TUESDAY - JULY 1, 1997


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




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


Absent: Member Baty (alternate)


Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official

Steve Cohen - Staff Planner

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary




Chairman Antosiak indicated we have a full Board present tonight, so all decisions made by the Board will be final.


Chairman Antosiak indicated the 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. We have a full Board here tonight and it will take a vote of four (4) Members of the Board to grant a variance; so any decision made tonight will be final.





Chairman Antosiak inquired do we have any proposed Agenda amendments? Hearing none; I move that the Agenda be approved as written. All in favor, please say aye. (all ayes). Agenda Approved.




Chairman Antosiak indicated we have the minutes of the June 3, 1997 Meeting. Are there any proposed amendments to the minutes? Hearing none; I move that the minutes of the June 3rd Meeting be approved as written. All in favor, please say aye. (all ayes, abstain Meyer). Minutes Approved.




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 that case is heard. However, if there is anyone in the audience who would like to address the Board on a matter not related to a specific case, now is the time to do so. Is there anyone in the audience who would like to so address the Board? (No one wished to be heard at this time.)



Case No. 97-015 filed by Kevin Akey, representing Pathways to Learning


Kevin Akey, representing Pathways to Learning is requesting an eight (8) foot setback variance to allow for an addition to the existing facility at 21900 Meadowbrook Road.


Kevin Akey and Vincent Engerer were present and duly sworn.


Kevin Akey: We are requesting a side yard variance. Basically there are a couple of reasons why we are requesting this variance. One is that it is an existing building that is a pre-fab unit and we are real uncertain about the bearing of the existing walls, the footings, etc. So we are proposing an addition out front of the building and a new roof enclosing the entire new addition and existing. The variance that we want is for 7 feet as we are creating a covered entrance over the building for 2 reasons. One is for structural reasons; we are not bearing any of the existing loads or any of the new loads on the existing building, we are going right over the top of the entire new building. Two, we are creating day care and we have children coming in every day and the parents are escorting children from the parking lot area everyday and we are actually creating a 7 foot covered walkway which will help the parents and the kids get to the front door from the parking lot. At the present time there is a 9 foot sidewalk out in front of that. We are not going out to the sidewalk. That is about it.


Chairman Antosiak: There was a total of 57 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




Linda Schlessman, we live on the property that is adjacent to the south border of Pathways to Learning. I am here with a number of residents that are opposed to the granting of this variance and also to the proposed addition. Pathways to Learning is on a 2.9 acre parcel, the current building , the playground and the parking lot are concentrated on the south and the southeast portion of the lot. Now this entire property is bordered on 3 sides by residences; on the south, on the east and on the north. The existing building that is there is currently at the minimum setback of 75 feet from the south of the property and this is where they want their variance. Now I understand that a zoning variance is due to physical hardship. But, I don’t believe that is the case here. In the Planning Commission Meeting, it was mentioned by a Pathways representative that the variance was to cover the existing sidewalk as they mentioned here tonight; however, when I looked at the elevation plans at the City I noticed that is going to be a part of it and the new proposed addition also comes out 8 feet and it is not just to cover the sidewalk. Now, I already have to put up with a parking lot that is adjacent to my property that is only 15 feet from my property line, not the 35 feet that is currently allowed today. There are a lot of cars that come in there; in and out and they park right behind my house, noise all day long. Now, I understand that they are grandfathered in with this variance because they took over the existing church property but I see no reason to grant them another one at the homeowner’s expense. We understand that the building is in need of repair and if they want to do something structurally to improve that building and the elevation and the appearance that they propose is going to greatly enhance the current building; but I believe that it could be done without infringing upon the residents. You could improve the building as is, you could put together an addition but not come south (they have ample property to the north) and I believe that the residents should not be made to suffer for Pathways convenience. They may not want to build to the north because of there own business reasons but again, this is not a reason to grant them a variance. I believe that the proposed addition is concentrating a lot to the south and the southeast portion of the property. When the day care first came in there they were going to have maybe 30 to 35 children, I understand now that in the fall and the winter they are up to 50. This is going to put them at 85 and that is a lot of kids to have in your backyard and a lot of cars. So I ask you to please look at this proposal carefully and to ask yourselves, where is the physical hardship? Thank you.


Mike Parmley, I live directly east of this property and the proposed changes here would be right out of my back door, viewing this whole expansion on the playground area. When the change was approved some number of years ago I was opposed to it then because of the noise level and just the congestion that tends to exist over there, traffic flow, etc. With this expansion the extra 50 children, if that is the number, certainly will increase the noise level drastically in this area. Most of the homes that are surrounding the border of this property are in the $200,000 range if not more, and I feel that it is wrong that this expansion be granted at this time or at all in the future. I don’t know what the various ordinances are as far as expansion across the front is, just what has been mentioned; but I do ask that you give this careful consideration especially in my case although I am just one person and I realize that; but it is right out of my back door and I would appreciate your deepest consideration on this and not to approve it. Thank you.




Steve Cohen: On May 7th the Planning Commission reviewed the preliminary site plan for this addition and at that Meeting they did approve the preliminary site plan with conditions. One of the conditions was the approval by this Board of the variance. At that Meeting on the record, Brandon Rogers (the Planning Consultant) expressed concern about the variance and had asked the commission to discuss with the applicant possible additions to the north or leaving it within the same building envelope as the existing site. It is my understanding that with the design that they have proposed that would be impossible. I wanted to let you know that on the record our consultant is against this variance.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: By show of hands can we see how many residents here are opposed to this? Thank you.


Chairman Antosiak: Let the record reflect that 10 to 12 people have raised their hand.


Member Harrington: Mr Brennan has sort of anticipated my question; I am not generally comfortable with generic responses to audiences and we do have a procedure whereby Notice is sent out to interested property owners and the like. If any of the people who are in opposition to this would care to step forward and indicate their name and address for record purposes; it is helpful for us to know that it is Novi community residents in contrast to simply stacking an audience or the equivalent. If you prefer not to do that, it is fine; but I would be interested to note the names and addresses of the persons who have appeared here tonight and are opposing this.


People in opposition:

Pat McGuckin - 41262 Marks Dr.

Linda Schlessman - 41330 Marks Dr.

Irene Jacob - 41295 Marks Dr.

Nancy Kettler - 41372 Marks Dr.

Gary Gryglewski - 21701 Siegal Dr.

Diane Gryglewski - 21701 Siegal Dr.

Sonia Parmley - 21725 Siegal Dr.

Mike Parmley - 21725 Siegal Dr.

Lisa McGuckin - 41262 Marks Dr.

Arthur Fletcher - 41328 Todd Ln.


Member Brennan: Given the information that has been presented, do you have any comments at this point?


Vincent Engerer: The school is completely blocked from the east side of the houses. There is 3 sets of evergreens which are at least 3 stories high. Kids don’t drive; their parents drive them and drop them off so there is no congestion. They are always dropped off at different times of the day. Seven o’clock in the morning, 7:05 am and there is nothing going on at noon time. The bus comes by to pick up children that go to kindergarten and also to drop off children after school. That is all the traffic that is going to be out there. Now why 8 feet is going to make a big difference going to the south I have no idea. All we are doing is extending the roof to make it look pleasant to the surrounding community. This is costing me a lot of money, I am not doing this just to be nasty. The day care is not pleasant to the eyes, it needs a new design and whether we go the 8 feet or not we are going to expand it. It is beyond my belief that anybody would complain that it is going 8 feet and it is a cover for people who have one or two children that bring one in and they have to carry the baby in. Now that is all that it is, a coverall.


Member Harrington: Do I understand you to mean that it is necessary for you to expand and you would prefer to do it through a variance, but you could probably could also build on the property without the need of a variance? You could go in a different direction?


Vincent Engerer: The structural as the architect mentioned, they have to put support beams in order to put a roof over the complete school instead of partially. I have the other option of doing it over the new part and leaving the old part the way that it is, but that defeats the purpose.


Member Harrington: Would you need a variance for that?


Vincent Engerer: Right, we want to just cover the sidewalk. There is about a 9 foot sidewalk now with stairs going down to the parking lot and all we are doing is just covering that and not to expand the building.


Member Harrington: Could you accomplish what you are attempting to accomplish by building in a different direction or in a different manner without the need for a variance?


Vincent Engerer: I would have to leave that to the architect.


Member Harrington: Is he here tonight?


Kevin Akey: I would say that it could be, but no where nearly as attractively. We are trying to cover this existing building because it is just an eyesore.


Member Harrington: Or as cost efficiently?


Kevin Akey: That would be unknown right now.


Member Bauer: At this point I have not heard a hardship.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Usually when we grant a side yard variance it is because there is not sufficient property to utilize in either expanding or putting a building on a specific lot. From what is presented here, there is adequate property. In my estimation and understanding it is going to take more creativity and additional cost to accomplish what the petitioner is looking to do. I see, really no hardship to expand into the side yard setback.


Member Brennan: I concur with Mr. Reinke. In addition for the record, I think that it is worthwhile to note that we have significant residential nonsupport for this and when we have this many people to take the time and the effort to come out and express their interest I think it is worthwhile noting.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 97-041 filed by Monogram Homes


Monogram Homes wishes to construct a home which encroaches into the required rear yard setback. The site plan indicates a portion of the home projecting into the rear yard 11.75 feet which reduces the rear yard to 23.25 feet, for property located at 23599 Broadmoor Park Ln., lot 15, in the Broadmoor Park Subdivision off of Ten Mile and Beck Roads.


Mike Fellows was present and duly sworn.


Mike Fellows: We are requesting a rear yard variance for a home within the Broadmoor Park subdivision. When this subdivision was initially planned, the wetland ordinance did not prohibit the inclusion of portions of the wetlands within the platted lot. During the planning process the ordinance was changed which then did just that; which had the effect of moving the rear lot line much closer to the front lot line. It used to be that the only or the most strict rear building envelope provision was the wetland buffer line which was 25 feet from the wetland. Now however, with the new provision in the wetland ordinance and moving the rear lot line forward, the most strict provision now restricting the building envelope is the rear yard setback which is 35 feet. This subdivision does have quite a few number of lots that were affected by that, but I wanted to say that we are not intending to apply for any variances for any other lots. We are going to do our best with those. But, this one particular lot had a couple of other unique characteristics which I would like to quickly explain to you. One of them is the shape that the wetland took at the back of the lot line, there is a bump in the wetland which protrudes into this lot which in effect makes the building envelope much narrower in the middle than any other lot. The second factor is a mitigating factor, I think, in that the in the rear of this lot there are no neighbors; this lot backs up to a very large wetland. I believe that it is about 730 or 750 feet from this lot across the wetland and the only thing there is Beck Road. So there will be no rear neighbors that would be detrimentally affected by this variance.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 3 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: I think that the petitioner has presented a case for hardship in that the ordinance was changed in mid-stream. He does have an odd shaped lot. It has no negative on any adjacent property owners. I would tend to think that this is a reasonable request even though it is new construction.


Chairman Antosiak: I would just echo Mr. Brennan’s comments; I would say that 99.9% of the time I would vote to deny a variance for new construction but I do think that the unique shape of this lot and the fact that it backs up onto a wetland preserve type area, I could vote to approve this.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The thing is in echoing the same comments, it is not a straight line situation. It basically affects the center of the lot. It is what I would classify as a unique situation.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




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


Case No. 97-043 filed by Gregory Cragel


Gregory Cragel is requesting a 5 foot side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an addition at 48689 Nine Mile Road.


Gregory Cragel was present and duly sworn.


Gregory Cragel: We are asking for a 5 foot side yard setback. When our home was originally built in 1987 there was a 15 foot side yard setback at that time. As you know it has changed to 20 feet. Our house currently goes down that lot line and at the furthest corner hits that point at about 15.5 feet and even at one point about 13.5 feet; so how it was built originally with that I am not certain. But, the configuration of the lot is such that our objective is to add an addition to the house at about approximately 20 feet and in so doing that lot line tends to encroach on any expansion in the back of the house. I should mention that the reason for our desired expansion is currently our house has 2 bedrooms and a study which we would like to keep as a study, and our plan is to increase the size of our family and in so doing we need an additional bedroom. So the objective here is to take the existing living room and convert that to a bedroom which will be in closer proximity to the existing bedrooms and then replace the living room with the new addition out the back of the house.


Gregory Cragel: We have tried to accommodate the previous 15 foot setback by indenting the addition by 7 feet to maintain the existing 15 foot distance from the house currently from that lot line.

Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 15 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




Mr. Novak, I live adjacent and I was just wondering if you had a diagram to show what was going on?


Plans shown to Mr. Novak by Gregory Cragel.


Mr. Novak, I have no problem with this.


Gregory Cragel: Our other neighbors have approved of this.


Mr. Novak: I was just curious as to what everything was.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan inquired of Chairman Antosiak: Did you already read about the letter to the adjoining property owners?


Chairman Antosiak: None were returned.


Member Brennan: I assume that you can’t build off of the other side of the house where you have a little bit more room because that is a garage and that doesn’t do you any good.


Gregory Cragel: Right and our objective here is to maintain as much of the southern exposure as we can and if we were to move any further over to the west we would be taking away some of that light from the kitchen.


Member Brennan: I do agree that you have an odd shaped lot.


Gregory Cragel: I do have my architect here, Mr. Bob Kramer, if there are any additional architectural questions.


Member Brennan: It seems to be a reasonable request. It doesn’t seem to impact other neighbors. I wouldn’t have any problem supporting this plan.


Chairman Antosiak: I would agree that this is an unusually shaped lot.


Don Saven: One issue that I just happened to see is that you are looking at relocating the septic field, is that correct?


Gregory Cragel: Not the field, but the septic tank.


Don Saven: I just want you to be aware that there might be some other requirements from going from a 2 bedroom home to a 3 bedroom home. The length of runs and these issues......


Gregory Cragel: It is currently a 1500 gallon septic tank which is plenty; the house requires actually 1000 if we were to replace it.


Don Saven: I would suggest that you contact the county to be exactly sure in this case.


Gregory Cragel: We have.


Chairman Antosiak: I would just say to the petitioner is that all we are considering this evening is the side yard setbacks, you would still be obligated to follow whatever regulations and to get whatever permits are required.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 97-044 filed by Stanley Tkacz, representing Marty Feldman Chevrolet


Stanley Tkacz, representing Marty Feldman Chevrolet is requesting a variance for one (1) year to allow the continued placement of an existing office trailer for use during interior renovations and alterations to the main sales facility and construction of a new used vehicle building structure for property located at 42355 Grand River Avenue. A Temporary Use Permit was granted on November 14, 1996, case no. TUP96-050.


Stanley Tkacz was present and duly sworn.


Stanley Tkacz: In November of 1996, through the proper channels of the City of Novi, we applied for a temporary permit for a temporary building that would comply with all of the standards of the City of Novi to house sales personnel during the renovations of the interior of Mr. Feldman’s Chevrolet facility on Grand River. At the same time we were pursuing very vigorously through the corporate standards seeking approval to build a pre-owned vehicle facility which would sit adjacent or east to the new car facility. In doing so our permit was granted. We did our interior work. But as Murphy’s law says when one requires 1 signature the attempt to obtain 12 other signatures has been extremely difficult. Going through the corporate steps and procedures in order to obtain the necessary approvals under General Motors program that you are aware that we had gone through with Mr. Feldman’s original showroom has been extremely difficult. In doing so under the original permit that was issued to us, we have been unable to complete our obligations of obtaining those necessary approvals to put our package together in order to approach the City of Novi for our proper Planning Commission and City Council review. At this time we are asking that the present permit that has been issued to extend while we vigorously do this and we are attempting very hard to obtain so that we can put our package together. I am not aware of any violations that have been incorporated with the present facility and with the present permit. My understanding in working with the Building Department and the installers that it has met all of the requirements of the codes and ordinances of the City of Novi.


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.




Steve Cohen had no comment.


Don Saven: How much longer are we looking at?


Stanley Tkacz: When I sat with you originally, I thought 3 weeks; but I would say that we are within 45 days. It has just been terrible. Once you go to corporate identity it is one thing and then you get over to corporate identity and they sign off. I would say that it is probably going to be within 45 to 60 days to get the approvals from the big boys and then it is to show up here at the City of Novi.


Don Saven: Basically we are looking at about 7 months down the road?


Stanley Tkacz: I would probably say so, with construction, yes sir.


Don Saven: If per chance that you are giving this consideration, I would ask that we have a handicap ramp installed for that particular facility for that length of time. If we are looking at a year, that needs to be done.


Member Harrington: Do I understand that at present, there have been no interior renovations or alterations or construction on the new used vehicle building structure?


Stanley Tkacz: The inside of the existing dealership has been renovated; but there is nothing that has been done on the new facility other than the trailer.


Member Harrington: But there has been construction activity which would......


Stanley Tkacz: Inside of the building, yes sir.


Member Harrington: Which would justify the existing office trailer to date; but you are running into some bureaucratic problems which would require you getting a variance of this kind. Is that correct?


Stanley Tkacz: That is correct, sir.


Member Brennan: Where are you with submittal for the plans for the used car facility?


Stanley Tkacz: Our documents that are ready to present to the City of Novi are done and complete. What the problem is, under the new image program we went through chaos to get the present fascia facility. They have no standards or let me put it this way; one department has standards, 2 other departments have different standards and they are fighting over whether the facility should all look the same, should you have interior display for a pre-owned vehicles, should you not have pre-owned, what are you allowed in the graphics, what are you allowed in the identity. It is those kinds of things that we are fighting now. The actual site drawings are done to present where the location is and the new sewers and the new water; that is done. But, I can’t guarantee that it is going to look like this, so how can I present the documents without getting everybody’s signature as presented by General Motors their approval that Mr. Feldman’s facility will be within the images of the corporation.


Member Brennan: I just wanted to have the time line correct in my own mind. It is 45 days, you think, to get all of the GM business taken care of and 7 months in total to get the construction of the total facility and be done.


Stanley Tkacz: I would say so, sir.

Member Meyer: I just want to make sure that I am hearing correctly, we are talking 7 months here and not talking 45 days.


Stanley Tkacz: The 45 days is getting the approvals from the corporation.


Member Meyer: But what you are asking for tonight is 7 months?


Stanley Tkacz: I have to stick the shovel in the ground and build it and those kind of things.


Chairman Antosiak: Your request was for one year?


Stanley Tkacz: Yes sir, that is correct. I can’t guarantee what Warren is going to do.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I can see with what they have gone through and what they are trying to do that I would have no problem with going for a year or once it was complete that the trailer be removed. There is no sense in putting it down to such a time limit that he would have to turn around and come back here for an additional 30 days or so. I think that they would want to get the trailer out of there and get it cleaned up, as much as the City would like to see it out of there also. I have no problem with the petitioner’s request.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is a certificate of occupancy required for this building?

The new used car building.


Don Saven: Yes.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 97-045 filed by Dave Slaven


Dave Slaven is requesting a 16 foot front yard setback variance and a 5 foot 4 inch side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a covered porch to the front of the house for property located at 202 Buffington.


Dave Slaven was present and duly sworn.


Dave Slaven: What we are trying to do here is to break up the design of the front of the house that is a very square building. What we are suggesting is putting a covered porch down the front and returning down the north side. I think it is about 10 feet. This will give the house some type of architectural design to it. We are also going to be doing vinyl siding and a roof and adding soffits to the house, new windows. We are trying to come up with an idea to add a design to the front of the house. It is a big square box as you can see.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 15 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.


Dave Slaven: I do have eight (8) of them signed and approved by the neighbors. (Copies presented to the Board, in file.)




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: This is for a covered porch, not to be enclosed?


Dave Slaven: Correct, it is going to have a rail on it, it is going to be a deck type.


Member Brennan: I think that Don hit upon my comment with regard to encroachment into setbacks when it is an addition to the building, but this is really an open porch and I think that it’s impact on the surrounding lots and residences are minimal. Obviously he has gotten some support from property owners. Are the lot owners on either side a part of this 8.


Dave Slaven: Yes, there is one on the north side, 201 Buffington. The other side is vacant and it is going to be the road that is going to the new Lily Pond Subdivision.


Member Brennan: Then you will be fronting a road on the other side?


Dave Slaven: That is correct.


Member Brennan: Then you will only be impacting one neighbor who is in agreement?


Dave Slaven: That is correct.


Chairman Antosiak: Six out of the 8 approvals were from residents on Buffington.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The only problem that I have is that when we make that much of an encroachment into the front yard whether it be porch or not, that is coming in a long ways.


Dave Slaven: There is an existing porch on the front of the house right now that comes out 6 foot. That is all that we are going out is the 6 foot. The same porch that is there. It doesn’t add anything, it is just a 2 story box with no design to it whatsoever.


Member Brennan: Your drawing is a little misleading. The drawing would seem to indicate that the existing porch is less than 6 foot and you are saying that it is the same...


Dave Slaven: It is very close, if not it is 5 foot something or another.


Member Brennan: The point is how much of an expansion into the setback are we talking; you have some existing porch on there already and you are saying that it is pretty close to 6 foot.


Dave Slaven: It is very close to 6 foot; I am guessing but it is 5 foot something.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: My question is what is the existing front yard, right now?


Dave Slaven: I believe that it is 20 foot; what is there now.


Member Brennan: To the front of the house or to the porch?


Dave Slaven: That is from the front of the house to the property line. That is not including the porch that is there now.


Chairman Antosiak: Your desire is to build a porch that is 6 feet deep?


Dave Slaven: Right. I have a couple of pictures of the front of the house; if you would like to see them. (Pictures presented to the Board.)


Vice-Chairman Reinke: My question is where is the house setting, in reference to the front yard line?


Dave Slaven: I believe that from the front property line to the existing house now is 20 foot. Around the lakes area there are several houses that......


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand what you are trying to do also, but in looking there and looking at the way it was presented I couldn’t see how you could come up with what you are trying to do without being out on top of the road.


Member Meyer: That is my thought also. It appears that you would be only 5 yards.......


Vice-Chairman Reinke: So in essence you are really only coming out 6 feet.


Dave Slaven: I believe that there is 14 feet leftover in the front yard.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I was looking at you coming out 16 feet with the porch...


Dave Slaven: That is why I went around and showed everybody the print, because according to the paper you sent out it really didn’t say that it was a 6 foot porch. It only said that we were encroaching and needed a 15 foot variance or something like that. It really didn’t explain and it sounded like we were putting a big addition on the front.


Member Harrington: Are the post and support beams and the like going to be the same color as the house?


Dave Slaven: No, we are changing the siding. It is going to be a cedar. We built a 3 car garage in the back and it is going to have the same siding and the same roof. Also under the front porch area it is going to be the cultured, split-faced stone instead of the siding and the rest of the house will be vinyl siding.


Member Meyer: You indicate in your appeal here that you are trying to remodel the house to be like the rest on the block.


Dave Slaven: Correct, there are new houses across the street and all of the existing old houses are on my side of the street. There are 8 new houses across the street from us, plus the Lily Pond Subdivision going directly behind me.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I really don’t particularly like the set up; but you can’t pick up and move the house either. I understand the situation. There is not much else that the individual can do; he has a nice looking home. I think that he is making a vast improvement in what he has done with his garage, his whole lot and everything. It is an asset to the community and an asset to the area. Since it is open and it is not going to be enclosed; I can support the petitioner’s request.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 97-046 filed by Catherine Clarke


Catherine Clarke wishes to construct a deck with portions that will project into the side yard more than the allowable amount for property located at 45655 Irvine Drive, in the Royal Crown Subdivision. (Specifically the maximum allowable projection for the required 10 feet side yard setback is 20 inches and the proposed deck will project 48 inches into the setback)


Bruce and Catherine Clarke were present and duly sworn.


Bruce Clarke: When we had the house built for us we had a service door put into the back of the garage to go through the laundry room as opposed to the front door. We had a wood floor put into the front foyer and we wanted this door to take away some of the traffic. This door as it stands right now is going to be somewhere between 4 to 6 feet above grade. I can’t give you a definite figure because we haven’t received final grade yet, so we don’t know exactly how high it is going to be. We are both first time builders for new construction. We are both new to the City of Novi. We just simply were unaware of the setback or the needing of the variance at the time that we made the decision, nor were we informed when we said that we wanted the door back there. We found out when we applied for the deck.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 22 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written Notice received voicing objection. (copy in file.)




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: Can I ask what the jest of the denial or objection was?


Chairman Antosiak: Very brief, the codes are to be followed by everyone.


Member Harrington: Who was your builder?


Bruce Clarke: Luma Building.


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of Don Saven: How could a door be put in on a plan, without an idea of how they are going to access it?


Don Saven: I can’t give an answer to that because I haven’t seen the plans; but I guess what I am looking at is the fact that if we were dealing with a concrete walk in itself we wouldn’t be here. Because this is elevated it gives the appearance of a deck and then we have the issue of what we are dealing with right now. A concrete walk would be a whole different story because it represents a walking surface and that is what the purpose and intent would be for.


Member Brennan: Just to clarify though, the house when it was built, this door was built off of the back of the garage?


Bruce Clarke: Yes.


Member Meyer: To also clarify, in your appeal you indicate that this door opening causes a hazard to children?


Catherine Clarke: Right now it does because it is up in the air and the wood that the builder put in has fallen out, so the kids kind of think that it is kind of cool to open the door and throw things out.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: Is the proposal that you have just an access to come up to the front of the garage? You are coming to the front of the garage towards the driveway?


Bruce Clarke: That is correct.


Member Brennan: Well if you have kids this is more of an access to a mud room.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: What I meant is that what is being built there is just to give you access from the side door of the garage to the front of the garage.


Member Bauer: Did the normal plans come with a side entrance?


Bruce Clarke: The model has a door at virtually the same spot, I think it might be 2 feet even back, but it wasn’t on a walk out.


Member Meyer: Did the objection come from the people who live right next door?


Chairman Antosiak: No, 45619, it sounds like it may be 2 or 3 houses down.


Bruce Clarke: We did talk to the neighbor adjacent to us and he has no problem with it. He is out golfing tonight so he didn’t feel like coming.


Member Brennan: We don’t like to bring up other cases, but there was another case looking for a very similar request to gain access to a water spigot. I think that this is a much more presented case of hardship when they have a door that is basically nonfunctional because of somebody not taking a look at how this was going to lay out on the lot and infringe on the property line. I think that the petitioner has presented a case of hardship and it seems to be a reasonable fix to the problem.


Member Harrington: I thought that there was a hardship in the other case and I think that there is one here too.


Member Brennan: I remember that you were the lone dissenting vote on that one.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Chairman Antosiak: I will just make a comment consistent with my prior votes I am voting "no" because I believe that this is a self imposed hardship.


Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Reinke, Antosiak Motion Carried


Case No. 97-051 filed by Luma Building Company


Luma Building Company is requesting a side yard setback variance of .52 feet for lot 235, 22535 Fuller Drive in the Royal Crown Subdivision. The home is occupied. (The minimum required side yard setback is 10 feet, the existing setback is 9.48 feet.)


David A Perry, Attorney was present for Luma Building Company and Mr. Luigi Cervi the qualified officer of the company was also present.


David Perry: You don’t know how much more of a hardship you can get; two existing houses and apparently our engineers missed something, the Building Department missed something and people missed something all the way along the line because if you look at the next case it is the house next door. This particular lot and the encroachment is really minimal. At the front it is 10 feet and at the back it is 9.48 feet, so we are talking about less than a half a foot and on the average it looks to me like it is 3 inches of an encroachment. We don’t know why. It could be that the footings were poured a little fatter than normal and the fellow set the basement a little bit off center or the outside and any number of things could have occurred. My understanding is that this particular homeowner is the one that discovered it and no one even knew it until the houses were built. I am told that he objects but I don’t know. You have an existing house that is occupied. A "C of O" has been issued. The encroachment in this particular instance is certainly minimal; but a variance has to be granted so that it becomes a matter of record otherwise down the road the homeowner might even have a problem if he goes to sell it. The bank might survey it and say "oops, you have a side yard". I think that it is terribly unreasonable.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 25 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection (Copy in file.)




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: A point of clarification. When plans come in or land improvement permits come in it is duly stipulated as to what the setback requirements are for that particular home. In this case the home met the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. Yes, we do have a staking inspection for the situation of the house on the lot to insure that the house does meet those particular requirements. In terms of missing something - when you dig a hole you generally go to the point of over digging that hole to approximately 3 feet and this is after the staking inspection. We do not do an inspection there after, so it is the placement of that foundation in the hole that has to be accurate to comply with the provisions. We do not receive anything after that particular fact that is to the staking inspection requirements.


Dave Perry: If I might make one observation. I think that the problem that arises in this situation is that we have lots that are maybe a tad on the small size and that envelope is very tight and then human error can come into play.


Chairman Antosiak: I am going to comment on that, what you may have is that you are building homes that are too big for the lots, which is equally possible and your client has an obligation to comply with the zoning ordinances and has demonstrated his historical noncompliance. That is the problem that I have.


Member Harrington: This problem can be fixed, correct? I don’t want to reduce it to the absurd but presumably you can tear that side of the house down and move it in a foot, right? At a cost prohibitive basis, true? And that cost might even approximate the cost of the house itself, true?


Dave Perry: In all likelihood it would approximate the cost of the house, when you start to removing an entire wall. We couldn’t do it, we don’t own the house. We have sold it. I don’t know how Luma Building could even go into this particular house and do this because it has been sold and is occupied.


Member Harrington: Presumably the City in it’s infinite powers, because this house that is built is not in compliance; could condemn or insist that the house be reconfigured or vacated or both.


Don Saven: A petition for vacation of the home until corrections would be taken care of.


Member Harrington: All for .52 on one and a foot and a half on the other.


Member Brennan: Why isn’t the homeowner here?


Dave Perry: I have no idea why this particular homeowner isn’t here. I believe that is who you got the objection from. He was aware of it and I know that Mr. Cervi has had some discussions with him.


Member Harrington: I would feel a lot more comfortable supporting this variance is this were a different builder that were in front of us; but I am not going to carry over feelings about prior cases involving this builder to this one. I will support a motion to approve, if in fact such a motion is made. If there is a classic example in my view of economics supporting a variance and it is our constant bromide that economic hardship is not grounds for a variance; I think that this is a classic of where it is. I think that the actual incursion is minimal and the catastrophic economic cost to fix this error which was there to be seen and there to be done; but it is minimal, demonstrates to me that the economics so far out weigh the incurrsion in the face of no opposition that I think that I would reluctantly support a motion to approve.


Member Brennan: I have just the opposite opinion. I find it difficult to say that I can’t be influenced by this particular builders’ history. That is the reality of it. This guy continues to make mistakes and he continues to come in front of this Board for us to correct them. I haven’t heard any other option besides vacating and moving the wall. I don’t know what else is available. Is there other options, Mr. Saven?


Don Saven: Just the correction to comply with the ordinance.


Member Brennan: I would feel more sympathy for the home owner, rather than the builder. You raise an interesting point, if you don’t own this why are you here?

Dave Perry: Good question. I think that we are in here because the Building Department brought it to Mr. Cervi’s attention. I did not file the petition. The proper authority would probably be the homeowner. It was our error and we are in here as an attempt to correct the error and bring the buildings into compliance with the code.


Member Brennan: Given that information I have no support for this case at all.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is someone other than a property owner allowed to bring a variance request for a piece of property?


Don Saven: The public official or the recognized agent for that government unit can do this, as myself, Mr. Morrone or any of my inspectors.


Chairman Antosiak: None of whom we have here.


Don Saven: You have myself.


Chairman Antosiak: But you are not making the petition.


Don Saven: That is correct.


Chairman Antosiak: Here is my problem, Mr Harrington and I understand your rational completely.

My problem is that we have a building that was built recently in non-conformance with the Zoning Ordinances. I agreed that the intrusion into the setback is minimal; but to me that is not particularly relevant. The builder knew what the zoning ordinance required and had an obligation to follow that zoning ordinance. He did not and has come to us to seek a variance because he did not follow the ordinance.


Member Harrington: They dug the hole 6 inches bigger than it should have been and then poured the wall there. The alternative fix, and there is no compromise here, the alternative fix is to rip out that side of the house, if it can be done. Mr. Cervi does not know much about trusses but probably can find brand new trusses to go in 6 inches to move that wall and the same for the other house because we are looking at 2 houses. Maybe we should defer and chew on this one until the homeowner decides that he or she is aggrieved. But in terms of a clear choice here; the failure to approve I would guess would involve costs of $100 to $200,000.00 to fix this. I find that measured against the size of the incursion and it is an unfortunate situation but what else are we going to do. Don, can the City tear the house down? Is that an option?


Don Saven: It depends.


Member Harrington: Or we can hire a bunch of lawyers and go to Circuit Court and fight over this?

Don Saven: Those are the 2 issues. Those are the alternatives.


Member Brennan: I think that there is another alternative and that is that I have no sympathy and I see no hardship from the builder. I would have a different opinion if the homeowner was standing up there. Is that a viable other option?


Member Harrington: I don’t know what the option is, do you want to table this or is the issue to vote and deny or table it for a month and see whether the homeowner objects. If the homeowner doesn’t object and why they wouldn’t support this, I don’t know, unless they have worked through our rationale too and there may be some economic motive that they have here. But going to the first issue it would seem that we do have an improper party making the application for a variance if they have no standing.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The problem that I have with this and it applies and I appreciate and I concur with Mr. Harrington’s comments. My problem is that we repeatedly run into this with lots that are built to the extreme iota. They have to be built right to the maximum that can fit on the lot. There is no deviation from it at all. The deviation seems to go overboard rather than under board. That is where I have a problem in going along with a request like this. The comment is that an error was made, I see very few errors go the other way, they always seem to go wider for some reason.


Chairman Antosiak: I can only say that in other contexts we would have called this a self created hardship and I would take the economic issue more under consideration were this a remodeling or a reconstruction and the option between granting a variance and not granting a variance for that act was a difference between $100 to $200,000.00. Here I see a total disregard for the Novi Zoning Ordinance.


Member Harrington: I don’t regard .52 feet under these circumstances giving 2 houses side by side and adjacent, I don’t view that as a total disregard for Novi’s Zoning Ordinance.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: My question and not trying to be rude, where do we draw the line?


Member Harrington: I don’t know, that is why we do it on a case by case basis.


Member Meyer: I would like to go on the record as saying that I don’t want you to think that you are in the dark because I hear what you are saying and it sounds reasonable and to not approve and to bring this a ludicrous conclusion of either tearing down a wall on both sides and bringing it into conformance is just beyond reason to me. I do believe though, that if this were granted and I don’t believe that it is going to be granted tonight; but I think that if it were granted I would think that the Luma Building Company needs to take due note that never again would it be granted; we would ask that the house be demolished or whatever and let you start from the beginning. I guess you only have so many times, except in the bible, of how many times you are going to give people the benefit of the doubt for making an error.


Dave Perry: I would agree with you. We are here, he has gone through the expense of retaining me to come and represent him and it hasn’t been inexpensive for him and I certainly think that they would be much more careful in the future. You wouldn’t see me back asking for the same thing, I’ll tell you that because make a mistake one shame on you, make a mistake twice shame on me. I think that is the rational way to approach it and if I may just jump to the next one because they are side by side, that particular home has been sold and is about to be closed. That person is out of town and has no objection. That homeowner will come in and indicate that they have no objection to the lack of a foot and a third side yard. Whether or not the homeowner in 235 would come in, I don’t know. I know that he voiced some objection.


Member Meyer: Another thing that I would like to go on the record as saying, is that I am not impacted by the history of Luma Company; I come to this with a clean mind, where as my colleagues here have had the experience apparently in the past and therefore I can respect where they are coming from. I am simply coming at it as a person who is reading this and saying that it makes sense that in this particular case a minimal intrusion and economics would be supportive for a variance.


Dave Perry: I think that in light of the Board’s comments what I would like to ask is that you adjourn this matter and hold it until your next meeting for an opportunity to bring the homeowner in to voice either their approval or objections.


Chairman Antosiak: I have a question as to whether we even can decide on a variance at Luma’s request when Luma is not the owner of the house.


Dave Perry: On 235, but I think that the logic would be that they committed a violation and the Building Department is in essence charging them with a violation of the zoning ordinance and the only way that they cure that violation is to come in. So, I think that they may have some standing in that respect. We certainly wouldn’t have if the homeowner came in here and said, no I don’t want a variance but barring the homeowner’s objection I would think we have something.


Don Saven: In reference to the question that was asked earlier on, in Section 3102 under the Appeal Process of the Zoning Ordinance it states an appeal may be taken to the Board of Appeals by any person, firm or corporation or by any officer, department, board or bureau effected by the decision of the Building Official. So he is in essence definitely affected by the decision.


Member Meyer: Even in light of that, I think it would be appropriate in light of what this gentleman said that we would table this until our next meeting and indeed ask that the homeowners be present and be the ones that would definitely make the appeal. I don’t feel comfortable with voting on this.

Chairman Antosiak: I believe that you said the closing on the other parcel has not occurred.

Dave Perry: On lot 234 it has not closed yet. That would be a couple of weeks away from closing.


Chairman Antosiak: Luma currently owns that property.


Dave Perry: Yes, they own that property.


Luigi Cervi: Luma Building has been building here in Novi since 1979. This is the second time that I am coming to the Board here. The first time that I came over here, we built over a 100 houses in Novi. The first time I came over was because of one elevation or similar to dissimilar to the one next door. Now other communities when you have a house you have a hip roof and then you have a gable roof it is acceptable. Here it was not acceptable, so we were not aware of it. So this is my second time. All the time before we dig the basement we have the engineer come and stake the basement and they have off set stakes on each one; so that they put the basement in the proper location or the foundation in the proper location. So it is not that we are doing this intentionally. Yes, the model that we did build that is 10 feet on each side. Maybe I should make myself or build the house a little bit smaller to allow a little bit more flexibility on each side, but I didn’t do that. We build a house that is 60 feet and I have 80 foot lots so there is only 10 foot left on each side. This particular lot, 234, happens to be a little bit on an angle. I guess when the foundation man put the foundation in, they put it a little wrong or off set a little. I didn’t stake the basement. I had the civil engineer come in and do that. The same thing is for lot 235. All the lots that I build on I have the engineer come and do that. It is not that I think that I am going to do this and get away with it. I have no reason to do that.


Member Meyer: You say you have been here since 1979, so you understand that since 1979, almost 20 years, you understand that there are these definite requirements for size. Even .52 of a foot is still .52 over what is allowed; so it would seem in the future to go .52 in.


Luigi Cervi: Believe me I will allow myself a couple of feet more.


Chairman Antosiak: In regard to Zoning Board of Appeals Case No. 97-051, which is lot 235 since that owner is not present; is it a consensus of the Board that we table this to the following meeting?


Chairman Antosiak: We will table Zoning Board of Appeals Case No. 97-051 to the August Meeting.

Nancy, will you please inform the current property owner that it will be on the agenda for the Meeting.



Case No. 97-052 filed by Luma Building Company


Luma Building Company is requesting a side yard setback variance of 1.37 feet for lot 234, 22523 Fuller Drive in the Royal Crown Subdivision. The home is in the final stages of construction.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 24 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received, both voicing objection. Copies in file.


Chairman Antosiak: Do I understand correctly that Luma Building does currently own this property?


Dave Perry: Yes, they do. Luma Building is the owner of lot 234. The house has been constructed. As indicated the closing of the house will be in about 2 weeks. The buyer is aware of the problem. He has no problem in having the variance granted. He is in Chicago or on the way back now.


Don Saven: I don’t think that a "C of O" should be issued because it has to comply with all of the ordinances of the City.


Chairman Antosiak: I might add and am I correct that lot 234 needs another half of a foot on the other side of the house?


Dave Perry: In looking at the extreme rear corner, on the west side, it looks like it is 9.47 feet but it is a pie shaped lot. I don’t know how quick that gets to 10 feet but at the front it is 23.8 or almost 24 feet. So the average side yard is approximately 16 feet.


Chairman Antosiak: Except that the zoning ordinance does not recognize an average side yard setback.


Dave Perry: The plot was apparently approved. We don’t have any measurements as built. We do have the petition that was submitted and there are measurements on that common side yard. There is nothing on the west side of lot 234 to indicate what the actual as built was. Probably if it is over a foot or a half of a foot on the east side and the house is still as wide; I would assume that we no longer need anything because it would be approximately 6 inches to the east. As I understand it that plot plan doesn’t prove it.


Don Saven: I think that the plot plan as was approved by that dimension dealt with a configuration on an unusual shaped lot and the figures that are running on the back section; I believe that the reviewer probably gave them the benefit of the doubt based on the configuration of the lot for that approximate half a foot. If you notice on the right side it says a 10 foot minimum requirement. Everyone tries to maintain that requirement in terms of the zoning ordinance strictly because that is what the zoning ordinance requires and based on the configuration of the lot a straight line all the way across at that particular angle would be very difficult to come up with the figures.




Mark Grover, I am the purchaser of lot 234 in Royal Crown. I just wanted to address the committee and to address any questions that you might have of me. I entered the room as you were asking if I was here. May I answer any questions?


Member Brennan: Sir, you are here in support of Luma Building’s request for these variances?


Mark Grover: Correct, I was made aware of it just today.


Member Harrington: Do I take it, sir, that having inspected the property and being aware of the location of the side yard setback and the edge of the house that you are still willing to go forward with the purchase under these circumstances?


Mark Grover: Absolutely.


Member Harrington: You don’t feel that you are unreasonably impinging on your neighbor or your neighbor’s yard line is impinging on your use and benefit of the house?


Mark Grover: No, I was relying on the City’s approval of the original plot plan. My understanding was that the City had approved the lot when it was staked, when it was excavated, when the foundation was set and when the concrete was poured for the walls. So I was relying on the City’s best efforts in reviewing the survey, etc.


Member Harrington: Although we all have learned tonight apparently the City does not go out and re-inspect after the pouring of the concrete. That is up to the builder to do.


Member Brennan: Along the same line as our discussions on the previous case, the petitioner is here and I would have a different feeling with regard to this case and I would support his interest in a variance request in conjunction with Luma because they are the ones that made the appeal.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I understand that the potential purchaser of this doesn’t want to have something else jump in front of him after he has made a commitment; he wants his house and I am assuming that the rest of the family wants to move into this house as soon as they can also.


Mark Grover: That is correct. We closed on our other house yesterday, so we need some place to go.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The problem that I have is where does it end? The previous case is .52 feet and this one 1.37 and then is the next one 4.2 and the next 5.6? I think that lots of this nature are over-built. Understanding the situation I just can’t support the variance request.


Mark Grover: Should the variance be denied, what alternatives do I have as a prospective homeowner?


Chairman Antosiak: I am not sure that we can respond to that, we can only respond to what Mr. Cervi’s alternatives are which Mr. Saven has described before.


Don Saven: First of all you would not be given a certificate of occupancy because the house must comply with all of the ordinances of the City before that certificate of occupancy would be issued. Should you take occupancy of that particular site we can cite you for that occupancy of the home, you as well as the builder. It would be up to the City to pursue the matter regarding whether or not you should go to court regarding this issue and having the house vacated and to have the house in conformance with the zoning ordinance for the setback requirements. We have to do what is necessary to see that it is done.


Chairman Antosiak: That doesn’t answer your question, you want to know what your rights are and we can’t really respond to that.


Mark Grover: In essence the declination of the variance would mean an eviction notice from my current home in 30 days or less and potentially a financial loss to me of up to $40,000.00 in deposits that I have already paid. Minimally a delay until the situation can be corrected which doesn’t seem practical or another house would be found.


Member Meyer: If I heard you correctly, you said that the City of Novi gave approval for this actual site; who gave this approval for this home?


Mark Grover: My understanding was that the plot plan of how the house was going to sit on the lot had been approved and at the point of excavation occurred a foundation was poured and the walls for the basement were poured and that there was some over sight by the City at that point. That was my understanding and whether or not that was accurate is another matter, but that was my impression.


Don Saven: In terms of the staking inspection; a staking inspection is conducted on the lot to insure that the house would fit on that lot based upon the information and the compliance to the zoning ordinance as it exists. We do not stake the house out, we do not do the engineering for the setback requirements. Any time after that staking inspection, to see the feasibility of that house on that lot, it did work at that time. How the configuration of that basement and how it went into the hole is strictly up to the construction process. During that construction process it was either angulated or there was something which created the problem.


Luigi Cervi: We did not increase the size of the house. It is the same thing as the model. Same plan that we build as the model, same plan that we build throughout the subdivision. That is the only house; 18 lots and 18 houses all the same, same foundation, same width, same everything. It is not that we were going to increase a foot this way or that way. It is the same; 18 homes and 18 houses all the same plan.

Member Brennan: Obviously this lot was a little bit narrower.


Luigi Cervi: No, the lot was the same, it was just the way that the house was put in. It was angled. We did not change.


Member Brennan indicated I would like to make a brief statement to the gentleman who is buying this house and then I would like to make a motion. Sir, I have sympathy with you, believe me. As far as I am concerned, you shouldn’t bear the brunt of the builders’ screw up. Because the error in placement with regard to side yards is minimal and because your particular lot is on an angle.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Harrington:




Discussion on motion:


Chairman Antosiak: I cannot support this variance.


Member Harrington: If this variance were being brought 2 years from now by the homeowner, who then discovered this problem. I think that the Board would probably be substantially more sympathetic, if not unanimously approve a variance. What would the option be? Throw this guy and his family out 2 years after it is built. This is not a situation with 15 inches and that is what we are looking at here, where it can be the subject of remedial action. If the purpose of opposing is on general principle that the lots are over built, then I guess that we can vote against it on that principle I suppose. But if we look at this case as it is presented we don’t have any indication in this case, like some of the others that we see where someone has tried to slide one by on the City, where someone has falsely prepared a site plan or the like to try to get it by, where someone has gone ahead and built without permission - all of which universally command a denial on a variance request. We don’t even have a situation where we have the side yard problems with this particular builder before. The only one I remember is the similar to dissimilar with the truss issues and the only reason that I remember is because it was a meeting or two before this and that is why Luma is fresh in my mind. I don’t see the kind of conscious, at best we may have a screw up by the digger and not caught by the builder; but what do we do to fix this or to help them fix this? If there is ever a hardship that we are going to see it is going to be this kind of situation. If you want to send a message to Mr. Cervi and his company he is standing right here, and I think that he has gotten the message. I think that we have accomplished what we are trying to accomplish. What do we do about the homeowner? Do we lock him up in Circuit Court for 4 years? I don’t think that is the solution. We do side yard setbacks all of the time. If this were farther down the road, if this were a deck we would be looking at it differently; but I think that we are trying to make a point here. I think that the point has been made in my view. I don’t like what has occurred. I don’t like granting relief under these circumstances but we have a practical difficulty and the option is either to grant the variance or tear it down or lock him into court. Those are the choices and that is why I reluctantly support and second the motion, for those of you on the fence.


Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Reinke, Antosiak Motion Carried


Case No. 96-098 filed by Sign Art Inc., representing Soccer Zone


Continuation of case filed by Sign Art, Inc., representing Soccer Zone, requesting a variance to allow a wall sign 17' x 7' (119 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "SOCCER ZONE, logo" to be placed at 41550 Grand River Avenue.


Mike Williams was present and duly sworn.


Mike Williams: About 6 months ago we were in here and explained the basis of our concerns regarding this building which is built about 575 feet back from the centerline of Grand River. This Board had asked us to install a temporary sign which was done this past week. I don’t know if you have had the opportunity to drive by that temporary sign but I did stop by there this evening and took some photos from the street so that you could see the sign as it would appear on the building.


(photos presented to the Board.)


Mike Williams: Now what you see is a Polaroid and that doesn’t give you a real good idea of how that looks from the street; but as you can see you have to look very closely to even pick up the white image of the background of the sign itself. That is not to say that the red letters will not read from Grand River, but what we are trying to point out is that the sign because of the setback the visibility of the sign is greatly reduced. It tends to serve 2 purposes; once people make that choice to turn in there and many of them will be repetitive people coming back for the kids games week after week, but also many of them will be grandparents and friends that may come to a game once or maybe even on a couple of different occasions that need to be reminded of how to get back in there. It will tend to mark the front entrance and it will give an identity to the street itself. We are depending on some very small directional signs at the side entrances off of Meadowbrook that I think are only 4 square feet and 10 square feet of the total allowable 30 square foot monument sign at the main entrance to this area. It is our understanding that at some point the rest of that property in front will be developed. The talk has been that it has been proposed to be a shopping center and what it actually turns out to be is hard for us to know. But when we submitted our application the Building Department said that there would only be one sign that would be allowed; either the building sign or the street sign. We elected to take the permit for the street sign and go for the variance for the wall sign. Using the City’s method of boxing in the lettering where you take the outer extremes of everything and you can see the logo that we are using; we have this figure in the middle of that and it makes that extreme very large in relationship to the total visual impact of the sign; that sign totals 119 square feet if you box in that whole area. If you were to box in the lettering and the figure separately and added them together it would total 66 square feet.


Mike Williams: It is my understanding that if we didn’t put that 10 square feet of lighted monument sign out by the road that we would be allowed a total of 250 square foot on the front of the building. We are proposing a total visual impact from the street combining the 10 square foot of pylon sign and the wall sign of 76 square feet or if you use your interpretation about 129 square feet. We think that in order for people to make a safe exit response off of Grand River they need to have something at the street that is internally lit. We are not as worried about Meadowbrook because the traffic situation isn’t quite as desperate there; but off of Grand River we think it is pretty important because of the setback of the building to have something at the street and when you get back into the site in order to use it effectively and mark the entrance we think that this is a fairly moderate approach to signing this building.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 16 Notices sent to adjacent property owners last fall. There was one conditional approval returned. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Brennan: Refresh my memory, you have an entrance from Meadowbrook as well?


Mike Williams: Actually I think there is a service entrance towards the end of the building. There is an electric company that is between the end of their building and Meadowbrook and there is easements and there may be a couple of businesses at that end, but there is one sort of at the south end of the property and one at the north end of the property; so there is entrances there. But by far the main entrance here is the one off of Grand River and that will probably be the one that the majority of the people use and it is defined as the main entrance and it is boulevard and all of that.


Member Brennan: Can you refresh my memory as well on the monument sign on Grand River and the size of that?

Mike Williams: In fact I think that I have a copy of what we proposed on that. (copy presented to the Board.) We already have a permit for that.


Alan Amolsch: The issue here is not the ground sign. The ground sign was approved and whatever they put on the ground sign is up to them; they can change the verbiage and make it whatever they want. The issue here is the additional wall sign and that is the only thing that the Board should consider.


Mike Williams: If we eliminated the ground sign, we would be allowed 250 square feet of signage on the front of the building.


Alan Amolsch: No, the ordinance is based on a 1 to 3 formula on the setback from the centerline of Grand River. Whatever the setback is you divide by 3 and that would give you the square footage. It indicated that they were some 500 some feet from Grand River .......


Chairman Antosiak: So that would be about 190 square feet or there abouts.


Mike Williams: Whatever, it is still well under what is allowed.


Alan Amolsch: What they are asking for on it’s own and submitted to the City without the ground sign would be approved. It is the additional sign that is before you tonight.


Member Meyer: I drove by there today and sat right off Grand River and what would be the entrance; I have to say that I thought that the sign was done in good taste. I also thought that it was within what I felt would be reasonable. It certainly would not be intrusive or an eye sore. I felt that it would be appropriate on a building of that size to at least have some sign. I am fully aware that our ordinance says no more than one sign and yet in this case because of the distance from the road to the building and the size of the building I would be in support of the additional sign on the building.

Mike Williams: I would also like to add and this may not always be the case, but right now there is a lot of trees through there and you only get very periodic glances of the sign. Having said that most of the indoor soccer season is in the winter when the leaves are off of the trees, so you will get a little bit more view of it in the winter through the trees but...............


Member Brennan: I concur with Mr. Meyer. It is sitting back 600 feet. I had to look for it to see it. It wasn’t objectionable from a size standpoint with relationship to Grand River.


Member Harrington: I felt very comfortable having the opportunity to actually see and eyeball and get a visual reaction to what is out there. I felt comfortable with that sign and I was glad for the opportunity to see it.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Basically the same thing, they have lived within the ordinance on the monument sign and with the size of the building and the setback I don’t think it is intrusive.


Moved by Member Meyer,


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 sing (shopping center identification sign) 10' x 13' (130 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 15'; B) wall sign 4' x 8" (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: First I would like to make an amendment, as you know we are here on a continuance; after the last meeting you asked us to go out and check the size of other signs in the area and reduce the larger sign. We have and have reduced it to 65 square feet with an overall height of 6 foot 9 inches. Sign number 2, will be 18 inches tall by 3 feet long......


Chairman Antosiak: Could you go back to the first sign? Sign A which was in your request at 10 by 13 feet is now what?


Peter Hauser: The original request was 10 by 13 the current request and I hope that you have the art work in your packets that represent the new request is 6.6 by 10 foot for a total square footage of 65 square feet.


Peter Hauser: The second sign, sign number 2 the art work hasn’t changed 18 inches by 4 feet which would equal 6 square feet.


Peter Hauser: Sign number 3 would be 40 square feet, 8 by 5 as requested.


Peter Hauser: As you know this is a continuance of a case and I would just like to quickly go over the hardships that we have talked about previously. We have a unique, exceptional topographical hardship at this site. We have approximately an 18 foot wall that fronts directly in front of Haggerty Road obstructing the vision of the site. It causes confusion to the motorists. They don’t know which entrance to turn into. We are hoping that these signs will help to alleviate that. There is a complex traffic situation at this intersection and at Haggerty Road at this area. We feel that these signs will act as "way finders" to help to direct the motorists where they need to be in a safe, easy and convenient manner. The destination nature of the retailers that are going into this site is another unique situation. We have very few large destination style retailers that motorists are driving to and seeking out. We do not have the luxury of a very large center with several stores that give a center recognition. We feel that this request would be in the public health, safety, convenience, comfort and general welfare and will not have a harmful effect on any of the surrounding properties. We hope that you grant us a favorable reply. If need be, we have representatives from Best Buy, Office Max and American Realty here to answer any questions.


Chairman Antosiak indicated just to remind the Board, that when this case was before us previously there were 17 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Chairman Antosiak: The mock up signs that are currently on Haggerty Road, are those the size of the signs that you are requesting here?


Peter Hauser: I am sorry, I should have clarified that; the original 13 foot tall mock up we painted a blue section that would represent the modified request.


Member Bauer: The sign is not going to be 15 feet tall?


Peter Hauser: Absolutely not, it will have an overall height of 6 feet 9 inches and that is to allow a clearance for a mower.


Chairman Antosiak: The other sign at the north entrance, the mock up is the size that you are requesting?


Peter Hauser: Exactly.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Do you know what the size of the Hilton sign is, directly across the driveway from the mock up?


Alan Amolsch: I can get that for you. It was approved by the Board several months ago.


Peter Hauser: I measured that sign today, it is 6 foot 3 inches overall height and it is 4 by 8 feet wide with a 2 foot tall "H". I have a picture, if I may approach the Board.


(pictures presented to the Board.)


Peter Hauser: We feel that the letter height that we have requested for these signs is appropriate to allow motorists the needed reaction time that they would need to change lanes, choose their path of driving and safely exit. This site is extremely unique, not only for the topographical, the landscaping but for the fact that these are destination retailers and the traffic situation is further confused. There is an entrance in the middle of the site which is a right in and a right out only; now we feel that we need the signs where we have selected them because they would offer the motorists the needed reaction time to make their decisions and properly turn into the site.


Member Bauer: It is a lot better than it was.


Member Brennan: I will make a general comment but not specific to any of the measurements. You were challenged at our last meeting to take a look and get more in line with what else is on Haggerty and what we are trying to do in the City. I do think that you have made some great strides. I would hate to get into spending a lot of time arguing over 6 inches here and a half of a foot there; I will give it to you that you have some site issues with regard to curves and elevations and I’ll grant that your interpretation of your needs is what is represented here. I guess in general we are a lot closer than we had been.


Peter Hauser: For another point of reference, I have another sign just up the road which is 125 square feet. It is on the Novi side of Haggerty and we were trying to keep smaller.


Member Meyer: The third sign looks like it is going to go right to the ground and the fourth occupant or future tenant, particularly if we have a heavy snow they might get lost. I guess what I am saying and I am wondering is that what you are fixed on? Is that what sign number 3 is going to look like? The 8 foot sign that is across from the Hilton, that is what it is going to look like? I am thinking of the tenant that is going to be in this space down here, I am wondering how many people are even going to see that?


Peter Hauser: That is proposed, there is a border that is 6 inches and there is a base. The last tenant spot is "On the Border", and if there was one tenant that would not need as much exposure it would be that one; they are located directly at that corner and I would suspect that they would have some type of wall signage. I feel that it is important for them to have a place on the sign so the motorists know where they need to turn in; it is confusing, but it is much more confusing for people coming from Eight Mile because they cannot turn in at the center entrance and they must come down to the side entrance which is being shared with the Hilton. There is a Hilton sign there and I can see this as a very confusing situation to motorists. It is a very busy road and we feel that this would provide necessary visibility for motorists on Eight Mile to safely turn in.


Chairman Antosiak: Is that northern most sign the one that Mr. Meyer was just asking you about?


Peter Hauser: That is correct.


Chairman Antosiak: Would the actual sign be where the mock up is, in that position?


Mr. Copeland: It is not necessarily going to be there. We are working with the landlords to determine where it is going to be effective because from Eight Mile which is really the crucial situation of coming down to make your entrance you really can’t see that sign. We can’t encroach...


Chairman Antosiak: You can’t see it well coming from the north either because it is tucked back behind the Hilton sign.


Mr. Copeland: We want to work on what is the best placement, and again within code as to where it is going to work. We have had all kinds of little ideas but we haven’t really gotten to that point and obviously it will be something that will be approved. We are not going to ask for a sign and then just put it where we want to put it. But, we just can’t answer that question now because it is just not effective enough to serve the purpose that we really feel it needs to serve.


Member Brennan: But, your request for that sign which is sign 3 or sign "C" also seeks a 3 foot variance from Haggerty Road, am I reading that right?


Alan Amolsch: Yes.


Member Brennan: So wherever you end up placing that can’t be any more than that 3 foot that we grant tonight, if we do so.


Mr. Copeland: I apologize and as I look at the other people we are all a little confused on the 3 foot variance on Haggerty.


Peter Hauser: Is that a setback variance?


Member Brennan: Yes, does that change now?


Chairman Antosiak: You are allowed 63 feet from the centerline and this reads that you requested 60 feet.


Peter Hauser: That possibly could be; if we were to go back any further it would further increase the problem the motorist would have identifying the entrance.


Chairman Antosiak: That was the purpose of my question because driving from the north to the south down Haggerty by the time that I saw the mock up sign and had I been looking for a store name I probably would have been past it before I realized that it was there, the way that it is located now.


Peter Hauser: We are hoping that sign number 1 will assist in that and they will know that it is on that side of the road and by the time they are hopefully at the light they are in the correct lane and they have been able to see it. You are right, that is most effective at the light.


Chairman Antosiak: Coming from Eight Mile is not a problem because the Best Buy store stands out like a beacon, so that is not going to be an issue.


Member Brennan: I don’t think that there will be any problem finding Best Buy.


Mr. Copeland: We really do represent more than Best Buy. We agree 100% that it is not 100% that is out there and that there is an issue there, but....


Member Meyer: I guess that what I am saying that when I look at this picture, that is the kind of sign that I think would be appropriate across from the Hilton. In other words, you take this picture and this picture and I can handle that, but when I see a picture that is going to look like this, I personally think that this is going to look gaudy. I think it is going to be something where people driving out of the Hilton or people coming by are going to say "tacky". I personally think that this is the one and I don’t even like the word entrance, I just like HighPoint Shopping Center. I don’t think that we need to tell the people that it is an entrance or an exit you don’t see entrance or exit on any of these signs. So I am just saying, once again as I sat here 3 months ago; this is the gateway to Novi and this should look like it has class and style. I don’t think the sign speaks well. I am just sharing that with you and I will be glad to listen to my colleagues.


Member Harrington: I think that you guys need some help and I think that the Board is going to give you some relief. But I will share my opinion with the Board as well. I would really like to have the original variance package back in front of us again. The Best Buy particularly. I live in that area of Novi and I drive by that all of the time. It is more than a beacon. In my view, obviously in marketing and adverting you are supposed to catch the eye of the observer and that is what it is al about; but I don’t react favorably of hundreds if not thousands of square feet of blue and then Best Buy and I don’t have that in front of me and we can’t revisit those issues and that is why I went on record last time and I will go on record tonight and every other time that we do this that I will never ever play let’s make a deal in square footage again without actually seeing what the mock up is and what it looks like. When I went out there and looked at the proposed smaller sign, my gut reaction was that yes they need help, but my gut reaction was that there is still to much signage. I think that you are going to get some signage and some relief but that is my reaction to it. I still don’t think that it is the kind of aesthetic package that I would find attractive and probably my reaction to the Best Buy sign is strong that there is probably not much you could do to change my opinion because I think that it totally colors the southeast corner of Novi. That is what you see up there and it is impossible to miss. I don’t think that is the aesthetic reaction that we are trying to send out but we are not in charge of aesthetics. It is your job. We don’t design signs for you. We can’t design signs and we can’t talk about color schemes. But as one Board Member driving by it and looking at this sign and this sign I think that there is more signage than is really necessary. You do need some help square footage wise but in my view I think that it is a little much. I am not moved at all by traffic confusion. Traffic out there is horrendous. You did your marketing survey and you know what the traffic count is better than we do. You knew what you were getting into when you bought the property and developed it. It is a horror, but it will probably be good for business. It is probably the heaviest intersection in Novi, maybe even more than Grand River and Novi Road. You sort of knew what you were getting into to when you did that and it is a marketing advantage to you and God Bless You, contribute to our economy. We welcome you aboard. But, I just don’t like the signage. It is to much signage. Number of signs, I don’t have a problem with that. That is my reaction; but I think that they need help.


Member Brennan: I have pretty much spoken my piece; I am pretty much in line with Jim. I have said all along that I think that 3 signs are appropriate because of the overall length of the development and the requirement of identification from Eight Mile. So the number of signs is fine. We have been contesting the size of these all along. Whether it is palatable as presented tonight I guess is subject to one’s own likes and dislikes.


Chairman Antosiak: We all seem to be saying the same thing. Now how do we resolve this issue? How do we come to final resolution on this, because I suspect that you would like a decision.


Member Meyer: Have you opened for business?


Mr. Copeland: No, not at all. Best Buy will be opening probably next week. We are about 2 months away from Office Max opening. The restaurant is going up and pretty quickly.


Member Meyer: I have been a therapist for 10 years so let me try something here. How do you feel about what I just said regarding a sign that would say "HighPoint Shopping Center" instead of "HighPoint Shopping Center Entrance" and 5 tenants or 4 tenants listed? How do you feel about that?


Mr. Copeland: I understand and I really have empathy, but what we feel is that once the trees are in bloom it is going to be very difficult to see what is back there and HighPoint Shopping Center quite honestly isn’t going to tell anybody that Office Max is back there, that whoever the middle tenant is back there....


Member Meyer: Now please sir, don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t disagree with this sign. Sign number 1, I am comfortable with even though Best Buy once again is there with the beautiful, ugly blue; but this sign this is the one right across from the Hilton.


Peter Hauser: We could install that on a pedestal to bring it up and off of the ground.


Mr. Copeland: I think maybe if that is a compromise that maybe it is a good compromise for the City but it looks like it is a fair compromise for everybody here who is represented. So, I think that if that works better then let’s do that and let’s all get this thing handled.


Member Meyer: I will take my therapy one step further, if I heard what you are saying then; the sign that would be across from the Hilton would be a sign similar to this that would say "HighPoint Shopping Center". Am I hearing you, gentleman? I am trying to work with you.


Mr. Copeland: Can we have a little huddle here, we have a group here?


Mr. Copeland: As a compromise what we are thinking now is to give it a classy look, to give it something that you can be proud of and be happy that it is there. The name of the shopping center and then in nice letters and not our colors; but we still feel that it is important for them to know who is there because it is a shared entrance with the hotel and a lot of people may just go right past that and be in the hotel and have added confusion; so we would just like to in a nice way with nice looking letters to list the 3 people that are there along with the name of the center. It definitely would be a classy look and something that I think that you would be happy with. No gaudy colors.


Chairman Antosiak: Just for the sake of clarity, this is the sign that would be identified as "C" on your request which is the northern most sign?


Mr. Copeland: Yes. That way it would still be an informational and directional sign and meet our needs and also I think the City.


Chairman Antosiak: Just to try to move us to resolution let’s address the signs one at a time. We can start at the north and move south. So the sign you have been talking about is number 3 or variance request "C". As I understand what you just said is that the 4 tenants will just simply have their name in the spaces on that sign.


Member Brennan: It is 40 quare feet and it is 5 and 1/2 feet off of the ground.


Mr. Copeland: Yes, sir. The exact size and obviously the name of the center at the top and then the tenants in a tastefully lettered design.


Moved by Member Meyer,


Seconded by Member Harrington,




Mr. Copeland: No problem we will be happy to do some art work for you and make sure that it is to your satisfaction. Obviously I think that we are all in agreement of what it is going to look like so it shouldn’t be any confusion at this point.


Discussion on motion:


Member Brennan: The placement will be no closer than 60 feet from the centerline of the road. They are uncertain of exactly where it is exactly going to be, but it is not going to be any closer than 60 feet.


Mr. Copeland: We are in agreement.


Don Saven: It is my understanding that it is the Board’s decision on this tastefully lettered sign that they will bring back a rendering.


Member Meyer: That was a part of my request.


Member Harrington: What are we approving, a motion for a rendering on the sign or are we.....


Member Meyer: I thought that we were approving the sign and yet we would like a rendering of it before it is erected.


Member Harrington: Are we retaining continuing jurisdiction so that if we don’t like it we can turn it down? Is that what we are doing?


Alan Amolsch: We have a problem with words like tasteful.


Chairman Antosiak: Yes, that is very hard to define what that is. I would presume Mr. Meyer that you would be willing to amend your motion for continuing jurisdiction of this Board over that sign.



Second amended by Member Harrington.


Roll call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Bauer, Reinke Motion carried


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Member Meyer: I will not be able to approve of it as it is rendered here because I personally don’t think that we need the word entrance there. If we stay with that I will be denying.


Mr. Copeland: Can we address the Board with a comment. We don’t feel that is significant either way. That sign is strictly there for the convenience of the people to know when to turn in and probably common sense would say if the sign is there you would turn into the right. We have no problem at all if that is an issue.


Member Brennan: Move to amend motion to say "HIGHPOINT SHOPPING CENTER".


Amended second by Member Bauer,


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


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Member Harrington: I think that the sign is larger than it needs to be to accomplish it’s purposes.


Member Reinke: I concur with Mr. Harrington because I think the sign and the physical location is close enough. It can be sized down and have the same functionality without being something that large and obtrusive with the color and combinations of the rendering.


Roll Call: Yeas (2) Nays (4) Meyer, Reinke, Harrington, Antosiak


Chairman Antosiak: That motion has failed to pass. I voted no for the reasons that Mr. Harrington expressed. I simply believe that the sign is to big for what is needed there; especially now that Best Buy is there and it is quite clear where the shopping center is located. At the time that we voted for the other package as Mr. Harrington referenced earlier, this store was not up and the other signs were not up and we weren’t certain as to what would be visible. We are more certain now. I do believe that a sign is needed there, I just don’t think it needs to be 65 square feet.


Peter Hauser: When we went out and tried to re-design the sign, we attempted to do it in line with other signs in the area. Would the Board be accepting to an alternate sign? Slightly smaller, say 60 square feet?


Mr. Copeland: We agree, we don’t want to do "let’s make a deal", but we truly do need a sign. This would be the only sign that will tell people what is back there and no one can say that blue sign is not going to stand out up there; but there are other tenants in there that do not have a high peak that is up there and they are lower in height and their letters are just typical letters. I think it is only fair that we look at the whole picture and say that everyone will know that this one tenant is in there but are they going to know that the other tenants are in there. I don’t think it is the same case, if we just look at the design the others are lower. They are going to be covered by trees and the visibility is not going to be there and it is only fair to let people know who is in there. The sign isn’t that much bigger than other typical signs and we want to be fair but we want some relief so that people will know.


Member Meyer: Let’s look at it this way. Let’s look at the rendering that you have right here. Office Max gets only half the size that Best Buy gets, Copy Max gets only half the size of Best Buy. Why can’t Best Buy get only the same size of advertising area as Office Max or Copy Max? In other words lets eliminate the bottom piece that says future tenant and have the size of the sign Office Max, Copy Max, Best Buy and future tenant all in that space above future tenant and keep it much more reasonable.


Mr. Copeland: If we were to design them I would agree 100%....


Member Meyer: I thought that you were the sign designer.


Mr. Copeland: I am sorry, yes we are; but there are obligations that we really are not involved in and that is what is in their leases. Sometimes bigger stores get better placement or more signage than we can control. So we have to work within those parameters on a design. That is exactly what the situation is. It is not necessarily our choice, but these are the parameters that are in their lease. That is how this plays in.


Peter Hauser: We were trying to accommodate letter height and it is very important for readability purposes. We are still setback from the centerline of Haggerty Road a good distance. I feel that the letter height that we selected would enable motorists to see it as they are driving by on Haggerty Road and be able to read it. I feel it is important for them to be able to turn in.


Mr. Copeland: I guess what we are saying is that the drawing would show that Office Max is approximately 7 inches tall, so it is not a big lettered sign. In our industry these are trade mark items so you have to take "x" amount to get the logo in there properly so that is one of the reasons why the letters are shorter.


Member Harrington: We are no longer dealing with a sign package, although we do have continuing jurisdiction on the one rendering; we are down to a single sign. The sense of the majority of the Board is that we see or what I saw there tonight is to large. You can pull your permits on the other signs and build them and put them in because they have been approved except subject to the one rendering which we will look at next meeting. Seeing as we have to deal with that at the next meeting or some point I am fully prepared to drive back there again. It was interesting seeing the cut out for the modified sign so we could appreciate how that interfaced with the original proposal and I would be interested in seeing some other square footage configurations. The size of the letters - well I wouldn’t tell you what size letters to put in. Best Buy, the whole thing is a sign, the color is a sign, the yellow is a sign; so the size of the letters is not particularly persuasive to me as it is all part of the sign. I would be willing to go back and take a look at differing dimensions somewhat smaller than the 65 square feet and if the Board feels likewise that we ought to go back and look at some smaller sizes rather than trying to capture something tonight then we should give them some guidance on what square footage we are looking at. My thoughts only.


Gentleman from Office Max: May I address the Board? The sign that we are currently discussing and we do appreciate the others having been approved and we appreciate your comments in regard to Best Buy. However, as free enterprise and coming into a new community we feel that we need these directional signs in order to enhance the ability of the customer to get up that grade and to come into our destination. Office supplies is not something that you go out and shop for like fashion merchandise. If you are going to come and buy it, you are going to come and buy it and where is the location. That is the way that we do our advertising. On and I do believe that it is the south side which runs parallel to Haggerty, we are going to have no visibility but a gray building. We are going to have some visibility from the front facing the parking lot and going by there tonight those trees will impede that and continue to do so as the years go by. I would respectfully request that on behalf of Office Max that we get at least a fair shot at marketability there.


Chairman Antosiak: I guess that I can only express my opinion and it builds on something that Mr. Meyer said earlier; someone coming into Novi via Haggerty that is going to be the first sign, I believe that they will see. Even the City sign is down in a depression there and you have to know where it is to see it. That is my concern. I think that the sign is a little to big and it is not going to give the sort of impression that I think that we as a City should be giving. That is my concern.


Chairman Antosiak: It is not that I don’t think that you need the market or that I don’t think a sign is needed, I am just not sure that the sign that is proposed is the one that out to be there.


Gentleman from Office Max: In relationship to contractual negotiations and square footage, the leases are drawn up so that we get so many square inches for advertising and Best Buy is going to get so many square inches for their marketing tools. That being said, and being a dominant player I feel that we need our fair share in relationship to the signs that are already up. People may see Best Buy and buy products and not go to Office Max. I have been with this company for over 8 years and we are new in this community and we plan on doing other things in the community and we want to be able to represent you in a fair and fashionable way, but we want to make sure that we survive. It is not going to do either of us any good if we come in and fail. We are the biggest and best in the world. We are international now and we don’t plan to fail. But, I think that it is only fair to you as a consumer and to those who live in this community that have the opportunity to come by that need discount prices. Many studies have shown that customers don’t just walk in the door. I thank you for allowing me to speak and I hope that this is resolved this evening so that we can move forward.

Member Brennan: I have a suggestion. The sign that we granted on the north end was 5 and one half feet; if we have 5 and one half feet on the south end that would reduce the overall square footage to 56 square feet but it still gives everybody the same square footage that was in this rendering. It gives Office Max their 10 square foot as shown in the rendering, it gives Copy Max their 10 square foot and Best Buy their 25 and the future tenant 20. So.....That isn’t right. I am trying to squeeze that down and if we take a foot out of the overall height we squeeze the overall size of the sign down to 56 square feet.


Peter Hauser: Just to clarify a point, you are talking about reducing the size of the sign that we are discussing to 56 square feet?


Member Brennan: The height and dropping it down a foot would reduce it to 56 square feet. I am trying to find some way to get some size out of it and perhaps in lieu of changing width. It is also in line with your other sign in terms of height.


Member Harrington: You are not talking about reducing the pedestal as such, you are simply talking about reducing the vertical a foot.


Member Brennan: Yes, that is right. The 6 foot 6 dimension, I would suggest reducing it to 5 foot 6 and that would change the overall square footage to 56.


Member Harrington: That would make it similar to the other sign.


Member Brennan: That is correct.


Member Meyer: The other sign is giving equal amount to each of the tenants, if I am not mistaken.

Mr. Copeland: In the verbiage sign, yes. Unfortunately that was our rendering and that was not approved by Best Buy.


Member Meyer: So you are telling me that Best Buy does get more space.


Mr. Copeland: Definitely. They agreed upon the directional or what we are calling the directional at the entrance and to not make that an issue, so that things would go easier for everyone.


Tim Palmquist: Really what we are all looking at here is thirds for everybody, the complicating factor is that Office Max, Copy Max and I think that the original lease was just for Office Max, and had it been just Office Max we would all have been having equal thirds and that is what you are really looking at. Office Max then is a sixth and Copy Max is a sixth; we are really not occupying more square footage than anyone else on the sign. I guess we would be amenable to go down to 55 square foot but I guess my suggestion would be that we just take the 56 square feet and proportionally reduce that sign so that the graphics as they are show there are reduced by whatever dimension it is to do so.


Chairman Antosiak: So you would just proportionately reduce the size of the sign to 56 square feet.

Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Mr. Copeland: For the record the 6 foot 6 allows for this little bit of a base. You will see the rendering very quickly if agreed upon.


Mr. Brennan: As a point of clarification are we just going to ask these gentlemen to send us a picture or a rendering of this and it will just be in our packet. We are not going to ask them to come back because basically we have granted the variances on all 3 signs. Is that what we are going to see?


Chairman Antosiak: The answer is yes, but I don’t know how it is going to work.


Member Meyer: Jurisdiction means we can still say......


Member Brennan: We could call them back. We are dealing somewhat in good faith here.


Chairman Antosiak: We have a motion to approve a variance on "A" as modified here tonight, 56 square feet representing a proportional reduction in size from the sign that was in the packet.


Member Meyer: Does Best Buy always have to make their sign with the blue and the yellow, is that your logo? Is there any other way that you can advertise Best Buy without it?


Tim Palmquist: The logo is the logo; it is always yellow with black letters, the background is blue.

The background does not have to be blue if that is really the issue.


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



Case No. 97-031 filed by Jerry Knoppow


Continuation of case filed by Jerry Knoppow - variance was granted on May 6, 1997 to relocate the ground sign. The new owner (Albert Stewart - Audio/Video Systems) is now submitting the verbiage he wishes to have on the ground sign, for property located at 43015 Grand River Avenue.


Albert Stewart was present and duly sworn.


Albert Stewart: Part of the request and what occurred when Jerry was here was to move the sign out. During that time we were in negotiations of purchasing this piece of property. At the present time we own the property and they are just in the way of moving over to the Town Center area and securing a location there. The difference is when we first discussed this you gentlemen made the approach that you wanted to see a sign of what we were going to configure at that location. That is the sign and what it would look like. So, in the sense of configuration, size and what is already existing; it would be the same. It hasn’t changed at all. The only difference is that it would be our logo on the sign.


Chairman Antosiak: Just for the sake of my understanding here, since we do really have 2 zoning variance requests related to this 97-031, if I understand correctly, is to change the verbiage on the ground sign to read Audio/Video System and then 97-047 would be....


Albert Stewart: That would be to keep the sign that is already existing on the building, which he already has as Knoppow’s. I was going to go into that next, but as you already brought this up some of the issues come into play with our setbacks and with the party store on the one side that area really needs to be cleaned up and you cannot see the building that well. It is pretty well recessed back in. The sign that we are proposing for the building is actually smaller than the one that is already existing on it with the square footage. It is just our typical logo that we have on our products, trucks and everything else as well. It is because of where that building is setting even though we do have the sign brought out forward, my concern is how far back that building actually sets. When you look from the east you cannot see at all, the building is completely impossible to see.


Chairman Antosiak: The wall sign that you are requesting is 13 feet 9 inches by 16 inches for approximately 17.8 square feet.


Albert Stewart: Correct and the one that is existing on there for Knoppow’s now is 18 square feet.


Chairman Antosiak indicated I propose that we address both of these at the same time.


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.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven had not comment.


Member Brennan: Has the ground sign been moved yet?


Albert Stewart: No, because a part of it was this petition here and coming back so that you gentlemen could see exactly what we were putting up and the objective ourselves is to keep the same existing sign and just changing the logo on the fascia.


Member Brennan: So it still has to be move up, the verbiage is going to change but the size of the sign is the same and the sign on the wall changes accordingly but only a little bit smaller.

Albert Stewart. That is correct.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




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


Case No. 97-047 filed by Albert Stewart, representing Audio/Video Systems


Albert Stewart, representing Audio/Video Systems is requesting a variance to allow a wall sign on the front of the building for property located at 43015 Grand River Avenue. The sign would be 13 feet 9 inches by 16 inches (17.8 square feet).


Albert Stewart: With the wall sign, it is not that it is changing anything of the appearance or anything else and actually it is a smaller sign and it just gives us some identification. In time part of our corporation is the intention of doing something with that other piece of property as well so things hopefully will change in the area because we have put a big interest into this area. We do kind of a unique thing that only a few dealers within the whole metro Detroit area that does and we are kind of unique in how things operate and how we do things. We do projection units as this, we do large scale situations of audio/video equipment, we do a lot of the large homes. We are primarily located in Rochester now and we do a lot in the north Oakland County and the systems are very large that we put in and we can beneficial for your area because we draw from quite long distances; where we are in Rochester we draw from Ann Arbor, Petoskey, we draw from long areas. This was some of the reasons to come more to the west side of Oakland County to draw even more so that clientele.

Member Brennan: I don’t have any issue with this, there was identification needs for the previous tenant and I think that the situation is the same.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




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

Case No. 97-042 filed by Metro Detroit Signs, Inc., representing Red Lobster


Metro Detroit Signs, Inc., representing Red Lobster is requesting to change two (2) of the existing signs granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals on May 10, 1983. "Sign B" originally granted a 4 foot long by 4 foot 6 inch tall directional ground pole sign, new sign would be 3 foot by 2 foot. "Sign D" originally granted a 12 foot long by 2 foot 4 inch high wall sign on the east elevation (front of the building ), new sign would be 7 foot 10 inches by 3 foot 6 inches. Zoning Board of Appeals Case No. 1014 granted on May 10, 1983 restricted sizes of signs for the facility located at 27760 Novi Road and all changes must be through the Zoning Board of Appeals.


Paul Detters was present and duly sworn.


Paul Detters: Our company has been asked by Red Lobster to appear here tonight. Red Lobster is in the process of doing facility upgrades throughout all of their locations here in southeastern Michigan. The purpose of the appeal tonight primarily to allow them the change in the signage to become more consistent with the new logo that the company is presenting. The elevation over the front door is I guess where we can start. I took a couple of photos of the facility. (photos presented to the Board.)


Paul Detters: The font is sort of an olde English font and Red Lobster has changed to the style of font that is presented with the package that you have on the drawings. That is really the reason for the change, and that they want to up grade the facility.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 10 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven: I believe that these are a reduction in size.


Paul Detters: They are a slight reduction.


Don Saven: One is about a foot reduction and the other one is...


Paul Detters: They are real close, slightly smaller than the existing signs.

Member Meyer: Will the new sign have the lobster lurking over the top of the sign?


Paul Detters: There will be no lurking lobster. I would add that the sign that is over the front door now is an illuminated sign, the one that they are proposing is a non-illuminated sign.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,





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


Case No. 97-048 filed by Singh Development, Main Street Village


Singh Development Company is requesting a 1' height variance and a 9' placement setback to allow for the construction of an entrance sign for Main Steet Village, located at Grand River and Constitution.


There was no one present at this time.



Case No. 97-049 filed by Ventura Signs, representing Royal Crown Subdivision


Ventura Signs, representing Royal Crown Subdivsion is requesting a variance to allow the placement of an 8' x 3' (24 square foot) subdivsion entrance sign with the height from grade to top of sign being 5' and located in the island at the entrance to the subdivsion on Nine Mile Road and Havergale. City Council approval for the sign was granted on June 2, 1997.


Bob Hines was present and duly sworn.


Bob Hines: I am asking for a variance to put a subdivision identification sign in the right of way boulevard in Royal Crown Estates Phase 6 at Nine Mile and Havergale.


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




There was no audience participation.



Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: I believe that this is an appropriate solution to signage at this entrance. It provides for identification both east and west on Nine Mile and given that he has gone through all of the others I would support his request.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The only thing that I would make reference to is Bruce Jerome’s comments with the corner clearance and the line of site for pedestrians.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Mr. Jerome said that he would encourage Council to require a minimum setback from the sign to the sidewalk of 10 feet and to restrict the height of any proposed plant material to no more than 2 feet, does this proposed location by this petitioner meet that objective?


Bob Hines: We have a 10 foot setback from the pedestrian walkway.


Chairman Antosiak: So that is satisfied?


Bob Hines: Exactly.


Alan Amolsch: There is a license agreement here, which has gone through the City Attorney’s office and I would assume that was all taken care of before that was signed.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: If that is taken care of, I have no problem with the request.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Harrington,




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


Case No. 97-050 filed by Novi Group LLC, representing Bristol Corners


Novi Group LLC, representing Bristol Croners is requesting a variance to allow an 11' x 1' (11 sq. ft.) sign with the height from grade being 2'8" and located in the island at Bristol Cricle and West Road. City Council approval was given on June 2, 1997 for the placement of the sign in the right of way.


Arnold Serlin was present and duly sworn.


Arnold Serlin: The case is not dis-similar to the one that was before you. This is a subdivision entrance sign that will be located in the boulevard at the existing entrance for the new subdivsion Bristol Corners. We respectfully request the granting of the variance so that we can go forward with the construction of the sign.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 1 Notice sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsh had no comment.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: It looks like we have an approval or a no problem from Mr. Jerome with regard to safety. I don’t see anything objectionable in the packet. All the requirements in getting the OK from the City and the right of way have been done.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Recall of Case No. 97-048 filed by Singh Development, Main Street


No one was present for case.


Member Brennan inquired of Nancy McKernan: Did you hear from them?


Nancy McKernan: No, I did not. I did, however, send Mr. Kahm a copy of Mr. Jerome’s letter.


Chairman Antosiak indicated the letter reffered to and I will just note for the record that it is a letter to the ZBA from Bruce Jerome, DPW Superintendent of Novi recommending against approval of the request for safety issues. (copy in file)


Member Harrington: I think that the Board should move to dismiss and I am prepared to make such a motion.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The only discussion I have is that the normal procedure in the past is that we have notified that we were going to act at the next meeting and I don’t think it is quite the thing that I would totally agree in doing without the notification that we are going to act one way or the other at the next meeting.


Member Harrington: In terms of having been the moving party; we have gone through this for a number of years and I think that it is appropriate and I think that they should pay their filing fee again and be subject to re-notice and the like. Obtaining a tabling or a favorable Board consideration merely calls for the courtesy of a telephone call. I think it is appropriate to move to dismiss without prejudice. If it comes before us again, this will not have any binding effect, if it doesn’t it will.


Chairman Antosiak: I would vote for the motion for slightly different reasons. I believe that if a person chooses not to appear then we have to judge the case on what is before us. What I have before us, doesn’t convince me that this variance is required. So I would support the motion to dismiss.


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


Other Matters


Don Saven: Just really quick so that you are aware that the Ordinance Review Committee is going to be hearing a proposal regarding changes to the entranceway sign issue that comes before us all of the time. I think it was the Board’s decision some time ago that a lot of these signs have to go to City Council, right of way permits and they have to go through all of the other agencies; why do they have to come before us or that type of thing. We are working on that issue right now to see if we can help in that particular area. They are taking into consideration a lot of factors.


Chairman Antosiak: That would be appreciated.


Don Saven: It is in process and probably at the next meeting there will be a decision.


Chairman Antosiak: What is the status to the changes of the fee schedule?


Don Saven: The changes to the fees has been put on a back burner because of other hot issues right now. They are going to be going, but I have to do them all at once. The fee structure for the entire department has to reviewed at one time. We will try to get it as soon as possible. We will be moving forward as soon as possible and I appreciate your input.





The Meeting was adjourned at 10:55 p.m.





Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary