TUESDAY - JUNE 2, 1998



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




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

Reinke (late, arrived at 8:15 pm)


Absent: None


Also Present: Donald M. Saven-Building Official

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary


Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated it is noted that Mr. Reinke has called and is en route, once he arrives he will take over the "chair".


Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated the Zoning Board of Appeals is a hearing board empowered by the Novi City Charter to hear appeals seeking variance from the application of the Novi Zoning Ordinances. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to approve a variance request and a vote of the majority of the members present to deny a variance. We have a full Board present tonight, any decisions on cases tonight will be final.



Approval of Agenda


Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired are there any changes to the agenda? Hearing none I would move for approval as submitted; all in favor please say aye. All ayes. Agenda approved.


Approval of Minutes


Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated we have minutes from the April 7,1998 Meeting for approval. Are there any corrections, changes or revisions to those minutes? Hearing none I would move that we accept the minutes as submitted. All in favor, please say aye. All ayes. Minutes approved.


Public Remarks


Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated this is Public Remarks; all comments related to a case that is on the agenda should be held until that case is called. If anyone wishes to address the Board on a matter that is not on the agenda tonight, please come forward. No one wished to be heard at this time.



Case No. 98-033 filed by Karl Kehr


Karl Kehr is requesting setback variances to construct a pole barn for future use as a private stable for property located at 21850 Garfield Rd.


Karl Kehr was present and duly sworn.


Karl Kehr: As indicated in my paper work, I am here to request a setback variance for a pole barn that I would like to construct on my property. I would like to be able to use it for a stable down the road.

Therefore I would need a variance from the normal 100 foot setback. It is a 6 acre parcel of land that is shaped such that there is only 2 locations to put a pole barn with horses. The one piece of the property on the north side is a restricted because of the wetlands and I would like to not harm the wetlands so the only other alternative is to put it on the south side of the property. I do have a complete layout of the site if anyone is interested. I know that the 8 1/2 by 11 doesn’t give you a good view; but I do have that if you would like to look at it. (Copy put in file.)


Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 16 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. (Copy in file.)




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: Just to inform the Board that the reason for the 100' setback is because it is a private stable for horses. I want to ask Karl, how many horses are you going to have?


Karl Kehr: Probably no more than 2 or 3. I have a 4 and 5 year old boy and girl, and they may down the road express an interest in having some horses.


Don Saven: The placement of the barn is in such an area that it is feasible to place it at that location, the rest are woodlands and wetlands. Is that correct?


Karl Kehr: Yes, there is a one acre wetland on the north side.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: I believe that there is an ordinance that controls the number of horses that you can have based on the size of the property?


Karl Kehr: I believe that it is one horse for 2 acres.


Don Saven: That is correct.


Moved by Member Antosiak:


Seconded by Member Bauer:




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


Case No. 98-039 filed by Matthew Quinn, representing S & Z, Inc.


Matthew Quinn, representing S & Z, Inc., owner of property described as Sidwell Number 5022-11-105-008 (lots 151 thru 156 of the Howell’s Walled Lake Subdivision) is requesting the Zoning Board of Appeals to authorize a use variance to allow this property to be used as B-3 to allow for the construction of a small commercial building. The property is currently zoned R-4.


Phil Seymour and Ed Zeer were present and duly sworn.


Phil Seymour: This is an appeal by Mr. Zeer’s corporation regarding some property that is located on Novi Road in the vicinity of the Lakewood Party Store, except it is on the opposite side of the road - it is on the east side of Novi Road. It is an appeal requesting a use variance and also shall we say a somewhat of an equity variance based on the history of this matter.


Phil Seymour: Mr. Zeer’s corporation; S & Z, Inc. owns lots 151 and 156, and he initially purchased these lots in 1987 under the name of In and Out, Inc.; transferred the ownership of the lots to S & Z in March of 1990. At the time that he purchased the property, the property was zoned general business B-3. The first thing that happened of relevance or of no with respect to this property was in February of 1993 when the City vacated the alley at the rear of the property and thereby adding 10 feet to each lot. It is now became viable for Mr. Zeer’s Corporation to consider building a commercial building on this property as it was now sufficiently deep to allow such a development. In early 1996 Mr. Zeer’s corporation; S & Z, Inc., contacted Forest Building Company. The property in that particular area or adjacent property in that particular began to be developed and the economic climate began to improve. Forest Building Company commenced to developing a site plan for a single story commercial or retail site of approximately 2013 square feet. The plans were submitted to the City with a fee on November 8, 1996 and the fee was $1495.00 for the consultants to review. The Planning Commission, 12 days later on November 20, 1996, conducted 2 Public Hearings. The first Public Hearing was to consider an amendment to the Master Plan for the area abutting Novi Road and including this property to change it from non-center commercial to single family residential. A second Public Hearing, a Zoning Amendment to change the property from general business to R4 or single family residential. The Planning Commission voted 6 to 0 against the change in the Master Plan and they also voted 4 to 2 against the rezoning and they sent that recommendation on to the City Council. On December 9, 1996 Brandon Rogers, the City’s consultant, sent back a letter to Mr. Zeer or S & Z indicating that there was no major deficiencies in the application or the site plan although there was some minor deficiencies. Upon receipt, Forest Building Company revised the site plan as quickly as possible and sent it to the City and they actually resubmitted the site plan to the City along with the check in the amount of $776.25 on December 23 , 1996. In the interim the City Council decided to ignore the recommendation of the Planning Commission and did rezone the property on December 16, 1996. They voted 7 to 0 to rezone the property from B3 (general business) to R4 (single family residential).


Phil Seymour: Ultimately the site plan that was submitted or the resubmitted site plan was returned to Mr. Zeer and in February of 1997 it was resubmitted to Mr. Zeer on the grounds that at that point in time the property or the site plan was no longer proper because the property was no longer zoned B3 (general business). It is important to note that at the time that the plans were resubmitted and the initial site plan was submitted by Forest Building on behalf of S & Z, that it was zoned properly and it is important to notice also that it was zoned general business when the site plan was resubmitted on December 23, 1996.


Phil Seymour: For one reason or another the City simply said that we are not going to consider your site plan even though the property was properly zoned for such a site plan when the plans were resubmitted by Mr. Zeer or Forest Building Company on behalf of Mr. Zeer.


Phil Seymour: We are here asking a variance for 2 reasons as I have indicated. A use variance and also a variance based on the refusal of the City to properly consider the resubmitted site plan as the property was zoned general business at the time the property was resubmitted. In the letter of February or when Mr. Zeer was notified in February of 1997, he has as I have indicated before; he was simply notified that the property was no longer zoned B3 and therefore they weren’t going to consider his site plan. I have gone through the history to point out that Mr Zeer had owned this property for approximately 9 years and that it was always zoned general business and always zoned for the development of a commercial building; he submitted his plans timely and properly, and the property was properly zoned at the time that they were submitted and again resubmitted. Given the history of the property, given the action of the Planning Commission, in voting not to amend the Master Plan and also to recommend against the rezoning.


Phil Seymour: It is our position that the City had an obligation, even though the City Council changed the zoning subsequent to that time; but that the City had the obligation to examine the site plan as submitted by Mr. Zeer under the zoning as it existed at the time that he submitted the plans. We would ask the you grant the variance and order the City to again examine or review these plans considering the zoning or on the basis of the zoning that existed in December of 1996 when S & Z initially submitted the plans. The second basis would be a use variance and as I indicated before this property is located or fronts Novi Road and across the street is the Lakeshore Party Store; we submit that there is no viable economic development of this property as a single family residential property and to require S & Z to develop the property as a single family residential would result in an economic hardship to him and therefore we ask for a use variance to allow him to develop it as general commercial or to develop a commercial building on that property.


Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 34 notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval, one written response voicing objection. (Copies in file.)




James Korte: Shawood Lake area. I was one of the major forces instrumental in the rezoning of the property along with Sarah Gray the President of SES. This was probably the tail end and the only achievement of the Walled Lake Sector Study that was set up by ex-mayor Quinn to make a better north end. There was a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of small conferences in order to get to where we got. I am sorry that Attorney Quinn isn’t here, he did represent the party at City Council when it was zoned residential. Mr. Seymour did a fairly nice job of the history with the exception of the blue prints for the Linhart building were in while it was a B3 and it did not pass the original scrutiny of the Planning Department. There were sidewalk problems, there were setback problems and there was dumpster problems; with such a small piece of property with a building that will have 2 businesses and not one; that adds to the further complication or confusion or lack of parking spaces.

James Korte: When we look at the specific area the party store has just been sold because it is losing money; I haven’t talked with Virgil Jackson lately so I am not getting into his business but Virgil Jackson at the radiator shop never has a car parked in front of his property any more commercial on that strip. Chicorel has been trying to rent the approximate 2000 square foot building at Pleasant Cove and Novi Road for 3 years without luck. So, it is a real viable business corridor. The only business that has been at the greater Linhart and Novi Road area is the dog grooming clinic and they have been there for about 4 years. May of now, she closed her doors to a mobile unit. Now in 29 years she is the only one that has been there for more than one year. The bar has had 4 owners in the last 4 years and has been opened and closed. The only viable is the vet clinic. The vet clinic is viable because you don’t shop. You don’t walk in and say how much is this operation, no that is too much and you take your bloody animal out. It is not a viable corridor.


James Korte: Oakland County and the bids went out 2 months ago to repave and improve Old Novi Road in preparation to be given to the City. Now that has been a 20 year fight, with you take it you fix it; I’ll take it and you fix it. It is going to happen. Through Ed Kriewall and Tony Nowicki we have been assured the minute they get their hands on that road it goes down to 25 mph. The City through Bruce Jerome while he was in charge of the road group petitioned numerous times for the speed limit inadequacies upon the highway and Oakland County refused to listen. Therefore, we are stuck with 40 mph until the City gets a hold of it. If you have driven there and you go south you have to do 25 mph and when you come back the other way you can do 40 mph. The whole thing is a joke. That is all to change. With Sandstone Vistas if they ever get out of court, the whole back kiddie corner to this end of the world is going to be residential.


James Korte: Now I am sorry that Attorney Quinn isn’t here, at City Council meeting he talked of the very valuable piece of property. In 1967 the SEV on this very valuable piece of property was 15,500 for a commercial piece of property. That is why the property had never been developed. Ever. It is not valuable and it is not desirable. I gave the paperwork to Nancy earlier and as the property sits today, it’s assessed value is 52,700. Now, residential that may be broken into 2, 61 by 110' pieces of property. If they go basically tomorrow with a house of 2800 square feet, attached 2 car garage, if they are doing it properly and their plans fit code and building standards they will be given a residential permit tomorrow. That is how we stand residentially.


James Korte: There is a letter from Sarah Gray in there and I will touch on most of hers and that will be quicker. LARA and SES have formed themselves back together again and that letter is representing the last meeting. At that last meeting they have asked that you not allow the proposed zoned usage and force it to be residential.


James Korte: Two PUD’s in the area Sandstone Vistas will have many square footage of commercial within the PUD and that is just the name of the game within a mile of what is going on. The Maples of Novi, I understand, is soon to break it’s ground for the commercial. Those are the corridors that will be taking the traffic. When you look at everyone losing their shirt on Old Novi Road and the fact that the City is going to adjust the speed limit down to 25, residential is the only way out. At the City Council situation there was comments about who would build residential there and if you look at Thirteen Mile Road near Martin and that is the other end of Howell’s Walled Lake Subdivision, you will see 4 or 5 beautiful houses and I would imagine of 2400 or 2500 square feet that went up and sold immediately. Residential, Thirteen Mile Road, kiddie corner to the fire department. We are not in that situation at Linhart and Novi Road and the only thing that does make sense is residential. In 30 years to my knowledge, no one has asked to build a building.


James Korte: The last interesting comment because Quinn was a little surprised, Bob Schmidt was a little thrilled, since the late 80's this piece of property has been paying residential taxes and who knows why and this came out as SES was researching who and what and why and what are we going to do to these people. I was asked up at Assessing "why are you changing it’s zoning, it is already being figured as residential". So residential. Thank you.


Laurie Harris, 134 Wainwright. I had a question and I had called earlier today to find out what exactly the commercial site would be and do we have an answer on that? What is it that we plan on putting in there? I am a resident of the area and I am really concerned about something going in there. It is a residential area and I would like to see it stay that way.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: At this point in time they are asking for a use variance which would if granted give them the option of building a commercial building. I don’t believe that they have submitted any plans or given any indication of what they have in mind.


Laurie Harris: We don’t know if it would be a fast food restaurant, or a 7-11 or anything like that?

Is that required of the City, that you find out what it is?


Don Saven: Whatever that use would be for that district would be allowed.


Laurie Harris: It is a residential area and I would urge that we keep it that way.




Don Saven: No comment.


Member Bauer: Do you have a proposed tenant for the property?


Mr. Zeer: At this time, no.


Member Harrington: What do you anticipate doing with the building? You are not going to put up just a shell, you must have done some kind of market study or based on your own business intuition you know why it is going to be worth a significant investment. What do you anticipate, in a best case scenario doing with this building?


Mr. Zeer: At the time that I put the site plan together, I was thinking about one small insurance office, one pizza delivery and another cleaner or something like this to serve the community in this area.


Member Harrington: Now, 17 months later what do you anticipate doing?


Mr. Zeer: Well the same thing. I think that this area and this particular site will need to help the community and the neighborhood in that area.


Member Harrington, I have a couple of questions for Mr. Seymour. I noticed on the time line that we have about a 17 month delay between the Planning Commission action or inaction and the proceeding here tonight. Do you have an opinion of whether or not legally there is an appeal period from the action of the Planning Commission or the inaction of this being property before the Board?

Under for example, the Administrative Procedures Act, is there a 30 day period to bring a challenge to the next higher level or not?

Phil Seymour: I think that you have to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals to have an appeal period, that is my opinion. I think that we have to be here. Does the 17 month delay and that may be in effect or have some cause or a court may say that you are guilty of latches or whatever, but I think that at the same time if we had gone directly to court under the Paragon Case I think that they would have said that ultimately we have to come to you guys.


Member Harrington: Are there any practical difficulties that you are aware of that precluded your client coming to us right of way, say back in January or February of 1997? Here we are half way through 1998, what is the story?


Phil Seymour: I do not know if there is any practical difficulties and I cannot answer that question for you. I apologize for that. I just simply don’t know.


Member Harrington: Looking at the extensive materials which I reviewed and the other Board Members have seen, is the suggestion that somehow the Building Department or the Planning Commission abused it’s discretion because they didn’t approve of this plan within a window of 6 weeks? Is that the argument?


Phil Seymour: That is correct. And then when it came back and it was resubmitted albeit the time was short they simply refused to even entertain it. The plans were resubmitted in December of 1996 and in February of 1997 they just said that they were not going to consider it at all. Even though at the time the plans were submitted, everything was zoned properly.


Member Harrington: Is the argument that the refusal in February of 1997 or is the argument that their decision in December of 1996 was not timely?


Phil Seymour: The argument is the treatment in December of 1996 was improper.


Member Harrington: What would an appropriate window of response time for the Planning Commission have been? The site plan was submitted on November 8 and it was reviewed in December; what do you suggest is reasonable in terms of response?


Phil Seymour: However long they are going to take them to review it. I guess what I am saying is that and I understand your question, but I guess that the way that I look at it is that is not what they did. They simply refused to entertain it when it was returned in December of 1996.


Member Harrington: Your client is not arguing before this Board that he can’t build a residence, correct? He would prefer to put up a commercial building but he is not saying to us that he can’t build a residence there?


Phil Seymour: It is our belief that this property is not economically viable for residential development, given the fact that it is on Novi Road and what is around it.


Member Harrington: Does he have any back up for this?


Phil Seymour: I don’t believe so.


Mr. Zeer: No study, but according to my experience with the buildings from the past I understand that there is no way that we can make it as residential in that corridor. Right now it is with commercial. There is no way. Across the street is commercial. The traffic is there. I don’t think that any economic worth into that property is to be residential. Whoever builds residential there, I don’t think will make it at all.


Member Harrington: Are you in real estate?


Mr. Zeer: Yes, not real estate licensed but I am in the real estate business.


Member Harrington: I would suggest to Mr. Seymour that it could be significant to the Board and I don’t know if it would be but it could be significant that the property could not be used for residential. If there is an area of proof which should be submitted that has not been addressed, I would be interested. I think that the City Attorney ought to be involved in the appeal period issue to. But, if there is some sense from your client that he would like to submit some competent evidence that this property cannot be marketed residential I would think that is critical, at least from my point of view. If it simply that I can make more money commercial than I can residential then that is a totally different issue. But if it cannot be marketed as residential then perhaps a clear taking would be involved here, it can’t be used period. Which leads to my last question. If this Board does not grant you relief and if the Planning Commission did in fact act improperly, does your client not have an avenue of relief in an action free taking?


Phil Seymour: He may.


Member Antosiak: I have a couple of questions for Mr. Seymour, but I just want to clarify the time line. On December 16, 1996 the Council voted to rezone the property, such amendment to be effective in 15 days and I don’t know if that is administrative requirement or not. In between the vote and the effectiveness the petitioner submitted a site plan, so at the time the site plan was submitted the Zoning had effectively already been changed it was just not in effect.


Member Harrington: The original site plan was November 8.


Member Antosiak: That was rejected for whatever reasons.


Member Harrington: Then revised in between.

Member Antosiak: The revised came in after the Council had voted to rezone the property.


Member Antosiak: I am sure you know the ordinance as well as the state law prohibits the Zoning Board of Appeals from rezoning a parcel of property, if we were to approve a variance that would allow this property to be used as B3 would that not be effectively a rezoning of the parcel?


Phil Seymour: I guess that given the uniqueness of the situation, I would argue that it would not be a rezoning of the property. One we have the fact that everything was submitted when it was zoned initially B3. Secondly we have the argument that it is not economically feasible for S & Z to develop the property as residential. I think that under the circumstances that you certainly have the power to grant a variance.


Member Antosiak: Just for the Board Members who perchance did not look at the ordinance to see what B3 might allow on this site. The ordinance allows such businesses as auto washes, car sales, rv sales, motels, drive ins, nursery, oil change or quick lube places, gas stations, all most any type of retail, motel, hotel and all most any type of office use.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: What about a pizza parlor?


Member Antosiak: I am sure that it is covered in there. It could be B1 or B2 which is also allowed under B3.


Member Meyer: Your attorney has indicated that he is asking that we grant the variance based upon economic hardship and yet Mr. Korte has indicated that everyone up at that corner of Novi Road is losing their shirt. So, how do you see this as an economic advantage for us to grant a variance in an area that it appears that because of the new road going and leaving this half mile deserted, how do you see that you are going to have much business there?


Mr. Zeer: I really do not see that as an expert in retail in the last 28 years. Even since I was a child I have been doing retail real estate. That street definitely and in my opinion, that street is definitely with that neighborhood, it needs services for the community. Also with all of the residential that is going up there they will need it. The speed and also the dividing of the new Novi Road will bring and instead of the community going to the other side of Novi Road, will come to that area because of the traffic being slower on the side. The point is that particular area had no commercial to serve that area. If you are thinking about going all the way to 14 Mile that is way out from all the commercial property that is there. To service that community and that neighborhood alone we will survive. I don’t see how or whatever the news is saying, I don’t see why and I believe from a party store to a small restaurant to an office to a doctor office or anything that service a small community, that area will be perfect for it. There is not that many lots left. That is the only one left. There might be one across the street that was rezoned. Beside the retailer there with the new on the other side of Novi by the lake, also they need the services because there is not services of commercial in that area north of 13 Mile. I am not ready to lose money there, but I market that property as residential, let me go ahead and try to see what I could do as a residential. Zero. Nobody wanted to take it. I talked to approximately 7 or 8 people, or more; interested, willing to go and to build a house. As soon as they walk out there they do not want to see it. They do not want to come there. That is the reason of the rezoning. I did try but there is no way that anybody will go there and build residential. Zero, I believe.


Member Meyer: The other question that I have, and once again I am asking in light of the comments from the other people; one of the residents indicated that she hoped that it will all stay residential, so what do you say to the people who live there who already are there and are concerned about some stores that are going up that would have a parking lot and behind this parking lot would be their home? What do you say to these people? I presume that you already have other property in other places, how do you address this concern?


Mr. Zeer: Number one the parking, the other 2 corners are commercial. Number two, when they purchased these properties it was already commercial and they were thinking that something was coming in. When they purchased they possibly took the break on their properties because it was commercial in the beginning of the street. They took the benefit of that. Now, if anything happened and what I am trying to say that it was commercial all along. When I bought it over 10 years ago and maybe 13 or 14 years ago; it was the future of planning to expand our company in one of the stores. So, everybody and maybe not somebody new, but a lot of the people that I know on Linhart they have been there since I owned the property.


Member Meyer: I believe that if indeed the Planning Commission refused to entertain your plan after the Council changed the zoning; indeed I hope that if we do not grant you this variance tonight that you do find some other avenue to pursue justice in this matter.


Phil Seymour: You talked about concerns of residents and certainly there could be screening built in to protect their property.


Mr. Zeer: I would cooperate.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: My comments are pretty simple. I believe that when somebody comes to the ZBA to ask for a use variance, you better have a very strong case as to why the property cannot be developed the way that it is zoned. In this particular case it is a match box part of the City. A part of the City that has been in reclamation for a couple of years. It was purposely rezoned for residential. The City Council and the Mayor at that time were behind that action. I don’t think that there has been anything demonstrated that the petitioner could not develop this; with the exception of the comments made to economic hardship which does not impact any decision on our side. Those are my general thoughts.


Member Antosiak: Just another observation. In addition to my question of essentially rezoning the parcel as well as what I consider personally to be a lack of support for the justification that it cannot be used as zoned, I am also a little concerned about approving such a variance with such an unspecified end use of the property and have to question whether we are doing our job to protect the public health, safety and welfare by in essence approving a variance that allows one of any multitude of uses which may or may not be appropriate for the area and I am not sure that is a decision that we should make. I would feel a lot more comfortable if we had a specific use in front of us, with very specific commitments like Mr. Seymour and Mr. Zeer say that they will make in terms of screening and the like. But to just approve a use under a given zoning category really troubles me.


Member Harrington: I concur with your comments. I have a significant threshold issue, but I am prepared to go to the merits of whatever the motion will be made. I have a significant threshold issue about the timeliness of this appeal. My instinct is that it is untimely. My instinct is that it ran a long time ago. I think that we can avoid that issue because I suppose that we would have jurisdiction to do a delayed appeal under some exigent circumstances or something. But turning to the merits, if we had a specific proposal which was supported by some segment of the community up there other than the developer, and some proposed use that was compatible and harmonious with what Council attempted to do in the north end and what the homeowners are trying to do in the north end, but for the new zoning it could not be done it would take a different context for me. I don’t hear a specific proposal which is not Mr. Seymour’s burden, but is the clients burden. I don’t hear that there is any harmony between the unspecified use and what the City Council has passed as law up there and I am also troubled by the fact that whatever the suggestion is that it cannot be used as residential is merely a suggestion. I think that the petitioner has some homework to do to persuade me which has not yet been done.


Phil Seymour: Perhaps we could withdraw our petition at the present time. I have talked to Mr. Zeer and he has indicated to me or we could adjourn a decision or what not; Mr. Zeer has indicated to me that he would be prepared to provide a specific proposal to the Board if that will assist the Board we would certainly provide that information.


Member Harrington: Is he likewise willing to meet with the affected homeowners up there and perhaps see if the proposed use can be harmonious with their own goals and objectives? I could see that there might be certain proposed developments that they would absolutely oppose and there might be some need for services or commercial establishments up there which maybe they would support.

Phil Seymour: Mr. Zeer is willing to do this between now and the next meeting.


Member Harrington: Are you asking us to table this?


Phil Seymour: I would ask that you table this until the next meeting.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: We have heard that the petitioner wishes to go back and give some more distinct thinking on what his commercial plans are and to share that with the community to see if there is a different opinion and then to bring it back to the next meeting. There is a move to table this until the next meeting, if there is support please say aye. Maybe we should call the vote.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Case tabled to the July 7, 1998 meeting.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: You understand that you have some work to do.


Member Harrington: In that vein, I am particularly concerned about the issue of can it be used for residential or no.


Chairman Reinke: If he comes in with a particular use, will that have to be re-advertised? If it is a B-3 use would it have to be re-advertised?


Don Saven: I think that if he is going to stay with the B-3 use which is every use that is B-1 and B-2, I do not believe that it needs to be re-advertised.



Case No. 98-040 filed by Daniel J. Williams


Daniel J. Williams is requesting a 21' front yard setback variance, a .9% lot coverage variance and a height variance of .67' to allow for the construction of a three car garage at 1651 West Lake Dr.


No one came forward.



Case No. 98-041 filed by Daniel C. Johnson


Daniel Johnson is requesting a 7.8' side yard setback variance on the north and a 5.5' side yard setback variance on the south to allow for the construction of a second floor addition at 1953 West Lake Drive.


Daniel Johnson was present and duly sworn.


Daniel Johnson: Currently on my house I have 2 dormers on the upper story, there is a floor that goes the full length between both sides of the roof. Most of that is closet space. I have 2 full sized bedrooms upstairs and a full bath. I was disabled in January of 1996 and I need to add another room upstairs. I have a small bedroom downstairs but that has been more of a utility room for me than anything. I need to add a room upstairs so that I could set aside an area for a work out because I can’t afford a physical therapist. Currently my only medical coverage is through the VA because I was a Vietnam era veteran. So, I am not actually changing anything except to put a full upper story on. I have already submitted all the plans and had them checked through the plan checker in the City including the fact that there has to be a fire wall where the plywood has to have a one hour separation time; my builder has already agreed and has made plans for that.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 24 notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: We are always impacted by what the residents and the neighbors feel. No one seems to object. Given that this is an extension of an existing wall line this is in line with what we have been comfortable with in the past.


Chairman Reinke: There is no further intrusion into the side yards, he is just going up with the existing walls.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 98-042 filed by Bates Architects, representing Bearing Service, Inc.


Bates Architects, representing Bearing Service Inc., is requesting a variance to the noise performance standards which require a certified sound engineer’s report on proposed sound emissions for a proposed building at 46825 Grand River Avenue.


Arthur Bates was present and duly sworn.


Arthur Bates: I am the architect on this project. The owner Douglas Savage is at a business meeting and could not attend tonight. Basically this is along Grand River Avenue; it is zoned I1 or light industrial. The property is approximately 1181 feet deep. On the 2 sides it is industrial zoned to the back is vacant RA residential. What that means is that this falls under a special exception for anything to be developed on that site. One of the requirements of special exception is that you have to have a performance standards noise report by a certified sound engineer. This site is about 1100 feet deep and we are only using the front 500 feet. The remaining 600 plus or minus feet is woodlands and wetlands that we are not going to develop. The proposed structure is a corporate office with a warehouse; 10,000 square foot office and a 10,000 square foot warehouse. The warehouse mechanical equipment is all located within the building. The air conditioning and heating units for the office are roof topped mounted which will be at the front of the building. The warehouse is taller than the office portion so we have the warehouse screening that sound. Also we have a vision barrier on the remaining 3 sides of this equipment. These are standard roof top units that you see on any office building. The largest one is 8 ton. What we are requesting is a variance that we do not have to go through the sound engineer to get the report for the time and I know that it doesn’t count but the expense of it. We have price quotes of $2500.00 to $5000.00, all sort of guesstimates. We would like a variance of having to do this. When were at the preliminary site plan submittal this arose and they gave us the advice to come here and we thought that it would be a good idea. I will be glad to answer any of your questions.


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




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Does Novi have a noise ordinance which limits the sound levels at property lines?


Don Saven: Yes.


Member Antosiak: So regardless of whether this entity did the test they would still be bound by those ordinances.


Don Saven: Yes, that is correct.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: The bottom line is that it was cheaper to come here than to pay for the test which would be meaningless and moot anyway.


Arthur Bates: Yes, and possibly common sense.


Chairman Reinke: You have just storage handling equipment there? No manufacturing?


Arthur Bates: There is no manufacturing, this is going to be the corporate head quarters, basically distribution. They sell bearings, pulleys and belts.


Chairman Reinke: So basically they would be just warehousing; fork lifts and conveyors?


Arthur Bates: He has one electric fork lift. Most of the bearings are very expensive and they come in little boxes so they weigh a lot, but it is not a major operation.


Member Meyer: You say it is air conditioned, so on a warm summer night there is no possibility of having all of the doors open to this place?


Arthur Bates: They don’t work at night. There may be one or two people in the office, but the warehouse portion is basically 7 to 6:30 at night.


Member Harrington: What is the building cost? How much are you or your principals investing into this property?


Arthur Bates: With the property and all just under 2 million dollars.


Member Harrington: So this is just a fraction of less than 1% of the cost?


Arthur Bates: It is a very small percentage, but so far to date we have spent close to $60,000.00 on development plans for the City of Novi and we still don’t have an approval. It has been 10 months since we started this process and the hemorrhage is getting very bad. The project is almost to the point that it is not feasible.


Member Harrington: Because you are spending 60 out of a projected 2 million?


Arthur Bates: Yes.


Member Harrington: What documents do you have for us to consider, which would suggest that the $2500.00 to $5000.00 is out of line?


Arthur Bates: I didn’t bring it with me. I don’t know if it is in line or not. What we are saying is that these are standard roof top units, you can drive up and down the streets and you can see them, everybody else is using them, we have a 500 plus foot buffer area and the land behind us presently is not developed and someday it will be residential. We do have a wooded and wetland buffer zone. plus the warehouse stands up taller than this equipment so we have a building between the equipment and the residential.


Member Harrington: So basically the suggestion to the Board as I hear it is that this requirement is sort of silly and that we should waive it to save you money because we as lay persons can anticipate your future use and we know as a Board that there won’t be a problem so we should save the developer $2500.00 or $5000.00?


Arthur Bates: Yes and no. I think the money is something. We want to build an office building in Novi. We have the units on and the City of Novi has a performance requirement and the Zoning Board has the decibel levels and everything like that. We have to comply with that whether you give us this variance or not. What we are saying is that we can comply with that, we have to comply with that so why do we have to have a sound engineer tell us that we will be way under the limits? Why do we have to go through the formal process to have him go and visit all of our stores and do a sound level, write a big report, submit it; when I think that everybody here has a pretty good feeling that we are going to be way under that level.


Member Harrington: Do you mean why did City Council make you jump over that hoop when they passed the ordinance?


Arthur Bates: I understand what the ordinance is for, but what I am saying is that we don’t generate noise any where near the limits that you impose.


Member Harrington: We didn’t impose anything. We sit here to judge whether or not based upon demonstrated hardship an exception should be granted. Generally speaking and I have sort of been in the minority on this I think that economics can be the basis for a hardship, most of the Board has gone on record in the past saying that economics can never be the basis for a hardship. But, we were not the ones that imposed this requirement on you as part of your development. We are here to grant relief in extraordinary situations. That is what we are here to do. We are not City Council, we didn’t pass it.


Arthur Bates: We are here because you have the power or the ability to grant us a variance where we do not have to comply with a sound engineer.


Member Harrington: That is correct, based upon a showing of a demonstrated hardship. Not silliness, but hardship.


Arthur Bates: Our hardship is the time. I will tell you that the hardship is that we have been working on this thing for 9 months. If you talk to anybody up in City hall, anybody in the Planning Department we have been shafted all the way through this thing. It is costing us a fortune on things that are not required. We did a wetlands report and the City Attorney said that it wasn’t required when we submitted it. That took us 6 months.


Member Harrington: Well you filed your application on May 12th for review by this Board and the first Tuesday of June we are making a call on the treatment that you received from the other Board in the City. We are acting with remarkable speed to give you an answer to your question. I don’t really care if it took 9 months or 10 years with some other Boards, we are going to address your problem this evening one way or the other or it could be tabled if the Board wants more information. But, the fact that you perceive that you have received difficult treatment from other Boards in this City is not within our purview. I am not interested in hearing it really.


Don Saven: Sometimes when we deal with existing buildings, where we have a structure there we have the ability to do sound checks. This is a vacant piece of property. The amount of noise level that you are going to receive on any portion of this property would probably be the cars that are going by. Plus the fact that this gentleman had buildings in other areas; it might not be to the exact standards of what we would have here so there is a real question or doubt in terms on the sound issue. But if it was for the units within themselves maybe there is something that is there. Each circumstance that you are going to be dealing with is going to have it’s own merit. In this particular instance the wetlands buffer, the woodlands buffer, if that is the distance that the building is going to be set back from the road or adjacent to the residential district. All these play an important part in the scenario.


Member Antosiak: Thank you for making my argument. Just a question, at what point would the sound testing be required? Now, before construction? After construction is up and the facility is in operation?


Don Saven: I believe that what we are going to be looking at is the use that is being conducted within the building itself. The roof top units may be something that is questionable. You are going to have to have them one way or the other to support the function of the building. We have ordinances just for residential; that if they receive an air conditioner it can go any place in the rear yard and we have issues like that which we deal with. If there is a problem then we have do something about it.


Member Harrington: But Jim is saying, when. Let’s assume that we do not grant a variance, when would this have to be done?


Member Antosiak: Someone would have to do an analysis based on the proposed equipment at the property as to what sort of noise that would produce.


Don Saven: It would have to be just before operations or the certificate of occupancy. He has to be operating the business..


Arthur Bates: Because this is special exception, we have preliminary site plan approval but we cannot start construction until we get the final site plan approval. Final site plan approval means that we have to have this report from the sound engineer.


Member Meyer: But how can you have it when it says that it has to be done by a certified sound engineer competent to evaluate noise emissions under maximum operating conditions; how can you evaluate something when it is not even built?


Arthur Bates: Those are your rules.


Member Antosiak: There is published information and the equipment information from manufacturers on the noise out put from certain pieces of equipment at certain operating capacity. A sound engineer can access how much sound will dissipate over a certain distance and what would be the sound at the property line.


Member Meyer: That is the answer to the man’s question because he said "why do we need this" and we need this because there are citizens who live in that area and no matter how many buffers you have with wetlands and woods and whatever and they may have moved to that section of Novi precisely because it was so nice and quiet.


Member Antosiak: My response to that is that they should have commented on the variance request.

I can only also say that I have personal experience dealing with noise being generated several thousand horse power compressors at distances at or less than this and we are able to meet most ordinance sound requirements at the property line which I think is usually 60 or 65 decibels, for considerably noisier operations.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Perhaps to look at it a little straighter or from a different perspective, the petitioner is here because Brandon Rogers suggested that he come here. I think that given the nature of their business, if there was a sincere interest by somebody on this Board that was concerned about residential properties that are not even built today that are adjoining this company down the road; we have the option of granting this variance to grant relief to this company and continue to have continuing jurisdiction.


Member Antosiak: Continuing jurisdiction will not do it. Once we grant the approval the gentleman will build the facility and at that point he will then be subject to the other ordinance that regulates the sound levels at the property line. This is a test that is required to be done pre-construction to basically provide the City with assurance that adjoining neighbors will not be affected by the noise from this parcel. So once we grant the variance, there is no turning back essentially.


Chairman Reinke: There is no turning back, but he still has to live within the sound limit ordinance of the City. Whether or not he went out and got this evaluation and the evaluation was wrong and his noise level was higher than what would be allowed by ordinance he would still be regulated and controlled by that. So this is just really a factor that he is being put through prior to putting his building up.


Member Bauer: And I think that the gentelman said that he understood this. Am I correct?


Arthur Bates: We still have to comply with the noise ordinance whether you approve us or not; the end thing before we occupy that building we have to be in compliance.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Member Harrington: One comment only, I think it is a dangerous precedent to set that we are going to waive statutory requirements because we can always catch them later if they violate. I have never heard the Board do that before and I don’t think it is the proper remedy in this case.


Member Meyer: I am going to vote against it precisely because I feel that this is a very important section of the Novi City Code and we should be abiding by it. I do extend my sympathy to this gentleman for the hoops that he has had to jump through, this is one though that I think that he should have to abide by.


Chairman Reinke: I think that the ordinance is there for a specific reason, it is to look and to evaluate the potential of a business moving in that could generate sound levels that would be unacceptable. I think that we need to look at each facility for it’s merit of what it is going to be doing and I don’t think that the petitioner is going to generate any sound levels that are going to be anywhere larger than the existing businesses that are right around there; and for that reason I can support the motion.

Member Antosiak: Just to paraphrase something and I believe that Mr. Reinke has said in the past, each case stands on it’s own merit. I understand your comment Mr. Harrington, but we do set precedent but each case does stand on it’s own.


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


Case no. 98-043 filed by Anthony Koblinski

Anthony Koblinski is requesting a rear yard setback variance of 3.65' to allow for the construciton of a screened porch for property located at 22339 Barclay Dr.


Anthony Koblinski was present and duly sworn.


Anthony Koblinski: We have recently been transferred back to Michigan after 10 years in Tennessee and chose Novi as the place to reside because of it’s reputation as a good place to live and a great place to raise our children; we have 2 small boys aged 6 and 3. We looked around for an area to purchase a home and found Barclay Subdivision at the corner of Nine Mile and Beck. Unlike many of our neighbors who have tales to tell, our building experience went quite well until one small hiccup and that being the inability to build the porch and deck the way that we currently have it laid out and lined up to be built. We are looking for about 15 feet in terms of a screened in porch combination deck off of the back of the building. Based upon that dimension it would put it as was read 3.65 feet beyond the 35 foot setback. As we look at the home within that subdivision, it is a nice subdivision and we have built a fine home and as we look and talk to the builder in terms of alternatives to stay within the limitations it just really wouldn’t make sense given the bump out of the screened in door that would lead to this. We would have about 10 feet of usable space of screened in porch. Without the variance we would be limited to a small deck and obviously very concerned about the resale of that as well as the livability given our desire to spend time out in Michigan summers within our porch and have our boys spend time there as well.


Anthony Koblinski: So what you have are the plot plans, the sketch of what we are trying to do, the approval of the homeowner’s association; what you don’t have and I would be happy to share them with you are some pictures which were taken last night from our kitchen which shows the location of the stake and the relationship to the home and the backyard that we adjoin, which is a 5 acre farm which is about 200 feet away So the variance really would not impact her condition.


Anthony Koblinski: What you also don’t have and I don’t know what response you got to your notifications; but we took the opportunity to meet our neighbors and talk with each neighbor within 500 feet including the woman directly behind who owns a 5 acre farm and she really is the one that is most impacted and all have signed their approval of the variance and the plan as written.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 19 notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: The only thing that I can mention is that if you look at the plot plan there is a 25 foot private easement for drainage and public utilities which he will not be infringing upon.


Pictures were given to the Board.


Approval of homeowners given to Board.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Nice job, you have researched well and came prepared.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Anthony Koblinski: I don’t want to press my luck but the bottom of the form that I filled out said that if I needed a request of waiver of the 5 day period I should make that here as well; we have been trying to line up this builder and he has held next week to build this deck if we got the variance, is that appropriate at this time?


Don Saven: That would be fine.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I would be happy to add that to the motion.


Member Bauer: Sure.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I think that we have a general nodding of the heads. OK



Case No. 98-040 filed by Daniel J. Williams


Daniel J. Williams is requesting a 21' front yard setback variance, a .9% lot coverage variance and a height variance of .67' to allow for the construction of a three car garage at 1651 West Lake Dr.


Daniel Williams was present and duly sworn.


Daniel Williams: I have a house on the west side of Walled Lake and there is an existing small 1 1/2 car garage. I haven’t moved into the house yet, I am remodeling the house. We have a finish carpenter who has torn the house down to the studs, rewired it and we are putting new windows throughout the house, new facing on the house, re-landscaping it and there is the garage that is out there now it is like a 1 1/2 car garage and it is kind of an older, beat up garage. I would like to demolish the garage and have a new garage built. I have a builder selected. The new garage would be consistent with the architecture of the home, the same roof line and once the garage is built in addition to the roof lines matching the windows would match and the siding would match.


Daniel Williams: The purpose of this is really because there is insufficient space in the existing 1 1/2 car garage for cars, storage of a boat or 2 cars and kids toys, etc. There is no basement because it is a waterfront home. The house is only 2000 square feet.


Daniel Williams: The project looks like it is a $35,000.00 cost for the garage and another $60,000.00 for the house. I have applied for the appropriate permits on the house. We are pretty much under way on the house part of it and now we are looking at the garage part of it.


Daniel Williams: There are 3 violations here. The first one is that the City Code requires a 30 foot setback and this garage would have a 9 foot setback. The garage that is there right now is 9 foot off of the road; the one that we propose to demolish. The other one was the lot coverage, it says that the maximum coverage is supposed to be 25% and this garage would make it 25.9%, so it would be all most 1% point over on the coverage. The height on this garage would be about 7 inches higher than what is allowed at 14 feet.


Daniel Williams: There is a little bit of an angle on the road there, we would stay consistent with what is there now. In other words, the new garage wouldn’t come closer to the road any more than the old one does now. There would be no point on the garage that would come closer than 9 feet, which might be contrary to the way that the drawing was done.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 27 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received. One conditional and one approval. (Copies in file.)




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: I would just point out to the Board that this would be a side entry garage. You will see that he does meet the required standards for the 25 foot requirement for him being able to back out of the garage and get onto the road. This is not a front entry garage.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: As long as the Building Department is talking, what is magical about 14 foot and why can’t he do it?


Don Saven: That is the 14 foot requirement, the mean average of the roof line. In computing what he has it is approximately 7 inches higher than the mean average of the roof line.


Member Antosiak: I recollect that in an earlier case or an earlier issue we had about a second story in a garage, is there any ordinance preclusion to that?


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Using that for living space?


Don Saven: Talking about the issue regarding storage, I think it had to deal with the pitch of the roof lines and as long as it stood within the pitch of the roof line it wasn’t a problem.


Daniel Williams: I did talk to the neighbors on both sides. I prepared a little letter saying that they liked it and it was a good idea. We have the Lindorfs on one side and the Spackman’s on the other side and both of those neighbors are going to be substantially remodeling their houses. Since the letter was signed by Clive Spackman he is a great guy and he has come back to me and he continues to support the garage however he is concerned now because he is going back with his house and this shows me being within 3 foot of the lot line and he is concerned about that proximity because he is going to come so far back with his house and with him being 5 foot off of the line and I was only 3 foot there would only 8 feet between the houses. This is an accessory building, but still he has that concern and being consistent with what he is asked of me I am fine with moving the garage over 2 more feet away. So in other words instead of having it be 3 feet from his property we would be 5 foot. In this way in the event that somebody later wanted to tear down the house or do something like that they may be able to connect the house to the garage and still be 10 feet from dwelling to dwelling.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will just make one comment that kind of jumped out at me and concerned me and maybe you can put it all to rest. That upper level in this garage which is a little over 7 1/2 feet up to a rafter, that is intended for storage?


Daniel Williams: Yes, that is for storage.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: You have no intention of making that into a bedroom when your oldest boy becomes 13? That is not going to be a residentially used apartment for the mother-in-law?


Daniel Williams: Absolutely not.


Chairman Reinke: My major concern is the garage location being 9 foot off of the right of way, with the vehicles in and out; but since he has the side entrance he is not really backing out onto the road directly. That was my major concern, so I can support what the petitioner is doing and I understand the storage needs, with recreational vehicles it doesn’t take long to fill a garage.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


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


Continuation of case filed by Singh Development Co., LTD 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: As the members probably recall I was before you last month requesting an approval of a second entry sign for our Main Street Village project. The sign was to be located as depicted on this drawing at the extension of the boulevard that comes up to the intersection that comes up to the intersection of Main Street and Market Street, which is on the west side of Vic’s Fruit Market. One of the concerns at the time of our last meeting was the placement of the sign which we are proposing to be 10 feet back of the curb at the nose of the boulevard island. I took the liberty of going out to the site and taking some photographs so that you could get a feeling and many of you may have gone out there yourselves to get a feeling for exactly what the site distance problems, if any, would be while you are sitting at the intersection of Market and Main Street coming out of our development. I have included in the packets copies of 4 photographs that we took at the intersection. The top photograph just shows the location of the wall that is currently in the boulevard from a southbound car on Market Street. The second photograph is showing the location of a car sitting at the stop sign at the exit of our complex with the wall immediately to the left. The third photograph is sitting in the drivers seat of that car and taking a photograph of the intersection to show the site distance that one would have when they would either go straight or turn left. As you can see in photograph number 3 you can’t even see the wall. So what we did was that we exaggerated on photograph number 4 so that you could see where the wall would show up in your view sitting at the stop sign. I think that these photographs clearly show that there is no site distance obstruction sitting at that stop sign given the placement of the proposed signage and the wall. I am here to answer any questions that you may have.



There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


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


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I was out there and we were all concerned that the wall which is already up would going to interfere with the site lines. It doesn’t.


Chairman Reinke: After visiting it also and seeing it there, you did a very good job on your pictures in showing the actual impact it gives you a good thing to review.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Brennan,




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


Case No.98-037 filed by Terry Haskins, representing Planet Business Center


Terry Haskins, representing Planet Business Center, is requesting a variance to allow a business center sign 7' x 5'6" (40 sq. ft.) with heigh from grade being 16', for property located at 46593 Grand River Avenue.


Jeff Heyn was present and duly sworn.


Jeff Heyn: I am the owner of the property and the building. First I would like to point out that on the drawing it says that we are requesting a 16' high sign, that is a typo and I would like to clarify that and we would like to do a 15' high sign that is in compliance with the ordinance. The square footage we are in compliance and the setback we are in compliance. But I am here to seek a variance regarding the multi-tenant address panels and sign panels. We have 6 other companies in our building complex there on Grand River and it is a tremondous hardship for these 6 companies in our complex which are hidden from view. Except for people in the know, many believe that Planet Neon is the only business in the building. People driving down Grand River looking for one of our tenants, for example Rushton Tool, simply cannot find them without a meandering investigation. Planet Neon is constantly bombarded with people walking into their front office looking for the businesses that are in the rear and their addresses. Our business neighbors to the west also told me that they are approached in their offices by people looking for businesses that are hidden in our complex. Al Amolsch perhaps can attest that these companies often through frustration and desperation stick little signs out on Grand River, illegal signs so that their customers or vendors can find them.


Jeff Heyn: We have designed this sign to meet the City’s sign criteria, but also to solve a traffic and way finding problem and enable people looking for these companies to find them. I also feel that this will be a great help to the Fire Department, UPS and other important services.


Jeff Heyn: We are in the beginnings of some exterior building cosmetics and renovations. We are going to do new asphalt and facade work and feel that this will be the first and probably the most important and best step towards these improvements. If granted this will be the only sign on the front of the property visible from Grand River.


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


Chairman Reinke inquired of the Building Department. The way that this was advertised is really incorrect, am I correct on that?


Alan Amolsch: No, it is a business center sign that they wish to put the name of businesses on.


Chairman Reinke: The reason that I ask is that the variance is only for height?


Alan Amolsch: Business center signs can be 15' tall. Business signs can only be 5' tall. He wants to put the names of the businesses on the business center sign also enabling the businesses in the center to have wall signs.


Member Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: Did you just say that the businesses will also have individual wall signs?


Alan Amolsch: If the property has a business center sign it allows the individual businesses to have wall signs. Right now they don’t; but that would allow them to do that.


Member Harrington: So granting the pylon sign also gives them a second sign?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, it gives all the businesses the ability to have wall signs.


Jeff Heyn: I can say that the importance of the wall signs is not there. Mainly they would need a wall sign just to identify their entrance with the address.


Member Harrington: Will the wall signs be visible from Grand River?


Jeff Heyn: No.




Alan Amolsch: Just to clarify. If this is just a business sign with all of the tenant names on, it can only be 5' high. He can get a permit for a business sign just like this if it were only 5' high. But, he wants one 15 or 16' high as he put on the application and the drawing. That requires a variance either way. It doesn’t matter what you call it. You can call it a business center sign with names on it or you can call it a business sign that needs a height variance. It depends upon how you want to look at it.


Member Meyer: Could you possibly have a 5' sign? I see the trees here, so obviously it gives the impression that it has to be above the trees; but what I am trying to say is there any reason why you could not have it closer to the ground?


Jeff Heyn: I guess I am a little confused now. I thought that we moved the sign back to meet.....


Alan Amolsch: It is the height that is the problem, not the square footage. You cannot have a 15' high business sign; you can have a 15' high business center sign. There is where the difference is. You need a variance for either height of a business sign or a variance to allow you to put the names on a business center sign. One or the other, that is why it is written up with height that is needed and the fact that you are putting names on a business center sign.


Jeff Heyn: We have an 80' setback.


Alan Amolsch: You are OK with that, it is not square footage just the height. There is currently a sign on the premises that says Planet Neon Sign Company. There are no wall signs on the property right now. That is a business sign and it is only 5' high. Basically what he wants to do is to put another sign on the property that has all of the names of the tenants and raise it up to 15'; one way or the other he needs a variance for something.


Jeff Heyn: We would like to obviously remove the other sign.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Unless he was confused and didn’t realize that he could have this sign at 5'; would that solve your identification problem if you built this sign at 5'?


Jeff Heyn: That would be kind of tough because it would have to go under ground. You see these panels are only 6 3/4 inches, so we thought that we would at least have to get it off of the ground.

Vice-Chairman Brennan: Give us some help here. Are there some topography issues? Where is the hardship that you need this 15' sign, that you have decided that you need?


Member Meyer: If I understand correctly, you thought that you were within the criteria.


Jeff Heyn: Yes, I thought that I was within the criteria and I guess that I was mistaken.


Chairman Reinke: Well, the criteria changes when you put all of the names on it.


Jeff Heyn: Yes, and we need the names, that is the point.


Chairman Reinke: Well what we are saying is can you put the names on it and lower it down rather than have it at 15'?


Jeff Heyn: What would be the setback at that point?


Alan Amolsch: For a 40 square foot sign, you need an 80 foot setback from the center line of the road.


Jeff Heyn: I purposely moved it back, but our intent was by moving it back and you are correct that there are small pines there and we are trying to be back behind the pine trees and still be seen. I thought that was what the City was looking for.


Member Bauer: How far back is the present Planet Neon sign?


Jeff Heyn: It is 63' right now, I believe.


Alan Amoslch: That is right. It is an 8 by 4, 32 square foot, 5 foot high sign.


Member Harrington: Is your rendering here accurate that those bushes standing next to the person are exactly next to where your sign would go, or those just the artist’s rendering?


Jeff Heyn: That is just the artist rendering.


Member Harrington: Just to give us the perspective of what might be there? There might not be any bushes at all next to the 15' sign.


Jeff Heyn: Right. At that point I think that they would be in front of the sign toward Grand River. So we moved it back to get away from the existing landscape too, which has grown up actually. We have landscaping up closer to the road, so my intention was to move it back but still be seen in an area that is just behind the pine trees.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Let me tell you where you had me and then where you lost me and then we can work from there. I didn’t realize that you had other tenants in that facilty. You have convinced me that you need some help. And you have convinced me that you don’t need wall signs back there because they need to be seen from Grand River. What you haven’t convinced me now that we have identified the type of sign that you want is why do you need it 3 times what ordinance allows and if you haven’t convinced me of that; can you live with something less and still satisfy your needs?


Member Harrington: Let me give you an example. If we can work with you in terms of getting the identification of the tenants on the sign; I have a clear bias against pylon signs. I don’t think that is the spirit of what the Novi Ordinance intends and the closer that you can get to a ground sign the happier I am with the sign. Do you feel yourself that you would like to go back and eyeball that site and maybe consider whether there is a bush or two that you could take out and make a sign closer to the ground which will work. You may still need a little bit of a variance either in terms of setback or in terms of height or square footage or something, but I don’t think that you need 15' off of the ground for that sign to accomplish your purpose.


Member Meyer: For all those people who are coming now and going to the neighboring businesses and asking where is so and so; they would be very much helped by a ground sign, they wouldn’t need a 15' one.


Jeff Heyn: I think that possibly since I have got a lot of property and frontage, if I had 6' potentially we could make that work and that would make it 11 1/2' high. Only because we are moving it back 80' and that brings it back to the point where you would like to get some kind of site line to it. We often build other ground signs in other cities with about a 4' high base. That way we are probably looking at, if you can picture, the bottom of the sign being the top of the person in the rendering.


Member Harrington: You are in the sign busines so it would be like a piece of cake for you to put up a rendering between now and the next meeting. A mock up at the 11' height.


Jeff Heyn: An actual real.....


Member Harrington: Cardboard or whatever.


Chairman Reinke: Just something that is the outline at the height that you are talking about at that location. It can be a piece of plywood at that size or something of that nature. Then we can get a true look at the distance back, the visiblity of that sized sign at that height.


Jeff Heyn: At the one I suggested, the 6'?

Member Harrington: If you go out there tomorrow in the daylight and you are convinced that is the size that you really need. You may decide that you can get away with 7 rather than 11. We will look at whatever you put up.


Jeff Heyn: I understand. OK I think it makes sense and I can probably place it in the right area.


Chairman Reinke: Then we can make a true evalutation of it. Then you can see whether it looks right at what you really feel that you need.


Member Meyer: We will be glad to drive by. Just let us know through Nancy as soon as you have it up.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: You can kill 2 gorillas with one banana here as well; you can make this mock up, put Planet Business Center and put your tenants names on it and for that 30 days while we are getting an idea of what it looks like and what you want you still have some identification during that time too.


Jeff Heyn: That sounds fine. That is fair enough. I will play with the height to see what makes sense.

Chairman Reinke: See what you think is really realistic and what you feel that you need.


Jeff Heyn: The other thing that I wanted to bring up is that I wasn’t really sure and I had contemplated naming it Heyn Business Center, is that a problem if I change the name? It would be the same square footage, just a different name. I have just been throwing that idea around.


Alan Amolsch: That is not a problem.


Don Saven: If he is going for the mock up I just want to clarify one thing; he should not change the setback location.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: That would be at the 80' setback.


Member Antosiak: I would only ask that when you let Nancy know that it is up, that you let her know at what height you put up so that we can asses that while we are out there. We talked about 11 or 15 or something else and I think that we need to know once you have done that what the height is.


Chairman Reinke: I am assuming that there is unanimous approval to table this to the next meeting?

Voice vote, all yeas. Case is tabled to the next meeting.



Case No. 98-038 filed by John Colucci, representing Williamsburg Office Center


John Colucci, representing Williamsburg Office Center, is requesting a variance to allow a business center sign 10' x 3' (30 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 6'2", for property located at 40255 Grand River Avenue.


John Colucci was present and duly sworn.


John Colucci: I am the owner of the building. The reason I am here is that I am asking for a variance in that the sign ordinance as it now reads provides that if I have an office center sign then I cannot have wall signs to identify each individual suite unless I have 4 tenants. This is a building that is slightly under 10,000 square feet and it fronts on Bashian Street. If you are on Grand River you are seeing the end of the building and the reason for that is that is because that particular lot is a dog leg and if you are looking at the lot from Grand River it is a dog leg to the left. The only way that you can construct that building is to face Bashian. So, what I would like to do is to have a business center sign where the sign now exists. The sign would be the same size and this is a dental building so patients coming in off of Grand River and going south on Bashian would turn into the driveway and they can’t see exactly where each doctor is located. The reason is that there is only 3 tenants. If I had 4 tenants there would be a sign along side each door. Two dentists have combined their practice and that is how I ended up with 3 tenants. I have a tenant on the north wing and when you pull into the parking lot, the wing sticks out of the building and you can’t see who is on the other side so if you drive by it you still don’t know unless there is a wall sign.


John Colucci: So what I am asking for is the business center sign as it now stands, the same location, same size, 30 square feet, and the ability to put up a wall sign in the center suite that would identify Dr. Elfring and Dr. Andris. The south suite is the Ramsey Ceramic Lab and the north suite is Dr. Nancy Zellen. If I had another tenant, I wouldn’t have a problem and I would be in compliance. Two doctors combined their practice and knocked me right out of the ball park.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 91 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch: This is similar to the case that we heard last month with Novi Pavillon that didn’t have enough tenants for a business center sign.


Member Harrington: I drive by there and a lot and my memory is that the first sign issue we had to deal with was Bob Hill who moved up north.

John Colucci: That is correct.


Member Harrington: And his practice was assumed by Dr. Zellen and the signage that is there now is the only signage that, for example that Dr. Zellen has because she took over Bob Hills sign on the wall or is there a free standing sign out there now? Or is that the existing Williamsburg sign?


John Colucci: The free standing sign is the Williamsburg sign. The wall sign that is next to Nancy Zellen’s entrance is her wall sign. So when you drive by you know that she is there.


Member Harrington: But there are no wall signs for the other tenants?


John Colucci: We haven’t put them up because we need the variance. We got the variance for Bob Hill and it just carried over to Nancy Zellen. I have the wall signs, I just can’t install them.


Member Harrington: Because?


Alan Amolsch: If they are allowed to have the business center sign the tenants in the building will not need a variance to put their wall signs up.


Chairman Reinke: They can’t have both, they have to have a variance for one or the other.


Alan Amolsch: They did it for awhile. The Williamsburg Office Center sign at one time had all the names of the businesses on that and Dr. Hill had to get a variance to put his wall sign up.


Member Meyer: I guess what we are talking about here in this particular Zoning Board case is the one business center sign.


John Colucci: That is what we would like to put up on Grand River.


Member Meyer: But, you already have one up. I drove by there today and you already have a ground sign.


John Colucci: We have this temporary canvas, but that is not really a part of the sign. We put that up during the appeal period. If you drive by Grand River and you have the individual signs that give the names of the doctors, you can’t read them. The traffic moves to quickly. Ideally you would identify the office building and then the patients would know that this is the building and then when they come down Bashian and up the driveway they can identify the individual suites with the wall sign.


Member Meyer: So the canvas sign that I saw today is not the one that you are going to be using?


John Colucci: No, we are making a new sign. It is going to be the same size, the base for the sign does not change. But we would remove the canvas and have it say Williamsburg Office. Now, Mr. Michael Zaks of Signtext is here and they would be manufacturing the sign and installing it on approval. If he may, I would like him to address the Board and show you what kind of sign he is going to put up.


Michael Zak was sworn in.


Michael Zak: I think that I can probably simplify the matter. What you have seen in viewing and driving by the location is the permanent ground sign that was installed. That sign originally had 2 inch letters for each of the tenants. Really not visible from any substantial distance. What we really want to do is to replace that sign with the rendering that I am going to present to you and that is the same size and the same configuration, simply with the words Williamsburg Office Center in approximately 7 to 8 inch letters with the address on top. We think that the sign as presented here is aesthetically pleasing, it aids any of the visitors to the complex by identifying the name of the complex and the address. We eliminate the small busy looking 2 inch letters and trade them for what you see in front of you.


Chairman Reinke: The actual sign section itself is 3' high, correct?


Michael Zak: It is 3' x 10', which is the size that is allowed by the ordinance.


Member Antosiak: Just to clarify the overall height of the sign, 6'2"?


Michael Zak: From grade to the top of the sign, yes.


Member Meyer: And the only reason that you are here tonight is because you only have 3 tenants and not 4.


Michael Zak: That is correct, otherwise it wouldn’t be an issue and we would be allowed the sign that you are viewing in front of you.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan,




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


Case No. 98-044 filed by Paradise Entertainment, Inc., representing 5th Avenue Ball Room


Paradise Entertainment Inc., representing 5th Avenue Ball Room, is requesting variances to allow three (3) signs to be placed on the building at 25750 Novi Road. Sign "A" - a wall sign 14'5" x 4'8" (69.6 sq. ft.) to be placed by the front door; Sign "B" - a projecting sign 4'4" x 14'5 1/4" (63.8 sq. ft.) to be placed on the Novi Road side of the building; Sign "C" a wall sign 7'1" x 3 1/4" (23.4 sq.ft.) to be placed at the back of the building.


Thomas Grady was present and duly sworn.


Thomas Grady: I appreciate the opportunity to come to speak with you this evening regarding the 5th Avenue Ball Room project at 25750 Novi Road, which is part of the new development of Main Street Court.


Thomas Grady: We are here tonight requesting a variance to put 3 signs on our building. One on each elevation, we are an end unit. The package that I gave you has quite a bit of drawings and since the time that we were put on the docket for today, we had the opportunity to put together some mock up signs and to attach them to the building and I have also had the opportunity to get some information regarding the attachment of the projecting sign to the building as far as how that exactly would be done. I have those right here and I will pass those out to you.


Thomas Grady: I will just give you the quick basics for our need for 3 signs. We have frontage and entrances on 2 main roads, being Novi Road and Trans-X. Our parking lots pour out onto each road. We have a pretty extreme setback. It is 140' from the center of Novi Road to the front of our building and it is 141 from the center of Trans-X to the front of our building. As you can see from the pictures we are also at a raised elevation in regards to both entrances. The speed on Novi Road in particular is 45 miles per hour and therefore I feel that signage on that side of the road is imperative for us in establishing our business. Also on the Trans-X side that is the entrance to our building, a sign over the door is what we are requesting there. On the back side of the building there was not a mock up for this sign it is relatively small in comparison, would be a sign at the top of the back of our building which would be the east elevation representing where we are to the majority of our parking.


Thomas Grady: We have the front on Novi and Trans-X, and both are over 80 lineal feet of frontage for both roads. We have a lot of square footage, altogether we have about 15,000 square feet of space. Our building is also quite a grand development in size. It is only a 2 story building but it is nearly 45' high which could house a lot of 3 story buildings. I think that because of these issues that we have; the distance back from Novi and Trans-X, the speed and especially on Novi Road, and the fact that we are set up much higher than a normal site line. If you look down the site line of where the road goes in accordance to the telephone poles, we are pretty significantly setback from there. I think that we need a strong signage presence just so that we can identify ourselves. There is going to be no building center sign there because we have only 3 tenants and if I am not mistaken that was one of the issues in the beginning with a sign right on Novi Road.


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




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: You said that you have 3 tenants in this building?


Tom Grady: There is a Red Hot & Blue which is the northern most; in that entire center that little chunk of buildings that we have there and I am a tenant. Mr. Jim Chen is the developer there.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: In this particular building?


Tom Grady: In my particular building it will be 5th Avenue Ball Room.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I misunderstood that, I am sorry.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I was happy to see your renderings. My perspective in looking at this and you may get different perspectives and looking at this on that big brick facing; that sign did not look out of line. I thought that it was a tasteful sign. I think you have some case to plead for signage on 3 sides when you have real traffic on 3 sides of the building. I would like to have some more discussions and maybe it is not our place to discuss but this whole issue about projecting signs and obviously it is restricted and maybe this is opening up another can of worms with this whole Town Center area and what we are looking at for signage in there and what is changing and what is pending and where we are at. I would like to have some more discussion about this projecting sign issue.


Member Antosiak: I guess that I would generally support Mr. Brennan’s comments. I was surprised at myself in not finding the sign over the door objectionable at 70 square feet. I think that the setback is such that the sign at that particular location the size is needed. I also, like Mr. Brennan, have some concern about a projecting sign and not because they are restricted but because the ordinance prohibits them. I know that there is a proposal that is being discussed right now which projecting signs would be allowed but that is not what the ordinance is right now. I personally don’t like the look of a projecting sign. To me it just isn’t attractive, but that is a personal opinion of mine. I am not sure that a ground sign out near Novi Road which I know would require a variance would not serve the purpose as well as a projecting sign. That, however, is just my opinion.


Member Harrington: I share Mr. Antosiak’s opinion regarding the projecting sign. I think it is not in harmony with what you are attempting to do there. I can’t support the projecting sign. I have not heard any real hardship associated with the projecting sign; but there is a legitimate signage need there. Your concern about traffic, I think that if you drive road 6 times a day like I do, is misplaced. At best case maybe at midnight you can drive 45 there, but I wouldn’t recommend it because as soon as you hit the railroad you are going to go air borne. Actually that is a very heavily trafficked area. Most of the time you are lucky to do 10 or 20 miles per hour, so I don’t think that the traffic flow is a problem and I don’t think that the setback at least from the Novi Road side is a real problem. I think that could be addressed with wall signage which would be consistent with what we have approved in the community. I just don’t think that the projecting sign is going to do it for you. Maybe Council will decide to change the ordinance, in which case you won’t even need a variance; you can just convert it over to a projecting sign. I don’t really see a need for that. The numbers of signs and the square footage - I think there is a need there.


Tom Grady: In regards to the traffic flow issue. I am familiar with the slow movement of the traffic. The prime time for me is really going to be from 8 until 12:30 or 1, so the speed will pick up a little bit and at that point it is evening and the visibility is cut down. As far as hardship for the projecting sign, there are a lot of different ways that we can skin a cat, we really have become enamored with this sign because we feel that it is with what we are trying to do and with what they are trying to do this with this entire development - downtown. If we were to do a wall sign, I would probably save $6000.00 on this sign. This sign will probably be $15 or 16,000.00 as projecting. It is something that we really fell in love with and thought that it represented extremely well the downtown type feel that is going on in Novi. The 19th century style of architecture, the grand style of building and to a certain extent made us think of an older style and an older time, a different era where that was a sign that was much more common than you find today. I would love to say that there is a hardship and there is no possible way that is going to work without the projecting sign, but honestly that is not the case. I get much more exposure going north and south with the projecting sign because of the nature of the road; there is really nobody that is going to be pulling out directly facing my building and taking a right or a left because of the cemetery there; so I really have to get people on an angle as they are going by. I think that a projecting sign deals with that in much more or more bang for the buck. It is a more expensive sign but I think that because of the location and how far we are set back it is going to be very beneficial to us in establishing a flow of business traffic early on.


Member Harrington: The problem is they are not restricted, they are forbidden. Council has made a determination that I suppose if there were extraordinary circumstances we could try and work with you, but I haven’t heard any. They are flat out forbidden. Our hands are tied. If Council changes the ordinance it may open it wide open and presumably when that ordinance was passed someone had experience with projecting signs in other communities and I have driven through communities with projecting signs as we all have, and it may be a downtown area that they are trying to create here in Novi, but I don’t think that it is downtown New York City that they are trying to do.


Tom Grady: No, and I agree with that. That is not what we want at all. That isn’t what we are trying to establish out there. It is definitely a much lower key situation. I can appreciate what you are saying, but again the only hardship that I have regarding a projecting sign there is the fact of where it is set and how it is set back and the fact that it is very difficult to get them to look directly at it, instead of just on a site line going north or south.


Member Harrington: As one person, I drive that road 4 to 6 times per day; I have been curious for months to find out what is going in there. That building is prominent. It is very difficult and particularly when you come past Michigan Cat or you come from the other way, it is very difficult not to look at it. People will not miss the building.


Tom Grady: It is a great location. Again, my situation is that our opinion is that as it is set back it would be a much better advertisement for us.


Member Harrington: When are you opening?


Tom Grady: We are shooting to open by the middle to the end of October.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: If we can continue this projecting sign ....


Alan Amolsch: I would just like to add something. The issue of projecting signs has been discussed already and I don’t want to throw a monkey wrench into this thing; but the Council recently, within the last year changed the ordinance to allow projecting signs under certain circumstances. They are allowed in the ordinance right now in a TC1 zoning district. However, there has to be a demonstration that it is a zero setback situation on a road or thoroughfare before they are allowed and they can only be 10 square feet in area and the tenant has to reduce the wall sign area that he is permitted by ordinance by the 10 square feet, if they use the projecting sign. This building does not fall under those guidelines of the TC1 currently allowing projecting type signs I want the Board to understand that we do allow certain projecting signs at this time.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: But I also heard that there is other sign revisions for this district that are under discussion.


Don Saven: Yes, it is under discussion.


Alan Amolsch: Right now they are allowed a projecting sign if they were in a different situation here where they were right on top of the road where most of the buildings on Main Street are going to be. They could put a projecting sign, but they would have to reduce the wall sign that they would be allowed.


Member Harrington: Right now, this applicant meets none of those criteria. Zero.


Alan Amolsch: I just want to make it clear that at this time the City is allowing projecting signs under certain circumstances. The other thing that I want to mention is that we have granted a permit for what is going to serve as business center sign for this parcel, so that is why all of the signs need a variance. There is a permitted business center sign on the property that we granted a permit for. So at this time they don’t have 4 tenants so all of these signs need a variance. Even if they met the square footage requirements they would still need a variance.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: For 2 additional signs?


Alan Amolsch: For any additional sign, because right now there is going to be a sign on the premises.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: But once they have the 4 tenants , he could have one sign. He has some requirements for signage now and what I was going to get at is that you may have the opportunity to address your interest in this type of a sign between now and October. It sounds like we don’t have a lot of room to move with respect to that sign.


Chairman Reinke: My first thought when I first saw the case and before you put the renderings up, was that you were trying to make a billboard out of it and this is where it really helps the Board and the petitioner to put the rendering up there because you look at numbers and square footage and it looks big. When you put it in proportion to the building, the location and the setbacks and everything else it presents a whole different story of realities of what is needed and what should be there. I agree that you need the signage on the Novi Road side, but I really have a problem with a projecting sign. The sign on the south elevation, I think, looks good and I think that it should be a comparable type of sign on the Novi Road side. I really have a problem with the projecting sign.


Tom Grady: Believe it or not we discussed this before hand. I knew that the projecting sign was going to be an issue. What we had also discussed was that if we were to completely get rid of the projecting sign and deal with the signage right there and basically using the same sign but taking it from a projecting sign as such and just putting it on the wall and showing only one side of the sign in the exact same location and the same size and at that time just becoming a wall sign instead of a projecting.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Identical to this rendering but just laying on the wall?


Tom Grady: The one your far right hand side, that one would be the sign right there.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Would that be illuminated?

Tom Grady: That sign and basically what we are looking at is the yellow item is brass, the letters Ballroom and 5th Avenue would be brushed aluminum steel with a back lighting of white neon so there would obviously be no exposed neon, but it would kick some light off behind it to create the letter. The black is black oxide steel and some back lighting along the back of that just to illuminate or give an outline of what the sign would be at night.


Member Harrington: So with the sign cut in half and only using one half of it, the price is going to be cut in half for you?


Tom Grady: I wish it would be half, but altogether it will be $9 or 10,000.00 for one sided, and two sided it comes to be about $15,000.00


Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Alan Amolsch: Are there any issues with that reconfigured sign in terms of the materials or the lighting?


Alan Amolsch: In terms of material and lighting, no. The square footage and the additional sign are the problems.


Member Meyer: I would like to see a rendering of that out there, just like I saw the rendering of the projecting out there. I would like to see that rendering of what this would look like. Personally I think that the building is an exquisite piece of architecture in the City and I would like to think that maybe the traffic going by as it does, that you might have a small ground sign; an east/west sign for the people going north and south. I personally think that the yellow on the brick...I would like to see what it looks like.


Tom Grady: Short of me producing a brass type of sign it is going to be really difficult to present what brass is going to look like on a rendering on the sign itself.


Member Meyer: This piece right here, I would like to see it the actual size on the building and where you are going to put it.


Tom Grady: From the photographs that I have on there right now, would it be acceptable if I were able to take the projecting sign that is there right now and just affix it to the building.


Member Antosiak: That is all that you are essentially asking, to take that sign that you planned as projecting and turn it.


Tom Grady: That is what I want to do, I would just take that sign, cut it in half and it would be the exact same height and width. I could put that on the building. But short of getting into and I would like to stay away from getting into the brass and the stainless steel before we get the OK if we can.


Member Meyer: I am certainly not asking you to do that.


Member Harrington: I think that I have a pretty good handle on what that sign that was just proposed would look like.


Chairman Reinke: I think that we have seen a rendering of that sign.


Member Harrington: It is going to look real close to what we are looking at right now.


Member Antosiak: In that same place.


Chairman Reinke: I really don’t think that it is going to change.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: What we are dealing with is the number of signs, the size of the signs.


Chairman Reinke: The size of the size is not going to change. From my point of view I really don’t see the need to rotate it and have us look at it again. If it was going to be a change in size and you were going to cut it in half, then we might want to look at it again, but nothing is basically changing.

Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan,




Duscussion on motion:


Member Meyer: I just want to explain why I will vote against it. I believe that the yellow sign on the side of that building will not be aesthetically pleasing; but that is my own personal belief.


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


Case No. 98-025 filed by Bomonite of Michigan


Continuation of case filed by Bomonite of Michigan 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.

Angelo Vitale was present and duly sworn.


Angelo Vitale: We constructed a sign at 46402 Grand River and placed it on the wall. There are presently 3 buildings in that vicinity. The All State Insurance Building, there is a small office building in the front where we are located and there is New Hudson Welding & Fabrication located in the back warehouse building. We erected that sign to identify ourselves, so that people would know where we were and stop by our office to meet with our sales person and to look at our goods or wares. Because we constructed this one additional sign on the property we are in violation of the ordinance. We are asking that we be allowed to put our sign up on the building so that people will be able to identify where we are located and find us.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 9 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch: There is a ground sign on the premises now that effectively eliminates any wall signs for the rest of the parcel. That is the issue that is here.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: How far back does this property sit?


Angelo Vitale: I don’t know off the top of my head. It is roughly 80 to 90 feet.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: That ground sign that you have...


Alan Amolsch: That is not their ground sign. It is for All State Insurance. They received a variance for the ground sign for New Hudson Welding; so it effectively eliminates any wall signage on the parcel. The sign for All State obviously is not their sign.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: You have no business identification at all?


Angelo Vitale: None.


Member Meyer: I thought that I heard that there was a ground sign.


Alan Amolsch: Yes, but it is not for them. Once there is a ground sign on the premises you cannot have any other sign. It is not their sign.

Vice-Chairman Brennan: It certainly sounds like they need some identification for the purpose of getting their customers to find the business. It is a minimal sized sign, 24 square feet. I would support it.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Other Matters


Member Antosiak: I just have one brief issue that relates back to the case that we heard in 98-039 the proposed use variance for Novi Road. I for one believe that it would be helpful if the City Attorney or an attorney from the City Attorney’s office was present to hear that request when it comes before us again. I feel that we could use some legal guidances through the standards that we need to apply in considering such a variance. Mr. Harrington has raised some procedural issues that I had not considered before the meeting tonight which perhaps the City Attorney could illuminate us about. I for one believe that it would be helpful to have the attorney present for that.


Don Saven: I would just like to ask the Board if they had the opportunity to look at the proposed sign ordinance for the TC1 District? There has been many meetings regarding this issue and certainly because of Main Street and the projecting signs, it is one of the issues that they are looking at. The size of signs still has not been resolved, but it certainly is larger than 10 square foot. They were looking at allowing 40 square foot and the projecting sign could be in lieu of a wall sign. These are some of the issues that have been talked about, although it is not something that has been agreed upon at this particular time. I really feel that if we are going to get involved in cases down the road I would like to have a little more insurances of what we are looking at.


Member Antosiak: If I interpret it correctly, the Expo Center would be entitled to a billboard. Is that correct?


Don Saven: We could do all the mock ups that we want to do, but I think that you need something a little bit more acceptable.


Member Harrington: I read through that, they even have "this is going to be OK, but this will not be OK" and after about the 12th page of that stuff I had a lot of problem understanding what the real difference is going to be and it would be real helpful to me and perhaps other Board Members if someone could explain it to us.


Don Saven: I agree with that. There are issues that are involved because of the ordinance was written back in 1974, and like the song says we have come a long way baby because we have changes here and we are developing unique things and we are going to be getting involved in this. I would like to have a whole better understanding of where everybody is coming from. We are getting to that point, we are getting close. Once this all comes about we should have some type of seminar or class on this.


Chariman Reinke: Is there someplace or some point in time that would be beneficial to have a meeting with a presentation just on the whole package itself to give us an education and an understanding of what we are going to be working with.


Don Saven: I think that it is absolutely necessary. This is a very complicated issue. People may have different opinions of what is acceptable. It makes it very difficult because we know that we want to achieve an end result. We certainly want to keep the flavor without losing the architecture of the building and we don’t want to be guady but yet we still want the downtown look.


Member Harrington: Is it appropriate for us to obtain that kind of input or feedback before it is passed into law? Isn’t the barn door slammed a little late after it is approved by Council?


Don Saven: As it exists right now, one of the things that I would look at is if we were presenting this case and maybe we should have done this today, maybe we should have had some input from the Planning Commission or somebody in this aspect who is in the process of drafting this ordinance.


Alan Amolsch: It may be also that you may not be involved any more in the sign issues at all, they are talking about having a committee formed with Planning and some representative of the Building Department to lay out everything and be approved. So you may not be involved. There will be a whole special part of the ordinance in dealing with this.


Member Antosiak: It is almost an aesthetics committee really.


Don Saven: Yes.


Member Antosiak: Which by the way I believe, if it is formed and a person who wants to put up a sign doesn’t like the results of the aesthetics committee, we get the appeal.


Chairman Reinke: Keep us posted.


Don Saven: We sure will. This has been sensitive to both Alan and myself, we are kind of beating each other up back and forth with what do you think, maybe we should be looking at this, maybe we should look at that, are we missing anything. The big key in dealing with this is that we have to look at the whole community and back off from there and see what we are doing. OK, we did that and now we are in the TC1 District and we want this certain flavor. That is really difficult. It is a real difficult situation. How do you determine how much square footage? Now the square footage issue may have something to do with other districts are going to be looking at too. In July you have the Twelve Oaks Mall coming before you with entry signs and to paint the water tower. These are some of the issues that are going to be coming before you and it is all going to be dealing with aesthetics and we have to take a look at whether or not these are going to be appropriate. What I did, I sent or made a request that the architect look at this for aesthetic purposes. As far as what looks good to one person , really is in the eye of the beholder. I want an opinion from him, before it comes here for the tower and the signs. It is going to be a change.


Member Meyer: I agree with what Laverne has said about the education piece here. I think that it would be very beneficial to all of us sitting here to truly have an opportunity for an in-service or some means to get a better understanding on this. The other is what Mr. Harrington has said regarding the fact that it appears that it may already be a done deal; now if it is already a done deal so be it. But it would be wonderful if not only it is an educational process for us but that we could be involved in the process, since we are the ones who determine so much of the variance. It would be wonderful if we could be invited into the input aspect of this.


Chairman Reinke: I don’t know if we necessarily want to be invited into the input of it, I think that we would like to review what they are doing and kind of have an understanding of what direction they are going.


Don Saven: What the goals would be.


Alan Amolsch: We could probably have a meeting with Paul Weisberger.


Chairman Reinke: With Don and Al both, you are going to really see this more as to what has developed and what is happening. If at any point in time, you feel that we should be brought into something or we need to review something or whatever; please keep us posted or advised and we can work together in that capacity.


Member Antosiak: I think that there is a slippery slope here that if you involve the Zoning Board of Appeals. As the Zoning Board of Appeals in this process it would be very hard for us as a Board to be objective when people appeal the application of those variances because we might have one opinion as to what the words mean but the words may actually mean something else. However, we are all residents and citizens of Novi who clearly have the right to comment on these proposals and we actually may know a little more than the average citizen about signage simply because we sit here and hear so many variance requests.


Member Harrington: But, if we are presented with proposed impact statements which I for one had a great deal of difficulty comprehending and if it turns out that the only person or people that comprehend it are the merchants who are trying to gut the sign ordinance and deprive us of jurisdiction to even grant variances then that is an issue of concern. Perhaps not as a Board Member but as a citizen. What does all of this mean and who is in charge of fixing it after it is a done deal.

Member Antosiak: I clearly support the educational piece, without a doubt because it is a confusing write up. But on the other hand I think that we see sign variance requests from a perscpective that others don’t see them and from that perspective we may have some input into the process.


Don Saven: That is just like dealing with the 5th Avenue Billiards, I am sitting here and thinking they want projecting signs, they are looking at projecting signs as being part of the flavor to the scenario; but this is a main building off of Novi Road and is that what they are looking at? There are several issues that come up because of this, is that the size that we are looking at and one of the things that I want to make sure is whether or not he could fasten it and that is why he gave you the bolting arrangement as to how things were going to happen. The size of it. Is it gaudy? Is it something that is going to be a part of this area? These are tough issues.


Alan Amolsch: Next month we will be seeing the business right next to it, Red Hot and Blue they are coming for a projecting sign.





The Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.










Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary