|REGULAR MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF NOVI
CIVIC CENTER - 45175 TEN MILE RD.
TUESDAY - JULY 7, 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)
Absent: Member Reinke
Also Present: Terry Morrone - Deputy Building Official
Khanh Pham - Staff Planner
Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer
Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated we do have a quorum. This Meeting is now in session. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of the Novi Zoning Ordinance. 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 request. We do have six (6) Members, we have a full Board and any decisions made tonight will be final.
Approval of Agenda
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated we have notification that the first case S & Z filed by Matt Quinn has asked that this case be tabled until next month. I know that there are a number of people that want to make comments, there is an open Public Remarks section and while you all have the right to talk; lets not be repetitive, lets get to the point and keep it moving.
Member Harrington: I dont know how many representatives that we have here that want to have input on Case No. 98-039 and if there are persons here tonight that want to speak directly to that case before we approve the agenda and simply move the whole case over; we might want to get a head count and see how many people would like to talk to us about that case and how many can come back next month. I do note that the request for the adjournment was filed today, and it is really late notice particularly on an issue of importance to the Board, that is why we tabled it last month. So before we move that case I would like a little more input to see who would like to talk on it. Not that we are going to vote, but if we have people here in the audience that want to speak to this matter they should feel free to speak on it and the minutes will be available for whoever is going to represent the petitioner next month; but these people should not have come back here next month to say the same things that we can hear tonight. Again, being brief and short. That is my thought on the Agenda.
Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired so you want their thoughts as part of the public record?
Member Harrington: I would rather see it as part of the case, we can continue the case. If we have people who are here to talk on the case; lets call the case, lets here what they have to say briefly and shortly and then we can continue the balance of the case for Mr. Quinn or Mr. Seymour or whoever couldnt make it tonight.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Mr. Harrington has made a logical suggestion, is there further support of it..
Member Sanghvi: I would second that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: We will modify the agenda to call the case and listen to those who want to speak. We now have a modified agenda, do we have a motion for approval.
Moved by Member Harrington,
Seconded by Member Meyer,
TO APPROVE THE MODIFIED AGENDA FOR JULY 7, 1998.
Roll Call: (Voice Vote) (All Yeas) Motion Carried
Approval of Minutes
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated we have the minutes of the May 5, 1998 Meeting and the June 2, 1998 Meeting, are there any changes, corrections or modifications? Then I would move for approval as submitted. All in favor please say aye. All ayes. Minutes Approved.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated we will listen to the S & Z Case, when that case is called. Are there others who would like to speak of cases that are not on this agenda?
Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. I am speaking as former President of SES Homeowners Association and current Vice-President combined LARA and SES. To let you know that in the second case "051", the third case "052" and the fourth case "053" that LARA and SES have no official opinion one way or the other. We have not discussed this. We have re-combined. You normally ask for input from the association, and we have no input.
Case No. 98-039 filed by Matthew Quinn, representing S & Z, Inc.
Continuation of case filed by Matthew Quinn, representing S & Z, Inc., owner of property described as Sidwell Number 5022-11-105-008 (lots 151 -thru 156 of the Howells 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.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: If you have comments for this case, you can line up. Lets not be redundant but certainly if you have something to say we want to hear it.
James Korte, Shawood Lake area. I was here at the last meeting. I believe that the attorney and the owner of the property were instructed to talk to the subdivision people. Well, one was called. I was never contacted. Now, when I raise the biggest stink in the direction of Walled Lake Sector Study I would think that whether Mr. Quinn, ex-Mayor Quinn, that appointed me "chair" to the committee should have to call and set up an appointment. He didnt want to speak to me then and I understand that he doesnt want to speak to me now. But, he was not and did not do what this Board asked to do. I will be here next time with some other information. The only think that I can say is that I talked to John Goodman the Realtor who does so many things in Novi, the Thirteen Mile and Martin corner of the subdivision which is an exterior as this piece of property is an exterior was listed on May 11th for $180,000.00 and on June 2nd it sold for $175,000.00. Now, who in their right mind would obviously want to live on Thirteen Mile Road and pay $175,000.00? Somebody did and they did it immediately again; this is the second owner on the house. Therefore, there is no hardship of building residentially on those 2 residential lots. As a matter of fact, Old Novi Road, and the reconstruction has started in the direction of turning it to the City of Novi and the 25 mile per hour speed limit has started. It is all torn up, it is a lovely mess and we hope that it is over with soon. It is residential and it can easily be built residential. Thank you.
Jeff Harris, 134 Wainwright. I am opposed to the rezoning of this property. I have another list of names to add to the petition. I took some pictures of Novi businesses and Walled Lake businesses, I will leave them with you. These are backs of buildings. They are not the front of the buildings, but the back of the building as we would be seeing if that type of business were put in. I will leave this with you. All I have to say is that we really dont need to have this in our back yards. I dont understand why he hasnt pulled a rezoning to put 2 homes in there. I understand that we have 40 foot frontage, minimum - is that what the zoning is for Novi? Why doesnt he open up the property and put 2 houses up there. Two, $200,000.00 homes is $400,000.00, and that is a big re-coup on his investment. Thank you.
Member Harrington: Before that gentleman leaves, he made reference to another list and apparently that is a list of persons who object to it; was there a preceding list last month and if so how many names were on it or is there another list that has been submitted?
Jeff Harris: We understand that the letters that went out to our subdivision were within the 300 feet range, and I bet that we were right on the edge of our property hitting it. So most of the subdivision didnt even know that this was even going to happen. When we came in here I think that me and my wife were the only people who came in, other than Mr. Korte. Most of the people in the subdivision had no idea of what this was and why it was going on. That is why the petition came in this month and I think that we have about 55 signatures.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: For the record, with the Notices that went out, we had 1 approval and 1 objection. We have a list of 48 names and tonight we have a list of 9 names; so there would be 58 objections and 1 approval.
Laurie Harris, 134 Wainwright. I spoke last month. I just want you to know that I was contacted by Matt Quinn on June 24th and subsequently we were going out of town on the 26th and I was unable to meet with him. As far as I know, I was the only one contacted and he wanted to meet with me this morning at 8:30 and just getting back from vacation I was unable to do that. So I was unable to meet and I dont think that he contacted any one else. I just wanted you to know that he kind of waited until the last minute to contact us and I dont think that he put much effort into contacting anyone else in the neighborhood.
Tracey Freeman, 106 Linhart. As far as the Notices are concerned for last months meeting, we did not receive one and our property adjoins this property; that is why we were not here last month. I just have a couple of things to say as to why we oppose this rezoning. We feel that the logical direction of growth in this area is residential. Now that Novi Road has been rerouted to the south it has dramatically impacted our area for the better and has given us the relief that we have longed for. On December 16, 1996 the City Council must have felt that the direction of growth should be towards residential, otherwise we dont feel that they would have approved the R4 rezoning at that time. The amount of traffic flow that has decreased greatly down Old Novi Road has been wonderful since they rerouted. With the planned Haggerty connector coming through and the cloverleaf planned for I-96 and Beck Road, we feel that the traffic will decrease quite a bit more by the time that these are completely finished. That concerns us with the fact about building commercial, we dont know "would it survive". The businesses that are along there now and we have a vacant building at the corner of Pleasant Cove and Old Novi Road that has been vacant for the last year and a half, since the rerouting and it has not been rented out since; it says for rent but it has not been rented. The dog groomer has since moved out of the area. The old Helens Hideaway at the corner of Thirteen Mile and Novi Road has opened and closed several times. It is now open again under another name. There is a strip center with an Arbor Drugs planned for Fourteen Mile and the new Novi Road, with commercial there. There is commercial planned along the new Novi Road between 12 1/2 and 13 Mile Rd.; which is a part of the Vistas development. We feel that the commercial at the Thirteen Mile and Novi Road already serves that area and we dont see where there is a need to put any more commercial there. I, particularly, am concerned about if they were to build commercial, the cut through traffic that would occur down Linhart. We couldnt logically close Linhart to prevent this; they were able to close Erma across the street and Novi Road by Lakeview Party Store, but they would not logically be able to close Linhart to help us at that end. We dont have sidewalks on out streets and with children playing in the streets and the driveways we feel that this is a safety issue. My driveway in particular, is the first one off of Old Novi Road and we used to get quite a bit of turn around traffic; now we get very few - maybe 5 a week when we used to have as much as 10 a day. Now that the road has been rerouted that has been reduced greatly. We are concerned that if they should build commercial, the loitering that will occur, the potential for crime, the garbage behind the building and the people that dont have garbage pick up who look for dumpsters to put their garbage in and dont care if it makes it into the dumpster or not and the rodents that would attract. All this would be directly to the side of our home. We feel that the lot is large enough to build one or two houses on it and we dont know why they havent tried that. There is a potential to make money in residential. We just dont see where a hardship has been proven. We feel that the logical direction of growth for our particular area is residential. We are trying to improve that area and we feel that is very important. We think that residential is the way to go.
Cameron Freeman, 106 Linhart. I do agree that we shouldnt have a commercial business be allowed there. Thank you.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: While the next party is coming up, just for everyones sake, what the petitioner has asked for is a use variance. We do not rezone property. That property is currently zoned residential and they are asking for a use variance in which they have to display a hardship. That is the issue. We are not looking at a rezoning.
Frank Ridley, 120 Linhart. What does that mean? A use variance, either he can go commercial or he cant. I dont understand that portion of it. Basically I dont think that we need another strip mall.
The gentleman did not contact any of us in the neighborhood. We knew nothing about it until the neighbors came to me and made a comment that they were trying to get it zoned commercial. I am against it totally they dont need another one there, we have ben all through the City. That is my opinion.
David Lipski, 222 Wainwright. I thought that I would take the opportunity to repeat everything that everyone has said; just in case you would have forgotten. I found out about this yesterday. Customarily I represent the "big bad guys" who are trying to obstruct the lives of nice residential folks like myself and today I am switching shoes because I have a 2 1/2 year old son that you may see running around here and my wife is here with me. We have some serious concerns about the path that this small area is taking. If you will remember as you drive north on Old Novi, you take the sharp curve to the right on Thirteen you are going to pass a liquor store on the left and as I understand it within the last year or so somebody left a firearm on the counter in that liquor store and someone was killed by taking the firearm that accidentally went off. As you drive by you may see and although I never thought that I would reach the day where I am objecting to teen age loitering, it has become a concern for me. If you will see the amount of pick ups and loud radios and in and out traffic at that liquor store you can see where that corner has the potential of going. You can also notice across the street from that liquor store that there is something tantamount to low income housing that is poorly maintained. I happen to be friends and Masonic Lodge brothers with the owners, but I dont agree with the way that particular tenement is being operated. You will notice that the pet grooming store is out of business. You will notice that most commercial environments that dont have a liquor license on that corner are in and out, even the bar that happens to be just a bit northeast of the intersection. I think that theme should be taken into account by this Council because I think that what we are really looking at is the obstruction of a large neighborhood of young first and second home families with small children who need some sort of environment for the safety of their families. With regard to the undue hardship standard, and I do appreciate the instruction on that; I think that the hardship would fall on this particular petitioner should he attempt to operate a commercial venture in that area as opposed to building a couple of houses and flipping them through some of our most esteemed real estate brokers in town. It doesnt seem that is the best venue for businesses anyway and I dont know where he would find parking. I dont think that we have heard a designation of a specific type of use variance that he would like other than commercial; but I can tell you I would be extremely alarmed for example of his reference to a dry cleaners, which was something he tried to move forward with and the potential for chlorinated solvent contamination and things of that nature. These things are all a concern for our children, for the quietness of the neighborhood, the traffic accident potential and I think that there is enough partying and romping around at that intersection in spite of the shift to the Decker/New Novi Road. I think that these are all concerns that the committee should take account of. One other point that I would like to bring up is that if you come out of Wainwright westbound and you try to take a left turn, the visibility is not only poor but during rush hour traffic it is virtually impossible to make that turn within a 2 to 5 minute period. You just need to sit there and wait. Any more traffic is going to be extremely detrimental to ingress and egress to the Howell Walled Lake Subdivision. It is going to be a real problem. The last thing that I want to bring up and I dont know how this Councils rules of procedure operate but I know that on the day of a hearing that if I called the Judges Clerk and said " you know I am not going to show, can you put it off for a month", first the judge would snarl at me but the second thing that would happen is that he would indicate that I would need the consent of the opposing party to obtain such an adjournment or that the party that does appear would get the ruling in their favor immediately. I dont know the local rules of procedure work and I do respect the patience that you have exhibited by tabling this but I would urge you to consider the nonattendance as an indication of this persons seriousness and concern for the Novi community. Thank you.
Mark Efram, 229 Wainwright. Thank you for hearing us. I have lived here for 18 years. I have watched a lot of changes in our neighborhood and everything as indicated is changing for the better. This is not the first time that situation has occurred, it came about with Thirteen Mile Road; my house backs up to Thirteen Mile Road and I was very pleased to see them finally build homes there and it did increase the value of our neighborhood. I will just go over a couple of brief points and some of them are repetitive but I think that I am probably the one who has lived in the neighborhood the longest. The traffic has been greatly reduced when the New Novi Road went through and that has been very much appreciated. There has been a couple of fatalities in the area and I think that risk has been greatly reduced with the traffice being rerouted. I think that with any type of convenience or party store or laundramat or whatever it might be that will bring the traffic back. The safety of our children is our main concern. I have had 2 children grow up there without incident and thank goodness, and I still have a teenager in the area. Loitering, regardless of any of the types of businesses that are being considered should this variance be granted and as recent as last evening it took 3 Novi Police squad cars to break up a fight of teenagers at the liquor store at the end of Wainwright and Novi Road. We dont need any more attractions of that type of people in the neighborhood. The aesthetics of the area; the people have been trying to keep that corner neat and tidy and it has been a difficult job and I am sure that we are all pleased to finally see that Novi Road is going to be resurfaced and we are going to have our curbs there and our sewer drains and we dont want to see that changed. If it were to be a restaurant, not only would it probably have a wall behind it but you would have a rendering tub with restaurant oil and lard and every other kind of amino acids and so on and so forth in that container waiting to be picked up, dripped, spilled and so on. Again, as a resident of 18 years I would like to continue to see it residential and I think that it is best for all parties concerned, especially our children and the people that are going to move in there after we are all gone. Thank you.
Sarah Gray, 133 Maudlin. I do not live in this area, however, my letter was read into the record last month from LARA and SES. I am not going to repeat that. What you said that this is not a rezoning is very true, but that is only a technicality. This property was zoned commercial prior to the township becoming a City and up until about a year and half ago, it was zoned commercial. These people have owned this property long before the rezoning was even suggested. It was suggested and done by the Council and this property was rezoned in addition to all of the other properties on Novi Road between the Shawood Canal and Erma Street and Linhart on the east. This allowed for the existing commercial that was in the area and thriving and functional to continue. There is vacant B3 parcel immediately to the north across the street across Linhart from this property. My question is that if a person cant make enough money on their investment, does that then become the hardship? And of course the answer would be "no". The term buyer beware comes up all of the time. This Board has a good history of doing in our area, in the north end, what is ultimately best for our area. This special land use which is technically a rezoning because there is nothing that you can do to "undo" it, you cant force them to take the building down once it is built and he sells. This is speculative and he probably paid to much for it, but that is not our problem. I am going to urge you to deny this special land use request. There is no hardship. The hardship is ultimately on the neighbors, on the residents in the subdivision and there has been no hardship demonstrated that says that he cant build residential. The whole area is changing and it is changing for the better and we do appreciate your help and we will continue to appreciate your help. Thank you.
Dennis Terrant, 125 Linhart. I just want to say that I am also opposed to it. I wont say anymore than that. What everybody else said, is basically how I feel. I think that you should also be aware that when these letters went out, I did receive one and I had a couple of neighbors who came over that were going on vacation and showed me an empty envelope that had been ripped open and it was the notice from the City. It was in their mailbox, ripped open and the letter removed; so maybe something has been tampered with. Maybe that is why a lot of the people didnt get the notice.
Charles Hughes, 242 Linhart. I would like to express my support to my fellow neighbors in opposition to this and I would also like to express some of my thoughts. I am a 23 year resident of Novi. I have watched it go from a farming cowtown community to the retail mecca that we have today. I have lived in my present residence for about 2 years now and have watched dramatic increases to the neighborhood that adjoins this piece of property. I must say that the younger families, the first time and second time buyers of homes have done an immense job on redoing the appearance of this neighborhood. It is a very up and coming, wholesome community to live in; especially to raise children in. I, myself, being a new father this year do have a concern for the area and the way that it should change I, myself, as a young teenager and even a young child frequented the party store that we have spoken of tonight and have watched it totally degrade to the condition that it is today and the type of clientele that establishment and that is definitely something that needs to be viewed and something that I dont want my young daughter and the rest of my family to experience later on in life. When we speak of hardship, lets think of the citizens that live in that area and the people that are providing revenues to the city. They would be experiencing the hardship because we see how businesses start out with a sparkle and turn out to be something less than that later on down the road. I think that should be considered. I think that taking into consideration how it has progresses to what it is today. Lets not hinder that. Lets keep the progress going. Lets let the neighborhood flourish. Lets let the north end of Novi start to shine like the southern, western and eastern parts of Novi. I think that it has a chance. Lets keep the loitering down. There is a present problem on the street and a business in that area would only increase that and we dont want that. I am sure that the Police Department doesnt want to hear Linhart and Wainwright all of the time. I have a couple personal friends on the Police Department and they do view those 2 streets as trouble spots in the City and I dont think that we need to make their job any harder. Any kind of commercial establishment in that area we know would be relatively small and I think would increase the degradation of that area of the City.
Marcella Kehuz, 252 Linhart. I just want to support my neighbors in opposition to the proposal that is before you, especially in light of things like cut through traffic, loitering. We, too, have 3 small children. One point that I would like to make is that if you drive through our neighborhood and we have lived there just 4 years, you will see nothing but improvements within the neighborhood. We ourselves have put $35,000.00 into our homes and our neighbors have likewise done additions, added garages, done landscaping. It is nothing but improved. Yet, on the perimeter of our neighborhood and particularly along Old Novi Road, that is where we see the decay. Particularly in the commercial properties that exist. I dont see great potential there for commercial improvements. Thank you.
William Westerman, 248 Linhart. I am here to support my neighbors who have spoken so well tonight and I will leave it at that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: The applicant does have a right to ask for a continuance. This Board Member in particular wasnt to thrilled to note that he did that today. The applicant was also directed to meet with the citizens and not only share his plans but specifically what types of commercial establishments that he had in mind and that obviously didnt take place. They will be back next month. You are welcome to come back and even if you dont come back next month we will be here.
You did keep it fairly short and we appreciate that.
Member Harrington: I notice Mr. Watson, the City Attorney, in the audience; do you wish to make any comments?
Dennis Watson: I am more than happy to come next month. I think it would be better that I reserve my comments until the applicant is actually here.
Member Harrington: Can you respond to one question which I think is a pertinent one; we do not have the power to rezone but would it be true that the effect of granting a special use under these circumstances would be the same as rezoning to the extent that we would be giving the equivalent of a B-3 and they can put whatever commercial fits within that, that would be the effect of granting this special use permit?
Dennis Watson: That is correct. The particular section of the zoning ordinance that describes your powers specifies that you dont have the power to rezone property, however, you do have the authority to grant a use variance when it can be shown that the property cannot be used for its zoned use. If that is demonstrated to you, you can grant a use variance and that allows the property to be used for something for which it isnt otherwise zoned. So the effect is pretty much the same.
Terry Morrone: Our staff planner and planning consultant is here tonight, if you have any questions; or they may have some comments.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will leave it up to him, if he has comments he may want to hold them until next month as well.
Khanh Pham: I will hold them until next month as well.
James Korte: I think that one of the major problems that we have and it is certainly not with the ZBA it is with the process. You are not changing the zoning, but you have the potential to allow a building to be built there that can stay there for 50 to 100 years. Now, if that isnt changing the zoning of a property in actuality, then I dont know what it is. Now, if you were the Planning Board that man would have to have a sign that says that we are changing the use of the property. So this process, and it is not your process, is going to be taken to City Council because this is not fair to a neighborhood that you would be allowed to really change the usage of the property without proper notification, the same variety of notification that the Planning Commission has to do with that sign that says change possible. Yes, it isnt a change but when that building is built how are you going to tear it down, when nobody rents it and any petitioner comes and says I want Jack Scratch in there and the worst possible situation because he will pay the rent and screw the neighborhood, we are stuck. It is a process that has to be changed at the Council level and certainly not at your level. Thank you.
Member Meyer: The City Attorney just pointed out to us that if indeed the petitioner can show that the property cannot be used for the zoned purpose that it was established for then the petitioner has a right to seek a use variance.
James Korte: You could do it and I am not saying that it is going to happen now; but what you could do it a problem to potential residents. I am not chastising you, because nothing has been done. I think that the whole base process that would allow a ZBA to change usage without certain other things, I dont think that it is fair to the City. You didnt set it up that way and you are trying your best to do what you are supposed to do and we respect that. I am not chastising you, but I think there is a major flaw in the process and we are the ones that hurt. Thank you.
Member Harrington: Mr. Korte, just so you will know and I am sure that Dennis will elaborate on this next month because we dont really want to drag this out; but the process really begins and ends in Lansing because our authority here is statutory and is vested in us by the State of Michigan and the City Council through its ordinances enables that State Legislation and they set the legislative standards in terms of Notice and in terms of what we can do and what we cant do. We could all go to City Council and they wouldnt have the authority to change what is written in the State Statute and that is what we implement.
James Korte: But there are points within the process, that we think need adjusting. It isnt a Council issue that there is the potential of changing of the zoning of a piece of property and that is exactly what you would do if a building were built. Thank you.
Case No. 98-051 filed by Martin Meyer
Martin Meyer is requesting a 6.6' front yard setback variance, a 15' rear yard setback variance and a 7.4' side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an addition to the home at 216 Faywood.
Martin Meyer was present and duly sworn.
Martin Meyer: I will keep it short and simple. I am proposing an addition onto my home. From what I heard here tonight basically the underlying reason for zoning laws and so forth is to promote the good of the community and based on the remarks, comments and feed back that I have received from my neighbors; I havent run across any of my neighbors that are opposed to my addition. If you look at the rear yard setback; that setback is required to put on an addition or to extend my bathroom approximately the distance of my foot or maybe a little bit longer. The front yard setback is required to put an addition on the other side of my house; my house currently sits on 2 lots. It will not increase the current front yard setback but what it will do is to extend the house off to the side and that is why I need the front yard setback. For the rear yard setback that is required because there is a breezeway connecting the house to the garage. If that roof was not existent that setback variance would not be required. In a nut shell I really cant think of anything else to say.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 29 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Terry Morrone: The Building Department has no objection.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Why is the garage angled?
Martin Meyer: The garage is positioned on that angle for a future patio on the rear of the house. Being that the garage is set to the rear of the house, it opens up the rear view from the back of the house. If I was to put the garage directly off of the side of the house, I have no exterior wall on the addition. If I angle the garage like that, it allows access for rear utilities for Edison trucks, etc. Plus this gives me addtional parking because there is no parking in front of my house.
Member Bauer: Do you own lot 4?
Martin Meyer: Yes, they are combined into one property now.
Member Bauer: I am talking about lot 4, you own 5 and 6.
Martin Meyer: Then no.
Member Bauer: He cant put the cement up to the lot line can he?
Terry Morrone: No, he cant.
Member Meyer: Once again, the reason for the garage being at a diagonal or whatever is to in the future, a deck on the back of the house?
Martin Meyer: Actually it would just be a patio, there isnt enough elevation for a deck. If I was to put the garage straight out the back, which would still require a rear yard setback, it would cut down on my view quite a bit. All in all the plans that you see before you are the best compromise that I could come up with as far as the aesthetics and everything else.
Member Meyer: Do you have neighbors that live directly behind that garage?
Martin Meyer: That is kind of a unique situation. My house was built in 38 and I am just going to speculate that the house behind me was built in that time period also. The house behind me owns property directly behind my house and also the house directly adjacent to mine. So in other words the house behind me has the property equivalent to 3 lots on my street, but the house itself is not directly behind my house, it is off behind my neighbors house which is the house that my house is closest to.
Member Meyer: Your neighbors have no objection to this?
Martin Meyer: I have talked to all of the immediate surrounding neighbors, except for the neighbor directly behind my house, and none of them have any objection to it.
Moved by Member Harrington,
Seconded by Member Sanghvi,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-051 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCES AS REQUESTED BY REASON OF THE LOT SIZE AND CONFIGURATION AS WELL AS THE MINIMAL IMPACT ON THE ADJACENT PROPERTIES AS WELL AS THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO OBJECTION FROM ANY AFFECTED PERSON.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Bauer Motion Carried
Case No. 98-052 filed by Ted Prisbe
Ted Prisbe is requesting a 6'4" side yard setback projection variance to allow for the construciton of a deck to be placed 2' from the properyt line at 2280 Austin.
Ted Prisbe was present and duly sworn.
Ted Prisbe: Basically I bought a home at 2280 Austin and I wanted to do some home improvements. One of my first projects is that I had an old cement slab or concrete deck that was held up by railroad ties that the previous owner had constructed and he probably never got a permit to do that; but anyway it was just harboring a lot of rodents so I tore it off and I want to construct another deck in its place. If you look at the drawing you can see that the old concrete slab had protruded into the neighbors lot by a foot and a half and I am going to reduce the deck size which will bring the deck basically on my property. So based upon the configuration of the lot and how the home sets on the lot it will put the deck closer to the lot line on the north side there. That is why I am asking for this variance. The doorwall placement is also the reason why I want to put the deck on that one side. I have a doorwall on the lower part of the house and I would be coming out to that deck.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 29 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received, both voicing approval. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Terry Morrone: I dont have an objection with the deck encroaching into the required side yard, but what is not shown here is any kind of a privacy fence and under our current ordinance you can have a 6 foot privacy fence on the deck and if it is going to be within 2 feet of the property line I think that it may obscure the vision of the adjacent neighbor and cause a problem in the future. I dont think it is a problem for a flat deck that doesnt have any sort of fence, but you might consider that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: The rendition that we have looks like a 3 foot fencing around the deck.
Terry Morrone: It looks like a typical guard rail section, like what is required by code. But, the ordinance allows a privacy fence 6 foot in height anywhere on the deck and sometimes they can be offensive the neighbors if it obscures the vision to the lake.
Vice-Chairman Brennan; Is this rendering what you plan on building?
Ted Prisbe: That definitely wasnt in my plans to put a privacy fence on the deck.
Moved by Member Harrington,
Seconded by Member Antosiak,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-052 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED BY VIRTUE OF THE PROPERTY CONFIGURATION. BY VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT THE DECK FOLLOWS THE FOOTPRINT OF THE BUILDING AND HE HAS REDUCED THE ENCROACHMENT ON THE ADJOINING LAND; EXCEPTING IT WOULD NOT PERMIT HIM PRESENTLY OR IN THE FUTURE TO PUT UP A 6 FOOT PRIVACY FENCE OR ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT IS ON THE RENDERING WITHOUT COMING BACK BEFORE THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-053 filed by Thomas VanOyen, representing Clive Spackman
Thomas VanOyen, representing Clive Spackman, is requesting to construct an addition and enlarge a nonconforming structure at 1653 West Lake Dr.
Thomas VanOyen was present and duly sworn.
Thomas VanOyen: My clients are Clive and Stephanie Spackman. Mr. Spackman was called out on business. I have a letter from them and I also have a letter from the adjoining neighbors on the east and the west side approving their plans.
Thomas VanOyen: Basically what we are going to do is to enlarge the kitchen on this building, we are going to put an attached garage on it and then there is going to be living area on the top of the garage. The lot is small, of course. The people love the neighborhood. They love Walled Lake, Novi, it is just a beautiful place for the kids to grow up. So what they want to do is to expand the home and improve it. As far as anything else goes, it is a nice home but it is a cottage and as far as the kitchen is concerned the plumbing needs repair and it is to the point where you may as well put in a new kitchen. I think that you should have some pictures of how it is going to end up and I think it is going to come out quite beautiful.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 28 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Terry Morrone had no comment.
Member Harrington: I can sort of hear Laverne saying "the lot is being over built". But all of the lots up there if there is to be improvement have to be over built and let me ask the question that he would probably ask if he were here tonight. Is there any reasonable means of accomplishing what you are attempting to accomplish without these variances, are these the minimums that you need in order to do it?
Thomas VanOyen: I think that they are the bare minimums that I need to make this building liveable in the 90's. It is pretty tight.
Member Meyer: So there is no way that on the west side that you could bring it within that one foot and no way on the east side that you could bring it within the actual requirements of the ordinance?
Thomas VanOyen: Then I would have to cut down on hallways and the bedrooms up above are already quite small and I would hate to cut anything out of that building; so for the one foot variance and then the adjoining neighbor is going to take down the fence and make it more of a common area and that should open it up to quite a beautiful area right there. Now on the other side the neighbor is also improving his land, rebuilding the garage. Everything around there is going up and it is just coming out fabulous.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: My only comment is that this is indeed a part of the transformation of that part of the City and while there is not anyone who is objectionable I have no objection either.
Member Antosiak: The Notice that went out said that on the west side the proposed setback was 9 feet, yet the drawing says that it is 8 feet and I wonder which is correct?
Thomas VanOyen: It was 9 feet, I believe. The drawings on the plot plan, is that what you are referring to?
Member Antosiak: No, the drawing that is on the white sheet that is attached to the notice. There was a 5'2" setback on one side and an 8' setback on the other side.
Thomas VanOyen: Yes, you are correct. That is what it says.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Which dimension is right?
Thomas VanOyen: It would be the 8 foot. Maybe we could clarify that in a motion. The neighbor on that particular side is also aware of the 8 foot because he did see the plot plan. I dont know if he paid that much attention to the Notice that he got. When I talked to him he was very well aware of the plot plan.
Member Harrington: Did you sort of like forget to bring that to our attention when you came up here tonight?
Thomas VanOyen: I didnt even notice it, I am sorry.
Member Harrington: But, you discussed it with the neighbor?
Thomas VanOyen: I discussed it with the neighbor, but only with the plot plan in my hand. I did not get the notice.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Harrington:
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-053 THAT THE ZONING VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED AS MADE WITH THE EXCEPTION THAT THE WEST SIDE PROPOSED SETBACK WILL BE 8 FEET THUS REQUIRING A 2 FOOT VARIANCE RATHER THAN WHAT WAS SUBMITTED. THE REASON FOR THE VARIANCE IS THE NARROW LOT SIZE AND THE CONFIGURATION.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-054 filed by the City of Novi
The City of Novi is requesting a variance to the rear yard setback requirement arising as a result of the taking of the properties at 43800 Grand River Avenue for the construction A. E. Wisne Drive; a variance of 20' is required to allow for the Phase 3 construction of General Filters.
Dennis Watson was representing the City of Novi.
Dennis Watson: The City is applying for a variance for the benefit of General Filters. It arises out of a condemnation case. It is a dimensional variance of 20' in setback distance. The City is in the process of commencing condemnation proceedings to construct some road improvements in this area. Attached to our application is a diagram that shows the property and where the road is going to be. It is essentially going to be an extension of Fonda Drive into what will be known as Crescent Boulevard, that will in essence connect Novi Road and that quadrant to Grand River Avenue. There is also going to be spur road going off from there which will be known as A. E. Wisne Drive. Really that part of the improvement, the A. E. Wisne Drive that creates the issue in this case. The General Filters property is directly to the south of the proposed Wisne Drive. Right now the back portion of the General Filters site is treated as a rear yard; as a result it currently would have a 20' setback. When that road goes in under the Novi Zoning Ordinance that will be what is known as an exterior side yard. An exterior side yard is basically a side that yard that is adjacent to a roadway. Under the Novi Zoning Ordinance that is treated for setback purposes like a front yard; so in effect instead of having a 20' setback once the road goes behind them they will suddenly have to have a 40' setback. That created a particular difficulty in this case because when the condemnation was proposed, they were in the process and have gotten approved a site plan to add a series of additions to their property. One of those additions is actually going to be in this area and will in affect be rendered nonconforming once the road goes in. Really before it is built that addition for which the plan has already been approved will be rendered nonconforming.
Dennis Watson: We believe that is a practical difficulty for the General Filters property and would impact the condemnation. Even beyond the question of practical difficulty under the uniform condemnation procedures act the governmental entity when it is taking property and is causing a nonconformity can apply for a variance. An additional consideration that the Board can make, beyond even a practical difficulty is the general benefit to the public of the improvement itself, which I think is readily apparent in this case.
Dennis Watson: We are here because of that provision in the condemnation act that allows us to do that and we ask the Board to grant the variance both because of the practical difficulty and the general benefit to the public. This was discussed a significant time ago, almost a year ago, with the President of General Filters, Mr. Robert Redner. He was aware of the fact that the application was going to be made and he had no objection to it. In as far as I know there has been no objection made since. We would request the Board to grant the variance.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 36 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written approval received, voicing approval. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Terry Morrone: The Building Department has no objection.
Member Harrington: If we approve the variance as requested this evening and the other phases of the project continue in the ordinary course, do you have a lay persons estimate as to when that connector starting at Novi Road and working around to Grand River would actually be completed?
Dennis Watson: When the road itself will actually be built?
Member Harrington: Yes, and opened. Are we talking years down the road?
Dennis Watson: I really dont know for certain. They were hoping to get it moving this year, but it may go into next year.
Moved by Member Harrington,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-054 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED BECAUSE OF THE PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES AS DEMONSTRATED ON THE RECORD AS WELL AS THE APPARENT AND GENERAL BENEFIT TO THE PUBLIC.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-055 filed by Merlin Trausch
Merlin Trausch is requesting a variance to allow for the construction of a 28' x 40' garage to be attached to the home by a covered walk way for property located at 21937 Novi Rd. (The existing garage adjacent to the home will be demolished.)
Merlin Trausch was present and duly sworn.
Merlin Trausch: We want to replace the existing garage which was built in the 1910's or 1920's with a shed addition on the back that is in a very deteriorated condition and that building is 28' x 20'; we are asking for a variance to build a 40' x 28' garage in place of it which would be a usable building in lieu of having to use the existing garage which is 170' back of the house which is a storage building.
Merlin Trausch: This new building will be attached to our house by a covered walk way. It will be 18' from the existing property line.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 49 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Terry Morrone had no comment.
Member Harrington: You have a large garage, what is your intended use for the garage?
Merlin Trausch: It is a 3 car garage, I do have the plans here for it.
Member Harrington: I really dont need the plans, if you could just tell me if you have in mind.....
Merlin Trausch: It is for car storage and for second floor storage.
Member Harrington: You are not going to be storing antique cars or cars outside of the ordinary?
Merlin Trausch: No.
Member Harrington: I do note that the proposed variance is approximately 50% larger than what would ordinarily be permitted; but on the other hand, you have what appears to be a rather huge lot. Am I correct, it is 227 across the front and 1343 deep?
Merlin Trausch: Yes, it is 7 acres.
Member Harrington: No neighbor objections?
Merlin Trausch: I have talked to my one neighbor on the south and he is in favor of it. Mr. Chruella, I didnt talk to him; he is back in the subdivision. The neighbor to the south needed the same variance about 3 years ago. He is the only one that would basically see the garage.
Member Bauer: Did I understand you to say that there is a second floor?
Merlin Trausch: There is an attic between the eaves.
Member Bauer: You cant sleep up there?
Merlin Trausch: I dont think that my wife will let me.
Merlin Trausch: I would request that if you grant the variance that a is a waiver of the 5 day waiting period so I could get a demolition permit processed.
Terry Morrone: I dont have the set of plans in front of me, I know that Mr. Trausch is talking about the attic area being storage and sometimes that second story or the second floor is a full story and it really is not permitted. I take that back, when it is attached to the home then it would be; but if it is detached he would only be permitted a single story. So he is attaching it, so that is OK.
Moved by Member Harrington,
Seconded by Member Meyer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-055 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED, BY VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT THE PROPOSED VARIANCE DOES NOT NEGATIVELY IMPACT ON THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND IS CONSISTENT WITH THE VERY SIGNIFICANT SIZE OF THE PARCEL AND IS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THE CONSTRUCTION OBJECTIVES OF THE PETITIONER. THERE SHALL BE A WAIVER OF THE FIVE (5) DAY RULE.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-037 filed by Terry Haskins, representing Planet Business Center
Continuation of case filed by Terry Haskins, representing Planet Business Center, requesting a variance to allow a business center sign 7' x 5'6" (40 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 16' for property located at 46593 Grand River Avenue.
Jeff Heyn was present and duly sworn.
Jeff Heyn: We were here last month and the Board made the recommendation that we do a mock up sign which we agreed and did do. It was a worthwhile effort. I want to thank you, it was a good suggestion. because what we found and we did learn a couple of things from the suggestion. We tried the 16' high sign at the 80' setback and it was diminishing returns; it sort of got lost and I dont know if it was the terrain or the distance back or whatever, it didnt work very well. So what we did, we moved the sign forward and lowered the sign to a 4' height and that is the way that you see it now with a 70' setback and 4' off of the ground. We felt that was functional and that it worked a lot better. It was a good experience and I hope that you found the same thing when you drove by.
Member Brennan: Did the square footage change?
Jeff Heyn: It is the same as the drawing. Basically we were just experimenting with the height and the setback.
Member Bauer: The 4' high is that on top of the base?
Jeff Heyn: That is from the ground to the bottom of the sign.
Member Harrington: It is like a pylon sign. There is a pole 4' off of the ground and then the sign starts.
Jeff Heyn: You could do it with a base, like you have seen with a lot of ground signs. For the mock up purposes we didnt go that far.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Can you tell us the plans for the other 3 signs that are on the property right now.
Jeff Heyn: We will remove the existing Planet Neon sign. There is a real estate sign, but I think
that is legal.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Then there is the other one on the drive.
Jeff Heyn: That is Uniflow. That has nothing to do with us. That is for the building that is way in the back off of Heyn Drive. I would love to see that go, because I think it is ugly.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That business isnt to the back of your building?
Jeff Heyn: No, that is a separate big factory back there. It is about a 1/4 mile back on that road there.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So the Planet Neon sign would be the only one that comes down?
Jeff Heyn: Right.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch: The Uniflow sign is on their own property, that is an easement that they have out to Grand River and it has nothing to do with Mr. Heyns business.
Member Harrington: I am really pleased to hear that the Planet Neon sign is coming down. I think that the 2 of them together would not accomplish what you are trying to accomplish. I was troubled when I drove by there today and I did drive by there twice to visual it and eyeball it and even drove in the adjacent driveway. What is the purpose of the sign starting 4' off of the ground?
Jeff Heyn: Just to get it up high enough so that you can see it.
Member Harrington: You can see it.
Jeff Heyn: It is proportional too. We felt that it seemed proportional in size and yet it wasnt overbearing.
Member Harrington inquired of Vice-Chairman Brennan: Is the only variance (because I dont have my notes from last month) is that only the height variance and not the size?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That is what I was just trying to figure out. It is 4' off of the ground and it is a 6' sign; what is the dimension from the ground to the top of the sign?
Jeff Heyn: That would be 9 and 1/2.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So I guess that the only variance that we are talking about......
Jeff Heyn: I dont know if I need any right now.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Alan, can you help us out?
Alan Amolsch: Yes, he does. As I explained last meeting, he needs a variance for one of 2 things. He needs a variance for a business center sign which has the names of the businesses on it or he needs a height variance for a business sign. One or the other.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So he is way under allowable on the height for what he has proposed.
Alan Amolsch: A business sign is only allowed to be 5' high. A business center sign is allowed to 15' high but they cannot contain any names of the businesses on that sign.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So now we have approximately a 5' height variance to a business sign, is that what we are looking at? But, he could be higher if all that he had was the name of the center?
Alan Amolsch: That is right, but he wouldnt even need to be here if that was the case.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Is anyone clear on what the variance request is now?
Member Harrington: In terms of the comment, where I am at is I am not favorably impressed by that sign starting on a circular or square pole and going up 4' and then you see the sign. I dont think that is consistent with what we have done with other signs up and down Grand River which are ground signs. I dont have a problem with his identifying the various businesses that are associated with his facility and the structure and the like. I dont have any problem with that, I think that a hardship has been shown. But, I do have a problem coupling that with a sign that starts going up off a pole and starting 4 foot off of the ground. I think that it should be a ground sign and if he needs a 1' base then maybe an extra foot to get a little more visibility that is fine. But in terms of the impact on me as I drove by there and I drove by the other signs up and down Grand River which are ground signs; I dont think that it is necessary and I dont think that there is a hardship there. There is a hardship as to identifying the businesses; and that is my thought.
Member Bauer: What is the height of the present one?
Jeff Heyn: I believe that is 6 or 7 feet. It has been a while. I am also 7' back further and that is where I thought that there could be a compromise. I thought that would be a better situation.
Alan Amolsch: The permit says it is 5' and it is 8' x 4' with a 1 foot base on it.
Member Bauer: That can be seen easily from Grand River.
Jeff Heyn: We are at 70' instead of 63'.
Member Bauer: Even moving back 7' it is still going to give you the same effect as to what you see as you go by.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I had a similar thought as Mr. Harrington because in last months meeting the emphasis was on identifying the various clients in that center and that seemed more important than the height of the sign and the time.
Jeff Heyn: I am not really fixated on the height as far as any other reason than visibility. We were experiencing with distances from the road and sight lines, etc. and we could put it 63' back and go lower. What we could do though and it might look a little bit more like a ground sign and be more aesthetically pleasing if we do a brick or metal type base and I dont know if that is what the problem is because you are seeing just a pole there. That indicates a pylon sign, but......
Member Harrington: Certainly a 1' brick base on what you have there would be adequate, wouldnt it? You have a sign that is 6' high and that is taller than the cars that are driving by.
Jeff Heyn: I would probably need to go 63' and right now we are at 70 and that is kind of why we mocked it up there, just to see. I guess that a one or two foot base would work; but I think that it needs to be closer because again the further back that you are the less legibility for height of letter, etc. and we are trying to get 6 names up there for our tenants.
Member Bauer: You are never going to see them all. You are going to fast to see them all or to comprehend them.
Jeff Heyn: I think that you can.
Member Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: In terms of the distance that we are referring to which is 70' or 63' or the like, is that from the centerline of Grand River? Do we know in terms of right of way, if God forbid, is ever expanded; whether if it goes to 4 or 5 lanes whether that is going to impact on the 63' distance?
Alan Amolsch: As far as I know Grand River has 100' total right of way.
Member Harrington: What I am trying to get at is that if Grand River were to go to 4 or 5 lanes arent those lanes of traffic going to be closer to the sign?
Alan Amolsch: Yes, they will then.
Member Harrington: Do we know how far and he is talking 63 feet and if perhaps he brings it down to a 1 foot brick base or maybe two; how close to the right of way is he at that distance?
Alan Amolsch: That would be 13'.
Jeff Heyn: That is really where the current sign is right now, the current Planet Neon sign and we are 7' back from the existing sign.
Member Harrington: What I was getting at is your concern about visibility from traffic, it may be a different scenario in the future if that road is made larger.
Jeff Heyn: Hopefully, I would like to see that, but when we dont know.
Khanh Pham: The right of way, and Alan is correct, if it would be widened and there is a study going on right now for Grand River to be 120' right of way; so that would mean that from what we have now we would need an additional 10' from each side. There is even a proposal for 180' right of way for a boulevard. Currently the 120' has a little stronger support. So 120' would be what we would need in the near future, or 10' on each side.
Member Antosiak: The City would have to acquire or take that right of way.
Khahn Pham: Or dedication, correct.
Member Harrington: So the sign right now which is 70' from the center, we are talking 70' or 63' and under at least one scenario that sign at some point in the future can be 10' from the edge.
Member Antosiak: That and several hundred other signs in the City I would suspect.
Alan Amolsch: In many areas we have 60' right of way and we have 63' signs that are like 3' off of the property line; the ordinance was designed with that in mind.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: We have kind of bantered about a number of different options here, do you have a revised plan.
Jeff Heyn: I am willing or I think that 2' off of the ground and a 63' setback would be appropriate. At that point I would probably do a nice base type of sign or a monument looking sign.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So you have you 5'6" sign sitting on the top of this 2' base.
Jeff Heyn: I think that you see a lot of those around the suburbs.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I want to get this straight. What we have in front of us now is a 2' tall base masonry of some sort and this sign as demonstrated here is 5 1/2' tall and 7' wide; so in effect we are off of the ground from the top of the sign 7'6".
Jeff Heyn: Correct.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That is what the petitioner has revised his variance request to.
Member Harrington: I can support a 1' base. I cannot support a 2' base. This is 7' of sign. What I saw today and in my minds eye; I subtracted the pole and looked at the sign and it is a big sign. You have 5 tenants there and you cant fit it exactly right next to each other but you could have 12" letters there on 5' of 10" letters with 5 tenants going across and identifying them. You add the 2' on top of that and it is bigger than it has to be.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Actually, I believe that he has plans for 6 tenants.
Jeff Heyn: These are 6" letters.
Member Harrington: Are you one of the tenants who are going to be on there?
Jeff Heyn: Yes, Planet Neon will be on there. This is something that I brought up at the last meeting and I am not positive that I am going to call this "Planet Business Center", it may be Heyn Business Center. I was thinking that maybe for a name change this wouldnt be cast in stone. I would be ....
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Again we are looking at this as submitted and whether it is Heyn or Planet Business Center and then underneath that heading 6 different tenants.
Jeff Heyn: Correct.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will go on record to that I tend to support Mr. Harrington. This is a large sign even if it is sitting on a base or on a 4' pole. We have now moved it 7' closer to the road and I think that there is room for some compromise in order to get the tenant identification that you seek to have.
Member Meyer: I appreciate the effort that you have made but I am not going to be able to support this. I think that it is to big of a sign. I wish that there was some way that we could further compromise how to meet your needs and also to keep within the spirit of the ordinance.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: With that regard, I think that we already have. We are giving him the business center sign and allowing him to put all of these names on it.
Member Meyer: What I am thinking is can we have the business center sign and the names of the different establishments on the building. People will know that they are to this particular center for that business. In other words I think that there is an unwarranted need here and I have not yet seen the hardship, even though you have said the hardship is the identification of the businesses. I believe that anyone coming to those businesses know where they are.
Jeff Heyn: That is the problem; they dont know where they are and that is kind of what I talked about at the previous meeting. They are always searching for these people and their addresses and that is the whole purpose of this. Some of these people dont really care to have advertising on the road, they really just want to be found. This is a directory sign, it is an aid in a traffic situation, people are visitng our neighbors asking if the business is in their building and that is really why we need it and that is why I am here. That is why we went through this whole study based on the original Citys criteria with the height and the setbacks and so forth.
Member Bauer: Each business is going to have a small sign where the entrance is?
Jeff Heyn: I would imagine that it would be very small, just mere identification to find the doorway. That is the plan, with the address.
Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Just so we are clear, the difference between what we are being asked to consider; what would he be allowed for a business center sign?
Alan Amolsch: Just strictly the name of the business center which would be his choosing and he can call it whatever he wanted to; however the sign would be limited to that verbiage only. A business center sign allows each business to have their individual wall signs if they so chose. They dont right now, but in the future if the Board approves a business center sign each business could have their own wall sign. As it is now, all they can have is a 2 square foot identification sign near the doorway.
Member Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: How does the size of the sign impact with the centerline of the road?
Alan Amolsch: The size of the sign is measured from centerline of the road. So if he is going to put is 63', he is only allowed a 31 1/2 square foot sign and he wants a 37 1/2 square foot sign, he would need a 6 square foot variance on size?
Member Harrington: I thought that he was at 40 square feet.
Alan Amolsch: That is where he originally started. He put 40 square feet, but it isnt; 7' x 5'6" is not 40 square feet which is what is on the application. Originally he was going to put the sign back at the proper setback, now he wants to move it forward so he needs a square footage variance for that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Jeff Heyn: Did you follow that? You moved it up and now the sign is too big and it is too tall; it has gotten worse.
Jeff Heyn: I was at 70' and then we came down lower when it came up.
Alan Amolsch: When you move it forward you have to reduce the square footage, if you move it back you can have more square footage; that is the way that the ordinance is written.
Moved by Member Harrington,
Seconded by Member Antosiak,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-037 TO APPROVE A BUSINESS CENTER SIGN, DIMENSIONS 7' X 5'6" IN TERMS OF THE SIGN PORTION, TO BE MOUNTED UPON A MASONRY BRICK OR CONCRETE BASE NOT TO EXCEED 1' IN HEIGHT, WITH THE LOCATION OF THE SIGN NOT CLOSER TO THE CENTERLINE OF GRAND RIVER THAN 63' THERE WILL BE REMOVAL OF THE PLANET NEON SIGN (OLD SIGN)..
Discussion on motion:
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I have discussion on the motion, because we have just made a motion that the petitioner had not expressed any interest in; so prior to us voting on that would you be able to live with the sign under those conditions?
Jeff Heyn: The way that I understand it that is without the tenant panels?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: No, just as you have submitted it here; but a 1' base.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays: (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-045 filed by Al Spicer, representing Edinborough (Hummingbird) Subdivision
Al Spicer, representing Edinborough (Hummingbird) Subdivision, is requesting the continued use of two (2) entrance signs 6' x 22" (11 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 5', located by Edinborough and Beck Roads. (Signs were installed without a permit.)
Al Spicer and Robert Bondy were present and duly sworn.
Robert Bondy: We are here to seek a variance to the sign ordinance. As I understand it you can only have one sign and not to exceed to 24 square feet. We have two signs, which I think have a cumulative total of 22 square feet. What happened here was that this subdivision was started awhile ago in the late 1980's and there was at one time a plan for the subdivision entrance that ultimately couldnt be built because, as I understand it, the site distance issues. Mr. Spicer, I think who can testify here indicated that he made some inquiries and very casual inquiries as to "do I need a permit to get going on my sign?" and he informed me that he was told "no", so he started on the sign and was contacted by someone from the City who said "you cant dig because you dont have a permit".
So he said "OK, I didnt think that I needed one", so he went down to the Building Department and submitted a plan. That plan was rejected for what I understand had to do with site distances and then he submitted a subsequent plan which I believe that you have in your packet. This plan shows the signs as they are constructed and he received a permit to build that, had it inspected and started building the actual monument type of sign. What this has at the entry way was a sign on an angle here and a sign on an angle here and they are not pronounced, they are tastefully done. They are done out of cut limestone and they are put back against the woods so that they are not coming out on top of you. The idea was that these signs were placed after the subdivision was predominately built out so it was not set up to be a marketing tool for the subdivision. It was more set up to be a monument so that people coming to and from the subdivision could find it in a tasteful manner that would reflect they type of residence that has been constructed within the subdivision.
Robert Bondy: What happened was that he got the permit to build the sign structures and he didnt know that he had to have a permit to do the signs themselves. So, he went ahead and had the signs carved in limestone and they say "Edinborough" and they go on both sides. So consequently that is why we are here for signs up without a permit. I think it is just a matter of not knowing and navigating the seas so to speak and not knowing all of the waves that are going to come up. It was nothing intentional in the non-permit issue. I am sure that he wouldnt have spent the money to have the signs carved in stone, so to speak, without that type of situation. Now I am going through Novi here and it is my understanding that you have numerous subdivisions that have a similar type of situation and they have the signs on both sides of the road. Autumn Park does. Iroquois Estates next door, Broadmoor Park and I am not sure if Breckenridge does or not. I have also noticed that there is a significant amount of signs where they have put the signs in the boulevard. Some subdivisions have boulevards and you have a sign so that you can see it coming from both directions. I think that the importance here is that people be able to see the signs coming from both directions. If you are coming north on Beck Road you are not going to see a sign if it is pointing to the northeast and adversely if you are coming south on Beck Road you are not going to see a sign if it is pointing to the southeast.
Robert Bondy: The hardship is obviously to see the signs. We didnt want to stick them out so that they would be on top of everybody when they are coming by. Like I said it is not a marketing tool, it is not a situation where somebody is looking for some attention but they are looking for some nice tastefully done signs and I think that if you went by there you would see that the signs are that and I think it is kind of hard to argue that the plan wasnt done in a tasteful manner. There are not a lot of colors to jump out at you. There are 6 members of the subdivision that are here; 6 different property owners including Mr. Spicer who is going to be moving back into the subdivision. There are only 17 lots in the subdivision itself and as far as I understand everybody in the subdivision supports the signage and want the signage located at the entrance as it currently is. It is my understanding that all of the subdivision members signed off on the plan when we submitted it to the City of Novi so that there would be no question that everybody did want this.
Robert Bondy: I am not aware of any objection or any public opposition. I dont think that it is as constructed is something that is going to set any type of precedent for somebody else who you didnt
want to have in the City. I think it is done better than a lot of the other developments have done in their signs just in terms of the aesthetics and trying to harmonize with the background of the woods, etc. We are here to answer questions and concerns.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 9 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
Wes Smith, 23189 Inverness Ct. I am the President of the Homeowners Association. This has been an entranceway that has been long in the coming. This subdivision was started in the late 80's and the residents have been very patient in order to get the entranceway done and we do understand that ignorance of the Sign Ordinance may not be an excuse but again we are under the square footage, we are tastefully done. The signs are setback against the wooded area and they are etched in black granite and they are set in a limestone type of base. We would like to see the signs stay and there is full support from the subdivision. We would like to see the signs stay. The homeowners association does not own the signs at this particular time and getting them changed I think would be more of a problem than if we could just get the variance and get them approved. If you could see fit to that we would certainly appreciate it. Thank you.
Alan Amolsch inquired of the petitioner: Have you settled the problem with the name change for the subdivision with the street naming committee?
Robert Bondy: I spoke to Mr. Watson and you may have seen me grab him on the way out, it is his
opinion and also mine as well ( I am also an attorney) that it is not a legal problem as we are not looking to change the name of the plat. The sign is the same sign identified as the street name and if some of you are wondering what I am talking about; the plat was originally platted as Hummingbird Estates and nobody wanted the name of Hummingbird Estates so when we came through we didnt want to change all the mylars to the plat so we changed the name of the road and the City said it was no problem so we changed it to Edinborough. We simply want to put Edinborough on the sign. Everything is identifiable, if you call the police you say "I am in Edinborough"; if you call this "I am in Edinborough"; so we wanted to put Edinborough on the sign and Mr. Watson said that there is not a legal problem with this. We are not changing legal descriptions for the lots we are not changing the legal identity of the subdivision and how it is identified through documents of the Oakland County Register of Deeds. He doesnt see a problem with it. I dont see a problem with it. I have spoken to Mr. Weinberger and he agreed with me that we are not looking to make any legal changes in that regard and we are not asking to do that.
Alan Amolsch: As far as I know that if they are going to change the name, it has to go through the street naming committee and approval by Planning. It is an administrative thing. I will check with Mr. Watson in the morning.
Robert Bondy: We did change the name back before we ever put the street in, I think. We are not asking to change the name of the street or anything of that nature that was done maybe in 1989 or 1990 and I dont think that the original proposed names were ever put up from the start. As far as I know that was taken care of a long time ago.
Al Spicer: I went through the City on that in changing the name of the street.
Alan Amolsch: As far as I know we are not aware of that. I will check on that with Mr. Watson.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: If we have a motion and we need to put an asterisk next to it....well we have been known to do that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will make the first comment because I am your neighbor and I live in Echo Valley. I am glad to see your entranceway finally completed. I am glad to see lights there so I dont drive into the swamp. I think it is tastefully done. I support the proposal.
Member Antosiak: And from someone who lives just a few steps up Beck from where you are, I too appreciate the finishing of the entrance and also appreciate the sign.
Member Meyer: I would simply say that as far as navigating seas without knowing what kind of waves you are going to run into, I would only recommend that in the future you maybe go one extra step to make sure that all of the possible requirements are met so that you dont find yourself in a situation like this where you have signs up without a permit. It certainly seems that you did it without any malice.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-045 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE BE GRANTED AS REQUESTED DUE TO SUBDIVISION IDENTIFICATION SUBJECT TO THE PROVISION THAT THE APPLICANT SATISFY THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE RENAMING OF THE STREET OR ANY OTHER ISSUES THAT MAY BE REQUIRED.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-046 filed by The Taubman Company
The Taubman Company is requesting a variance to allow an entrance sign 20' x 8'8" (173.4 sq. ft.) with the height from grade being 9', to be placed at the first mall entrance off of Novi Road, for Twelve Oaks Mall, 27500 Novi Rd.
Case No. 98-047 filed by The Taubman Company
The Taubman Company is requesting a variance to allow an entrance sign 20' x 8'8" (173.4 sq. ft.) with the height from grade being 9', to be placed in the median of the easterly entrance drive off of Twelve Mile Road for the Twelve Oaks Mall, 27500 Novi Rd.
Case No. 98-048 filed by The Taubman Company
The Taubman Company is requesting a variance to allow four (4) interior directional signs 4' x 4' (16 sq. ft.) with the height from grade being 8'. Signs to be placed in the Twelve Oaks Mall parking lot areas, for property located at 27500 Novi Rd.
Case No. 98-049 filed by The Taubman Company
The Taubman Company is requesting a variance to paint the new Twelve Oaks logo and sign on the existing water tower located on the southwest corner of the Twelve Oaks property adjacent to Dennys Restaurant and La-Z-Boy.
Cheryl Hines and Sue Gould were present and duly sworn.
Cheryl Hines: If it is OK with you I would like to address all 4 in my presentation. As you probably have noticed over the last several years we have been renovating parts of 12 Oaks Mall, including new entry ways and interior amenities and things like that. One of the things that we have done is to design a new logo to update the shopping center which then carries into the graphics package on the interior and the exterior of the shopping center, which is why we are here in front of you tonight for the new signage, to upgrade the signs that we have and to improve our graphics package. The scope of the project and I will use our site plan here and orient you that 12 Mile is to the top of the page, Novi Road is to your left and I-96 is to the bottom. What we are proposing are 2 additional monument signs, one on Twelve Mile Road at our first entry from the M-5 extension and an additional monument sign at the first entry way as you would enter Novi Road from the I-96 interchange. The other monument sign that you see located on the site plan on Novi Road is an existing sign which will only be refaced with a new logo to match the other signs and therefore we didnt need another variance for that. Additionally we are requesting 4 directional signs along the finger road or at the intersections of the finger road and the ring road and they would be located in these locations right here. These would direct customers to the individual department stores and the theater. The last variance that is requested is for the existing water tower; located at the intersection of I-96 and Novi Road and again it is currently painted with the old logo of 12 Oaks and we would like to repaint it and upgrade it as it is starting to need a little maintenance and obviously put on the new graphics.
Cheryl Hines: We started out by having a meeting with staff from the Building Department, the Planning Department and the City Attorney where they reviewed our applications for a building permit and they had a few suggestions for us which we did take into account in the submittal that you see here in front of you today. Those comments were removing 2 additional monument signs, they felt that we should do whatever we could to decrease the number. They also suggested that we decrease the size of any of the signs that we could and so we decreased the height of the monument signs from what they were originally proposed, which are the ones at the intersections of the ring road and the finger roads. They also suggested that we install mock ups of the signage, and I hope that you all have had a chance to go out and look at on the site. There are 2, one of each type of the monument sign and the directional signs which are full mock ups with graphics and colors. The others are just for scale and location. If you havent had a chance to go out and see those in person we do have boards which Sue Gould will present or have available that do show photos of the existing site with the new signage super imposed in those existing photos.
Cheryl Hines: With that, I think that is the scope of our request and with that I would like to open it up to Sue Gould to review our intent and the purpose behind each of the signs that we are requesting a variance for.
Sue Gould: As Cheryl has indicated our intent really is to try to direct and manage traffic which has grown since the center was built about 20 years ago. These boards show you the 3 locations of the monument signs, the existing monument sign and the proposed monument signs at the first entrance from I-96 and at Twelve Mile Road, if any of you have not had a chance to see the mock ups. There is no direct illumination on these signs. They are all of aluminum construction. They are predominately dark green with illuminated copy and halo lit accent color. But there is no direct illumination and there is no exposed illumination at any part of these.
Sue Gould: These Boards show you the directional signs and they are facing the entering traffic at each approach entrance finger road on the ring road and they will help to direct people because generally people are navigating by the major department stores so the copy on them directs them to the right or left to each of the major department stores and the theater. They are 3 feet to the bottom of the sign panel to allow for snow clearance. The copy is the minimum size that we feel is readable, if any of you have driven and have seen the mock up you really dont see it until you are approximately 100' away from it. It is 4" copy and it has a little logo at the top. We have reduced these in height from the original 9' to 8'. There are also aluminum construction and they are not illuminated signs. They do have reflective copy so that the legend reads at night and reflects back from the headlights.
Sue Gould: These boards simply show you at large scale in full color what these signs appear like. These are the actual colors of the accents and the major panels. The logo is the copper color, the backgrounds are the dark green tones. On the directional signs we are using only the greens and the copper leaf accent and if you have been to the center you see at each of the entrances to the mall.
Sue Gould: The water tower simply repeats the color scheme of the logo. The dark green and the copper back ground and has a random pattern of falling leaves on it. The legend 12 Oaks would appear at 120 degree intervals around the circumference of the water tower. It presently has the old logo of the center all around it, repeated.
Sue Gould: I will be happy to answer any questions.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated with each of the 4 cases there were 4 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: What is the size of the existing 12 Oaks sign on the middle entrance on Novi Road?
Alan Amolsch: The original variance in 1977 was for 24' long by 19' high.
Sue Gould: It is 8' feet 8" high and 20' long.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will make comment on what to many might be the obvious question. How do you justify the need for further signage for a shopping center that has been here for 20 years, that is the cornerstone of our community, that is known throughout Michigan and the mid-west; how can you justify further signage when about a year ago on a split Board opinion we gave additional signage on the building themselves that identified what was common entry way instead of specific to certain shopping facilities and at which time satisfied your requirements and now in 12 months you are back with considerable and enormous additional signage requirements and I have a real problem with even believing that there is any sincerity to this. I find this quite outlandish. Am I missing something?
Sue Gould: There are several issues. One is that the signs that we are requesting on the ring road, the circulation signs, are not visible from the perimeter of the site. They are strictly for traffic regulation and to help some of the congestion of traffic that occurs at peak traffic hours and at peak seasons and to assist the shoppers to know which way to go and to reduce their walking distance from their cars and from where they park. They are truly an internal need. The signs that we are requesting on the perimeter road, there is presently no identification of the center on Twelve Mile Road. We are requesting a sign at the first entrance off of Twelve Mile from M-5 and we feel that because of the increased traffic since the center was built that it is important. Also there has been construction on all of the out parcels of the center which was not there originally. So you cannot actually see the center from the road. In every community, no matter how stable, there is a significant transient population. Because we are a large regional center first of all we draw visitors and shoppers from a very large area who do not come regularly or so often that they do not need signs to know where they are; they do need signs to identify the entrances. In addition, there is a transient population turnover in every community that is today approximately 15% of the population and I dont know what your exact housing figures are in terms of your sales but I am sure that your Board of Realtors is proud of whatever that number is. There is a constant infusion of new people in the community who are looking for the correct roadway and we are simply trying to aid and to try immolate some of the congestion that is presently occurring by the increased traffic that has come.
Member Meyer: I went to visit there today and one of those directional signs, instead of helping the traffic flow would have mislead the traffic flow. In other words when I came off of Twelve Mile and went to the directional sign it said that the theater was to the right and actually the theater was to the left.
Sue Gould: I am not sure but that sign is just a sample of copy and that is not the final copy.
Member Meyer: I am not trying to be sarcastic so please dont misunderstand me; I am just saying that I am hoping that whatever comes of this conversation that they will indeed point to the theater and Lord and Taylor to the left. It certainly didnt help me. Another point and I would just mention it to you and usually around the holidays you have 2 to 3 mile back ups on the expressway for people coming to a place called Twelve Oaks Mall, and these people are coming from all over. "If you build it they will come." Well, I dont know how many of these people dont know where the 12 Oaks Mall is, when you have 3 miles of back up traffic.
Sue Gould: I totally agree with you. That is clear. They know where to get off of I-96. But what we are trying to do is to identify the actual driveways. The first driveway off of I-96 is not presently identified and there is no way to know as you approach it that it is the first entrance drive to the mall.
Member Meyer: The sign that you have up there, the mock up, it is smaller than the one that is up there?
Sue Gould: It is smaller than the variance and it is 4' smaller in length than the existing sign.
Member Meyer: It seems like a huge sign to me.
Sue Gould: It is only 8' tall.
Member Harrington: Sort of discussing reactions and we all did our little tour and I came across Twelve Mile this afternoon. The immediate question that I had on the Twelve Mile Road sign as I was struck by how it seemed to me to either obscure or potentially obscure the movie theater sign and what I didnt know was whether there was any relationship between the two or if there were to be any integration of the movie theater sign or not. I think that the 2 are in conflict as it is set up right now. I didnt think that was a good position for the Twelve Oaks sign on Twelve Mile and it may be because it is so large. I wasnt favorably impressed by that and apparently this will not have any impact on the movie theater which is sort of stuck behind it as you approach from east to west on Twelve Mile. As I came around the curve and came down Novi Road I was kind of struck by why you would put and I am not encouraging you to put more signs, but why you would put 2 Twelve Oaks signs on the southernly entrances but not one on the farthest to the north. I was looking for a sign there and you didnt even have a mock up there, so that is not a part of your proposal. What is your rationale in not having an identification sign there.
Sue Gould: We did originally have one proposed there. We proposed one at every entrance and what we are trying to do is to address traffic as close to its approach to the site as possible. In other words, to identify the entrances that are as close to the major generators of traffic.
Member Meyers: That would be M-5 and I-96.
Member Harrington: I think that we are going to be seeing you in the future on those other two. The next reaction that I had on the 2 mock ups; you do have existing signs there now, is that correct?
Sue Gould: Only one existing sign that will be replaced.
Member Harrington: Is that replaced or refaced?
Sue Gould: That will be replaced. It is not economical to reface.
Member Harrington: As to the golf ball, what is the rationale for putting the logo Twelve Oaks and how high are those letters? What is the size of the lettering on the water tower?
Sue Gould: They are approximately 4 1/2' high on a curved surface so the effective height is slightly smaller.
Member Harrington: The hardship or the practical necessity that requires those 4' high letters, is what?
Sue Gould: There is presently an existing logo; it is replacing the existing logo. It is the new logo of the center.
Member Harrington: Does the present water tower have 4' high letters on it?
Sue Gould: It has larger than 4' logo images on it.
Member Harrington: Does it have any letters that say Twelve Oaks Mall?
Sue Gould: No, it says Novi.
Member Harrington: So we are really changing the existing logo that is there and specifically advertising the location of the Twelve Oaks Mall with 4' letters, is that correct?
Sue Gould: We are identifying that piece of property, yes.
Member Harrington: Have you done any marketing issues and is there real issue in terms of; and let me tell you that the water tower bothered me the most, I think it makes some sense to have an identification for the driveways and I think that you should have gone for it all and asked for identification for all of the driveways but you are being conservative. I am troubled by the water tower. Have you done any marketing studies that would suggest that really is necessary in order to help people to find the mall? Are people going by and missing the mall? Do you have data or research for us?
Sue Gould: As a matter of fact, I missed the mall coming over here this evening and I have been there many times. The Expo Center is across the road and I as a matter of fact I was looking for the water tower, I saw the Expo Center and I got turned around; and thought that our water tower was in a different location and went on thinking that it was the next exit. The Expo Center tower across the road, does have its name on it with larger letter, I believe.
Member Antosiak: Since we seem to be giving our observations, I will give mine. I truly believe that you need an entrance sign at the first entrance north of Novi Road. I have been going to that mall for 15 years, and I still have to think about where to turn when I go up there. I am not sure that you need one that size, but I do think that you need one. I too, like Mr. Harrington, was a bit troubled by the sign on Twelve Mile and although it doesnt say the mall only Twelve Oaks Movies or Twelve Oaks Theater or something like that, it is clear that it is an entrance into something called Twelve Oaks. I also tend to believe, like Mr. Harrington, that you probably could use a sign at each entrance although I would hesitate to even consider ones of the size that you are suggesting. I also think that the internal directional signs, I really dont have any problem with those and I think that those are needed for the folks who come to the mall for one shopping season during the year and not like those of us who find ourselves spending to much time. I think and I dont share Mr. Harringtons, complete, apparent revulsion with the water tower; although I do think that the signage is a little excessive, 4 1/2' Twelve Oaks and 3 spaces around the tower seems a little like over kill to me. I am just trying to envision what that would look like in real life. That is my observation.
Member Bauer: Usually, they set up the size of the signs near the road ways be the speed of the cars that are going by; and you cant go that fast. But, I think that the size of the signs are really large. Twelve Oaks mall is a superb place and I think that by making them billboard size cheapens it.
Member Meyer: I agree with you. You have a class act going and you should keep it that way.
Member Bauer: That is correct. You can have them 400 square feet and it doesnt make any difference, but if you had a 40 square foot sign saying Twelve Oaks mall, people will see it the same way and it is more in good taste.
Cheryl Hines: I think that I would just like to reiterate a couple of things. One; everyone does know where Twelve Oaks mall is but we are trying to identify the entrances and not the location of the mall. Everyone knows where to get off of I-96 or M-5; so we are really not trying to identify Twelve Oaks; we are trying to get people off of the congested road ways of Twelve Mile and Novi Roads as soon as possible to get them into the center. That is why we are asking for those monument signs. Also I would just like to reiterate that the existing monument sign that has been there and that we are refacing or replacing is exactly the same size as what we are proposing. So if you never thought that was garish or too big or whatever you want to call it, you would see the same thing at the other entrances. It is not any bigger than it has been for a number of years.
Member Bauer: The sign ordinance has changed since that went in.
Sue Gould: The only other thing that I would like to add is that one of the reasons that it is the size that we have shown, is that people have to have the time to change lanes to get to an entrance without cutting off other traffic. So it is not just a matter of it being big enough to see when you are right at that entrance; you all know very well where the entrances are but to be able to see it from a good distance away so that you have enough time, several hundred feet, to change lanes and the letters themselves are not that large.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Well I started off with my comments and for the most part, I havent changed other than the directional signage on the inner loops. I think that the water tower proposal while updating and modifying and upgrading the existing tower adds value to the complex; it certainly adds value to identifying the site by 10 to 15 miles away. I think that anybody getting anywhere near that mall knows that it is a right hand turn off of Novi Road or a left hand turn off of Twelve and you are going to proceed down Twelve until there is an entranceway. Those are my thoughts.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: As I have suggested, we will take these one at a time. The first case is the 173 square foot sign, 8' x 20' rendering that was submitted and is the first sign coming off of I-96, is that correct? Further discussion, or we can make a motion.
Member Antosiak: With other petitioners we have put the question to them as generally would something smaller be workable, and I think that it would be only fair to attempt that approach at this time. So, would something smaller at that location be workable and meet your needs?
Sue Gould: I think that we could scale it down just slightly, yes. I think that there is always a margin of compromise. We feel that we need these signs and we would like to see them get up. If something that is 80% of that size; it means that people will see it 80% later.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: What is the general gist from those that made the comments with regard to that size, is it the height or the overall square footage?
Member Harrington: It is both. I was struck by the height. I thought that it was taller than it had to be. It is certainly taller than anything in that area. It looked long and it looked large and maybe part of the reason is that it is a rendering and not a real sign.
Member Antosiak: I think that part of the reason that it is so noticeable compared to the existing sign is the color. The existing sign doesnt stand out as much as a sign of this color and contrast. I think that is what gives the appearance of being larger than the existing sign.
Member Meyer: In no way shape or form it is meant to imply that the sign isnt beautiful. It is just that it really jumps out at you, where the present sign blends right in and it is almost like you dont see it.
Sue Gould: Exactly.
Member Antosiak: I am a little concerned because I dont think that it quite fair to put these ladies on the spot and make them as we say in my trade, to bid against yourself; how small can you make your sign? If they feel that there is room and they want to pass on this particular item to caucus in the hallway or chat among themselves a little bit; any maybe they want to talk in terms of the overall or how much leeway that they have given due reflection on our concern that it may be too large. It is fair that we try to get a little smaller sign if there is a consensus that is what we need. Do you want to talk about that particular issue while we ....... or how do you want to handle it?
Cheryl Hines: I would like to ask a question, if we were to reduce the size of the signs would you give us the additional 2 locations?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: No it hasnt been posted like that.
Member Harrington: It hasnt been noticed; and I think that if you read the sense of the Boards irrelevant comments on an issue not in front of us.
Cheryl Hines: I did hear several comments that said I dont understand why you didnt apply for signs at all of the locations; so I thought that I would ask.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: If it is in your interest and if you would like to adjourn; we have a couple of other cases that we could listen to....
Member Harrington: Maybe we could go to the interior sign.
Member Antosiak: If they are going to step away momentarily, I do have a question on the interior signs and it is just a question of the actual size of the signs, the notice says 4' x 4', height from grade being 8' yet the rendering that is attached and I think that your statement earlier shows the sign approximately 4'6" x 4'6" and I cant tell for certain the height of the sign.
Sue Gould: We have reduced that. This sign, the panel, is 4' by 4'. It is 3' above grade and the overall height is 8' to the top of the leaf.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-048 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR FOUR (4) INTERIOR DIRECTIONAL SIGNS 4' BY 4' WITH HEIGHT FROM GRADE BEING 8' INCLUDING THE CENTER LEAF BE APPROVED TO FACILITATE AND AID THE CUSTOMERS MOVEMENT WITHIN THE MALL AREA.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That particular variance has been approved. Do we want to talk about the water tower?
Member Antosiak: My speculation is that this may be one that the petitioner would wish to discuss.
Norman Hyman: I represent the Taubman Company. There is a question in my mind and I have experienced this in other communities, for example Southfield, that relates to the tower. It is my position and my belief that there is a very good argument that we dont need a variance at all for the tower. The reason being that we are not adding a sign, we are simply changing the message on an existing sign. I can give you a specific example in Southfield, at Northwestern and Lahser there is a service station at the southwest quadrant that used to be and Esso or Standard station; it was bought by Total, it was a very high rise that clearly violated the subsequently enacted Southfield sign ordinance. What Total did when they purchased that property is that they simply changed the name on the existing sign and Southfield agreed that it is not a new sign, just the same sign with a different name on it. It is as if you have changed the name plate on a building identifying the tenant or if you had changed the letters on a move theater marquee when the movies have changed. I think that many municipalities take that position. Here that is really what is happening. I am asking for guidance from you; do you think that we really need a variance with respect to the tower?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I thought that we were changing the name from Novi to Twelve Oaks.
Norman Hyman: Yes, but it is the same sign. The point is that it is the same sign. Like for example and we have had this experience, we represented at one time when there was such a thing "Great Scot Supermarkets" which went through several different name changes over the years and you would change the name on a marquee in a shopping center but as long as you stayed within the boundaries of the same defined sign area, that wasnt a new sign because you were simply changing the name and that is considered to be OK. So, I think that we have an existing sign. We are in here because we thought that it was appropriate that we let you know what we are doing, but I think that there is a reasonably respectable position here and we would like your guidance. One of the things that you do of course, is to interpret. And it may well be that we really dont need a variance here.
Member Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: The current verbiage on the water tower is?
Alan Amolsch: Novi.
Member Harrington: Was a variance required in the first instance to put Novi on the water tower?
Alan Amolsch: I couldnt find anything in the file regarding the water tower.
Norman Hyman: We have also not been able to find any record.
Member Bauer: That was all controlled by Council, the whole shopping center. Signs and everything.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: It certainly seems here that this is an additional sign, it is specific to this property, it says Twelve Oaks. It is not a welcome to the City of Novi. It is a sign that is specific to this petitioner. It is before us and it is the interpretation of the Building Department that this is a sign and I think that we have to move on that.
Member Harrington: Here is my sense. I think that you are on track and certainly there is an issue here; but the matter that we have in front of us this evening is not an interpretation case where the Board is being asked to interpret is this a sign? And we have done that in some famous cases like Big Boy and I still remember to this day is the little Big Boy a sign or not. We have dealt with those kind of issues, but that is not what is in front of us. My sense is that if you want to withdraw your request or you want to handle it in a different way we could do that. If you want a ruling by the Board on the request, I think that the Board will give you one this evening and you can always come back on a motion for a rehearing or do it a different way in terms of if you dont like what you get I think that you could bring in an independent petition and ask us to interpret if it is a sign or not and what we would do is to turn that over to Dennis Watson and get some guidance from the City Attorney as to what it is. As to the narrow issue, are we going to approve the request as made? We will give you a ruling on that.
Norman Hyman: Well, it was precisely for that reason and we are going to be asking for an adjournment on the exterior signs. I was asking for guidance as to the tower so that we could deal with the issue in the way that you wanted it dealt with when we come back. If in fact you feel that there is substance to our position that this is an existing sign and we are simply changing the message and therefore it doesnt need a variance; we could then have our request for interpretation before you on that adjourned date. So I did want come guidance from you on that. We dont want to play games here. If you are telling me now that you are going to treat this as a new sign and we need a variance, that is the end of it. So be it. We want to continue or request, our application and it will be for a variance.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I believe that is how it is . We have in front of us a variance for another sign and the water tower has been deemed a sign by the Building Department and you have applied for a variance.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So the question is, do you want us to discuss or debate or table the water tower?
Norman Hyman: Let us proceed with the water tower tonight.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-049 THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR A SIGN ON THE WATER TOWER BE APPROVED FOR THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFYING THE SITE AND FOR UPDATING OR REDECORATING THE WATER TOWER.
Discussion on motion:
Member Harrington: My comment will be brief. I am not offended by the concept of identifying Twelve Oaks mall on the water tower, but I think that the size of the lettering and the verbiage on there is significantly larger than it has to be to accomplish that purpose and for that reason, I cannot support the motion.
Member Antosiak: I would concur with Mr. Harrington.
Roll Call Yeas (4) Nays (2) Antosiak, Harrington Motion Carried
Cheryl Hines: We would like to request that our other two cases be continued to the next meeting.
Norman Hyman: That would give us a little time to see what we could do, rather than trying to wing it out in the hall way which we thought would not be appropriate or fair to either you or us. At least we would have time to go back to the drawing board and to see what we could do.
Member Harrington: In that vein, Mr. Hyman, if there is some sense that they wish to proceed for variances with the other two and we are not giving any advance ruling on that; there probably would be time to get that on for the next meeting so we could look at this as a package. It has further been our practice that in situtions like this when they go back to the drawing board and something new emerges in terms of we could live with 80% or maybe 70% or 62%; put another rendering and mock up there and we will look at it as we always do before the next meeting. Give us what it is that you think that you can live with that is different than what we saw today or whenever we went out there.
Case No. 98-050A & B filed by Huron Sign Co., representing Red Hot & Blue
Huron Sign So., representing Red Hot & Blue, is requesting variances to allow A) a wall sign 17'6" x 4' (70 sq. ft.) and B) a projecting wall sign 6' x 4' (24 sq. ft.) to be placed on the building at 25750 Novi Rd.
Jim Anderson was present and duly sworn.
Jim Anderson: My client, Red Hot & Blue, has asked me to represent this case tonight for them to get the signage under way for the new location. Following procedure through the City we applied for the proper sign ordinances up front through Alan and some guidance from Khanh. At that time we were instructed that the signage ordinance and the way that it is written and intended at this time which is something that the client does intend to try to work with to full capacity wouldnt require a sign large enough to accomplish what they would like to. Therefore we followed through to the ZBA, which is why we are here today.
Jim Anderson: Basically the feeling that we had for this location was that the setback on Novi Road for this location is in excess of 141 feet, which is very extensive and deep for this property and the fact that this business is in line with another like a billiard company or a pool hall. We felt some need to differntiate the two because they are in line as one continuous unit there.
Jim Anderson: The main hardship in this situation would be the severe setback and the other points that we would like to make in terms of hardship for this case would be that the ordinance would only allow for 40 square feet of signage and given the conditions that we are working with wouldnt be very adequate. Also some points that we would like to make is that this restaurant is very new and exciting to this area. It would be the very first location in Novi for this restaurant. It is very new to Michigan. They only have 2 other facilities in Michigan at this time and neither one is one year old. It is very new and they need to build.
Jim Anderson: The sign proposal tonight is very clear in that they would like to promote Red Hot & Blue as a brand name and a brand recognition. They serve barbequed ribs and the name is derived from blues music as a theme. It is a barbeque place. They really want to set themselves away from the burger and frie routine that people get.
Jim Anderson: The program that you are looking at tonight with the channel lettering and the memphis pit barbeque sign underneath as a tag line, is very important to build consistency in the building presentation. This sign program in front of us is very typical to the consistency to the brand recognition and to what they have done in the past. There are several Red Hot & Blues throughout the country although as I stated earlier Michigan is still a real brand new location for them and we would like see them continue to grow.
Jim Anderson: Another point that we would like to make is that the Main Street Court concept is relatively new to Novi and it is an exciting project to be working on. We would like, specifically with Red Hot & Blue to build awareness to the public that this is where they are even though they are ganged in line with some other businesses and that the client Red Hot & Blue is very determined to be successful in Novi and that they felt that the package that we have tonight in front of us, would help them to achieve the awareness and differentiate them from the competition and given the setback have people from Novi Road take notice that is where they are and have an impressive personal appearance with the public.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated that there was a total of 11 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written responce received.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Bauer inquired of Alan Amolsch: Are they able to get a red neon line all the way around the building?
Alan Amolsch: That is not a sign issue, if anything it would be a facade issue.
Khanh Pham: The neon line across the building would be considered a facade issue and not a sign issue. When they come in to do their final renovation prepping for occupying that, we will review that. Currently we have not reviewed it, so it is not an issue right now with us or with you, I guess.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: If I might consolidate what we have in front of us; we have 2 issues. Number one you are only allowed one sign. Secondly the one sign that you have on the front is considered larger than what ordinance allows and I guess there is a third issue that the second sign is a projecting wall sign which is not allowed at all. My take on things is that I felt overwhelmed by the mock up. It seems to be incredibly large for that facing on that end of the building and I was struck that it was significantly larger than it needs to be. In terms of Red Hot & Blue, I havent heard anything presented that tells us why we need to consider a projection sign and while I have no particular problem with the square footage I would prefer to see it on the facing of the building.
Jim Anderson: The reason that we have the projection sign is that I have a site plan and I only have the one copy; but I will be happy to bring it up. This is the Main Street Court site plan, that was approved by the City and the buildings are highlighted. You can see how big the parking lot is on that side. We wont put anything on that side of the building. The building is deeper that way than it is long and there wouldnt be anything there if you are travelling south on Novi Road as well as coming in and out of the parking lot; in effect you would drive right by this place and you wouldnt see any identification until you saw the front. I think that between my clients perception of the Main Street Court concept was that the intent was to get back to a swinging and hanging kind of a sign look, an older world type of look. We thought that we would put that out there so that A) it would be sort of reminiscent of old world type of signage hanging off there and secondly all of the traffic driving back and forth would at least have the opportunity to deliver that message. That is the place that it is and that is the logo and stuff like that. The logo of the pigs is the only real corporate identity that they have other than the wording. So to them, if you have ever been to one, the pigs are on the shirts, the cups, the menus, the buttons, the napkins; the pigs are the thing. They would really like to get the pigs in there if they could in some way shape or form.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: My point was, and maybe you missed it, the current sign ordinance specifically says no projection signs.
Jim Anderson: I think that may be why we seek the variance for that, just to see if there is anything that we can do on that side of the building. By way of projection we felt that we kept it down in size to just 6 by 4 and that it just delivered the message to that side of the building which would otherwise go without a delivery and all that traffic. If you would like and if there is any way that the Board could see it clear for us to eliminate the projection but to put something up there; the reason we went with it again was adhering to the ordinance intent and not trying to over do the wall signage allowance.
Khanh Pham: Is it the objection of the Board currently in the review of the projection sign is that we dont have a constant or guide line to address for a projection sign?
Member Harrington: That is not the problem. The problem is at least for this Board Member and I dont speak for other Members of the Board is that we stand in a very unique procedural position on the time line of the growth of that area which and it is my understanding that all most as we speak City Council is reviewing or will be reviewing or will be approving projection signs specifically in that area and they may be either saying "yes, this is consistent with what we want to do and we are going to revise the ordinance" or "no, we are not going to approve it" and puts this Board Member in a very difficult position because if we approve a projecting sign here and the City Council doesnt write that in the ordinance then we will have gone against what the real intent of what City Council is. The flip side is that if we deny the projection sign or the request is withdrawn, and the ordinance is passed he can put in a projection sign later on and he doesnt need a variance. So what we are going here now, in my view, is premature until we see what City Council does with that oridnance package. I really am not concerned what the guide line and what is intended with that particular area in terms of what they want to do in the future; that is for Council to rule upon as a matter of legislative policy. I am not concerned as to whether this fits in, I presume it does. I presume that is why it fits in with someones notion of a good development; lets have a lot of projecting signs.
Khanh Pham: Would it be appropriate for them to hold off on the projection sign until there is a provision to address this and now only address the sign on the wall?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: The petitioner would have to field that. He has a business that is under construction. He has some time lines. Whether he wants a flat panel sign on that side, if we so grant a second sign. If he is agreeable to a flat panel sign for identification purposes to such time that Council changes the sign ordinance in that district. That is his option. His other option is to go with no signs.
Member Harrington: Or he could just hold off on the north wall sign until he sees what Council does.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: We have kind of let the genie out of the bottle here; you know there is something in the cooker but as it is right now there is no provision for us to grant a variance for a projection sign.
Member Antosiak: In fact last month, we rejected a projecting sign for the tenant who will share your building, 5th Avenue.
Jim Anderson: The reason that I think that this issue is occurring is that when this site was developed that page that you have in front of you now is 1 of about 3 that had projection signs all over the Main Street Court. I agree with you that it may be a City Council issue that is coming down the road and it sounds like the neon is a facade issue for planning; so perhaps tonight we have more on our plate then we need to at this time. I would ask that perhaps we put the projection sign on the back burner until Council has rewritten the ordinance to see how they would like to address that. We can address the neon with Planning down the road also. So I guess I would ask the Board to approve the lettering as we have proposed it today.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: You mean the big sign?
Jim Anderson: Yes, the lettering. Red Hot & Blue and the Memphis Pit.
Member Bauer: With the projection sign and the Red Hot & Blue across the face; is there any other identification of the building?
Jim Anderson: No, there is no ground signs or pole signs. And that is the other reason and I guess it would be best to wait for a little bit because if we are allowed a projection sign, perhaps they will slide it down the building further than it is basically shown here looking like it is right on the corner.
Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Planning: When do you think that this is all going to come to a head, the next couple of months?
Khanh Pham: Currently we are scheduled for a second reading of City Council on July 20th and hopefully adoption. At that point if it is adopted as is and what we are presenting, there will be provision to address for projection sign. However, to give you a little information, it would still be a variance for size but not concept.
Member Antosiak: At least there would be a provision in the ordinance for a projectional sign the petitioner would look to see what that provision is and decide if they wanted something different than that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: The fact remains that they are talking about projection signs, they are talking about square footage; everything that affects this whole plan. I have a proposal, if I can throw it on the table. It looks like you have invested some money and put some mock ups, why dont you table this for a couple of months; you will get some business identifcation taken care of for the next 8 weeks and hopefully we will be able to talk about size and projections when we know what the new district signage ordinance is.
Jim Anderson: I think that we would take that under consideration for the projection. or are you in affect asking for the front signs to be considered at a later date?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That is what I have suggested because I dont know what this new signage for this district is.
Member Meyer: We are only talking 2 weeks for this second reading.
Khanh Pham: The second reading is July 20th. So if that night if it is approved, 15 days after it is published the ordinance would be in effect.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: He could come back in August.
Member Antosiak: When is the cutoff for the August ZBA Meeting?
Jim Anderson: They plan on opening in August at this time.
Member Meyer: Then what you are saying is that you could put off the projection piece, but you would like us to address the front facade?
Jim Anderson: Yes, please.
Member Meyer: I want you to know, as one Board Member who drove by there today and have looked at it 2 or 3 times in the last few days, I do believe that it is too big. I am just wondering if there is any way that you could envision it doing what you want it to do and yet being smaller in size.
Jim Anderson: Well we looked at that, do you think that there is any way that when you got the impact of the banner that you had all this white around everything and perhaps that was a bit overwhelming? These letters are only 2' tall.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will tell you what struck me, sir, this is the side of the building and that is the side of building and you have verbiage from one side to the other. You couldnt make it any bigger than what you have.
Member Meyer: I do hear what you are saying, namely that it wont have all the background on it.
Jim Anderson: No, it wouldnt. Each letter would be individual.
Member Meyer: I am not saying that I am pleased with it, but it does give me a better understanding because it is overwhelming with the background.
Member Harrington: When in August are you opening?
Jim Anderson: The first week.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: And how long does it take you to make a sign?
Jim Anderson: Currently 4. So we are really down to the wire on production and everything. Right now, as you are probably aware, we havent made anything except those banners that are out there. It was the intent to come here tonight and hopefully get the approval for some of the signs any way. I understand the issue with the projection being a separate issue and the neon being a facade issue and this whole project being delicately handled being so new. We had put the 40 square feet up there in other drawings and the owners and everyone involved thought that it was too small.
Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Alan Amolsch: The shop next door that has the same setback, what did we end up with there?
Alan Amolsch: That was around 70 square feet.
Member Antosiak: It is nearly the same size.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: On a much bigger wall. The difference there is that we are dealing with a facing that is about 3 times what you are dealing with. That is what struck me. With the brick background you are eating up the entire wall.
Jim Anderson: Just to be sensitive to that, these letters would be and I am not sure what the billiard place has in mind, but each letter would have brick all around it also. You would have an inter-play of the facade and some space between the lettering and the Memphis pit.
Member Harrington: How long has construction been going on? How long have you been building this thing?
Jim Anderson: I am not sure. I know that we began looking at this around February. Greystone was originally involved. I am not sure when they started building this. I know that from experience in handling this customer in the past and doing these signs that a 2' letter, when you take this letter and put it on the wall and step back 141 feet it is not that big. I understand and I am sensitive to your concerns there; but that is all that they are going to have in the front and side; no ground, no pole. I just ask that if you would look at that as something that we could proceed with.
Member Harrington: Here is the problem and here is the reason that I ask this question. I am concerned because I think that someone dropped the ball and it is probably Greystone or someone out there who waited until the last minute to do it. Someone dropped the ball in filing an application, in my view, with sufficient time to allow us to work with you as the petitioner and try to meet your needs as well as to meet the interest of the City. We know have a time deadline that this Board didnt impose. This is the first time that it has come up. We are talking to you here tonight. It could have been filed a month or two months ago. I was leaning towards "gee, 55 square feet sounds like a good number because 40 was too small for you and it is less than 70 and that is called lets make a deal".
I will never do that again on this Board. We are going to live with the Best Buy sign on the south end of the City for a long time because we didnt insist that the modified version be put up in a rendering and we just went ahead and approved it. It was a split Board that approved that. If we are going to approve any sign other than 70 square feet I want to see it. I am not speaking for the other Board Members but I want to see it. If there is s a suggestion of a compromise size here, I want to see it. It is 55 square feet, if it is 42 or 60 square feet , I want to see it because we have already eye balled it and we think that it is too big. We are not in the signing business and we cant tell you and really get from you as to what is the minimum that you have to have in order to do what you have to do. What we can do is to give you our gut reaction which is that it is too big and it is too big. But, I cant tell you sitting here tonight what is just right. If there is an alternative size that you think that you can live with that is consistent with the Board then I would support moving this to next month and dealing with it then. Keep your temporary sign up there, keep your rendering up there until you have a different rendering. If it causes a problem of a couple of weeks, maybe they can put it on rush or something that you dont have the exact sign that you want. That is not really your fault. It is whoever designed the project. I am not prepared to vote on any size other than 70' unless I can see it.
Jim Anderson: This is at 70, is that the magic number?
Member Harrington: That is no magic number that is the number you have asked for.
Jim Anderson: If I could bring each letter down a few inches in height that would also reduce the width of them. Right now they are at 2' so that is 24 inches and I dont have a calculator in front of me, but if I brought them down to 20 inches rather than the 24 that would be 4 inches in height times the 17 feet...............
Member Meyer: Sir, what Mr. Harrington is asking and what other member of the Board would welcome is bring them down, let us see it and then..........We feel that we have been taken by a previous petitioner.
Member Harrington: I didnt say that, so dont say we in that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Lets even make this more simple for you; your associates next door has a sign package that we have approved. You make take that as a guideline to what we have viewed as acceptable and that is with respect to the size of the sign to the facing of the background.
Jim Anderson: That was 76?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That is not what I said. I said that look at the relationship between the sign to the building. What I have, and others have pointed out is that we are looking at this being the building and you have consumed the entire wall and that is what we have the problem with. If you want to get a feel for a relationship, look at what is next door.
Jim Anderson: Would there be any way that I could leave tonight knowing that a certain size would be or is it preferred that we go through the process again and get the banner changed and stuff? We did mock the banner up.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: You have heard Mr. Harrington. I personally think that you should take a look at what is next door because it is going to be more conforming and what was agreeable to us.
Cut off the banner that you have, hang one over the top of it, however you want to do it. If you want us to vote on this variance request as it is submitted, we can do that. You wont be happy with the result.
Jim Anderson: So, if I keep it open then and I leave here with no victory or no defeat? Just do this again.
Member Harrington: We are willing to table this until the first Tuesday in August and if there has been any change OK, if there is no change and 70 is what you have to have then we will vote then.
Jim Anderson: And if we vote now the feeling is that it is too big.
Member Meyer: We would like to see the new rendition.
Member Antosiak: I would just advise that you to track the proposed sign ordinance because I believe that there is different wall sign potential in that ordinance also in addition to the projecting sign. So should that pass on July 20 you may want to consider not even requesting a variance and seeing if you could live within the ordinance as it then would exist.
Khanh Pham: If the Board chooses, we would gladly bring the ordinance to you earlier next time what we are really working on and bring a mock up of the Main Street project that we have actually constructed to show you the types of signs and the sizes that you could visually see in a model form. If that is what you choose. So that you can understand what we are trying to do.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I would just like to see if there are new sign ordinances for this particular district and it passes so that we can deal with the people who need signs instead of sending them off mad and angry.
Member Antosiak: We would like a current and accurate copy of the ordinance.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Are you square to what is going on now?
Jim Anderson: Yes.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Is that acceptable?
Jim Anderson: Yes. I wish I could have the one sign, but I understand your point. I will leave with it tabled. I dont feel good about it, but I dont want to fight about it either. I didnt come here to argue. If you cant agree the way that it is, I have to leave being tabled.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: It is no doubt in your best interest. There is a lot of stuff going on and you may get closer to your wish by waiting a month then to have us force our hand tonight.
Jim Anderson: OK, that is how I will leave it.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So this case is tabled. We will put you in the front of the pack with the signs the next time.
Case No. 98-056 filed by Dinser Flowers & Greenhouse
Dinser Flowers & Greenhouse is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of a sign 8' x 57" (38 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 8', placed at the corner of Ten Mile Rd. and Dinser Dr. (The sign was erected without a permit.) The original sign was granted in Case No. 916 on March 2, 1982 limited the sign to 4' x 8' (32 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 5'.
The Dinser clan was present and duly sworn.
Mike Dinser: I represent Dinsers Green House and also 3 of my brothers who are not here today, Tom, Robert and William. We have been on Dinser Drive which was Old Wixom Road for 27 years this past June. We basically want to keep our sign where it is with the variance that we are asking for of an additional 6 square foot. We thought that we were just refacing the sign and didnt know we needed a permit for that and ignorance is no excuse so we are sorry for that. We feel that the sign that we had there before was a little dull, we had customers tell us that they had trouble seeing it as they went by. It was designed to blend in with the landscape and it did, it was hard to see when people went by especially during the foliage season. We figured that we should brighten the sign up and make it a little easier for people to find us and to see us. That is basically what we did. We would like to continue to have that sign there and we hope that you would approve us.
Theresa: I designed the sign for them in hopes of getting better visibility for Dinsers. I am sure that Dinsers have been around for a lot of years and I hope you all know where they are located. Has the Board seen the new sign? Have you seen the old sign? Is there an improvement? Can you see it better? That was our goal. The reason I ask is because that was our main objective for visibility. We had a lot of complaints from customers, they had a hard time finding us and a lot of them passed by the place not knowing where to go. When we found out from Alan that we got a citation and again our ignorance of not getting a permit, we did feel that we were just refacing it for better visibility. I tried to submit to you a petition that we had signed. I have 105 Novi residents that have signed the petition stating that they like the sign and they can see it a lot better than before. We have 46 non-residents that also signed it.
Theresa: I would just like to share with you, out of non-residents the cities that Dinsers have brought to Novi; including Plymouth, New Hudson, Wixom, Lansing, Walled Lake, Westland, Commerce Township, Brighton, Howell also including the 105 residents from Novi.
Theresa: Really all of our intention was not to go against any of the ordinance here, but our intention was to try to get better visibility for the sign. We would like a variance to keep the sign there.
Mike Dinser: We took the sign into consideration and our business into consideration; we are in a business of beautifying things; so underneath the sign we put flowers under there and everything else and we wanted to do it tastefully. The way we did it was not exactly what we wanted at first. We wanted to have a nice berm with flower beds around here, but that would have changed the height so we didnt get into that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 10 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 3 written responses received; 2 voicing approval and 1 objection. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Theresa: Dad mentioned that there are a lot of pine trees coming down Ten Mile and now with the sign being white; a lot of the customers couldnt see the sign until they passed it and the pine trees are in the way and with the new sign being there a lot of people have seen it and they do like it.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Theresa: Can I ask the Board a question? Something has been brought to the Dinsers attention on Friday; unfortunate to our behalf the City of Novi is condemning that corner. I am not sure that you are aware of it, we did call the City and asked how we should approach the Board. They are condemning the corner and we do have to move the sign. In the midst of moving the sign, do we need to go through any other type of requirements or any other type of request? Another variance?
Alan Amolsch: If they relocate the sign, it will require another variance from the Board.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Do you know where it is going to be re-located.
Theresa: We have no idea where they will ask us to re-locate it.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: What I would recommend and we cant deal with unknowns; so lets deal with the case as it is tonight.
Member Antosiak: As we have heard earlier tonight, when the City goes through a condemnation action they have the right to seek a variance when they are creating the non-conforming situation. So perhaps you could talk to them should that happen.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-056 THE PETITIONERS REQUEST BE GRANTED TO IMPROVE IDENTIFICATION OF THEIR BUSINESS AND THAT THIS VARIANCE BE LIMITED TO THIS PETITIONER ONLY.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
There were no other matters.
The Meeting was adjourned at 11:05 p.m.
Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan, Recording Secretary