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




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

Baty (alternate)


Absent: None


Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy C. McKernan - Recording Secretary


Chairman Antosiak indicated we have a full Board this evening. This Meeting is now in session. I have been informed that our sound system isn’t working correctly so I would appreciate it if any petitioner as well as Board Members please speak up.


Chairman Antosiak indicated the Novi Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of Novi Zoning Ordinances. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to approve a variance and a vote of a majority of those present to deny a variance.



Approval of Agenda


Chairman Antosiak indicated is there any comment on the Agenda for tonight’s Meeting. Hearing none I move that the Agenda be approved as presented. Voice Vote - all yeas. Agenda Approved


Public Remarks


Chairman Antosiak indicated this is the Public Remarks portion of our Meeting. All comments related to a case before the Board this evening will be heard at the time that the 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 before us, this is the time to do so. Is there anyone in the audience who wishes to speak to the Board?


James Korte - Shawood Lake Area. Several months ago at Audience Participation I talked of a fire code problem that I thought that I had and to remind you I said that 60 days was long enough and the City said that I would get the information tomorrow and 28 days after that tomorrow I did find out what was going on and I am not happy with the fact that 1101 does not have to have fire code for what I think is all the wrong reasons and I think that you should know. You people do your best to get what should happen and to make a better Novi. A formal complaint went to City Council today with regards to what I think is incompetence on the part of the Building Department. As you know, I don’t give up. When I ask for a response and I am told tomorrow and 28 days later a response is given to someone else; I still today have not received a response that I was to get that tomorrow. Now, I understand the response and I got copies from other people but that is unacceptable. Polite society, when I ask for a response after 60 days and I am told tomorrow I shouldn’t wait 28 days and still not get it. Thank you.


Member Harrington: Mr. Korte, regarding that matter; was that a variance case that was in front of us or was it something else?


James Korte: 1101 was Beshears and if I use the name it was a heated discussion and a joint agreement to build. The house itself is lovely. We had lot line problems and this Council said to Jayme Thomas the neighbor to the west get a survey. She got the survey. His survey was wrong. He admitted that his survey was wrong and the last time you saw 1101 was for a porch and it was unanimously turned down and I won’t get into that. But if you look at that paperwork, Beshears declared to this City where the actual lot lines were. The tragedy and what irritates me the most is that I had been in with the owner next door that has the major problems. What happened is that there was a 60 day wait and during that 60 day wait and the City knowing that the lot lines were solved and the occupancy permit was given during that 60 days and there should have been a wait. Now what do we do as City because there is now a legal occupancy permit and not a temporary to say "sir, you are wrong." And yes it was a variance request based upon lot lines.


Member Harrington: Is the issue that you are bringing us tonight under Public Remarks, do we have a fire code issue involved with a variance associated with that property. In other words, what I am suggesting to you is that we do not sit in over sight of the Building Department for matters unrelated to the Board......was this within something that we decided on with your complaint about a fire code?


James Korte: No. But my comments to you are that you as a Board sit there and you try to legislate the best that you can legislate to make a better City.


Member Harrington: On the cases before us.


James Korte: Certainly. I am not arguing ordinance with you. I just think that you should know that sometimes what you do because of the inability of other people becomes a farce. Now, is it your fault? No. But I think that you should know that what you try to do is sometimes undermined at other areas and that is the tragedy; because then, I think, becomes a waste of your time and your time is precious and that irritates me that you are wasting your time. You don’t know that you are wasting your time. But the point is this is the situation and sometimes the upper echelon and I am putting you at that level for lack of a better word doesn’t know what the bottom is doing and that is a shame. When it all happens right up here and it falls apart down there, you still look bad and that is sad because you don’t have control over it.


Member Harrington to Don Saven: Maybe at the end of the Meeting we will address any response that the Building Department has; but it sounds like it involves an issue that wasn’t particularly before this Board.


Don Saven: It was a property line dispute. It was initially presented before the Board on two separate proposals.


Mav Sanghvi: Good evening. I come to greet you here and to meet you in person. I have been appointed an alternate on this Board. This is the first opportunity that I have had to come to say hello to you. I hope to join you on a regular basis from April onwards because in February and March I am going to be in Bangladesh, India at the time of the Meetings. I just came to say hello.


Chairman Antosiak: Welcome aboard.



Case No. 97-112 filed by David & Tamara Murphy


David and Tamara Murphy are requesting a 5.5' side yard setback variance, a 5.4' rear yard setback variance and a 2% lot coverage variance to allow for an addition to the first and second floor at the rear of the home located at 1107 South Lake Dr.


Tamara Murphy was present and duly sworn.


Tamara Murphy: I am supposed to speak to you about hardship pertaining to my addition and our lot. I will start with the west side variance that we are asking for which is a 5 1/2 foot variance. Our existing house right now is 5 1/2 feet from our lot line right now. We want to extend back farther on the house and we just want a continuance of that line. If we were to have to build 5 1/2 feet inward it would make the house look real choppy and look like several different structures that are pieced together instead on one consistent house. I have spoken to the neighbors on our west side and they have said it was fine because we were already there and if there is anything with the fire code or whatever it will be taken care of because we have done that already.


Tamara Murphy: I also have this from our east side neighbor, she wasn’t able to make it today.


Tamara Murphy: Pertaining to the rear yard setback it is 5 foot 4 inches or 5 foot 5 inches and the hardship that we have with that is that the way our lot is and being a lake front property owner, most of our recreational use is in the front of our house on the lake and all of the people that we live by also use the front of their yards as their back yards. Nobody entertains in their back yard when you have the lake in the front yard and so we are asking that you keep that in mind in regard to the rear yard setback because if we counted the rear yard as the front yard we really wouldn’t need this variance. We know that we need it for the City, but we are asking you to keep that in mind.


Tamara Murphy: I would just like to point out that in our neighborhood and on our block, all of the houses have existing structures within that rear yard setback of 35 feet. Our addition would be consistent with the other houses in the area. Along that line we would just like to construct a house that is of similar size to all of our neighbors. We are not asking for anything that is going to be excessive or extra large, just consistent with all the neighborhood properties.


Tamara Murphy: On the lot coverage variance, our hardship with that is that South Lake Drive bisects our property. We have 2 properties. We have a lake lot and we have the lot that we have our house on. These are given 2 separate parcel ID numbers and I am just asking that you think of the property as one whole property bisected by a road. If you think of it along that line, then the lot coverage would actually be about 23% which is consistent with the lot coverage. If you don’t think about it that way and only think of the lot that is buildable it is at 27% and we would need a 2% variance.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 67 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received, however, one approval was given to us this evening. Copy in file.




James Korte: When we talk of the 1100 block of South Lake I am well acquainted. I only and briefly know this family. As the world turns they are asking for very little. The house directly to the west is twice the size. What has been allowed at the Beshears property and at the Tom Van Oyen the other corner of Eubank and this when completed will still be the small house on the block. They have squared it up as we have always asked at the north end and it is well within reason. If anyone drove by the house it is always as neat as a pin, they are lovely neighbors and they are out of room. Therefore I would hope that it would be unanimously approved.


Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. I am speaking also in support of this. I know who the Murphys’ are and the have done a real nice job in improving their house from a little cottage that was built quite awhile ago. I see this as an improvement to the area. I am not directly affected but it still will be as Mr. Korte has stated, the small house on the block. So I would encourage you to grant their variance. I would also like to let you know that on behalf of SES we do not have a formal opinion on this, nor does LARA.


Keith Clark, 225 Eubank. I would just like to support my neighbors and the work that they want to do on their house.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Harrington: What was the comment from the adjacent neighbor?


Chairman Antosiak: A rather extensive approval.


Member Harrington: But basically it is a great job?


Chairman Antosiak: Yes.


Member Harrington: Do I understand that basically the houses which adjoin you will have the same parallel line to the lake?


Tamara Murphy: In front of the house, yes.


Member Harrington: And you are following the footprint of the existing building with your proposed addition?


Tamara Murphy: Yes, going to the rear.


Member Brennan: It was a nice job in the presentation in giving us the facts. I support your plans. It is a nice project and you seem to have all kinds of support from your neighbors.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: They are not going further out. They are following the existing side wall of the building. The unfortunate situation is the lot sizes up there. In true essence the lot is being over built. I don’t know what else to do with it. They have done a good job, a good layout, they have conformed and I think they have done everything that they possibly can. I don’t know what more to say, with what they have done and the way they have applied it 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. 97-113 filed by Multi Building Company, Inc.


Multi Building wishes to place a construction trailer on lot 253, 22540 Havergale St., in the Royal Crown Subdivision for a period of one additional year or until completion of Royal Crown VI. The applicant had secured a temporary use permit for a construction trailer and shed on lot 283, 22563 Havergale St. in the Royal Crown Subdivision on April 24, 1997.


Dean Masculli was present and duly sworn.


Dean Masculli: We currently have 44 lots in Royal Crown IV and we have 23 homes still under construction there. Due to the amount of work that we have there; the existing permit has expired and we would like to have the trailer there and I don’t think that we will need the full year but probably 6 to 7 months so that we can complete construction or near construction until we can manage the sub from another site.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 11 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection. Copy in file.




James Mosak, I am a resident of Novi. There was a letter submitted that was to be read tonight on behalf of my son who has the lot next door. He can’t attend tonight, he is at the University of Michigan for school and that is why he submitted the letter. He just received the copy on Saturday so he had very short notice on drafting the letter. Maybe I should save my comments until after the letter is read.


Chairman Antosiak inquired is the Board interested in hearing the contents of the letter.


Member Brennan: Absolutely at least in general.


James Mosak: He has addressed it very well. I went out to the site and have visited him and you may ask the developer; it appears like they have already graded the adjacent lot and raised it with fill and my son had to get a permit to just put a small berm in the rear of about 2 feet high. I don’t know if that has been inspected or what but it appears that it has been done. It really is an eye sore out there with all of the construction vehicles are parked adjacent to his lot and it is really tough even getting through the street. Construction vehicles are parked there, tractors are on top of the trailers of the vehicles and they are there over the week end and I understand that there is construction going on but it is really an eye sore for expensive homes in that subdivision. I am just here on his behalf.


Chairman Antosiak: Mr. Mosak’s letter states that he doesn’t believe that lot 253 should be used to place a construction trailer it has been lying unused and has not been for sale as a residential property for over one year. He states that it is his understanding from discussion with JCK, the City Engineer, that lot 253 is not suitable for building due to the presence of wet lands and that lot 253 has been sold from Multi back to the developer because of the unsuitability for residential construction. Most of Mr. Mosak’s comment are about the filling of the land or the wetlands to allow development of that property.




Don Saven: It is not directly but it is such that I think it merits some concern. One of the concerns that we had is the concern about the containment of debris around the area from this company and the site itself, keeping it clean. Keeping the roads clean and taken care of, so much so that we had to repeatedly had to request things to be taken care of to the point where we had to issue tickets or citations for several issues here. I do have a concern whether or not we will have this as a continuous problem or not, but that is your decision.


Dean Masculli: I met with Officer Uglow and Hal last Friday on those issues and after the meeting I went back. We have been cleaning the streets there pretty much every week due to the conditions the streets continue to get muddy. We clean them once a week regularly now and if we need to step it up to help the situation we are ready to do that.


Don Saven: What about the debris on the sites?


Dean Masculli: Well we talked and we have been using the fenced in pens and we decided that we are going to go with the dumpsters and I believe that we have some out there already. We are not going to use pens anymore, we are going to start using dumpsters.


Don Saven: It is my understanding that she has been trying to get this taken care of for approximately 3 months, is that correct?


Dean Masculli: Yes, sir.


Member Brennan: Can I have a recap and I wanted to hear this a different way, in Royal Crown VI how many sites are there?


Dean Masculli: There are 44 total.


Member Brennan: So half of that has been built and you still have half to go?


Dean Masculli: We currently have 15 closed units in there. Everything else is under construction. We do have some that are still in the permit stage or in the plot plan stage but what we don’t have sold, which is 6 units. We are in the process of pulling permits as spec homes out there.


Member Brennan: I just wanted to get a feel for the percentage of completion and it sounds like you are a little less than 50%. You made a comment that you may not need a full year, maybe we should talk about something less than that if we looked at the winter months as not being as productive as spring and summer and took this through September for 9 months, might you be closer to being done?


Dean Masculli: My plans right now are if we get the approval I believe that probably by July I would be moving the trailer out of there no matter what because the project itself and the construction will be winding down and it will be manageable from another site, which I have plans to move the trailer to a site in South Lyon.


Member Baty: Is there another location that you can move the trailer to now?


Dean Masculli: It is currently on lot 283 and we were going to extend it on 283 but with the situation with 253 not being a buildable lot we want to move it there so that we can construct a house on 283 and sell it. We have a permit ready for it and we would like to spec it so we can sell it as a spec and get done with all of the construction in there.


Member Baty: So you will be closer to the person who sent in the letter?


Dean Masculli: We are across the street from them right now.


Chairman Antosiak: Next door, I believe. Is that correct?


Dean Masculli: Correct.


Member Baty: And you haven’t done a very good job of keeping things tidy, it sounds like.


Dean Masculli: Well, there is a lot of construction out there.


Member Meyer: Were you aware of the concerns of this neighbor?


Dean Masculli: No.


Member Harrington: No complaints from the neighbors adjacent to 283, on either side, is anyone in there yet?


Dean Masculli: Yes, both sides are occupied.


Member Harrington: And they are not here tonight complaining, but the guy who you are going to move your trailer next to is complaining and you want to move it there because it is more convenient?


Dean Masculli: Yes. It is a unbuildable site. So it would be nice to move it there so we could go ahead and spec the house on 283 and get construction done in the project earlier instead of having to come back and start it in June and July. We could start it in January.


Member Brennan inquired of Don Saven: Aren’t there restrictions and regulations on construction trailers as far as how they are rigged and how they are maintained?


Don Saven: There is and a lot of it has to deal with the temporary use permit which is granted for the time period for example of the first six months, what he is asking for is basically the same thing but something that I can no longer grant because it is going on beyond that time. Yes, we do require that it be kept in a clean, neat and orderly fashion at all times and that we have off street parking that is associated with that trailer to get the vehicles off of the road.


Member Brennan: If he does not maintain it you will continue to ticket him and issue violations?


Don Saven: That is correct. What I would like to bring up is that there is 3 conditions that were brought up by the President of Royal Crown Homeowners Association and it basically deals with the blowing debris and construction debris not being contained and the roads, those were the 3 major concerns that they have had. It has been ongoing for a while and our ordinance officer has been dealing with the situation.


Member Harrington: It sounds like it has been a big problem for 3 months. Is that fair?


Don Saven: Yes, it has.


Member Harrington: And you are not getting any meaningful cooperation from the builder.


Don Saven: It is just beginning. But beginning didn’t take care of the problems fast.


Member Harrington: In terms of geography and layout, 253 is where in relationship to 283?


Dean Masculli: It is kiddie corner from it.


Member Harrington: Across the street?


Dean Masculli: Yes, across the street and over a lot and a half.


Member Harrington: And the lot that you want to put this on is not even buildable?


Dean Masculli: No, there is and I believe that it is a flood plain issue. The grade of the flood plain won’t allow us to have a basement on the lot.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: I really have a problem when we run into this situation. We have ordinances and regulations. The builder has a problem in following these ordinances and regulations; then he comes in and asks for a variance request for a hardship. I see no hardship and I see no reason to grant this variance request. If they can’t follow along and they have to be cited and ticketed and not maintain what they should be maintaining, I don’t see a reason to grant a variance.


Member Meyer: Is there any other lot that you can put the trailer on beside the one next to the gentleman that has mailed this letter?


Dean Masculli: No, everything else has been sold or in for a permit for a spec right now.


Chairman Antosiak: What do you plan to do with lot 253 when you remove the construction trailer?


Dean Masculli: We are giving it back to the developer. We will sell it back to the developer. I don’t know what he has planned for it or what can be done with the lot.


Member Harrington: My sense is that I would not demand that they yank this trailer out of there today although the weather is favorable for it because we don’t have snow and blizzards and such; but I would see 60 days as the outside in it’s present location and I see no justification to move this trailer next to someone who is going to be immediately affected simply because it is more convenient for the builder, convenience is not a hardship. I am also troubled by the fact that apparently the City has tried to get the attention of the builder for 3 months and has been unsuccessful and now the builder wants the Board’s attention. That would not necessarily be enough to demand the denial of the application; but it certainly is a factor in my mind. I can’t support any continuance of this trailer in it’s present location beyond 60 days.


Member Bauer: I agree. He has been told and then he finally get a citation.


Member Baty: I think 60 days is generous.


Chairman Antosiak: I would also add that Mr. Mosak asked that we require lot 253 to be landscaped and I just wanted to comment that is beyond the authority of this Board to do. That is subject to the City’s normal enforcement activity.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,



Discussion on motion:


Member Brennan: So that would maintain it on lot 283?


Member Harrington: Correct. They will not move next to the gentleman who is objecting.


Don Saven: Is there any condition?


Member Harrington: We can’t attach a condition that the City shall strictly enforce it’s ordinances and the like; if there is something within our discretion that will encourage them and give them a carrot in order to maintain order and the like. I don’t know how far we can go?


Don Saven: My concern is that if I has continuous problems regarding the issue of debris and the streets not being cleaned, I find this to be issue tied into the variance.


Member Harrington: I would modify my motion with PROVIDE FOR CONTINUING JURISDICTION BY THE BOARD AND IF THE CONDITIONS ON SITE ARE SUFFICIENT AS TO INVOLVE A SPECIFIC HAZARD TO THE COMMUNITY THERE WILL BE A SPECIAL MEETING. If they are not going to comply with the ordinances we will deal with it.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I support that.


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


Case No. 97-115 filed by Fred and Donna Reed


Fred and Donna Reed are requesting a 90 day extension of time to raze and rebuild the fire damaged structure on the existing foundation for property located at 135 Eubank.


Fred and Donna Reed were present and duly sworn.


Fred Reed: We suffered the misfortune of having a house burn at 135 Eubank. We over lapsed our 6 months to rebuild on the existing foundation; mainly because of the insurance policy problem. We did get the house tore down on the 15th of December and we did have a couple of days left to apply for the building permit but it was just really to close. The insurance company basically will pay for the damage that was done to the house and there was no damage done to the foundation but the rest of the house was completely demolished. We had that torn down. We did have somebody from the town did come in and look at the foundation and said that he would want to take a better look at but he believed that if we just went one more block high it would be fine. The one corner of the house is only a foot from the property line but the way with the house and the property is it doesn’t look out of character because it is right on a curve and it doesn’t make it too close to another house. We are just asking if we could have an extension on this section 2502 4B. That is basically what we are asking for.


Fred Reed: We had blue prints on the house and it matches the new houses that are going up in the area and the remodeling that is done in the area. It will match the subdivision really well.


Dave Karudy: I am the builder. Basically what we have done and it was an older 2 story cottage and it burned right to the existing footings. We have demo’d the house out to the foundation, leaving the decking at this point for a safety precaution. We have it all tarped off. The house that we have designed will fall right into the existing elevation of all the houses there. I have copies if you would like to see them.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 88 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 3 written responses received all voicing objection. Copies in file.




James Korte, Shawood Lake Area. I have approached you many times in the direction of the defunct Walled Lake Sector Study that I "chaired". Our direction was a better north end. Your direction should be a better north end. I have chastised all of you on numerous occasions for giving us tid bits because it is improvement. We need improvement 5 years from now, 10 years from now and 20 years from now. If you have the plot plan in front of you, you will see that this is a nice piece of property that is not being used. Now, I guess it is not my point as a designer to tell them what to put on the property. But, let’s do a little past history. I come from "landlordism" I am a landlord, I have rental insurance and if my rental insurance does not cover me in a situation that interrupts the neighborhood that is my problem and not your problem nor is it the rest of my subdivision’s problem. Now, for 60 days we looked at the trash that was thrown out of the burnt house and never cleaned up. That specific house has always been derelict in condition. Now, all of my houses aren’t all up to snuff either but I don’t have rental trash for the last "x" number of years. When I lived in my houses they were not trash. When this house was landlord occupied and I apologize it was derelict in condition then. A year before the fire and I had a talk with Art Lenaghan, our Fire Chief, there was an electrical problem and nothing was done and that is frightening. From the Walled Lake Sector Study direction I am asking to end the slum "landlordism" now. This is not to say don’t rebuild the house; but not at it’s current site. It is a nice piece of land and a nice house can be developed that can be rented for a nice price or sold for a nice price and that is the name of the game. Get your money out of it. I understand that. You have the availability at this point in time, not to grant the extension. Now, that is not to say don’t rebuild; the corner of that house is probably 2 foot from the lot line and that is unacceptable. It is unacceptable by all of the requests that you have ever gotten from anyone wanting to improve. You wouldn’t allow someone to go 2 foot from the lot line. Don’t allow this. As I say, it is not denying the man his property, it is building a nice house, it is getting us what we need 5 years, 10 years an 20 years from now. As I say, what is the hardship? The hardship has been to the neighborhood and that has to cease.


Keith Clark, 225 Eubank: I am here to support Fred and his wife. Their house burned down. He may not live there anymore. He lived there for a long time. He did a lot of work on the house when he lived there. I look out my living room window and I see the vacant lot every day. I want to see a nice new house there. Let’s get the house built. Thank you.


Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. Speaking as a private resident, I have known Mr. Reed for a long time. His son and my son were real good friends for a number of years and possibly still are. I think that we have an opportunity now to force an issue; one foot from a property line and whether it is on the corner or whatever it is unacceptable. Mr. and Mrs Reed have not lived in this house for many years, at least 5 and this is a rental. You know the problems that we have with rentals in our area and not just in Idlemere Park but in the entire north end area. I am going to ask each one of you, but have all of you driven by this property within the last week and if you have where the dumpster is, is well into the road right of way. Those are 30 foot roads. We have a serious problem in our area and why should I as a homeowner, subsidize the landlords. It does me no good to do any improvement to my house when the landlords who take only and do not return. It makes no sense. It is tearing down my property. It is depreciating and not appreciating. This Board generally does a real good job in trying to help us improve the area. This is your chance and maybe what you should do is to table is and see; they have a lovely 40 foot lot that is not being used. I want to see a house there and whether it is a rental or whether it is a for sale house or whether the property goes up for sale, I know what the lake lots are going for. It is a chance to make a definite improvement and if you improve this property then maybe the other landlords on the adjacent properties will get the hint. I hope you do your best. Thank you very much. SES and LARA do not have a position on this.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Meyer: Based on what I have in front of me it appears that you have to build on the foundation because the insurance company refuses to replace the foundation because it has suffered no damage, am I correct?


Donna Reed: Yes.


Member Meyer: So this foundation is the same foundation of the house that was burned. Was there a variance on that foundation?


Fred Reed: I don’t know, it was always there.


Member Brennan: You intend to rebuild the house and then rent it out?

Fred Reed: We did plan on living in it for one year.


Member Brennan: It has been raised and all the old stuff is down and you have the dumpster on site and here is the key question when does the builder start the building?


Dave Karudy: As soon as the plans are 100% finalized and we can pull the permits. I am looking at the end of January.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Due to the amount of damage to the home and the only thing left is the existing foundation; I don’t think it is criteria enough for a variance request in it’s own right. The lot is large enough that a home can be situated on that lot with no variance request needed. I think that this is the time that we have the unique situation where we have a lot big enough to fit a house on and not need variances. There is no real hardship and I cannot support a variance.


Member Harrington: Who is the insurance carrier?


Fred Reed: Allstate.


Member Harrington: Have they denied the claim?


Fred Reed: We had replacement insurance and they....


Member Harrington: Full replacement?


Fred Reed: Yes, but they said that it did not.


Donna Reed: We had to argue for a month and then they said we did.


Member Harrington: Is this case in litigation?


Donna Reed: No, they did finally agreed that they would build a house on the foundation.


Member Harrington: Have they cut a check?


Donna Reed: No, they have not.


Member Harrington: Is the problem here, had you started and obtained you permit within the 6 months; you wouldn’t be here?


Fred Reed: Right we wouldn’t be here.


Member Harrington: You would not need a variance, you would be able to rebuild the house on site albeit one foot of the property line but because the Allstate Insurance Company chose to argue with you about the extent to which they would replace this structure, you are before this Board?


Fred Reed: Exactly.


Member Harrington: Do you have any interest in hearing the sense of at least one Board Member and Mr. Reinke’s opinion is not to far off of the mark and you have some adjacent neighbors in this area who would like to see the property developed; do you have any interest and we can’t force you to do anything, but do you have any interest in perhaps tabling this and perhaps looking at what else could be done on the site or are there issues financial and otherwise that make that prohibitive?


Donna Reed: That is the problem. We don’t have the finances to do that. We only have what the insurance company will replace. They will only replace on this foundation. Otherwise we would have the money to build a new foundation.


Member Harrington: Have you explored alternative financing, like mortgages and the like in order to do a quality home and utilizing the entire parcels that you own?


Fred Reed: We kind of wanted just the house. When it burned down I thought I had replacement and they would come in tear it down and build a new one and I don’t even know if they can rebuild it and it is going to be close with the money now.


Donna Reed: The plans that we have are for a nice house that will fit into the community and it will be an asset on that property.


Member Harrington: I would like to see your plans.


(Plans were shown to the Board.)


Member Harrington: How many square feet?


Dave Karudy: About 1500.


Member Harrington: How many bedrooms?


Dave Karudy: Three.


Member Harrington: Is there a basement and garage?


Dave Karudy: No basement and the garage will be out on the side and not attached.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: The other thing that I have a problem with is, and I agree with Mr. Korte’s comments, you have somebody that maybe is going to live in the house for a year and then walk away and he is off and gone and we are stuck with what he has done and we have given this variance request as a hardship request by the petitioner. I would just as soon see him take the money, sell the lot and leave.


Fred Reed: Being a landlord was not my plan in life, it just turned out that way. I didn’t buy the house for a rental. I bought the house to live in. Lived there, done a lot of work for quite some time.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The thing of it is, the opportunity for change is here now. If something is going up there is going to stay and that is my opposition.


Member Harrington: I understand and I respect Mr. Reinke’s opinion, I would really like to see the petitioner’s take another month and come back to see us to explore the possibility of getting one of our aggressive lenders at very low interest rates to give you enough money to do the right job out there; so we don’t have to deal with the issue of giving you a variance. This is a very tough question and a very tough issue. I don’t think it is our job to make any decision on ownership versus rental status; but I am very troubled by the fact that the prior house is one foot from the property line. That is a real problem and that is something that I have to wrestle with in dealing with your hardship. I don’t think that I as a Board Member, should be in the position of saying that "we want to upgrade and because you were delayed by the Allstate Insurance Company in resolving this claim we should essentially tell you what to do with your property"; I don’t feel that is appropriate and I don’t feel that is within what we ought to do here. That is only my thought.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I just want to add one other comment which goes along with what we are talking about. I don’t think that the variance request due to financial hardship of a foundation cost should be a means for a variance request.


Member Brennan: That is why they did not start construction on December 17th. They had a conflict with the insurance company and I believe is a legitimate hardship. We can’t sit here and tell them to build a nice house in the middle of the lot. They have the right to build a replacment home on the existing foundation. I have some confidence with plans that have been submitted and with comments made by the builder that they would begin construction as soon as possible, as soon as plans could be approved and I am comfortable that they have presented enough hardship to support their appeal.

Member Bauer: Under this 2502 which is reconstruction of a nonconforming structure due to fire they have 6 months to do...they are only requesting, which is in our jurisdiction, to extend that so that they can start building it. I realize what you are talking about, Laverne, but they don’t really have to.


Member Baty: I agree with that also. The way that I interpret this is that the house burned down, you had a disagreement with the insurance company, it took a long time to resolve and a lot longer than you have anticipated and you are left with the foundation and you are asking us to extend the period in which you can reconstruct the home and I don’t have a problem with that. I can support this. That is not to say that if you have other issues with meeting the ordinances. If they build exactly what they had on the property it is all grandfathered in and if they deviate they will have to come back before the Board.


Don Saven: They have to stay with the footprint of the building.


Member Baty: I would not have a problem supporting an extension.


Member Harrington: Have you had legal counsel?


Fred Reed: No.


Member Harrington: Has someone looked at an issue that if this Board turns you down on your variance request whether the replacement language within your insurance policy would require Allstate to replace this house albeit on a different portion on site?


Fred Reed: The problems that we had with Allstate and it is pretty clear that the only thing that they are going to replace is what was damaged. We tore down the chimney which wasn’t damaged and we are not going to get paid for the chimney.


Member Bauer: When did you finally make a settlement date with Allstate?


Fred Reed: I believe that it was September or October.


Member Bauer: And you have not received a check yet?


Fred Reed: We have not received any check.


Member Bauer: Do you have a mortgage on it that would possibly get the check?


Fred Reed: No, it was a land contract.


Member Bauer: You might want to get an attorney. I am a general insurance agent and I do know what I am talking about, you might want to get an attorney.


Member Meyer: I think that Mr. Harrington’s point is well taken to seek legal counsel and I also wish in a way that you would take a month and let us hear from you then. However, if you wish for us to move on it tonight we will. I do want to address the point though that other issues are not really related to this Board. This is America and whatever way that you want to keep your property is your business; but it really would be neat if on behalf of the neighbors that you did the best to make it as presentable as possible. That is your choice it is America. In other words I don’t think that those issues are really related to this property as to whether your property is clean or not clean, tonight is regarding that you had a house that was build on a foundation that was not damaged in the burning of that house and you are wanting to rebuild a house on that very same foundation and it just happens to be one foot from the lot line.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I only have one last question. You said that you settled with the insurance company was in September or October, why wasn’t the building permit pulled at that time?


Fred Reed: There was difficulty also in getting permits for demolition.


Dave Karudy: That was with contacting the utility companies and getting the waivers from them. It took 45 days to get the waiver from Edison.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That shouldn’t have stopped you from pulling the building permit.



Dave Karudy: We needed the waivers in order to come in and get the demo permit. We had to demo the house first. We can’t get a demo permit without waivers from the gas company and Edison.


Member Baty: Personally if it were me I wouldn’t do anything until I had the check in hand. You wouldn’t see me hiring anybody until I had the cash in hand from the insurance company.


Member Bauer: I think that they have been held up all along the line and all they are really asking for is an extension so that they can get this done. I would support it.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Member Harrington: I am going to support the motion but I would urge the petitioners to during the window of opportunity that is here for pulling a permit if the variance is granted to explore possible other building options on site and the possibility of other financing because it may be in your long term economic interest to do so whether you live there or whether you rent it. Clearly I think it is in the best interest of that end of our community that you are in and you have heard what your neighbors have had to say. I don’t believe that we can force you to do that, but that is my strong sense and this is a very close issue here.


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


Case No. 97-117 filed by Joseph Galvin, representing Josephine Kovacs


Joseph Galvin, representing Josephine Kovacs owner of properties described as Sidwell Number 5022-01-300-010, which is currently zoned RA, Residential Acreage, is requesting such variances as are necessary to develop the land in accordance with either the preliminary plat attached or such other plan as the City will approve.


Joseph Galvin was present.


Joseph Galvin: I am here on behalf of the trustees of the Kovacs trust. I have forwarded a letter to the Board through the staff requesting that the hearing scheduled tonight be adjourned. The reason set forth in the letter is that I believe that the proofs that are necessary in this sort of use variance hearing will take longer than it is customary for this Board to deal with on a 12 or 14 item agenda. There is an additional reason that I would like to discuss with the Board and that is that we are preparing to submit to the Planning Commission and the City Council an alternative development plan that we hope might obviate the necessity to conducting the hear at all.


Joseph Galvin: The request then is first to adjourn the hearing and to indicate that at the time that the request is heard that it will be heard at a time when there is a sufficient amount of available time for the Board to consider the proofs which we propose to present and that the hearing be triggered by our request or by the City’s request that the ZBA petition be brought off of the table. We are trying to accommodate ourselves to what is a procedure that I know that you are familiar with and trying to do it in the most orderly way.


Chairman Antosiak inquired what is on the agenda for the February Meeting?


Nancy McKernan: At this time there is only one case and there are 9 days remaining.


Member Brennan: Did I understand that you still have information that you have to pull together to give us?


Joseph Galvin: Yes, before we come before this Board we wish to be able to have gone back to the Planning Commission and have gone back to the City Council to present to them a plan which is a less intense development than the one that is attached to our application to this Board. We hope and it is a hope although not totally unrealistic hope that the plan that we are proposing at this time may very well be acceptable to the Planning Commission or the City Council. But as I said, we are trying to accommodate ourselves to the Paragon Procedure which, as I understand it, indicated that an applicant should work with the community to the extent possible to see if there is something that the community and the applicant can agree upon. Assuming that it doesn’t work, then we would like to have an adequate amount of time to present the case. For example, if we were on the agenda with one other item I think that there would be adequate time to present it. It would be 2 1/2 to 3 hours, which is what I would anticipate the presentation to be. I would anticipate witnesses, a series of affidavits, we have a number of expert reports that we would like you to consider and those sorts of proofs in order to meet the burden which we think that we have in showing the unreasonableness and the confiscatory nature of the existing zoning; step 1. And then the reasonableness of what we propose to do, step 2. That takes a little time to develop.


Member Bauer: Are you on the agenda for the Planning Commission?


Joseph Galvin: No, I talked to Steve Rumple and he was going to try to get me on an informal basis in front of the Planning Commission as quickly as he could.


Member Bauer: That takes almost 2 months, doesn’t it?


Don Saven: That is what I would be concerned about. How much time this is going to take.


Joseph Galvin: Then I would suggest that you put us on the table and we will consent to be put on the table and we will go back to the Planning Commission and the Council and at the end of that process if we are successful dismiss the appeal because there won’t be one and if there is an appeal then we will call and set a date when we can be on your agenda and go with it.


Member Bauer: When you go through and you get possibly denied again under the secondary, that would change this completely then.


Joseph Galvin: Well it would add something to it.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that this needs to be tabled until we get further information, they are not really prepared to come before this Board at this time. I think that this should be tabled until future notice that they have exhausted the Planning Commission, City Council and may not have to come back before this Board.


Member Harrington: Absolutely, we have always been very flexible with tabling requests. We want to make sure that we have all of the information in front of us so that we can make an intelligent decision and if there is a way that we don’t have to rule upon a particular variance absolutely we would rather that other avenues of relief were sought. As to the issue of a special meeting, as you know it has been our customary procedure that we don’t normally vote on a special meeting as such, it is within the descretion of the "chair" as vested by the Board and normally that is by letter request and I would be more interested because we are not paid for our time and that is not a factor although they are banging you guys big time for special meeting fees, but it is an imposition to have the Board assemble for something other than the regularly scheduled meeting. I would be interested to see if you made a letter request for a special meeting how your proposed proofs would deal with our actual criteria for granting or denying a variance request. For example, these witnesses would testify that the property cannot be used as presently zoned and that would be confiscatory and this is the only way that the property can be used or whatever way you choose to analyze your case so that we can make an intelligent decision that perhaps summaries of the reports, we read the stuff in advance and we don’t need someone to come in and tell us this is our report. We go through this stuff every month and every meeting and it may not be necessary to have a special meeting.


Chairman Antosiak: I was going to make several comments. That was one of them. There was little in this package to review before tonight. I would encourage you, if you were to appear before us again, to put as much as possible in this package because we do review it before we come. Just a personal observation; I have been on the Board for 5 years and I think that the longest presentation that we have seen is about an hour and that includes 2 by Paragon and others requesting similar types of variances as you are requesting. I would encourage you to think about that. Just for the Board, I have also asked that the City Attorney be present whenever you decide to come back, so we are clear as to what the City believes their legal position is on this issue.


Member Meyer: My comment is that in the appeal, you say it is based on the following grounds namely that the variances should be granted because the refusal of the City to approve the attached preliminary plat or other plan that does not substantially advance a governmental interest. What guarantee do you have that the City is going to approve the next time that you go before them. The City has refused you once and you don’t expect that they are going to refuse you again.


Joseph Galvin: I hope that they won’t. I have known some of you for a number of years and others of you for a shorter period of time, but those Mr. Meyer, who have dealt with me before I think will tell you that I am very optimistic about how it might work out and I tried to work hard to come to something that I think will work. This is your quasi-judicial body, but the Planning Commission isn’t and the City Council isn’t where legislative matters are concerned. We talk to the staff. We try to figure out what it is and where it is that the City might be willing to talk about something. We don’t know. Sometimes people ask me "why do you bother to go back again and again?" because I think that disputes can be better worked out in that process. I hope I am being responsive.


Member Meyer: I value both your optimism as well as your determination to pursue things on more than one time appeals. I have been known to do that myself. My thought though is that you certainly want to make sure the next time you approach the City that you are going to address particularly some of the detail that we do have here indicates that there is a challenge to having an imbalance to the multi structure of residences up in that area of the City; so it certainly would be prudent to look into what that is about before seeing the City again.


Joseph Galvin: We were paying attention during the prior hearings. We are aware of some of the objections that were made and we hope that the proposal that we were going to submit will meet a sufficient number of them that we at least don’t have to chat with you folks about this one. If it turns out otherwise, I have no particular problem with being on a regular agenda if there is sufficient time. It is just that ...


Member Meyer: That was the reason for my comments, namely if you were to get more or less the nod of the Council and/or the Planning Commission it make it a little easier for the discussion that goes on here.


Joseph Galvin: I hope to oviate the need for any discussion, but certainly to deal with the points that were made in the previous stuff and quite frankly to put it all on the table I have read the minutes of each time that you dealt with one of these and I have an idea of how I will structure the proofs so that perhaps for the first time, if my information is correct, that someone may get a variance under this doctorate.


Chairman Antosiak: Then I will move to indefinitely table your variance request until you approach the City and tell us that you require a hearing. I would like to set aside the decision as to whether or not that is a special meeting until that time. We will look at what our normal agenda is at that time and if we can fit you in. All in favor say aye. Voice vote: All yeas Case Tabled


Case No. 97-119 filed by David Modic


David Modic wishes to remove the existing home at 1657 West Lake Drive and rebuild a new structure that does not meet the current side yard setbacks, a variance of 5' is needed for both side yards.


David Modic was present and duly sworn.


David Modic: We moved to this current address and we have been residents of the City of Novi for a little over 10 years and have made some improvements on the last property we were at. But in the last three years we were looking to buy some lake front property and do some renovation work and basically have a home that we can live in and my kids can grow up in. Myself, my wife, and 3 sons; we bought this house back in July of this year and started doing some research as to renovating the property and the current house that is on site. Basically the house that is on site right now has rotting floor joists and it is in a decaying condition. There are 3 floor jacks holding up the floor in the kitchen area. The estimates that we got were in excess of 50% cost of a new home. So what I would like to do is to tear down the existing structure that is currently sitting on cedar posts which are better than 50 plus years old and put in a correct foundation that meets today’s’ standards of building.


David Modic: I should back up a little bit. The current house has been added on twice before. It had a second story put on and when that was done, I don’t know who they got to put this second story on but the stairway is only 2 1/2 feet wide going up and you have to watch your head so you don’t hit it on the ceiling joist coming up. The second story deck never was built as a second story deck; it was actually or looks like it was built on ceiling joists or 2 by 6's. So to renovate the current property to make it a safe environment and a lasting condition would basically mean to gut the house and pretty much start from scratch anyway. The cost that we came up with was better than 50% cost of a new home.


David Modic: So the plan that you have and this was also passed around to all of our neighbors, as well. I was inviting opinion from current neighbors. The property is located at the southern end of West Lake Drive. It is the neighboring property north of the Harbor Cove Condominium complex. I met with the Harbor Cove Condominium complex governing board and they in turn met with the members in their complex and I believe that you have a letter that was sent in with their approval as well; as well as the neighboring property to the north and they were looking for a change as well to help to upgrade the area.


David Modic: We basically look at it as a two fold project. One is that my wife and I and 3 sons who are 11, 8 and 6 and we plan on staying in this house for the next 25 to 30 years. I do not have any intentions of moving, renting or otherwise. We would like to make this our permanent home. We had been looking for over 3 years of trying to find property on the lake that we could afford and to do something with it so that we could live there and enjoy the lake and the surrounding area and at the same time be a asset to the community. So the current plan for the new home that we are asking for with variances of 5 feet on either side, the current property in the back of the little book you will see that the property to lot 18 and this is lot 19 that I am talking about (the one I own); lot 18 currently is 16.7 feet to the neighboring house and we are looking to go 16 feet or 5 feet to the property line there as well as 5 feet to the opposite property line. Currently the property line there at the widest point is 7 feet 8 inches. So we really are not looking to and I don’t believe that we are trying to over build the property at all. The house that we are proposing is no taller than the current house and I believe it is just property laid out. It really will just be an asset over all. The new house does call for a second story balcony and I talked with Mr. Saven about the property a little bit, and the new house proposed is setback to accommodate for the second story balcony so that it does not protrude out further than the current property. That is basically what I am asking for.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 29 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received voicing approval. (Copies in file.) Plus 2 approvals in the packet received from Mr. Modic.



There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: Lot 20, which is to the west, there is a barrier of tree lines.


David Modic: Harbor Cove. Correct. If you see there is a corner indication of the closest condominium located on that property which is 35 feet from the property line and 27 feet 11 inches from the proposed front of the new proposed garage.


Member Brennan: It is nice to see that you have room on the other side as well to buffer between the 2 homes.


Member Baty: Can you tell me what this is?


David Modic: This is an existing shed that is to be removed. Everything that is indicated in a dotted line is to be removed.


Member Baty: So on the side that is closest to lot 18 you are only requesting about 7 inches?


David Modic: Yes, 7 inches.


Member Baty: And the shed is actually or at least the way that it is drawn, is actually less than 5 foot now?


David Modic: That is right. The shed or the little square box that you are seeing and it is not marked on there as a shed, but it is an existing shed and is actually less than 5 feet to the property line and it will be removed.


Member Harrington: It would appear that the affect of what you are doing, is actually to center the new home on the property and it kind of reminds me of a case that we had a month or two back and although you are expanding the basic footprint configuration; but that appears to be what you have to do to get the quality house that you want up there, true?


David Modic: Correct.


Member Harrington: Right now the current house is really off center.


David Modic: Yes, it is. It is 7 feet 8 inches at it’s widest point and then it juts in an additional 3 feet, so the main body of the existing house as it is right now is about 22 1/2 feet. What I am looking to do is to just square it up to a 30 foot wide and 32 feet long and just properly lay it out and with a proper foundation.


Member Harrington: And you adjacent neighbors support your petition?


David Modic: Yes and I believe that there is a letter that was in the packet as well. They have been notified.


Member Brennan: Is that Spackman that is right next door to you?


David Modic: Yes, that is the property to the north.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: There isn’t a 40 foot lot up there that isn’t over built. But, there is nothing much else that you can do. What you have done, what you are cleaning up and what you are arranging I don’t think that you can put a better package together than what you have done. I also want to commend you on your presentation and on your homework. You have done an excellent job. If everybody came in the way that you did, it would be a lot easier for us to work with. I want to highly commend you, you did a very good job.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




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


Case No. 97-101A, B & C filed by ASI Sign Systems, representing the Detroit Medical Center


Continuation of case filed by ASI Sign Systems, representing the Detroit Medical Center, requesting A) a ground sign 144" x 86" (86 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 7'11"; B) a ground sign 84" x 69 1/2" (41 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 6'7"; C) a ground sign 84" x 81 3/4" (48 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 7'7"; for property located at 41935 West Twelve Mile Rd.


Kathy Garrison was present.


Chairman Antosiak: You are still under oath from the prior Meeting. There were temporary signs that were placed on the site; so we will pick up with any discussion or comments from Board Members.

Member Bauer: When you get just passed the front sign, you have another sitting like this and you have no arrows where you are to go.


Kathy Garrison: Thank you, I will take that under advisement. I am sure that you have all driven past the mock up signs that you asked us to do. I also had photographs made as just as a bit of a refresher so that you can see what we are doing. You are talking about the campus signs once you have turned into the entry way in front of each building and your suggestion is arrow?


Kathy Garrison: If I can add, since our last Meeting we have talked more with the Detroit Medical Center about the signage at this location. One of the comments was a concern over the quantity of signs on the site. The Medical Center suggested that they would be willing to remove and existing sign that is on the west side of the Health Care Center. The Health Care Center is the larger building that has been existing. We really feel that the site signage would be such a help to the patients and that is a step that they would like to make to encourage the Board to approve our petition.


Member Harrington: The sign which is depicted in the bottom photograph, which is the one on the right or the southwest portion of the boulevard when you come in; I did not notice that there is an actual sign on the building which is also involved. Is there a sign there?


Kathy Garrison: There isn’t, we have a permit for one and the sign is being manufactured as we speak.


Member Harrington: One of the reasons that we wanted to see the mock ups of the signs, which are really important to us, is that I wanted to get a sense for the total picture and the total impact and I think that these signs are very helpful. They are real close to necessary. Although as Mr. Bauer has pointed out, the second sign probably doesn’t need the DMC logo, once you come into the main entrance you have DMC on the top telling you where you are at and that probably is larger than it has to be; or at least that is a thought. I wasn’t particularly impressed or struck with the proximity that is how close it is to the street. It is real close to the paved portion of the road way and is all most on top of it. If that is where you think it should be, I am not going to quarrel with you but it seemed a little off at that location.


Kathy Garrison: Which sign are you talking about?


Member Harrington: The bottom sign here. It is right next to the street; within 2 or 3 feet and if it were my hospital I would put it on the berm or back it off a little bit, rather than right there. I can guarantee you that someone will hit a patch of ice and you are going to have more business. I would question the location of that, but overall what you are trying to do there is important.


Member Bauer: I think that also on the third sign, that you don’t have a picture of here, over in front of the clinic you don’t need the logo on it either because you are already on the property and it is there.


Kathy Garrison: I think the reasoning for the logos on the other 2 signs is that it is an actual DMC standard to have their logo on any signage that is manufactured. There is also a change in the logo for different facilities. If there is a health care center the DMC logo changes to read DMC Health Care Centers within that logo as it does for the rehab center. There is an actual very small change within the logo. We have to meet some corporate identity standards and that was the thought in the design of the signs and that is why each sign does have the logo. I don’t see that there would be a problem in diminishing the logo area. I think that could be done.


Member Brennan: Can we start with sign "A", just to be sure that we have everything. We are still looking at a ........


Chairman Antosiak: Those were changed at the last Meeting. Sign "A" was requested to be 48 square feet with 6 foot height; sign "B" was ......


Member Brennan: I don’t mean to interrupt but I really want to get this squared away, what about the issue of right of way ; with sign "A" being in the right of way?


Kathy Garrison: I have applied for a permit with Oakland County for a variance on the right of way. That variance takes approximately 6 weeks. My understanding and I am representing the Detroit Medical Center here but my understanding is that if they are denied that variance we will place the sign further back in the island so that we are not within the actual roadway.


Chairman Antosiak: Sign "B" was to be 4'8" in height and 18.6 square feet. Sign "C" was requested to be 5' 8" in height and 22.6 square feet.


Kathy Garrison: The mock ups are those sizes. The signs that you are looking at on site meet those sizes.


Member Brennan: Perhaps it is worthwhile to reiterate to anybody who is watching that we have 2 different complexes in here that we are trying to route the traffic to. It is not all in the huge, massive building there is another complex that is a part of it, so when people get into the facility they need to go either left or right and this is all for the purpose of directing emergency care service so there is some real and legitimate basis for signage over than what we would consider.


Chairman Antosiak: I just want to clarify for the record; one thing that you said earlier is that the DMC was willing to forego one of the wall signs?


Kathy Garrison: Yes, on the building that has been there for years, the actual Medical Center. There is a wall sign on the west side that is all dimensional letters, it has a DMC shaped logo and this will be removed is a variance is granted.


Kathy Garrison: I would like to add to the previous statements about the hardship to the patients. There really were a couple of issues that brought this whole sign package up and created this request. The first was the building of the second building; the fact that there is 2 centers there. The other was the severity of some of the complications that the patients have in this new rehabilitation center which makes it difficult and an added hardship over some of the people who would come into the Medical Center itself.


Member Brennan: I would like to remind everybody that this petitioner on their own merit had already revised their submittal of last month considerably, getting there variance request more in line with what ordinance allows; not necessarily the number of signs but the size of the signs and that was a very practical move on the petitioner’s part. Given that DMC is willing to remove the wall sign on the west with the dimensional letters; I think that I could support the plan as presented.


Member Bauer: I can go along with that too.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Chairman Antosiak: I would suggest that the motion be revised to limit it to THIS PETITIONER ONLY.


Member Brennan: So moved.


Member Bauer: So seconded.


Alan Amolsch: Which wall sign on the existing building was going to be removed?


Chairman Antosiak: The west side of the older building. Described as a dimensional sign.


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

Case No. 97-114 filed by Allied Signs, representing Starbucks Coffee


Allied Signs, representing Starbucks Coffee, is requesting a variance to allow a wall sign on the north side of the building 11'3 1/2" x 14" (23.95 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "STARBUCKS COFFEE", for property located at 27795 Novi Road in the West Oaks Shopping Center.


Ray Schmitt and Rick Lauer were present and duly sworn.


Rick Lauer: We are requesting a variance for a second wall sign on the north elevation of the building. We already have a set of channel letters up on the east elevation. However, we are requesting the sign on the north elevation so that it faces into the courtyard. We are in a pad building within the property of the strip center. We would like our signage to be identified to the balance of the shopping center as well as having signage over our doorway; due to the limited space within the premise that we took over and the layout was such and with the condition that was set forth by the Building Department for bathroom requirements for our usage, the store could only be configured one way and we had to locate the entry on the north side of the building. So, not only is it an identifier to customers in the shopping center but also an identifier to our customers of where we are located and where the entrance to our space is within that building.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 20 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response that was received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: The obvious question and the one I will start with is, if your entrance is on the north side and that is why you need the sign, why do you need the sign on the east side?


Rick Lauer: So that it catches the traffic of people who are heading southbound on Novi Road heading for the highway; we are not only a destination business but also a commuter business for those people seeking a hot cup of coffee the first thing on their way to work. Our sign on the east does draw to the tremendous amount of cars that pass by on Novi Road there. We felt that sign would identify us to the public being new to the market here and with our expansion plans in the Midwest and it would help identify us more to a greater population. However, because of the location of the doorway it doesn’t help to identify how to come into the store and that has been a problem. Also the other tenant within the same building and we do have some photos, was able to obtain 2 sets of signage one on the east and one on the west elevation of that building. So we are merely asking for a similar consideration.


Member Brennan: Do you know what the square footage of the east side sign is?


Rick Lauer: Our signage on the east elevation.......


Alan Amolsch: Twenty-four square feet.


Member Brennan: About the same.


Ray Schmitt: We are keeping the additional signage on the north elevation consistent with the size of the signage on the east elevation.


Rick Lauer: If it helps, we do have our landlords approval on this proposed signage as well.


Member Baty: When you are driving southbound on Novi Road, you can’t see the east sign?


Rick Lauer: Not until you are pretty much on top of the building; till you get up to the light there. It is pretty tough to see until you are right there. The hope is that this sign will also attract people to turn into the center before they get to the light and they are to far past us.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: According to the drawings that we are provided, the variances to put a wall sign on the north elevation but on the drawing the north elevation has the word Starbucks’s over the word Coffee, which is not the sign that was described in the variance request? I think that under our measurement system this would produce a sign that is larger than 24 square feet.


Alan Amolsch: The measurement that was submitted in the permit is what was put on the application.

Ray Schmitt: I think because of the construction drawing there might have been a mistake. The construction drawing usually lays out in a straight line pattern, so that is probably where the confusion came in.


Alan Amolsch: There were several drawings that were submitted originally for the east sign, and they had to scale it down because it was to large. That might have started the confusion there. The sign that was on approved on the east side is the one that is up there now, single letters across.


Chairman Antosiak: I am saying that under our measurement system a sign is depicted on the drawing that has the word Starbucks’s over the work Coffee and would that not be a larger square footage?


Alan Amolsch: I don’t have the permit in front of me here. But what ever they submitted on the application is what was reviewed.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: What is your overall layout of that sign?


Rick Lauer: The proposed additional signage?


Ray Schmitt: The maximum height would be 2 foot 8 3/4 inches and the maximum length which is on Starbucks’s Coffee is 11 foot 3 and 1/2.


Member Harrington: My sense on this is that I have a real problem granting a variance on a sign for a brand new business which isn’t even in there yet. Normally we take a look at hardship and a lot of times we hear testimony from witnesses about traffic problems and we went by the store or the shop or this and couldn’t even find it and based on our experience there, there is a serious problem by way of health or safety or the like; the testimony that I have heard this evening so far seems to be "well we really want it both ways, because we need it for marketing, too and this will improve our visibility" and I don’t know that marketing strategies have ever been a criteria for a variance. I am not persuaded at this point that I have heard anything about a hardship so far. If there is a problem 6 months or a year from now down the road I would be inclined to take a hard look at the business as it exists but right now for marketing purposes I can’t support this variance.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: This looks to be quite a bit larger than 23 square feet.


Don Saven: Are you taking up the whole building?


Rick Lauer: No. There is another tenant. Only 2 of us. Jennifer Convertibles is the other tenant and they were in place before we took over and they themselves have 2 signs, one on the east and one on the west elevation.


Member Brennan: That is kind of what I was getting at with my original question. You have signage on the east and you want it on the north, what is to stop from the west and the south and we start to blanket the building with signage on all 4 sides? I don’t think that is something that we are interested in doing. You are open now?


Rick Lauer: Yes and quite honestly our opening is not as strong as usual and the complaint that we have heard from our customers in the store was that they have had a hard time finding us and knowing exactly where we are and how to get there.


Member Harrington: Do you tell them that you are in the square building in West Oaks? Just turn right.


Rick Lauer: Yes. But people are coming and knowing where we are and expecting to find us are having a hard time not only identifying the building but also were the heck do we enter the building.

Member Harrington: The problem that we have here in Novi with a number of our retail shopping centers is they are basically bracketed by major thoroughfares, we have a lot of interior stores and nearly all interior stores and especially on corners or the like would always like to have an extra sign and when you are inside and in the interior of an area obviously you want to attract drive by street traffic but I am still not convinced that we are in a hardship situation.


Rick Lauer: I would be curious to know how Jennifer Convertibles was able to obtain a second elevation on signage?


Member Brennan: Have we established now that this north side sign is not 23 square feet and that it is closer to 31?


Ray Schmitt: If we had to meet the 24 square foot criteria, we would make sure that we met that.


Member Baty: On the second page it is listed at 30.82 under square foot.


Rick Lauer: The sign on the east elevation is linear and because of the spacing constraints on the north elevation we were forced to go to a stacked.


Chairman Antosiak: What Mr. Almosch has told me is that the sign that they are requesting is exactly the same as the sign that is on the east elevation, they are not seeking the one that is on the drawing that has the words Starbucks over the word Coffee, they are asking for a sign that is straight that says Starbucks Coffee.


Ray Lauer: No.


Rick Schmitt: No, the opposite is true.


Alan Amolsch: That is not what you have on the application.


Rick Schmitt: This is the actual stacked layout. It is possible that the original elevation from the original installation ........


Alan Amolsch: That is not what is on the permit application. I reviewed what was with the sign application.


Rick Lauer: But what you have in your packet is the correct elevation.


Alan Amolsch: That is a different square footage computation.


Chairman Antosiak: This way it would be around 31 square feet.


Member Brennan: Then we can’t even discuss this any further because what have sent out to all of the adjoining land owners is not correct information, he really wants a 31 square foot sign that is stacked and not long.


Rick Lauer: Then an incorrect version was sent out to adjoining property owners?


Member Brennan: Yes and what they expected to see was a duplicate of what you have already and that is not what your intentions are.


Rick Lauer: Well the elevation was correct and it was just the line layout on the construction drawing.


Member Brennan: Line layout makes that sign 31 square feet and not 23. In fairness in fact we could ask you if you would like to resubmit and we do another filing based on whichever sign that you want up there and given that our preference is to have something and if anyone is agreeable to another sign on the north side, certainly no bigger than what you have on the east side.


Ray Schmitt: Are the appeal applications correct? Just so that I know what is incorrect. You have copies and from what I see the appeal application is correct.


Chairman Antosiak: The permit application that was submitted shows 23.95 square feet which is not correct.


Member Brennan: We are still back to the situation of what was sent out to adjoining land owners was 23 square feet and what they actually want is 31 square feet.


Chairman Antosiak: Roughly, yes. We would have difficulty in approving anything in excess of what was sent over, we can’t even consider it.


Member Brennan: In fairness to them, if they would like us to send this out again to see if we get any negative response from adjoining land owners based upon the new square footage or the revised square footage or the correct square footage.


Chairman Antosiak: I was hearing discussion that was contesting the need for even a second sign of any size.


Member Brennan: This is only another option that I am throwing out there.


Vice-Chairman Reinke inquired of Alan Amolsch: What is the normal door identification sized sign?


Alan Amolsch: Just for the door, 2 square feet.


Member Brennan: I think that the petitioner has got some validity in asking for a sign on the side of the building where the public enters. That makes sense. However, the application is not correct and I cannot vote on this because the square footage given the adjoining land owners is not what he wants to put up. Let’s try a motion.


Moved by Member Brennan




Motion dies for a lack of support.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I am not ready to throw anything into a motion yet, I think there is probably some doorway identification that is needed. I don’t think it is needed that size.


Member Baty: At one point you mentioned that rather than doing the 30 square foot, you could accommodate the 23.95; is that still a possibility?


Ray Schmitt: With the different configuration, but keeping the square footage the same as on the application?


Member Baty: The Starbucks’s over the Coffee but at 23.95, then we wouldn’t have to go out again.


Ray Schmitt: I think we could accommodate the new square footage.


Member Baty: Why don’t we talk about that. It brings us back to the original question of should they have 2 signs.


Rick Lauer: Really what it boils down to is that we are not looking to have the biggest sign in the world on that side of the building; rather we would like to have a decent sized sign to identify our business.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: There is no question the east sign tells where you are at, it is very noticeable going down Novi Road. I didn’t know you where there until I saw the sign, it was very stand out and identified very well. The only reason that I see for a sign on the north side is to identify where the door is and a size that is considerably smaller can do that once somebody is within the shopping center. I don’t think it really needs to be even 24 or 23 1/2 square feet.


Member Harrington: Do you have interest in going back to the drawing boards and considering an entranceway ID sign substantially smaller than the 24 square feet? Or would you like a ruling this evening?


Rick Lauer: We actually have a logo sign that we are recognized by that you might have seen at other stores but the problem at this particular center our landlord will not allow logos on the building and as a corporate legal trademark issue we are only allowed to identify ourselves by our full name of Starbucks Coffee, whether it is linear or stacked or this logo that we utilize. Since the landlord has shot us down on the criteria of the center with no logos, we were forced to fall back on the channel letters and with a name as long as Starbucks and the word coffee it is hard to put that into it. Even with 12 inch letters stacked we would be under the 24 square feet, probably around 21 square feet. Corporately and legally my hands are tied as the construction manager in terms of what I am able to do and the requirements and the size of the sign. We would certainly be willing to reduce the size of the letters to accommodate the 24 square feet. Unfortunately the logo sign which we could utilize as a smaller sign on that elevation has been shut down by the owner of the property.


Member Harrington: Well in the best of all possible worlds which is what we are interested in, what square footage would the logo sign take up?


Rick Lauer: It is a round logo, it runs between 4 and 7 square feet, depending on the size of the logo.

Member Harrington: This is the same landlord who’s other tenants come before us on a regular basis for signage. Who is it?


Rick Lauer: Ramco Gershenson.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: We are the ones who asked them not to put logos up originally.


Member Bauer: No logos at all.


Member Baty: What is the smallest that Starbucks over Coffee can be?


Ray Schmitt: I think that the smallest that we have is the 12 inch letters which will put us at 21 or 22 square feet.


Member Baty: The length?


Rick Lauer: The lineal length would be over the stacked, probably about 9 feet.


Member Baty: That is the smallest you can go?


Rick Lauer: Yes that is.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: What are the size of the letters on the east elevation?


Rick Lauer: Fourteen inches.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: And you are saying that the smallest that you can go is what?


Ray Schmitt: Twelve to be internally illuminated letter.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: You can’t do that on an 8 inch letter?


Ray Schmitt: Not in keeping up with the UL restrictions. Starbucks will not go with a non UL letter. The neon gets to close to the side of the casing and it won’t meet UL or National Codes; there are plenty of them out there because you can build a letter pretty small you just can’t keep it UL. There are clearance requirements inside of the letter can. I can’t say they can’t be done, but you can’t keep your clearances right.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: There is a lot of places with signage that have the 8 inch letters and they work somehow. I can’t see the City letting something be put up that is not a safe situation.


Ray Schmitt: All I can say is that you cannot get a UL listing; it is very difficult to build a letter smaller than 12 inches and get a UL listing. There are clearance requirements within the letter set and we start to bring the stroke down on the letter and you can’t put a UL listing on it.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that a 12 inch high letter on the north elevation is to large. That is only one Board Members’ opinion.


Member Harrington: They could always take the existing sign and put it on the north face. Right over the entrance.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Yes, and eliminate the east sign.


Rick Lauer: Now we all know that corner locations cost more in terms of real estate because of the exposure and in most cases the allotment is that they are allowed and entitled to have a sign on both corner elevations. That may not always be the case but probably it is the norm rather than the exception.

Member Harrington: Well the norm in Novi is one sign. That may be true in other communities, but our ordinance speaks to one sign and the criteria that we have to go by and approve in your second sign is that of a hardship. I am still waiting for that. I still haven’t heard it.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Brennan, Meyer Motion Carried


Case No. 97-118A & B filed by Townsend Neon, representing Big Boy Restaurants


Townsend Neon, representing Big Boy Restaurants is requesting A) a 10' x 8' (80 sq. ft.) wall sign to be located on the front of the building facing Novi Road with he verbiage "BIG BOY, logo, circle", B) a wall sign 10' x 2'6" (26 sq. ft.) on the side of the building facing Fonda Dr. with the verbiage "BIG BOY", to be located at 26401 Novi Rd.


Tom Shoemaker was present and duly sworn.


Tom Shoemaker: As you are aware, Big Boy Restaurant is putting a new front on the store which is the new corporate image and with this goes a standard wall sign package. This standard wall sign package includes a round Big Boy logo, a set of Big Boy letters and a set of non-illuminated letters that say Restaurant and Bakery. We have eliminated the Restaurant and Bakery letters and we have condensed the word Big Boy closer to the logo. The standard identification is 110 square feet and we have condensed that to 80 square feet on the front of the building. On the side of the building we have proposed a set of Big Boy letters and that is on the Fonda Drive side which is the traffic side for the convention area. That we feel is necessary because that is the only entrance to the restaurant on the Fonda Drive side and not on the Novi Road side. The side square footage is within the limit but it is not allowed because it is a second sign.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 15 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 Bauer: The pole sign is going to stay?


Gabe Cassab: We haven’t decided on that.


Member Bauer: I think that we would have to know.


Gabe Cassab: We just started discussing that. We met with Alan and talked about it and then this morning we were talking a de-acceleration lane and they want to take 14 feet of our property and I don’t know if that is going to affect that too. We have to come to some kind of agreement on that. I don’t know if it will all be included in that.


Member Harrington: Does that mean that if you have the sign in place and whoever you have to negotiate with regarding the 14 foot strip it could increase your bargaining position?


Gabe Cassab: Well we haven’t even discussed much of that. I don’t know what it entails.


Member Harrington: Here is why we are asking, because that is existing signage and I am unaware having lived here for many years and driven by that place literally thousands of times, I am unaware of a current problem finding the Big Boy Restaurant. You tell people that I will meet you at the Big Boy for a meeting or a conference or this or that, there is not a problem with the existing signage getting there especially the thing out there that is not a sign but the Big Boy. Which is my next questions, what do you call that by the way; the Big Boy, the doll?


Gabe Cassab: That is the Big Boy character.


Member Harrington: Is the Big Boy character going to stay?


Gabe Cassab: Yes, that is not considered a sign.


Member Harrington: I voted against that then and I still think it is a sign. I think it is a form of advertising but so be it. We can debate over whether it is or it isn’t; but that is a part of your total marketing approach your Big Boy character and perhaps the pole sign and you want 2 more signs, you want a second sign in addition to the one that you are entitled to on the building. It is very relevant to me in making a determination on your request for a second sign as to whether your pole sign is going to stay. If you need to go to your research people or .....


Gabe Cassab: If we have no problem, if we have to take the pole sign we want to make sure that we have the right sign on the building.


Member Harrington: It is a factor to me whether or not the pole sign goes or stays, and if you haven’t made up your mind yet and you want us to move this a month while you make that determination...


Gabe Cassab: We are ready to make a decision on that.


Member Harrington: Well, is the pole sign coming down?


Gabe Cassab: We will take it down if we get the right sign on the building.


Tom Shoemaker: I know the way that your ordinance is interpreted; the logo is a circle and it is 20 square feet and the letters are like 26 square feet which is a total of 47 square feet and if you measure it that way we are within the 54 square foot allotment. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t think that the size of the building sign is offensive and because of the way that it is measured we are in the 80 square feet.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Where is the existing Big Boy going to go?


Gabe Cassab: Right underneath.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Is that at the opening on the left side looking at the front of the building?

The east elevation of the building, off in that left open area?


Gabe Cassab: Yes.


Member Meyer: I just really don’t know the reason for the need of the sign on the side facing Fonda Drive. Most people as they are coming off of the expressway are going to see Big Boy and are going to make the turn on Fonda to go into the Expo Center.


Chairman Reinke inquired of Alan Amolsch: Correct me if I am wrong, it has been determined that the Big Boy is not a sign, correct.


Alan Amolsch: The end answer is that we took that case to court and one of the local court judges found that it was not a sign. City Council decided at that time decided not to appeal or continue that case on the next level of court, circuit court and that is where the matter was dropped.


Gabe Cassab: The character is important, the kids love it, they put there arms around it and hug it.


Member Harrington: We heard all of that when we dealt with it the first time and I would point out that in my view it is our statutory mission to interpret the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance as a body and it is my opinion that a District Court Judge dealing with a misdemeanor or ticket citation is not in a position to make an authoritative or binding decision on anything that we do over here and that an authoritative determination would be at the appellate level or Circuit Court which is where the appeals go from this Board and ultimately Court of Appeals and Supreme Court and the like; so whatever fancy a local judge may have taken toward our sense on a sign issue is of interest and is of note but I am not even sure that it is relevant to what we do here and I think that the character or loveable guy is a sign and I think that the judge may have taken a different position had there been like 8 or 10 of those loveable little guys out there for marketing purposes and that is where I was at the first time. Although it is also my memory that the majority of the Board didn’t think it was a sign, I still do and that is not relevant either. Let’s deal with the merits.


Member Brennan: Perhaps it is worthwhile summarizing what we have now in front of us because in addition to what was on the petition we would now have the elimination of the pole sign and the location of the Big Boy character which was worthwhile knowing.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Really that is all that it means is location, because we are not even considering that.


Member Brennan: Mr. Harrington is, because he considers that a sign.


Member Harrington: But that is not in front of us.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: But that is not before us, it is not a part of the petition.


Member Brennan: Given that they are now looking at removing the pole sign, that does legitimize the south side sign which would be heading north on Novi Road if you are a new resident to the community and not living here for 15 years and driving by it a couple of thousand times. I like the idea of losing that pole sign, every time we get a chance to get rid of one of those and I appreciate you throwing that into the packet. As far as I am concerned it is a nice trade.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: One further, if I may, I think that the signage on the south elevation and the east elevation is needed; I only have one problem that is the logo. I think that has to go. It is on the east elevation.


Member Brennan: I know what they are doing here, Laverne, I have seen some of the newer Big Boys and this is common to all of their restaurants.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That has really no bearing on it.


Member Brennan: I know.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: We just talked with a gentleman who pointed out to us that logos weren’t allowed and now we are going to reverse that in the next case.


Member Meyer: I think that Laverne has a good point here, in the sense that you have a Big Boy that is standing 5 or 6 feet tall just outside of the front door it really would be unnecessary to have another picture of the Big Boy above the sign.


Gabe Cassab: Mr. Meyer, that is back underneath and you really won’t see it.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: It is going to be in about the same position as it is right now, correct?


Gabe Cassab: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: It is quite visible where it is at.


Member Meyer: We are not considering that Big Boy as a sign here tonight and that is not a part of our discussion.


Member Harrington: It is not a part of the application, we can take note of all of the physical characteristics on site as we do in every case and that certainly is one of them.


Gabe Cassab: We are giving up the pole sign, it is an important sign to us.


Member Harrington: I agree with Mr. Reinke on the logo. I think it is a step in the wrong direction to start to put logos of things on the sides of buildings in this town. Would you like another month to get more information?


Tom Shoemaker: We are giving up a pole sign for 2 sets of 26 square foot letters, if I read that right. It sounds like the letters would be OK on the front and the side but not the logo and we would have to give up a pole sign for the 2 sets of letters. As I understand it, we could put new faces on the pole sign. I think that trading the pole sign is good if we can get the proper identification on the building.

Member Harrington: However, if the pole sign comes down because they are putting in the right of way, that may make the pole sign issue moot.


Gabe Cassab: We are not even sure about that.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think it is probably better to table this and give them the opportunity to look at the whole thing. You have a little better viewpoint of some of our feelings, thoughts and suggestions are and maybe we can work something out in the process.


Gabe Cassab: Do I understand that we give up the pole and we can’t get the logo?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: We haven’t said that in total but I think that is what we are looking at.


Chairman Antosiak: I think it would be a close vote.


Member Baty: You are asking for the logo on the south elevation?


Member Bauer: On the east.


Tom Shoemaker: I guess what we are saying is that there isn’t any sense in tabling this, if you are going to deny the logo and only allow the two sets of letters on the front and side in trade for the pole sign there is no sense in tabling this.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that we have brought factors in here that neither one of us considered until this point in time. I think that it might be better to table it and let you......


Member Brennan: When was the restaurant built?


Tom Shoemaker: About 20 years ago.


Member Brennan: So you have had that logo on the pole sign for 20 years.


Chairman Antosiak: Perhaps I can summarize: The petitioner’s position is that if we were to approve the variance as requested that the petitioner would be willing to forego the existing pole sign. Speaking as to what I believe the sense of the Board to be, and since we haven’t voted I can’t say for certain, that it appears that the sense of the Board and correct me if I am wrong; is that the Board would prefer to lose both the pole sign and the logo on the building which the petitioner would not be willing to do. Is that a correct assessment of your position. I am guessing that it is the sense of the Board. So we seem to have a dilemma.


Member Harrington: It is real easy. We can make a motion conditioned on the removal of the pole sign and whether they choose to ever take advantage of the variance or pull a permit to put the signs in is up to them, or they can withdraw the petition. You have assessed my position. We should not be in the business of putting logos on buildings.


Moved by Member Meyer,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




Discussion on motion:


Member Meyer: I think that there is an exception here, I truly believe that with this logo being in place for the last 20 years that we make exceptions at this table on frequent basis and I think that in this particular case their is a justifiable reason for this so I would also limit my approving of this variance TO THIS PETITIONER ONLY. You might call this a grandfather clause.


Member Bauer: We have no building in the City that has a logo such as this, it has never been approved by this Board and I won’t support this.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I totally agree with Mr. Bauer, I think it is just emphasizing something in the wrong direction of what our sign ordinance is given us direction to work from.


Chairman Antosiak: As much as I would like to see the pole sign go I don’t want to pay for that with a logo like this on the building.


Roll Call: Yeas (2) Nays (4) Bauer, Reinke, Harrington, Antosiak Motion Failed



Chairman Antosiak: The motion has failed, further discussion by the Board.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that there is something that is possible workable without the logo on the building. I don’t know what the combination is but maybe you need letters that are a little bigger on the signage itself. I think the biggest problem that the Board has, is the logo on the building.


Gabe Cassab: inaudible, did not come to the microphone


Chairman Antosiak: Where we are right now is that we have not approved your variance, nor have we denied it. The options as I see it are further discussion and perhaps leading to another motion or tabling and seeing a revised request. So I will leave this to the Board and the petitioner to decide this.

Member Harrington: I thought that we did deny the request as submitted. We voted and the vote was no.


Vice-Chairman: No, we were voting to approve the request as submitted and we turned that down. We did not vote to deny it.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Bauer,




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


Chairman Antosiak: We seem to be back on the fence. The reason that we are on the fence is because I voted no to each motion and the reason that I did was because I tend to agree with Mr. Reinke that something is needed here. I think that what we have before may not be it.


Member Harrington: As a point of procedure, what do you need to deny? To approve you need 4.


Chairman Antosiak: You need a majority to deny and with a full Board that is 4.


Gabe Cassab: Well we could come back.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that the best thing to do is to table it, kind of give us some time, give you some time and then let’s just look at it. Maybe we could look at a couple of options. What is workable with you and you have some feeling of ours and maybe we can go from there.


Tom Shoemaker: Do we have to or if we come back with a revised plan don’t you have to advertise?


Don Saven: Yes.


Tom Shoemaker: Like if we change the size of the letters and eliminate a logo that has to go through and that can’t be tabled it has to go through the proper procedure, right?


Chairman Antosiak: Our position has generally been if you come back with a new submittal that requires less of a variance than the original submittal we have not required re-noticing.


Tom Shoemaker: OK, so if the 80 square foot front sign doesn’t have a logo you don’t have to re-advertise.


Chairman Antosiak: But, if you came back requesting a larger sign or 3 signs rather than 2 we would require the re-noticing.

Gabe Cassab: inaudible, did not come to the microphone


Alan Amolsch: Our sign ordinance does not prohibit logos. You can have a logo. It is the Board’s discretion. If the logo meets the sign ordinance requirements for square footage it is acceptable. However the Board has the discretion that if they don’t want a logo then......


Gabe Cassab: What about Boston Chicken?


Chairman Antosiak: I believe their sign is within the required size.


Alan Amolsch: Yes, it is.


Member Bauer: They never came to us for a variance because their sign is within the square footage that is allowed.


Alan Amolsch: If you remove the ground sign and are within the square footage on both wall signs you wouldn’t need a variance.


Tom Shoemaker: I would think that the best thing would be to table it.


Chairman Antosiak: I will move that this case be tabled until the February Meeting.


Seconded by Member Bauer.


Voice Vote: All Yeas Case tabled to the February Meeting


Case No. 97-120 filed by Infiniti


Infiniti is requesting a 27.5 square foot area variance and a 10'7" height variance to allow for a ground sign to be placed at 24355 Haggerty Road.


Roy Coons was present and duly sworn.


Roy Coons: We are requesting a brand identity sign, a ground sign, to be placed outside of the Infiniti dealership. The reason that we are requesting a sign that would be in variance is that if you are familiar with our location at all, we have quite an elevation problem from the road down to the building. There are 2 Infiniti dealerships located in southeastern Michigan and a lot of our clients come from areas outside of the City of Novi and are unfamiliar with our location. With the amount of traffic in that area and with our elevation being down so low the only signage that we currently have is on the fascia of the building and that signage faces in a southeasterly direction. So if someone is approaching the dealership from the north and going south on Haggerty Road or coming from a direction on Grand River either east or west it is very difficult to seet he business. We have been there for 5 years and we opened in December of 1992, and we have had quite a numbe of instances where customers have come to seek us out and have been unable to locate us. With the increasing traffic on Haggerty it has been very difficult for people to identify our building. So based upon the fact that we have a location that is somewhat low, that is hard to see, that poses often time with the traffic a hazard with people coming down there and all of a sudden seeing the building and having to look off to the left or the right down low and trying to stop quickly to get into the driveway, etc.; we would like to have a sign that is visible from some distance. Also where we are proposing to locate the sign which if you would like to see some photographs I will show you. (Photos given to the Board.)


Ray Coons: Specifically our property begins to drop off very quickly from the road. Basically what happens is that where the sign would be located it would be 5 feet inside of our property line which would be west of the sidewalk. So the elevation has already dropped about 3 to 4 feet there from the road level. So therefore we are requiring a height for the sign to be visible. Also in the packet that you have received it shows the sign and the actual brand identity portion is approximately 25 square feet sitting on top of the pylon, there is no letter or any other sort of indication on the lower portion of it. So effectively we feel that in order to be visible and to provide an identificaiton for our dealership we are requesting the variance for the sign over the square footage by 27 feet and over in height.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 6 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




Thre was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: I assume that these pictures represent with the 2 yellow stakes where the proposed sign location is?


Ray Coons: That is correct. I noted a little arrow on the copied photographs that when you are approaching particularly from the north the signage because of it sitting down lower and I put the arrow on our neighbor the Chrysler Plymouth sign, it does not appear massive or out of scale in any relationship to the location.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: You are proposing the location of that sign to be between the road and the sidewalk?


Ray Coons: No sir, between the sidewalk and our parking lot.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: That is not where these stakes are in this one photograph.


Member Brennan: Then it is west of the sidewalk?


Ray Coons: Yes, it is west of the sidewalk.


Member Brennan; That was a little misrepresented here.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The elevation of the top of the sign to the elevation of Haggerty Road; in looking across what would be the top of the sign?


Ray Coons: We drop a little over 3 1/2 feet and it is 15 foot 7 inch; so it would be a little under 12 feet.


Member Meyer: And this is for people coming from the south and going north will see the sign?


Ray Coons: It actually would be from the north going south. The way that the building sits and the building sits canted on the front entrance is facing the southeast. Our only signage identifying the name of the business is located on the fascia over the front of the door area. That is visible only if you are approaching and going north on Haggerty Road. It is not visible coming south on Haggerty Road.


Member Harrington: It has been my position that were a significant sign variance involving either height or square footage or both is involved, I want to obtain the visceral or gut reaction of seeing how that sign looks before voting on it. Do you have any problem with preparing a mock up or a redering of what you are asking us to approve?


Ray Coons: No, none whatsovever. We would be prepared to do either, which ever the Board would prefer.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I would like to see a mock up, it gives us a better perspective and you get viewpoints of ours that might help you in making some adjustments to that.


Ray Coons: That would be totally acceptable to us. We are prepared to do so. We have been here for 5 years and anticipate being here for some time to come, so we certainly want to have this agreeable to everyone.

Chairman Antosiak: We ask that it is the same size and is placed in the location where you would plan to put the permanent sign.


Member Harrington: As you look at that rendering with a critical eye, ask yourself the same questions that we will ask you the next time that we see you after we have seen the sign - is that the absolute bare minimum size that you have to have to accomplish your purpose. I will tell you that I wish that we could vote again on Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep, Eagle and I would make a much stronger argument against that sign then I did at that time. I feel that is to much signage and I believe now that the Mercedes signage is up and we are looking at it, it is to much signage. If your objective is to be consistent with either or both of those, I believe that there is more signage on Haggerty Road then there needs to be and the same purpose could have been accomplished with lesser signage. So as you look at it, one of the questions that I will ask you is "is that what you feel that you absolutely have to have, or is there any room for more conservative signage in light of the fact that we don’t want to give any more signage than we have to given the topographic considerations that are out there". That is a discussion that we will be having the next time that you are back.


Ray Coons: That is fine. It is more than reasonable.


Chairman Antosiak: I would ask Nancy to have information in our packet for the next meeting on the size and elevation, etc. of the Chrysler and the Mercedes signs; so we will have the basis for comparison.


Chairman Antosiak: Please call Nancy after the mock-up is up and she will let us know so that we can go by and look at it before the next meeting.


Ray Coons: For my information, to construct the mock up do I require anything additional other than the verbal go ahead to do so?


Alan Amolsch: No, if the Board requires it, it can be done.


Ray Coons: We will go ahead and proceed with that and prepare it.


Chairman Antosiak: I would move that this zoning variance request be tabled until the February Meeting, all in favor say aye. All yeas. Case tabled to the February Meeting.



Case No. 97-121 filed by Greystone Construction, representing Main Street


Greystone Construction representing Main Street, is requesting a variance to allow a construction identificaiton sign, 4' x 8' (32 sq. ft.) at 43155 Main Street.



Case No. 97-122 filed by Greystone Construction, representing Main Street

Greystone Construction, representing Main Street, is requesting a variance to allow a constuction identificationsign, 8' x 4' (32 sq. ft.) at 25750 Novi Road (Main Street Building #200 and 300).


Bill Matykowski was present and duly sworn.


Bill Matykowski: One question that I already have. We have 121 and 122, the addresses are incorrect, they should be flipped over.


Chairman Antosiak: If it would be expeditious to discuss them both at the same time, consider yourself sworn for both cases. What is the address correction?


Bill Matykowski: The first one 4' x 8' sign is actually 25750 Novi Road. The 8' x 4' sign is for Main Street Building 200 and 300. (talk at table to Board Members - not audible.)


Bill Matykowski: We are taking the sign that is located at Main Street and they were supposed to have it down today, but they are taking that sign down tomorrow morning. That is the sign that we are basically going to use at Main Street Court and it will be painted.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 26 Notices sent to adjacent property owners for Case No. 97-121. There was no written response received. In Case No. 97-122 there was a total of 10 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




James Korte. I hadn’t planned on speaking, I came to spew venom at the last Audience Participation. Main Street - we have given them to much. They have water, they have streets, they have road, they have too much. Now, millions have been spent and they can’t get a sign so that some jerk can find where they are going and spend money? What happens when there is no signage and the buildings don’t pay their rent and they sit empty and I as John Q. Taxpayer have to subsidize even more. It has always amazed me that when we invite and when we bring big dollars into this City, then we say "you can’t adverise", that is not logical. I don’t like Main Street. I have never been to Main Street. I never plan to be there. But, if I do I would like to know where I am going and I would like to get there, spend the money and get out of there. Signs are important. Thank you.


Don Saven: These are construction identification signs.




Alan Amolsch: The only comment that I would have is and I think you brought it up; you are going to move the one that is existing now?


Bill Matykowski: That is the one that we want to use at Main Street Court.


Alan Amolsch: That is the one that the Notice was sent on, the original construction sign that expired after a year.


Bill Matykowski: Through the holdidays we had a hard time getting our sign people. Then the ground was frozen; now it is a little thawed out.


Alan Amolsch: If the Board makes a motion they should include that. The sign is in front of LasVegas Golf.


Member Meyer: Might I see your mock up of the 2 signs again. I think that they speak well of what I would call a very dignified and conservative approach making clear what is there. I think it iis well done. The other concern that I would ask is this within the square footage that we allow?


Don Saven: Yes, it is.


Member Bauer: How high is it going to be from the ground?


Bill Batykowski: Ten foot to the top of the sign on the 8 foot sign. The sign is 4 by 8 and we need to be off of the ground a couple of feet.


Chairman Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is that in keeping with the height of other construction signs?


Don Saven: Yes, pretty much with the 4 by 8 sheet of plywood.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I assume that this would be for a one year period?


Bill Matykowski:Yes.


Member Harrington: Were there signs at Ten Mile and Taft and Nine Mile and Taft, subdivision signs where we approved the construction signs but we didn’t like the telephone number and who to see and who to call and contact. Was there a content issue with construction signs that we have done in the past?


Chairman Antosiak: I have a recollection of one incident, I can’t recall where. We questioned whether in fact it was a construction sign and not a marketing sign.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think it was when and if I recall and I may be wrong, I think it was when they put the price on the sign and not so much the phone number of the contact; and this is where we got it into that it was not the signage but advertising. I am not 100% sure, but I think that is where we ran into the issue.


Member Bauer: Are you going to have these for every building?


Bill Matykowski: It is hard to say right now it depends on construction. Main Street Court will be complete in early summer. Building 200 - 300 will be done in a year. Then 4, 6 and 8 will follow.


Member Brennan: These should be done by then.


Member Harrington: I think that if there is an issue that with these 2 we have now opened the door and we are going to get 2 more requests in 2 months and 4 more requests in 6 months, I think that we could maintain continuing jurisdiction over this if it is the same developer and the same builders and maintain some harmony among the various signs. We wouldn’t want to see for years at a time wall to wall billboard signs going through there.


Chairman Antosiak: Greystone Construction is the petitioner in both of these instances.


Member Harrington: Right and presumably farther down the road, too.


Bill Matykowski: Further down the road the buildings are basically on the side of the street, right now we are at Novi Road and Trans-X and over here we are at Market Street. These signs are about 1/4 mile apart.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,




Discussion on motion:


Member Meyer: I would just hope that these folks once you put your sign up, would invite Mr. Korte to come and visit you and see the beauty and wonder of Main Street.


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


Case No. 97-123 filed by Diana Canup, representing Pioneer Meadows Subdivision


Diana Canup, representing Pioneer Meadows Subdivision, is requesting a variance to allow the continued placment of an entrance way sign in the City right of way on Beck Road near Sierra. The sign was erected withou a permit.


Diana Canup was present and duly sworn.


Diana Canup: Our sign as you have seen and I hope that you have all received the pictures and the location of our sign was strictly puchased by our subdivision. Over a 15 year period money has been saved to purchase this sign strictly for the identification of our subdivision. The sign was erected while I was out of town over the holidays and I wasn’t aware at that particular time tht it was going up. But exuberant young fellows that live in our neighborhood; it had been delivered and they decided to put it up over the Thanksgiving weekend; much to our surprise. Unfortunately it was done without a permit. If any of you have driven past our subdivision we have no plotted area for our entrances and the sign that we have that has been there in that location on lot 15 and I included that in your packet an identification of our subdivision lots is on a private lot and it was suggested and then requested by the lot owner, Mr. Bosco, that the sign be removed from his property. So that will be removed as soon as we can get someone there to do that from our subdivision. Consequently we would have no identification for the location of our subdivision and the sign had been discussed at a picnic last summer and then someone took it upon themselves to get the sign constructed and unfortunately we didn’t do it in the right order. We are very sorry about that. It is at the location as you see in the picture and we are requesting that it be allowed to be permitted to stay at that location on the City property.


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




James Korte. Your are going to think that this is a lie, but I watched that sign go up. I work on the Beck Road corridor at the most peculiar hours of day and night. In fact I start at 3 o’clock on the Beck Road corridor for a mortgage commitment that will be done tomorrow, so I will on that corridor again. I said, " since when are we as a City putting up stupid little signs at fire departments." Then when I went by the next day it was Pioneer Meadows and I said, "isn’t that nice". The sign fits the subdivision. It is little, it is unassuming and it is well done. Now, let’s talk road right of way. We can’t get dumpsters out of the driven portion of the road at the north end. We can’t get boulders as big as wheel barrows out of the driven portion of the road at the north end and someone takes it upon themselves to look at a stupid little sign 20 feet off the driven portion of the road that you have to go through a ditch and up a hill to hit. The time spent by this City is absurd. We can’t get a Hugh Crawford pollitical sign off of the South Lake berm that sits there right now that is 5 foot off of the driven portion of the property, and someone has the time to report this sign as a problem. Then I say the Building Department has problems; it has big problems. There is nothing wrong with that sign. Nobody can really see it. It is not obvious. I strongly suggest that your subdivision build huge 6 foot brick walls like the rest and big iron gates; the rest get them and you get attacked for that little sign. One day after it went up there wasn’t a blade of grass out of place. Whoever put it up and I think that it was 3 men because I did watch it go up, somebody could say you even raked because there was no foot prints. It is nicely done.




Don Saven: It is in the right of way. If approval is granted it still has to go to Council.


Chairman Antosiak: I was going to ask becuase there is an old letter from Fried and Watson that basically states that.


Diana Canup. I did speak to our fire chief and the chief of police and Mr. Nowicki and Mr. Smith and asked them if it was truly a serious problem we would immediately remove it, if it were a danger of any sort. They have all sent letters to me and I would hope that you have received them.


Chairman Antosiak: We have Mr. Kriewall’s letter discussing his conversation with the fire chief.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




Discussion on motion:


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Per the subdivision signs we should really send it with a recommendation of approval to Council.


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


Other Matters


James Korte: I would like to briefly speak and it will be brief, it is late. It never ceases to amaze me and I will try to be nice. Earlier I wasn’t happy with one of your decisions but it is not the first time and it won’t be the last time; Member Harrington asked a question of Fred and Donna Reed that said had you been here during the appropriate time would you be here and the answer was no. How could that be, Mr. Saven? How could that be? The reason that I say that is that house basically burned to the ground. Now within a year and a half past the other corner Maudlin and LeMay burned to the ground and when Mr. Fisher was in here with Mayor Quinn as an attorney, both burned to the ground, both were exactly the same situation, no change in any ordinance in the last year and a half with regards to that and the Fisher property had to be accepted on variances - 4 specifically. Now within a 300 foot differnce or span how can this corner be treated this way and that corner be treated that way. I don’t understand. Exactly, exactly the same scenario and we don’t treat them the same way. Now that is sad.


Don Saven: Jim, you are not a part of my department although I probably would like to have you as one of mine.


James Korte: I don’t care whose department did it. One of them is wrong, sir. One of them is wrong. They both cannot be right. Now maybe both of them are wrong. But they both can’t be right. It is the same scenario within 300 feet of each other with no changes in ordinances and handled very different ways. Now how can that be?


Don Saven: Because of the foundation...


James Korte: Because it is discriminatory. Now, I did not say purposely discriminatory, but it is wrong and I will find out which one is wrong because one of them is; or maybe both of them are; but they can’t both be right. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have a fire ordinance and say Beshears you don’t have to do it because if Beshears doesn’t have to do it, Mr. Korte doesn’t have to do it and I will take you to court on that one after you start proceedings. Good New Year.


Member Harrington: I would assume that we are now into other matters and audience participation is cut off for the evening. I do have a couple of comments to make and I will be brief because Mr. Brennan is ill and the rest of us want to go home. Unfortunatley Mr. Korte has left. But no one will accuse me of like pulling out a hanky and crying for the Building Department. But I have been on this Board for 8 1/2 or 9 years and I would like to go on record as saying at least with respect to what I see the Building Department and the professional staff doing month in and month out, I think that they do an excellent job and the kind of job that other communities would be proud to have. I can’t comment on what they do in the field and who says what to who, but I see what happens when there is an appeal from the Building Department action and the Building Department of this community does an excellent job as I sit here as a Board Member. Now, I don’t supervise the Board and we are not in charge of the Building Department but we have to make a call based on appeals that come to our attention and by and uniformly I have never seen an abuse by the Building Department of its’ authority or its’ responsibilities in the 9 years that I have been on this Board and I hope that I never do; but they are the whipping person for large components of this community and by and large they have to sit and take letters to the editor and not respond back; they have to take criticism like they have heard here tonight and in an instance may or may not be justified and they really are in a position where they can’t fight back and they can’t fight a fair fight because they are dealing with persons in the community who can come in and vent and that is what we have been the subject of this evening. Venting. The venting in my view, was inappropriate and I think that from my perspective the Building Department, Don, Nancy, Alan and the rest of the people that we see deserve a pat on the back and a good job. And Happy New Year to the Building Department from this Board Member.

Member Bauer: I can go back 22 years and say the same thing!!


Chairman Antosiak: I will say that this is Ms. Baty’s last meeting with us. It has been a pleasure having you on the Board. And once our new member arrives I will be more than happy to give up the middle seat to someone else.


Member Brennan: As I understand he will be missing February and March.





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











Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary