TUESDAY - MAY 5, 1998


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




Present: Members Brennan, Antosiak, Meyer, Reinke, Bauer, Sanghvi (alternate)


Absent: Member Harrington


Also Present: Donald M. Saven - Building Official

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary


Chairman Reinke indicated the Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to determine applications for variances or special use permits, generally these cases are in the nature of appeals after denial of an application by the City of Novi Building Department. The variance request seeks relief from the strict application of the City of Novi Zoning Ordinances. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to grant a variance request.



Approval of Agenda


Chairman Reinke inquired is there any change to the agenda? Hearing none, we will adopt the agenda as written. All those in favor please signify by stating aye. All ayes. Agenda approved.


Case No. 98-015 filed by Pucci Building Co., representing James Kukuzke


Continuation of case filed by Pucci Building Co., representing James Kukuzke, requesting a 6' setback variance to allow a pool to remain 4' from the proposed construction at 41416 Glyme.


There was no one present for the case. Will be called later in the meeting.



Case No. 98-017 filed by K-Mart Corporation


K-Mart Corporation is requesting a variance to allow a temporary outdoor display of flowers and bagged goods for sale in areas 10' x 65' and 10' x 37' at the northwest corner of the store adjacent to the Garden Shop for 3 selling seasons, May 6, 1998 thru October 31, 1998, March 15, 1999 thru October 31, 1999 and March 15, 2000 thru October 31, 2000; for property located at 43825 West Oaks Drive. Refer to ZBA Case Nos. 1419, 1596, 1687, 1953, 92-006, 93-017, 94-007 and 95-026 (granted for a 2 year period).


Angelo Taylor was present and duly sworn.

Angelo Taylor: I am presently the store manager at the K-mart location in West Oaks. Basically I have just come to ask permission for myself and my corporation to sell merchandise outside of the fenced in area. We have done so in the past and I know that they have done so before I got there because this is my second year at the store. We are just asking your permission to let us sell merchandise outside of the fenced in area for the 3 consecutive selling seasons, so that we don’t have to come back each year to get a renewal.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: This is under a special use permit which has been previously approved. This gentleman is now going for a 3 year request. The only question that I would have is why March 15th? Did you have this as a previous date for approval?


Angelo Taylor: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I would assume that with the comments that Mr. Saven has made that there hasn’t been any problem in the past year?


Don Saven: That is correct.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: While I noted that it was a request for 3 years, I also note that the petitioner has been a good Novi citizen and has had this request since 1992 and given those conditions maybe it would be wise to save him some money and our time to grant the 3 years with continuing jurisdiction.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case NO.98-028 filed by FG-38 Corporation


FG-38 Corporation is requesting a variance for temporary use approval to allow farming on property currently zoned I-1 (light industrial) and I-2 (general industrial) for a period of three (3) years - 1998, 1999 and 2000. The property is located east of Beck Road and running both north and south of West Road along the City’s westerly border. (Sidwell Nos. 5022-04-326-007, 5022-09-176-006 and 5022-09-251-001. Refer to ZBA Case Nos. 1878, 92-013, 92-142, 93-110, 95-006, 96-009 and 97-007.


Brian Hughes was present and duly sworn.


Brian Hughes: We are requesting this variance in keeping with what we have had for several years. The purpose being to allow us to do some farming until such time that we develop the property. This year we have actually requested 3 years, so that we don’t have to come back every year and likewise to save us money and yourselves time.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: In your packet you will find a Zoning Board of Appeals Case no. 97-007, with stipulations 1 through 6. I would suggest that if you do consider granting this variance that those conditions be a part of the motion for the approval.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Comments similar to the previous case, the petitioner has had this right since 1992 and there are no issues by the Building Department.


Don Saven: I am not aware of any complaints. Our biggest concern was the issue of the wetlands being flagged and that they stay outside of the 100 foot distance from the wetlands area. Which is a part of 97-007.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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

Case No. 98-030 filed by Carol Johnston


Carol Johnston is requesting a variance to add a second floor addition over the front portion of the home and to remove and rebuild the front porch for property located at 1601 West Lake.


Carol Johnston was present and duly sworn.


Carol Johnston: The way that this is written is mis-leading. If you look at the packet it is pretty much self explanatory. I have an old addition on the back of my house, or the road side, and being that it is a lake front it is the back. It was just an old shed type of addition and I would like to put a second story on; but in doing so I am going to have to remove the old shed type of addition. I am going to use the existing foundation. I had it checked and it is in good shape. In doing so, as you can see, the house is very close to the fence line. So, I am going to come in 3 feet. So, the addition won’t encroach over the fence or over the property line. The pictures pretty much tell the story.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 32 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 3 written responses received, all voicing approval. Copies in file.




Tom Harvey 1603 West Lake. I am the neighbor immediately to the south. I just want to indicate that essentially in the spirit of the residential zoning ordinances I think that the 3 things that they try to achieve are primarily consistency among the homes in the neighborhood, additionally trying to maintain some aesthetics for the neighborhood and of course safety would be a big issue especially in terms of fire safety. My house immediately to the south is on the north fence line; the petitioner’s home is immediately up on the north fence line. The home to her north is immediately up on the northerly fence line. This is unusual as it may be consistent for this part of the community. Additionally in terms of aesthetics I think that the addition would do a lot not only to improve the quality of her home, although it is a well kept home, it is going to do a lot for the neighborhood having the street side of the home rebuilt the way that she proposes. In terms of safety and especially fire safety, I think that the upstairs addition is really incidental to the fact that in rebuilding this lower portion of the home which is existing, it is an older structure, we have an opportunity here to make something that is up to today’s building codes and up to today’s safety standards. Finally I think I would like to personally commend people like Carol who have taken it upon themselves to individually rebuild this part of our community. A lot of people have come before you in the 4 years that I have been here up at West Lake Drive asking for similar things to try to correct things that were done wrong in the first place and individually they have taken on these expenses and really asking only from the City that we get the guidance from the Building Department as well as your fair consideration. I think that happily we have been getting that along and the results of these singular efforts by the residents is really starting to show up there. It is really starting to look nice. I was just out walking tonight and it is impressive how one by one the homes in the area and the whole community is really building back up. So I would just like you, as her neighbor and as a resident, ask you to show that kind of positive consideration. I think that this is a great opportunity to make something better and to address her needs and really the hardships that exist up there.




Don Saven: One of the things that I would like the Board to take a look at is on the very last page, the plot plan for the existing building, you will see a lay out and where it is showing the proposed new foundation you will see that it is being brought in approximately 3 foot. So she is going to take steps to take care of some of the fire safety issues and for that fact she is also aware of the fire codes that will be associated with this building as it gets closer to the property line.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Just the obvious, it is a good addition to the property. It is within the existing foot print and in fact the area closest to the property line is going to be reduced from it’s current setback. You have good community and neighborly support. It seems like a wise plan.


Member Bauer: We don’t usually get them to take away or move away from the lot line. It is usually right up to the line.


Carol Johnston: It is the second story that would cause that problem and that is why I had to do that. Going out further would have put me out even further, because the house is on that angle.


Don Saven: The other issue that I would like to point out is that she does have a well on the opposite side of the house and if she wanted to go out to the other side she wouldn’t be able to do it.


Carol Johnston: I need access to the well and you know with a well what that would cost.


Chairman Reinke: It is an unfortunate situation with the lot sizes that are up there. It is very hard to work with and it is nice to see that the petitioner is trying to work with this as best that they can and with what they have to work with.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 98-034 filed by Tastebud’s Cafe


Tastebud’s Cafe is requesting a variance to allow five (5) tables for temporary outdoorr seating for property located at 39777 Grand River Avenue.


Danny Kort was present and duly sworn.


Danny Kort: We would like permission to put tables outside of our cafe because we think that would enhance our business, which we need for the seating capacity. It has been that way there before us and we need it for our business. We need the volume of the seating.


Danny Kort: When we purchased in February we were of the understanding that the tables came along with the restaurant, which they did; and that we could use them for the 3 or 4 months of the summer. They told us that was a big part of their volume, the outdoor seating. We purchased this from Sam’s Cafe in February.


Danny Kort: The guests would really enjoy it out there. It is something that people really enjoy, sitting there and having good service and good food.


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




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Basically this was Sam’s Cafe and they were allowed to do this and the granting of the approval was based on that petitioner only, so now we have a new petitioner at this particular time. It is basically the same set up. I would be concerned about having the tables in a clean and orderly fashion at all time, with no papers laying around.


Danny Kort: We are top notch on that. We are the best.


Member Bauer: They are probably doing the exact same that Sam’s did, and the 6' from the driveway to the table is what we were trying to do before.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I was wondering if we had with the previous tenant tied any particular time schedule; like June through September; or is it just up to the petitioner with affordable weather conditions?

Member Antosiak: I believe that we did it on a time period.


Danny Kort: It would be according to the weather. Our judgement now would be that when it gets cold we would bring them in and it would be over with.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Then your good judgement, I guess would be the answer to my question.


Moved by Member Antosiak:


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan:




Discussion on motion:


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I just thought of something. We should probably put the normal dis-claimers to this approval as well.




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


Case No. 98-035 filed by Carolann Fantich


Carolann Fantich is requesting to construct a new home that is deficient in the rear and side yard setbacks for property located at sidwell number 5022-03-129-024.


Carolann Fantich was present and duly sworn.


Carolann Fantich: I own the lot parcel 2 on Ludlow. I am here tonight to ask that you allow me to build my home as practical as possible. According to the City of Novi I have 2 fronts and 2 backs, due to a private driveway or a sidewalk (they can’t really determine what it is) which runs along the side of my property. What I propose and what makes sense aesthetically is that I have a front, a back and 2 sides and therefore, I would only be requesting a 3 foot variance which would seem to make sense to be a single family dwelling.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 53 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 2 written responses received, both voicing approval.



There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: As you are aware we had a Zoning Board of Appeals case on parcel 1 which was dealing with the same issue. This is a very irregular shaped lot. As you can see, there is a private roadway that basically surrounds the property and it all most looks as though you are having 3 front yards or 2 front yards and a rear yard, which makes this a very difficult situation to try to maneuver a house based on the configuration of the property. If you take a look at the setback lines as indicated on the site plans you will see that trying to follow those particular guidelines, it is very difficult to try to place a house and I believe that is why the petitioner is here today.


Chairman Reinke: From looking at what the petitioner has done with the lot that they have, I think that you really constructed something to have the minimum intrusions in any direction. The lot with the frontages that they have is all most an impossible task.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I don’t know how you would put a house anywhere that size on that lot, and it is not that big of a house; it is 32 foot wide and most houses are closer to 40 or more. It seems to be positioned to offer the less impedance on the setbacks. It seems like a reasonable request.


Member Bauer: It just wouldn’t fit any other way.


Chairman Reinke: The thing of it is, that anyway that you shift it, you are going to run into an encumbrance one way or the other.


Member Antosiak: I don’t think that we should require them to build a triangular shaped house to match the lot.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 98-036 filed by Kevin & Donna Kert


Kevin and Donna Kert are requesting a variance to place a fence in the required (side) front yard setback area (corner lot has two front yards) for property located at 24535 Park Ridge Ct., in the Meadowbrook Glens Subdivision.


Kevin Kert was present and duly sworn.


Kevin Kert: My wife and I would like a variance to place a fence into the setback area on our property. The fence is to go around the back yard so that the children can play in the back yard. We have a 1 year old and a 3 year old. We would like to put the fence there for their safety.


Kevin Kert: I have talked with all of our neighbors that would be affected by the fence being put in that area and I have their signatures saying that they have no problems with that. (Copy presented to the Board.)


Chairman Reinke: I see a lot of signatures around here, can you give me a number of signatures that are one here?


Kevin Kert: There are probably 8 or 9 signatures there, including the association.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 38 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received. Affidavit from petitioner was presented for the file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: I believe that the area of vision appears to be OK. He has a 25 foot requirement from the corner that has been met.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: The one comment that I had written has been addressed, I knew that this was Meadowbrook Glens and you do have approval from the Homeowners Association.


Member Meyer: What type of fence will it be?


Kevin Kert: A 3 1/2 foot white picket fence.


Chairman Reinke: I understand the need for a fence, the problem that I have is going into the side yard area. I can see the rear yard. This is only my opinion and comment.


Member Antosiak: Who has the easement? You show that there is a 9 foot easement along the outside of the property.


Kevin Kert: I am not sure who would hold that easement.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Would that be the City?


Don Saven: I am really not sure. If you allow me a minute I will go to the plat book and see if I can pick it up there.


Member Antosiak: The only reason that I would raise the issue is depending upon what type of easement, the easement holder may be able to preclude you from putting a fence into that easement.


Kevin Kert: The fence will be set back 2 feet from the sidewalk.


Member Antosiak: Right, but I am looking at the survey that you provided which shows an easement 9 feet in from the property line.


Member Bauer: And your fence line goes right through it.


Member Antosiak: It goes through the easement and it runs the entire outside of your property. We can approve the variance as to the City Ordinance, but with the person who has the easement you may have to get their approval to put a fence there. We are just advising you.


Don Saven: The easement that we are looking at is a 9 foot private easement for public utilities.


Chairman Reinke: So then there is really no required approval other than it could be disrupted for utility.....


Don Saven: I believe that this gentleman, if he was going to place it in that easement, the 9 foot private easement for public utilities; that he contact the companies themselves. The easement holders would be your major utility companies and seek approval for the fence placement in the easement. Nine foot is not a very big area. That may be a condition that the Board may want to look at.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




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


Case No. 98-015 filed by Pucci Building - recalled, no one present for case.


Case No. 98-016A,B,C,D,E,F & G filed by Jon Sarkesian Architects representing Hagopian World of Rugs


Continuation of case filed by Jon Sarkesian Architects, representing Hagopian World of Rugs, requesting A) a wall sign 20' x 4'6" (90 sq. ft.) with the verbiage ‘HAGOPIAN RUGS * CARPET * HOME ACCENTS’; B) a wall sign 17' x 3'9" (64 sq. ft.) with the verbiage ‘HAGOPIAN RUGS * CARPET * HOME ACCENTS’; C) a wall sign 16'9" x 3'10" (64 sq. ft.) with the verbiage ‘HAGOPIAN RUG OUTLET’; D) a ground sign 3'4" x 10 3/4" (3 sq. ft.) with the verbiage "HAGOPIAN (with directional arrow)’; E) a ground sign 6'8" x 10 1/2" (6 sq. ft.) with the verbiage ‘<RUG CLEANING DROP OFF RUG OUTLET>’; F) a wall sign 6' x 7" (3.5 sq. ft.) with the verbiage ‘RUG CLEANING’; G) banners or pennants (unspecified number ) of a solid color possibly with a logo to be placed on the building, for property located at 43223 Twelve Mile Road.


Edmund Hagopian was present and duly sworn.


Edmund Hagopian: We put up the signs as requested by the Board on Friday. There is a 50 square foot sign at the ring road, a 50 square foot sign at the Gorman’s side and a 60 square foot sign on Twelve Mile. We have reviewed all of these signs and we feel that we can live with the Mall sign and the Gorman’s sign, however the Twelve Mile sign in on the small side.


Chairman Reinke: Let’s go over the signs. The "A" sign which is on the Twelve Mile side was requested at 90 square feet and it is now 60 square feet. The "B" sign which is on the mall ring road was requested at 64 square feet and it is now 50 square feet. The "C" sign with is facing Gorman’s was requested at 64 square feet and it is now 50 square feet. "D" has not changed. ""E" has not changed. "F" has not changed. "G"is for 2 pennant and 2 American flags.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I received a call from Mr. Harrington, who could not be here tonight, and he was more agreeable to what has been put up. The applicant has come a long way as the original signs were overbearing.


Chairman Reinke: I do not feel that there is a need for the sign on the Gorman side of the building. I also oppose flags and banners.


Member Antosiak: The applicant can have 2 corporate flags and 1 United States flag, therefore he is only requesting 1 additional American flag.


Member Meyer: The applicant has made the effort to negotiate to the spirit of the ordinance. I don’t see a need for the Gorman’s side sign. Signs are for identification purposes and the applicant has requested 5 plus signs.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: We established this last month, the applicant has 2 entrances to the building. Signs "B" and "C" are the entrance signs.


Member Meyer: I feel that the Twelve Mile Road sign is strictly for advertising.


Edmund Hagopian: The Twelve Mile sign is the most visible on the busiest road. This sign is critical. It is necessary to have signs over the entrance ways, that is why we need sign "B" and sign "C".


Chairman Reinke: For identification by an entrance, 50 square foot is a lot, especially when your are pulling into the area and you know where the door is.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will go back to my initial comments, I think that the petitioner is here with a sign package that we basically laid out for him to come back with and he has done so. He has been pretty fair and reasonable.


Member Antosiak: I agree with Mr. Brennan’s opinion. I think that the petitioner has done a job of trying to match his needs with our ordinance and our desires. The second point is that perhaps that there may be differences of opinion as to the individual signs, it might be appropriate to take these one at a time rather than as a package.


Chairman Reinke: I think that the only one that I would really take exception to is the Gorman side; I think that there is a sign that is needed there but I don’t think that it needs to be 50 square feet. I think that something in the range of 30 to 35 square feet would be adequate to identify it.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I am prepared to go through one by one and to do it rather quickly, if you want to vote on all of the items.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,



Edmund Hagopian: Excuse me, can I interrupt for just a minute. I would like to offer a possible option that may work. It is our feeling that the sign facing Gorman’s is adequate and the sign facing Twelve Mile Road is just a little bit on the small side. It would not be a problem with us if we reduced the size of the sign on the Gorman’s side and beefed up the size of the sign on Twelve Mile Road. We feel that is a little on the small size for the size of the building. I don’t know if that is an option that you would like to consider, but if we reduced it down......I guess I am trying to work out a little compromise that might give you the sign that you want that is facing Gorman’s and a little bit less of a presence there and may be beef up the other one. Does that have any interst?


Vice-Chairman Brennan: You heard my comments.


Member Meyer: I think that we should call the question and go through them one sign at a time.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




Discussion on motion:


Member Antosiak: I would suggest that rather than make this statement for every variance the phrase "THAT THIS BE LIMITED TO THIS PETITIONER ONLY", be a part of every motion under this particular item.


Chairman Reinke: That idea would be so accepted.


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


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (2) Motion Carried

Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Edmund Hagopian: I would like to request that we make this sign an internally illuminated sign as opposed to the way that it is presented as an externally illuminated sign. I would like you to consider that option, we are having a little bit of a hard time lighting it; the down lights don’t seem to illuminate the sign properly and we thought that we would go with an option to eliminate that problem. It would be the same sign, except illuminated internally.


Edmund Hagopian: Basically the way that it is set up now is that there is letters that will be attached directly to the building and then we had a down light going across the top and we were looking for a light that would look good with the existing lighting and fixtures and we haven’t been able to find anything that looks exactly like we wanted it to. We found some options. One option that came up and I thought was a nice way to solve the problem would be to create basically a box that you would put on the wall and it would be illuminated. It would not be individual channel letters.


Member Meyer: Would this be aesthetically pleasing?


Edmund Hagopian: It is our intention that if it is not, we won’t put it up. It is going to be the same colors as the signs that we are putting up; a plum colored sign. I have the same motivation as you do to make it a good looking sign and that is why we are switching to this option. We felt that this might look better on the building.


Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Alan Amolsch: Is this an acceptable alternative to what he has originally proposed?


Alan Amolsch: Signs can be illuminiated, there are no restriction to those.


Vice Chairman Brennan: I will amend the amendment with the petiioner’s notation that the sign is GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT THAN ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED AND WILL BE INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (1)


Vice Chairman Brennan: "G" is the petitioner’s request for a corporate flag and an American flag at both the "B" and "C" entrances. THIS IS MOVED FOR APPROVAL.


Seconded by Member Bauer.


Discussion on motion:


Member Bauer: There will not be any other banners?


Edmund Hagopian: That is correct.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: If I am not mistaken these are 4 by 6 flags?


Edmund Hagopian: Correct.


Chairman Reinke: I think that we have enough signage there and that we don’t need extra bells and whistles. I think that we are adding a little to much to what is in existence in trying to help the petitioner out and I don’t think that it is really warranted.


Member Antosiak: I will support the motion because the variance is actually 1 US flag; the petitioner would be allowed 2 corporate flags and 1 US flag under the ordinance as it exists. So the variance is basically asked for the second US flag and I don’t have a particular problem with that.


Member Bauer: That is the only reason that I can go along with it.


Member Sanghvi: Why can’t you put a Michigan flag instead of 2 American flags?


Edmund Hagopian: There is no specific reason.


Member Meyer: Once again, my comment is stricly about aesthetics; that this will be done in a very tasteful way and you have told us for 3 Meetings what a good organization that you are; so I just would anticipate that it is going to be done in very good taste.


Edmund Hagopian: It will be.


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


Case No. 98-025 filed by Bomonite of Michigan


Bomonite of Michigan is requesting a variance to allow a 6' x 4' (24 sq. ft.) wall sign to be placed on the building at 46402 Grand River Avenue.


There was no one present for this case. Will be called at the end of the Meeting.



Case No. 98-026 filed by First Baptist Church of Novi


Gary Elfner, Pastor, representing First Baptist Church of Novi, is requesting an 8 square foot variance to allow a ground sign 10' x 4' (40 sq. ft.) to be placed at 45301 Eleven Mile Rd.


Gary Elfner was present and duly sworn.


Gary Elfner: The last time that I appeared before the ZBA they asked some questions. They asked me to bring back and this was several years ago, so I would like to give you a little history so that we understand that the First Baptist Church of Novi has been around for many years, over 150 years and is the oldest church in Novi. I haven’t been there quite that long! However it has been about 8 years.

Gary Elfner: When I came we had a sign and I asked permission to show all of you these things. (Pictures shown to the Board.) This was the sign that was there when I came; it had 3 boards to it. It was put up around 1976 when they began the school and it was to let the people know that there was a church and a school there. Several years later, I called the Building Department (not knowing the procedures, etc) and asked if we could paint the sign and add some verbiage and they said that as long as we did not take it out or replace it or change the size it would be OK. You can see here that we took out the slats, scooted these up together and painted the sign so that we could maintain the same sized sign and yet add another strip of verbiage. It is not very clear because it is not printed in as white letters as these. The white sign has helped some.


Gary Elfner: After Eleven Mile was paved, we understood that we could have a sign from each entrance of the paved road. We came before the ZBA, and at that time we asked for several things; that we could move the existing over to Eleven Mile, replace this sign and add a sign for day care/latchkey. The ZBA rejected that request at that time and made several decisions and recommendations. They permitted a day care sign for one year. They asked that we keep watch on that to see how it affected our day care and bring the report back to the ZBA; which I would like to do tonight. Then they asked that we get together with a sign company or the Building Department or whoever and design a sign that would contain all of the verbiage that we wanted to have. Now we have a number of things going now in service to the community and a number of things that we want to add in the future.


Gary Elfner: These are the results of those recommendations. Concerning the day care/latch key sign we kept that up for one year and took it down, our enrollment decreased considerably by attrition, in other words as the turn over came other new ones did not come through and this was particularly hurtful in the summer; the percentage was even higher in the summer. This has hurt us severely financially and has hurt our program because people just do not know that we are there. We are not government supported by any means, we do not take government funding. We depend upon exposure. We are actually one of the few latch key facilities in the community. We have buses that bring children after school or pick them up to take them to school or bring them back after school to our facility. It is just that the only means, and we do spend quite a bit on advertising per month but it does not bring in what a sign would bring in.


Gary Elfner: Concerning the main sign that the ZBA has asked us to come back and report on; we got together with several sign companies, maybe 4 or 5, so that we could choose the right one and we considered these things. The proximity to the road, readibility, the size of letters, speed of traffic, room for verbiage, design to enhance the beauty of the property and that is one of the reasons that we wanted to change the sign to begin with; so that we could have a prettier and more aesthetic sign. This also meets the recommendations that the Chamber of Commerce is submitting to the sign ordinance committee; so if that happens to go through it wouldn’t be over and above that.


Gary Elfner: The other questions that the ZBA asked was the positioning of the sign; we also worked with some people in the area to try to place the sign in the best possible posiition. Because the driveway is built up to the level of the front door, it slopes down on all sides and to when they originally put this sign in they put it in at the level of the driveway so it can be seen over the driveway except east on Eleven Mile; when you are looking at it from that way you can barely see the top of the sign. So, this is the best place for it, in the current location, plus the foundation is solid at this particular point. So we wanted a sturdy one.


Gary Elfner: So our request tonight for this Board, after bringing that report back; we are not asking for a larger sign we would just like to replace the old wooden sign with a new more aesthetice prettier looking sign with room to put the verbiage on there that we need. It is the same sized sign, it is 4 foot high, well one foot from the ground and then 4 foot x 10 foot. Except for the day care/latch key program this sign would take care of the services that we have for the community. We want to increase our services. We put a list of some of the verbiage that we have and some of the future verbiage in your packet. Since we have started some of the youth programs in the area, we would consider more. So this sign, except for our day care/latch key program, this sign would take care of the verbiage that we need. The sign meets all of the standards for readability, speed of traffic and also a family who lost a loved one dedicated the money in memory of their parents for the sign. So we want to honor them as well and that is another reason that we would like to do that.


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




Tim Ninas, 25750 Taft Rd. The appeal that I would like to make is that the new sign would be a more modern sign, the other one is old time looking. We do want to update, which I think does support the spirit of the sign laws in Novi. To have updated, nicer and newer looking signs. Also, the placement of this sign is important. According to the current ordinances, as my understanding, the ordinance says it would have to be moved further back from the road and that would be awkward for the church to put that in a new position rather than keeping it in the current location there. It would be awkward to move that. Also, if it were moved back according to the current ordinances it would probably require cutting down some trees, we do have some nice looking trees on the property there and we wouldn’t want to do that. If we moved it back they would tend to block the visibility of the sign as you are coming down Taft Road. We would not want to cut down any trees, as we believe that also adds to the beauty of the property.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Is it also a part of this request for a variance that the setback is also???


Alan Amolsch: It is an either or situation; they want to leave the signage at the 64 foot mark where the current sign is which only allows a 32 square foot sign based on the setback per square foot ratio. They wanted a 40 square foot sign at the 64 foot setback mark, this leaves them an 8 square foot variance.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: But the existing sign is 40 square foot?


Gary Elfner: That is correct. The sign company gave us the sized sign that would fit in at the 64 foot mark and as you can see there would be no room, when you look at the verbiage that we have on that sheet of paper none of it would fit. There would be no reason to have the sign at the smaller size.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Is it your intent to use 2 lines of the new sign on the top for verbiage?


Gary Elfner: That is correct.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Would that print be as large as the title of the church, First Baptist?


Gary Elfner: That is correct, 6 inches. They would be 6 inch letter to meet the standards of readability. At 60 feet they recommend 6 inch letters. Also another chart shows that it takes 5.8 seconds to read a 6 inch letter at that distance going 35 miles per hour. So in doing some studies they helped us to determine what we should have to not only be aesthetically right but to also be readable as well, plus be safe.


Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Alan Amolsch: Can you reacquaint me with the policy or ordinance on signs that are going to change, like this; are there any provisions?


Alan Amolsch: No, they are designed for that purpose and they are allowed.


Chairman Reinke: I understand what you are trying to do. I have a problem with the 2 lines. The sign is to identify the facility. I see this as to be somewhat of an indication of what you are doing there. I think that we are taking away from the intent of what the sign is to do. I think it is turning into an advertisement and that is not really the function of the sign.


Gary Elfner: Several of the things that we would like to do at the church and school. For example, the Over-Comers Out Reach Program, which is for alcoholics. We feel that is a very important program. At the Council Meeting the other night where we found out that alcoholism in Novi is above the county average. We would like to be of assistance and to help with that. There is no way that we can let the community know that unless we are able to put that on the sign or allow them to know.


Chairman Reinke: I think that there is always a way to represent programs and I commend you for what you are trying to do. But, we are turning this into a billboard. That is my opposition to that. because I don’t really think it is serving a function of a sign. Only one persons’ comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: With all of the various special services that you offer, how often would you project that you would see that changing? Weekly? Monthly?


Gary Elfner: Depending on what it is happening, probably on a monthly basis. If we have a special activity for children, for example the new program that is being started in Novi now for youth after school; we would want the community to know that we were helping with that. We would want the community to know that we are helping with the various programs such as the drug addicts, alcoholics, and counseling for example is another ministry that we have there to help people and there is no way to get them to know it unless we let them know in signage.


Member Meyer: I am actually concerned about the actual size of the letters on the 2 blank spaces and I heard you say that they would be 6 inch letters; is there any possibility that they could be a little bit smaller? I actually think that if they are the same size people are going to think that it is First Baptist Church Alcoholic Meeting and whatever, in other words it is all the same size. It would seem to me and my father was in point of purchase advertising for most of his adult life and once again I am really stretching it here because this is not necessarily supposed to be advertising a such but nonetheless it is identification and notification that the inside 2 pieces that are for "variety" could be perhaps a 5 inch letter. I am just saying that by way of suggestion.


Gary Elfner: I would have to check with the sign company to see how it is constructed. As this is constructed now, these are 2 panels; an upper panel and a lower panel having the same sized spaces in there and the panels come out.


Member Meyer: The other thought that comes to my mind is that if this does not get approval, it is very possible and once again maybe you can help me here, instead of Novi Christian Ministries, it would simply say First Baptist Church where you have Novi Christian Ministries and then you could use the rest of the sign for services or special events. Once again I am hoping that it will be, but I know that sitting on the Board that each one of us has our own reasons for why we do what we do. I am just making certain comments here. It seems that maybe Novi Christian Ministries is very essential to this sign, would I be correct?


Gary Elfner: Yes, it is; because we have a number of different ways that we can help people. It is no longer just a church and at one time it was. Then it was a church and a school and it is no longer just those two, we have other ways that we can help people in the community and help to relieve suffering in the community. This is one of the things that we want to do with this sign to let people know that is what we are there for.


Member Meyer: Is this an enclosed sign? Glass enclosed? You slide in different changes but it would be protected? That type of a sign, with glass in front of it?


Gary Elfner: Yes, it is a special kind of plastic that cannot be broken even with a ball bat, it is special. I have some designs here.


Member Meyer: If the sign is this extra 8 square feet, will it any way shape or form block traffic from seeing oncoming traffic. In other words is the sign far enough back from the road that it would not become a hindrance to traffic seeing oncoming traffic or traffic that is making a turn or whatever?


Gary Elfner: Yes, the sign that we want is exactly the same as the sign that we have there now. It is exactly the same size, the same position, same everything.


Member Meyer: And this present sign doesn’t cause any traffic difficulties?


Gary Elfner: No sir, all we are wanting to do is to exchange sign for sign so that it is a nicer sign and more aesthetic.


Member Meyer: Will the bell be above the new sign?


Gary Elfner: No sir.


Member Bauer: I think that there is one thing that we are missing completely. He is requesting a variance of 8 square feet and I do like to go by a church and see " 50th anniversary, good luck George or Sarah or whatever"; I think it is a very good thing for the City of Novi to know George and Sarah have been married 50 years and the same with special things that do come up. I am all for it.


Member Meyer: I am just saying that I think that the lettering could be of a different size so that it really jumps out at you, where if it is the same size it might actually get blurred.


Member Bauer: He can do whatever lettering he wishes.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: That is right, what is before us is a variance request for 8 feet and what he puts on that sign is.....


Chairman Reinke: The size of the letters has no affect, the size of the sign is what is being requested.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Given the fact that the gentleman and the church has had a 40 square foot sign, I would assume that there was some change in ordinance in the past 4 or 5 years that causes this to be in front of us.


Member Antosiak: One question; this is the only sign on the property?


Gary Elfner: Yes sir.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 98-029 filed by Singh Development Co., LTD


Singh Development Co., LTD is requesting a variance to allow a ground sign 5'6" x 2'7" (23.78 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 4'3" to be placed at Market and Potomac Streets in Main Street Village.


Mike Kahm was present and duly sworn.


Mike Kahm: We are here this evening to ask the Zoning Board of Appeals permission to place a second principal entry sign to our Main Street Village project south of Grand River and east of Novi Road. As most of you probably know our principal entry where we do have a sign currently is off of Grand River Avenue. We also have an entry off of the commercial portion of Main Street, where Market Street and Main Street intersect. (Map shown to Board). This is a blow up of the boulevard, this is where Potomac comes out from Main Street Village, this is the end of Market Street right of way as it exists today. This boulevard extension has already been installed and we have received all necessary site plans and building permits for that work. What we would like to do is to place an entry sign right here at the end of the boulevard perpendicular to the road and the sign that we are proposing is smaller than what is allowed because we are trying to keep it within the overall dimension constraints so that it fits in.


Mike Kahm: For exposure purposes and again for identification of our entrance for emergency vehicle purposes we are requesting that we be allowed to place an entry sign at this location. We believe that as Main Street evolves into a commercial center that this entry very well could become our principal entry for our residents as well as emergency vehicles and visitors. We want to make sure that people are clear that this is in fact an entry into the Main Street Village.



There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Can you point out where your project ends and the SAD for Main Street and Market Street begins and where that sign is going to be placed?


Mike Kahm: Actually the SAD ends right here at the right of way.


Don Saven: Are we going to have any vision problems or obstructions at that point? You are going to be coming to a stop sign in that area, are we going to have an obstruction?


Mike Kahm: I don’t really think so because we are keeping the profile of the sign lower, the square footage of the sign is lower.


Don Saven: How far back from the intersection are you going?


Mike Kahm: Ten feet back.


Don Saven: Can you move any farther back than that?


Mike Kahm: If you get it to far back you loose the identification, because of the profile of the sign it is going to be slightly hard to read with the normal 24 square foot sign. So we obviously would like to keep it up as much as we could. The other thing that you can point out is that because it is perpendicular rather as most are parallel, you really are not going to have that much of a sign in the line of sight.


Don Saven: How wide is the boulevard?


Mike Kahm: I think it is about 15 feet.


Don Saven: I am looking at a cross section here of 10 feet, is that it?


Mike Kahm: Are you looking at the engineering plan?


Don Saven: Yes, I just want to be sure.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: It is 10 foot from curb to curb.


Mike Kahm: I am sorry, you are correct. The sign that we are proposing or the monument that we are proposing is 7 feet.

Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: The math seems to be a little off here; 5 and 1/2 foot by 2 foot 7 can’t be 24 square feet?


Mike Kahm: We are below the allowed.


Member Antosiak: The square footage has got to be in the realm of 16 to 17 and not the 23.78 that is shown.


Mike Kahm: That is correct. Especially when you consider all of the cut outs and everything. That is out to out so there is going to be a lot less than that. That is why the profile of this sign is considerably less than you would find on one that you find in the maximum square footage.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Do you see my point? Either the dimensions or the square footage in the Notice is wrong.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: It is less than Noticed.


Mike Kahm: Substantially less.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: There is another sign identifying the village?


Mike Kahm: That would be on Grand River Avenue.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Those are the only 2 ways to get into the area.


Member Bauer: Where is the "keep right" sign going to be now?


Mike Kahm: We are proposing to put it immediately behind the sign because it is going to stick up above this sign because of the low profile. The "keep right" signs are normally pretty high any way.

Don Saven: I guess that the concern that I had was the placement of it in terms of where it was; that it was on their property and the placement to the intersection.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I would tend to agree with the petitioner that given that there is 2 entrances into the village and they have the signage on Grand River and this other entrance is a considerable distance away, the rendering that it submitted is a small, low profile, monument sign and most of it less than 3 feet off of the ground and as Mr. Antosiak has suggested it is probably closer to 16 or 17 square foot in total. It is placed on their property, right at the entrance to get back into that village and it seems like a reasonable request. I haven’t seen anything suggesting otherwise.


Chairman Reinke inquired of Don Saven: Looking at the height of 4'3", is that a traffic obstruction height?


Don Saven: I think that this is something that could be referred to the traffic department. If you are asking me from a personal opinion, I don’t believe it because there is a STOP sign there.


Chairman Reinke: I understand that, but my question is and this could be the worst scenario of somebody coming out of the village and they look to the left, is this sign going to obstruct their view of vehicles coming and stopping and going through?


Don Saven: I don’t believe so. I am not a traffic consultant, I just indicate that I don’t believe it to be a problem.


Member Sanghvi: My question would be what happens if a child is on a bicycle, you probably won’t see a child on a bicycle at the height of the sign.


Mike Kahm: You would, I think, because the only place that the sign would be an obstruction would be before the STOP sign. There is a 3 way STOP sign in this area and our sign profile is very thin so I don’t think that it is going to obstruct anything at all.


Chairman Reinke: How far back from the green line point is that sign sitting? Would there be a problem moving that back an additional 10 feet?


Mike Kahm: My only concern is that because of the profile of the sign the further setback the less you can read it and I guess we are already somewhat handicapped by trying to keep it low profile and the letters are all smaller and I guess that I would respectfully request to have it at this point. If it is to far back, it will be hard to read. Because of the size the lettering is proportionately smaller and the size of the sign is smaller.


Member Bauer: I can see where you are coming from, because if you don’t make it right at the STOP sign you are going to be back of that with your door.


Chairman Reinke: I realized that you need some signage, but my concern would be the vehicle coming out of there. If you glance to the left you are right on top of it there and somebody pulls out and then he pulls out, you have a situation there. I don’t think 10 foot further setback is going to lose their identification.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I need to understand what you just said. You want that brought back for the purpose of somebody coming out of.....?


Chairman Reinke: I want it brought back 10 feet, for somebody coming out of the facility.


Member Bauer: If somebody stops here, he won’t see past that because his door is going to be here. He won’t be able to see to the right.


Chairman Reinke: They don’t have the visibility to look to the left for a car coming up to that STOP sign.


Mike Kahm: We are back here, but the intersection actually is up here. So, by the time you are going to stop you are up here.


Chairman Reinke: Where is the STOP sign, to your edge there?


Mike Kahm: The STOP sign is up here, this is where the sidewalk will be.


Chairman Reinke: If you have a sidewalk coming across there, the STOP sign is going to be before the sidewalk, correct?


Mike Kahm: Yes, but maybe I should have shown it on here. The whole normal section of the sidewalk and the cross walk is further out here than this is.


Chairman Reinke: From what I see in your street and looking at a sidewalk next to that you are going to have a STOP sign right next your green edge there where people are stopping and coming out.


Member Meyer: Where will the sign actually be?


Mike Kahm: Ten feet back of this property line. But the intersection when Market Street was connected it went beyond the intersection. We are placing the sign 10 feet back from the right of way even though the right of way is beyond the intersection.


Member Antosiak: On the drawing there is a circle with an X in it, just beyond the edge; is that about where the STOP sign is?


Mike Kahm: Approximately, that happens to be a water main.


Member Meyer: Mr. Chairman, you want it 10 feet further back?


Chairman Reinke: What I am saying is that from what I see represented by the street, you figure a sidewalk and on the south side of that the STOP sign will have to be further back from the sidewalk coming across for a walkway. That looks like the STOP sign has to be almost parallel to the green area going across from there where he wants to start his sign. If you have the STOP sign there and a person looks to his left at that height there is obstruction when a car is coming in to make a left hand turn, so 2 cars take off at the same time.

Mike Kahm: I completely understand what you are saying. This is sort of an odd configuration because of where the street ended; we can only start measuring where we wanted to put our sign from that point and that is south of the geometric intersection ended up to be.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: We may have a solution here. Don was the first one to jump on this as far as the location of the monument; Laverne is concerned about it, you are concerned about going back 20 feet and your proposal is 10 feet. Fifteen feet sounds like a happy medium that might move it back and give it more visibility and yet not be to far back from somebody being able to read it. Is that possible?


Member Antosiak: Clearly the vision of the driver of the first car in line will not be impeded.


Chairman Reinke: Really that is all that I am looking for, the second one will have to move up and stop anyway.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Would that work?


Mike Kahm: If it has to; I have another problem which you are not going to take very kindly to and I just noticed this today. The monument is already installed. The construction of the monument is a separate issue from the sign.


Member Antosiak: That is a problem, but it is not a hardship.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Do you mean that the foundation has already been poured?


Mike Kahm: It is all there. That is not your problem, it is ours. But I guess, if you could see your way clear I obviously would appreciate it. But, you have to do the right thing and I do understand that.


Member Meyer: You are actually coming here for the sign and not the monument.


Mike Kahm: Right. Actually the permit for the monument has already been approved and the monument has been built, because that is a separate permit. That had to do with the site plan that we received for the extension of the boulevard. When I went by, well it is what it is and I am throwing myself at your mercy.


Chairman Reinke: The point being is that what goes up there stays. It is unfortunate that you made that step ahead. Sometimes when we make a step ahead, we have to take two steps back. The only way that I can agree to this is to move it back. My original thought is that it has to go back 10 feet. I can compromise at 5 but I can’t compromise at less than that. My concern is the health and safety and welfare for this community and I might be the one coming out of there at some time and I am concerned with my welfare.


Mike Kahm: I don’t want to be argumentative because I completely understand what you are saying. I did go out there today and I drove it because I was concerned, but when you do drive out here there is at least another car length beyond where the sign is to where you are actually sitting or stopping at that intersection.


Member Meyer: In light of our colleague who is not here tonight, Mr. Harrington; I would like to ask that we might have this postponed for a month so that all of us could go and see what it looks like and see the car length or the lack thereof.


Mike Kahm: That would be fair, I have no problem with that.


Member Antosiak: I would be amenable to table this.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: If the petitioner would like to table this, we can all take another look at it.


Mike Kahm: If it turns out that the geometrics are wrong, then I think that we should tear it down and put it in the right spot anyway.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: The STOP sign is there and the monument?


Mike Kahm: That is right.


Chairman Reinke: All those who are in favor of tabling this until the next meeting, please say aye.

All ayes. Case to be tabled to the June 2, 1998 Meeting.


Case No. 98-031 filed by Ronald Nuechterlein, representing Novi Pavilion


Ronald Nuechterlein, representing Novi Pavilion, is requesting a variance to construct a ground monument business center sign, 5'4" x 3' (16 q. ft.) with the height from grade being 5'6" to be placed at the Grand River entrance for property located at 43215 Grand River Avenue.


Ronald Nuechterlein was present and duly sworn.


Ronald Nuechterlein: I am with Superior Diversified Services, we happen to be the construction manager on Novi Pavilion and we are here on the owner’s behalf. We are requesting a variance to construct a monument sign at that location which was part of the original site plan approval by the Planning Commission of the City of Novi. We feel that this monument sign will enhance the architectural features of the building and be aesthetically pleasing. The building materials would match the materials that were used on the building. We also feel that the entrance identification would aide the general public and emergency vehicles. This is the primary reason that we are requesting this variance.


Chairman Reinke: You have 2 signs that you are requesting?


Ronald Nuechterlein: That is correct. City Center Plaza, which we also played the same roll on is the next item on the agenda; that variance is requested being that there is only one monument sign allowed per property and we are requesting that we have a second monument sign purely to identify the entrance that is located on Grand River which really right now is not signed in any sense and for most people it is difficult to understand that the entrance was built for City Center Plaza and allows the ingress and egress from Grand River.


Ronald Nuechterlein: Both of these monument signs are very similar as you can see from your packet and from the aerial photography that I have provided there.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I can only surmise that the reason that you need a variance is because you only have 3 businesses in this center.


Ronald Nuechterlein: That is correct with the Novi Pavilion. The building is occupied by Kinko’s which dominates about 50% of the building or about 7000 square feet. That could always change and that building in the future could be converted to 4 or 5 businesses. Ameritech and the DMI is presently in that location with Kinko’s.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: But the issue is that you only have 3 businesses in there and to have the monument sign you need 4?


Ronald Nuechterlein: That is correct.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: For further comment, this building is setback some and although the signs on the businesses are certainly sufficient. The monument sign I feel is relatively within reason, 16 square feet and the height of 5'6" being to the top of the crown. It seems reasonable.


Chairman Reinke: With the location from Grand River I can understand that. Really Kinko’s and the other signs jump out at you and I really wonder why do we need a business center sign. If they have 4 businesses there and they had smaller signs and they didn’t have things that were as identifiable as they are, then I could maybe understand that. I really don’t see a hardship.


Ronald Nuechterlein: In response to that, this particular monument sign is more to be an architectural feature of the entire development. It is not meant to identify individual tenancy. We feel that it was always intended to be a part of the overall scheme of the architecture, it is low profile, it is not internally illuminated. We think that it would enhance rather than detract from the architectural features of this particular development.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Are you familiar at all with how Kinko’s, Ameritech and the other party identify there business? It is just the Grand River location? Or in the Novi Pavilion?


Ronald Nuechterlein: Yes, the building address is 43215 and the 3 businesses are identified by suite numbers A, B & C and D & E if there were more businesses there. It is all under one address. As proposed here we are only identifying this to be Novi Pavilion at the 43215 Grand River address. The businesses as well carry that Novi Pavilion address, they are supposed to anyway.


Member Antosiak: Actually it was the address on the sign that made me think about favoring this request because of the difficulty sometimes finding an address on a street like Grand River, where you frequently don’t get the opportunity to slow down and look.


Chairman Reinke: I don’t really think that there is a justification to put a sign up, just to have an address.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: That leads to another interesting question. Is there an address on the building itself?


Ronald Nuechterlein: Yes, it is.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: At each location, or where?


Ronald Nuechterlein: No, the building is identified at the center point at 43215. It is a bronze letter which has a tendency to lose itself in the background. Driving down Grand River it is very difficult to see.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Where on the aerial shot is that?


Ronald Nuechterlein: It would be right in the center all most over the top of the Kinko sign. I don’t know if it is visible from the aerial. The address would be at the center spire area. It is actually centered on the building. There were provisions made to place the monument sign at the proposed location, when we initially built the development however requiring a sign permit it was never constructed at the time that we built the building.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Sanghvi,




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


Case No. 98-032 filed by Ronald Nuechterlein, representing City Center Plaza


Ronald Nuechterlein, representing City Center Plaza, is requesting a second ground monument business center sign 5'4" x 3' (16 sq. ft.) with the heigh from grade being 5'6" to be located at the Grand River entrance of the City Center Plaza.


Ronald Nuechterlein was present and duly sworn.


Ronald Nuechterlein: Being very similar to some of the elements that I pointed out for Novi Pavilion. This sign as you can see from the aerial photography you have there would certainly help to identify that entrance as being purely an entrance to City Center Plaza from Grand River. It again, would be constructed to enhance the architectural features of the building. We feel that it would aid emergency vehicles and better identification to the ingress to this property. We think that this was presented on the site plan which was approved by the Planning Commission, however the detail that I provided you with was not a part of that but there was always a so called intended monument sign there. With that we are requesting a variance to construct a second monument sign for that particular property. The other monument sign would be located, as I have indicated, on Novi Road.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: The reason a variance is required here is because this is the second sign?


Alan Amolsch: That is correct. They are allowed the business center sign because they do have 4 businesses at this location, but they are requesting an additional business center sign.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I am surprised that there isn’t any provision for a second sign when it is on a main thoroughfare like Grand River; but that is not the way that it reads.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Given the fact that it is 2 major arteries and 2 main, heavily traveled roads and you have access from both, in fact I didn’t know about this one on Grand River. This is identical in size?


Ronald Nuechterlein: Yes, it is.


Chairman Reinke: This one, I think, is really a situation of identification and direction to help people and I think that this is warranted. There is no question in my mind rather than to have somebody trying to come down Grand River and swing around to Novi Road when they could make a right hand turn and go right in there. It will be very helpful for everybody.


Member Bauer: It is for the good of the health, safety and welfare.


Don Saven: On that sign, I am hopeful that you are not going to put 20875 on that sign. I just want to clarify that.


Ronald Nuechterlein: No, we are not.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Chairman Reinke,




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


Recall of Case No. 98-015 filed by Pucci Building Co., representing James Kukuzke


Vice-Chairman Brennan: There is no one here for this matter. I wanted to talk about that. This is the third time that it has been up in front of us and in fact the last time the contractor wanted the homeowner present to petition us and I would assume that we have not heard from either the homeowner or the contractor.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,

Seconded by Member Meyer.




Roll Call: Yeas (6) No (0) Motion Carried


Recall of Case No. 98-025 filed by Bomonite of Michigan


Vice-Chairman Brennan: No one is present and I think that historically we give them one chance.


Chairman Reinke: Will you contact them and request them to appear at the next meeting?


Case is tabled to the June Meeting.



Other Matters


James Cupps, I live at 24830 Willowbrook. I am bringing up about a berm that is being built behind me. AGA Gas. The berm was first put up 3 years ago about 30 foot from the property line. My understanding when it was asked to be fixed was to add to the berm. Now I just found out 2 weeks ago that the berm is being moved back to the property line which will be very close to my house and cause a hardship for me. I am asking if the Zoning Board can do something for me as a resident to either see if something else could be done about that berm to leave it where it is at or not move it back as far. Thank you.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: We had AGA Gas in here probably 6 months ago.


Don Saven: I believe it was combined. There was one with an existing berm for AGA Gas.


James Cupps: At first it was just brought up about Beech Tree and that was the main concern and now because the owner owns both properties it was thrown in later. But, the original was for Beech Tree only which is on part of my property but would be more west of me. The one that is right behind me is AGA which has already been built 3 years ago. To keep the hill running the same way they want to move it all the way back to the property line. My house was built 1993, I live on a cul-de-sac.


Chairman Reinke inquired of Don Saven: Have you talked to this gentleman before?


Don Saven: I believe that somebody else did.


James Cupps: Yes, I came to the Building Department. I talked to Brandon Rogers who at first told me that it was his understanding that and that was 2 weeks ago because that is when I found out that they were going to move it, his understanding was the same as mine and he told me that it was not going to moved only added to. I said that the gentleman that came to my house told me that it was going to be moved and they were going to take it up and bring it up 30 foot and then start from there. Brandon Rogers came back and said that after seeing it, it depends upon how someone submits it. When it was brought up, I sent a letter in and said that I disagreed with anything being done and when it was brought up it was just going to be added to and that was it. Now, my understanding is that if they submit a plan to you it is how they submit it and not how they bring it forth. If they show you a paper it is how it goes on that paper and that is what is going to be done. But, this hill behind me 3 years ago was put up 30 foot and the only reason that it is being brought is a retention pond so Beech Tree can be made bigger. The retention pond behind me can be made larger and that is why the berm is being brought back and that is the only reason it is being brought back to the property line.


Don Saven: I think that what should be done is the whole case be reviewed through my department or to take a look at it to see how it was approved. You have to see how the case was approved first of all and the condition that was set forth in that approval. As the gentleman has indicated there are certain issues and somewhere in the back of my mind tells me that we were talking to these people about blending the 2 berms together.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Was this something that came before us?


Don Saven: Yes, it was. I think it was a berm in lieu of a wall or something like that or something along that line. We will pull the file and see how the approval was granted. There was something about both of them being together and doing the berm in unison so it would be easier to deal with or the continuity or something along that line. We will have to investigate this a little more.


James Cupps: Let me just put forth this, the berm could stay where it is at and the only reason it is being brought back is to make the retention pond bigger so that Beech Tree doesn’t have to have a retention pond behind it.


Don Saven: Regardless of what you are indicating, the retention pond or whatever the case may be what I am saying to you is the fact that if a berm is allowed on the property that berm can go where it was designated and if it was approved the berm can be placed on the property line. The fact is how close is it going to be to the property line. The variance that was granted and what was looked at is something that we will have to take a look at.


James Cupps: I was just asking as a resident. I think that if you were going to live there you would see that this thing is almost going to be built right on top of me and when it was first put in and I worked with Linda then and Brandon then there was no problem with it being 30 foot. Now that the other property is being developed on, the only reason it is being built back there is because of detention pond. I just want to know if there is anything that the Zoning Board can look at to....

Don Saven: We are going to review what the Zoning Board approved at the time and how it was presented. I think that is how we are going to have to take a look at it and then we will go from there. That is the best thing that I can tell you, but we will have to dig into the case.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: For his sake he should be talking to the Building Department?


Don Saven: Yes, I think so. At least for right now. If he has any further objections I don’t know what he can do other than to go to the Circuit Court for the placement if there are any issues regarding that. I don’t think that is what he wants to do. Let’s find out what was approved first and then deal with it.


Chairman Reinke: The thing is that it would be easier to work with the Building Department and see if we can work something out to help you and the situation out.


James Cupps: So far I have been told that there is nothing that I can do about the whole situation and that is why I am here.


Don Saven: Who were you talking to?


James Cupps: I believe that he is second under you.


Don Saven: Would that be Mr. Morrone?


James Cupps: I believe that is it.


Don Saven: Did he pull out any files or go over anything with the approval?


James Cupps: He folded and he told me a few thing. But, like I said, when it was first brought up it was brought up as it was reviewed. He basically told me a few things that I don’t want to say and he told me that as far a setbacks it was ok.


Don Saven: We will check and see this matter.


Chairman Reinke: Is there anything else under other matters?


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Quickly under the other matters, we were asked about a year ago to submit if we had any ideas to Ordinance Review of cases that were in front of us constantly that maybe the ordinance needed to be revised so we wouldn’t be seeing these. We continue to see the outdoor display of bagged goods and such for K-Mart and those types of stores and we also get the request for outdoor seating for restaurants. I think that the Ordinance Review needs to look at that if they haven’t and if they are these are cases that we see at this time of the year, every year and it just bogs up the agenda.


Don Saven: I have a comment on that. One of the things that we take a look at in terms of outdoor seating. The outdoor seating in some of these areas is not a permitted use. A temporary use I can do something that are in line with the ordinance and I have the authority to be able to do that. My authority limitations on some of these uses are by time definitions; 6 months approvals or shorter. When it gets involved in twice a year or repetitive issues, that is why these issues are brought before you. Or it is contrary to that use in particular. If it is something that you wish this department to have the jurisdiction to handle we would have to go through the change of the ordinance.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Maybe we hear it the first time and then we give the Building Department the continuing jurisdiction that it is under the same ownership it is renewed automatically year to year unless there is a problem. I am looking at these case that we have 3 or 4 times since 1990 or 1991.


Chairman Reinke: At that time they were being done on a yearly basis and now they are here for 3 years. We are looking at it differently than trying to put that function on the Building Department which I don’t really think that we want to do.


Member Antosiak: We are also looking at it in terms of experience. The petitioner’s that we have granted for 3 years are those with whom the Building Department has had no difficulty.


Don Saven: It is like what we did with this gentleman. We did it on a yearly basis and there wasn’t any problem. As we look at this for a new person we give them a year to see how he operates and if he comes back and he did OK then maybe we want to give him 2 years and then 3 years or whatever. When we are dealing with issues that are a use not designated for that district, I would really prefer that it be handled here. ie, let’s go to the Town Center. The Town Center has a lot of functions throughout the year and as long as they come before us and designate 18 functions that they want to do during a course of a year I would rather have it handled here in one shot and know it is use not permitted, it is not a sidewalk sale for instance, it is an event that we are dealing with that is not a part of the ordinance. I understand what you want to do but for me to do something that is out of character of that use, I have a problem with.


Chairman Reinke: I think that we are trying to work in a mutual relationship together. We are giving you input and you give us input back. We accept that and it gives us a better understanding of what you are looking at and what you are trying to do.


Don Saven: Most of you know how I operate or you have a pretty good feel for it; we don’t want to get into the authority or the position of you granting me all of that authority where I am making decisions every which way which is contrary to the ordinance. I really don’t want to do that.


Member Sanghvi: I agree with what you are saying. But by the same token we are just perpetuating the same thing not making new decisions, just extending the time limits.


Don Saven: Exactly, by doing this or extending the time limits....


Member Sanghvi: Just for the sake of extending the time limits they must come to this Board.


Don Saven: Gentleman, before you there is a comparison draft of the sign ordinance which has been worked on and I would say in no less than 20 meetings so far. Alan and I have been to several meetings but not all of the meetings. The design of the sign ordinance and we did a couple of things. 1. taking a look at the TC District you will see some modifications to the Expo Center District. 2. the issue regarding cleaning up the language. Our sign ordinance was written back in 1974. A lot of it was repetitive and a lot of it was somewhat confusing. We got involved in the clean up of that particular language which was very important to try to make things easier. In your comparison draft book there are places that are highlighted or underlined or whatever you will see them as being part of the changes in that ordinance. Also part of this ordinance and what they were looking at; most of you are aware that we have the issue of "ugly signs"; this Board does not do aesthetics and I want to make that explicitly clear. We don’t govern the aesthetics of the signs. I wish that we had the ability to have more taste or have the flavor of when they come in make a decision like that, but we don’t. We cover the size of the signage, the placement, and the type of sign that it is and that is what we govern by ordinance. We are finding that a lot of parts of the ordinance or a lot of concerns that people are having is the aesthetics of signs and aesthetics as far as even facades are concerned. So, int he TC-1 District you will see that they have a committee set up to review the signs prior to Alan’s review. As you can see where we are going with this is that they want a little bit more of a tighter control on the aesthetics as it is appears with the signage.


Member Meyer: Where are you going to get that control? Who has that control?


Don Saven: That control, once again is how is that sign going to look with the rest of the facade.


Member Meyer: But, we are not supposed to bring that up? So who is going to bring it up?


Member Antosiak: The issue I see there and the legal problem with aesthetics is the lack of standards. The fewer standards that you have, the more likely you are to have your aesthetic decisions over turned. If, in fact, signs are rejected on the basis of aesthetics they are appealable to this Board I would suspect. I think that the folks that are reviewing the ordinance need to know that, that we could be making aesthetics decisions here although we have avoided doing that in the past.


Don Saven: What I wanted to do with this is was to brief you on those changes. Next month because of the issue and I am just being as open with you as I possibly can, because this issue and the changes with this ordinance we are now getting other interests in the community and other areas like the RC District where we are going to have the Taubman people coming before us in June or July with various signs and sizes of signs and painting of the water tower. I have concerns about things when we talk about aesthetics when we deal with issues like this. Like I said we deal the sign size, the placement and whatever. But, dealing with the aesthetics is going to be a really tough issue especially in those sensitive areas.


Member Antosiak: What is the next step for these ordinances?


Don Saven: It is going tomorrow night or it is being reviewed tomorrow night by the Planning Commission, if I am not mistaken. What I wanted to do is to just tell you that we have other zoning districts that are going to be looking at these signs and I just heard tonight from the Pastor from the Church that there is a Chamber of Commerce who is looking at a new sign ordinance.


Member Antosiak: I understand that they intend to make a recommendation to the City on the sign ordinance.


Don Saven: Are they going to be making recommendations based upon this? Or something else?


Member Antosiak: Good question, I really don’t know.


Don Saven: I am not aware of any sign ordinance other than this one that has been being worked on.


Chairman Reinke: Is this preliminary thing brought about the approach from Taubman and the Twelve Oaks?


Don Saven: No. This was brought about by the Main Street signage. Main Street again which is on each individual business which they increased the frontage requirement, normally it was 1 and 2 to 1.5 and 2 or something like that. The other issues are the diversity of the signage, the different types of signage rather than the same sign as which we would normally look at in a complex. It also addresses 2 story buildings because we didn’t have an ordinance to address 2 story buildings. We took all of these things and took them under consideration. We also dealt with projecting signs which we never dealt with before, we did but it was only for 10 square foot, and now they are having a multitude of signage you can either put up a projecting sign or a wall sign or a combination of both, all of these things and to make a long story short it was a very in depth review done by various people everywhere; my concern was that sign blight takes away from the attractive appearance of the building too and that was one of the concerns that I had because you are putting millions of dollars into the facade and then you are going inundate it with all of this signage but that also was taken into consideration.


Member Meyer: Certainly sounds like a question of aesthetics that you just brought up.


Don Saven: Exactly. I think that the issue is that we really don’t and I don’t know whether it is a point of we want to establish a committee to look at this from the aesthetic stand point. But I do know that there was at least one sign here in the community that has aggravated a lot of people.


Chairman Reinke: I would hate to lose what we have worked so hard to maintain because one comment in my travels and I think that probably everybody on this Board has gotten that is that we have been complimented for our control on signage and that we don’t look like a billboard community. It has been very positive.


Don Saven: The other issue in following up on this thing and we are going to have another and because we are having so many changes to the ordinances the fact that we have a major project coming in and being looked at that is called The Galleria. I happen to have had a preview at taken a look at this particular project and what they are dealing with signage and I am telling you that this is totally different than what I have anticipated. Each project takes on a different flavor and this one is very unique in character. But as we change the ordinance now, definitely we are going to be looking at other projects that are coming back to you to try to get an increase in sizes. It is rather extensive and I think that you would have to be a Philadelphia Lawyer to try to understand this?


Member Meyer: I would just like to say that I applaud the effort to revisit the ordinances. In the years that I have been in the City sometimes some people coming into the City feel that the ordinances are to restrictive and therefore make us to appear to be not a very welcoming kind of community. So I welcome the effort that has been done to revisit these ordinances and in this particular case the sign ordinance. The other thing that I really believe to be at least thought about is the fact that we are doing whatever we can to avoid being paranoid over what happened with the signage in one particular section of this City. Therefore, I would hope that we do not have a reaction to other people making requests regarding additional signage in light of what our effort was in this particular section. So, I would hope that we mean it when we say that certain approvals are for this particular situation and this particular case, rather than feeling that just because we made this decision therefore everybody else can then open up a can of reviewing signs.


Chairman Reinke: I think that we have to review each situation on it’s own merits because very few cases are the same. Each one has certain unique characteristics and certain needs. That doesn’t weigh that against the next case that is coming before us. So we have to look at each unique situation and judge it’s merits from that standpoint and to go on from there.


Chairman Reinke: Any other comments?


Chairman Reinke: For you consideration, MSPO has an upcoming planning conference at Mackinac Island on October 14 through 17th; which is for planners and Zoning Board members. If you haven’t attended one of these, I recommend it. There is a lot of good interface with people and a lot of good information that you pick up. The seminars and the classes that they have are very informative. That is the 14th through the 17th of October and I will definitely be attending. I highly recommend that the other Board Members give it their consideration.


Don Saven: I would ask that if you are giving this consideration that you give us ample time to start the process.


Chairman Reinke: That is why I brought it up now, because to many times we let this sneak up to the last minute and it has put a tax on Mr. Saven and the administration; and it is not fair.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: One last item, the Ray’s Lighting sign has been landscaped, and it is

landscaped just like Matt Quinn promised that it would be. It looks good.






The Meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.








Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary