Tuesday – November 10, 1998


The Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m., with Chairman Reinke presiding.




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


Absent: Member Sanghvi


Also Present: Donald M. Saven – Building Official

Heidi Hannan –Community Development Coordinator

Alan Amolsch – Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Gerrie A. Hubbs – 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 Zoning Ordinance. It takes a vote of four (4) Members to approve a variance request and a vote of the majority of the Members present to deny a variance. We have a full Board here tonight so all cases will be heard and voted upon on that basis.




Chairman Reinke indicated we have one change to the Agenda, Case No. 98-089 called and said that he was unable to attend the meeting and requested that his case be postponed until the December Meeting.


Member Harrington: Before moving on that matter, is there any comment or is there anyone here in the audience that would wish to speak to that matter? If there is anyone who would like to speak on that case, perhaps we should give them some accommodation and not make them come back next month.


Chairman Reinke inquired if there was anyone here for Case No. 98-089? (No one wanted to be heard at this time.)


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




Roll Call: (Voice Vote) All Yeas MOTION CARRIED




Chairman Reinke we have the minutes of the October 6, 1998 Meeting for approval. Are there any comments or corrections to those minutes? Hearing none, the "Chair" would entertain a motion for approval.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Roll Call: (Voice Vote) All Yeas MOTION CARRIED




Chairman Reinke indicated this is the Public Remarks section. If there is anyone who would like to address the Board on issues other than the cases before us this evening; now is the time to do so. Hearing none we will close this portion of the Meeting.



Case No. 98-084 filed by Corrigan Moving Systems


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


Michael Corrigan was present and duly sworn.


Michael Corrigan: We put up a demo sign on the Grand River side of our property as requested by this Board at the last meeting. Hopefully you have had to the opportunity to look at the sign to see if it meets your approval.


Michael Corrigan: The reason for the sign is to be identified on the Grand River entrance to the property. We have another sign on the I-96 side of the building.




There was no audience participation.




Don Saven had no comment.


Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I don’t have any particular problem as it was laid out, it is a relatively small sign and I think that it provides some merit to the petitioner’s business on that corridor. He has a unique location having access from those 2 boulevards.


Member Bauer: I think that the only time that they will have any problem is when they fill up the area and there will be more signs going up. I don’t see anything wrong with this sign, but just to make sure that we know there are going to be more signs up there.


Member Harrington inquired of the Building Department: The issue here is not the size of the sign, but simply the fact that is the second sign?


Alan Amolsch: That is correct.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Antosiak,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) MOTION CARRIED



Case No. 98-086 filed by Glenda’s Garden Center


Glenda’s Garden Center is requesting a variance to increase an existing concrete slab and add a temporary bin outside for the purpose of selling bagged and bulk salt. The present use of about two thirds of the subject site is for buildings and seasonal outdoor storage and display. Outdoor storage is not permitted in a NCC District. This is for property located at 40575 Grand River Ave.


Chris Cagle was present and duly sworn.


Chris Cagle: What we would like to do here is and we already have some seasonal outdoor storage that has been granted by this Board. We are looking to have a bin for outside salt. We have had the bagged salt in the past. We would like to increase that to bulk salt. We intend to have the salt bin covered. I believe that you were presented with a diagram of the temporary structure. I am here to answer any of your questions and to hopefully get your approval on this matter this evening.




Cliff Sieber, I own the building at 40399 Grand River which is located to the east of Glenda’s Garden Center. The existing garden center has a landscape berm along Joseph Street with landscaping on it and a much larger berm to the south property line, which I feel, provides adequate screening of the additional outside storage which is requested. Therefore, I support the request for the variance and recommend to the Board that they would grant that variance.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 23 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing approval. Copy in file.




Don Saven indicated that he had a couple of questions for Chris Cagle. Number one, you say that this is bulk storage?


Chris Cagle: Yes.


Don Saven: It is not bagged? It is not contained?


Chris Cagle: No.


Don Saven: So you are going to need to construct a bin?


Chris Cagle: That is correct.


Don Saven: Are you going to have any shelter built above it?


Chris Cagle: It would be a removable canopy. So it would shed the rain from destroying the salt and also to keep it clean and neat. It would be a green color to comply with the colors that we have at our store now.


Don Saven: Should the Board approve this case, I would ask that this be tied in with the Fire Department approval for the construction bin.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: This is road salt?


Chris Cagle: That is correct.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: This is going to be a fabric type cover?


Chris Cagle: That is correct.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Do you feel that is going to hold up over the winter?


Chris Cagle: It would be like a canopy, which is for the outside. It would be water proofed.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: The one thing, and I have no negative feelings toward your needs, but the one issue that concerns me and you have addressed it a little bit in here was regarding the health and safety issues. Who covers the checks and balances as far as ground water contamination and containment?


Don Saven: One of the issues that we look at is certainly the issue of a storage bin or a location where the salt is not going to be directly in contact with the ground. Also then we don’t have to deal with the elements, to see to it that is being broke down in any shape or form. That is why I asked that the Fire Department become involved to make sure that if they have any particular specifications that are necessary they would bring it up at that time.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: So between you and the Fire Department………..


Don Saven: That is correct.


Member Harrington inquired of the Building Department: Are there any ground wells within a quarter mile of this proposed location?


Don Saven: I am not sure how to answer that. I am not sure whether the subdivision directly behind is on wells or not.


Chris Cagle: It is on City water.


Don Saven: How about the Joseph Drive people? I think that they are on wells.


Chris Cagle: I think that also.


Member Harrington: What Board in the City or Department or Branch could give us the appropriate input regarding any environmental implications of this massive 800 square feet of storage space for open ground salt?


Chris Cagle: That is showing the existing concrete.


Member Harrington: How much of that are you going to use?


Chris Cagle: That would be 33 by 40.


Member Harrington: Then it is larger than 20 by 40. I am looking at the rendering which says 20 feet across by 40 foot long; is it larger than that?


Chris Cagle: No, here is where it is. (diagram presented to the Board)


Member Harrington: Is what you are asking us to approve; is it the area that is described as a salt bin? Which is 20 feet wide by 40 feet long?


Chris Cagle: That is correct.


Member Harrington: Is the area where salt is going to be stored larger than that?


Chris Cagle: No, this is the canopy that would be over the top of that.


Member Harrington: So we are looking at 800 square feet of storage area for open and not bagged ?


Member Harrington: inquired of Don Saven: Who can give us, if I were concerned about possible environmental implications of spillage and the like leaching into the ground, what department of the City could assure me that when I approve this variance that there won’t be any environmental hazards?


Don Saven: I think that we could do two things; along with the Fire Department and our environmental specialist from JCK and Associates.


Member Harrington: Before I can vote in favor of this and I don’t want to put the City to thousands of dollars, but it would certainly be nice to have a paragraph or two that there are no environmental implications relative to our approval of this and that would include some kind of indication of whether there are ground wells nearby which if there is leakage into the soils that would be a concern to me.


Chris Cagle: We are following the SEC Guide Book as far as the storage of bulk salt. Which is to contain a bin for any kind of over spillage to go into this and then to be hauled away. We have already covered it as far as that we don’t want to environmentally contaminate of our property also, so I can appreciate the concerns as far as not only myself as a landowner here in Novi but other landowners. That is why we will have a self-contained 1000 gallon drum to be hauled off and we have contacted legal haulers of salt water and bromine and where it can go to.


Member Harrington: Chris, what I am looking at is a diagram and a blueprint which don’t provide me any assurances that there are not environmental risks and it may well be that there are not and it may well be that salt is a perfectly harmless substance; but in this era and especially you and your mother as the owners of this property you want to be sure that you don’t get stuck with an environmental situation which once it is into the soil could cost many more times than what the property is worth to have to remove in the future. It may not be here but I am concerned about it and before I can vote for this variance I want to hear about that. What is the hardship here, that if we don’t approve it; you can’t sell salt or you just can’t have this 800 square foot storage thing?


Chris Cagle: We could not carry the bulk salt because we wouldn’t feel that it would be safe not only for the property environment nor for any waste as far as and that is what the temporary storage bin would be for. We want to make sure that we contain this and we are answering or asking for your support for the reasons that you have questions. So there is not contamination and there is no problem down the road 15 years from now, We are willing and I believe that what Don is touching on with the Fire Department is that they have guide lines as far as hazardous waste, you have to keep on record with the Fire Department as to what you have on hand, so that may answer some of your questions there and maybe JCK could as far as structurally.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Is this primarily then independent contractors that would be coming in and getting pickup trucks loaded with salt?


Chris Cagle: That is correct.


Member Antosiak: Could you explain why you cannot store this inside of your building?


Chris Cagle: Inside the store?


Member Antosiak: Anywhere inside of any of the buildings on your property?


Chris Cagle: As far as location and the design is for the store, we have a retail garden center inside, greenhouses that are attached and our setup is such for greenhouses and they don’t have the adequate height and versatility of removing the roof so that we could take away and add the salt as needed. It is not permanent. This will be constructed out of 6 by 6’s that can be taken down and the top is removable so in the summer time it is not going to be there.


Member Harrington inquired of Don Saven: The variance is framed in terms of an expansion of a nonconforming use, are there any outdoor storage implications with this variance?


Don Saven: I think that there is just by the nature of the salt in itself being outside storage and it is something that is different than what was approved in the past and that is why the gentleman is here today. They still have the condition of the outdoor storage.


Member Harrington: Which is a separate issue from expansion of the nonconforming use, right?


Don Saven: Not necessarily.


Member Harrington: It seems to me that we dealt with other cases where people wanted to store equipment outside and the like.


Don Saven: Yes, but this isn’t equipment this is a use.


Member Harrington: This is inventory.


Don Saven: That is right.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Well, I guess the obvious question right now is if we are persuaded by Mr. Harrington’s arguments and there is merit to them and that is kind of what I was leading up to was the concern on the environmental side; would another month impact you all that significantly given the weather conditions?


Chris Cagle: Yes, we are looking at the middle of November right now. Realistically it would be the middle of January.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Well, I think that our next meeting will be the first week of December so we are 3 weeks away.


Chris Cagle: Well, I have to have some time to construct and get the permits and go through the procedures and make sure that it is done in a proper fashion. We are going to be pouring concrete so that there is no seepage and making sure that things are all done properly. So unfortunately time is of an essence.


Chairman Reinke: I think that this may have been a planning problem on your part to start this late to go ahead with this; realistically looking at this you should have looked into this 6 months ago. I don’t think that is really a viable argument of the impact of looking at what the Board Members have brought up for discussion.


Member Meyer: This is the first year that you will be open past the December 20th date?


Chris Cagle: No this will be the second year. Last year we were open also.


Member Meyer: So this is the first year, if things work out, that you will be providing salt for commercial use.


Chris Cagle: That is correct.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Roll Call: (Voice vote) ( All yeas) MOTION CARRIED


Chris Cagle: Just so that I am sure that when I come back in front of you and hopefully in 3 weeks if the ballot is not full. We have the SEC information as far as how to construct and so forth, but what I need above and beyond that is to get with the Building Department, the Fire Department and JCK?


Chairman Reinke: That is correct. See the Building Department and they will help you and assist you in that direction.


Don Saven: Chris, we will need to get a letter from the Fire Department referencing the issue regarding the salt storage for secondary containment and as you have indicated that particular agency that meets those particular requirements. The other issue is that the affect of what has taken place in terms of bulk storage, we will run it by JCK and see if they have any problems with it too.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: We have also made some changes procedurally as to how we handle cases and given that yours is a call back, you will probably be first on the agenda.



Case No. 98-088 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.


Phil Venables was present and duly sworn.


Phil Venables: First of all I would like to apologize to the Board for my absence at the last Meeting. I did file for this last month and during the week I got a weird illness and I was disoriented the whole week and I was just completely out of it; so I do apologize for that and believe me you would not have wanted me to bring that bug to you whatever it was. It was not fun.


Phil Venables: The reason that our client is interested in a second sign for the location is that they have frontage of over 500 feet, (pictures were presented to the Board) when we looked at the site originally we weren’t aware that there were 2 entrance drives to the facility and that both are functional entrance and exit drives that they do use and want to maintain for proper traffic flow and to ease any congestion that they might have during different times of peak periods, etc.


Phil Venables: When we looked at the building we tried to consider some sort of central sign, maybe one sign that would be adequate to identify both driveways and because it is so huge there was no way that we could come up with a design within any sort of taste limitations that would adequately do the job. They thought about a building sign and they didn’t really want to get into that, they wanted to maintain a tasteful look. If you look at the photograph of the sign on that board and I think that you have drawings of what we have suggested for them showing the existing sign. Basically we are recommending an identical sign for the other entrance drive which is about 500 feet from this one. It is a very tasteful sign. This sign is approximately half of what The Sports Club would be allowed in signage if they were to put it all in one size. But then again the question was, why make the sign 30 square feet or whatever is allowed there, if it doesn’t adequately identify anymore than this one does in terms of the one sign. It is the logistic problem of having the secondary driveway that is the issue and again it is a functional drive and they are anxious for some way to keep the flow.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I have driven to the ice arena probably 30 times in the last 3 weeks and I for the life of me couldn’t figure out why you needed a second sign there. There is only one way back and there is only one road that leads back into that whole complex and in order to get to the ice arena you have to drive by The Sports Club and in order to get to The Sports Club, you see your sign right out in front. I could not for the life of me figure out what could be happening as anyone who is in there is in there because they already know what it is and even if they are at the ice arena they have driven by and have seen the first sign. If there was traffic that was able to come from the far end or the southern end of the property north then I could buy that, but there is only one way back in there and you drive right by that big sign and that is the first thing that you see in that whole complex.


Phil Venables: There are additional functions that are going on in the back of that facility. You can see the driveway and I have actually taken a picture of the driveway and the other drive at the south end there and that actually is a functional driveway and it does service the other activities in the back of that building. What they are trying to do and they don’t want to have a lot of congestion. They do have peak periods and you may not have them now certainly because it is a brand new facility and they are busy and anxious filling it up and so on and of course the site itself is being developed and there will be traffic from the other activities in the area at some point. They are trying to maintain a steady and safe traffic flow for when they do have their peak times in and out of there. So they will be directing people to the far driveway. If it is dark out at night they want to adequately identify the driveway. It is very dark down there. It is a long way from the other sign.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: But both of those facilities are The Sports Club of Novi? Both of the buildings or that complex.


Phil Venables: But what I am saying is that is all one building. But it is huge. It goes on and on. There are activities on the other side and in the back that they are going to be doing; that is the key here.


Chairman Reinke: But really the same sign is not going to identify the back or the front of the building, is that correct? If you have activities going one place or the other, by the sign they would know where to go any way.


Phil Venables: Well, they will be directed to the other driveway. It is a question of maintaining an effective traffic flow and a safe traffic flow to get the people to that driveway at night in dark conditions and so on. It is very dark and very difficult to find that driveway without some sort of marker.


Chairman Reinke: I really don’t think that you are selling me on what you are trying to do. I don’t really see a hardship for it. My opinion only.


Member Antosiak: I share Mr. Brennan’s opinion, I had no conceptual problem with the sign itself but I just couldn’t quite understand what purpose it was serving since there wasn’t even an arrow on it for directing people in the area to a particular location. You had to drive by the building and the other sign to get to that sign.


Phil Venables: It acts as a directional sign even without an arrow in that is internally lighted and it does mark the area.


Member Meyer: I just want to say that I have been back there and it seems to me that there is only one way in and one way out and the sign basically is more than you need.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Perhaps another way of looking at this and I don’t want to argue the case, but The Sports Club is relatively new and if there was some rational basis for The Sports Club to stand in front of us and say that we have a huge parking problem; the parking is overflowing on the front entrance and we need some relief and some identification, I could buy that, but the place has just opened.


Phil Venables: Right, but the owner has a second facility in Bloomfield that he has had problems with and also was looking ahead of things to try to make sure that there won’t be a problem because there are activities going on in that second driveway and there will be even more as the building develops further with the activities inside of it.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Chairman Reinke,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) MOTION CARRIED



Case No. 98-090 filed by Mark Pelletier


Mark Pelletier is requesting a side yard setback variance on the east side to allow for the construction of an attached garage at 148 Penhill.


Mark Pelletier was present and duly sworn.


Mark Pelletier: I am proposing to build a two car attached garage. It is going to be a 20 foot wide garage. It would be infringing upon the 10 foot setback Zoning Ordinance that is Novi right now. I have talked to all of my neighbors and no one has disagreed with my plans and they actually support it. So there is no issue there.


Mark Pelletier: The reason that I can’t build a detached garage in the back is because I have a natural spring back there and it is right in that area and it is a very marshy area and there is always water bubbling up right there so it would probably bubble right up into the garage. It would be a major problem to try to dig the footings and all of that.


Mark Pelletier: The one thing that I can comment on is that the width of the lots in that area don’t seem to accommodate that sort of structure with that kind of setback. I have a small house and I don’t have enough room to build a 2 car garage and a 1 car garage isn’t really worth my while to put in there.




Ginger Barrons, I own the property at 179 Penhill. I haven’t talked to the petitioner or heard from him. I just received a Notice in the mail. I am not necessarily opposed to his request, however, I do want to see that we remain consistent on that street. The property directly across the street from me is a very large eyesore, it is a burned out home that just recently had a new roof put on it. I inquired about purchasing this property and splitting it. It is a very large lot and it would require both of those lots to have the width that is now required there to be about 3 foot less than what the City would like to have there, for each of those 2 lots to split it and have that torn down and to have 2 new homes built on that street. I understood that when I talked with the different departments that someone else had already made that request and had been turned down. That is essentially a foot less than what the petitioner is asking for here. So my concern is that I am still looking at an eyesore that has been there for about 5 years or a burned out home and if we are not going to allow someone to come in and develop that 3 lot setting there and if we are not going to allow somebody to develop that into 2 homes and tear down this eyesore because of side yard setbacks then I want to be sure that we remain consistent. That is my only concern. I am not opposed to his request. I just want to ask this Board to please be consistent. I have no real background information to give to you tonight on that, but that is all that I am asking for; if you approve this that you remain consistent so that the other eyesore can be removed. Thank you.




Don Saven: Just to bring up that the gentleman does have a swamp in the rear of his property and at one time he wanted a 22 foot wide garage and he has smalled it up to 20 feet to try to get some of his needs.


Chairman Reinke indicated there was a total of 33 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 9 written responses received all voicing approval. Copies in file.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I have a comment that is not for the petitioner but for the young lady that took the time to come down. If there has been something, the Board has been very consistent in and that is treating new construction differently than existing construction. This petitioner has presented a case where he is trying to deal with an existing home and adding a garage and I would view that differently than I would view new construction.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I typically look at the impact on the neighborhood and the surrounding homeowners and with the exception of the comments made you seem to have good approval. Did you canvas the neighborhood?


Mark Pelletier: I spoke with the neighbors around and everyone seemed to approve of this.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: In particular you have neighbors at lot 112 and 115 which are east and west, do you know who those are?


Chairman Reinke: We have heard from 126, 134, 156, 120, 159, 135, 144, 140 and 173.


Member Antosiak: You show a deck on your drawing, is that there right now?


Mark Pelletier: Yes.


Member Antosiak: I noticed in your request that you didn’t seem pleased with a 1 car garage, have you considered building a garage that is 1 car width buy 2 car deep, so that you would be within the side yard setback?


Mark Pelletier: I don’t think that it would be very functional. I don’t really think that I would consider that.


Member Meyer: If I understand correctly you did have one rendering that was 22 feet and you brought it down to 20 feet?


Mark Pelletier: That is right, the original plans were for a garage 22 foot wide, but considering the 4 foot that we would have between the properties I decided to make it at least 6 feet.


Don Saven: Then he would have had problems with fire protection for that wall at that side.


Member Meyer: And because of the swamp and the spring that is why you are doing this on the side and not in the back?


Mark Pelletier: That is correct.


Moved by Member Harrington,


Seconded by Member Meyer,




Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Antosiak MOTION CARRIED



Case No. 98-091A, B & C filed by Frank Reaume, representing Red Hot & Blue


Frank Reaume, representing Red Hot & Blue is requesting A) a variance to allow a 17’6" x 3’2" (56 sq. ft.) illuminated wall sign to be placed on the front of the building; B) a variance to allow an 11’ x 2’2" illuminated wall sign on the rear of the building; C) a variance to use the existing banner on the building until the complying signs can be installed, for property located at 25750 Novi Road.


Terrance Conlin was present for the petitioner.


Terrance Conlin: I have given you copies of the signs that are proposed, the rendering of the elevation and the actual super imposed indicating the signs that we are requesting for the front of the building as well as the one for the rear. Those would be variances "A" and "B".


Terrance Conlin: With regards to the main entrance sign, some things have happened that I think warrant a variance. Number one, when we originally became involved in this project the internal traffic patterns really weren’t defined as to how the traffic was going to move within there. The only way into the restaurants right now if you are coming north bound is that you have a right hand turn and if you are coming southbound you cannot get in on the north side of the building; you have to go down to the south side or get off prior to that and go back into the development as it stands. Also the elevation if you are coming from the south with the hill here the view blocks it. As I came up today there was a truck parked out in the parking lot and you could not see the building. Also it is a certain distance from Novi Road and there is not really a pedestrian access off of Novi Road. Hopefully someday when the whole development is developed there will be pedestrian access but that will come mainly from the rear.


Terrance Conlin: The practical difficulties are basically visibility, the changes in the site plan that have changed the traffic patterns from what we thought that they were going to be, the general topographical layout of the property so that it is limited on the site coming from the south and the whole question of the internal circulation around the proposed site. All of these add to the practical difficulties required by your Section 3104.


Terrance Conlin: With regards to the sign at the rear of the building, we are amending the request and this is not going to be an internally lit sign there will be outside lighting coming against it. The majority of the parking is in the rear. The way that the traffic patterns are supposed to work for the whole development, we are hoping to get traffic from the future development and the people who are building behind us, that we will get a customer base from that. The ordinance requires that if we have that sign back there that we would have to have an entrance back there or our main entrance back there, we are just simply saying that if the traffic flow is as envisioned by the developer and the City in planning this that in fact we will get a lot of pedestrian and vehicular traffic coming from the east and the only way that they are going to see us is if we have this sign up.


Terrance Conlin: With regards to variance "C" which is asking for the temporary banners to remain in place, I have been told by Mr. Reaume that we are 4 weeks away. When we know what we are going to put up there; we have a 4 week lead time to get them built and up. So we would ask that the banners be able to stay up for that length of time.




There was no audience participation.




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


Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Heidi Hannan: Well, as you may or may not know, City Council is reviewing an ordinance amendment to allow for the illumination of signs. That first reading passed on Monday and it will be going to the next Council Meeting for reading. I also wanted to add that the sign "B" ( the rear wall sign) does meet all of the standards for the TC1 Design Guideline Standards; it is just the fact that it is an additional sign.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Clarification. Red Hot & Blue BBQ and then under that ribs, pork, chicken and beef; are those not looked at as 2 separate signs? So we would have 4 signs on this building.


Alan Amolsch: No, we take the square footage and parallelogram that.


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


Member Antosiak inquired of Alan Amolsch: Setting the illumination question aside for a second, what sign would the petitioner be entitled to without a variance?


Alan Amolsch: First it has to be approved by the Design & Review Committee, that is the first thing. Beside the illumination issue it meets the square footage requirement but the design has to be approved by the Design & Review Committee for TC1 which is now in effect and a part of the ordinance. The wall sign in the front would meet the square footage allotment for that zoning district. The style and everything else has to be approved by Design & Review Committee and I believe that they did approve that section. Standing by itself that sign if not illuminated would be approved. However, there may be some further amendments coming to that standard.


Vice-Chairman Reinke: But the sign on Novi Road is the one that they could have without any variance request because that is where the entrance is?


Alan Amolsch: They need a variance right now because it cannot be illuminated.


Member Harrington: Has the Design & Review Committee issued a report that we can consider? Is there something in writing or do they just go yea or nay?


Heidi Hannan: Basically they reviewed Mr. Reaume’s sign and it does meet all of the design standards. But he chose to illuminate internally and that would not be within our standards so if he were to go today and put goose neck lighting up then his sign would meet the standards. When he submitted it, we suggested that instead of using the internal illumination that he use the goose neck lighting.


Member Harrington: Did the Design & Review Committee consider the appropriateness of listing menu items on the side of a building in this community or do they not look at content?


Heidi Hannan: Actually, I think that falls under the sign ordinance and what type of sign.


Alan Amolsch: The ordinance would allow it, however, the standards in the Design & Review Committee, I don’t know.


Member Harrington: The sign that is currently visible from Novi Road, which I am very familiar with, does not list menu items, like ribs, port, chicken and beef on the side of the building. What does it say underneath Red Hot & Blue?


Frank Reaume: The banner that is existing now does say Memphis Pit BBQ. What we are proposing is to include as you have stated the menu items.


Member Harrington: But on the side of the building?


Frank Reaume: No that would be on the front of the building.


Member Harrington: Have you considered because you have made a quite effective and compelling use of your windows with Red Hot & Blue and Now Hiring and Opening November 1; have you considered using that for your menu list rather than the building itself ? I will tell you that I have a problem with that. I have a problem driving by and looking at ribs, pork, chicken and beef which is not related to identifying you as a business but simply says what you are doing inside the business and you are asking for a variance from this Board and I have trouble supporting that as a matter of vision, as a matter of impact and if that is the design standards that we have introduced into this community then I think that we are headed into the wrong direction. What I am asking; is there an alternate way that you could get your message across by perhaps using your windows which you are free to do. You may change your menu items or you may have other things that you introduce and putting that on the side or the front Novi Road section of a brick building, I have trouble with.


Frank Reaume: We really haven’t considered the windows. They were actually a temporary means to and because we couldn’t have banners it was the only way that we could try to attract new employees. We are a new business coming to a new town and frankly nobody that I know of knows what Red Hot & Blue is.


Member Harrington: That is why I am asking about the part below that though, because I thought that was instructive.


Frank Reaume: We hadn’t considered that. We didn’t realize that we could use it. As far as I knew we weren’t allowed to use windows with neon and there were very clear restrictions in the City of Novi.


Donald Saven: Neon wouldn’t be approved.


Member Harrington: I am not saying neon.


Frank Reaume: We hadn’t really considered painting the windows permanently. That was a temporary measure for employees.


Terrance Conlin: Would it be more in your idea of keeping to have the Memphis Pit BBQ versus the ribs, pork, chicken and beef? And what is the practical difference between them?


Member Harrington: There is an aesthetic difference in my view. I am not certain as to how much aesthetics should weigh in my decision and I can just tell you my visceral reaction. There is a difference between Memphis BBQ which again is generic versus listing menu items. There have been other business’ that appear in front of us and each case is unique and on it’s own. But they wanted to list what they do and we discourage or at least this Member has discouraged listing sporting goods, basketball, tennis racquets, baseball bats on the side of the building and this is sort of heading to that direction.


Member Harrington inquired of the Building Department: Do I understand that City Council has just approved within the last couple of months signage specific for the TC1 District?


Don Saven: Yes, that is correct. Council did approve it.


Member Harrington: And in putting that whole new ordinance together, did Council include in that ordinance as a matter of right; 2 signs on buildings?


Don Saven: If it was part of a corner lot was it not?


Alan Amolsch: The ordinance provides that if the rear entrance serves as a main entrance and if the parking is in the back they are entitled to a second 20 square foot sign but in this case their back door is not the main entrance, the front door is the main entrance.


Chairman Reinke: Expanding or concurring with Mr. Harrington’s comments I think that Red Hot & Blue BBQ basically describes what it is and I don’t think that we need to put ribs, pork, chicken and beef to go along with that. To me, that is putting a menu on the wall.


Member Antosiak: I would like to make an observation. I agree with Mr. Harrington but for a slightly different reason. I think that additional signage on the bottom cheapens what is otherwise a very attractive building and a fairly classy sign. That is why I was surprised to see it in the rendering that way. But, the issue is the illumination because that is what is driving the issue on the first sign and the second sign.


Chairman Reinke: The issue is also of square footage, if you are going to allow the second line on that sign.


Member Antosiak: I am talking about on the first sign the issue is illumination. Then you would have the whole other issue of the second sign.


Member Antosiak inquired of Heidi Hannan: You said that the first reading of the ordinance that would allow illumination was this past Monday and the second reading will roughly be in 2 weeks, what is the time table after that assuming that it moves forward?


Heidi Hannan: I don’t know how long it takes, he would be able to move forward with his sign at that point but I am not sure exactly how long he would have to wait but it is a relatively short period of time, I believe.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I have a comment. I think that you have some support for the basis of 2 signs given the traffic flow and where traffic is going to come out of the ring road and there seems to be some pretty strong sentiment about the verbiage and the like and perhaps there is some room for negotiation here if you are willing.


Terrance Conlin: I think that would be something that we should look into very thoughtfully.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: If you are willing to think very thoughtfully immediately, we can probably make a motion.


Terrance Conlin: Just give me about 30 seconds with my client.


Terrance Conlin: Knowing that this a recorded meeting I will say that there is a principal above me or Mr. Reaume that is not present and we are going to make a command decision that we would ask that the sign as shown on the drawing remove the 4 items and insert underneath a generic Memphis Pit Style BBQ. Like what is basically up there right now.


Member Harrington: The actual style or format of Memphis Pit BBQ or the equivalent would be consistent with the lettering that is Red Hot & Blue BBQ? It is not going to be the contrasting black and white that we are looking at with ribs, pork, chick and beef? Or to put it a different way I found the banner sign visible from Novi Road to be aesthetically pleasing. I think that it sends the message that you are trying to send. I can’t remember the colors of what is out there right now but I know that it didn’t hit me the same way that this rendering that you submitted to us did.


Frank Reaume: Pretty much the banner and the only thing that is not on the banner is BBQ. Red Hot & Blue Memphis Pit Style BBQ is what is on the banner on the building now.


Terrance Conlin: What is the color of the Memphis? Isn’t that red?


Chairman Reinke: Do we need the BBQ twice on there?


Frank Reaume: I would like to see it say Red Hot & Blue BBQ, because it identifies what it is just like what is next door, fireplace and spas, you know what that is. People have difficulty with identity of what is Red Hot & Blue and I would like to be able to identify that. Underneath we could say Memphis Pit Style.


Chairman Reinke: I have no problem with that, I just have a problem with BBQ twice on the sign.


Unidentified person in audience: What does it matter if BBQ is on the sign twice or not? Why does that matter?


Chairman Reinke: It is my personal opinion in making of this variance.


Unidentified person in audience: Why is your personal opinion that way?


Chairman Reinke: It is my personal opinion, just as you have your personal opinion.


Member Harrington: Let’s put this a different way, the essence of a variance request is an expansion beyond the strict enforcement of the ordinance and what the Board is empowered to do and charged to do and if there is to be an expansion beyond the strict enforcement of the ordinance and the strict terms of the ordinance it should be the minimal necessary to accomplish the job. If there can be some consensus as what the minimum is necessary to accomplish the job and to deal with the hardship that is presented by the testimony of the evidence that is what we are supposed to do. If it is redundant and it says it twice and it is really not necessary then we ought to explore those issues and that is what we are doing.


Terrance Conlin: I would like to explore them in a couple of other ways. Really the question of the variance is it necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other property owners in the adjoining district or in the same district and is the granting of the variance materially detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the people of the City of Novi. I would love to be here and be a sign designer and whip out a pen and show you what the sign would be and we could all come an aesthetic agreement on that. But unfortunately I am not that skilled. I can say that we can remove the menu items as you pointed out from the sign and that we would put in something that would say Memphis Style BBQ or Memphis Pit Style or something, but quite honestly I don’t know how the logistics of designing that sign are going to come out. We can agree that we will take the menu items out if that is something that would be a problem, but I think that in all fairness to the applicant that the applicant still has to be able to go to a designer and say OK this is what I have to work with and what works.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: Why don’t we try a first pass at a motion and maybe even an unofficial first pass and see it fits here and if we had verbiage along the lines that we are agreeable to 2 signs both of which would read Red Hot & Blue BBQ and then below that Memphis Pit Style and it is going to be in the style along the lines of the banner sign is right now, would that about fit your needs?


Terrance Conlin: That would do it for us.


Member Harrington: As I heard your proposal to perhaps venture with a motion it sounded however that you did not include the second line the actual word BBQ which I understood to be where they were coming from.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I think that we heard that Memphis Pit Style was an agreeable verbiage.


Terrance Conlin: Memphis Pit Style, but as I said I can’t absolutely say. We have to be able to redesign it and maybe the most intelligent thing and I hate doing this because we have to get this done would be to ask for an extension and get back here.


Frank Reaume: Lets just go with this. We will not be redundant with upper and the lower case.


Terrance Conlin: OK with the proposal as said.


Member Harrington: And the size of the lower case or the second level would be not to exceed the dimensions that we already have before us, is that correct?


Frank Reaume: Exactly.


Member Meyer: I just want to go on record that I am going to vote against this because I truly feel that all that is needed here is Red Hot & Blue BBQ and I will approve of the 2 signs, but I think that it takes away from this to have anything in black and white on that building.


Member Harrington: It is not. I didn’t mean to interrupt but I understand that the color will be consistent with Red Hot & Blue BBQ of the lower case as we have referred to it. The Memphis Pit Style will be consistent with the color scheme and the caps above.


Frank Reaume: I thought that we were going to do it as the banner reads down there with the addition of BBQ. The banner reads without the BBQ. There is a sign below in black and white that says Memphis Pit BBQ.


Member Harrington: And you want to maintain that.


Frank Reaume: That was my understanding because we talked about the banner and that is what is on the banner.


Member Meyer: I just want you to know that I think that you have an excellent sign. I just think there is to much to it right at the moment. So, I just wanted to explain my vote so that you would understand where I am coming from and I am only one vote and you have a very good possibility of getting 4 people who would disagree with me and it won’t be the first time.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Don Saven: We need clarification.


Alan Amolsch: We need dimensions of the signs in the motion.


Chairman Reinke: My comment on the discussion of the motion is that I really think that the second line is redundant. I think the Red Hot & Blue BBQ is sufficient and I think that the other part takes away from it and makes it a billboard and we are back to the menu again and I cannot support the motion.


Member Antosiak: I would recommend that the motion with respect for part "C" has a time limit placed on the temporary banner.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: He said 4 weeks from approval.


Terrance Conlin: That would be fine.


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


Chairman Reinke: You have not been approved nor have you been denied. That one didn’t fly.


Chairman Reinke: You have a nice building and you have a nice service there. I think that Red Hot & Blue BBQ identifies your building and gives you the adequate signage and tells what is going on plus it makes a sign that looks less cluttered and looks more aesthetic.


Terrance Conlin: There is a couple of problems. Number one, we have certain rights to the signage size that we are trying to incorporate in here and trying to fit everything in together. I don’t know if the sign would be as aesthetically pleasing if it became disproportional. What we are trying to do is to keep some sort of symmetry in the whole thing. That is something and how do you judge it? I mean we hire professionals who are paid large sums of money to do the chain operations and to show us what we are supposed to do and what our signage is. Now, we will amend that for local government always. But again, we still have the right to what the ordinance permits and I don’t know if by enlarging this sign to fit within what the ordinance permits it is of any benefit and I agree with you that it is an extremely nice looking building. Quite frankly, people have trouble finding that place already. They have trouble seeing it. If they see Red Hot & Blue BBQ but they don’t know what sort of a BBQ and Memphis is a completely different type than what you are going to get in a Detroit BBQ; if you go over to the Bone Yard it is a completely different thing than what you are getting here. We are trying to differentiate our own operation from Bone Yards over on Orchard Lake Road. How do we do that except for explaining that we are a Memphis Pit BBQ? Memphis BBQ is not Michigan BBQ. Memphis BBQ has a brisket, it has pulled pork, it has a pulled chicken, it has a completely different array of menu items that anybody that has ever eaten Memphis food or been down to the southern BBQ realizes. But, if you are somebody here in Detroit that has never traveled to that area and has seen what it is; how do you know what it is? It could be the Bone Yard again. Is this the same as Detroit ribs? We have to differentiate ourselves as to our product and we have a different product than the product that the people are used to seeing in the area. I think for that reason alone we should be able to get the Memphis up there.


Chairman Reinke inquired of Alan Amolsch: If they didn’t have the second sign, what would they be allowed for size?


Alan Amolsch: That would be 65 sq. ft.


Chairman Reinke: And then they could put up whatever they wanted to is that correct?


Alan Amolsch: Within the standards of the Design & Review Committee.


Member Antosiak: It just would not be illuminated.


Alan Amolsch: That is right.


Terrance Conlin: Mr. Chen wanted to add something to this if he could.


Mr. Chen: Thank you. I, as the developer of this project, tried to stay away because this is totally the tenant’s signage but I feel that there is a need for me to give everybody an update of what has happened in the past and why we have come to this point. To make a long story short at a time when this building was presented for the site plan and was under construction and until it is ready and open for business the City of Novi technically did not have the adequate signage ordinance to fit in the business of Main Street; therefore in between how we can get from that point until the correct sign ordinances are in place and how we can get a business still moving and they can open for business I think that is the challenge upon all of us here. The example which happened before which was the Fifth Avenue Ballroom and they came to this place here asking for a variance and that is the reason why they also presented that they need a sign on the front and also a sign on the back. That was due to the reason that the Main Street project and the more attractions that would be coming from the back and they do need a second sign in the back for that reason. So, there is a discussion for the sign ordinance at that time as do we want to include the tenants at a corner occupying the corner of the building be warranted for 2 signs. One in the front, one on the side or one in the front and one in the back; for only corner tenants. At that time the decision and the instruction was given that for the Main Street project itself they would be going by case by case basis. But I think that for this building, the Main Street core building, right in front of the major road of the Main Street should be treated the same as any other building in the City here which they deserve the 2 signs. That was understood and it goes through the Planning and Heidi and also the Planning Commission, which I am stating facts. Therefore, I am hoping that with the verbiage on this portion here instead of Red Hot Blue BBQ then they take out the menu sign which is what you discussed, I think that those are all good comments and then that decision is up to the tenants and then I would hope that we could come up to some kind of conclusion tonight because they have been open for business without a sign for awhile.


Terrance Conlin: During Mr. Chen’s discussion Mr. Reaume and I had a discussion and he informs me that he can have a sign designed that would take away the black and white of the lower case or lower portion of it and put it into the same basic colors and text of the Red Hot & Blue BBQ that could say Memphis Pit Style. I would propose that as a possible solution that would allow us to advertise our unique product and at the same time bring the sign more into conformity with what I have heard from the various Board Members here tonight.


Member Harrington inquired of Don Saven or Alan Amolsch: If I understand the math correctly we have 2 different signs one of which has a total of 42 square feet and the other has a total of 24 square feet, which by my math would give us 66 total square feet of signage for these 2 signs?


Member Antosiak: No the first sign is 56 square feet.


Member Harrington: I am looking at 27 square feet and then 15 square feet which is 42 and then the other sign is a total of 24 square feet all together for 66 square feet of signage?


Member Antosiak: No the sign on the front is 56 square feet;17’6" by 3’2".


Alan Amolsch: Remember how we measure the sign area. We measure from here to here and from the top of the highest case letter down to the bottom of the message. We parallelogram off of the message or draw a circle around it or a triangle around it. That is how we come up with the square footage by the ordinance. It doesn’t matter how much stuff they put in here as long as it doesn’t exceed that envelope of which they are allowed 65 square feet for this zoning district right now.


Member Harrington: And what are they proposing?


Alan Amolsch: That would be 56 square feet.


Member Harrington: Which would be a total of 70 square feet?


Chairman Reinke: With the 2 signs that would be 80 square feet.


Member Harrington: I would react positively to the suggestion by the petitioner. One of my concerns was symmetry and that it look similar and I think that is significant to me. I will explain why I voted against the initial motion made and that concern does not have so much to do with the amount of square footage nor with the second sign; it has to do with a major problem that I have that we are sitting here fixing something that I thought that City Council was going to fix when they approved the TC1 sign package this Board had no input and no one asked our opinion. I don’t think that our opinion matters, but they went ahead and they passed the ordinance that was supposed to fix this and the ink isn’t even dry on the ordinance and here we are fixing it again because of the unique situation of this building. I can handle the challenge and deal with the variance here but I am not comfortable with it. I don’t think that it is proper that 60 days into a new ordinance that we are granting a variance. That is why I voted against it and not necessarily because of your square footage and not necessarily because of the second sign. But we have an ordinance that was supposed to deal with these issues and I don’t know why the ordinance wasn’t adequate to do so and I guess that is our job here tonight.


Moved by Vice-Chairman Brennan,


Seconded by Member Bauer,




Discussion on motion:


Member Meyer: I didn’t hear in the motion that the lettering for the Memphis Pit Style was going to be the same color scheme.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: I said that they would be identical. The same script style.


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (1) Reinke MOTION CARRIED



Case No. 98-092 filed by Bradford of Novi Homeowners Association


Bradford of Novi Homeowners Association is requesting a variance to allow a second entranceway sign 4’8" x 3’3" on the brick wall of the eastern entrance at Nine Mile and Galway Roads, The sign was installed without a permit.


Michael Follmer was present and duly sworn.


Michael Follmer: I first want to apologize to the Board for the fact that as it is stated, we did not come to you first to obtain the variance for the sign. Yet, I want to explain what happened and how we really didn’t realize that we were in any way going against any violation or going against the rules.


Michael Follmer: The sign was originally put up as an island sign by the developer in our subdivision. The sign had to be replaced. We needed the money from the insurance to actually replace and to fix up the sign. Considering the fact that it had been bulldozed twice by cars and trucks and the like; we felt that we would actually come in and bring in a landscape architect and put together a plan and a design that we thought would be aesthetically pleasing. Truthfully we assigned a committee in the neighborhood to approve the design. We approved it as a Board and one of the things that the landscape architect did was to try to develop the signs and put the signs and make them somewhat consistent with the way that they look on the Taft Road entrance where you can see them both north and south. But, on Nine Mile you would be able to see them either east or west and to be able to define and know that it is The Bradford of Novi Subdivision. We went ahead and renovated the island area and replaced it with trees and things of that nature. We took the same exact signs that were bulldozed down and quite frankly we didn’t even renovate them. We cleaned them up a little bit because of the dirt that had gotten on them and we remounted those where the architect had indicated for us to put them; and just happens to be on the brick wall on both sides of our entrance.


Michael Follmer: So I guess, that in a nutshell we really didn’t realize that we were doing anything wrong. We put them up and it is amazing how quickly you find out that you didn’t do something right and we have learned a lot about signs tonight. But, we really didn’t mean to do anything wrong. We have mounted them. I want to let everybody know that we respect the Board, we respect what you do and we know that you are doing it on our behalf to make Novi a great place to live and we all live here so we believe in it.


Michael Follmer: We do think that it is more aesthetically pleasing. I believe that Singh got a variance to put the island sign in so that the sign could be seen from both directions. I think that it is ultimately what should be done. I think that a sign being seen from only one direction wouldn’t be very complete for the entrance. Once we were aware that we were in violation, we ceased all of the activity which wasn’t a whole lot more that we had to do. But the signs are planned to be illuminated with a photo cell that at night you will actually be able to see that it is our subdivision.


Michael Follmer: We are requesting that the Board approve our old sign in a new spot and accept our apology for not coming to you first.




There was no audience participation.




Alan Amolsch had no comment.


Chairman Reinke indicated that there was a total of 18 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.


Member Antosiak: I have always found it curious that that an ordinance that did not allow the island signs initially only allowed one sign on a wall on the entrance to a wall at the entrance to the subdivision when traffic is coming from at least 2 directions. So, I have no problem with the petitioner’s request for a variance.


Vice-Chairman Brennan: It seems as though they have solved the problem.


Member Harrington: Well in terms of solving the problem, how are you going to prevent this new sign from attacking contractors and other trailers?


Michael Follmer: They would have to have a four wheel drive to get these new signs.


Member Meyer: If I understand correctly, there are two signs.


Michael Follmer: That is correct, there was actually always 2 signs. I understand that they were put together in the wall that was built on the island. When the wall was taken down the 2 signs fell apart. One of the members of the Board at the time stored them in his garage and quite frankly at one point we thought that we might have a special assessment and we were looking at potentially completely redoing the Nine Mile entrance. But, we decided that we weren’t really up for the fight in getting everybody together and to agree upon what was going to happen. We pretty much, we believe tastefully with the insurance money fixed the entrance. Pretty much leaving most things intact and the way they were. I think that we added another pear tree and put in some yews. We made it so that is was a little bit more manageable from a landscape upkeep standpoint. We had grass that was tied into the flower bed and things like that; so we have changed some of those things. I would say that probably if you were to poll 90% of the people in the neighborhood that until the lights go on, they probably won’t even notice that there is a change.


Moved by Member Antosiak,


Seconded by Vice-Chairman Brennan,




Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) MOTION CARRIED




Chairman Reinke indicated I have one item. We had established a "by-law committee" consisting of Mr. Harrington, Mr. Antosiak and myself. We have a rough draft available which will be distributed before the next meeting for our concurrence and discussion at the December Meeting.




Meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.











Date Approved_________________ ____________________________________