The Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m., with Chairman Antosiak presiding.




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


Absent: Member Sanghvi


Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary


Chairman Antosiak indicated it takes a vote of four (4) Members to approve a variance; we have a full Board tonight so every decision made tonight will be final.



Approval of Agenda


Chairman Antosiak indicated we have before us a letter asking to table Case No. 97-120 filed by Infiniti for a sign, they were unable to have the mock up installed in time. Moved by Chairman Antosiak to table Case 97-120 to the March Meeting - Voice vote, all yeas, case tabled to March Meeting.



Approval of Minutes


Chairman Antosiak indicated we have the minutes to the November 6, 1997 for approval, are there any corrections, changes, deletions? Hearing none, I move that the minutes of the November 6, 1997 Meeting be approved - Voice vote, all yeas, minutes of November 6, 1997 approved.



Public Remarks


All comments related to a case before the Board this evening should be heard at the time that the case is heard. However, if there is anyone in the audience who wishes 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 who wishes to so address the Board? (No one wished to be heard at this time.)



Case No. 97-116 filed by Randal Knockeart


Randal Knockeart is requesting a 5' front yard setback variance (corner lot) and a 13' rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a sun room at 45567 Amherst.


Randal Knockeart was present and duly sworn.


Randal Knockeart: Right now I live on a corner lot as mentioned. Right now the way that my house is set on the lot I have very close to the minimal setbacks on the rear and I believe that is 35 feet and my house is situated 36 feet from the back property line. The sketch that I put in front of the Zoning Board of Appeals, I am asking for variances so that I may put a sun room in on the back part of my house. The reason that I am putting it here and no where else, basically I have the same setback across the whole back part of my house and there is no way that I can physically fit this in within the confines of my property. Right now the rear yard setback and I believe it is 14 or 15 feet as stated on the sketch. The front yard setback which is actually on my side yard and the reason that I am asking for that is that I have a bay window in a dining room adjacent to where the structure that I would like to put up would sit and if I tried to engulf that the sun room now becomes basically 21 or 22 feet long and that is way to big for a sun room. That is my case. If anybody has any questions just fire away.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 49 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 4 written responses received all voicing approval. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: It is a corner lot as indicated earlier. It is out of the easements that are shown on the property, so it does not affect any of the easements.


Member Bauer: Do you have a home owners association where you live?


Randal Knockeart: Yes, I do I am sorry I do have an approval letter from them. (handed copy to Board.)


Chairman Antosiak indicated for the record this a letter from the Yorkshire Place Subdivision Architectural Committee, stating that they have reviewed and received the preliminary plans for the sun room and the plan meets all subdivision standards and has been approved by the architectural committee.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that he is trying to contain it as best he can. The unfortunate situation is as in most all of lots they are built right to the maximum and if anybody wants to do something it always presents a problem. I think he has tried to contain it as much as he can and with the support of his neighbors and the homeowners association I don’t have a problem with the petitioner’s request.

Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




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


Case No. 98-001 filed by Daniel Jablonski


Daniel Jablonski is requesting a 3.5' side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an attached garage for property located at 42262 Park Ridge Rd. The existing garage will be converted into a family room.


Daniel Jablonski was present and duly sworn.


Daniel Jablonski: I have a pie shaped lot and intend to build a garage on it. On the one side where I want the garage I need a 3.5 foot variance because the tip of the garage will butt into it.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 48 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: I do believe that he is going to take the existing garage and convert it, is that correct?


Daniel Jablonski: That is correct.


Member Brennan: You do have quite a pie shaped lot.


Daniel Jablonski: Yes, I do and the house is off set to one side.


Member Brennan: Yes, I saw that. It is a very minimal request and as you pointed out it is only the one corner that actually impedes into it.


Daniel Jablonski: I did talk to my neighbor next door just before I left, I understood that he did not sent in an approval. So I talked to Mr. and Mrs. Dumbrigue and they said that they would have no problem with it.


Member Brennan: Does the subdivision have a homeowners association?


Daniel Jablonski: Yes we do. I went to the treasurer and had him sign our plans. Copy shown to the Board.


Chairman Antosiak indicated the petitioner has a plan with a signature dated 12-22-97; OK to start, signed by homeowners association.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 98-005 filed by Mary Schrader


Mary Schrader is requesting a variance to allow the extension of the roof line which created a covered porch on the existing structure to remain on the property at 1319 East Lake Dr. the covered porch is 5' from the side yard property line. This extension as done without the knowledge of the Building Department and was discovered on the rough inspection of a roofing permit.


Mary Schrader was present and duly sworn.


Mary Schrader: I reside at 1185 East Lake Drive and I am requesting a variance for my property at 1319 East Lake Drive.


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




There was no audience participation.



Don Saven: I would just point out to the Board that the roof addition has not exceeded the principal building area.


Member Harrington: Could you give us a little background on how you have come before us and why you need the variance and how apparently this was put up without the Building Department knowing about it.


Mary Schrader: Well actually it has been a couple of years. Fortunately I was busy having children in the last couple of years; 5 in the last 6. But since we have gotten the permit I have had 2 children so we got a little busy and a little back tracked with our house here. We bought it, hoping to move my in-laws in actually a couple of years ago; but we are back a little bit. We have been residents in the City of Novi for all most 12 years. We are just hoping to improve the City. We like the East Lake Drive perimeter; a lot of my family live there and we are just hoping to improve what we have.

Member Harrington: How did this happen to go up? Without a permit?


Mary Schrader: No, we obtained a permit through the Building Department for a roof which was done but it exceeded the time limit.


Don Saven: It is a situation where the roof was an extension of the porch, so it made it a covered area. Is that correct? That is how it was picked up.


Mary Schrader: That is correct.


Member Brennan: So you viewed this as an extension of the dwelling?


Don Saven: Basically, yes. Once an area is covered or a porch is covered it becomes a part of the principal building.


Member Brennan: I can support this.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: The thing is, it is not exceeding the side intrusion further than what the existing building does. It is not going any closer to the existing lot line than the principal residence is, so in that respect I can also support the petitioner’s request.


Member Brennan: The porch was already there and this is just the overhang that is going over?


Mary Schrader: Yes, sir.


Member Meyer: If I understand you did this without any malice? In other words, you just simply ran out of time and things took longer.

Mary Schrader: That is right.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 970118A & B filed by Townsend Neon, representing Big Boy Restaurants


Continuation of case filed by Townsend Neon, representing Big Boy Restaurants, requesting A) a 10' x 8' (80 sq. ft.) wall sign to be located on the front of the building facing Novi Road with the 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. (Expo Center Dr.) with the verbiage "BIG BOY", to be located at 26401 Novi Rd.


Chairman Antosiak: I would like to remind you gentlemen that you will remain "sworn" from the last meeting.


Tom Shoemaker: We tabled this from the last meeting so that we could go back to consider any changes and to take another look at it and we have come to the conclusion that we have a reasonable request and I know that the logo was a problem last time and the logo is very important to Big Boy. We felt that by giving up the pylon sign and for the amount of signage that we were asking for, that we came to conclusion that we really did have a reasonable request and we did not make any changes.

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




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven: One in particular was, I think that the Board was looking at some type of commitment regarding the taking down of the pylon sign. I just want to make sure that is understood.


Tom Shoemaker: Yes, the pylon sign will be removed, if the variance is granted.


Chairman Antosiak: For the record I will mention that since the prior meeting Mr. Brennan, has sent a letter to me expressing his concern with the way that this case was handled. He did his own personal tour of the town and noted several signs that do in fact exist with a logo in them. We also have a letter from Mr. Kriewall, the City Manager of Novi, who for some reason is recommending that we approve the variance and I will have more comments on this letter under "other matters" in our meeting.


Member Brennan: I would like to maybe expand just a little on that and why I felt that I needed to send something. I thought that we had left the petitioner last month with the impression that we would not approve a sign that included a logo. In fact I think that there was a couple of comments made that we don’t approve signs with logos and that struck me odd and I didn’t agree with it then and went back and looked at a number of signs that we have approved through this Board and noted them. I didn’t think that we gave a fair shot completely last month and I wanted to go on record as such.


Member Harrington: My memory of that discussion and I had a similar kind of impression but I think it was made clear at the conclusion of the discussion which is that we do permit logos, they are not against ordinance as such, but my concern was whether or not we ought to be providing a logo in this particular case given the variances that are being requested and that is still my concern. I have a significant concern because I have a visceral reaction to the drawing I saw and I still think that it is more signage than is necessary both in terms of the second sign and in terms of the square footage of the sign and I cannot support any such sign unless I actually see it. That has been my position in similar cases; this is a substantial variance. I don’t think that the signage is necessary. I think it is purely marketing and advertising. I think it has nothing whatsoever to do with a hardship; it has to do with I would like to. I don’t think that I would like to is a legitimate test for a variance from this Board. That is my position. I would like to see a mock up or a rendering of the proposed sign before I vote and short of that I cannot support the variance request.


Member Bauer: I don’t remember Dunkin Donuts having donuts in their sign?


Member Brennan: No, they have a logo on the sign.


Member Brennan: The donut is what their service is and McDonald’s would be the same thing.


Member Meyer: I do agree with Mr. Harrington, I would want to see what it actually looks like before giving a vote on this. My hope would be that the petitioner would understand our concern here and particularly knowing that it is a 27 square foot variance and we would simply like to see what the sign would look like before we would vote on it.


Member Brennan: What is the time table of the building expansion?


Tom Shoemaker: We are pretty close.


Gabe Cassab: We are getting pretty close, probably a couple of weeks.


Chairman Antosiak: As I recollect from the last meeting, there are actually 2 signs involved here; isn’t that correct? The sign on the front of the building which would include the logo and sign on the side of the building.


Gabe Cassab: Putting them altogether I don’t think that they are even half of what we already have on our pylon sign; that is 90 square feet on each side and we are taking that down and to not use the logo it just doesn’t make sense to us. We appreciate how you feel about it, but we are looking out for our business too.


Chairman Antosiak: The issue for me personally is not the logo but just the size. You are allotted a certain number of square feet which you can generally use however fits best for your business; including a logo or not including a logo. My concern is along the lines of Mr. Harrington, I am trying to conceptualize what an 80 square foot sign will look like on the front of that building and it is just hard for me to do without seeing a mock up.


Gabe Cassab: We have a picture of it here.


Tom Shoemaker: You want to see it on the building?


Chairman Antosiak: We frequently ask petitioners to put a mock up of the proposed sign so that we can see what it looks like at the place that they intend to use it; it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just has to be of the size and at the location of the sign that you are requesting so that we have a feel for what that variance will result in after we approve it. It is very difficult in the abstract just to look at it and try to decide.


Member Harrington: By way of example there are members of this community that thought that we really had a crystal ball and knew what the Best Buy sign looked like at Eight Mile and Haggerty before it went up; well we didn’t and I as one Board Member would have liked to have seen it. That is my strong feeling where we are dealing with more than a 10 or 15% variance. I want to see it on the building. I want to be able to drive by that building and I want to know how it is going to react because when it is up there it is going to be there for as long as you own it.


Gabe Cassab: This is the first time that we have heard of that. It wasn’t brought up at the last meeting, I don’t think.


Member Meyer: Haven’t we in the past though, had at least what I would call an opportunity where we could look at the sign in the next week and maybe have a phone conversation where we could not keep the petitioner waiting another month?


Chairman Antosiak: Our Meetings are required to be public.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I think that I echo the sentiments of the rest of the Board that it doesn’t sound like much but a lot of time when things are positioned and put there on a permanent basis I really have some second thoughts and we have ran into some of these situations. We have some on Grand River today that we wish that we would have really set something up before allowing this to happen. The Board here is to grant relief in situations that require that, but with just a picture of the sign you can’t really get the true perspective of something of that size unless you have something there that outlines and shows this is how big it is going to be and this is where it is going to be.


Gabe Cassab: You are talking about the logo or the whole thing?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: What we are talking about is that basically we would like to see an outline of the size of the sign, not necessarily that you would have to have a completed sign. We are just looking for the size of it so that we can get a true perspective.


Tom Shoemaker: If I take some foam core and paint the sign, cut out some letters that size?


Vice-Chairman Reinke: Either that or it can even be something that outlines the size and shape of the sign.


Member Meyer: Then you let us know so that we can drive by.


Chairman Antosiak: We would ask that you let Nancy know when it is up and then all of us can go out and look at it.


Tom Shoemaker: Another question, if we do this mock up on the front of the building these letters that we are asking for on the side of the building are the same size, would you need those on the side too or would that size suffice to give you an idea of what it looks like?


Member Harrington: Here is the concept; you have given us a drawing that is one dimensional and the building is 3 dimensional. We do not want to put you to expense or significant effort but it would be helpful as close as you can get and as inexpensively as possible. Even if you could have one of your bus people cut out the letters in a half an hour and glue them on there so that we can get a concept of what it is really going to look like when it is done. The more detail the better, but the cost benefit is that you can’t spend a lot of time or money on it. But we will drive by, we will look at it and in fact I checked with Nancy today to see if by any chance there was a mock up on the building; there wasn’t and not that we had said that, but sometimes it is really helpful for us to get a perspective on it. That is what we want so that we can vote intelligently on your petition. So the choice is up to you, if you want to stop with just an outline that is great. Do not have the sign built. Do not spend a lot of time getting it ready. But we will drive by and we will look, and if it is ready for the next meeting we will vote at that meeting.


Tom Shoemaker: I have no problem, I can cut out the letters and the logo and put it on the front so that you know just what it looks like. What I ask is that this set of letters on the front are the same that are proposed for the side, do you want them on the side too?


Member Harrington: I would like to see both sides, it is a package.


Member Meyer: The other thought that comes to my mind is does it have to be 80 square feet?


Gabe Cassab: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: If they are going to put up 80 square feet that is what we are going to look at and we are going to make our best assessment, as long as what we feel that you need.


Member Meyer: Could it be 60 square feet and still do the job?


Gabe Cassab: The pylon sign is 94 square feet on each side........(inaudible did not come to microphone)


Member Harrington: We sort of heard that last month and what we hear today is that we are not changing anything and I am kind of telegraphing that we will physically go out there and take a look. I am sure that you guys follow us a little closer than it sounds like and you know that the pylon sign is not what this Board approves of or encourages or would even continue and the only reason that it is there is because you are grandfathered in. We know that you want to have beautiful signs for this community and we know that you know that it is not in keeping with what we are doing. It is not like we have this offensive thing so we are going to trade equally for something else. Let’s put together a package that the City can be proud of and everyone will get along with and I really don’t want to hear again about trading this for that. It is not a trade.


Member Meyer: I guess what I am trying to say is that it would really mean a lot to this Board if we could see that there was even an effort to come down to 70 square feet; but that is 27 square feet over and beyond what is required. It just would seem to me that there has to be a little give here.


Don Saven: What I would like to bring up at this time and I think that we are missing on something right now and that is the fact that we have to take a look at how we compute the square footage and I think that is what we are missing here. The square footage of the sign as they are asking for 80 square foot our computations are from the highest point to the lowest point and there sign is unusual in nature and I think that is what you need to see. How this applies to the building in reference to that 80 square foot that you are proposing and that is what really needs to be seen.


Chairman Antosiak: It is a 50% variance over what is allowed, and I would just like to see it.


Tom Shoemaker: I think that we would like to put the mock-up up as we have proposed it and let you take a look at it; because that is what we would like to do in trade for the pylon. At that point you can look and if you think it is to big......but I think that once you see it, it may help. The setback of the building with the signs on it and I know that you don’t want to hear the trade off but compared to the pylon sign you might think that this may be good. So I am willing to give it a try.


Member Meyer: I appreciate what Mr. Saven has just said, that even though it is 80 square feet from the top to the bottom it may not be anywhere near 80 square feet as we envision it and that is why we need to see it.


Gabe Cassab: That would be fine.


Chairman Antosiak: Hearing that; I would move that the petitioner’s request be tabled to the March 3, 1998 Meeting which is 4 weeks from tonight and in the interim a mock up will be put up for us to go and look at. All in favor, please say aye. All yeas. Case tabled to March 3, 1998.



Case No. 98-002 filed by Steve & Rocky’s


Steve & Rocky’s is requesting a variance to allow an entrance sign to be positioned by Grand River, a sign permit was issued and the sign was erected in the wrong location for property located at 43150 Grand River Avenue.


Charles Rachwitz was present and duly sworn.


Charles Rachwitz: We are dealing with the driveway at the bank entrance and the cut that we put through from my parking lot into the bank. We had the original sign company draw up the entrance sign and they put the entrance sign up in the driveway of the bank and very close to the cut right in front of the restaurant and I want the sign to be put on Grand River where it is now. When they came to put the sign they were digging the hole up by the cut which is about 100 feet off of Grand River and I said that the sign had to go on Grand River. When cars come by Grand River obviously they are not going to know that you can come into the bank and then get into the cut that we put through. The gentleman said it was not where the plan showed. The company that did the sign is Crannie Signs and they put it in the wrong location, because what good is the sign going to do 100 feet up into the cut. People will drive by, bend their neck around and say "how do you get in there?". So anyway I told them to put the sign there and that is where it is and I would like it to stay there. It is a 3 square foot sign and the letters on it that say Steve & Rocky’s is 30% of that frontage. The distance is marked off on the blueprints, it is the proper distance that is off of the street for the entrance. That is what I am looking for.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 18 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: The positioning of the sign and where it is right now does not interfere with any right of way or City property, site line or safety concern?


Alan Amolsch: I don’t know about safety concerns, but it is not in the right of way. It is on their property.


Member Brennan: You are not aware of any other issues other that where it is located?


Alan Amolsch: The other issue is that there is already a sign there for the bank that is an entranceway sign, so this would be an additional entrance sign. There sign is supposed to be located where their driveway is going into the business.


Chairman Antosiak: Just to clarify this it is a 1 1/2 by 2 foot sign or 3 square feet?


Charles Rachwitz: Yes it is 3 square feet.


Member Harrington: This is almost a no brainer. This makes sense. It doesn’t always happen, much less one or two times in an evening. But this absolutely makes sense. I also would take this opportunity to comment because I don’t know when I will have the opportunity to do so, but the curb cut and the entrance through what uses to be NBD makes eminent common sense. That should have been done long ago and whether the compliments go to Planning, or Council or the architects or all of the above it gives you excellent exposure to the traffic pattern in the City. What they have done there is a great job.


Member Meyer: My comment would be is that they have an excellent restaurant and they need to have what I believe is this opportunity for people to know how to get there without having to go through a lot of fuss. So, I think it has been well done in a very prudent way.


Member Bauer: The sign where it would have to go doesn’t do any good at all.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




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


Case No. 98-003 filed by The Linder Company, representing Chernins Shoes


The Linder Company, representing Chernins Shoes, is requesting a variance to allow a second wall sign, 3'11 3/4" x 10' 5 3/4" (42. sq. ft.) to be located at 43323 Crescent Blvd.


Craig Hesse was present and duly sworn.


Craig Hesse: The Linder Company in it’s effort to go ahead and continue to upgrade it’s merchandise mix over and to continue to increase the overall appeal of the shopping center at Novi Town Center has leased space of 14000 square feet to a shoe store operator that operates 16 stores out of Chicago called Chernins. We are requesting that the Board consider our request for a variance to go in and put a second entry store sign on the south pylon of the store; the south pillar. The location of the store is in this area right here. (chart shown to the Board.) They have an entrance sign here and we are requesting a variance to allow a sign here.


Craig Hesse: I would like to introduce Tom Rice who is with Landmark Signs the tenant sign contractor to go through and get to the specifics of our request.


Tom Rice: Basically what we are asking is a second sign over the second entrance. This store is on an island that sticks out away from the majority of the mall and it has 2 entrances on it. Currently we have the approval to put one set of channel letters, 42 square feet, over one of the entrances. That set of channel letters is through one of the main entrances and drags through the mall itself. We are trying to avoid by doing 2 sets of channel letters the same size and the same amount of square footage is to avoid some of the congestion from traffic and also from pedestrians. We will have 2 entrances and to make available to as many people as we feel should be shopping we are going to try to avoid the congestion by having 2 entrances. Usually we place the sign over the entrance so that we can bring the traffic in that direction and we want to use both of these entrances and to have 2 signs to eliminate the congestion.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 28 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Don Saven had no comment.


Member Brennan: Just a clarification of the one sign that they are allowed, what is the square footage allowance for that sign?


Alan Amolsch: That was a Board of Appeals blanket variance granted about 10 years ago, the tenants at tower locations were allowed 42 square feet of sign area and the center towers were allowed 50 square feet. So any tenant going in there over the years has been allowed the 42 square feet. So they are not asking for a square footage variance for the second sign, just the additional sign issue.


Chairman Antosiak: Just for my own clarification, did you say that this tenant would be replacing 6 other tenants?


Craig Hesse: That is correct. There will be 2 signs replacing actually 6 signs. So you will be less 4 signs of somewhere near 320 some square feet and we are asking for 84 square feet.


Member Brennan: I would support your submittal based entirely on the fact that you have a second entrance way on that end of the building. It makes sense to have signage over that door.


Member Harrington: Are you open for business right now?


Craig Hesse: No.


Member Harrington: So the problem with congestion is a problem that you anticipate in the future but obviously you have no data base for that problem right now.


Craig Hesse: I don’t, but the volume of sales that we anticipate Chernins to do will create a lot more additional traffic on what would be the west end of the shopping center, where the Chernins store will be located. What we are anticipating to do is to disburse the traffic around the entry of the store instead of having all of it by the door side based on the sign that we already have, we would like to disburse that and move it to this parking area and this parking area.


Member Harrington: This is actually troublesome. We have a brand new tenant going into a brand new location and the upside is 6 signs are being replaced by one, or one extra because they are entitled to one and in the same or similar area for example Running Fit, Bavaarian has been given more signage than ordinance requires and on the other hand across the street we denied Wonderland and up the road a meeting or so back we denied Starbucks and all cases rise and fall on their own individual merits but similar cases should produce similar results. I am not sure what the compelling factor is in this particular case given it is a brand new store and they want variances. I am not real enthusiastic about providing a second sign because of the anticipation of a congestion problem at some point in the future. I am not about to set about a rule that when it is a corner building in the Town Center that they get 2 signs.


Member Brennan: Maybe I will just add to what I have said before, my initial thought when looking at this case was that it seemed to make sense at the time. Due to the fact that it is a long, wide building and there are 2 entrances, one at both ends and both ends are fully accessible and lay right into the open parking lot. I don’t know that sufficient hardship was necessarily demonstrated but it certainly makes sense.


Member Bauer: Having a sign over the second entrance makes it a little more convenient for a person to walk into that side.


Chairman Antosiak: I will say that I am on the fence but leaning in support of this variance but primarily because of the parking issue. This is a store that has 2 entrances, each facing a different parking area. I am a little concerned given the volume of the traffic today through that area to the north going into the Town Center from Novi Road concentrating the people interested in going to that store from the corner because I do believe that if the sign is over the door that is where people will go in. They may exit the other area if they have other shopping to do but most of the traffic will be through the door with the sign. That is a little troubling to me in addition to the fact that were there 2 tenants in that space before they would have had 2 signs.


Member Harrington: That is a point well taken. That is the worst area, the Town Center.


Chairman Antosiak: From a personal perspective and being a frequent visitor to that portion of the Town Center I can’t recall ever going through there easily. Particularly on a week end afternoon.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I agree also but I also think that each case stands on it’s merit and it’s own situation. This sits off back from Novi Road. If you are driving down the side ring road through there you are not going to see either sign. If you are in a parking area you are going to have the sign pointing to the area where you are parking for identification of the entrance. So it is almost impossible to have any identification from the one parking area without giving some kind of direction. I would support the petitioner’s request.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Reinke,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 98-004 filed by The Hooberman Company, representing Meadowbridge Park


The Hooberman Company, representing Meadowbridge Park, is requesting variance to allow four (4) information/directional signs 3' x 2' (6 sq. ft.) to be placed around the complex located at Meadowbrook Road and Eleven Mile Road.


Jim Hooberman was present and duly sworn.


Jim Hooberman: We took over the management of the park over a year ago for the original developer. The park wasn’t very well occupied and during the last 2 years the park has been fully developed. Way back when there were a few buildings in the park and it was very easy for visitors to find their way around and it was very easy for the owners of the businesses to give direction. It is pretty confusing now. We have one street called Bridge Street and several little roadways that curve around within the park, so we came up with the idea of some directional signage. When I applied for the permit I learned that the amount of signage in terms of the size of the sign, the height of the sign and the text that we need just simply to state the names of the occupants with a directional arrow, exceeds the code. So we are asking for a variance so that we can provide the necessary signage off of our common road to let people know how to get to their destination.


Chairman Antosiak indicated there was a total of 13 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was two written responses received, both voicing approval. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.

Don Saven had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: We have 3 renderings here. Is the fourth one sign number 4? Which one is which sign?


Jim Hooberman: Actually we are missing sign number 4, but we left that as an after thought because it is indicative of what the sign will look like. The last sign will probably have 2 tenants names on it. It will be more indicative of the middle sign where it says "Clarion" and "Tech Center". We have 3 signs, but we are asking for 4 and as an over sight we did not include the actual look of the fourth sign.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: You have 3 basic entrance ways that people are going into and that you are trying to give direction to.


Jim Hooberman: That is correct.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: I really don’t understand the need for the fourth sign.


Jim Hooberman: We thought that it would be necessary. Some people turn in instinctively on the first street on the left and we are asking for sign number 4 at the very end of the park on the northern most part and the eastern most part of the park to let people know about a couple of buildings on that end.

Vice-Chairman Reinke: Well, I have a problem with sign 4.


Member Meyer: Will sign 4 look like the other 3?


Jim Hooberman: Yes, same size and shape and same look.


Member Brennan: Can you walk through with me and give me an idea of: Sign number 1 is actually directing people to building A, B & C?


Jim Hooberman: Sign number 1 would say, Michigan Milk, Tech Center, IST and Isuzu.


Member Brennan: And which are those 3 buildings?


Jim Hooberman: Those are sites A, B. C and F.


Member Brennan: Sign number 2 is identifying what? E, G, H and E?


Jim Hooberman: That would be G and F.


Member Brennan: Sign number 3 is then identifying?


Jim Hooberman: H and E.


Member Brennan: Why wouldn’t you have J on sign number 3?


Jim Hooberman: The entrance is actually going to be where sign number 4 is located.


Member Brennan: How is somebody going to even see that sign, unless they have come in where sign number 3 is? I am missing something here and maybe it is the same thing that Laverne was getting at, I don’t understand the requirement for 4, why following your same script with signs 1 and 2 why you wouldn’t have site J on sign 3?


Jim Hooberman: If it would please the Board we would be happy to make it 3 signs and forget the fourth, if that would appease people.


Member Meyer: That is not going to put you at any great hardship, is it?


Jim Hooberman: No.


Member Harrington; Whether we were to approve 1, 2, 3 or 4 of the signs, do you envision this as your sign package for the foreseeable future? This is not a stepping stone where 6 months from now or a year and a half from now we are going to get a brand new addition to the sign package? This is what you really need?


Jim Hooberman: No, this is a condominium so there shouldn’t be any turnover or at least the actual people that own the buildings work there and it is simply to let visitors know where they are located. We hope to have these signs for 10 to 15 years or as long as they will last.


Member Brennan: Given the size of the complex, it certainly seems like it is a smart move to identify the clients.


Chairman Antosiak: I would support that, given the one time that I tried to find someone in there it took me more time than I thought was necessary.


Moved by Member Brennan,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Reinke,




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


Other Matters


Chairman Antosiak: I have 2 other matters. The first is the election of officers for the Board for the next year and I will put the question to the Board, do we wish to do this at our next meeting? I believe that we customarily do this in March? Or do we wish this for April when our new member/alternate will be joining us? First is everyone going to be here in March?


Member Harrington: I will not be here the first Tuesday in March.


Chairman Antosiak: I would suggest that we plan to elect new officers at our April Meeting.


Chairman Antosiak: The second item that I wish to talk about under other matters is Mr. Kriewall’s letter to the Board, in which Mr. Kriewall basically recommended approval of the variance by Big Boy. I believe that as a resident of Novi, Mr. Kriewall is entitled to a position and to express his position to us as a resident of the City. However, I don’t believe that it is appropriate for the City Manager, who is the City’s highest administrative person, to recommend approval of a variance. I think that it weakens the whole enforcement activity of the City in trying to enforce it’s ordinances. If Mr. Kriewall believes that the ordinance is insufficient then I would suggest that a revision to the ordinance be made. In so far as he has said "this has the full approval of Mr. Saven and Mr. Amolsch", I would let them speak for themselves but I can say that in the 5 years that I have been on the Board I don’t recall that Mr. Saven or Mr. Amolsch has ever recommended the approval of a variance. If there is no problem with the request, then we get "no problem" and if there is a problem relating to safety, health or building code issues we hear what those are so that we can make an informed decision. So in that regard I would always expect that Mr. Saven or Mr. Amolsch or their alternates are here for every meeting that if they have an opinion they will express it at the meeting. I just thought that it was important for me to say on the record how inappropriate I thought that this letter was and this is the second or third time in the last year that we have seen one of these and it sours my opinion and does not sway me to vote for the recommendations made in these letters. That is my own personal opinion and I am speaking on my behalf and not on behalf of the Board.


Member Harrington: I also reviewed the correspondence from Mr. Kriewall and I didn’t come unglued and react "O my gosh they killed Kenny" or something, but I was concerned. We have had Council members appear in their individual capacity before us and former Council member Pope and present Council member Schmitt and others I would have been most interested to hear them come and appear and address their comments on issues. But I take all information that I receive and from whatever source and try to actually separate the source of the information from what is being communicated. I did not appreciate the observation of the City Manager that he didn’t feel that the case was properly presented. I am not sure that he even heard that case because I thought that the case was properly presented and I basically heard the same thing tonight. There was no difference between tonight and last month in terms of the presentation of that case. I didn’t understand exactly what caused that communication to be generated. I don’t know if there way lobbying going on at the City Manager’s office by the applicant who maybe felt that their case wasn’t properly heard; but we heard it. Had Mr. Kriewall come to give us some more information of a factual nature he would have received the same courtesy and respect that, I believe, all persons who come before us receive. I wasn’t particularly excited about the letter. I concur absolutely with Mr. Antosiak’s comments.


Member Meyer: On another issue I just wanted to let the Board know that I have been on board for just a little over a year and I still feel a little bit and let’s say shaky as far as making motions; so I am going to go to a workshop that Nancy has made possible for me to have the registration completed and everything on Thursday, February 12th at the Doubletree Hotel. It is a 5 hour workshop on the Zoning Board Process and I am hoping that it will help me to be a little bit more confident sitting in this chair. I believe that I am good at listening, I would like to also become a little more active and know how to make the motions in a most appropriate way.


Chairman Antosiak: Was that MSPO?


Don Saven: I believe that was from the American Planning Association.


Member Meyer: I saw it in some of my materials and I thought that it might be a good idea to take an afternoon off from work and learn a little bit about this.


Chairman Antosiak: I went to one, the first year that I was on the Board and I found it very helpful.




The Meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.










Date approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary