came in and we tried to work with him to get the best for him. I want to clarify that my comments were specifically as an individual and a citizen dealing with Eubank only and not South Lake.


Brent Beshears: I don’t even know who this association is; SES or whatever you call it. Nobody has approached me. The only people who have approached me was Jim Korte when I was going for my variances.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: It is a problem situation. The problem situation is the lot sizes. The other problem is that the petitioner is grossly over built on the lot and suggests a continuation of the same thing. I cannot support any additional variances than what were granted originally and the original ones that were granted were excessive.


Member Bauer: I can’t support it. It is self imposed.


Member Brennan: I will just make a brief comment. I spent about 20 minutes outside of your house today, I was on Eubank. It does appear that while there is a visual line a deck of this size will extend considerably out beyond what that line is. I know that is not what your variance request is. But in light of other comment that were made in regard to the size of the residence and given the fact that you didn’t take into consideration when you designed this I would tend to agree that it appears to be self imposed.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 97-032 filed by Marguerite Bosca


Marguerite Bosca is requesting a 6 foot side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an addition on an already nonconforming home, for property located at 203 Henning.


Marguerite Bosca was present and duly sworn.


Marguerite Bosca: I am planning an addition onto my house. My house was built years ago when the lots were 40 feet wide. My house is 4 feet away from the lot line. My neighbors on the south side and on that side of the house that is their driveway, so it is not right next to their house. I am planning on going straight back so that I can continue the existing architectural design inside for cost reasons so that I can follow the hallway to get into the addition. To do this I have to stay the same distance to make it look proper.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 75 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 6 received all voicing approval. Copies in file.




Sarah Gray, President of SES; South, East, Shawood Homeowners Association. We don’t have an opinion on this. However, personally as Sarah Gray, private resident, give it the approval it is going to be an improvement to the area.




Don Saven: I just want you to be aware that the 4 foot requirement that you are asking and should the Board approve this you are going to taking a look at some type of fire protection for that wall which is close to 4 foot to the property line. There would have to be some type of rating on that wall because you are less than 5 foot to the property line.


Marguerite Bosca: That would be OK.


Member Harrington inquired of Don Saven: The inference being that with adequate fire rating on that wall the requisites of health, safety and welfare of the community would be met?


Don Saven: Yes, that is correct.


Member Brennan: Ms. Bosca definitely has a little house. The addition is in line with the existing residence and I would note also that it is a very deep lot. Although, some of it is under water at the back. I have no objection. I think that it will be a nice addition.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The size of the lot and I am going to assume without going into great detail that it really is the combining of 2 lots, where the garage is on one lot originally and the house is on the second lot. It is following the existing foot print and it is really going back into the lot where there is a lot of depth. Really the impact and the magnitude is minimal since it is following the existing footprint going into the rear yard. I have no problem with the petitioner’s request.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 97-020 filed by North American Signs, representing High Point Shopping Center


Continuation of case filed by North American Signs, representing High Point Shopping Center requesting A) ground sign (shopping center identification sign) 10' x 13' (130 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 15'; B) wall sign 4' x 18" (6 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "HIGHPOINT SHOPPING CENTER ENTRANCE". C) ground sign (main entrance sign) 8' x 5' (40 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 5'6"; for property located at Eight Mile and Haggerty Roads.


Peter Hauser was present and duly sworn.


Peter Hauser: As you know this is a continuation of a case that we brought before you a month ago. You requested that we put mockups up and we have done that. I hope that everybody has had an opportunity to view those mockups.


Peter Hauser: The requested signage once again is a main center sign, a main entrance sign, and a secondary entrance sign. We feel that this is necessary because of the unique traffic situation, the topography, the unique nature of the center, the stores within the center and the landscaping.


Peter Hauser: If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them or I have other people here who hopefully will be able to come to a conclusion tonight.


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




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Brennan: To begin with I would expect that any request for a variance from a petitioner to hear some means and some discussion on hardship of why such excessive signage is required along Haggerty. The shopping center identification sign is a huge sign and to tall. Sign "C"; I see no reason why that can’t meet the ordinance of 30 square feet nor why it can’t meet the 5' height requirement. I assume, although it hasn’t been discussed, that there is some reason for the placement issue and the 3 foot variance although nothing was presented. These signs are right along Haggerty; roll down the passenger window and you can probably hit them. I see absolutely no reason for the size as presented.


Member Harrington: If there were similar to dissimilar concepts which were to apply to signage like they do to some of our other cases, I was struck by the conflict between the proposed signs at the southern edge of Haggerty Road representing HighPoint in contrast with what we have done on the remainder of Haggerty Road with structures, in my view, equivalent in size or larger structures than the ones that are proposed here. I think that the Board has done and the City with those businesses that haven’t come to us for variances; those businesses that have chosen to comply I think that it is striking the tasteful decor of those signs and the fact that they announce the presence of the business without turning to what it probably gaudy advertisement. I haven’t seen the actual content of these signs other than the simple outline of the size but these are totally opposite of what we have attempted to do on Haggerty Road. These signs in their present posture, and I wouldn’t go on record as saying that there should be no variance at this point; but as proposed there are totally in conflict with what we have done and I find them offensive.


Member Bauer: If you are going down Haggerty Road, like you are saying, the bank, the credit union, Extended Stay and this is way out of line.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that Mr. Harrington has spoken the exact sentiment of my feelings on this because it looks like we are putting up an obtrusive bill board. The way that we have worked with the other businesses along Haggerty this way out of line.


Member Baty: I agree.


Art Cains: I am with Office Max and I have been here before you. One thing that should be pointed out these are the nature of retail signs. This is a retail operation. It was zoned for retail at the time the center was approved. It was recognized as being retail. We are not a bank. We are not a hotel. We have expended a few dollars in trying to respond to your requests from the previous 2 meetings. I walked away believing that was what this Board was looking for. We are not interested in wasting your time, but maybe I have missed it and I believe that all of my associates have the nature of your interest in this. If there was some vision then that might have been shared with us by staff or by yourselves; but again I have to remind you that this is a retail operation and not a bank. It is not a library. It is not an office park. We are a retailer that operates on fairly razor thin margins serving the business community and the residential community as well, the home office and that sort of thing. We are not trying to do anything garishly and so I guess I am surprised by the feelings here. We had submitted previous to this and previous to enlisting the general contractor to construct these things and these are consistent with the variance application. I guess that I am a little bit thrown off by this. We hear what you are saying and if we could perhaps distill it, are we talking about an issue of size? Are we talking about an issue of content? There is probably some latitude but there also has to be some merit in undertaking something like this. We thought that we were responding to this Board’s interest with the drivers along Haggerty Road being able to recognize the center. I am sure that you will recall we were talking about a higher topography. We are talking about substantial landscaping. A wall of sorts if you will. It was at the Board’s suggestion that there be something to facilitate getting people in and some identification where there is a light and to keep that limited and some interest in people being able to see it from Haggerty and Eight Mile Road. Again, please help us on this. We want to comply. We want to work with you. It strikes me that perhaps in the last month we have not met that common ground.

Chairman Antosiak: Let me respond for myself. This is precisely the reason that we frequently ask petitioner’s to put mockups; so that we can get a feel for what the size on paper looks like when you see it in real life. My feeling is very similar to the others on the Board. When driving down Haggerty these signs are probably in the right location, but my personal opinion is they are too large. That size is very noticeable once you can see the placement. That is where my opinion is coming from. It is not the content perse’, we try not to set sign content in our variances.


Member Brennan: With respect to a comment made, Alan is there any difference in sign ordinance when it is a bank versus a retail center as it relates to their request and what is permitted?


Alan Amolsch: In this case they are not permitted any other signs other than the wall signs, at this point. Once they have 4 tenants in the shopping center they are permitted what is known as a business center sign. Shopping centers are a little different in the fact that they get a business center sign if they have 4 or more tenants; other than that no.


Member Brennan: I guess that answers that question that you raised, there is no difference. So we are looking at what is required. And from my perspective again, what is required for these sites is identification when coming down Haggerty. The other case addressed what concerns traffic flow when you are inside of the complex. So we are talking about what is involved and what is required and what is necessary to see when you are traveling down Haggerty. Sir, I contend that when you are coming north or south on Haggerty you are very close to where those signs are going to be positioned and you don’t need that size. As far as the landscaping and all of that, it is behind the proposed signs and it has nothing to do with these signs.


Art Cains: There had been discussion and if there is some misunderstanding on the size of the sign to the south there had been discussion that the only signage that we were told to hope to have visible or from the point that would be visible would be Haggerty and Eight Mile Road. So we have used some recognized measurements or rules of thumb on that; but we have a couple of other size alternatives I suppose. Perhaps what we should do is to address one by one and deal with the least thorny first. Did I hear you say that with a mid-center sign at the High Point entrance that would be on the wall and visible to southbound traffic; that it is all right?


Chairman Antosiak: I don’t know if anyone has said anything about any of the signs in particular.


Member Harrington: My sense would be that if you have other alternatives that you want to present and you want to consult with your principals, we could move onto some other cases while you do so that is fine but I don’t think that we should be put in the position of negotiating your signage with you. You have heard from most of the Board Members that these signs are huge. They are too big. When we look at them they are too big. If you have other options more consistent with what you are hearing this Board Member would suggest that you confer with your principals and we will pick up after you have had a chance to do so. If you have other alternatives or options, we don’t want to spend an hour going through all of these things.


Art Cains: Well it is as simple as we have a sign for the south end of the property that is down sized. We can make these decisions with you. I guess we are just looking for direction. Again because the variance situation is a matter of finding a common ground I think that is why there is no other way to accomplish this.


Member Baty: I am not sure that I am looking for a common ground. I have no problem with supporting the ordinance the way that it is written, unless there is a hardship that is shown to me and I haven’t really heard what the hardship is for the signs along Haggerty.


Art Cains: I would advocate that the hardship is with the amount of traffic that is on that road and the way ...


Member Baty: They are usually stopped along Haggerty so there is plenty of time to see any sized sign.


Art Cains: But, if there is no sign then there is going to be confusion.


Member Baty: I agree with that, I don’t have a problem with the quantity just the size and height. They are just too big.


Peter Hauser: We are dealing mostly with the topographical disadvantage. I did not realize that you wanted me to cover that again. I thought that it had been covered at the last meeting and this was just a continuation. I would be more than happy to. As far as the size, the reason we lined up the size is that the large center sign was intended to draw people on Haggerty and identify the center at a road side manner because as Mr. Brennan has said the wall signage was more intended for while you are inside of the parking lot. Because we are dealing with the wall, the trees and all of the other unique situations to this property the wall signs wouldn’t serve a typical use in this situation. We feel that we do need some type of recognition at these points. These are the proper points for traffic safety and this will insure that motorists can safely get in. If there is a direction that you need us to go, I think that we are more than willing to go there tonight.


Chairman Antosiak: Just a comment for Jill’s benefit. I think that we did say at our last meeting that we viewed a potential site difficulty along Haggerty and that it was probably more beneficial to have signage along Haggerty than it was to have the large signs on the walls of the building that had been initially requested. I still believe that the concept is true, but seeing the actual signs and the potential sizes of the potential signs has caused difficulty for me. Not the number.


Member Baty: That is right. I mis-spoke; quantity and location because of the topography makes sense but size and height are not acceptable.

Art Cains: I don’t mean to horse trade; can we show you some things that either will meet with your acceptance or won’t? Again, I am not sure how to do this.


Chairman Antosiak: Speaking without a vote, I guess my comment would be that I am willing to look because I don’t think that the signs that have been presented to us are going any where, if I am reading the opinion of the Board Members correctly.


Member Harrington: I absolutely concur with Mr. Chairman. My position is if there are alternate signs and they are smaller in size I will never again, as a Board Member, play let’s make a deal on a sign size without going out and looking at it. I think that we horse traded last time. I think that it was wrong. I didn’t feel comfortable then. This package has to be considered with the other variances that we granted. If there are alternate signs other than what we have seen, this Board Member wants to see them on site. So you can give whatever dimensions that you want, but I am not going to look at it in a vacuum. I am going to want to see those signs in place, so that I can get the same reaction to them yeas or nay as with those signs. I don’t have a problem with the number of signs. I don’t have a problem particularly with their location. I have a major problem with the fact that they are much larger than they need to be to accomplish what the ordinance requires.


Art Cains:: Let me ask you this, consistent with what we have done and trust me this is very unusual, do you want to see 2 signs in the place to compare it. Again, I am just at a loss. I have done any number of these and we are not trying to be difficult about it, but I am just trying to get a sense of what would be acceptable. Are 2 signs then side by side that you can look at and compare, is that what you want?


Member Harrington: I am just one Board Member. I am just telling you what my thought is. I don’t speak for this Board, I just speak for this Board Member. If there are alternate signs that are going to be proposed this evening I am going to vote it down because I can’t see them on site and I insist on being able to see those signs on site and determine visually whether or not a variance is required. I don’t have a problem with the number. I don’t have a problem with the location. I have a major problem with the size of the signs as presented. So I am not going to come back from my inspection twice of those signs and tonight say "well, a 40% cut in square footage but 30% above the minimum ordinance requires that is a fair deal", I won’t do that. I want to see them, but I am just one Board Member.


Member Brennan: I think that we have previously talked that there is some basis for the number of signs along there because of the sweep, the speed limit if you happen to catch Eight Mile at a green light so I have no problem with the number of signs and where they are located. I only have one problem, and that is the size. Given where you are in a car and that is what you are trying to do is to give some guidance to those people that are traveling north and south these are huge. Again, your own testimony has said for the purpose of the shopping center sign as large is advertising. There was some compelling movement to grant you variances on the wall signage because of the position of those buildings with respect to the distance of Haggerty Road and that is how that case went. But, these things are right on Haggerty and if you look, like Jim said earlier, travel down Haggerty Road and everyone is in compliance, signage is very nice, and I would be hard pressed to be convinced that there is hardship and to vote for anything other than a setback variance.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: I would just like to clarify the context that we are in, as you said were all the tenants in place they would be entitled to a shopping center identification sign?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, which only contains the name of the shopping center and not any tenants of the shopping center.


Chairman Antosiak: And that allowable size would be how big?


Alan Amolsch: That would be the standard 30 square feet.


Chairman Antosiak: So really we are looking from the variance standpoint of 2 signs that aren’t allowed by ordinance and one allowed sooner with different verbiage on it.


Alan Amolsch: They are both total variances.


Peter Hauser: I think that speak to the unique nature of the center itself. Number one is the limited visibility from Haggerty Road and that is why there is some identification that is needed and the fact that it is just a few destination oriented stores as opposed to a much larger mall type of thing that would have it’s own draw.


Art Cains: We will come back with the Board’s approval and prior to the next meeting we will set up smaller signs. We read you loud and clear on the southerly sign and on the northerly sign as well, the main entrance sign. Please tell me if I am incorrect that the sign mid-center is at least in the range of things. Again, we are trying to accomplish what you want to see for the City and I understand that.


Chairman Antosiak: Just to refresh the Board that is the 4 foot by 18 inch (6 q. ft.) sign with the verbiage HighPoint Shopping Center on it, is that the one you are referring to? It is on the wall.


Art Cains: It doesn’t benefit anyone tenant. It doesn’t advertise anything, but facilitates entering the center. We will go back to the drawing board.


Chairman Antosiak: No problem tabling this until the June Meeting? (No opposition.)


Chairman Antosiak: I would just ask that when you are prepared to erect new signs, let Nancy know as you did this last time and would you also let her know the size of the mockups that you put up so that when we go to see them we will have a concept of what size they are and we can compare them to what we saw this past week.


Member Harrington: By way of compare and contrast, I think that the Board Members were serious that when you come in a southerly direction on Haggerty Road and you look at the other signs, take a look at it from the Board’s eyes and see the difference between the signs that are there in place that we approve of, some of which we did grant some relief on in some measure. Compare that with what is up there now and I think that you will see why you received the action that you did.


Art Cains: Ok, we will take another look at that tomorrow. Thank you.



Case No. 97-021 filed by Warren Signs, representing Novi Business Park


Warren Signs is requesting a variance to allow a ground sign 7' x 5'8" (39.552 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 5/8", setback from the road 36 feet and the verbiage "NOVI BUSINESS PARK", located at 41541 Eleven Mile Road.


Rock Morosco was present and duly sworn.


Rock Morosco: A few months ago the variances were granted for 2 signs at the Novi Business Park. They have 2 different entrances. PM Real Estate came for the variance, their measurements were incorrect. They asked for a variance to get the signs and it would have been into the woods, the wooded area or the trees. We went out there and the variance that was requested the sign was still in the trees. PM Realty doesn’t want to cut those trees down. They are asking for a 36 foot setback from the center of the road and that gets it out of the trees. Still somewhat back in there, but if you have been to the site you know that it is all treed and you can’t even see the buildings behind there. It is a lack of visible identification and they are asking for that variance.


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




There was no audience participation.




Chairman Antosiak: Just to refresh the Board’s memory, this was Zoning Board of Appeals Case No. 96-107 approved at the January Meeting of this year. We approved a 17' setback variance for this sign.

Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Brennan: Just to reiterate, somebody measured wrong. So your setback is a little bit different than what we granted before?


Rock Morosco: Yes, sir.


Member Brennan: Is it the same hardship?


Rock Morosco: Yes, sir.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Brennan,





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


Case No. 97-025A & B filed by Planet Neon, representing Linens ‘N Things


Planet Neon, representing Linens ‘N Things is requesting variances for A) wall sign on the north elevation of 32'6" x 42" (113.75 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "LINENS ‘N THINGS"; B) wall sign on the west elevation of 15'6" x 20" with the verbiage "LINENS ‘N THINGS", for property located at 43235 Crescent Blvd, in the Novi Town Center.


Ed Goralewski was present and duly sworn.


Ed Goralewski: There is a new tenant that will be occupying the space that F&M previously occupied at the Novi Town Center, Linens ‘N Things. In fact I had Mr. Sullivan make up a site plan to show you that this particular property is now going from 25,000 square feet to 41,000 square feet. Linens ‘N Things actually has taken 2 stores in this area which were Mr. Tile and Linens and More, and what they are doing is building a larger facility. We would ask the Board to grant us the signage for the Crescent Road sign the way that it is presented. We did some checking and there was a variance granted to Trammel Crow for F&M to have 112 square feet back in 1987. I believe that the sign only was somewhere in the 80 square foot range. Unfortunately Linens ‘N Things has a lot more letters and they have 163 feet of frontage on Crescent.


Ed Goralewski: Our hardship situation would lay on the side wall sign because of the unique configuration of the strip itself. Here again, we are having difficulty even though we do not have an entrance on the west elevation. There are 2 stores that have move out of that area and we feel that there is an actual need for identification to identify Linens ‘N Things and one of the concerns that I believe the Linder Company has is that if there is no signage in that area it will look like there is a vacancy and the other things is that the hardship would be is trying to find the store. That is pretty much our presentation. Thank you.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 37 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Harrington: Why would you want to attract people in that area of the parking lot where there is no store entrance? Why does that make sound business sense?


Greg Sullivan: I am the General Manager at the Novi Town Center. Actually it is kind of 2 things, the purpose for that is that you know there is a large breezeway that runs between these 2 buildings. Because of the success of tenants like Borders Books, Comp USA, T J Maxx, etc. we are enlarging this building and changing the footprint with permission from the Planning Commission and City Council. One of the issues that was brought up to us was regarding the parking lot in this particular area of the center. We met the ordinance on the parking even with the additional square footage that we added to the back of the building; so what we thought and Linens ‘N Things thought as well was with the configuration being 360 degrees you would have traffic through what was is Eleven Mile Road and runs around the shopping center and if they saw that there was an opportunity to park on this side of the center that this breezeway would actually get used as opposed to not being used as it is today.


Greg Sullivan: One of the other things that was brought up is that is currently all store front glass and the Planning Commission and the City Council thought that it would be a positive identification for the center to leave that glass in place. So, what we didn’t want to happen is to have this section of the shopping center look vacant. We wanted to have a very small and tasteful sign put in place here that would allow people to park in this direction.


Greg Sullivan: At the center we have under the canopy identification signs in certain areas of the breezeway to let people know that there is parking for the movie theater back here and in this area and we would do the same on this area to let people know that the entrance is actually over here. We are using it to try to pull some of our traffic into this center section to relieve some of the pressure off of this particular parking lot, especially during the peak season and to actually try to bring it to light - the initial concept of the Town Center being a walking shopping center. So we were trying to bring that through to the breezeway and actually use it for the purpose that it was built.


Member Harrington: When you make reference to a small but tasteful sign there is no magic to letters that are all most 20 inches high (all most 2 feet); this is not to suggest that I support that second sign but you could probably save a few bucks if you went to 12 inches, couldn’t you?


Ed Goralewski: The cost is really not the issue. I think that the issue is to have visible signage. I think that we went through this with Workbench and we wound up with 14 inch letters.


Member Harrington: And Workbench wasn’t a slam dunk either. There was some significant Board opposition to that.


Ed Goralewski: Yes there was. In fact what I did is that I tried to present something that may be acceptable to the Board because initially the package that we got from Linens ‘N Things I know would not have and I wouldn’t have even have brought it here because we would have been out of the door about 4 minutes ago.


Ed Goralewski: We would like to try to resolve this tonight and if it requires a smaller sign then we are willing to do that. If we can have a sign somewhere between 14 and 16 inches we will certainly take that back to Linens ‘N Things and tell them. We basically need it, as Greg has said, to identify that particular area and pull some of the parking and the traffic into that area.


Member Bauer: I have been parking in that spot to go over to F&M since the place has been there. I am not alone. With a small sign I can understand.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Linens ‘N Things is not allowed to use the variance that was granted to F&M, is that correct?


Alan Amolsch: F&M was granted a specific variance, to F&M; there was a certain letter size and size requirements so this does not transfer to the next tenant.


Chairman Antosiak: So, the issue in addition to the second small sign on the west is the size of the sign on the north.


Alan Amolsch: That is correct.


Ed Goralewski: If that is of some concern to the Board on page 2 of the presentation, there is a graph that Linens ‘N Things presents to their sign contractors. It takes letters all the way up from 30 inches tall to 72 inches based on the area that they occupy in whatever part of the country and what the zoning is for that. We thought that because F&M was granted 112 square feet, that we should try to keep somewhere within those parameters. F&M had 3 letters, this happens to have 13; but we are willing to listen to what the Board has to say.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: The sign that F&M did have up, do you know what the size of that sign was?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, it was 16 feet by 5 foot 3 inches for 80 square feet. The variance that was granted them was 112 square feet.


Chairman Antosiak: The actual F&M sign that was up there was about 80 square feet.


Alan Amolsch: Yes.


Member Brennan: I have supported dual signs petition in the past when it made sense because of the layout of the Town Center and many of stores are on corners and there is accessibility from 2 sides. That also plays into some previous discussions about possible customers being able to see within a store and know that is what is in there. If that was one big solid blank wall, I think that you would have a tougher sell. My personal preference when given the opportunity to go smaller, Linens ‘N Things have in their plans provision for a sign that will be closer to what F&M had on the second line item of 83 square feet and I think that we have already discussed that the second sign on the west elevation is perhaps on the fat side as well.


Member Bauer: My immediate comment would be that your scale doesn’t go down below the 30.


Ed Goralewski: Predicated on the size of the building and the buildings that they do occupy they basically have to have recognition and identification. You are looking at 163 foot frontage on Crescent. My own personal feeling is that I don’t feel that it is over powering. I tried to comply to keep somewhere within what F&M was granted; but we are willing to do what the Board wants.


Member Bauer: For that size of frontage any sized sign that you put up is going to stay right out and hit you.


Member Brennan: Mr. Harrington has pointed out in the past and I agree with him, I don’t want to get into a trade and bait, hearing alternative proposals from the petitioner I guess we would move to deny based on any significant hardship being given for the signs being presented.


Chairman Antosiak: Since that was not framed in the form of a motion, I will treat that as discussion.

Member Baty: When the motion is made, can we separate the two.

Chairman Antosiak: Most certainly.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I agree and I disagree with separating the two because the way that I am going to vote on one is really going to be predicated on what we are going to do with the other one.

Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Member Brennan: I don’t think that we can make a motion that is different from what the petitioner has submitted unless we get some concurrence from the petitioner.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I threw it on the table to get something moving.


Ed Goralewski: We had talked previously and I think that somebody on the Board has mentioned that a sign to comply close to what F&M had; the 36 inch size encompasses approximately 83 1/2 square feet and F&M had a sign that was 80 square feet. I think that would be fairly close and as I said for that property I don’t think that it is excessive. We would be willing to do that. The other or the secondary sign 12 inches is just a tough letter with serifs to make. Fourteen inches would be about what we could develop and put neon into it because this is basically a serif letter. If it were a block letter it would be a different story. It would be very difficult to try to put a stroke of neon if you down-sized the letter that far. If you look at page 2, you can see the narrowness of some of these strokes. We have to have it approximately an inch and a half to put a neon tube on the inside to illuminate the sign. So if you would allow us 14 inches instead of 12 - that would be acceptable.


Member Brennan: And the north side sign, per Mr. Reinke’s suggestion, his recommendation is acceptable?


Ed Goralewski: No, somebody had mentioned the size of F&M which was 80 feet and the closest that we could come and don’t forget that we have 13 letters that we are dealing with and that is 83 1/2 square feet, that would be a 36 inch letter on the caps. When we say 36 inches, that is 36 inches on the "L" and the "T" and 30 inches on the balance.


Member Harrington: My comment on Mr. Reinke’s motion is as follows. I think he is right on track.. I think that there is a difference between F&M which is primarily a more square sign than a linear sign like you have with Linens ‘N Things. I think that 30 inches as Mr. Reinke has proposed is very adequate. I am not concerned that there is a big difference between 12 inches and 14 inches if there are sound engineering reasons why it has to be 14 and you really can’t do it at 12 but I am not prepared to vary off of Mr. Reinke’s suggestion of 56 square feet. I think it is the right size.


Ed Goralewski: If it is a block letter sign to engineer and develop it and put a stroke of neon in it would not be a problem. But unfortunately this is a serif letter and the way that it is done if you even look at the "T" and the narrowness of the "N" some of the letters are just going to be to thin at 12 inches.

Member Harrington: I understand that, you are saying that 14 inches is really the minimum that you can do, correct?


Ed Goralewski: Yes.


Member Harrington: However, you own diagram and your proposal suggests that 30 inches on the north face at 58 square feet are very do-able, correct?


Ed Goralewski: Yes, that would be do-able.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Member Reinke: Are you interested in alter your motion.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





Discussion on motion:


Member Harrington: My discussion on the motion as amended is that Mr. Reinke has persuaded me with his initial proposal at 53 square feet and I think that the 30 inches is fine and adequate. I cannot support a larger sign on the north face.


Member Baty: I am not sure on the 14 inches what length that gives us to figure out the square footage it ends up being.


Ed Goralewski: We are showing approximately 28 square feet with a 20 inch letter. It will probably be around 19 or 20 square feet.

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


Chairman Antosiak: I will explain why I voted no. Because in the course of the vote it occurred to me that we had not included in the motion a statement that this variance be limited to this petitioner only and should Mr. Reinke wish to repeat his motion with that inclusion I would vote yes.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 97-026 filed by Pizza Hut


Pizza Hut is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of two (2) roof top signs 11' x 2' (22 sq. frt.) with height from grade being 22', verbiage "PIZZA HUT", for property located at 43455 West Oaks Drive. These signs were erected without a permit.


Jess Sutton was present and duly sworn.


Jess Sutton: This happened last year. This Pizza Hut was nominated for what we call the Kendall Award. Donald Kendall was the CEO of Pepsi Cola at the time. The restaurant didn’t come in very well according the national standards with Pizza Hut. So for the rest of that year we kept looking at the restaurant just to see what might be the problem and why we just weren’t doing a lot of business out there. Actually what it was; it was just kind of hidden back in the mall. So my company sent me out there and I went out there with a contractor and a landscaper and we were assessing what we could do to improve business out there. What really was happening is people couldn’t find the Pizza Hut. After the sign was erected the manager has a lot of comments saying that they did not know that the Pizza Hut was even there.


Jess Sutton: I knew that Novi had a sign ordinance, but I did not know or could distinguish from a wall sign to a roof sign. I admit that. We got a Notice from the City about a permit, I called my contractor and we went down to the City. We though it was for an electrical permit. We did pay for the permit and we were told nothing else. Then, we got the ticket. So the manager called me and I addressed that issue. Went to court and learned a lesson from it.


Jess Sutton: So what really happened there is that this increased business. This business here consistently double digit figures since we have erected that sign up there with growth. We have invested several thousand dollars to upgrade the asset inside and out. This restaurant here, we are very proud of. It was voted the best in Michigan from the Pizza Hut standards and the Pepsi Cola standards. It also represented the state in the national championship and it did come in fifth in the nation. So raising the sign, and I even though I did make a mistake by not getting the proper permits and the proper authorization which I goofed, is an asset to us.


Jess Sutton: We are just requesting the Zoning Board to approve this so that we could continue enjoying the business that we are having now.


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




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Brennan: Not for the sake of precedent, but are there other cases in the sign histories that have allowed or discussed placing verbiage on a peak like that?


Alan Amolsch: The most recent one that I can remember the Board approving is the Olive Garden in the Town Center. They have the same situation.


Chairman Antosiak: And we did approve that?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, we did. There is a subtle difference of when a wall sign becomes a roof sign. I included Mr. Fried’s letter of some years ago when the Pizza Hut was before the Planning Commission. When we think of a roof sign we normally think of a sign on the top of the roof, this is not what you would call a roof sign but basically it is not a wall sign which is the permitted sign. It is not so much that it is a roof sign, but it is not a wall sign.


Member Baty: Did I hear correctly that it is not a roof sign and it is not a wall sign?


Alan Amolsch: When you think of a roof sign, you think of a sign that is plunked on the top of a roof, like you see in other cities. Novi does not allow that kind of sign. One of the signs that we do allow is a wall sign - a wall sign has to be affixed to a building wall and not above the roof line. That is what Mr. Fried’s letter went into some years ago. That is the way we have enforced it over the years. It is not so much that it is a roof sign on top of the roof; but it does not meet the criteria of what a wall sign is.


Member Brennan: What did we end up calling the Olive Garden sign?


Alan Amolsch: A roof sign.


Member Harrington: Is there an issue because there is 2 of them?


Alan Amolsch: One of the signs was approved by the Board of Appeals at the location it was originally on the mansard wall. There was one sign permitted and sign approved by the Zoning Board which was in 1985.


Member Brennan: I have been to this restaurant and I know that there is significant trees and landscaping around there. I have to honest, I don’t even remember this being moved and perhaps because it is not obnoxiously sitting on top of the roof. I wouldn’t have any objection in granting this variance.


Member Bauer: I wouldn’t either.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Basically in a lot of respects it is still be treated as and looked at as a wall sign because it blends into the "wall-roof"; it doesn’t stand above the building, it doesn’t sit out away from the building and the size of the sign is not obtrusive. I really don’t have a problem with the placement. The only problem that I have is when people go ahead and do things without checking first.


Jess Sutton: I understand that, sir. I can appreciate your feeling and we go into a lot of communities and I really try to follow the ordinances with all of the cities. But, this just happened and I apologize for it.


Member Baty: The reason that 2 signs are permitted?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: They have a variance for the second sign. Basically it is just the location.


Alan Amolsch: Which is another reason that they are before you, because the original variance was for the sign at the location that was approved by the Board.


Member Harrington: My sense is that not only is every case an individual case on it’s own facts, but this one particularly is individualized. Were we to see a stream of similar applications from other businesses who have listened to us tonight or read with great interest the success of your non-wall sign that would be problematic for me. You do have specific location difficulties and geographic locations and line of site difficulties. I am troubled when I see a potential exception carved into the ordinance and my support for your exception is limited to the facts here.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Member Brennan,





Discussion on motion:


Chairman Antosiak: I would request that the motion be amended to limit the variance to the petitioner only.


Member Bauer: So be it.


Member Brennan: Certainly.


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


Case No. 97-029 filed by Johnson Sign Company, Inc., representing Providence Hospital


Johnson Sign Company, Inc., representing Providence Hospital is requesting a variance to change the verbiage on three (3) existing ground signs at 47601 Grand River Avenue. These signs were granted under Zoning Board of Appeals Case No. 95-078, September 5, 1995 and Case No. 91-105, December 3, 1991.


Richard Abbott was present and duly sworn.


Richard Abbott: We are not changing the size, shape, color or height of the existing signs that are on the site at Beck Road and Grand River. We are changing the identification of our organization from Mission Health to Providence Hospital and Medical Centers. Therefore we are changing the text of the signs. They will remain in their existing locations and in their existing configurations.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 7 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were no written responses received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Harrington: Aren’t you changing it back to what it was before?


Richard Abbott: Yes, that is correct.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Since we are not changing the size of anything and we are going back to where it was in previous existence I don’t have a problem.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,





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


Case No. 97-030 filed by Planet Neon, representing Pere Marquette Employes’ Credit Union


Planet Neon, representing Pere Marquette Employes’ Credit Union is requesting a variance to allow a second sign 4' x 4.75' (19 sq. ft.) for the ATM Machine on the east elevation of the building located at 22245 Haggerty Road.


Ed Goralewski was present and duly sworn.


Ed Goralewski: We received a call from Pere Marquette Employes’ Credit Union due to the fact that they feel they have a hardship. They in fact installed an automatic teller machine, an ATM, on the south side of their building. People are not finding it. They have a ground sign which is approximately 20 square feet. There are some indications or little logos on the bottom of that panel but if you are driving down Haggerty Road you are going to miss it. The sign actually could have been 35 square feet and maybe something could have been done. But what the situation is, that I have Mr. Hendron here from Pere Marquette and I would like to call him up and have him interject some comments regarding his situation with the ATM machine.


Bob Hendron, Business Development Manager for Pere Marquette Employes’ Credit Union. We have been in that location since November of 1994. We have had a drive up ATM. With the traffic and the speed the ATM is not visible from Haggerty Road, especially if you are going southbound. By the time that you realize that there is an ATM there you are already past the building property. What we have proposed to do in our appeal is to place a sign which identifies that there is an ATM machine on the building itself. It would not necessarily be a directional sign, just an informational sign identifying that there is such a service at that location.


Bob Hendron: Many of the people that do use the ATM have advised us that for sometime they were unaware that such a service was available there. We are experiencing that traffic is picking up, but albeit slowly. Again, we believe that it is because of the speed or the traffic that is on Haggerty Road and for the reason that the majority of the people that travel southbound unless they know that the machine is there, drive right past it.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 4 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. (Copy in file.)




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Bauer inquired of Alan Amolsch: What is the size of the sign that we had up for Security Bank which is not First of America?


Alan Amolsch: I believe that it was around 6 square feet.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That was added onto their existing sign, that wasn’t added onto the building as what they are proposing here. Correct me if I am wrong; basically the knowledge of this machine is for the members of your credit union, correct?


Bob Hendron: No, there are members of adjoining networks, nationwide networks called Cirrus, a local mid-western network called Magic Line and anyone that has an ATM card with a participating financial institution can use the terminal.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Let me re-phrase my question. Most financial networks like this have ATM machines, correct? So really it is like saying that you can get a money order or you can cash a check at a financial institution, I look at this as being a service advertisement which, to me, is not warranted in a second sign. It can either be incorporated better in their original sign but I see no real hardship for a second sign.

Member Brennan inquired of Alan Amolsch: The identification sign that is out front, is that significantly smaller than what is allowed?


Alan Amolsch: I believe that it is around 30 square feet, which is a permitted sign. There maybe a little leeway based on the setback for a little larger sign. But, I think that the sign now is around 30 square feet.


Ed Goralewski: Alan, I think that it is 20 square feet.


Alan Amolsch: If you will wait, I will go and get the file.


Member Baty: Does that sign out front have an ML symbol?


Ed Goralewski: Yes it does. They are so small that they are really not visible on the sign itself.


Member Brennan: Would it make any sense modify or add to the existing sign that is out front?


Ed Goralewski: There is going to be a possibility that there is going to be a name change that is going to occur and maybe Bob can address that.


Bob Hendron: Briefly we have applied for an amendment with our field of membership to become a community credit union, serving strictly the residents and those that work in Novi. We are in the last phase of that and we should have formal approval on that in probably 2 or 3 weeks.


Member Brennan: So then you will have a new sign out front?


Bob Hendron: We would have a new sign, that is correct.


Member Brennan: That would be a good time to put that ATM on that one then.


Bob Hendron: Yes, if it does not look too garish. What we are strictly trying to do with the building sign, we are finding that because of the distance that we are back from Haggerty Road that in itself is a visibility problem. That is why we have requested an identification sign of some sort just to acknowledge that there is a drive up ATM.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: To get this Board Member’s support I think that you really have to look at your whole signage. If you are going to change your name, what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. I would never support a second sign for what your petition is and what you are trying to accomplish. It is not even to your benefit, that is my feeling, to do it that way.


Member Harrington: I agree with Mr. Reinke on this one. What this reminded me of was a variance that we did grant and I still don’t feel comfortable with and I think that it was Perry Drug or Rite-Aide or one of those and we gave a variance to allow LOTTO up on the mansard. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like those now because we are advertising a service within and I guess that was close enough to the sign in chief that it was sort of OK; but this isn’t even close to your sign in chief this is just a plain old second sign on the wall. I concur with Mr. Reinke and if you are considering re-doing your sign package because of the change in ownership or change in identification or whatever I think that is where the ATM belongs and I think that is where most people look for it; on the main identification sign or close there to. You are not going to be looking for a second sign somewhere else to tell you that there is an ATM service. That is only my thought.


Alan Amolsch: He is correct, the sign is 20.34 square feet in area. Normally they have a lot sign area and this sign is even smaller than what they are allowed. So there is room for additional sign area on that sign.


Member Brennan: That might solve your problem.


Ed Goralewski: We are really not sure. We don’t want to make the face of the sign to garish, to busy. If you look at it now, it doesn’t really present well. It is very hard to read. The new logo and I saw a black and white, it would be fine. We were playing around with trying to incorporate the ATM and all of a sudden it became to us a kind of junkie look. It didn’t seem right. That is why we were hoping that the Board would allow a sign on the building. It is a good looking property, but here again that building sits off of Haggerty quite a distance. We are just basically trying to identify that there is an ATM machine on that property. The other thing is that I don’t belong to a credit union, I normally do my ATM at our local bank; I did not realize that credit unions had ATM machines. Maybe some people don’t realize it just because it is a credit union. I think that they may look at it that way.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





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


Case No. 97-031 filed by Jerry Knoppow


Jerry Knoppow is requesting a variance to allow the existing ground sign to be relocated to 63' from the centerline of Grand River Avenue and to allow the verbiage to read "KNOPPOWS" or the name of any other tenant or owner of the premises. The original variance was granted in Zoning Board of Appeals Case No. 1715 on June 6, 1989.


Irene Kowal was present and duly sworn.


Irene Kowal: Mr. Knoppow is the owner of the subject building located at 43051 Grand River. That is located just on the west side of the fire station. In June of 1989, the Board of Appeals granted his request for a ground sign on this property. The sign is approximately 38 square feet, it is 8 feet by 4 feet 8 inches and is of the same attractive brick as the building and it currently reads Knoppows. It was erected according to the setbacks enforced at the time. This sign was granted in addition to the wall sign because the building itself was also subject to very deep setbacks and the visibility was blocked by the buildings that are still there on the west side of the building along Grand River. The building itself is setback about 160 feet from the center of Grand River. The sign sits back about 110 feet from the center of Grand River. Subsequently after Mr. Knoppow’s building was built the setback requirements were reduced by the City of Novi. A little late to move the building, but maybe it is not to late to make some adjustment for the sign. The abandonment of approximately 44 feet of the depth of the right of way by the Oakland County Road Commission this past year changes the minimum setback requirements for the sign and for the buildings. The building can’t be removed but Mr. Knoppow is requesting permission to move this ground sign out so that it is 63 feet from the center of Grand River.


Irene Kowal: The second part of our request refers to the wording in the June 1989 variance, which states that the sign contain only the verbiage "Knoppows" and that the sign can be removed at the discretion of the Board at any time.


Irene Kowal: Also here tonight with us and with Mr. Knoppow is Mr. Al Stewart. Mr. Al Stewart is a potential buyer and owner/user of this building. He is reasonably seeking assurance that this sign can be relocated as requested and of course that when and if he buys the building the verbiage can be changed so that the name of his business can go on that sign. The other thing is that he would want assurances that the sign could not just be removed at the discretion of the Board at any time.

Irene Kowal: Both of these gentlemen are here to answer any of your questions that you might have.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 14 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch: Just for a point of clarification , the setback requirements have not changed with the City of Novi. The problem before was that the county right of way was 100 feet. That is why they couldn’t locate the sign in the right of way, that is why the sign was back as far as they did. Apparently now they have acquired some right of way from the county. There has not been a change in the setback requirements.


Chairman Antosiak: So 63 feet is still allowed. Also for clarification, what sized sign would ordinarily be allowed?


Alan Amolsch: This particular sign was approved with a Zoning Board of Appeals variance in 1989. It is 8 by 4 foot 8 inches (38 square feet).


Chairman Antosiak: My question is what sized sign would be allowed by ordinance?


Alan Amolsch: At 63 feet it would be 31 1/2 square feet. It is based on the 1 and 2 setback formula. One square foot of sign for every 2 feet of setback.


Jerry Knoppow: There is one comment that I would like to add to this the traffic coming from Novi consistently is unable to see the sign which you permitted us to put up there, because of the party store that is there. We are trying to get the sign so it is at least visible, considering how far back the store is off of the street, 160 feet.


Member Harrington: One assurance ought to be pretty easy and that is that the Board won’t yank a sign on a whim as was suggested. Variances may have conditions attached to them or they may have a length of time attached but otherwise the variances are permanent, sometimes to the applicant and sometimes not. So, that assurance is an easy one.


Chairman Antosiak: Two of the 3 requests don’t trouble me and that is the relocation of the sign and the size as well as Mr. Harrington’s comment. I am not inclined to approve a sign that any name could go on. I would like to see variances for signs approved for a particular petitioner.


Alan Amolsch: The original variance restricted the verbiage to Knoppow’s only.


Member Brennan: Are there any issues regarding safety by pushing it closer to Grand River?


Alan Amolsch: There shouldn’t be. That is our standard setback requirement. As long as they have the property and it is no longer in the county right of way. It would have been permitted at that location in the past.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Just to make sure that I understand, if the petitioner elected not to request a variance he could locate a sign of 31 and 1/2 square feet at 63 feet from the centerline of the road?


Alan Amolsch: No, because they have a wall sign on the building.


Chairman Antosiak: So they would need a variance for a second sign.


Member Harrington: I concur with Mr. Antosiak. I don’t feel comfortable simply giving a blanket to whatever verbiage may be on the sign at some unspecified point in the future. If we had the name of a new tenant or a mockup or a rendering of a the proposed new sign that probably would be something that the Board could consider. Right now we don’t know that.


Mr. Stewart from Audio Video Systems in Rochester, Michigan. We have a store located there. What we want to do is to utilize this sign because the building is setting back so far. We sell high end audio video equipment. We do projections. We do vitachron. We do yamaha denin adcom threshold. High end audio gear. There is nothing in this area. Most of our business, and we do a lot of business in this area, from Rochester. That is why we want to put another location here. It is a hard visibility from Novi Road and that is why we would like to bring the sign out closer. We are very interested in the property. We are far along. I think it is a good asset to the community because we do draw a lot of people. My competition in this industry would be Gramophone or Alamos, but they are driving over to Woodward and they are coming all the way to Rochester for my type of product. It will be a good thing for the community as well.


Member Harrington: How close are you to cutting the deal and knowing what the new sign is going to look like?


Mr. Stewart: It is going to happen.


Jerry Knoppow: The offer to purchase has occurred, we have agreed.


Member Harrington: Does it make any sense and let’s assume that there is a consensus that relief should be granted here but we don’t know what the new sign is going to look like, is there any sense in tabling this for either 30 or 60 days rather than if we were to grant this variance and then they would have to refile again and they have to come in front of us again.


Mr. Stewart: Realistically our sign, and the same in Rochester, it just says "Audio Video System". That is it. In the same space. It is just plain letter writing, that is all there is, nothing significant or obscure about the sign. That is not our point of retail. We just don’t do that. Most of ours is point of purchase. Most people know our locations and they come to us because what happens is that if you are not familiar with these products people who read magazines they look up manufacturers and they call the manufacturer to find the dealer. There is a tremendous amount of word of mouth.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Case No. 97-033 filed by Singh Development Co.


Singh development Company is requesting a 1' height variance and a 5' placement setback to allow for the construction of an entrance sign for Main Street Village, located at Grand River and Constitution.


Jane Dietrich was present and duly sworn.


Jane Dietrich: You may recall that a few months ago we were before you to request a development sign off of the westerly entry on Market Street. The reason was the marketability of our main entry which is the Grand River entry of our Main Street Village. We are here before you today to request a 5' variance setback from the right of way and to give you a little history: when we first designed the development we asked Jim Chen of the sports tavern for a copy of the site plan or the proposed site plan and we designed our entry with the enormous and elaborate entry monument here based on the fact that his building would only go this far (chart being shown to Board). Unbeknownst to us he came before you and received a variance that increased his building size 60 feet. Due to this when people are coming or traffic is coming eastward they cannot see the sign until you are all most in front of it. That is why we would like to push our sign and monument wall out by 5 more feet.


Jane Dietrich: Another thing that happened is the sports tavern was bricked and the brick matches our entry as well. So we are requesting a 5' variance from the setback for that reason. We are also here to request a 1' variance in heigh, to 6' high, and the reason for that is that the entry and the topography goes up. So if you are coming from Novi Road the elevation goes up about 12 to 15 feet. Due to that, you do not see the sign until you are almost in front of it. We feel that would be a traffic issue if people come to a quick stop to turn into the entry. This happens on both west and eastbound traffic.

Jane Dietrich: We figure that if we added an additional foot to the height that would help people find our development quicker. Our main issue is that we are concerned that emergency vehicles such as that would have a difficult time finding the entry to this and that the hardship that is happening here. It is not only the topography but also the existing tavern that is being built to our entry.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 27 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Bauer: Don’t you have an enormous structure that goes over the entranceway and stays up real high?


Jane Dietrich: This is it right here. This wall blocks the monument.


Member Bauer: I don’t have a problem seeing it.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Understanding the situation there and I know coming from Meadowbrook and that direction it is very visible, going the opposite direction it would be nice if the sports tavern was back a little bit further for a lot more reasons than just that. But, the requested variance is really minimal and I could support the petitioners request.


Member Brennan: Unless I misunderstood this some of this problem was created by changes in other construction unbeknownst to the petitioner, so it wasn’t self created. I would tend to agree with Mr. Reinke that it is a relatively minor request. My original concern was pushing anything closer to Grand River. I would like to see it go the other way, but there is no other way to go.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is there any problem caused to the City by such a setback variance?


Don Saven: I don’t believe so. One of the things that I would have thought about would have been visibility and I don’t think that we have a problem in this area.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,





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




Chairman Antosiak indicated we have one other matter on the agenda the Expo Center sign. Is there any comment or discussion from the Board on that issue. I asked Nancy to mail out minutes of the 2 meetings where Blair was before us to discuss the purpose of the sign and she did.


Member Harrington: I have a preliminary question, did we make a determination that in fact the present make up of the sign was in violation of our prior variance or was it more along the lines that there was concern by the Board because of the sponsor panel or the advertising nature and we wanted to review minutes and the like and invite Mr. Bowman to appear in front of us?


Chairman Antosiak: Actually my personal recollection was that it was somewhere between those two. That we had not concluded that and that we felt it was a violation of the variance but that our recollection at the meeting was that it was not the intent of the sign and I think we suggested that the City look into the variance requests that were granted and make a decision. Which I believe was done and that is why the City received the response that they did.


Member Harrington: Because the packet of materials that we received which the masses out there have not probably seen; suggests that the Board itself made a determination that Mr. Bowman and the Expo Center were in violation and I had not made that determination at that time and to the extent that any of the paperwork suggests that we made that determination; that is inaccurate. Perhaps the paperwork that was generated was an unartful form of inviting Mr. Bowman to come before the Board and to discuss his sponsor panel. I think clearly the minutes of our prior meetings reflect that this was an issue of continuing jurisdiction. That the Board would continue to monitor and look at the signage package out there because it was so unusual and my review of the minutes suggests to this Board Member albeit not tonight at 10:40 in the evening would I want Mr. Bowman to address these issues but I would still like to have him come forward and speak to us about the continuing need for the signage. I think that you can take what he applied for in one interpretation and say yes that is what he wanted was the sponsorship panel, but I look at the actual motion approved by the Board at our various meetings and I don’t think that we went nearly as far as Mr. Bowman wanted us to go and I think that we were going to keep an eye on it. I think it is appropriate to keep an eye on it. My other reaction to the package is that I am somewhat troubled by the gratuitous communication from Mr. Kriewall, City Manager, who doesn’t believe that upon his review of the minutes that they are in violation. I think it is up to this Board to ultimately make that call as to what our variance was and was not. I don’t think that it is appropriate for Mr. Kriewall to be reading our minutes and telling us what we as a Board thought on a particular issue. So those are my comments on the package. I would like as one Member to have Mr. Bowman come back in front of us.


Member Bauer: I vote for that.


Member Brennan: I think that is basically what he had come to an agreement on last time. Unfortunately a violation notice was sent and that is what sparked all of this.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Did you or Mr. Amolsch conclude independent from us the ZBA that a violation had occurred?


Don Saven: As I reviewed the file and what I had taken a look at and the motion I don’t recall specifically what the content was or the discussion. What I look at what was presented to the Board and based upon the evidence presented. There was in fact an issue saying that there was a sponsor panel as a part of this thing, so the question would be was that sponsor panel a part of what you were believing to be as part of that sign package. If I can recall, this was brought up when there was somebody being married and there was context that was associated with that sign which was not part of what Novi was all about at that particular time. I think that was one of the concerns that generated the question. The issue of the sponsorship panel was one that was shown on the application and whether or not I would probably have to review the minutes in its entirety to go through what the discsussion was to be able to respond a little bit better to what you are indicating.


Chairman Antosiak: I am one person who mentioned the issue I believe at the last Meeting or 2 Meetings ago; and in reviewing the minutes that Nancy sent me I concluded that Mr. Bowman did in fact use the word sponsor panel but he used it in the context of sponsoring shows at the Expo Center which is what my recollection of the discussion was but I wanted to confirm it by reading the minutes.


Don Saven: Maybe it is a point of clarification that is needed and maybe bringing him back would be the best thing to do.


Member Harrington: Mr. Bowman might very well tell us that for example the logo of Pepsi sponsors more than one show and the reason that it is out there is because they are a significant group sponsor for multiple show and rather than having different sponsors per show perhaps that is why that is out there. But I think that we need to hear that from him and be persuaded in the first instance that it sould continue seeing that we did keep continuing jurisdiction over that sign. As a Board Member perhaps he was having a bad day but I don’t take kindly to his suggestion that he is not going to acknowledge our continuing jurisdiction and number one isn’t going to come in front of us; I am sure that he didn’t mean that he wouldn’t come in front of us and number 2 it is here in writing that he is not in violation and he is not going to change that sponsorship panel. I find that interesting and I would like to have him explain that to me and the rest of the Board.


Member Brennan: I was going to make a motion and let’s direct a letter inviting him to the next Meeting and giving him the luxury of being first on the docket so that we don’t have to take a lot of his time; but certainly just an ivitation to come so that we can talk to him and get some clarification from both sides rather than a barrage of letters back and forth through all the various agencies.


Member Harrington: Well seeing that he either didn’t get the message or didn’t like the message I would move that we make review of the Expo sign an agenda item on next month’s docket rather than simply inviting him to come.


Moved by Member Harrington:


Seconded by Member Bauer,





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


Member Harrington: One other quick matter that I will bring to the Board’s attention. I know that it is late and I will do it in 60 seconds or less. I have carefully reflected on the so called Special Meeting that we had at the pleasure of Mr. Fried and the City. I want to indicate on the record because we were not televised last time that I think that it was offensive for the City to railroad through a Special Meeting to assist the City Attorney with his opening statement in a case, particularly when he never requested an adjournment of the case. I would indicate to the Board that the case is in fact settled. Fortunately the case resolved, and I presume favorably to the City, but I was concerned about the scheduling of that Meeting and the fact that the case was vintage in nature and could have been scheduled at any time earlier with due diligence by the City Attorney’s office. The other comment that I want to make for the record is that I found it very inappropriate for a petitioner in the guise of the City Attorney to be informing the Board what we may properly consider in terms of our fact finding. I think that the Board has wide discretion in the facts that it thinks is relevant to it’s determinations and for Mr. Fried to simply refuse to answer a question reasonably related to the discretion of the Board and futher inform the Board that we were out of line and of bounds was inappropriate and I want the record to reflect that.


Chairman Antosiak: Mr. Saven, you have laid some information before us this evening on a proposed fee schedule, what would you like us to do with this?


Don Saven: We had this discussion with regards to proposed fee changes in terms of what are fees were and what we had on the books and what I had indicated to you is that I am going through a fee change schedule and before you are the fee changes. I would ask that you take a look at it. Review it. If any comments get back with me. If you think it is not in line based upon your input from the last Special Meeting this consideration was taken. Also in the packet are other communities that deal with Zoning Board of Appeals cases and what they charge. Please take a look at it. That is what I have presented. I have tried to keep it as simple as possible. If there are other issues that need to be brought up, please let me know.


Chairman Antosiak: I would suggest that we place this as another matter on the agenda for the next meeting and ask the Members to come back with comments so Mr. Saven can have feedback.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I would make one comment just briefly, I like the structure with the violation. So many times people just have the attitude that I’ll just go ahead; there is no difference whether I have to go in now or later. There is no reason to. This kind of puts it as a reason or an incentive to do it the right way to begin with.


Don Saven: This basically falls in line with West Bloomfield and their reviews. If you take a look at the other attachments you will see they are the same as far as violations are concerned.





The Meeting was adjourned at 10:50 p.m.










Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary