The Meeting was called to order at 7:33 p.m., with Chairman Reinke presiding.




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

Sanghvi (alternate)


Absent: None


Also Present: Don Saven - Building Official

Alan Amolsch - Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan - Recording Secretary


Chairman Reinke indicated the Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of the Novi Zoning Ordinance. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to approve a variance request and a vote of the majority of the Members present to deny a variance request.



Public Remarks


Chairman Reinke indicated this is the Public Remarks portion of the Meeting. Any comments related to a case on the agenda should be held until that case is called. If anyone wishes to address the Board to any matter or case that is not on the agenda tonight; please come forward.


Lou Martin, Public Information Director for the City of Novi. I wanted to take this time to talk to you about our microphone enhancements that we are doing. I am meeting with each group that uses the Council Chambers. I want to ask you, as we are trying to set a little policy, that you wear your "mikes" high and keep them on all of the time. I get a lot of calls from residents about each group that uses the microphones and sometimes if you put them on one side or the other and you are looking the opposite way, it might not pick up what you are saying. Sometimes if you have them on and they are setting on the desk you can hear a lot of noise. So there are two quick things to remember; wear them high and keep them on the whole time. That would be a real help to us all. Thank you.


Member Harrington: As long as you are here, and by coincidence I was just speaking to the video tech in the back who indicated that you are like the guy who is in charge of the camera setups, the equipment and the like. For some time I have been very concerned about the quality of the video, I watch Council and I would assume that by analogy that the quality would be the same for this Board, no better or no worse. I think that the video quality could use a significant upgrade; whether it be in the nature of additional cameras or the like. But there is a consistent problem from my perspective in terms of seeing the person who is talking or seeing anyone who is talking as related to an exhibit that is presented on the camera.


Lou Martin: Quantitatively, do you mean the picture quality or if the shots are not on a specific person?


Member Harrington: Both. No, not the quality. We can see the person but we can’t necessarily see the person who is talking because there is a delay or a lag while the camera is focused on someone who was talking; but is not talking any longer. Or the camera is focused on the exhibit board or the like and we don’t know who is talking. I have had concerns about that and I was talking to your tech in the back and I would bring that to your attention that if the issue is cost and there can be a significant improvement with a modest investment, I think that what Council does on television is important and we ought to have the highest quality. AKA Farmington Hills, who I am often critical of in various areas; but I think that they have a superb system and I think that Novi should not be second to anyone when it comes to the quality of what is sent out over the air waves.


Lou Martin: It sounds like you have a lot of thoughts on that issue. There are two issues there. You can’t get enhancements for a minimal cost; bottom line. What you are probably not aware of is that we have already bid out enhancements for the video project so we already have a vendor and engineers coming in tomorrow. We already have all that stuff purchased. It is going to be installed within a while and probably by the end of December. But again, those things are very expensive and we had a minimal budget to work with. So what you might see as delay of shots or getting people on camera, if you hear the motors move while you are talking or there are several boards here; remember at this point right now you only have three cameras. When you have three cameras, you are trying to get boards, you are trying to get people sitting over here or over here and a lot of times if the table is completely full, say this empty chair right here is filled with someone; the only way that we can get that person is with this camera. If I am speaking and that is the next person to talk they will have to go to a wide shot then to that camera over there. With three cameras that move very slowly with a joy stick, you have to keep that in mind. We have two new cameras coming and those cameras have 64 presets each. The quality of the signal is what concerns the Public Information Department the most. Getting the shot and getting there will be increased with two more cameras. The quality of your TV signal is what concerns me the most. Wavy lines and things that people might see while watching channel 13 right now; that is basically stuff that is sent to Time Warner. We want the quality of the signal that they send out to the citizens to improve. That is our biggest issue. Everything else we already have addressed with the bid that you probably are not aware of.


Member Harrington: Your proposed start time for the new upgraded equipment is when?


Lou Martin: The bid process took place and was sent to the vendor in September. They are going to take about eight weeks to get the equipment in that they want. Video Engineers are going to come out tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. When you get a Video Engineer in here some things might be redesigned. We are going to sit down and take a real hard look at what is being done. Again, what we want is the best quality with the dollars that we have. It is really hard to get network style which we are all used to. Network style coverage when we are working with tax dollars - we want to be very frugal. We have two cameras coming, one will be mounted somewhere up front and the other in the back that will do 360's and like I said have 64 presets. So, our cameras right now they are finding you with a joy stick just like you would play Sega games or whatever it is. What we are going to be able to do is to put Jim Harrington on a button and hit that button and it goes right to you.


Lou Martin: Again, if you can wear your microphones high and keep them on at all time; we would appreciate it very much.



Approval of Minutes


Chairman Reinke indicated we have minutes from the July 7, August 4, and September 1, 1998; any changes, comments or discussion?


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




Roll Call: (Voice vote) All yeas. Motion Carried



Case No. 98-076 filed by Great Lakes Electrical, representing Dick’s Sporting Goods


Continuation of case filed by Great Lakes Electrical, representing Dick’s Sporting Goods, requesting a variance to allow a 18'2" x 7'10 3/4" (143.4 sq. ft.) wall sign to be placed on the building at 21061 Haggerty Road in the Highpoint Shopping Center.


Norman Hyman: I want to apologize as I was not able to attend the last meeting due to a schedule conflict; at your request Dick’s has placed a smaller sign on the facade along side the larger sign so that you could see what the difference was. The smaller sign is, we suggest, out of proportion to the other signage on the facade. It is the largest facade of the stores in that center and the sign is dwarfed by the Office Max and Best Buy signs. From an aesthetic standpoint and from a proportional standpoint it doesn’t do the job. The larger sign doesn’t really have and signicantly, if at all, greater impact in terms of aesthetics from your standpoint than the smaller sign would have. From your standpoint I would think that the impact on the public ought to be the same basically. So from a standpoint from what is apppropriate for that center in terms of balance, proportion, harmony we urge you to approve the larger sign. It is still, for what it is worth, a few feet smaller than the other two signs; Office Max and Best Buy.

Norman Hyman: I would like to have Jim Mikkula come up and tell you a little bit about the sign and then I will close with a few comments. Mike Green from Dick’s Sporting Goods is also here and I hope that between the three of us we can answer any questions that you may.


Jim Mikkula: As Norman has mentioned, the difference in square footage between the two is approximately 23 square feet. The 5' that was proposed at the last meeting was 143.5 square feet. With the 4' letters it will be 120 square foot of signage and that is inclusive of the green background, which I believe that the town is taking into consideration of the sign area. If there are any questions of the Board.........


Norman Hyman: Don, correct me if I am wrong; I do believe just to follow upon something that Jim said, this is the only one of the three signs with Office Max and Best Buy that does have a background behind it. If you eliminate the background as Jim has pointed out, you have a considerably smaller sign. If you were to draw a line around the boundaries of the lettering, you would have a sign that was considerably smaller than the other two.


Norman Hyman: I simply want to point out one more thing, as you certainly know there has been some concern expressed by the City with respect to the appearance of the outer walls of that center. That is something that has been made clear to all of us. We have engaged in extensive negotiations with Mr. Saven and with staff members at several meetings at which we have reached an agreement as to repainting the premises. Dick’s has offered as part of this whole arrangement to paint the premises in a color that was mutually acceptable to the landlord, American Realty, and mutually acceptable to the City. It is my understanding that the color in fact has now been selected and that it is acceptable, I believe, Mr. Saven; it is acceptable to the landlord and it is acceptable to Dick’s. Dick’s will pay for painting the entire outer walls, the entire center and not just the facade. We hope that will at least give you some background for what is going on here. A considerable expenditure is proposed to be undertaken as a part of this whole process.


Norman Hyman: Once again, if you have any questions we will be happy to try to answer them.




Alan Amolsch: The Board was curious as to the letter size on the Office Max and the Copy Max signs, I have the information for you. The high case letter size on the Office Max sign is 52" times 34 and 1/2', making it 149 square feet. Copy Max is 36" letters times 26'1" for 69 square feet.


Don Saven: Mr. Hyman is certainly correct that we have been working extensively in terms of trying to address the issue of the facade regarding that particular building. We have been having some concerns as expressed by a lot of people and we have an ability here, I believe, to do something. The coloration that they are looking at and even as far as the City was concerned was definitely a concern and we addressed that and we were able to come up with a color that was acceptable to both parties.

Chairman Reinke: The one question I have; is this going to be the whole building?


Don Saven: Yes, that is correct and that is our understanding.


Norman Hyman: Yes, as a part of the package; Dick’s is going to paint the entire building and not just its portion of the building. That will be all of the outer walls. Front, sides and back. It will be the entire outer facade of the building,


Member Bauer: Of the center?


Norman Hyman: Yes, the center.


Don Saven: I would like to address the issue of the blue coloration, are you going to paint that also?

The blue for Best Buy, we are talking strictly, as was my understanding, just the concrete panels.

Norman Hyman: That is correct, Best Buy would never let us repaint that.


Member Harrington: To clarify, it is my understanding that there is an initial construction problem with the concrete facade and there was a difference in shading between various sections which caused some aesthetic problems? Am I correct?


Norman Hyman: That was part of the problem, yes. There was also some concerns that once it came up and people looked at it; what they thought was going to look nice, they didn’t think was going to look nice. We would like to be good citizens so in addition to resolving the problem of the shading we are also going to solve concerns about the color itself.


Member Harrington: And to make it clear, Dick’s has had nothing to do with the initial problem and as a matter fact weren’t even on the scene. But as the last one that was invited to the party they are willing to clean up the mess that was left over. Is that fair?


Norman Hyman: To use the legal term, Mr. Harrington, they are the "stuckees".


Member Harrington: Do I understand that in terms of the construction of the sign, you are basically locked into 6" increments? The initial rendering that we saw and the larger one that is present now is a 5' letter and the new rendering that sits beside the other one is 4' letters; but it would technically be possible 4'6", is that fair?


Jim Mikkula: Anything is possible.


Member Bauer: What is the color going to be on the wall?


Don Saven: It is a beige.


Norman Hyman: There were two beiges that Don had to select from; one was called champagne and the other was called I don’t remember what and I don’t know which of the two that Don picked.


Don Saven: I am trying to remember, but it is a beige.


Member Bauer: Then there will not be any green background.


Norman Hyman: The green background of the sign.


Don Saven: There will be some trim around the windows that will be green and their will be a highlight of a green belt line....


Norman Hyman: That will only be trim and that will not affect anything.


Member Harrington: I felt strongly at the last meeting that we should see a rendering of the 4' size. I have examined that and probably with greater detail than any other sign and I have been probably through there a 100 times and in fact I came through late one night last week from the airport and it wasn’t lit up at night but I was looking for it. I felt strongly at the last meeting and I feel strongly tonight that the larger sign is too large and if you would have to pick between the 4' and the 5'; I think that clearly the 4' is consistent with what we are trying to do out there and our entryway to the City; but I also would not strenuously object to 4'6" if that is what the Board felt. I think that the primary problem that is created by the size of the sign and it not necessarily the size of the large letters but it is the attempt to identify the nature of the store underneath; which is my other question, what is the actual language that we are approving? Are we approving Sporting Goods in the small letters or are we approving Sporting Goods and Clothing? I saw a blue print that said Sporting Goods and Clothing but what is up there now is Sporting Goods.


Norman Hyman: Yes, I have seen it both ways myself.


Jim Mikkula: It is just Sporting Goods.


Norman Hyman: It is Sporting Goods and then you have the little basketball.


Member Harrington: I think that the problem with the smaller sign is not the 4' letters as such, but we have added on letters which are more difficult to see from Haggerty Road; but I am not convinced that we have to go to 5' because of that problem. That is my reaction. The Best Buy doesn’t have appliances and TV’s and Office Max doesn’t have whatever they sell. The petitioner is here tonight and he feels that they need that and I am not going to quarrel with that and I can live with either the 4' or the 4'6" sign, provided that we conditioned that approval if we were to so approve it on the facade discussion that we have had as well. That is only my thought.


Member Bauer: I drive by it twice every day, I can see the that the 4' does give you the message. I don’t think that 6" will make or change my mind. If it is 4'6" that would be fine, but not the 5' letters.


Chairman Reinke: I went by this and as Mr. Harrington said, I have probably looked at this sign more than any of the signs that we have had come before us. If it was free standing letters, I would probably say that they would need to be a little bit bigger than 4'. But with the green background it stands out and you can see it with no trouble at all. I don’t really see any reason for the sign with that background for the letters to be larger than 4'.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Just something that is bothering me; Mr. Hyman you have been here in front of us on sign cases before. I want to go back, we have a petitioner who has asked for a signage request eight times that of ordinance, the initial request. I am troubled that we will spend two or three meetings negotiating and haggling over that. This really bothers me. I don’t think that we should be negotiating from the high end down. I think that if there is a pause for negotiation we should be negotiating from what ordinance is.


Norman Hyman: I don’t quarrel with what Mr. Brennan has said. The top that Mr. Brennan talked about in all fairness was the result of a misinterpretation of the ordinance. As soon as I was called, which was after the top; I had consultations with Dick’s in which I had advised them that a mistake had been made and they immediately drastically reduced the size of the sign proposed. So the top that you first saw, was never really pursued. I do want to say that in fairness to Dick’s. After the first reduction and with respect to that the difference between that and what you have before you now is really very slight. We understand what the standards are in the City of Novi. I have always told my clients that Novi may be tough, but you always know what the rules are because there is consistency. We understand what your concerns are and the fact that Dick’s was so concerned about immediately reducing that first request and coming in here with something that was in harmony, even a little bit smaller than the other 2 signs that you approved is an indication that Dick’s does get the message as well. They want to be a good neighbor and they certainly will provide a needed service for the community.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Member Antosiak: I have two questions. One is that I would concur if you would amend your motion to "THIS PETITIONER ONLY".


Member Harrington: So amended.


Member Antosiak inquired of Don Saven: Is that a manageable variance for you?


Don Saven: It is.


Norman Hyman: May I have some clarifications? This simply has to do with timing. They are rushing as you know for a November 1st opening. There is no way that the paint job can be completed by November 1st. We have no problem with your imposing as a condition that we do the job but we ask that it not be a condition of permitting us to open for business.


Member Harrington: What is a realistic completion date? Are we looking at next spring, after the winter?


Norman Hyman: My guess is spring.


Mike Green: I am a representative of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Right now the weather conditions and if the weather would stay as it is now, we could work diligently and a month from now the building could be completed. If we get weather that can happen in Michigan at this time of the year, 40 degrees and falling the manufacturer won’t allow us to do the building.


Don Saven: And I would not allow that to happen, too.


Member Harrington: Mr. Chairman my motion as proposed does not specifically tie the timing together. It is simply a condition that the repainting will be done. We would, of course, retain continuing jurisdiction to insure enforcement and if March, April and May come and go without the painting done we will be seeing Mr. Hyman again.


Norman Hyman: That is acceptable.


Don Saven: One of the issues is that we were talking about the letters being 4' 6" in height. There is a green background that is part of this sign, I think that we should probably incorporate some measure or proportion regarding the existing or the small sign or what have you; regarding the total package.


Alan Amolsch: We would need the square footage nailed down for the green area.


Chairman Reinke: If you have a 4'6" letter what is the total square footage going to be for the whole sign?


Member Harrington: It would have to be close to 132 feet if the one was 120 and the other is 143. something. It has to be close to 132.


Norman Hyman: You are right, it is in that area.


Don Saven: We have an issue regarding the balls, and we would need to address that too.


Member Antosiak: I do have question because I am looking at a drawing that has 5' high letter and that is a 144 square foot sign.............


Jim Mikkula: We could make it 8' by 17'.


Chairman Reinke: We need to move on.


Member Harrington: Don, you have been talking with the petitioner; are we talking about a 17 by 8 sign which comes out to 136 square feet?


Don Saven: That is correct, but we also have to take into account the balls that are part of the sign will be outside of that sign. The sign is reduced but it does not include the ball being outside the sign.


Member Antosiak: Are we having an amendment to the motion?


Member Harrington: Let me try the motion again, and to sum up the discussion I will withdraw the former motion.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Chairman Reinke: Are we looking at the size of the sign being the total green area?


Don Saven: That is correct.


Chairman Reinke: If we are doing that we don’t have to worry about the basketball because the basketball is contained in the green area, correct?


Don Saven: No it is outside.


Roll Call: Yeas (3) Nays (3) Meyer, Brennan, Reinke


Chairman Reinke: Your motion has not been approved, nor have you been denied. We are back to a discussion point.


Chairman Reinke: I can support everything that is there, except to a 4' high letter. I think that in the size that you have there and with the basketball sticking above that, everything is very definitive, very direct and very visible.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will reiterate Mr. Reinke’s observation. The sign, that has been called the smaller sign is what we asked for and I find it very visible from I-275. I probably drove past that 30 times in the last few weeks. I think that it fairly represents the business and is at least from my perspective it is uniform compared to Office Max and Best Buy. I thought that we had some sort of agreement at the last meeting that you were going to put up and that is what we had in mind and now I hear something different tonight.


Mike Green: We installed that banner per your request for viewing. The size of the letters, the 4' letters is the big issue here; would enlarging the background be a position. If we went to the 4' letters and enlarged the background so that we could separate the letters?


Chairman Reinke: You are doing the same thing, because you are just increasing the size of the sign again. If you had a free standing letter I would have no problem with the 4 1/2 foot letters. The problem is your color contrast or background is making this a part of the sign because it’s detailing.

Mike Green: If these letters were green?


Chairman Reinke: You can put up green letters and I would have no problem with 4'6" letters that were green. The background is a part of the sign, it is part of the identification of bringing it out.


Mike Green: The sign with going with the 4' white letters and the background being considered part of the signage, which is the code, is the background per code possibly be illuminated?


Member Meyer: Are you open to the green letters?


Mike Green: No, I don’t think that either one of us would be happy with that, especially at night. We don’t want to do that and that is not our intent.


Member Bauer: I can’t see any problem with that being illuminated.


Gary Kroll: I am with American Realty, representing the owner of the center. I had the opportunity to take a look at the signage with both the 120 square foot and the 147 square feet. We believe in trying to keep the center in good taste. The larger sign would be more proportionate with the center. I believe that Office Max was approved with 147 feet and it is a 29,000 square foot facility. You have Dick’s with 42,000 square feet and limiting the size of the sign just puts it out of proportion. As the owner of the property we feel that the larger sign would make the center more uniform.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I will stand by my suggestion that I would support a 4' tall lettering as we had discussed at the last meeting and whatever that square footage works out to be, it is referred to as the smaller sign.


Chairman Reinke: We have an estimate on that of 120 square feet.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Then that would be what I would support.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




Discussion on motion:


Chairman Reinke: It has been moved and seconded to grant a variance request for 120 square feet, per the recommendations of the painting of the center and allowing a deviation from the 120 square feet for the basketball.


Member Harrington: I have modified my position since the last meeting because I think that the petitioner is undertaking an expense approaching $50 to $100,000.00 that the petitioner didn’t have to do and wasn’t before us last month but it is before us this month. It is being made a part of the variance approval and I think that kind of good will gesture by the petitioner is worthy of our consideration and for that reason I was willing to consider 4'6" which is closer to what they wanted. That is the reason for the modification of my position and still is.


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


Case No. 98-079 filed by Fairway Construction, representing Stewart and Susan Bucham


Fairway Construction, representing Stewart and Susan Bucham, is requesting a 5' side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a second story addition to an existing nonconforming structure at 230 Endwell.


Member Bauer: On this case I wish to abstain.


Chairman Reinke: Mr. Sanghvi you will be voting on this case as Mr. Bauer is abstaining from voting.


Mark Cooper was present and duly sworn.


Mark Cooper: We request the side yard variance for our second floor addition. We are not covering any more foot print of the lot than what is already existing. We are going up over the back third of the property or home. It is a story and a half structure now with a family room addition off of the back. We are going to be taking the one bedroom that is upstairs and reconfiguring the second floor plan to have 2 bedrooms and a bath up there, going off of the back part of the main structure.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 45 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received, voicing approval. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: They are going straight up. They are not increasing or enlarging the foot print.


Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Don Saven: Do you have any issues on this second floor addition on special fire protection.


Don Saven: No, that is when it is less than the 5' scenario and he is at 5'.


Member Harrington: What we usually like to hear a little bit about is hardship. Do I assume that from your testimony so far that it would be basically impossible to do this project unless we granted the variance?


Mark Cooper: Yes, that is correct.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Sanghvi,




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


Case No. 98-080 filed by John Pettersson


John Pettersson is requesting a 8.95' side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a second story addition to an existing nonconforming structure at 1957 West Lake Dr.


John Pettersson was present and duly sworn.


John Pettersson: I need a bedroom so that my girlfriend doesn’t kill her kid. The bottom line. What we have now is a 2 bedroom house and I acquired two extra girls so we need to build another bedroom. It is certainly not changing the footprint. I just need to build it on that side of the house. I only need the one variance. I am not going to change anything else.


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




There was no audience participation.



Don Saven: The addition will require some additional fire protection on the north wall; I am sure that you are aware of that.


John Pettersson: That was discussed and that is not a problem. There are no windows over there.


John Pettersson: I did bring a couple of my neighbors and they are in full support of me. They are Jeffrey Hagar and Greg Gnatek.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Case No. 98-081 filed by Accent Signs, representing The Sports Club of Novi


Accent Signs, representing The Sports Club of Novi, is requesting a variance to allow a second ground sign 53" x 39" (14.35 sq. ft.) with the height from grade being 5', to be located at 42500 Arena Drive.


There was no one present for the case. Case will be called at the end of the Meeting.



98-082 filed by Singh Homes/Willowbrook


Singh Homes/Willowbrook, is requesting to maintain a construction trailer in the Willowbrook Subdivision for an additional six (6) months, located on lot 5 at 24507 Bethany Way, Temporary Use Case No. 97-016.


Garrett Keais was present and duly sworn.


Garrett Keais: We have a construction trailer in our Willowbrook Subdivision. We plan on moving into the garage of the model by the end of the year and we need an extension until that time to maintain our trailer.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 47 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: What is the actual time that it is going to take you to do the model?


Garrett Keais: The model is framed now and we are dry walling and we should be in there by the end of the year.


Chairman Reinke: So you are saying that if your variance was granted until January 1, that you could live with that?


Garrett Keais: That would be fine.


Moved by Member Bauer,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan,




Discussion on motion:


Member Meyer: I am a resident of the subdivision, I was at one of the homeowner’s meetings just recently. There was a senior citizen there who was very concerned about the fact that one of your surveyors was in her backyard without any notification that he was going to be in that backyard doing some surveying for the project. As a resident of the subdivision and on behalf of the senior citizen who feels that no one wants to hear her out, I would like to ask that if you have any of your surveyors going into someone’s backyard that you would notify them first. It is simply a question of what I would call respecting these people who feel like they are being encroached upon. That is understandable, it is your property but it is also their property.


Garrett Keais: That is perfectly understandable and just out of the practice that we try to use. What you suggest is an acceptable practice by us.


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


Case No. 98-083 filed by Frederic I. Keywell, representing Art Van Furniture


Frederick I. Keywell, representing Art Van Furniture, is requesting variances to allow A) a wall sign 45'2" x 6'9" (305 sq. ft.); B) a wall sign 40'5" x 4' (161 sq. ft.); C) a wall sign 40'5" x 4" (161 sq. ft.) for property located at 27775 Novi Road.


Frederic I. Keywell, Attorney, was present.


Frederic Keywell: Art Van Furniture is expanding it’s store on Novi Road considerably. My client acquired the former Fretter Appliance property which somebody in the administration described to me about the time that we were considering buying it as almost a penitentary because it had so few windows. We acquired that property not withstanding the so called Dobb’s Ordinance and proceeded to get our plans approved for this addition. The completed store will have a frontage on Novi Road of 305 feet and that is the store front not the property. The store itself will have in excess of 100,000 square feet. To comply with the ordinance with a store front as large as this, the sign would be totally out of proportion. We think that at the present time that Art Van has signage of 150 square feet and we think that the request is reasonable in the sense that it identifies what is going on in the store and it is not disproportionate to the size of the store.


Frederic Keywell: I might point out the Michael Rupert is with me and is the architect for Art Van Furniture and told me that a typical what they would call white boxes today, which are these large super stores, is about 30,000 feet. So this would be equivalent to about 3 1/2 white boxes.


Frederic Keywell: For the reasons that I suggested to have a sign that properly identifies what is going on in the store and is proportionate to the size of the store, we request the variance that is setforth in the petition which is approximately a 300 square foot sign in front and about 160 feet on both the north and the south sides of the store.


Chairman Reinke: For clarification Sign "A" would be Novi Road?


Frederic Keywell: Yes.


Chairman Reinke: Then both "B" and "C" are the same size and one is on the south side and one on the north side?


Frederic Keywell: Yes.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 14 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing concern. Copy in file.




There was no audience participation.



Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan inquired of Alan Amolsch: Can you go through what the existing signage is on this parcel?


Alan Amolsch: On the building right now there are two 40' x 3' letter signs which were approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals in 1981.


Chairman Reinke: Are they both 120 square feet?


Alan Amolsch: Yes.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: And those are on the Novi Road side and the south side?


Alan Amolsch: That is correct.


Member Harrington: Will these signs replace those signs or are they in addition to?


Frederic Keywell: They will replace those signs.


Member Meyer: The sign on the north and the south wall only have "Art Van Furniture" where as the one on Novi Road has the additional wording?


Frederic Keywell: "Showroom and Clearance Center" will be only on the Novi Road side.


Member Antosiak: Just for clarification from Alan. The two signs that are there, do they belong to the building or do they belong to Fretters? Could this petitioner have two 120 square foot signs?


Alan Amolsch: The variance was granted to the Art Van Furniture Store and they go with the premises. If they remodel the store they can keep those signs because the Board did not limit it to any time limit or any other conditions.


Member Meyer: Why do you need the additional sign?


Frederic Keywell: Just for identification, it is a much larger store, the size of the store and to identify it for people coming from north to south.


Chairman Reinke: What are the size of the letters on the Novi Road side?


Frederic Keywell: The highest letter which is the capital "A" for Art Van is 4' tall.


Chairman Reinke: I understand that, it is in your proposal. What is the existing sign?


Frederic Keywell: Three feet.


Chairman Reinke: The reason for my statement to that, is that I paid very close attention to that tonight driving by there again. It is very tasteful and very identifiable sign for the size of the building and location wise it might be changed. But for the location of the building and being adjacent from Novi Road I think that the height of the existing letters is very sufficient to identify what is there.


Frederic Keywell: I guess the design department gets into this and Mr. Rupert can discuss that and determine that a larger sign is necessary because of the increased size of the building and it is a totally different building.


Michael Rupert, Corporate Architect for Art Van Furniture. The sign that you drove by and saw this evening and have driven by for the last several years; that facade in which that is located on is 150 feet wide. That part of the building is going to be torn off and set back which shows the new facade or the Novi Road facade which is doubling in width by going from 150 feet to 305 feet in width. So proportionately the building is going from 16 feet high to 20 feet and it is doubling in width. I think that proportionately a 3 foot high by 40 feet on that facade is going to be basically half the overall width of the proposed sign. The proposed sign, I think in total height is 6 feet including the showroom and clearance center and Art Van Furniture.


Member Harrington: Let me make a comment and then ask you a question. Proportionality is not normally something that we give a great deal of significance to; but when we eye ball it we do. We say to ourselves that either it makes sense or it doesn’t make sense and I think that you may have heard that in the prior discussion involving the sign out at Eight Mile and Haggerty. If the Board felt that in order to address your proportionality suggestion that it is necessary to eye ball your proposed signs can you help me out with how you are in terms of your construction and when the exterior facade of the buildings would be sufficiently completed that if it were the pleasure of the Board to request your cooperation in putting up renderings of your proposed signage; when realistically would that happen? Presumably you are not going to open for awhile with the new construction? Where are you at?


Michael Rupert: The project is broken up into three phases. Phase one is planned to open up in December, but there is no signage on Phase 1 facing Novi Road, there is signage on the north side which faces Twelve Oaks Mall.


Member Harrington: When will the new walls be completed to the extent that if renderings or mock ups of the new signage is put into place that we can see it?

Michael Rupert: I would assume April of next year.


Member Harrington: In the mean time with your existing signage you can continue to draw your customers with that identification and the like?


Michael Rupert: Well actually, in the next phase the signage that is existing is coming off of the building, I believe.


Member Harrington: Does it have to?


Michael Rupert: Well we are tearing off 40' of the front; so yes, it has to. That portion of the building is no longer going to exist.


Member Harrington: So for proportionality purposes, you want us to approve signage on walls that are not yet constructed on proportionality which we have not yet seen because the building isn’t built. Because you are also going to be taking down your existing signs. That is a tall order isn’t it?


Michael Rupert: I can’t really answer that.


Chairman Reinke: When do you and we are talking about the Novi Road side, when do you anticipate that wall is going to be finished?


Michael Rupert: I am expecting the complete facade where it is all done sometime in April.


Chairman Reinke: So in other words you wouldn’t be able to put a sign up there until April?


Michael Rupert: Not on the side where it is occurring. They have to tear it down and build a new wall and put the masonry in.


Member Meyer: You understand what we are asking? We would like to see a mock up before we vote on this.


Michael Rupert: Absolutely, I do understand. It is just that it might not be possible until next year and then we are without signs. That would definitely be a hardship to have no signage on the building.


Chairman Reinke: You are not going to be able to put a sign up there until April anyway. Correct?


Michael Rupert: Only on that one facade. On the other facade we can.


Chairman Reinke: You are talking the north and the south.

Michael Rupert: The north facade, yes.


Member Meyer: Can you give us a mock up of the north and the south, so .......


Michael Rupert: I could hang a banner on the existing portion of the building that does not have...or if you are looking at the front elevation to the right there isn’t any signage there but I could hang a banner off of that which could show the sign and you would just have to imagine what it is like to be completed.


Chairman Reinke: This would really give us a proportional look because we know the length of the building that is there. That is not going to change. The height might change but looking at the sign in a the total proportion of the building is really visible at this point in time. That would probably help this Board to be totally fair to you. We are not trying to not give you identification. We don’t want something that jumps out and grabs you everytime you go by there.


Don Saven: Alan had brought up a point which is really good. Previously they have a variance for the east wall and the south wall as it exists right now. If he is in the process of tearing this building down in the front he could still utilize that existing square footage that he has to replace it with a temporary sign of 120 square foot each and still maintain his business until such time that he would be able to get a better position on a sign and the square footage that he is requesting.


Chairman Reinke: You are talking on the north side of the building?


Don Saven: I am talking about the east side of the building where he has a concern about.


Member Antosiak: As much as we like to look at signs as a package, we could consider the signs at different times if the construction required it.


Don Saven: The only hardship that I can see is the fact that he is only going to have 120 square foot sign which he already has on Novi Road, until such time that we could look at the whole sign package.


Frederic Keywell: The sign is going to be the same type of lettering that presently exists on the building. The width of the building is going to be more than double of what the existing building is. In terms of proportionality it is not going to be disproportioned to what it is presently.


Member Bauer: I would like to see some type of a mock up.


Chairman Reinke: For the size that we are going to, we presently have 120 square feet of sign there on the Novi Road side. We are talking about going from 120 to 305 which is almost 2 1/2 times; and I guess that before I could even possibly consider that I would want to see some type of banner to that size. It could be put right next to the other sign as far as I am concerned; but it would show how this size of sign is going to impact what the request is and what we are going to be looking at.


Frederic Keywell: Where we to put up such a banner at this time, would the Board be able to determine the proportionality envisioning .........


Chairman Reinke: I don’t think that there is any problem in that. It wouldn’t have to be exactly in the right position; we would just be looking at the size of the sign in respect to the building.


Frederic Keywell: I guess what I am saying is that if we could put up a sign now and if you can envision that the building is going to be twice the size in width.


Member Harrington: I can’t do that. That is the point. This Board Member wants to see the walls which is your contention is to justify the larger sign. I think that there is two problems here. Problem "A" is that this is a phased construction and linked to that is the second part of the problem which is that your primary signage is coming down. I think that there needs to be some pencil sharpening in terms of temporary signage which gives us the opportunity that when you are ready to have us look at the mock ups when the four walls are up; but the real problem is the temporary signage to get you through now to April. I don’t feel comfortable envisioning a building twice the size and using that for a basis of justification for a larger sign.


Chairman Reinke: A point well taken, when you extend that wall out you are in a whole different ball game.


Member Harrington inquired of Don Saven: Is there a problem in terms of their doing temporary signage or moving one sign from one location to another? We don’t want these gentlemen to have to file a new variance request for a temporary sign, can we table this and give them some flexibility to come back next month and let us know what they want to do with temporary signage if that is what their inclination is. They shouldn’t have to make those decisions tonight as to what they are going to do. But if the sense of the Board is that we want to see it, can they do it?



Don Saven: I think going back to the issue that it was once approved for a 120 square foot for the east wall and for the south wall; those he can construct. So he has that ability to do that. Whether it is by virture of a temporary sign once the building comes down; he still has the approval for that east wall.


Alan Amolsch: You are not talking about a banner are you?


Don Saven: Whatever temporary sign that he is going to install. Wouldn’t that be agreeable?


Alan Amolsch: If the Board so deemed. Otherwise banners are not allowed.


Chairman Reinke: I think that in a construction phase that I, as one Board Member, don’t have a problem with a temporary sign as they are working or are under construction if they need to take the existing sign down; as long as the temporary signs are really not any larger than the existing variances that have been granted. When we get to the point in time where the total wall is up there and we can put a mock up as to what you are looking at, then we can work from that point there. That is just one Board Member’s opinion.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I think that we are really early in looking at variance requests for buildings that are not up, that would give us the overall impact of what the sign is on that building. I would move for the petitioner sake to put off any decisions on his request at least for tonight and in the short term to come up with some remedies that will provide him with signage in the reconstruction phase.

Member Meyer: In a sense you are to be complimented, normally people come to us and they wanted the sign up two weeks ago. In this case to think that we are looking at April of next year, you are hearing the feeling of the Board and when that 300 foot facade is up you can put up a mock up for us. Just let us know and we will take a look at it.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I guess that at this point we are saying that you have approval for two 120 square foot signs and you can rip down the existing ones and you can put up banners that replace those signs...


Member Antosiak: Not exactly, once the signs are down the variance is gone, is that correct?


Alan Amolsch: The variance is valid forever, unless the Board rescinds it. However, the City does not allow banner signs. If they are talking about temporary signs they would want to make out of wood or some other material, if the Board would see fit about that. I have a problem with having a couple of banner signs up for 6 months.


Member Antosiak: They won’t stay for 6 months.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: They will if that is the only way to identify this business. Whatever temporary sign that he wants to put up is the point.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan,




Discussion on motion:


Frederic Keywell: I am confused, what is a rendering?


Member Harrington: That would be a mock up.


Frederic Keywell: How do we as a matter of information and maybe I should wait until the motion is passed but I assume that it is going to be passed; how would we notify you and how long would you want...


Member Harrington: Call the Building Department and let them know that the renderings are up and give us any additional information that you have through the Building Department who then notifies the Board. We will have you come back for whatever that following first Tuesday of the next month would be. After you give the notice, we will go out and look at it.


Member Antosiak: How much notice do they need to give you, Nancy, in order to be on the next meeting?


Nancy McKernan: It would be nice to have at least 14 days.


Member Antosiak: If you would give us 20 days notice you would be on the next meeting.


Frederic Keywell: And you will tell us that the Board has seen them so that we can take them down?


Member Bauer: No, you will be back at that meeting.


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


Case No. 98-084 filed by Corrigan Moving Systems


Corrigan Moving Systems is requesting a variance to allow a 120" x 28" (22 sq. ft.) ground sign to be located at 45200 Grand River Avenue.


Jim Marshall was present and duly sworn.


Jim Marshall: We have been approved for a sign on the building that faces the expressway and we need an identification sign on Grand River; the building sits quite away from Grand River and that is what we are petitioning for tonight which is an additional sign. The size of the sign was left up to the professionals, they drew it and seemed to think that this was the size that we need for the verbiage that we have on it. I will be happy to answer any questions that you have for me.


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




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: He mentioned that a sign had been approved?


Alan Amolsch: Yes, they have received a permit for a wall sign on the north side of the building which faces the freeway.


Member Bauer: Is this going to be right on the ground or are you going to have it on posts?


Jim Marshall: It will probably be just off of the ground a little bit and then have shrubs around it. It is near a mound there that we are going to build behind the sidewalk.


Member Harrington: You have referenced a new building, has that building been completed?


Jim Marshall: No, I would say it is 75% complete or somewhere in that area.


Member Harrington: Are you targeting the opening by the first of the year?


Jim Marshall: No, I am targeting the early part of December.


Member Harrington: Maybe after the first Tuesday in December?


Jim Marshall: About the 13th.


Member Harrington: With respect to the sign that you are entitled to that will face the freeway, when do you expect that will be installed?


Jim Marshall: We just got the permit, so it will be within the next 30 to 60 days.


Member Bauer: How tall it this going to be?


Vice-Chairman Brennan: This sign, if we look at this rendering, and if the bottom of this rendering is at the ground level which I suspect that it is not.


Jim Marshall: It is probably pretty close, because there is a depression and then the earth goes up and there is a mound there and it will sit right in front of the mound.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I would just like to get a fix on the size and if we have this dimension of the street address as 12" and the verbiage is 28" so we have 3' x 5' ......


Jim Marshall: That is 120" or 10'.


Member Harrington: That may be the perfect sized sign that you need, but I have difficulty reading from a blue print and transposing it to a location which I have not personally inspected because there was not a sign there for me to look at. Do you have any problem having your sign person prepare a temporary sign in the dimensions that you feel you need? If you feel that these or your architect feels that these are the dimensions that we have to have anything less won’t do and get that temporary sign up between now and the next meeting which in November because of the elections will probably be the second Tuesday of November; I as a Board Member would be interested in looking at your proposed sign. I would tell you that it is our bias and prejudice that the smaller the better and you can communicate that to your architect. But if that is what he feels that you have to have for signage, whatever you have between now and the next meeting we will look at and you will still be a month away from opening.


Jim Marshall: Two months.


Member Harrington: Well, in November you will be one month away from opening and they will know what it is that they want and they can hit the ground running and whatever is approved, if anything, can be done in time for your mid-December opening, Is that a problem for you or can you work with that?


Jim Marshall: No, I can work with that.


Chairman Reinke: I think that it is a good idea because we want to be fair with you. Give you adequate identification and we are not saying that it should be bigger; but it will be an honest evaluation.


Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Perhaps I have misunderstood but I thought that if you backed onto the freeway you were entitled to two signs.


Alan Amolsch: That is correct but this does not abut the freeway as required. There is a parcel of property between this building and the freeway. Otherwise they wouldn’t need a variance.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: It is not close enough?


Alan Amolsch: No, it does not abut the freeway; there is property between them and the freeway.


Chairman Reinke: In Case No. 98-084, unless there is an objection, we will table this to our next meeting and allow the petitioner to put a mock up for review. All those in favor, please say aye. All ayes. Case is tabled to the November Meeting.


Jim Marshall: I just have one question. The time table for everyone to see it, when do you think that it needs to be in prior to that meeting.


Chairman Reinke: If you could give us at least a week.


Jim Marshall: A week before the meeting would give me about three weeks to put it up.


Member Harrington: We get packets here about 2 weeks before the Meeting and it is a lot easier for Nancy who puts those things together, to get it in advance because otherwise she has to contact us or mail it or fax it or something.


Jim Marshall: You want me to notify you that the sign is up?


Member Antosiak: Yes and the next meeting is November 10th.



Case No. 98-085 filed by Alp Onder


Alp Onder is requesting a 10' rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an addition at 29535 English Way in the Woods of Novi Subdivision.


Alp Onder was present and duly sworn.


Alp Onder: As a parent and a Member of the Walled Lake School Board I certainly appreciate the need for rules, regulations and policies. I want to thank you for this opportunity to appear before you for this variance on the setback.


Alp Onder: We have three children at home, ages 6, 8 and 10. As you know they have a habit of getting bigger and bigger every day and needing more and more space and needing quiet study areas. That is my primary reason for requesting this variance. I would like to build an addition that would serve as a study or den. It would also be used by myself as an office in the home as I am a financial consultant who does a lot of business over the telephone and now with the great computer age out there I can tele-commute quite often and there may be some changes involved with my business as we recently have been acquired by a bank; Bank One. If conditions change there I may want to go off on my own and have my own business from my home. I would like to be able to have that option as well. Thirdly and I hope that this never happens, but my parents and my father-in-law are getting older and older each day and I would love to be able to have a little extra room if they needed it to house them if they became to the point where they needed some more constant care and couldn’t live on their own.


Alp Onder: My builder is here, Chuck Hearst, if you have any questions he is with Archadeck. We would be happy to answer any questions that you would have.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 37 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 4 written responses received, all voicing approval. Copies in file.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven: He is staying outside of the 10' easement, he is in line with the 15' setback requirement. He is not exceeding the existing wood deck.


Alp Onder: In fact, a lot of that will be taken away. So actually we will have a little bit more room off of the back.


Member Harrington: It appears that you have something of an apron on the deck per the rendering which in fact is going to be removed and will increase the setback distance between the deck and the rear property line?


Alp Onder: Yes, in that one area that is correct. It is like an octagon right now and that octagon will basically be taken off of there. We are basically kind of tucking it into a corner that we are not using right now.


Member Harrington: Did you say that you had the approval from your neighbors?


Alp Onder: Yes.


Member Harrington: Subdivision approval also.


Alp Onder: Yes, that was my understanding for getting a permit when we came to the Building Department.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: It seems like there is no local objection. The petitioner has done his homework. He is making concessions to decrease the setback from the existing deck. I support his application.


Chairman Reinke: I understand the petitioner’s application; but, I have one reservation it is really overbuilding the lot. I wish that we didn’t have so many and that all of our lots are built so tight so that when somebody wants to make an addition they are always forced to get a variance.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: That leads to a question, there is a percentage of building space on a given lot and are we still within that percentage?


Chairman Reinke: We are within that percentage but the thing is that we are getting into the setbacks and it is unfortunate that anytime somebody wants to do something they end up having to get into the setbacks. That is my point. I think that the gentleman has done everything that he possibly can to live within the ordinance as much as he possibly could. He is intruding into the backyard the minimum that he possibly could and still have a useable room. I think that he has done an excellent job. But the statement is that our lots are laid out so tight that there is no room to deviate or add without having to come back to get a variance request.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




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


Recall of Case No. 98-081 filed by Accent Signs, representing The Sports Club of Novi


There was no one present for the case.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan,




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




Don Saven: Very quickly I would like to bring you an update regarding the Economic Summit that we had a couple of weeks ago. Basically what the concerns were from the community, the business community and the chamber of commerce and developers and what have was the issue of repeated requests variances that come before this Board. I know that we had discussed that at one time. For example issues regarding Temporary Uses or something along this line when we can increase them to go from 6 months to a couple of years because projects go on for a period of time. Taking a look at issues like that which come before this Board. If there are certain issues that you would like to see or to have taken a look at I would ask that you get back to me regarding those repetitive issues that come before the Board. In other words, we could bring it back to the Ordinance Review Committee or the Planning Commission to redraft or whatever. That would be something to take a look at.


Don Saven: The second issue is that we are finding that and I know that we are having issues regarding sign cases and we would like to see the renderings. Maybe it is something that we should look at as a policy. Before anybody would come before this Board that we have the ability to tell them to put up a rendering before they come. It is kind of an issue that you are going to have to talk about or think about a little bit and maybe at the next meeting we can establish some type of a policy to say that before they come to the Board they should have the sign at or approximately the location on that building. For example, with Art Van it is very premature. If you take a look at the square footage of that and just based upon a previous case which we just heard and the building sits way back it is very hard to make a determination based upon something not being there. Maybe it is something that we would want to consider as being a part of what we take a look at and we can relay to the applicant that we won’t be able to hear the case unless you put up a rendering and we want to make sure that the Board Members get there to see it at such and such a time. It would help expedite matters, rather than to bring these people back before the Board. I don’t know whether we can do this by policy, I only assume that this would be OK. I don’t think that we would have a problem with that because it is something that we are establishing.


Chairman Reinke: On the mock up signs, I think that all of the Board Members would encourage this because it would help us to expedite the case in point before us. Rather than to have them come in before us, then we wait to go out to look at a mock up and have to carry it over to another meeting. Where if it was suggested to them that it could help define the whole process for their case, to have the mock up, I don’t know whether it should be mandatory but it would be at their best option to put a mock up to represent what you feel that you really need.


Don Saven: That is the other issue and the flip side of this whole thing. People have a right to make a request.


Chairman Reinke: I understand that. The thing is I think that it needs to be stressed "what you feel that you really need to demonstrate and show justification for relief from the ordinance from the ordinance allocation for signage on your building identification".


Don Saven: It would be a good idea if we had this as a policy for all signage.


Chairman Reinke: I think that it would be a good idea because it would save us a lot of time and we are not bringing cases back that we could really make a judgement from what is there and go on to what we can really work with.


Member Harrington: I think that this fits within the ambit of the subcommittee on by laws which is scheduled to meet next Thursday evening at a far away location and I think that particular issue is one which should fall within it and probably something along the lines that "the Board requires that this be done except in cases of hardship or unusual emergency", if there is not time to do it they could come in see us but if there is time they will know that they should do it.


Member Antosiak: To follow up a comment that Mr. Brennan made earlier in the Meeting, I might even support a requiring of a mock up of the sign that would be allowed by ordinance.


Chairman Reinke: That could very well be, too. Because then it is really showing maybe the inadequacy of it.


Member Antosiak: I think that Mr. Brennan is entirely correct by saying that is the standard by which we should be judging our behavior not to the request that the petitioner has made.


Chairman Reinke: That is a very good point.





The Meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.







Date Approved Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary