REGULAR MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF NOVI CIVIC CENTER - 45175 TEN MILE RD.
TUESDAY - SEPTEMBER 1, 1998
The Meeting was called to order at 7:35 p.m., with Vice-Chairman Brennan presiding.
Present: Members Brennan, Antosiak, Meyer, Meyer, Reinke (arrived at 7:40 p.m.)
Absent: Member Sanghvi (alternate)
Also Present: Don Saven - Building Official
Khanh Pham - Staff Planner
Heidi Hannan - Staff Planner
Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer
Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated 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. I will say at this point that we are expecting Mr. Reinke and given the significance of having 5 on the Board versus 6, perhaps we will wait a couple of minutes.
Approval of Agenda
Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired are there any changes to the Agenda as submitted. Hearing none, I would move for approval. All in favor please say aye. All ayes. Agenda Approved as written.
Vice-Chairman Brennan indicated this is the Public Remarks portion of the Meeting. All comments related to a case on the agenda, should be held until that case is called. If anyone wishes to address the Board on another matter or case not on our agenda tonight, please come forward.
Edward Kriewall: Thank you very much. Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals it is my pleasure this evening to introduce our latest staff member to you at this time and you will be seeing a lot of her in the months and hopefully in the years to come. Kerreen Conley joined us a few weeks ago, she is filling the new position of Director of Developmental Services. This position was created in the 1998/1999 City Council Budget to provide a re-organization of several departments. The intent of City Council and the City Administration was to re-combine the Building Department along with the Planning and Community Development Department to try to put a handle on all of our developmental activities. So the Building Department was severed from the Department of Public Services. We are really trying to model what some other communities have already done and that is to group anything that is related to building and development into one arena. So that we could hopefully streamline and propel us into the next millennium with a little more organization and definition. So with that, this position was created. We are very excited about it. We think that we are going to be able to do some great terms in making the developmental process a lot smoother in our community. So at this time I would like to introduce Kerreen Conley. Kerreen was the City Manager in Belleville, Michigan and prior to that she worked as Finance Director in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She has a Bachelor of Science and Business Administration from Central Michigan University and she will receive a Master of Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University in December. We are really excited to have her on board. She has been spending a lot of time getting to know the development community, members of the Building Department and employees in Planning and Community Development. We are really excited to have this position on board and I think that it is something that is long overdue.
Kerreen Conley: I would just like to say good evening and I look forward to working with all of you and the staff to help our community move forward, with the developers to make their process through our system a little easier.
Khanh Pham: Not to make your meeting any longer; I have sitting to my right Heidi Hannan another staff member from the department. She will be substituting for me when I am not here to staff the ZBA Meetings.
Don Saven: Before you I passed out a paper regarding Case No. 98-073 regarding Victor Muscat at 170 Erma Street and it is from Mr. James E. Korte. Basically we had a conversation this morning and this is the follow up to that conversation regarding that case.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Hopefully we will get a chance to read this at some point before that case is up before us, it is difficult getting information at the beginning of the Meeting and expecting us to swallow it all and consider it.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: However, at this point, with Mr. Reinke not being present; we will begin to hear our case load. I will reiterate that with only five (5) Members present a Full Board consists of six (6) and since there are only five (5) Members present and at least four (4) votes are required for approval those petitioners those who would wish to table their request until the next meeting or until a Full Board is present may do so now. Any case that we do hear tonight the decision will be final. So, if there is anybody who is on the agenda and wishes to wait for another month, we will hear it then. (Nobody wished to be tabled at this time.)
Case No. 98-069 filed by Novi Development Assoc.
Novi Development Assoc. is requesting a variance to allow overhead doors facing a residential district to allow for the construction of two office/warehouse buildings (Adco Office Park), for property located on the east side of Novi Road between Nine Mile Road and Eight Mile Road.
Adorno Piccinini was present and duly sworn.
Adorno Piccinini: We have approximately a 3 acre site that we do have preliminary site plan approval for. Given the odd configuration of the property, long and narrow, in order to access one of the suites at the far east end of the property we are requesting a variance to install a garage door. I didnt bring along the elevations of this building but it is very much a residential looking structure, with the garage doors in these locations here and appear very residential in nature.
Adorno Piccinini: The one correction that I see here on the agenda says overhead doors in plural, it is only one door that we are asking for.
Adorno Piccinini: I have also brought a photograph board showing the property line as it goes from north to south and there is a CSX railroad track that is bordering the property line and buffering us from the residential. There is precedence setting in the adjacent 4 properties with garage doors facing the rear already towards the residential. The berm that is there, we have also provided for additional plantings per Linda Lemke and her approved landscape plan at that one location even thought there is very dense under brush and trees and not to mention the railroad berm with the railroad track on top.
Adorno Piccinini: Photograph number one shows the starting and it pans from north to south, we staged it to show the density of the trees that are there.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: The whole door issue confuses me, because the 3 issues that we are looking at are variances to setbacks.
Member Bauer: No, there was a corrected Notice.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 24 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received, both voicing objection. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: What is the height of the berm that is located back there?
Adorno Piccinini: We did have to shoot grades across there and I believe that it approaches 17 or 18 feet.
Member Bauer: That is going up to the railroad tracks?
Adorno Piccinini: Yes.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Just to be clear myself on this door issue, this is a door that is going to be facing the railroad tracks?
Adorno Piccinini: Correct.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So any kids that are going to be perhaps harmed by any traffic in the rear of that building would have to climb over the railroad tracks to get there first.
Adorno Piccinini: Absolutely. I dont even know where they are talking about with the playground. They must be mistaken with another piece of property.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Directly behind you to the east on the other side of the tracks is?
Adorno Piccinini: Riverbridge a residential subdivision.
Member Bauer: How high is this door?
Adorno Piccinini: That would be 14'.
Member Harrington: Is the idea of the trees that are in the photographs that they provide screening?
Adorno Piccinini: Yes, in our landscape plan and we have worked quite closely with Linda Lemke to insure that all of that does stay in place and in addition she has had us place evergreens in that location so that in the winter months that if that goes away, but there still is a berm behind that and there is no way that they can see our property.
Member Harrington: You have anticipated my next question, which is that will you maintain control over that screening? That is not on an adjacent parcel, that is part of your property?
Adorno Piccinini: Most of it is on our property, then there is the easement that is the CSX.
Member Harrington: How about the stuff that we looked at, is that on your property?
Adorno Piccinini: Most of it, yes.
Member Harrington: And you would not have any objection to making a condition of a variance if we were to grant one, of the maintaining of that screening?
Adorno Piccinini: Absolutely, that would be fine.
Adorno Piccinini: I did want to make one other comment, that suite there in particular is going to be our personal suite. We are land developers and builders and there is very minimal use. It wont be a going and a coming of any type of a loading and unloading. It is strictly for furniture that could possibly come in, files that could be back there and that would be about it. I might park my car inside.
Member Meyer: So then it would be more of a storage area?
Adorno Piccinini: Yes, more of a storage area. Files and then furniture that would be moved in and out of models.
Member Harrington: So then we could limit this variance to your particular use only, correct?
Adorno Piccinini: I would like not to, obviously if the building were ever to be sold. It is our intent for a long term commitment; I have been here for 15 years all ready and hopefully will continue to be here.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,
Seconded by Member Harrington,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-069 TO GRANT THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED, WITH THE CONTINGENCY THAT IT IS FOR THIS APPLICANT ONLY AND THAT THE WHOLE ISSUE OF SCREENING BE MAINTAINED SO TO PROTECT THE EASTBOUND SIDE RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY.
Discussion on motion:
Member Antosiak: I am not quite sure as to how we limit this variance to this petitioner only since the petitioner will be constructing a building.
Member Harrington: I think that we can. I have a concern of whether the screening that has been presented to us will continue and be maintained. I have concern over what sounds like a relatively minimal traffic flow will in fact continue. Should those conditions upon which I would vote for this variance change in the future; I think that we can prohibit the use of that door and I think that we have the power to do that. I would be interested in watching and seeing whether or not adjacent neighbors do have a problem in the future. I think that we can and there is a remedy if the petitioner doesnt think that we can and in fact, I think that we should.
Don Saven: I need a clarification on the motion based upon the fact that we are looking at him as being the owner of the building and this variance being to this person and this person alone or is it to that location of where the overhead door is and where it is to the office that he wants to operate out of.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: One of his variance requests is to have the overhead door on the east end of the building; and if he chooses to sell it to someone else then that party would need to come before us and give us an equal case for a variance.
Don Saven: For the building or for that overhead door?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: For the overhead door.
Adorno Piccinini: So as long as I would maintain ownership of the building, it is fine?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Yes, and if you would sell to someone else and they still want to use it they can come back and tell us what they want to use it for. You have suggested that it is going to be minimal and you are going to keep the green scape.
Adorno Piccinini: The green scape, was quite lengthy and talked about with Linda Lemke. We have had to provide very extensive tree protection, plans, etc
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That is why I have made the motion.
Adorno Piccinini: I am fine with it.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-070 filed by Douglas and Barbara Teubert
Douglas and Barbara Teubert are requesting that the variance that was granted in Case No. 94-005 on February 1, 1994 to allow an existing barn located on the premises at 48120 eight Mile Road to be utilized for an antique shop in a RA Zoning to be continued to them as the new owners of the property.
Douglas and Barbara Teubert were present and duly sworn.
Douglas Teubert: We would just like to continue the premises as it is being operated right now. No changes. We just want to continue on and to maintain the property and the use of the property as it currently is.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 4 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
Russell Elvy, I am the current owner of the property in question. When we came before this Board in 1994 we were granted the variance. Our whole idea was to enhance the property. We have an abstract back to 1827. It is a historic property. We are involved in the historic district study committee here in Novi. We are very preservation minded, as are the Teuberts. We know these people personally. It has been a wonderful experience for us. Everyone who walks through the doors of that barn to visit "The Barn Antiques" is impressed with the restoration that we have done and they just literally love that barn, for want of a better phrase. It would be nice to see this continued.
Don Saven had no comment.
Member Bauer: You are going to continue this as an antique barn?
Douglas Teubert: Yes.
Member Bauer: Normal hours for people to come there?
Douglas Teubert: Same hours.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I have no problem, whatsoever. I have been in that shop. It is a nice shop. A cool barn. I would just as soon see your business continue, than what has been spoke of by others.
Douglas Teubert: That is what our intention is.
Moved by Member Bauer,
Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-070 THE REQUESTED VARIANCE SHOULD BE GRANTED, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THEY ARE CONTINUING THE SAME OPERATIONS AS THE PEOPLE BEFORE. THIS WILL BE LIMITED TO THIS PETITIONER ONLY.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-071 filed by Janice Strehl
Janice Strehl is requesting to construct a garage and a rear yard addition to the home at 1537 West Lake Dr. and the following variances will be required: "Garage Addition" front yard setback variance needed of 22'6", north side yard setback variance needed of 9'4", south side yard setback variance needed of 2'6". "Rear Yard Addition" north side yard setback variance needed of 6'2", south side yard setback variance needed of 1'4". A lot coverage variance of 4% is also required.
Janice and Michael Strehl were present and duly sworn.
Janice Strehl: I was requesting to put a garage addition on 1537 West Lake Drive. I think that I have submitted all of the plans. There was a site plan done.
Michael Strehl: She is giving up 3/4 of the residence to place the garage; that is why there is a front setback asked for. The actual addition that she is adding and we have taken a look at 1511, 1517, 1533, 1501, 1425, 1405 and all of these houses are within the same distance that she is requesting with a garage.
Janice Strehl: Plus or minus a foot. I dont want to say that we are exactly right in line there, but plus or minus a foot.
Michael Strehl: The distance is from the road.
Member Meyer: You say plus or minus a foot, but here it says that you need a 22'6" variance.
Michael Strehl: These residences that we have gone down the driveway itself that they have in front of them; for the existing driveway that she already has, that driveway will be plus or minus one foot to these residences that are already existing on that particular street. It is not a main thoroughfare. It is a dirt road. She is kind of landlocked, there is no other place to put it. There is a well on one side of the house and we have taken as much of the residence as we can to add the garage and actually she is only adding an additional 10' to the house and 11' is coming from the house. She is adding an additional 4 1/2' of driveway to the existing driveway that is already there.
Member Bauer inquired of Don Saven: There are trees being removed. Are there going to have to go to that department?
Don Saven: I am not absolutely sure, unless they are specimen tree and then we would notify them for the woodlands review permit.
Member Harrington: What is a specimen tree?
Don Saven: Something like a historical tree, or something along that nature.
Janice Strehl: No, both of those trees are not real big and one of them is an apple tree that is wrapped and very small so it looks like it was probably planted not too long ago. I just moved here and the only reason that I would like to have a garage is that I am a 60 year old woman and I would feel safer coming home and pulling into my garage than parking my car and getting out of it. The reason that I am moving here is that my son lives near there and I felt that as I was getting older I would need to be closer to family. I have lived in Dearborn all of my life and have made this big change and I would certainly hope that you would grant me or give me the permission to do this so that I could continue to live here.
Janice Strehl: It would be a hardship on me, if I didnt have it.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 30 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written objection received. Copy in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: This is a very difficult case when you talk about the configuration of property this is a classic example. One of the things that she has done is that she removed a portion of the house to allow the garage to be placed in the front. The garage size is not uncommon for a 2 car garage, 20 by 21. It looks as though she is replacing that to the lake side. The only thing that I have a concern about is the issue that you are not going to be able to park a car outside of the garage.
Michael Strehl: Actually there is 3 stalls now that are there and we do park 3 cars there now and she is adding an additional 4' to that driveway.
Don Saven: What I am talking about is outside of the garage, where you have a car being at least 16' and you will be out into the road area; so that is one of the things that I want to point out to you.
Janice Strehl: We are not disturbing the cement that is there now. The existing driveway that is there now, why would there not be the space.
Don Saven: If the City had to do any work in that particular area, where that concrete is placed I would assume that it is not on the property line.
Janice Strehl: There is a small encroachment there, but it is plus or minus; do you see that on the side?
Michael Strehl: We are not exactly sure what that encroachment is, and she was waiting for the zoning variance to try to get and then get an actual survey to find out how far we do encroach.
Don Saven: I just wanted to point that out to you. It isnt feasible to park a car outside of the garage at that point.
Janice Strehl: It is possible that you might not be able to, yes. Basically my concern is to be able to park in the garage so that I would feel safer when I came home rather than having a lot of cars; just to be able to park right there.
Don Saven: If the variance is granted you would be looking at protection on the wall, which would be the northwesterly wall of the garage as you approach the property line and you would have to go for a little bit more fire protection in that area.
Michael Strehl: Yes, we understand that.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Typical of the homes up there that are going through renovations, you have a little tiny lot and it is very narrow and you are trying to make the most of it. I think that the petitioner has made an effort to get the best out of the parcel that she has. There is very minimal expansion of the parcel north and south. The overall square footage, that in some cases we have seen astronomical requests, and in this case it is 4% in terms of the lot coverage. I would still like to talk about this access to the road and parking; that concerns me a little bit. The overall plan, I dont have any overwhelming objection to.
Michael Strehl: There is a garage on the adjacent property that is right next to this and we are not protruding any further than the garage that is on the adjacent property. We are lining up with it. So there is already an existing garage, so a garage being built there whether it was a carport or a garage you would still not have the view because the garage that is already there blocks the view.
Member Meyer: So this one wouldnt block the view, because the other one does?
Janice Strehl: This one doesnt block the view because it is already blocked.
Michael Strehl: It is already existing, it is already there, it is a single car garage which the setback from that is pretty much the same as what we are asking for.
Janice Strehl: If you look at the site plan, we do draw out that existing garage on the site plan just to show you and we wouldnt block anybodys view.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: You are already a Member of the lakes area? Are you a member of LARA?
Michael Strehl: No, I am in Walled Lake.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: We often ask to see if they have a say one way or the other.
Janice Strehl: I was outside and they were driving through one day and I was telling him about what I planned to do and asked him if I needed to show him the plans because in the City of Dearborn you have to go through an association. He said "no" that it wouldnt be necessary and that he didnt have a problem with it. So I didnt make any attempt to show him those plans but I certainly have no objection to doing that if you would like me to.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Just to reiterate my concerns, my issue was the setback for the garage. The other variances as far as the south side, the north side and the lot coverage; I think are very minimal. I guess if the rest of the Members of the Board are comfortable with that.....
Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-071 THAT THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR VARIANCE INCLUDING THE LOT COVERAGE BE GRANTED DUE TO THE SMALL LOT SIZE, THE CONFIGURATION OF THE LOT IN RELATION TO THE ROAD AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING THIS A LIVABLE RESIDENCE.
Discussion on motion:
Member Antosiak: Just a comment on the safety issue. Normally I would be concerned about that, but given the fact that this is a gravel road and it does carry a minimal amount of traffic I am a lot less concerned about the potential risk of the short gap between the garage and the road.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case Nol 98-072 filed by Anita Yee
Anita Yee is requesting a 5' rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a sun room for property located at 24415 Venice Ct.
Jamie Craig (Brady Sun Rooms) and Jim Davis (Champion Construction) were present and duly sworn.
Jamie Craig: The residence is located in the Roma Ridge Subdivision, 24415 Venice. They would like to construct a sun room 11' by 13'8" which would require a rear yard setback of 5'. Mrs. Yee would like to have a spa for her house and the only way to do that would have a sun room that would be 11' and would require the 5' variance.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 38 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 2 written responses received both voicing approval. Copies in file.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven had no comment.
Member Bauer: Do you have a homeowners association in the area?
Jamie Craig: Yes, and they did approve the plans.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Is there any reason why Mr. or Mrs. Yee did not come tonight?
Jamie Craig: She is here.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Hydro-therapy was the item that you listed, anything other than just enjoying a spa or is there a medical requirement?
Anita Yee: Just enjoying the spa.
Member Meyer: If I read this correctly it is bordered in the back by utilities easement and in other words it is not going to really impact on any one else?
Jamie Craig: No, it is just in back of the house. It is in a subdivision.
Member Meyer: Is there the utility easement? In other words what I am trying to say is that there are no homes back behind it that would be impacted by this addition?
Jamie Craig: No.
Member Harrington: The spa is like a hot tub? How big is it?
Jamie Craig: Well, the spa goes anywhere from 60 inches to 96 inches depending upon the size that you would need.
Member Harrington: So 11' is all that you need?
Jamie Craig: Yes.
Don Saven: Can we get a clarification on that last statement, I am looking at lot 5 that is directly behind you in the Briarwood of Novi and you are telling me that there is no home back there?
Jamie Craig: There are homes back there
Member Meyer: I am simply saying that it looks like there is some distance between this addition and the neighboring homes.
Don Saven: What they are proposing is 30' from the rear of the addition to the property line.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-072 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE REQUEST, IT IS A MINIMAL INCURSION INTO THE PRIVATE EASEMENT AND WE HAVE NO PUBLIC OPINION AGAINST IT.
Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Antosiak Motion Carried
Case No: 98-073 filed by Victor Muscat
Victor Muscat is requesting a 2'1" rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a deck for property located 170 Erma Street.
Victor Muscat and Tom Malecki were present and duly sworn.
Tom Malecki: I am the one that measured it, so I might as well tell you what we have. First off they changed or closed the road, which changed the attitude of the house and which was the side yard setback is now the rear yard setback. The house is 3 1/2' from the side yard setback that used to be. We need to put an entrance porch on there which would be a 6 by 8 porch. To make it fit in front of the door I need a 2'1" variance to the lot line.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: As indicated, this house was located on a corner lot. When there was a vacation to Erma Street this created a little bit of a problem in terms of now this lot is an interior lot which when it was on a corner lot his side yard now turned out to be his rear yard so there is a substantial amount of difference to the footage that is there. That is one of the reasons why he is here today. The other issue is that this is not a covered porch; it was at one time but the cover came down. Now this is an open and unenclosed porch and is not an expansion of the use it is a necessity that is necessary to enter the structure. Although you do have in your packets some objections from a neighboring resident regarding that issue which was presented to you tonight. This was a decision that I made regarding this particular issue because I did not feel that the use was expanding the nonconformity, it is still there, it is still a multiple, he did not increase the multiple usage of this building it is directly detailed with a porch and only a porch.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 26 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was at total of 2 written responses received. One voicing approval and one voicing objection. Copies in file.
Member Meyer: I would like to ask that those comments not be read into the record. I feel that some of the comments are inappropriate and I dont know what the process is here, but I would ask that you reconsider reading the entire letter into the record. I would like it to be considered that we are intelligent enough to have read that letter and make the letter available to anyone who wants to read it at the City office in the morning. I feel that some of the things that were said in the letter were inappropriate.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I agree with Mr. Meyer.
Member Meyer: I might point out the Freedom of Information indicates that I have already stated that this letter can be made available to anyone who wishes to read it at the front counter of the City Managers Office in the morning or any time thereafter; but I do not believe that it should be read into the record. I believe out of respect for the people here it would be inappropriate.
Member Harrington: I dont think that we normally read things into the record. Normally we take a dim view toward materials that are presented to us the same evening. It will be a part of the record and we can give it whatever weight that we think it deserves. Suffice to state that the 2 letters presented, the one on August 24th and September 1, strongly object.
Chairman Reinke: I have no problem with that myself. I have always been a firm believer of material that is presented to us that we really dont have the opportunity to read and review isnt really something that I find to be justifiable. So unless there is an objection by the Board Members, this will be included in the package but will not be done with more than that.
Member Meyer: I might also add that I will weigh my decision as I would with any of the letters that you share with us from various people, and I will weigh this one just as I do any other one. I am simply making the statement based on some of the information in the letter that I feel is totally inappropriate and it is not directly connected with the issue.
Member Antosiak: Perhaps I missed it, but other than those letters were there any other comments?
Chairman Reinke: There was one approval.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Again we are dealing with a fairly tight piece of property. One that narrows in the back. The petitioner wants to put a porch on the front of the house. I dont think that there is anything wrong with that. He has positioned it in front of the front door. It is relatively small, 6 by 8 foot. That is a fairly small porch. I think that the variance request is modest.
Member Bauer: It makes it easier to get in and out of the door.
Moved by Member Bauer,
Seconded by Member Meyer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-073 THE REQUESTED VARIANCE BE GRANTED DUE TO THE SERVICEABILITY OF THE HOME.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-074 filed by Andrew Terhune
Andrew Terhune is requesting a variance to allow for the construction of an in-ground pool (accessory structure) into the side yard, for property located at 46373 Galway Dr., in the Bradford of Novi Subdivision.
Andrew Terhune was present and duly sworn.
Andrew Terhune: Thank you for entertaining my request. I would like to start by saying that we did consider all options in the placement of the potential pool and because of the rear yard configuration we have a minimum setback of 36 feet from the rear of our house and the rear property line. The rear property line does have a 10' utility easement which cannot be disturbed. Any kind of pool structure requires a 10' variance from the home, so that would leave us a slice of 16' if we wanted to entertain the idea in the backyard and that would not be considering any patio or concrete type of a deck around it. Because of that reason we decided to look at the side yard as an option. We were informed that this type of a structure is considered another structure and needs a variance in order to be put in the side yard. We did contact the homeowners association and did receive approval from them and we also wanted to take a bit of a pro-active approach and talk to 15 or 16 neighbors adjacent to us and some that would not even have a site line on the actual project and did received some enthusiastic support. I did include some of that in with my package. The other thing that we did look at is the fact that the project itself we would like to have setback so that it really doesnt protrude any closer than the front line of the visual site line of the home, therefore, having the appearance of not sticking out any closer than the front of the house. We do have extensive landscape plans for your review to make it an aesthetically pleasing addition to our subdivision. Based upon that, I would ask for the variance.
There was no Audience Participation.
Don Saven: I would be hopeful that when go for the building permit, if this is approved, that he would receive an approval from our City Engineers regarding grading and drainage.
Andrew Terhune: As a matter of fact JCK is already reviewing the proposed grades of the project.
Don Saven: Secondly is the homeowners association aware of the style of fence that you are going to be using around the pool? And they are in approval?
Andrew Terhune: Yes.
Member Meyer: Those were my 2 questions.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 24 Notices sent to adjacent to property owners. There was a total of 5 written responses received, all voicing approval. Copies in file.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Sir, you have just demonstrated how you can get things done; you have done your homework, by getting cooperation from your fellow residents, by your association. That makes it very easy to say yes.
Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,
Seconded by Chairman Reinke,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-074 THE PETITIONERS VARIANCE REQUEST BE APPROVED, IT IS A LOGICAL SITE FOR THIS POOL. THE PETITIONER HAS THE APPROVAL FROM THE ASSOCIATION AND THE ADJOINING NEIGHBORS; THERE ARE NO OBJECTIONS AND HE IS WITHIN THE SPIRIT OF THE ORDINANCE.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Andrew Terhune: I do have one further request. I would like to request the waiver of the 5 day waiting period for the permit, as the information has already been submitted and we are under some time constraints. I was told by Mr. Morrone of the Building Department that it is typical that a permit cannot be granted within 5 days of this Meeting. I am requesting that if the Building Department and JCK are able to approve everything as submitted and if that is done before the 5 days is up; that we have a permit issued according to obviously the Building Departments approval.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: If they can get it done before the 5 days, I will make that amendment to my motion.
Chairman Reinke: I will support that.
Voice Vote: All yeas. Waiver is granted for the 5 day waiting period.
Case No. 98-075 filed by Mike and Karen Cortis
Mike and Karen Cortis are requesting to construct a pool and decks at 31120 Kingswood Blvd., in the Haverhill Subdivision and will required the following variances: "Pool" - variance required 5' from the main building. "Deck" - north portion of the deck 3'4" side yard setback variance, south portion of deck 6'4" side yard setback variance.
Mike Cortis was present and duly sworn.
Mike Cortis: I have a couple of pictures of the yard. (Presented to Board.)
Mike Cortis: As you can see we have a unique back yard to work with. While we were unaware that this yard was going to have this wall in the back yard we have basically come to like it. Our neighbors have started to call it "The Great Wall of Novi". While it presents plenty of challenges it also lends itself to a wonderfully landscaped backyard area. Because the wall took away 20' of our yard we only have a depth of 21' to work with. Since the back of our house has a large bay window, we decided that it would be nice to put in a small waterfall with a lap pool and because of this and the narrow space between the house and the wall, we are asking for a variance of 5' from the edge of the pool to the house.
Mike Cortis: The other variance that we are looking for: we are proposing decking on either side of the pool and we are asking for variances on both sides of the lot lines. So we have on the south side and the way that our lot is shaped; it is cut in a like a pie shape, we need a variance on the south side of 6'4" and on the north side 3'4". If we were to meet the requirements of the zoning ordinance there would be a 2' gap between the wall and the deck and we feel that would create a safety hazard or a problem with small children climbing in between the wall and the deck. We are proposing taking the deck all the way to the wall in the back yard so we eliminate that.
Mike Cortis: We also plan to put climbing shrubs and thorny bushes on the wall itself to prevent children from climbing the wall and that type of thing. The variances on either side of the deck is what we are asking of.
Mike Cortis: We have spoken with Haverhill Homeowners Association and they have approved our plan as submitted and I believe that you all have copies of that. I have also talked to the neighbors on the north side of our house and the house across the street and then on the other side of the street and they have all said that they concur with our plan and they would approve the plan that we are presenting here today. I also have a copy of the letter from the neighbor across the street who approves the plan.
Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: I am curious, can you enlighten us to ask why that wall is there?
Don Saven: That is definitely a substantial change in grade. It must have been needed for drainage purposes for the development of that subdivision.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So people go to extremes not to have to cut any grass. You have a hot tub a pool and decks in the back yard; how can it get any better?
Mike Cortis: We did put in 3 huge trees on our own to beautify the neighborhood. We just want it to look very nice and to be safe as well.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Is this parcel right along Meadowbrook?
Mike Cortis: It is at Fourteen Mile and Haggerty, Haverhill, lot number 12.
Moved by Member Meyer,
Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-075 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE REQUESTS, THE GENTLEMAN HAS SOUGHT TO WORK WITHIN THE PARAMETERS THAT SUIT THIS PARTICULAR LOT AND HE HAS ALSO SOUGHT THE COUNSEL OF THE NEIGHBORS AS WELL AS THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION AND HAS WON THEIR APPROVAL. HE IS ALSO WITHIN THE SPIRIT OF THE ORDINANCE.
Discussion on motion:
Member Harrington: I cant support is, based on a simple statement that "I talked to the neighbors and they approve". While ordinarily I would disregard the significance of that; I have never seen a more over built yard in all of my years on the Board. This will probably be the first swimming pool case that I have not approved and I am basically in favor of outdoor recreation and I think that it makes sense. I dont know how you can conceivably put anything more in a back yard and pack it any tighter to the adjoining neighbors or the park. I have trouble supporting this one.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I dont believe that we had the Chairman tell us about the letters from the adjoining homeowners.
Chairman Reinke: There was a total of 12 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no response received.
Don Saven: I would like to point out an issue here, I am not sure if the Board is aware of this. You will notice that there is from the rear of the property going back in towards the swimming pool there is a 20' drainage easement that is there and is not being obstructed by the pool and it kind of compacting the pool into a certain area and the configuration of the lot is dealing with a corner lot.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So the 20' behind the wall is his property?
Don Saven: That is correct. There is a 20' drainage easement there.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: What do you intend to use up there on the other side of the wall?
Mike Cortis: Northing, just grass and climbing roses on the fence.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I have some sympathy for this petitioner, I think that he has a tough lot to try to deal with.
Member Harrington: But do you need to put a deck within 2' of the property line? There is no hardship there, he just wants to do it. It probably will be beautiful when it is done. I am waiting to hear the hardship and I havent heard it. He has a unique lot configuration, but he is building on just about every square inch in his back yard that he can build on. I think that is a lot. We have not heard from the neighbors other than by word of mouth and that is where I am at. I am not standing up stomping and saying that you couldnt do this it is a health hazard. I am not saying that, but I am not convinced that the burden, from my point of view, has been met.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Well we are discussing the motion that was made and you have made your case and you are taking issue with placement of the deck along those 2 property lines.
Member Harrington: I am taking issue with building on every square inch of the back property.
Member Antosiak: Am I correct in understanding that the deck will be to the wall but not extend beyond the wall?
Mike Cortis: To the wall right up to here. We have a door wall right here at the back of the house and you would come out the door wall and out onto the deck. It is the same on the other side of the house from the master bedroom and that is where the deck would be. So we could come out of the master bedroom or the kitchen area onto the deck and then in the center would be the pool. The way that the lot is configured this corner is only a couple of feet from that wall line to the edge of our lot so we are kind of constrained as far as what we can do because that wall was put in there and with keeping it several feet away from the wall, we feel that it is a safety issue with kids crawling in there or falling in between the wall and the deck. It is so private with the wall back there, the wall is as tall as the walls in here that nobody can see into our backyard other than maybe a quick glimpse from Pony Park which is a small piece of property that doesnt get used for picnics or anything of that nature that will never be used and once all of the trees grow up you wont be able to see our backyard anyway.
Member Meyer: I just want to qualify that in my motion, the reason that I indicated that it appeared that the neighbors approved is because the homeowners association had given their approval on this site plan. That is where that came from.
Mike Cortis: We talked to each individual neighbor around our house personally and got concurrence that they didnt have a problem with our plan and that they loved the idea, as well as going to the association and got concurrence and approval of the plan. We talked to all of our neighbors as well as the association and they said that they approved and that is why I brought that one along today that I had signed and the other people unfortunately had discarded them.
Member Harrington: Just so that the record is clear, the neighbor that is immediately affected which would appear to be tot he north of your property; their names are?
Mike Cortis: I dont have the names with me. It is an Indian couple and we talk to them all of the time; but I am not good with names. My wife would know their names and unfortunately she is out of town on business. They cant even see into our backyard because of the wall to the north
Member Antosiak: I think that I can support the motion. Initially I felt like Mr. Harrington does until I saw the photographs tonight and saw the wall and had a better understanding as to what the wall is and how it got there.
Roll Call: Yeas (4) Nays (2) Harrington, Bauer Motion Carried
Case No. 98-058 filed by John Riley, representing AT & T
John Riley, representing AT & T is requesting a variance to allow the placement of a wall sign 5'6" x 27" (12.375 sq. ft.) with the verbiage AT & T to be place don the clock tower of Bavarian Village at 43267 Crescent Blvd. in the Novi Town Center.
John Riley was present and duly sworn.
John Riley: I am here this evening on behalf of AT&T Wireless. AT&T Wireless recently launched their new wireless network here in southeast Michigan, that was in December of last year. Since that time AT&T has been offering retail products to the public; basically a variety of cellular phones and pagers and other wireless devices. AT&T chose the City of Novi to have one of their leading retail stores and that was placed in the Novi Town Center. AT&T placed one relatively small sign in the front of their retail store, since then business has been brisk and they have encountered a problem that many times they are called by people who are in the immediate vicinity of the store that are actually having trouble finding it. In order to deal with that problem they felt that signage on the rear of the property would be beneficial to help customers identify their location. There is currently a sign on and I presented in our packet of information a photo montage that shows the bell tower, the Bavarian Village sign that is currently there. Bavarian Village occupies a majority of this free standing structure. Bavarian Village was contacted and they have no objection to this sign. If you are familiar with the front of the store there is a similar AT&T sign. The sign that we are proposing here is actually smaller than the sign in front and it will simply have the AT&T logo and the 3 letters AT&T.
John Riley: Again, referring to the photo montage there is a fair amount of information regarding the signs and the detail. It will be an illuminated sign at the base of the bell tower. The bottom of the sign will be approximately 25' off of ground level.
John Riley: We will be happy to answer any questions.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 46 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Member Meyer: You say this will be an illuminated sign?
John Riley: Yes.
Member Meyer: The letters and the logo?
John Riley: Yes, each one will be individually illuminated from behind.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: You have answered one of my questions and that was the height. This sign that you are proposing is 25' up in the air. I drove by the site today, in relationship to the Bavarian Village sign the location of this AT&T sign would be in my view quite a beacon. I have a great deal of a problem with a sign that is at that elevation. I really have not heard anything that tells me that you need additional signage when business is so good.
Chairman Reinke: It almost looks like we are trying to turn this bell tower into a billboard sign and I really have a problem when we start to put multiple names and multiple things up there. It looks nice and clean and it is very unique to use as a focal direction point. I really have a problem with the request of putting another sign up on that tower. I see no real extreme hardship reason for it.
Member Harrington: I concur with Mr. Reinke, I havent heard any hardship. The same argument applies to everyone in the Town Center, they have a sign in the front of the building but not the back; so people dont know where the back of the building is. It is the wrong spot to put a sign.
Member Bauer: I am not for this at all. It is too much signage.
John Riley: Would the Board consider the possibility of perhaps this sign being located lower down, perhaps below the Bavarian Village sign?
Member Bauer: I just dont care for another sign on that tower.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Let me ask the petitioner this because I wasnt looking at it from this side of the street. This is from the outer belt, I presume, this picture. Can you gain access to your business from that door?
John Riley: No.
Member Meyer: And there is a sign on the other side of the building?
John Riley: There is a sign on the other side of the building over the retail space that is occupied by AT&T. There is considerable and this particular location is somewhat different from the rest in that there is considerable exposure to the outer drive and there is quite a bit of traffic and the bell tower has been really the land mark that people use to locate the store. It was felt that if we could put a relatively small sign on that bell tower it would be significant and help the customers locate the store.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I would contend that by your own admission that a sign on that side of the building would confuse the public because you cant get into AT&T from that side. I dont think that it serves you any purpose. The majority of the traffic in the Town Center is on the inside belt. No one can access from that side.
Member Harrington: Little old Starbucks Coffee made a much more compelling case and we did not approve their second sign. I cant see a second sign here.
Moved by Member Harrington,
Seconded by Chairman Reinke,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-068 TO DENY THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED FOR REASONS OF INSUFFICIENT HARDSHIP.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-076 filed by Great Lakes Electrical, representing Dicks Sporting Goods
Great Lakes Electrical, representing Dicks Sporting Goods, is requesting a variance to allow at 24'6" x 12'6" (312 sq. ft.) wall sign to be placed on the building at 21061 Haggerty Road in the Highpoint Shopping Center.
Jim Miccula, Mike Green and Edward Kickum were present and duly sworn.
Jim Miccula: First and foremost on behalf of Dicks Sporting Goods we would like to thank the City of Novi for meeting with us this evening. It has been nothing but a pleasure dealing with the town representatives through the planning and construction phase of the project. We are extremely excited to become a friendly member of the community.
Jim Miccula: What I would like to do is to open up our meeting by stating that our variance request was indicated, I believe, excess of 300 square footage of signage. What we would like to do is to open up the variance hearing by indicating that we would like to reduce that to 143 square foot of signage. What I would like to do, and I am not sure that the Board is aware that a new mock up was placed on Monday indicating the size of 143 square foot in lieu of the one that was installed on Friday morning which I believe all the Board Members had a chance to review.
Jim Miccula: What we have done is, that I have prepared drawings, colored renderings and photographs indicating the original mock up which was installed on Friday and the mock up which was installed on Monday. I would like to present them to each Board Member.
Jim Miccula: Our reason for reduction of the sign was on the original application we believed that the green background would not be included as part of square footage of our signage. We are not here this evening to debate that whether it should or it shouldnt. We just felt that in other cases that it was not throughout the City of Novi therefore it wouldnt in our case. Once again, we are not here to debate that this evening. We are going to accept that. Your zoning officer, Alan Amolsch, decision on including that as part of the square footage and Dicks is prepared to accept that.
Jim Miccula: What we are here to prove to you this evening is that Dicks does have a hardship. At this time Dicks must show a hardship which arises from a special condition of the land which if the variance were not granted would deny the applicant reasonable use of the property in question. We believe that the Board has found a hardship already from this property from which Best Buy and Office Max has had a variance. There are special features of the land which we believe constitutes a variance for Dicks Sporting Goods. One of them being the site line from Haggerty Road, our property being approximately setback 350' to 400' from Haggerty Road. When we decreased our signage from the 300 square foot proposed to the 143; what happens is that when our letter height decreases the Dicks, the Sporting Goods letters decrease proportionately as well. As you can see on your drawings I believe that on the 143 square foot rendering our Sporting Goods letters will be decreased to approximately 10" high. Being a new retailer in the City of Novi and not everyone in the area realizing who Dicks is, it is important that our Sporting Goods name is visible and get seen. We believe that a 10" letter from 450' setback is small and is barely readable or legible, however, we believe it can work. We can make it work.
Jim Miccula: We come here before the Board this evening to show that we are flexible and that we want to work with the City. We believe that this is what we need to make this work. The spirit and the intent of the ordinance will not be broken. Through proper signage our building will be more quickly and easily identified. Since it is situated between 2 other major retail outlets our fear remains that without sufficient signage consumers will mistakenly incorporate our boundaries and also aesthetically it will not look good. The impact on property values will not be diminished for the fact that we believe that what we are doing out there; we are investing a lot of money into the property and I believe that this signage at 143 square foot will not diminish the property value at all. It will have public benefit being a commercial retail area of the community and our customers will realize who Dicks is, without the Sporting Goods copy being on there or being legible Dicks could be a cleaners or they could be a clothing store. We are a sporting goods facility and people need to know that.
Jim Miccula: At this time I will open up the meeting for any questions from the Board.
There was no audience participation.
Alan Amolsch had no comment.
Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Alan Amolsch: Can you tell me the letter size of the adjoining businesses to the south, Office Max and the other building that has no background only the letter script; by way of comparison?
Alan Amolsch: I dont have the letter size; I dont have the building files in front of me, these are just the permits. I dont know what the letter size is but the total square footage for Office Max is 148 square feet, Best Buy total square footage is 147 square feet, Copy Max is 69 square feet.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Even without that information I will make the comment that I drove this property on Haggerty and I drove it from I-275 and the overall signage in particular Dicks is considerably larger than the adjoining properties. It sticks out like a green sore thumb. While I can buy the petitioners belief that he needs to maintain a 10" lettering sign on the Sporting Goods for clarity purposes I would like to see some considerable shrinkage in the Dicks verbiage. The fact that it sits on a green background much like the fore mentioned other sign and it is too bad that we use that as a reference because that is not one of our favorite signs in the City.
Member Harrington: Was the modified sign installed yesterday morning?
Jim Miccula: Yes, sir. Monday around twelve oclock.
Member Harrington: Around noon, I drove by there at 2 oclock yesterday and then I received a message later on that a new sign had been put in and I wasnt sure which one it was. So if I drove at 2, then that is the modified sign. My reaction is that you need a sign there, but I thought this was larger than it had to be. I dont view Best Buy as the benchmark for that particular area and I would like to vote on that one again, but I cant. Those are particular to those users only, so when new people come in I think that we will have another wack at them. I dont think that you need a sign as large as Best Buy. That was my reaction. You need a sign. You need a sign larger than the ordinance permits. You need a variance. We need to work with you. I think that it is larger than it has to be and that was my reaction as I drove it at 2 oclock yesterday.
Jim Miccula: We feel and the sign aesthetically, right now looks fantastic. If the sign diminishes in size at all it is almost going to look like a postage stamp up there in comparison to the other retailers to the left and the right of us. We are not coming here this evening and we have no intention to come in here and say "look, you gave this to this person why cant we have that?". We want to stand on our own. We believe that technically we could debate the green background; that the green is a building color and that it should not be inclusive of the signage. We are taking that on the chin as well and saying that we will accept that, we will make that a part of the square footage as well and we will decrease that. Technically we would ask for square footage up to 300 square foot just for the letters themselves. We felt that we put our best foot forward in working with the City and saying "we want to work with the guys, with the City of Novi, lets include the green background and lets keep in the spirit of what other retailer have right in that general area". We dont want to come in and ask for something or show any movement that we dont have any movement at all. We want to be flexible. We want to work along with the City. We are hoping that in turn the City will work with us. We are not debating the green background, we really are not. We would like a much larger sign on there. We feel that we have made a concession...
Member Harrington: Dont misunderstand what we are doing here. We are not arguing with you. We are at the point where we have Board Member discussion and if we have questions that we need information from you we will shoot it back over to you or if there is something that you forgot to tell us the Board is very flexible in that regard. But just to understand where you are starting from is not Best Buy, where you are starting from in my view, and I am only one Board Member, is 40 square feet. What you are putting out there is 350 to 400% more than what ordinance allows. That is where you are coming in at and I dont think that you would get any sympathy if you were holding tight at 300 square feet. It sounds like you are down to 143 square feet and my sense was that it is a little larger than it has to be, I think that you need some relief, I think that you need a variance. But my reaction was that it is larger than it has to be; but I dont speak for the other Board Members.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will reiterate looking at the pictures that the applicant has given us that Copy Max and Office Max has some signage that has letters of a certain size and what has been proposed is significantly larger and it stands out quite dramatically. I would be much more comfortable with lettering in the size that is similar to Copy Max and Office Max just for some continuity on that building front.
Jim Miccula: However, Mr. Brennan, Office Max has a linear layout for their copy. It is apples and oranges. However, the Office Max letter is 4' in height, where our Dicks letter is going to be 5' in height. Now, keep in mind how many characters Office Max has; they have 6 in Office and 3 in Max so there are 9 Letters that are 4 foot in height in a linear layout. Ours is a stacked copy layout because that is our logo. The size of the sign is not much larger than the Office Max itself.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Well Sir, I am just looking at the pictures that you supplied me and with that green background that sign stands out like a sore thumb. I will go by my previous comments that I believe that the actual letting in that sign should be reduced and that is only my personal opinion.
Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: In the original sign that was up the basketball and the other balls that serve as the apostrophe was within the green signs and within the square footage measurement on the mock up which is now out there the basketball as the apostrophe is above the green sign and the petitioner is not including that in the square footage of the sign and I know that typically the ordinance requires that we box in the actual sign itself. Were the applicant to apply for this sign, would you measure the area differently than the applicant has measured?
Alan Amolsch: They did not include that on the sign, it should be, but it is not.
Member Antosiak: When I am looking at the photographs of the mock up, it is different than the rendering.
Jim Miccula: What we could do on that rendering, there has been situations where we do drop the balls down. Where we suck them down in between the K and the S. We can lower and we do have the flexibility of moving them down, we can do that for you guys in this case.
Alan Amolsch: To answer your question that would be considered additional sign area.
Member Antosiak: Then you would actually draw the top of the sign at the top of the ball and not at the top of the green color.
Alan Amolsch: Exactly.
Member Meyer: All of your signs, wherever the Dicks Sporting Goods stores are located; they are all in green?
Jim Miccula: Yes, they are.
Member Meyer: What I am trying to say, is there any possibility of you thinking in terms of either getting rid of the green backdrop and using green letter or in other words is this your sign and that is more or less your trademark and what we are dealing with here as far as you are concerned is basically just the size.
Jim Miccula: Correct. Unfortunately that is our trademark.
Member Meyer: It is not unfortunate, it is just that I am trying to work with you. I just know that aesthetically I am looking at a building that has a red stripe on it, with a green sign, and next to that is blue with a yellow sign and it is just making me wonder. Maybe my sense of aesthetics is off. I am just and I am not trying to be cynical or sarcastic so please understand me, but I am just saying that it seems to lack something of a flow.
Member Harrington inquired of Alan Amolsch: In that vein, is there or do I remember that there is a similarity/dissimilarity issue involved in signs that they have to be consistent within a shopping center or a business center?
Alan Amolsch: They have to be consistent as to whether they use individual letters or box cabinet type signs. That was on the variances that was granted to Best Buy. Best Buy has a cabinet type of sign in conjunction with the individual letters of the rest of the center. That was included as a variance request and approved by the Board.
Member Harrington: What about comparing this sign with Copy Max and Office Max, is it consistent?
Al Amolsch: Yes, those are individual letters.
Member Harrington: But this is all one sign, letters on a green background and all part of the sign?
Alan Amolsch: We still consider these as individual letters. The background wouldnt count as far as the similar..... the ordinance isnt very specific. It just says that signs are supposed to be similar in nature and they dont go into any great detail. The idea was not to present a hodge podge of marquee signs, awning signs, box cabinet signs, and individual letter type of signs.
Member Harrington: This does not look like Office Max or Copy Max to me and one of the reasons that I went with those signs is because I felt that they were professional and tasteful, this looks different. I am not saying that it is unprofessional or distasteful; I dont think that it is a sore thumb, I dont think that it sticks out; but it is different from the other signs. Maybe it is because you have done such a good job with the sign that we are impressed as to how large it looks. Maybe you did to good of a job on it. I dont know.
Chairman Reinke: It seems that the consensus that I am feeling is that some relief is needed. Whether the total amount of relief is needed as to what you are requesting is the point to which we are at.
Member Meyer: I wont be able to approve this as it is presented right now.
Jim Miccula: I just talked to Mike Green from Dicks, we want to work along with the City. We want to put this to bed. We want to move on. We are including the green background. Would the Board Members accept that if we dropped our Dicks letters down to 4'6" high letter, ok, and then leaving the Sporting Goods at 10" and what we will do is just put 6" of green around the perimeter like we show on the second mock up?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Will you also drop the basketball verbiage down below the top of the sign so that it is all uniform?
Jim Miccula: Can you work along a little bit with us on that? If you bring it down to low it just goes squash, Mr. Brennan. It really does. We want to make it look good, not like we hammered this thing in there either. We will definitely drop the balls down for you.
Chairman Reinke: You are saying that the overall height of your sign is going to be 6" less?
Jim Miccula: Yes, sir.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Now wait a minute, he is dropping the size of the Dick?
Chairman Reinke: Dropping the size 6".
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I thought that he said a foot, down to 4'.
Jim Miccula: I said 4'6".
Chairman Reinke: That is roughly taking 9 square feet off.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: About 136 square feet.
Chairman Reinke: Well, I think that we are gong in the right direction but really to be realistic and looking at it, I believe that if your main letters were 4' high and you kept the Sporting Goods at 10", it would be sufficient to give you a much larger sign than what you are allowed by ordinance and I think it would be more aesthetic to fit in with the other things that are there. Your sign has a uniqueness in its own of standing out as well as the size of it.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: If I am not mistaken then we would end up with a 126 square foot sign, if the Dick lettering is 4' and we retain the Sporting Goods at 10".
Jim Miccula: Would you let me have the balls where they are? When I get that small, when the letters get smaller I cant bring the balls down as much. It would really almost have to say intact. I would hope that if we would agree to something like that; you would agree to let the balls be where they normally are.
Member Harrington: When are you going to open?
Jim Miccula: We are shooting for the middle of October.
Member Harrington: When are you really going to open?
Jim Miccula: Shooting for the middle of October.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Will the extension of this basketball be identical to your rendering on the top drawing or the bottom drawing, because the bottom drawing shows the ball nearly above the sign where the top drawing shows it nearly level with the sign?
Jim Miccula: It is going to be more like the bottom one.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: So it is going to be jump ball above the sign.
Jim Miccula: Technically let me show what we would like to get.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: OK, all 4 drawings are a little different.
Member Harrington: Let me tell you what my thought is; I think that we have a window of opportunity here. The business will not open before the middle of October. We have a meeting the first Tuesday in October and my suggestion is and if the other Board Members concur, I think that 4' letters as I look at the piece of paper sound like the right number. I would like to see a mock up at the 4' size between now and the next meeting. They can keep the sign that they have up there for 2 weeks and 2 weeks before the next meeting put a smaller one up there. Lets take a look at what we are actually approving. I would have like to have seen Best Buy before I approved that. I want to see it before we approve this.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Just for a point of clarification you just gave us this one and this shows the ball within the body of the sign.
Jim Miccula: Because the body of the sign is much bigger. What I am doing is and because we are not here whether the background color is part of the square footage or not, that township there did not make the green and most townships dont. However that is why we have expanded green there. Since the green is a part of the square footage here the background and that is the reason why. I would love to make my green bigger if you would let me.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Now I am a bit confused as to what we are looking at because now I have 5 signs and they are all different.
Jim Miccula: You should be looking at this one right here. That is what you would have. You would have a 4' high letter .
Vice-Chairman Brennan: With the ball approximately half way out of the letter.
Jim Miccula: Mr. Harrington, I can sympathize with you that may not.....
Member Harrington: No, no I dont need sympathy. Really.
Jim Miccula: Really, we want to put this to bed. How much lower can we go with our signage? We are trying to work along with the town. We want to work hand in hand with you guys, we really do. We are going to open in the middle of October and I think it is going to be putting our backs to the wall here. We have already invested $4,000.00 in mock ups. Is it that hard to visualize and you can see from the second photograph that is a 5' letter that we are reducing and that everything is going to actually shrink approximately 2 foot.
Member Harrington: You have convinced me and I am ready to make a motion.
Moved by Member Harrington,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-076 TO DENY THE VARIANCE FOR REASON OF INSUFFICIENT HARDSHIP.
Jim Miccula: We would propose to table this, Mr. Reinke, to the following meeting and we will put up a mock up.
Chairman Reinke: We have a motion on the floor, do you wish to amend your motion?
Member Harrington: Before I would amend or withdraw the motion I would like to discuss the petitioners reasonable request that the matter be kicked over the next meeting. Do the other Board Members wish to see a rendering at the 4' or whatever level the petitioner wishes to compromise at?
(Members agreed, they wanted to see mock up.)
Member Harrington: Then I will withdraw the motion as submitted. I WOULD MOVE TO TABLE THIS MATTER UNTIL THE OCTOBER MEETING.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: For the sake of economics, will you take your rendering; the one that you have and just cut it down.
Jim Miccula: The mock up, you mean. I cant cut it down because there is a 5' letter on there. I would have to make a new banner up.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: It is a cotton or linen banner?
Jim Miccula: Yes. But what I could do.....
Mike Green: Could we just cut it down so that you could have a feeling as to the overall size?
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That is what I was getting at, would that be agreeable for the overall size?
Chairman Reinke: I dont think so, we are going to loose it if we dont have the actual size of the letters there. You will just see big letters that look humongous on there and out of proportion. I dont think that would work.
Member Meyer: I want to see what it would look like, sir. You have to understand that we are dealing with the gateway to Novi, this the Eight and Haggerty gateway and it is a beautiful City and we are delighted to have you here. We are asking that you continue to work with us so that when this sign goes up, you can be proud of it and we can be proud of it.
Chairman Reinke: Is everyone in favor of tabling this until the next meeting? Voice Vote, all yeas.
Jim Miccula: We will do a mock up and then call Alan to let him know when it is up.
Case No. 98-077 filed by Campbell/Manix, Inc., representing Husky Injection Molding Systems
Campbell/Manix Inc., representing Husky Injection Molding Systems is requesting a 16' height variance, a variance from the berm requirement and a variance to allow the main loading docks to be located on the east side of the building , to allow for the construction of a building to be located on the south side of Twelve Mile, west of Novi Road and east of the CSX Railroad.
Matt Quinn was present.
Matt Quinn: I am appearing on behalf of Husky. As you know Husky has come to the City of Novi as one of the premiere global manufacturers of hi-tech, state of the art injection molding equipment. They are going to bring to Novi a facility that is very unique, it involves one of our local big three, the Chrysler Corporation, and they are bringing possibly the largest injection molding machine in the world to the City of Novi to participate with Chrylser in putting together possibly one of the first all plastic vehicles to be made.
Matt Quinn: Now what they are doing is coming to a 24 acre site on Twelve Mile Road and the CSX Railroad. They are proposing to put in a 90,000 square foot building. This site plan has been approved by the Planning Commission. You have some of the letters from the consultants in your packet. I think that you will agree with me that it is some of the most glowing and favorable letters from consultants that we have ever seen and especially that of Linda Lemke our Landscape Architect Specialist. I think that is important because when you look at the comments of the Planning Commissioners in their discussion on this project and the reports of the consultants you will see that everyone is excited about this project. The entire City is looking to bring this project to Novi, it is the first OST project to be built in the City and it is going to be the sample of which the rest of the OST projects will be followed by. The Planning Commission, also as you have seen, is recommending that you consider our 3 requestes for variances in a favorable manner.
Matt Quinn: Now, the 3 variances that we are looking for deal with height first of all; secondly the waiver of a berm along the railroad tracks and then thirdly the location of the loading and unloading docks. We will deal with these one at a time.
Matt Quinn: I am going to go over to the diagram and just orientate us, first of all. Here is Twelve Mile Road on the north, the CSX Railroad on the west side and on the east side is basically vacant property. It is also zoned OST on the east side. The property west of the railroad tracks is currently zoned residential, but it is Master Planned for office and it will either end up going office or it will be rezoned, in my humble opinion, to OST. Now the building itself sits back from the centerline of Twelve Mile Road by 500'. It is 180' from the railroad track and 180' from the easterly boundary.
Matt Quinn: Now as far as the height is concerned, remember that this building is 90,000 square feet. The height that we are asking for is a 16' variance. The OST Ordinance has a limit currently of 42'. This building is 58' and therefore the 16' variance. Now, I want to advise you, however, as far as the height that this building is looking at is really no different than some of the other zones in the City allow. In your Town Center and Town Center I District we have a 65' height that is allowed. In the OSC we have a 65' height that is allowed. This area is Master Planned for OS1 with a PD2 option and that allows a 65' building. In the I-1 areas you have allowed a 60' building. I can also tell you that the City of Novi right now in its ordinance pipe line has a proposal that is raising the height in the OST District to 65'. It is coming through and I dont know now if it is going to get to the public hearing and the Planning Commission and approval by the City Council in time to assist this site so that this petition for this variance would not be necessary. But I can tell you that the Mayor is pushing to get this through and it is coming through right now.
Matt Quinn: Now, why do we need this variance under the 42' ordinance that we have currently. First of all, the variance is only applying to approximately 1/2 of the roof area and that is the center area right down the middle. As you can see the building itself starts with basic shades of beige on the bottom and as you get up towards the top it takes the affect of you looking at the sky. There is the blue, this is a glassed area and all the heightened area is glass. So you have a blue component to it and then it gradually goes up to a gray component. So as you are looking at the heighted area it looks as if it is blending right in with the sky so Husky is making it less intrusive as it goes to the height. Now the reason why this height variance is necessary, is because of the size of this singularly unique injection molding machine that is being brought in. That machine will be sitting in this area and it it is due to its height that this variance is actually needed. There is no way to dig a hole big enough to put this machine in. It has to sit there and that is the legitimate reason for the height. It is therefore a practical hardship on the applicant not to exceed the height of the current 42' OST ordinance and therefore we are requesting a height variance of 16'. As I said that variance would not be necessay if the current ordinance amendment had already been passed. But it has not. So that deals witht the height variance.
Matt Quinn: Before I get into the next part I just want to give you a little personal opinion of my working with Husky. Husky is one of the most environmentally sensitive corporations that I have ever been involved with or have seen come to Novi in all of my years of experience in working in the City of Novi. Some of the City Officials had the opportunity to visit their home plant near Toronto and they were very impressed with the environmental sensitivity of it. I say this because now we are getting to two areas that deal with landscaping and environmental sensibilities.
Matt Quinn: The next variance that I would like to talk about is the waiver of the 4'6" variance along the railroad tracks. That, of course, is a requirement of the ordinance because it is adjacent to a current residentially zoned property to the west. Now, if the Master Plan is followed and this becomes office zoning or OST you would not have that requirement of this berm adjacent to the railroad tracks there. But we have to look at what does exist today and that is the residential zone. Now, the entire building sits up higher in this area than the railroad track and I have a diagram to show you. This drawing was in your packet. This is a drawing from AA and BB, this is horizontally equal to Twelve Mile Road across the site and it looks at a person who is standing at the railroad track and looking up. One the bottom section of BB, which is a diagonal cut from the railroad track through the building, on your diagram I am sure that you can see this a little easier; this is an individual standing at the railroad track and looking towards the building. A measily 4'6" berm does absolutley nothing for this building as far as screening it from anybody who is on the railroad track or on the other side of the track. Directed to Linda Lemkes letter and she says that by allowing the existing vegetation to exist along the railroad track and then adding additional trees, shrubbery and what not is a far better expense of that money than building a useless 4'6" berm. You are going to be able to create more height, especially over time as the trees and the shrubs grow and it just makes more sense to do it that way. We think that the practical hardship of that is that putting in the berm doesnt do anything. It doesnt shield it from the property from the west. When this property gets rezoned that berm doesnt have to be there anyway, but you will always have that shrubbery there that is existing now and that will be planted in the future. We think that the waiver of that berm and leaving it at final site plan approval for Ms. Lemke to work with them on the screening in this area is the appropriate thing for the Zoning Board to do.
Matt Quinn: Our last request is to grant a variance for the loading dock in this area on the east side of the northeast side of the building. Now, the ordinance says that in an OST Zone that you must have the loading and unloading dock in the rear of the building. That is our starting place. But there is a very practical and very real reason why that cant be done here. Again looking at your maps here is the railroad track and here is the spur that comes into the Husky factory. Now this spur can only come from one direction, the south, and it can only come into the rear of the plant because of the terrain and because of the interior layout of the building. It is impossible to have both the railroad spur in the rear of the building and also have the loading and unloading in the same location. It just cant be done. They looked at various locations for the loading and unloading dock and because of another practical problem of the interior movement of product in the building and the way that it is set up from the railroad track. It is set up in a certain way and if there are questions on that Bob Johnson of Campbell/Manix is here. I also didnt introduce Trevor Jones from Husky who is here. Now, by putting the loading and unloading docks in this area, Husky is very sensitive to the fact that it is going to require extra screening, extra landscaping. This is once again where Linda Lemkes review comes in very important because she had made a note that she is more than satisfied with the attempts that Husky has put forward to shield this loading and unloading dock area. What she has required them to do and to have done; this circle right here is a 10' berm that will have plantings on it and it will totally shield that from the northeast area. This area right in here is going to be very heavily landscaped and Trevor mentioned just before the meeting that it is going to look like a jungle by the time that they get finished. Now what that does is that it will screen that area from the east so you have screening from the northeast, screening from the east and basically nobody on the east side of this property is going to know that there is loading and unloading docks there just because of the nature. Additionally Husky is going to plant more than 400 trees on this site, additional to what they are saving already. A lot of those trees are going to be planted along the railroad side but are also going to be planted through this area to give additional screening. Linda Lemke in her comment noted that she was more than satisfied that sufficient screening was going to be available for this loading and unloarding area. The other factor just to point out to you how much screening that they are going to do, is this is the main entrance to the building. As they come into the main entrance on Twelve Mile to get to the offices that are right here, all visitors are going to have to pass this area so it is very important to Husky that they themselves, for their corporate image, keep that area very dense and well screened by natural landscape and vegetation. I dont think that there is any question that this area is going to be screened and the people on the east side are going to know that it is there. I know that there has been 2 letters of objection submitted and basically they are from a trust that owns a square parcel adjacent along Twelve Mile and then the Maidus Bothers who own the property to the south there, they are marketing that for OST and it is nothing that they are going to be using themselves. Right now that whole area to the east is trying to get accumulated by a single owner so that the development can occur. So you are going to end up with another quality OST development to the east and I think that will work very well with all of the buffering that we have here.
Matt Quinn: So the 3 variances that we are asking for, we think, are relatively easy. We have given you, I believe, justifiable reasons why these exist. The consultants letters from the City of Novi themselves have agreed that these can be handled and screened appropriately. That the height is satisfactory and is going to be covered by a new ordinance and even if you dont want to consider that fact it is handled very nicely by the way that the building is designed. We are asking for your approval on all 3 of the variances. If I cant answer any of the questions that you might have, I would ask that either of my 2 companions be sworn in to give you the information that you need.
There was no audience participation.
Khanh Pham: We would like to address that the zoning changes that we are proposing are correct like Mr, Quinn has said. It would allow for OST development in that area adjacent to residential to be 65'. There is another ordinance amendment that would allow railroad tracks to be considered the same as a road and that would then be adequate sufficiency to divide 2 zoning districts. We just wanted to make that comment.
Don Saven had no comment.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 27 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 3 written responses received. One voicing approval and two voicing objection. Copies in file.
Chairman Reinke: I think that the petitioner has addressed the issue of the objections, they have worked with all sides of it. They have done a very good presentation on what the workable things are and what the needs and requirements are.
Member Bauer: This looks nice.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I have a question of clarification of Husky. Are you building this injection molding system for Chrysler, to ship to Chrysler or are you going to be making parts at the facility for Chrysler?
Matt Quinn: What they are doing by bringing this injection molding machine is, they are building that machine themselves and they are doing a sample run of the plastic components for an all plastic car. They will be supplying those components and not on a production basis but just on a R and D basis and once and I think that the number is 500 or something on a R and D basis and once Chrysler then says that these parts are satisfactory then the production goes to another site. There is no production done at this site.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: That was my only question. That is what I thought that I heard said and with that we are asked to approve a variance of the building height for the purpose of meeting some prototype requirements of Chrysler. As long as everyone understands tht we are approving a permanent building in affect for a short period of time.
Matt Quinn: Oh no, they will continue and Trevor Jones from Husky is here and he can give you a little bit more.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Will you be doing additional prototype work?
Trevor Jones: Yes, that is correct. This first project is in conjunction with Chrysler but the entire facility and the initial machine to go in will be there on a permanent basis to continue prototype development of large injection molding plastic parts. So this association with Chrysler is just to kick it off.
Member Harrington: Do I take it that this height variance is like pretty important?
Matt Quinn: Yes.
Member Harrington: The only problem that I have with the proposal does not involve the proposal itself but it has to do with what is affectionately described as "fast tracking"in terms of getting advanced approvals on things. As a Board Member I am very uncomfortable voting on an issue and I will, but voting on an issue which may be the subject of ordinance review by Council an approval or a disapproval by Council and the same with Planning. To me when we hear that there are ordinances that may make our decision unnecessary it is very problematic for me because we may in a sense be pushing Council in a direction that they dont want to go. We may be making a decision which sets precedent that Council doesnt want to hear and the better way to do it is not in all circumstances to fast track if there is ordinances which are going to fix it. We ran into the same issue with Main Street a meeting or 2 ago and as a matter of preference I prefer that if there are ordinances which are going to affect petitions that those ordinances be voted on by Council so that we know what we are voting on or not. That is my only comment.
Matt Quinn: Jim, I can respect that. I think that you have to really appreciate how long it takes the usual ordinance to get approved in this City from scratch. Heaven only knows that the Planning Commission has sub-committees dealing with those ordinances before they ever see the light of day and then the public hearing. Khanh said that we are looking at an ordinance; it may be 6 months or 9 months before that may ever get to the Council table. This is the situation. I can appreciate the Main Street, but this is a timing that Husky could not possibly wait that long. They are under committments also.
Member Harrington: That is understood and that is why you are in front of us.
Member Antosiak: I think that I will have to make a comment before I vote since one or two meetings ago I voted against 2 petitioners who requested a height variance and I voted against them in those cases because I felt that they had made the choice to either design a building or include an activity that required that height variance. Here I dont feel that Husky has made the choice. This is their business. If they dont have the height variance they cant do the business in Novi. So for that reason I can support the height variance. I think that Mr. Quinn has given us sufficient information, even the potential of ordinance changes to either support or object to the other variance requests; which I personally will support.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Chairman Reinke,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-077 THAT THE THREE VARIANCES REQUESTED BY THE PETITIONER BE APPROVED. THE HEIGHT VARIANCE DUE TO THE HARDSHIP ASSOCIATED WITH LOCATING THAT BUSINESS IN NOVI WITHOUT A VARIANCE AND THE LACK OF A BERM AND LOADING SPACE BEING IN THE SIDE YARD AS OPPOSED TO THE REAR YARD DUE TO THE PRACTICAL DIFFICULTY OF HAVING A BERM THAT SERVES NO PURPOSE AND THAT THE BUILDING JUST IN FACT CANNOT BE CONSTRUCTED WITH A LOADING DOCK IN THE REAR YARD; SUBJECT TO THE LANDSCAPING CONDITIONS THAT MR. QUINN HAS ALLUDED TO THIS EVENING AND AS RECOMMENDED BY LINDA LEMKE.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Case No. 98-078 filed by Lee Mamola, representing Clements Industrial Park
Lee Mamola, representing Clements Industrial Park is requesting that the property on Roethel Drive, (lots 8, 9, 10) be allowed to be developed as if it did not abut residential zoned property to allow for the construction of two buildings. If this is not the case the following variances are requested: 1) Bldg. "A" a 90' rear yard setback variance, Bldg."B" a 42' rear yard setback variance; 2) a 90' parking lot setback variance; 3) a waiver of the berm requirement; 4) a waiver of a sound engineer analysis.
Lee Mamola and Mr. Clements were present and duly sworn.
Mr. Clements: I have owned the property since 1985. As you are probably well aware with the property, we have developed some industrial buildings along that road and the last 4 lots that we have on the south end of the property have presented somewhat of a hardship for me; part of the problem being that back in 1987 I made an agreement with the City of Novi that they would take the earth...they came to me and asked if they could bring the earth from Meadowbrook Lake extension and bring it over to raise up the back end of the industrial section over there to bring it well above and into the flood plain level. It was just barely above it at that time but they wanted to bring the dirt over because it would eliminate them having to put the dirt into trucks and to haul it away. That was fine with me because it was a benefit for both myself and the City of Novi. They proceeded with this and brought the 55,000 yards of earth over into that property and the program was that it was to be compacted in order to be able to build on it and then seeded. Well they brought the earth over, spread it around and compacted it to a degree and then the company that the City of Novi contracted with fell into disarray with JCK and I believe that they went bankrupt; but the long and the short of it was that it never got seeded, but the dirt was brought in.
Mr. Clements: Since 1985 I have had 3 different offers to sell those 4 lots in the back. The last one being a year or so ago, and soil tests that I believe Mr. Mamola has presented to each of you have shown that it cant be built under normal situations. Now, it can be built if there are pilings put in and additional degrees of building to be done to the building which will increase the cost considerably. I think that one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that what I am asking to do with that earth should the 400' that is between the end of my property and the beginning of the residential on the south side which belongs to the City of Novi and if that was not zoned residential none of the things that we are requesting would require a variance. However, since it is zoned that the requests that we have are that we dont put up a berm and I have a letter from March 15, 1988 stating that I had an exemption on the berm situation but apparently since then things have changed and to put a berm of 10' on the back end of that property requires 60' to build that 10' berm. If you took the 60' off the back of that property I wouldnt be able to build any buildings. There wouldnt be enough left. What I would like to propose that if I can get the variances that I am requesting I would be more than happy to, at my expense, level off the property that belongs to the City of Novi and if you are familiar with it you know that it is pretty rough stuff back there and it is across from what is the short Rotary Park that they have just put in within the last year or so. I would be very happy to level off that land and power seed it so that the recreation department some day in future might put soccer fields or whatever and we have discussed that with the recreation department and they are pretty receptive with that idea. But we would not be able to build anything that we could utilize on the balance of that property should we bring it back 60'. The other side of the coin being that to build a building in there is going to require quite a bit of extensive drilling and caissons and what have you so the total cost of the buildings are going to be rather expensive and if we just laid with the zoning the way that it stands right now the size of the buildings couldnt warrant anywhere near having that property be utilized.
Mr. Clements: So, I guess what our request is that we would like to be able to have you look at it as though that property that belongs to the City of Novi and being that it is zoned residential right now that these exemptions be given so that we can put some sort of buildings up there that will substantiate what the property is and in turn I would be willing to work with the City and try to put some sort of a meaning to that earth that is back there. As you well know, that is the last ugly piece of that property that is down there right now and it certainly could use a face lift. That is kind of where we stand on it. I think that I mentioned the fact that there is in excess of 400' between the back of my property and where the residential property actually starts. It is quite a distance back there and our proposal is that we would erect a fence and install trees along that line that would more than exceed in a very short period of time the 10' high berm that might be built should we go according to the rules the way that they are right now. That is our request at this point, that we get a chance to do that and to improve that property and pay taxes. It has been a long time and the property has sat vacant and I dont have to tell you how that works.
Lee Mamola: I would like to continue with a couple of points. This plat, The Novi Industrial Sub, was originally platted somewhere in 1985 and when they did the diagram that I indicate as site really is 4 separate platted parcels each of about 110' wide and about 300' deep with the exception of the little triangular piece at the end which has a peculiar geometry. This project entails combining all 4 of those separate plat pieces. Back in the mid 80's and early 80's when you platted property such as that you also put in certain infrastructure which you in good faith dealt with the future comings of industrial property and in this case the future engineering requirements of the City. All along the back of this property line is a constructed storm sewer, there are 3 catch basins equally spaced along that back property line. Again somewhere around 1985 the ordinance where we refer to the industrial requirements abutting residential that ordinance came about 3 years later in 1988 or maybe even after that. It is a situation where he platted the property and has been unable to do it under the standards which have been revised since the case. That area has been left vacant because of the soil conditions.
Lee Mamola: We also had a client roughly about a year ago or maybe a little bit more than a year, a separate client from Mr. Graham, who was looking to purchase this property and develop a kind of quasi-office, quasi-warehouse arrangement but once he got into the soil conditions and the possibility of zoning restrictions he backed out of the offer to buy during his due diligence.
Lee Mamola: Another possibility to alleviate this problem would be to have the Citys, what is now residentially zoned property but which is in fact Rotary Park, to become zoned I-1. Obviously our property then would be totally surrounded by I-1 districts and we wouldnt be here tonight either. That was reviewed with Dan Davis as a possibility when we were working with this other project about a year ago and it was about that time that the City initiated some rezoning to rezone this part of Rotary Park, north of my pointer, and roughly north of the south line of Novi Industrial Sub from I-1 to R-1 and then we realized that if the City did that they would wipe out entirely 100' of a 110' wide lot. There were certain people on City Council that did not want to have a property owner affected in such a way by a City action.
Lee Mamola: If this were to become I-1 the effect of that would be that you could have a park in an I-1 district and there are greater ramifications all over town with that affect. So really because of the ramifications of having park land as a usable permitted use in an I-1 district that cannot happen. Therefore that avenue is out for us.
Lee Mamola: For those of you who may or may not know that Rotary Park came about because of the development of Chase Farms Subdivision. The long and the short of it was that the City owns Rotary Park as a result of a court settlement or a court judgement. Part of that arrangement is that it will always be City owned land. So what we really have here is an industrial development which abuts civic land, it does not abut anybodys backyard. As Mr. Clements has pointed out the nearest house is 400' away and that is if you measure the corner of his site to the corner of a house; but much of his property really abuts open land areas and civically owned land.
Lee Mamola: To give you a diagram as to what the property could look like if we did not achieve any variances we would be losing about a third of the depth of the property and even this development would require a waiver from the Planning Commission to put parking as close as 60' away. These 2 buildings here, as an example, total a little under 40,000 square feet and again that requires a waiver; if we did not get the waiver I believe that these buildings would approximately be about 30 to 32,000 square feet total for both of them. As of right now the development that we are proposing shows 2 separate buildings, one of 37,000 and I believe the other of about 25,000 square feet.
Lee Mamola: All we are asking for is that we be allowed to develop this property as industrially zoned property without the restrictions that it abuts residentially zoned property. Now, having said that there are 2 important restrictions that we are able to throw back in. If you were to make a motion that we be allowed to develop this property as if it did not abut residential property we could conceivably build a 40' tall building; we dont intend to do that and we would ask that the Board would consider limiting us to a building height of 25' which is the building height limit when you do abut residential. We also ask that the Board consider us living by the lighting standards that we would have to live by if this site did abut residential and that essentially forces us to keep sight lighting onto the property and not to glare on to adjacent property and not to cause nay disturbance. We feel that it is within keeping and being sensitive to those people who are in the subdivision to the south and choose to drive by this on occasion. I did meet, once again, with Dan Davis today to confirm our earlier talks on this and it was back in January that we talked to Dan; he welcomes this idea, he indicates that right now there are no monies to improve this part of Rotary Park which is about a 230' depth depending upon where you measure but typically it is about 230' from our property line down. The best that he knows it will stay the way that it is, weeds, field, etc. a natural area. He feels that the people in this part of town would welcome the use of a soccer practice field or a T-ball field or something of that nature would be a convenience to those in the neighborhood. Since we are able to grade it off and seed it; it could be graded and seeded in a crown that is needed for soccer for example. We are willing to work with the City in that regard. I think that in conclusion that this makes a good and logical choice for the City and for this development.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: Would you address the 2519 Noise Issue?
Lee Mamola: I believe that when you have industrial property abutting residential as part of the special land use requirement you have to have a statement by a qualified sound engineer that you wont exceed the decibel requirement of the ordinance. At this time both of these buildings are speculative in nature and there are no tenants proposed. If that be the requirement we would ask that it be waived and subject to review when the tenants are known and they come in for their building permit. We just dont know and there is no way of assessing that question at this time.
Chairman Reinke: Correct me if I am wrong, the City has certain noise level restrictions, right?
Don Saven: That is correct.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: A rather elementary question and maybe I missed this, the portion that you are talking about for T-Ball south of the proposed site, that is Mr. Clements property right now?
Lee Mamola: No, sir.
Mr. Clements: The property that I am proposing to improve belongs to the City. There is 400' behind my property and up until it where it touches the property of the residential property now. That will never be residential property it will always belong to the City. It is kind of rough right now it is full of and I just had a topography done on it and it will need a lot of leveling and a lot of grading done to get the property into a flat surface. Right now it is all weeds and scrub trees, no beautiful trees or anything like that. It is kind of rough stuff.
Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: If this property were abutting I-1, what would be the setback requirements? The petitioner has asked for 2 rear yard setback variances and I am just curious what the setbacks would be.
Don Saven: The rear yard would be 20', I believe that is a corner and the side would be 20' and the front would be 40'.
Lee Mamola: We have in this building here, this does comply with that 20' as it does here and we have an exterior side yard and both of those are at 40' setback from the road right of way.
Member Harrington inquired of Don Saven: I didnt quite understand what Lee was saying. He wants us to waive the engineer noise analysis for now because they dont have tenants, but when they get tenants then we can do it? What kind of procedure is that?
Don Saven: They need the waiver because they dont know who the tenants are going to be. It is a difficult part of the ordinance to try to address because by not knowing who the tenants are, you really cant make a decision. But we do have an ordinance that addresses that.
Khanh Pham: Under the special land use we require sound reports. If you were to measure this decibel level and there were no tenants, they would pass the test automatically because there are no tenants. So his request is that because they dont have tenants and they dont know who the tenants are if you are not going to waive it, wait until they do have tenants to have activity to make a test that is valid. From the property line without activity no matter where you test it, it will pass. It would be a mutant test.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Another way to word this............tape inaudible.............we would ask the tenants at which time it comes back before who, the building department?
Member Harrington: Well then he would either comply or comes for a variance then for whatever reasons would justify it, hardship or otherwise.
Chairman Reinke: The thing is that he would have to live within the noise level requirements by ordinance in the City.
Member Harrington: But that is different. We went through this the other time. There is an ordinance requirement here that says that they have to do it before they can go in or get their "C of O", is that right Don?
Don Saven: That is correct.
Member Harrington: That is different from, you are in violation, and that is different from we should simply be giving people a waiver. We dont even know who the tenant are.
Khanh Pham: Under special land use, to correct that, either they have the sound report waived or they do not have preliminary site plan approval. For Bearing Services which came before you to waive the sound report, that was a condition of their approval, the preliminary site plan approval.
Member Harrington: But that is not present here?
Khanh Pham: This is the same situation. Abutting residential, special land use, the sound report is required; but if you look at the situation they dont have anything to measure.
Member Harrington: They have no tenants, so it makes sense to do when they have the tenants.
Khanh Pham: Not only do they not have tenants, but we have reviewed the standards and we realize that and I dont know why we didnt have the hindsight to figure this out but it is hard to measure a sound of an activity when a business is not there at preliminary site plan approval. There is nothing to measure.
Member Meyer: What happens if you have a tenant who has decided that they want to move in, and then you do the test and it is to late? Their sound is outside of the ordinance.
Khanh Pham: Under the performance standards, lets say if the City was to object to the sound level they can request that Al Amolsch or any of the Ordinance Officers to get onto the property line and to take a sound measurement, which if they are in violation they can be ticketed and that is how it is done now.
Lee Mamola: To the best of our knowledge we dont anticipate a problem in complying with the City Sound Ordinance Requirement.
Don Saven: Another thing; if we knew what the use was we would have better control.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Can we give a waiver with continuing jurisdiction? So if there is a problem that is reported to the Building Department it would bring the petitioner back to us.
Member Antosiak: The Building Department already has jurisdiction. Once the property is occupied.
Don Saven: We have jurisdiction under the ordinance.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: Then why are we even being requested for a waiver?
Chairman Reinke: Because it is a special land use and it is one of the stumbling points that they have put in there to try to make sure that something with a 699,000 ton presses dont go in there and start hammering out parts all night long.
Mr. Clements: I dont think that by the size of the proposed buildings that we are putting in and first of all because it is light industrial there wouldnt be anything like that and secondly as a building owner those kind of tenants are not very desirable to me for this type of a building. It is one of those deals where it is hard to put the cart in front of the horse, but I can assure you that I am not out looking for somebody who is out doing heavy press work in this type of a building.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I am just trying to understand what happens if I vote for a waiver of this sound engineering analysis.
Chairman Reinke: It really just lets him continue in the process.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: The Building Department has the continuing jurisdiction and they can raise holy hell if they make a bunch of noise, then I would be happy as a clam.
Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 19 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.
Member Meyer: I want to say that when I first came to this City I lived in some apartments that are right next to an industrial piece and I wont mention the name, but in the middle of the night I could hear them doing a lot of work. So out of compassion for others I would be very interested and I have listened to what you say Lee, so I presume that it is not going to be a problem.
Moved by Member Antosiak,
Seconded by Member Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 98-078 THE PETITIONERS REQUEST FOR THESE SPECIFIC VARIANCES BE GRANTED AND NOT THE REQUEST THAT THE PROPERTY BE DEVELOPED AS IF IT WERE NOT NEXT TO A RESIDENTIAL PARCEL; BUT RATHER THAT THE SPECIFIC SETBACK REQUESTS, THE REPLACEMENT OF A BERM WITH OFF SITE LANDSCAPING SUBJECT TO CITY APPROVAL AND WAIVER OF THE SOUND ENGINEER NOISE ANALYSIS BE APPROVED DUE TO THE UNIQUE LOCATION OF THIS PROPERTY NEXT TO A CITY PARK THAT IS ZONED RESIDENTIAL AND THAT THE LOT SIZE PRECLUDES ADEQUATE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROPERTY.
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Chairman Reinke indicated we have a topic of discussion on time limits for appeals.
Don Saven: In your packet and as you well know we had a condition relative to the time limit for appeals and you had asked our attorney to brief you on what can be done. A suggestion was made that although the Zoning Board of Appeals adopted by laws those by laws do not contain a rule limiting the time for taking of an appeal. We suggested that the by laws be revised to add such a time limit. We further suggest that the period of time be not less than 21 days or no more than 60 days; although obviously we have leave that to your sound judgement. What is being presented to you tonight in the by laws is that we have the ability to make this change. We ran into several circumstances ie. that the individual who is up on Novi Road about 3 meetings ago and then 2 meetings ago we had that situation of time lapse, there should be a better way to put a handle on the situation and the Board should take a look at it.
Member Harrington: I noted with great interest the vintage age of the by laws, some of which go back a long time and my immediate thought was that some of these dont even matter and the time limit is an important one and maybe we as a Board could use a little constructive thought about the by laws as a whole because some of them are amendments and maybe we should re-do the whole by laws. My suggestion in that regard would be that there is no emergency, I know of at least 3 Members of the Board will be meeting at a conference next month. My suggestion is that we appoint a sub-committee consisting of Mr. Antosiak, Mr. Reinke and myself to get together at the conference and have some input on the by laws; submit a draft of the by laws at the November Meeting for publication and vote on the complete set of by laws including the proposed amendments at the December Meeting.
Member Antosiak: That would be acceptable.
Member Harrington: We could open it up, if the Building Department thinks that we should have something in our by laws or our loyal fans who are still awake tonight watching us.
Don Saven: If we have something together by December I think that would be good. Then we could start the new year off right.
Member Antosiak: Mr. Harrington is correct, we will be there talking about zoning and planning, so it only seems appropriate that we talk about this also.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: I do have an item to raise, as was indicative tonight when we had somebody that may be running late due to a problem. We are not able to present a full Board to people who have spent a lot of money to get here and I speak specifically of our alternate. I think that we should take a look at the record of attendance. I would suggest that we send a letter to the Mayor to consider some changes to help us out. The alternate is somebody who needs to be at meetings in order to learn how the City works. I dont think that you can show up once in awhile and fill that role.
Chairman Reinke: It is a problem.
Member Antosiak: May I offer a suggestion. One of the items in our historic by laws deals with vacancies on the Board and prescribes an attendance policy, if you will, that if you miss 3 meetings in a row without the consent of the majority of the Board that you are no longer on the Board. I am not suggesting that is the right answer, but perhaps the sub-committee can consider that when we consider the time to appeal change and come back with a recommendation to the rest of the Board. I realize that doesnt solve the immediate problem, or the perspective immediate problem for the next 2 or 3 months but if we are going to develop by laws that essentially govern the way that we run ourselves as a Board might be the appropriate place to do it.
Chairman Reinke: I think that is correct, but I think that also we need to address this issue. It is something that we will look at and discuss in our proposal and change to the by laws. We will work on it, we have to do something about it.
Nancy McKernan: I have had quite a few people ask me if the cases could be heard in number order rather than the zoning first and the signs last. When I talked to members of the department no one knows why it has been done that way.
Member Harrington: What Nancy is saying is lets do it first come, first serve.
Nancy McKernan: For example, last month the outdoor advertising signs applied early in the month and she was heard last; all most at midnight.
Vice-Chairman Brennan: There is some fairness in that.
Member Meyer: There certainly is.
Nancy McKernan: Does anyone have a problem with me just putting them into a number order?
Member Harrington: First in and first out.
Chairman Reinke: The only thing that we have really used it for is a break point, we can just pick a mid-point and say that is where we are going to do it.
Member Antosiak: I would ask that Board Members that have some particular issue that they feel should be addressed in the by laws let Jim, Laverne or myself know by the next meeting so that we can consider them because one of the issues that has come up also on a regular basis is people who elect not to appear and table their request the day or two before the meeting, when in fact you may have as we had one night, 20 or 30 or more residents who show up to discuss that variance request only to be told it is not going to be heard that night. That is an issue that I think we would need to address. So I would just ask any Board Member who has any of those, to let us know.
The Meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m.
Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan