REGULAR MEETING – ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS – CITY OF NOVI

CIVIC CENTER – 45175 TEN MILE RD.

 

Tuesday – June 1, 1999

 

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

 

ROLL CALL

 

Present: Members Brennan, Bauer, Harrington, Sanghvi,

Meyer (late 7:37 p.m.)

 

Absent Member Reinke

 

Also Present Terrance Morrone – Deputy Building Official

Kelly Schuler – Staff Planner

Alan Amolsch – Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan – Recording Secretary

 

Chairman Brennan indicated the Zoning Board of Appeals is a Hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of the Novi Zoning Ordinance. It takes a vote of at least four (4) Members to approve a variance and a vote of the majority to deny. At this point we have four (4) Members and four (4) positive votes are needed to grant a variance. Any petitioner that wishes to table their case tonight, if you would give us a sign one way or the other, we will put you on the Agenda for next month. At this point in time we only have four (4) but we are expecting Mr. Meyer at any time; but in either case you are going to need four (4) votes of the four (4) or five (5) Members. Does anyone wish to table at this time? (No one came forward.)

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

 

Chairman Brennan inquired are there any changes or modifications to the Agenda? Hearing none, all in favor of the Agendas submitted please say aye. All ayes. Agenda approved as submitted.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Chairman Brennan indicated we have the minutes of the April 6, 1999 Meeting, are there any corrections or changes to the minutes? Hearing none, all in favor please say aye. All ayes. Minutes of April 6, 1999 approved as written.

 

PUBLIC REMARKS

 

Chairman Brennan indicated this is the Public Remarks portion of the Meeting. Any comments related to a specific case on the agenda should be held until that case is called. If anyone wishes to address the Board to any other case or matter that is not on the agenda, please come forward now. (No one wished to be heard at this time.)

 

Case No. 99-024 Santos Building

 

Continuation of case – Larry Santos is proposing to construct a 3115 square foot building on a 0.46 acre site zoned I-1 and is in need of variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Revised variance request dated May 21, 1999 and Original variances request dated March 26, 1999.

 

Larry Santos was present.

 

Larry Santos: Normally I would have asked to be tabled; but we have been here so many times and have been tabled that we may as well go forward.

 

Larry Santos: To keep it short and sweet since this is the third time before you, as you all know. I am trying to build a building on light industrial land on Taft Road. It is the building about the size or smaller than most of the homes that are being built on half acre plots in the City of Novi. The main variance, as you know, that I am asking for is the front parking, although there are some other variances that I need also. But I know that within a half mile of that particular site there are many businesses and light industrial that do have front parking.

 

Larry Santos: In your packet, I believe that you all have the 5 different sketches that Mr. Arroyo presented at the last meeting. Along with my consultants we did analyze them. I think that it is pretty clear from them and without me getting into them of what it all means. They also have my site plan in there.

 

Larry Santos: I am certainly willing to answer any questions that you might want to ask of me about the situation. I think that they are pretty self explanatory. Most anything that you would build on this particular piece of property is going to need some kind of variance or waiver. It becomes a matter of what is a viable building for the plot. I am down to the minimum size that I feel for my business that I could put on the lot. I would ask, I am down to 4 variances, and I would ask that I get those 4 variances.

 

Chairman Brennan: We did re-file this and there were no approvals or objections, 35 Notices were sent to the adjacent property owners.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Building Department had no comment.

 

Kelly Schuler: I have no comment at this point, unless you would have questions.

 

Chairman Brennan: You had met with Mr. Santos, this past month? That was our request from the last meeting, that you get together and try to come up with something that is mutually agreeable.

 

Kelly Schuler: We did not meet in person. However, Mr. Santos did make a reply to the suggestions of the 4 different site plans that Mr. Arroyo had come up with and he indicated that they were not feasible for what he was going to do; so we did not meet any further than that.

 

Victoria Georgeau: I have no comment at this time, I am here representing Birchler, Arroyo and Associates and if you have any questions regarding our most recent memo of May 26th in response the applicant’s comments about our concept sketches we can certainly respond to those at the perfect time.

 

Chairman Brennan: I would also note that the City Attorney’s Office is here; perhaps you are here to watch or observe? Any comments specifically?

 

Dennis Watson: I have no specific comments, the Board has received a variety of materials on this case and if there are any questions concerning them we are available to answer questions.

 

Member Harrington: I have a question of Mr. Santos and then a comment of my own going to the merits of the petition. Mr. Santos, I was the Board Member that wished to clarify the legal status of your position with respect to the property and I did review your offer to purchase and at my request the financial numbers were backed out because I don’t think that is relevant to your petition. But what is not clear to me is are you the owner of the property, do you have a valid option to purchase, what is your standing regarding this property at the present time?

 

Larry Santos: I believe that the paper work that I sent through to you showed that I have a legitimate option on the land, to purchase tonight if I wanted to.

 

Member Harrington: I saw a Purchase Agreement, but I did not see any option language. Is your option contingent upon Board approval?

 

Larry Santos: Yes.

 

Member Harrington: Is there a separate document other than what you sent us that deals with that issue?

 

Larry Santos: In that document it states that there needs to be any variances or special land uses or anything like that; it states in that paperwork. I have it with me if you want me to pull it out, but it is in there.

 

Member Harrington: No, I have read it and I looked at it with some care and concern. You may wish to review that because I am not sure that you are as protected as you might be, but based upon your representation to the Board that you do have standing to pursue this variance I won’t deal with that further; but you ought to have your lawyers look at it because I think that the owner could yank that on you as we speak because the time has expired. Be that as it may…….

 

Larry Santos: No, I got an additional 90 day extension and that was part of the paperwork.

 

Member Harrington: And that 90 days expire when?

 

Larry Santos: It expires in July, I believe.

 

Member Harrington: I didn’t read the numbers that way. Be that as it may.

 

Larry Santos: The original expiration date, I believe, was April 21st and I got an additional 90 days on the top of that.

 

Member Harrington: That was in our packet? I didn’t see it, be that as it may.

 

Member Harrington: My comment is that I feel that this petition is premature. I do not think that it has gone through the proper planning process. We do not have engineering studies. We do not have blue prints. We are being asked to grant variances in the absence of Planning input. It is my belief that Planning input, especially when we are dealing with granting variances is essential to our intelligent evaluation of the variances. My inclination is not to deny the variances, but to table them until we have received from Planning what is essential to our determination. That is my thought. This is backwards. I don’t remember a case in the 10 years or 9 years that I have been on the Board where we have approved a plan and even with Husky we had engineering, scaled drawings and the like; but we are now being asked to approve variances and running the Planning process particularly when there are issues involving lesser incursions in our Ordinance. We have Mr. Arroyo’s firm telling us that there are other ways of doing it. I have a real concern here of whether or not the process is backwards. My inclination as a Board Member is to table this until Mr. Santos has been through Planning and determined that is what he really needs and that is in the best interest of the City. For example, one specific – I went out and walked the property, examined the property and if we grant this variance as proposed and Taft Road is extended his entire front parking area will be adjacent to the road and that is only one. The other concern that I have is that apparently Mr. Mamola is not here tonight and Mr. Seiber is not here tonight and I don’t quite frankly know what to do with comments of an expert nature by someone who is not here and I presume that whoever wrote those comments which point out the inadequacies of the Arroyo studies would stand forward and say "I support that", but we have Mr. Santos, a lay person, here; presenting that information to us and acting as oath sayer for his witnesses and I don’t think that is appropriate and I don’t think that is what the Board should be dealing with conducting an evidentiary hearing of whether or not the Arroyo studies are accurate or the Santos objections are accurate. In fact, we have not had an intelligent assessment by Planning. So, this Board Member feels that I would not vote this down tonight, but it should be tabled until Mr. Santos has gone through the Planning process. That is my thought and my comment.

 

Member Meyer: One of my concerns is that Mr. Santos has looked at the other drawings and has indicated that none of them are compatible with his concept of the size of the building and has a concept in his mind of what the size of this building should be and therefore it seems that there is, from my perspective, little willingness on your part to compromise. Once again, I am just stating my feelings regarding this. It is hard for me to look at these variances knowing that you could possibly re-design this slightly and come up with fewer variances. It just seems, from my perspective, that there is a lack of willingness on your part to be more open minded to how your structure might be. It seems to me that you are very much locked into a certain size that is compatible to your business and apparently no other size will do it for you. I, for one Board Member, feel that I could not approve of these variances without at least some indication on your part that there is a willingness to be more open minded about the size of this building.

 

Larry Santos: Well the size of the building is one thing, but in terms of the variances I believe that we have eliminated 3 or 4 variances by making changes in the plan by eliminating a parking space, by changing the front so that we now have 4’ of green space. There are 3 or 4 variances that we have taken off; we have addresses the problem.

 

Member Meyer: I do believe that you had 8 variances, or whatever.

 

Larry Santos: Seven or 8 and we have gotten them down to 4 variances. In terms of whether I am presenting something to this Board as a lay person, I have copies of the Arroyo sketches with Cliff Seiber’s handwriting on the back and we can verify his handwriting if you would like. But I am not presenting this and saying that these are my ideas. I certainly know that these are true. But I am not, as a lay person, trying to do this. These are my consultants; just as the City of Novi has consultants, I have consultants also and it is in his handwriting if you would like to look at them and see that I have not changed what he had to say on the back of these drawings.

 

Larry Santos: I think that we have tried. I haven’t met with the Planning Department as Kelly has said, because we were presented at the last minute with these plans at the last meeting. I do need a certain size for my building but as far as being flexible we certainly have tried to take the number of variances down.

 

Member Meyer: It seems that a month ago I could understand this, but you have a month in which to have this dialogue and there has been no dialogue.

 

Larry Santos: What dialogue can I have?

 

Member Meyer: Talk to Planning Department, talk to the people there. In other words, it seems like there is certain pieces of this that have not been taken care of yet.

 

Larry Santos: I am sorry to disagree with you. I don’t think that is true at all.

 

Chairman Brennan: My comment would be more along the lines of Jim’s. This has been kind of a backdoor approach for getting a building to your needs. Maybe the lot is just to small to do what you want to do. I would have preferred that there had been a better dialogue with the Planning Department and that is what I recommended last month. Short of a phone call, it didn’t happen. I think that right now you get a feel for where at least 3 Members are and you have a couple of options. We can vote or you can take Mr. Harrington’s recommendation and try through Planning.

 

Member Harrington: I want to make clear my position. I am not coming from the position that Mr. Santos has not engaged in constructive settlement negotiations with the Building Department. My position is that he has not gone through the Planning process. He has not submitted blue prints, he has not submitted wetlands, he has not submitted topographical surveys or whatever it is that Planning does over there, which I don’t want to know what they do, but this is the only case that I have seen in 9 years where you haven’t gone through Planning and Planning has recommended approval of the project subject to a requirement of this variance and this variance and this variance. What we have seen is that Mr. Santos because he has a problem and he needs to relocate and he has a parcel that he wants to build on, he has come directly to us and I admire his A to B mentality as he has gone right to where he has to go ultimately; but he hasn’t gone through Planning first. I don’t know why he should not be required to do that particularly when there are issues as to the best use of this property? What is the minimum incursion on the variance? So I am not coming from the position that Larry didn’t go and talk to Planning and settle something. I am saying that Mr. Santos should go through Planning like every other commercial project in the City has to do. That is where I am at.

 

Larry Santos: I have done that. I have gone through Planning. I have gone through wetlands. I have gone through JCK. I have gone through the Fire Marshall. I have gone to all of the consultants. I presented the plan. Basically the Planning Department, when they come in with 5 drawings such as this and I certainly understand that what they are trying to do is present that other buildings can be built besides my building. I don’t deny that. With variances, with waivers other buildings can be built. A 1200 square foot or a 1300 square foot building on that lot is not only economically infeasible, I believe, for my building but it is not the sized building that I would like to build. It is a half acre plot. It is a legal plot. Like I said, they are building homes bigger than this on half acre plots. As far as the 27 foot that Taft Road might in the future become, that is not now and I don’t think that you can or should dictate whether I get variances based on that 27 foot rule. You can’t take that land from me at this point, until the road is ready to be built. It is not that I haven’t gone through the Planning Department. Every time that they have come out with something I have reacted to it. I have taken it to my consultants. Basically they are just trying to show that other buildings can be built and we know that.

 

Member Harrington: That is almost enough to command the Board to reject it, if you can build a building that does require the variances; the difficulty is that it doesn’t meet your particular needs. But I don’t want to force that issue. I want to leave you the option of going through Planning. I have not seen blue prints. I have not seen engineering studies, site plans and the like. I have not seen what we always see when we have a recommendation from Planning subject to these variances that our Board has to deal with. It seems to me that we are in the unusual position of being a quasi Planning Board here in approving your variances. If we granted the variances, Mr. Santos, you might get lucky and you might be able to put your building up but you might not be able to put that building up because there are other ordinance issues out there that you don’t even know about. I don’t think that is fair to you and I don’t think it is fair to the City to create that potential liability.

 

Larry Santos: I am not aware of any other things that we haven’t already touched on.

 

Member Harrington: Well, there is a real issue of whether you need 4 variances or not. That is the real issue, do you need 4 or 7 or 9. That is an outstanding issue as to how many you need. What happened to the fašade issue?

 

Larry Santos: Well the fašade we more or less passed that over because we were so concerned about the other things.

 

Member Harrington: We didn’t pass it over.

 

Larry Santos: I didn’t pass it over, it never got addressed. I mean fašade is a minor part of it at this point. If you are saying to me "look we can give you the variances, Mr. Santos, but you have to do the fašade based on the current fašade ordinance". Fine. That is not my problem and you know that Mr. Harrington. The problem is the variances. As far as topographical the whole land has been surveyed, twice. I don’t know where you haven’t seen those drawings. I’ve got topographical drawings and wetland drawings and everything else.

 

Member Harrington: The problem, Mr. Santos, is that you have made a concession on the record under oath that you can build a building there which will not meet your needs; but you can build a building within ordinance and within code which should command a rejection of your variance request by this Board. But I would like to see you have the opportunity to go through the regular Planning process with your submission of blue prints, architectural drawings, wetland, engineering surveys and whatever every other business person has to do here in Novi and I would like to see you have that opportunity to come back to us and if all you need at the end of that process is that we will deal with it. My sense is that it is premature.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Sanghvi,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-024 TO TABLE WITHOUT DATE, UNTIL RESUBMITTED BY THE PETITIONER THE PACKAGE OF VARIANCE REQUESTS SUBJECT TO HIS PROCEEDING THROUGH THE REGULAR PLANNING PROCESS.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Chairman Brennan: Well, we have sent you back to the Planning Department, sir.

 

Larry Santos: Well, I was hoping to get a vote, gentlemen. But obviously you want to just keep putting it off. But in your infinite wisdom I must step back.

 

Case No. 99-030 filed by Daniel Sommer

 

Continuation of case filed by Daniel Sommer requesting a variance to construct a 60’ x 120’ pole barn which is larger in size than the ordinance allows for property located at 28375 Summit Dr.

 

Daniel Sommer and David Snyder were present.

 

David Snyder: When we adjourned last month, the purpose was to afford the Board the opportunity to look at my client’s property and to consider possible locations. If I may I would like to point some things out. When we were here last month we showed you this rendering and we showed you this property with the existing home, the driveway here and the building here.

 

Member Harrington: An actual driveway or one that is to be built?

 

David Snyder: Proposed. Right now this is grass. There was also talk about landscaping and what have you. We went and took a long hard look at the property and for those of you who have been there let me show you this diagram.

 

David Snyder: The area in question and here is Summit Avenue at the bottom of the drawing here. Here, of course, is the existing house and the existing driveway. The land slopes downward from the house and the area is surrounded by heavy trees and foliage in the entire rear and corner of the property. Rather than proceed in the area that was suggested, last month; when the Board asked us to stake out some possible locations we did do that. The locations are taking advantage of the natural foliage that is there and leaving it there untouched. Our suggested location is right here.

 

David Snyder: I am going to have Dan Sommer explain to you the nature of the foliage and the suggested area here.

 

Dan Sommer: There were stakes put into the backyard. But they were put in this area here and I guess that I should have submitted a sketch, but I thought that if anybody went back there that they could see it; but now that I look it is kind of downward. It was staked out for 60 x 40 for the 2500 square feet, the 5000 and the 7200 square feet all in this area here. Also in doing this I also noticed that it would fit this way, and I divided it up and also over here in this area it would fit without very little tree removal.

 

Dan Sommer: This woods here, I counted the number of trees and in a 20 foot square there is approximately 14 trees ranging from 1 inch in diameter up to 6 or 8 inches in diameter and they range in height from 30 to 50 feet. From this area here which is probably the low spot, it again climbs up a hill and at the neighbors house I would estimate it to be about 20 feet. I talked to Linda Lemke, landscaping, and I sent her a picture of my land and I asked for her suggestions. She suggested that in this area here there shouldn’t be any problem as there are plenty of trees and incidentally the distance between this building and my property line is approximately 150 feet and from my property line to his house is approximately another 100 feet. Of course, his garage faces my property where the front of the house faces towards his front yard. In talking with Linda Lemke, she suggested that the only real problem that she saw is that there is a small gap over here 12 to 15 feet and she suggested putting a couple of 7 foot pine trees in that area if the building was located there; approximately 20 foot on center. Of course, 2 wouldn’t fit being 20 foot on center; so one should do it being a 12’ space and then if 2 are needed I would of course put 2 in.

 

Dan Sommer: I talked to Mr. Saven at the Building Department with regards to side setbacks, rear setbacks and I explained to him what I was doing and he said that I should have a 6’ setback up to 14’ and if the building is over 14’ then you need a one to one ratio. I planned it to be 25’, which is more than is required and other than that he said that he didn’t see any problems with it.

 

David Snyder: That is basically it, gentlemen, in supplementing what we presented to you last month. I would like to just make a couple other comments.

 

David Snyder: They are that: we propose to use with the surrounding trees here; this proposed building would all but be invisible from outside of the property. All of these trees that we were thinking last month of removing, that has been scratched and we are planning on, subject to your approval of course, bringing the building over here where it is now open and this would be completely surrounded by what is not a natural heavy dense growth of trees which all but obscure the proposed building. The building is at the bottom of a ravine. There would be an access way along here to access the property at the rear going down the hill.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Cass Cook: I objected to the size of the building the last time and I still object to the size. I think that the 2700 foot should be adequate for that area. If it is any larger than that it is probably going to cover the whole rear of his property and I am affected by it because the front of my house goes along the rear of his so I would see his building when I drive in or out; assuming that there is going to be a building there. Some of the other neighbors have pole barns but they are behind pine trees or something. I know that they are there, I just can’t see them and it doesn’t affect my property values at all.

 

Member Harrington: What is your address?

 

Cass Cook: The address is 28645 Summit Ct.

 

Member Harrington: I would assume that this is your driveway that goes by this property? It is not a public roadway?

 

Cass Cook: No, it is my driveway.

 

Member Harrington: If I were to make arrangements with you in advance, if we were to table this matter; not that we will, but if we were; could I get hold of you to make arrangements to use your driveway to see what this looks like. The reason for my inquiry is that I made 2 separate tours of that area today to attempt to see the location of the proposed pole barn and I was under the mis-impression that there was a roadway going out there and there wasn’t – it is proposed. I am not about to go walking around a neighbors backyard looking for pole barns in all of the right or the wrong places. I would like to see the nature of your objection to that pole barn. So that is why I am asking who you are and what your address is. Thank you.

 

Member Harrington: Gentlemen, do I correctly understand that the location that you are proposing tonight is a new location from the location that was presented at the last meeting?

 

Daniel Sommer: Yes, because of the trees. There is heavy tree cover, which was there. We proposed to bring it out of the tree cover and more to the open area. This is house up here and this the driveway that we are talking about. The only gap that is in there is the 12’ gap here between this woods starting and this woods ending with these pine trees here. That area is what I showed to Linda Lemke. This is the 12’ space and what can I do to make it acceptable if the building is at the closest spot which is still 50’ from here and 23’ from the edge of his driveway, and that is where she suggested that we put in the 7’ pine tree, 20‘ on center. If you only fault of 15’ in there a couple of pine trees would satisfy what she would describe.

 

Member Harrington: You are opting for A, B or C on your drawing?

 

Daniel Sommer: I don’t really care.

 

Member Harrington: We do, which one would you be asking for?

 

Daniel Sommer: Anyone of the above.

 

Member Harrington: Do you have all 3 staked?

 

Daniel Sommer: I only have B staked out.

 

Member Harrington: So if we were to select A or C that would be satisfactory to you. But A and C are not staked?

 

Daniel Sommer: Right A and C are not staked.

 

Member Harrington: The proposed drive almost looks like an area that had some tire tracks in it, but not a roadway. Has someone driven through there?

 

Daniel Sommer: I had a septic field put in a year ago, they couldn’t get the trucks back there so they dumped the stone in the road and they used the bobcats to get back there and that is still partially there.

 

Member Harrington: That would be a good footpath to use to find locations A, B or C?

 

Daniel Sommer: Yes.

 

Member Harrington: Thank you.

 

Daniel Sommer: In choosing A, B and C may I say that I kind of wanted to talk to a builder in regards to that this is a little low in here and this is a little high in here and how much work is this going to be?

 

Member Harrington: So you might need some more information before you start digging?

 

Daniel Sommer: If you can approve B, I will stick with B and make it work.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: One question that I have; what is this?

 

Daniel Sommer: This is the neighbors’ pole barn. This is the existing north barn, I call it north because he is the neighbor to the north. This is the existing south barn, that the neighbor has to the south.

 

Chairman Brennan: About what size?

 

Daniel Sommer: 2500 or so, one is a little bigger; he had to get a variance to put it in.

 

Terry Morrone: It is not quite clear if that is a regulated woodland area there at the corner of your lot.

 

Daniel Sommer: In talking to Mr. Saven, he had no objection to that and he didn’t comment that something couldn’t be done.

 

Terry Morrone: Can you point out your lot?

 

Daniel Sommer: Let me get the plot of the neighborhood and I will show you exactly where it is.

 

Kelly Schuler: The information that Mr. Sommer is referring to, the information that Linda Lemke has provided, is in your packet and Linda said that she did prefer plan B and that would have the most screening and coverage to the neighbor and would provide a good buffer. That information is in your packet.

 

Daniel Sommer: I am number 7.013, it is 252 across there. The second lot down.

 

Terry Morrone: OK, it is just in the corner where your plan shows.

 

Daniel Sommer: Which is of 652 across there, that is approximately 30 or 40 feet and on my sketch I had 100 and some feet. We shouldn’t even be close to that.

 

Chairman Brennan: I as well drove up to the site, drove up the driveway and was reluctant to walk around the backyard without notifying anybody. Nobody was home. I never saw anything. So I am at the same position that I was last month, without knowing where it is at. I am looking at strictly a variance request that is 3 times what is allowed. I have some real difficulties with that. I still have a problem with your neighbor, the neighbor still isn’t satisfied. I don’t know if he has looked at the 3 different options and whether you have communicated and showed him those 3 different options; 2 of which get it a lot farther away from his driveway. Did you see all of the options, sir?

 

Cass Cook: No, I didn’t.

 

Daniel Sommer: He saw the first option which is location C is; and I would be willing to accept that if that is what the Board would decide will work. Location C has the most tree coverage. Linda Lemke said that B was acceptable.

 

Member Harrington: Well acceptable for Planning, but the variance test is a different one. Which is like hardship and stuff.

 

Member Harrington: Here is my thought and I know that there is some time urgency here. But I also have a sense and I could be inaccurate, but I have a sense that the petitioner is going to have a difficult case in getting 4 affirmative votes on this one. We also have 2 alternate drawing which have not been staked out. Fortunately I didn’t go there and learn that there were 2 that weren’t staked. If you can bear with us for another month I still want to inspect your property. Do you have any large dogs?

 

Daniel Sommer: The only dog that we have is Cass’ which runs loose sometimes.

 

Member Harrington: The reason that this is a difficulty in this case is that this is a very heavily wooded area and also hilly and it is impossible to see up to the house from the roadway much less beyond. When I drove up the driveway it looked suspiciously like one of the driveways where you were going to get your leg bit if you stepped out of the car. Do we need to make an appointment to go out there and inspect that between now and the next meeting?

 

Daniel Sommer: Not with me.

 

Member Meyer: I went there today and there was no one there and I felt very….I walked down to see these stakes but I felt that I was walking on someone’s private property and I really don’t like doing this and I wished that maybe you would have painted them white. I did go to the site today and it would really be nice if the next time that I go to your site that I know you are home or somebody is home is so that I don’t’ feel like I am walking on someone’s private property. I personally am here to tell you that I think that you do have enough trees and everything that it appears that with at least 2 of the 3 of these designs, I could approve this because I truly believe that the barn would be blocked. What I am necessarily am not comfortable right now is the 3 times the ordinance in size. I made my effort today and I am so grateful about the fact that there were no dogs to greet me there. I had to admit that I felt that I had a responsibility to check it out today; so I did walk down the hill and check out the stakes and it looked like it was reasonable.

 

Daniel Sommer: They were hard to see if you didn’t walk down there. Correct?

 

Member Meyer: Exactly, and I had no idea of how you were going to drive in there either so that is another point.

 

Member Harrington: The actual staking that you had, was that option A or B?

 

Daniel Sommer: It was option B.

 

Member Harrington: The actual staking that we had suggested last month was that you stake in the first instance what ordinance permits and the second instance of what you are looking for…..

 

Daniel Sommer: I did that.

 

Member Harrington: So we are going to see 2 rectangles.

 

Daniel Sommer: You are going to actually see 3. You are going to see the 2500, the 5000 and the 7200. Did you see that when you were out there?

 

Member Meyer: That would have been really helpful if you would have had a little rope or whatever, I thought that I was a right angle building.

 

Daniel Sommer: I have a question. How do we go about making an appointment? You said that you would like me to be there.

 

Member Harrington: No, I just want to make sure that it is OK to go there. I don’t like to wander in neighbors’ backyards in this or any other community.

 

Daniel Sommer: I live by myself.

 

Member Harrington: On most variances we can see them from the roadway, we can pull into the driveway or whatever. But, when it comes to walking footpaths in wooded areas, I think that prudence suggests that we not do that without permission.

 

Daniel Sommer: I have a neighbor to the north of me that would like to make a comment.

 

Pat Pierson: I live at 28477 Summit Dr. I am directly north of Dan’s house. I am usually home during the day, if you would like to stop by I would be more than happy to escort you to the backyard.

 

Member Harrington: Are you the owner of the north barn?

 

Pat Pierson: Yes, I am.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Sanghvi,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-030 THAT WE TABLE THE CASE TO THE NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETING WHICH WOULD BE CASE NUMBER 1 ON THE JULY AGENDA; TO PERMIT US THE OPPORTUNITY TO INSPECT OPTIONS A, B AND C AND THERE MAY EVEN BE AN ISSUE WITH NOTICE AND POSTING SEEING THAT IT WAS NOT SUBMITTED EARLIER BUT NOW THE PUBLIC WILL BE ADVISED THAT A, B OR C MAY BE CONSIDERED BY THE BOARD. SPECIFICALLY IT WILL BE STAKED WHAT ORDINANACE PERMITS ON EACH OF THE SITES AND THEN THE 5000 AND THE 7200 SQUARE FOOT POSSIBLY WITH DIFFERENT COLORED STRING OR HOWEVER BUT RECOGNIZE THAT WE WANT TO SEE WHAT THERE IS TO SEE AND THEN GET OUT; SO MAKE IT EASY FOR US.

 

Daniel Sommer: Can we do this in envelope of time? When I start to cut the grass, it is kind of an impossible task to lay it all out and then cut the grass.

 

Member Harrington: When is the July Meeting?

 

Nancy McKernan: The July Meeting is on the 6th, the packets go out to the Board Members on June 25th.

 

Member Harrington: In all probability I would look at it the day before or the day of the Meeting, but we don’t have to go into that. So if you cut your lawn 3 or 4 days in advance over the July 4th weekend, there should be no problems.

 

Member Meyer: I would be of the same opinion. I usually try to do this within 24 hours of the meeting.

 

Chairman Brennan: I would like to make a comment, would you please get a hold of Mr. Cook, I would like you to try to satisfy his concerns and if it is location that he isn’t aware of; but, please talk to him. I would like him to come back nodding yes, instead of being upset.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Case No. 99-028 filed by Albert Allen

 

Albert Allen is seeking a variance to move an existing home from another city into the City of Novi and to construct a garage. By RESOLUTION adopted by City Council on February 11, 1980, a Board of Appeals hearing is mandatory for each house move from an outside location into the City. Additionally, he is in need of a 19 foot rear yard setback variance, a 2 foot front yard setback variance and a 14 foot side yard setback variance. The home is to be located on lots 21 and 22 on Paramount. Sidwell No. 5022-02-377-001.

 

Albert Allen was present and duly sworn.

 

Albert Allen: I am looking for the variances on the side yard, the back yard and the front yard.

 

Chairman Brennan: Apparently you have a manufactured home somewhere else and you want to move it onto these lots?

 

Albert Allen: That is right.

 

Member Harrington: How come?

 

Albert Allen: I don’t want to live in a trailer park. I have been in Novi for 19 years and moved out and now I want to move back in.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 46 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written responses received, both voicing approval. Copies in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Mr. & Mrs. Jack Consiglio, 1603 East Lake Dr. This is our first Board Meeting. We recently purchased a home on East Lake Drive which is just in front of the property that Mr. Allen has proposed to purchase. We are concerned with the rear setback being 16’, with a variance of 19’ he would be right on the top of my house. There is a 10’ easement back there that belongs to myself and the neighbor just south of us. This is the main drive to my garage. I have a problem with this as you would be right on top of me.

 

Chairman Brennan: So the issue is the setback from the property line to the garage.

 

Mr. Consiglio: The only one that I am concerned about is the rear setback being 16’ as he is looking for a variance of 19’.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: The home was inspected by our staff out on site. I understand that it is in very good to excellent quality condition.

 

Chairman Brennan: Where is this home right now?

 

Albert Allen: Child Lake Estates, Old Plank Road.

 

Chairman Brennan: Is that in Milford?

 

Albert Allen: Yes.

 

Member Harrington: Do you have some pictures? Color photos as it exists? Do you own the site?

 

Albert Allen: No.

 

Member Harrington: What is your legal status? Is this a piece of property that you are thinking about buying?

 

Albert Allen: Yes.

 

Member Harrington: Do you have a purchase option on the property?

 

Albert Allen: A verbal.

 

Chairman Brennan: I would assume that the garage request is a new construction?

 

Albert Allen: Yes.

 

Member Harrington: You have shown me what looks like a brochure drawing, a pen and ink black and white of the existing home, but you don’t have any actual photographs of it as it exists?

 

Albert Allen: No.

 

Member Harrington: How old is the home?

 

Albert Allen: Four years.

 

Member Harrington: The parcel that you would like to move it to that you have the verbal on, is there any reason that you could not build a stick built house there?

 

Albert Allen: No, not that I know of; it would have to be an awful small one.

 

Member Harrington: To meet code.

 

Albert Allen: There are 2 front yards there.

 

Member Harrington: Have you worked through who is going to move it and the cost, etc?

 

Albert Allen: Yes, sir.

 

Member Harrington: Who is going to do it?

 

Albert Allen: M & M is going to move it.

 

Chairman Brennan: I only have a problems with the issue that the neighbor has raised. This is new construction with respect to the garage and I am always sensitive to a neighbors’ concern and I think that we need to address the garage issue in order to not be a burden with the new construction on your neighbors. I don’t have any real problems with the whole issue of moving this house; it has been inspected and it looks like a nice house. I don’t have any real issues with the setbacks other than this garage issue. Could you potentially move this home first and work on some designs on the garage and try to do it some other way. This is a proposed 2 car garage?

 

Albert Allen: Yes. I could probably push the garage closer to Paramount.

 

Chairman Brennan: You still have the 16’ problem. Will you show me your home on this plot?

(Mr. Consiglio came up to show his home on the plot.)

 

Chairman Brennan: Looking at the plot plan the rear of the garage will be 16’ and that is the contention of the neighbors.

 

Chairman Brennan: Again, it is my feeling that I can agree to some relief on the nature of the move and some of the setbacks; but I am going to have a problem with approving a variance on the garage.

 

Member Harrington: My comment is that I cannot think of a hardship that is more self created than moving a piece of realty that you already own onto something that you have a verbal. Number one he doesn’t have standing as he doesn’t own it and doesn’t have an option. But set that aside. Number two is that there is no demonstration that a house cannot be built here. This is the north end; I have a vision of pre-manufactured houses being used and trucked into the north end and I shutter given the cases that we have approved. Number three is that I don’t hear what the hardship is. I am not hung up on the garage, I think that the sense of the Board as we are throughout Novi is to improve the community as a whole and what is the hardship here other than he owns a pre-manufactured home that he wants to bring into our City. Well, I think that a lot of people would like to do that. But, this property if he buys it or gets an option on it he can build a house within code or with minimal variances.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-028 TO DENY THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED FOR INSUFFICIENT HARDSHIP.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Case No. 99-032 filed by Metro Detroit Sign, representing Break Time Billiards Bar & Grill

 

Metro Detroit Sign, representing Break Time Billiards Bar & Grill is requesting a 20’ x 8’ (160 sq. ft.) wall sign to be placed on the front of the building at 30850 Beck Rd., in the Beck Village Plaza. A variance of 120 sq. ft. is needed.

 

John Dedders was present and duly sworn.

 

John Dedders: I am president and owner of Metro Detroit Sign. Break Time Billiards Bar & Grill is requesting approval of a 160 square foot sign on the left side of the Beck Plaza property. The owner has taken almost or a little bit more than half of that frontage; actually 193 feet of frontage. As I count the doors of what would have been the available business openings or places there are at least 6 businesses that would have been eligible for 40 square feet of signage for 240 square feet. He is asking for one sign far to the left of the property with 160 square feet. His reason for doing that is that since he has taken the whole property really we wind up with more signage than would have been had that particular company not been there. Secondly they are situated 335’ from the center of the road so there is quite a setback and for that reason we are asking for this variance.

 

John Dedders: Although it is a part of the overall strip mall or whatever you would like to call it, the strip center; you could almost without stretching the definition to much treat this as a stand alone building in which case the rules and regulations are somewhat different. I think this is a legitimate request here. This is the only sign that he will have on the building that he is requesting. I think it is a very attractive sign and although it is not within the letter of the ordinance I think it certainly is given the size of the property within the spirit of the ordinance.

 

Chairman Brennan: Was there a mock up put for this sign?

 

John Dedders: Yes, there was.

 

Chairman Brennan: When did that go up?

 

John Dedders: May 28, 1999.

 

Nancy McKernan: He never called to tell us that it was going up.

 

Chairman Brennan: That is what we were waiting for, I never saw the sign or the mock up.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 6 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: You were aware that you were to put this mock up on the building and to let us know it was there?

 

John Dedders: Oh yes, I understand Novi’s requirements for this. We have done this in other instances also for other customers.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: You didn’t notify us.

 

John Dedders: I don’t know what the requirements are to be honest. I do know that we were asked to put one up and we did on May 28th.

 

Chairman Brennan: I have a problem, I didn’t see the sign. We have 4 who didn’t see it and I don’t think that you want us to vote on this tonight because we haven’t seen the sign.

 

Member Harrington: Your rendering or mock up, as we would refer to it, did you have both what ordinance would permit if we held you to the strict letter and your wish list of the sized sign that you would like to have?

 

John Dedders: The mock up is only as we are requesting.

 

Member Harrington: Here is what is really important and I thought that we had made that explicit in our rules and procedures and the like; we want to see a compare and contrast between what ordinance would permit in the first instance so that we can make a determination on a visceral or gut level basis – is there a hardship here or should the petitioner be held to the ordinance and number two, what is it that you want? What is the minimum that you have to have, otherwise it is an undue hardship. I think that the Board really wants to see both because sometimes there is even a compromise factor that sets in but if we don’t know what ordinance permits then we are probably just going to hold you to ordinance.

 

John Dedders: I can understand.

 

Member Harrington: Now when is your business opening?

 

John Dedders: I really don’t know.

 

Member Harrington: So, there is no time frame? What is your deadline? When do you have to have the sign in?

 

John Dedders: I don’t know what it is to be honest.

 

Chairman Brennan: Does the mock up look like this?

 

John Dedders: It is real close, except the top portion at Break Time it is square on the mock up, but it is the same square footage.

 

Chairman Brennan: I would propose that we put this off for a month. I don’t think that we have any other option. None of us have seen the sign. Can you come back?

 

John Dedders: Oh sure. I apologize that someone wasn’t aware of the rules as to notification.

 

Chairman Brennan: This is a request that is 3 times what ordinance allows and I have to see it. It might just look perfect at 300 feet from the roadway, but until I see it I won’t vote on it.

 

Chairman Brennan: All those in favor of continuing this case at the next meeting, please say aye.

All ayes. Case will be continued at the July 6, 1999 Meeting.

 

Member Meyer: Does he know that he has to call Nancy?

 

Chairman Brennan: It is already up.

 

Member Harrington: We want to compare and contrast. We want to see both. One of the reasons that the question was asked of when do we want these renderings up, a lot of times they are of temporary nature and may even be cardboard or something so certainly within the week before the meeting. If they are 2 weeks before the meeting, especially in the winter, they can be blown away with snow, ice and rain and stuff. Within the week before the meeting, that is when the Board Members get our packet and we look at our stuff and we plan our agenda to go out and inspect the various things out there.

 

John Dedders: Just to make sure that I understand, you want the smaller mock up right beside it?

 

Member Harrington: We want to see the one that ordinance permits. That will be the first one that we look at. That is the size that ordinance permits and the second is what you want.

 

John Dedders: Right beside it?

 

Member Harrington: Sure, side by side.

 

Case No. 99-033 filed by FCA Construction, representing Lifetime Fitness

 

FCA Construction, representing Lifetime Fitness, is requesting a 146.75 sq. ft. variance to allow for the placement of a 21’4" x 10’ (213.25 sq. ft.) wall sign to be placed at 21825 Haggerty Road.

 

Malek Eljizi was present and duly sworn.

 

Malek Eljizi: About a month and a half ago I applied for a sign permit and I knew of the City ordinance of 40 square feet; however, Mr. Amolsch and myself discussed it and we were looking for 213.25 square feet. Our building is setback from Haggerty Road south of Nine Mile and we are about 1200 to 1300 feet from Haggerty Road so we did not believe that with 40 square feet anybody could see the sign or read the sign. Mr. Alan requested that we put up a mock up which took us about 3 weeks to get it up and we did that about 7 days ago. Our sign is actually a mock up of what it is exactly going to look like, so it is not just a piece of plywood – the name Lifetime Fitness and the colors as shown.

 

Malek Eljizi: Our address is no longer Haggerty Road, just for the record. It has been changed to 40000 Highpointe Blvd.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 45 Notices sent to adjacent property owners, there was no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch: Just to clarify, the ordinance would allow a 66 square foot wall sign and not a 40 square foot.

 

Member Sanghvi: I went there and it was hard to see with the trees right in front. The sign will hardly be visible when the trees mature and get nice and big.

 

Chairman Brennan: I concur, I was told that the mock up was there and you had to drive down the road in order to see it; I think that you can see that sign from Redford. That sign is huge. I can’t imagine any evidence that you can give me that you would need a sign of that size. In fact because you are so far off, it would even make more sense to have something out on Haggerty. Not to suggest a second sign, but I do not support a sign of that size. We have taken a lot of heat for signage on Haggerty Road and I am not going to make a second mistake.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: Are you putting another sign up on Haggerty Road?

 

Malek Eljizi: No, that is the only sign that we propose.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: That sign is going to have to be smaller. Are those trees coming down?

 

Malek Eljizi: Those trees are not ours, they are not on our property.

 

Member Sanghvi: You won’t be visible at all, if those trees are there.

 

Malek Eljizi: Mark Churella owns that particular property, we have had discussion about those trees and he is checking into it.

 

Member Meyer: So your purpose in having the large sign is so that people will see it from Haggerty, am I correct?

 

Malek Eljizi: No, not really because all of our buildings that we have built that is the sign that we always put up; it is exactly the same size. We did not enlarge the sign as originally planned, it has always been that size.

 

Member Harrington: Let me preface my comments with a disclosure under Novi’s aggressive truth in government standards. My wife surprised me and our family with a membership to Lifetime Fitness, which I disclose, which I don’t believe particularly affects my opinion because I don’t like that sign. Having said that I don’t like the sign, let me ask a couple of questions. Is the main entrance to Lifetime Fitness going to be from Haggerty Road or from the Orchard Hills Place area?

 

Malek Eljizi: No from Haggerty Road.

 

Member Harrington: Is there going to be a traffic light there?

 

Malek Eljizi: There will be a traffic light, and I believe that Mark Churella is working on it.

 

Member Harrington: There had better be a traffic light there or you guys are going to go bankrupt.

 

Malek Eljizi: We realize that.

 

Member Harrington: It took me 10 minutes to get out of there today, making a right turn; not even a left turn.

 

Member Harrington: Number two, what is your complete sign package? There probably are signs that you are permitted by ordinance, which you don’t need a variance for; but in order for us to give you a variance on a sign I need to know what your complete sign package is that is permitted. Do you have a right or an entitlement to a Haggerty Road sign?

 

Malek Eljizi: My office as well as Lifetime Fitness has not even considered putting a sign on Haggerty Road.

 

Member Harrington: Is it your understanding that you have a right to such a sign without a variance?

 

Malek Eljizi: Yes, I do know that. However, that is not something that we have approached with that idea yet. We were hoping that this sign would be sufficient.

 

Member Harrington: We have seen a scenario where we will get the variance first and then we will surprise them with all of the signs that we are entitled to; and I am sensitive to that especially since when I drove in I couldn’t see the sign through the trees. Part of the problem that you have with visibility is the fact that you can’t see through trees. Is there a particular reason why that Lifetime Fitness sign is on the right side of the building as you drive in rather than the left? The left is visible from Haggerty Road and would not require…..

 

Malek Eljizi: There is definitely a reason why it is on the right and not on the left. The left hand side of the building which is the south end of the property or the building, there is not enough wall to put the sign. The wall that you notice as you drove in, you have glass and then block and then glass. The block wall there is about 9 feet in width. So it is really not wide enough to put Lifetime Fitness on there.

 

Member Harrington: But, you could put it on if it met ordinance, and there wouldn’t be any trees in the way.

 

Malek Eljizi: To go back to the trees, Mark Churella and I, last week as well as this morning did talk about the trees. Mark does realize that we have a problem with the trees and he assures me that the trees will go down because there is a building that will be going there in the future. But that is up to him and not up to us.

 

Member Harrington: The trees are coming down, but a building is going up?

 

Malek Eljizi: There will be a parking lot where those trees are, if I am not mistaken.

 

Member Harrington: What is your drop dead date on these signs and when do you have to have them in because of the grand opening?

 

Malek Eljizi: Our grand opening, we are shooting for sometime in July or early August.

 

Member Sanghvi: Just a question or a suggestion. You would be better off having that sign on the other side of the building and a smaller one that is visible, rather than huge one that nobody can see.

 

Malek Eljizi: I understand concern, however, even if we put on the side that you suggest it is probably going to be too small for people to see it from the street. You have to realize that we are 1200 or 1300 feet back from Haggerty Road. You cannot read the sign if it is going to be 66 square feet.

 

Member Harrington: I assume that you have driven Haggerty Road many times and you have seen what I would call ground signs associated with the HighPointe Shopping Center and one which is very attractive which has what I would regard as conservative identification of the businesses and the other of which is hideous and I wish that we could vote on that whole package again; but both of which appear to be reasonable as street signs because they identify the place. If you have a right under code to a street sign identifying your business in a 24 or 30 or 40 square foot configuration, why do you need this huge sign on your building that we can see from Haggerty Road?

 

Malek Eljizi: Again, that is all our buildings. This is the same size. Our building is a prototype building and this is typically what we use. That is why we are going through this. The sign right now if you look at it, it is a little bit bigger than what it really would be because we have the white on the banner. We had the sign made a little wider to accommodate the nails on the block wall.

 

Member Harrington: It is huge. It is 400% of ordinance. It is huge.

 

Malek Eljizi: It is 213 square feet. If I may make a comment; the Lifetime Fitness sign itself is 170 square feet. But St. Joe Hospital will have a space in our facility and we need to make this a little bigger to accommodate St. Joes and this sign is based upon the 213 square feet.

 

Member Harrington: I am sorry, was St. Joes on the rendering that we saw?

 

Malek Eljizi: No, only because I did not have the logo. But the papers that I submitted show St. Joes.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: Well one shows it and one doesn’t.

 

Malek Eljizi: So when you drove in you probably saw at least another 12 to 13 inches of white banner sticking down the side, that is to accommodate St. Joes hospital.

 

Chairman Brennan: Let me summarize, if I can. We have tried to direct and give some guidance to the petitioner about size of sign, about exploring the possibility of a road sign and he doesn’t seem to be interested in either of those. So I am ready to make a motion.

 

Member Harrington: Well, maybe not right yet.

 

Member Harrington: Let me tell you what I think here. I think that there is probably at least an entitlement to a sign which we haven’t seen and we need to see that to judge the proportion of this particular sign. I think that there needs to be some serious consideration by the architect or whoever is in charge there as to whether or not the left side versus the right side of the building might be appropriate, even thought if it is on the left side of the building as you drive in you are dead square on the driveway; no trees, no buildings, no St. Joes Hospital, you can see right in the driveway and you can see the sign from Haggerty Road and I don’t know if you can see it from 275 but on a good day you might. I think that you should come back and see us next month and you or whoever it is that in charge of the entire sign package to put up renderings of all the signs that you are going to have, whether they are directional signs, parking lot signs, St. Joes facility over here; so we can determine in context what variance if any that you might be entitled to and need regarding the big sign. I will tell you that I think that the big sign is huge and I am not convinced that you need a heck of lot more than 66.5 square feet, but you might and that is why I want to see 66.5 up there so that I can see what ordinance permits and maybe when your architect puts up 66 he will figure out that maybe 100 square feet or 120 would work especially if you located it to the left side of the building. My sense is that you should have more time and opportunity to do this. It is a major facility. A major investment. You want people to find it. I can’t support and I think that Mr. Brennan and probably some other Board Members would just turn you down tonight. I would like to see you do a little more homework and come back and see us next month with the total package that you really need.

 

Member Harrington: Shall I make a motion?

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that the petitioner should have the option of giving us his pleasure. I have the impression that he was not willing to move in either case with respect to a smaller sign or Haggerty Road or moving it to the left. He said no to all 3. Do you want us to vote on this right now?

 

Malek Eljizi: Well, if the vote is in favor to me, yes. We could definitely check into the sign as Mr. Harrington has suggested. I would be willing to put up a 66 square foot sign and in comparison with the sign that we have up or something smaller. We are willing to accommodate what the City would like us to do. However, I really don’t think; in my opinion, and we have done many of these buildings I really don’t think that a sign where Mr. Harrington is asking I really don’t think that it would work. Although I do understand your point, only because the boulevard is facing the sign when you drive in.

 

Member Harrington: I am not asking, it is ordinance that requires it.

 

Malek Eljizi: I understand that.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Sanghvi,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-033 TO TABLE TO THE NEXT MEETING AT WHICH TIME WE WILL TAKE A VOTE ON THE VARIANCES AS SUBMITTED OR SOME MODIFICATION THEREOF. THE ENTIRE SIGN PACKAGE THAT WOULD BE PERMITTED BY ORDINANCE WHICH WOULD INCLUDE HAGGERTY ROAD SIGNS, DIRECTIONAL SIGNS, REAR PARKING SIGNS, ST. JOES PARKING SIGNS OR WHATEVER IT IS THAT ALL OF THOSE BE OUT THERE FOR US TO INSPECT SO THAT WE CAN SEE THE IMPACT OF THE PROPOSED VARIANCE ON WHAT IS PERMITTED BY CODE. AT THE SAME TIME OR BETWEEN NOW AND THE NEXT MEETING WE ALSO RECEIVE A RENDERING OF A SIGN WHICH IS TWICE ORDINANCE WHICH WOULD BE 133 SQUARE FEET, WHICH IS ABOUT 55% OF THE 213 REQUESTED. YOU WILL PUT UP A SIGN PERMITTED BY ORDINANCE, ONE DOUBLE THE ORDINANCE AND YOU ALREADY HAVE THE 213 SQUARE FOOT UP, PLUS EVERY OTHER SIGN ON THE SITE SO THAT IF WE GRANT THE VARIANCE WE KNOW WHAT THE PACKAGE IS.

 

Discussion on motion:

 

Alan Amolsch: For clarity sake, any roadside signs that the petitioner would want, would require a variance if they intended to have a wall sign also. Any combination of the 2 are not allowed. He would either get a road sign (if he has the legal property line to Haggerty Road which would entitle them to a ground sign of 30 square foot and 5 foot high) and then they would not be able to have a wall sign. It is either or.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Case No. 99-034 filed by Matthew Quinn, representing IKON

 

Matthew Quinn, representing IKON, is requesting a 1’4" building height variance, a variance to allow 2 loading spaces, a variance to permit a 10’ front yard parking setback and a landscape buffer variance to allow for the construction of the Ikon Office Building at Eleven Mile and Meadowbrook roads.

 

Matthew Quinn was present.

 

Matthew Quinn: I represent Ikon Office Solution and with me is Randy DeBoer, the district manager from Ikon out of Grant Rapids.

 

Matthew Quinn: As you saw in your application, the matter has gone through the Planning Commission and received all approvals there including wetlands and woodlands; with the contingency of these 4 variances being received from the Zoning Board of Appeals. I think that as you will see they are all very minor variances and are in the effort mostly to save a lot of the woodlands and wetlands.

 

Matthew Quinn: (Chart shown to Board.) I will orientate you first. Eleven Mile on the south side here and remember that Eleven Mile here is somewhat curved it is not a straight east or west road. Up here we have I-96 and over to the west we have Meadowbrook Road. Then, of course, on the east just off of this nature area is the interchange of the M-5 connector.

 

Matthew Quinn: Currently Ikon owns or is operating out of the building right here on the expressway. So what they are doing, is that they are going to become by the construction of this approximate 64,000 square foot office building they will become one of the major or if not the biggest employer of office personnel in the City of Novi. This is going to be a regional office center that will house permanent workers and receive approximately 300 sales people regularly for training. So you will have approximately 450 people using this very fine facility. So this is going to be something that is a real benefit, an economic benefit to the City of Novi; especially given it’s orientation to the Town Center. You are going to have this many new people coming in and shopping, Going to the restaurants and participating into a viable downtown

 

Matthew Quinn: The first variance that we are requesting is from the berming that is required here along Eleven Mile Road and in Linda Lemke’s review letter she makes known that the usual berming is solid and constant. But here for the preservation of existing trees we are requesting the variance from the usual buffer and she has actually recommended that it be granted.

 

Matthew Quinn: The second variance dealing with the same area is and believe it or not the office building is way back here and this is Eleven Mile but this is the front yard of the building even though the main access will be off of Bridge Street that comes through this privately owned industrial park to them. But given our ordinances there is a requirement of a 40 foot front yard setback for parking. Due to the curvature of Eleven Mile Road a portion of the 40 feet comes up and onto a small number of parking spots and therefore we are asking for a variance from the 40 foot front yard buffer requirement to a 20 foot front yard buffer requirement. Again I want to note to you, the existing heavy landscaping and the supplemental landscaping that will still be present in that area.

 

Matthew Quinn: The third variance deals with the buffer along I-96. Again since that is a public thoroughfare, like Eleven Mile Road is, there is a requirement here of a 20 foot buffer for parking. Again 696 isn’t straight, it angles as it goes through and therefore the line comes through a small portion of 15 parking spaces. None of these parking spaces are all within this buffered area, and so the variance request is made for that purpose. Again Linda Lemke, is very satisfied with the extra buffering that is being placed on the interchange given the fact that the automobiles will be going slightly farther on a small number of those parking spots. Additionally I want you to note that the existing parking project only has a 7 foot separation between the edge of it’s parking and the right of way for 96 and we are actually setting back a lot and making it look a lot nicer and improving the appearance of that area.

 

Matthew Quinn: Part of the position on all of these variances, and you will note this extremely large green area; that is a wetland and a treed area that Ikon is working with the City to form a conservation easement so that this area can never be developed and it will remain in it’s natural state. That has caused a lot of shifting of this parking lot. The original parking lot came and took a good percentage of this woodland and wetland; but over many months of negotiation we now have confined that parking lot to the areas that you see and that is why these small buffer areas tend to be used up for the required parking.

 

Matthew Quinn: The last variance that we are asking for is a 16 inch height variance necessitated by the fact first of all that this office building happens to be in an I-1 zoning district which has a 40 foot limitation. If this was in a different district, an office district, you could have 42 feet or it could be up to 65 feet. But, because of where it sits in this particular district we cannot meet that 40 foot limitation and require that 16 inch variance. Now just to point out that a house in Novi can be built to 35 feet; so we are really only 6 feet higher than any house in the City of Novi. Now this is necessitated by the fact that first of all the reason that they are coming here is because they have existing employees in the adjacent building that they are going to keep and maintain under their use and they will then have a nice office park for their use at the end. Also the 16 inches and probably this ordinance has to be tweaked a little bit over time because of the new buildings that we are seeing coming into industrial I-1 areas. It is very difficult to build a 3 story building within that height limitation. A three story building is what is being proposed here. (Picture shown to Board.) What you are seeing is that the 16 inches is really off of the mechanical on the roof; that is where the 16 inches ends up coming from. With the 3 stories, this is going to be a training center, and one of the stories has extra high ceilings because of the method of the presentation and the training facilities that they are going to need. The architects have told me that they can’t make that difference in that height up in any place else. You have 3 feet of mechanical area that this is shielding. This puts a burden on them to comply with the 40 feet. As I mentioned in the application due to the adjacency of the wetlands in the area to go deeper here makes it that much more difficult to construct the footings for the foundation. The wetlands that are being impacted here are relatively small but they are around the southeast corner of the building and also on the northwest corner of the building. The wetlands basically all most come right up to the building.

 

Matthew Quinn: Those are the 4 very minor variances that we are looking for. Ikon is excited to get on with this project and to become a viable member of the Novi business community. We are available to answer any questions at this time.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 14 Notices sent to adjacent property owners, with no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: We have no objection.

 

Kelly Schuler had no comment.

 

Member Harrington: It is actually a pleasure to hear an applicant well prepared and who understands the spirit and the letter of the ordinance and who is not attempting to take a chain saw to it. I think that the ordinances are classic examples of what we view as practical difficulties associated with a construction project. I think that they give voice to the spirit of the ordinance. They are minor in nature. Again I commend the petitioner for coming in with a variance package which is minor in nature and I support all the variances.

 

Chairman Brennan: I had similar thoughts. It appears that based on what was presented the petitioner has gone to great extent in working with the Planning Department, saving woodlands, saving wetlands and I applaud them. I have no issues with any of the requests.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: I have no objection.

 

Member Meyer: I just have one clarification that I would like to ask about. You said an undue burden to comply with the 40 feet, if you could just clarify that for me.

 

Matthew Quinn: First of all the use of this building as a regional training center and plus housing the full time occupants, it is very difficult if not impossible because of the height needed for the interior rooms – let’s say this room that we are in, I don’t think that you could build 3 of these in a 40 foot building and this isn’t that high; because you have projection screens, audio visual equipment that hangs from the ceiling and again it is those types of things that make it very difficult to make it 40 feet. They can’t absorb that height difference in the other floors, so you end up with 16 inches of excess height.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-034 TO APPROVE ALL FOUR (4) VARIANCES AS PRESENTED BY REASONS OF PRACTICAL DIFFICULTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE BUILDING.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Case No. 99-035 filed by Gayle Cartwright

 

Gayle Cartwright is requesting a 1.5’ rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of an enclosed porch at 44748 Ford Way Dr. in the Dunbarton Pines Subdivision.

 

Gayle Cartwright was present and duly sworn.

 

Gayle Cartwright: As you can see by the packet I am requesting a 1.5 foot rear yard setback to allow for and enclosed 3 season porch to be constructed where my existing patio is. We are not going to take down any of the arborvitae that are now surrounding that patio area; although we will trim them somewhat so that we are able to view out of the windows of the new porch area. The porch will be constructed of cedar and will be left natural on the inside but the outer portion will be trimmed and sided to match the house. We also then will using matching shingles for the roof, the roof is only 2 years old so we will be able to match those. We also will be putting gutters on that room and will be finishing it off to match our home as it looks now.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 43 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one (1) written response received, voicing approval. Copy in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: The Building Department has no objection.

 

Member Meyer: There is no way that you can do this without a variance?

 

Gayle Cartwright: Well we could, but it would end up as a square; a 12 by 12 room and I am looking for a little bit more attractiveness by having the room be slightly longer. It actually doesn’t go out of the patio area that has been there for 10 years. We are building it right within that 12 by 14 area. I just think that aesthetically it would look a little better than a 12 by 12 square area.

 

Chairman Brennan: We will read into the record that we have 9 signatures from neighbors and also included is the President of Dunbarton Pines.

 

Chairman Brennan: I have a question, is the house that is directly behind you on this list?

 

Gayle Cartwright: Yes, they are; their last name is Chase. Also the Bacon’s, Larry Bacon came in last year and got the same variance from the Board and he has constructed a room behind his house and he is the next door neighbor of the Chase’s.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-035 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE AS SUBMITTED BY VIRTUE OFTHE FACT THAT THERE IS A PRACTICAL DIFFICULTY WITH ACHIEVING THE CONSTRUCTION OBJECTIVES AND IT IS AN EXTREMELY MINIMAL VARIANCE AND THERE IS NO OBJECTION FROM ANY AFFECTED PROPERTY OWNER.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Case No. 99-036 filed by Tri-Mount

 

Tri-Mount is requesting a 23 foot setback variance to allow for the placement of a ground sign to be located 40 feet from the centerline of the road for property located at 26090 Lanny’s Road. The sign was erected without a permit.

 

Case No. 99-037 filed by Tri-Mount

 

Tri-Mount is requesting a 23 foot setback variance to allow for the placement of a ground sign to be located 40 feet from the centerline of the road for property located at 26105 Lanny’s Road. The sign was erected without a permit.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-038 filed by S. R. Jacobson Dev. Corp.

 

S. R. Jacobson Dev. Corp. is requesting a variance to allow a 4’ x 8’ (32 sq. ft.) ground sign at the north corner of Novi Road and Old Novi Road for the Saratoga Circle Development.

 

Case No. 99-039 filed by S. R. Jacobson Dev. Corp.

 

S. R. Jacobson Dev. Corp. is requesting a variance to allow a 4’ x 8’ (32 sq. ft.) ground sign at the southwest corner of Thirteen Mile and Novi Road for the Saratoga Circle Development.

 

Don Marhofer was present and duly sworn.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated let’s take them one at a time. The first one will be 99-038, Novi Road and Old Novi Road.

 

Don Marhofer: We are requesting a 4 by 8 sign, 32 square feet. Obviously we have developed the Saratoga Circle project. We currently have a marketing sign on the development. We wish to go for this sign location to accelerate sales at the site.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 13 Notices sent to adjacent property owners, with no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Member Meyer: Did I hear you say to accelerate the sales at the site?

 

Don Marhofer: Yes, we are the builders and the developer on that particular piece.

 

Member Harrington: How many sales do you have so far, what percentage?

 

Don Marhofer: We have 12 deposits at this point. There are 54 units at this particular development.

 

Member Harrington: So that is about 20%?

 

Don Marhofer: Approximately, yes.

 

Chairman Brennan: How long do you think that you would need this marketing sign?

 

Don Marhofer: We are hoping to have this sold out within a year and a half. I would like to mention that there were 2 previous signs at these locations by the Hughlan Group, the previous developer, and I would just like to make reference that there were 2 signs up there by the previous developer that we assisted Mr. Amolsch to have them removed and now we are trying to get our signs up.

 

Member Harrington: Can you live with September 30 of next year? Is that pretty well the end of your selling season?

 

Don Marhofer: Yes, I could live with that.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Sanghvi,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-038 TO APPROVE THE TEMPORARY SIGNS. SIGNS TO BE REMOVED THE EARLIER OF SALES OF ALL UNITS OR SEPTEMBER 30, 2000.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Chairman Brennan we will now go to 99-039 the sign at the corner of Thirteen Mile and Novi Road.

 

Don Marhofer: Ditto. We are trying to hit the traffic coming from both the north side and the south side of the project.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-039 FOR THE REASONS THAT WERE STATED ON THE RECORD.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Case No. 99-040 filed by Reuben Levy

 

Reuben Levy is wishing to raze the existing home at 1509 East Lake Rd. and construct a new single family residence. The following variances are needed: an 18% lot coverage variance, a 20’ rear yard setback variance and side yard setback variances of 6’ for each side.

 

Reuben Levy was present and duly sworn.

 

Reuben Levy: I am looking as stated here to construct a single family residence at 1509 East Lake Drive. The variances which I am looking to obtain are side yard variances of 6’, a rear variance of 20’ and a lot coverage of 18%, in order to build a viable and suitable home and living conditions for the structure.

 

Reuben Levy: The subdivision was platted quite a long time ago, in the early 1900’s, and a lot of the lots over there are odd shapes and very small and definitely do not conform with current standards. This also has created the situation for the variances. The existing structure that is there right now is basically an eyesore and the City has plans to have it torn down here. We would be taking on that responsibility and absorbing the costs on the approval of the building permit for the new structure.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 34 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was a total of 2 written responses received, both voicing approval. Copies in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Bill Conley, I am an attorney representing Mrs. Delores Farnworth. We request that you do not approve these variances. It appears that 3 requests are being made and I would like to get a clarification, if I could, is there a minimum lot size on which you can construct a house and is this particular lot the 3300 square foot – well the first question is there a minimum lot size on which you can build a residence?

 

Terry Morrone: Yes there is and that is for a typical R4 zoning district; but these lots have been grandfathered and they are lots of record which can be built upon in their current area and lot and width configuration providing they meet the setback requirements of the current ordinance today.

 

Bill Conley: Thank you. In this instance I am led to believe that there is a 2 story house that is going to built next to a one story house, with a minimum side setback which would compromise the air and light space of the current single story residence of the next door neighbor; the house that is owned by Mrs. Delores Farnworth. Further the rear setback would compromise the back yards and if you have this kind of an ordinance and grant it in this particular circumstance I would believe that you are setting a precedent that will be difficult to defend in the future if you want to maintain these ordinances.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: Just a little background. There is an existing house on the property. It has been deemed unsafe and the City is trying to get the building razed and removed. The proposal is deficient in side yard and rear yard setbacks as we can all see. It does have a lot coverage problem. I would only say that should the Board approve these variances that they include a one hour fire resistance rating on the exterior walls for both side yards.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: The drawings show a deck on the back of the house facing the water and that is going to infringe further.

 

Reuben Levy: That deck is in the footprint of the house and I believe that is on the front side.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: On one of the drawings that you have of the home it says "Option" deck as per owner. Does that mean you have a deck beyond that or the footprint that you have listed here and that will get you closer.

 

Reuben Levy: I believe that the architect was putting in some options on that.

 

David Levy: This is my son. My partner and I are developer/builders and we plan on building this house for him. My architect who drew the plans loves to make notes, there will be no deck in the rear of the house and there is none planned. This lot has a beautiful front yard area which looks out onto Walled Lake and that is where the living space is orientated towards.

 

Chairman Brennan: I have a couple of concerns. Number one, you have a potentially unhappy neighbor and that is a concern. Secondly, I have a concern over the proposed lot coverage of 43%. If Laverne was here tonight he would be rolling, this is immensely overbuilt for the size of the lot and I have a great deal of trouble with the size of the home sitting on the very narrow parcel. The significant variance request that you have, I believe that there is room for improvement on what would be less of an impact on the rear yard setback and unless you can convince me otherwise I believe that this plan as submitted is substantially overbuilt.

 

Member Harrington: I am convinced that something has to be done with this parcel. It is in the best interest of the adjacent neighbor that a new state of the art residence be constructed next to her. They are not requesting a height variance and they don’t need a height variance. I understand the fact that people with one stories don’t want 2 stories next to them; but we have consistently set aside objections based on height in the north end. Particularly when there is no variance request in that regard. I am at somewhat of a loss because this is an area where I think that the Board struggles because we are really dealing with architectural issues. We have a gentleman who is not going to build this house for "spec", it is not being built for resale, it is not being built for lease or rental and all of which are problems in the north end; it is being built for a primary residence. True enough, it covers more lot size than it should, but we have approved variances in that regard in the past. I don’t feel capable or qualified to tell these guys that 18% lot size is to much but I could live with 11% because I am not an architect. I don’t know what resources we have available to us in this regard. If the choice tonight is that someone can come up with some idea where we can get a second or a third opinion from Planning or somebody who has gone home; or from a City architect that this really is a wish rather than a need and that this is a wish house and they could really accomplish the same thing that they are trying to accomplish if they scaled down in this area I would listen hard to that. But, if I have to vote tonight and if it is my vote do we continue this. The pictures are deplorable. This is atrocious. We have consistently approved variances which have a positive impact on the north end even though they are a little larger than the lot should be. I don’t know how I can say that 18% is to large but 9% or 4% would work, because I am not an architect. This lady appropriately does not want this great big house next to her; but how are people going to build houses in the north end if they are not the kind of house that they can ultimately sell or get good value for. If we held people to ordinance in the north end, nothing would be built there and that may be one of the reasons why we have slum conditions and a large variety of lots. This is a troublesome case for me, those are my thoughts.

 

Vice-Chairman Brennan: In the pictures it shows on the other side a one and half story new one; so a two story isn’t going to make that much difference.

 

Member Harrington: I am not worried about the height. We are talking about lot coverage.

 

Chairman Brennan: I thought that when I made my comments that I was concerned about lot coverage and I said that unless you can convince me otherwise and there is the option – now tell me why this has to be a house of this size and eat up 42% of the lot?

 

Reuben Levy: Basically the lot itself and you can take a look, it is pretty small. You are talking about 30 foot wide by 110 deep. So you are making a long and narrow type of house. The rooms for anything decent in there; I am young guy and have been living in Novi for 2 years and I really enjoy the area as I live off of the South Lake area now and obviously I would have to sell the house that I am currently in to get into the new house; I have opened my own business and have my own company that is also in Novi and I am a business owner in Novi and I really do enjoy the area. I like it there quite a bit; somewhere that I would like to stay for awhile actually and consider raising a family. A house of decent size to have a family and if you take a look at the house itself it is not an enormous sized house by any means in consideration of others around there and I guess it depends on somebody’s personal opinion of what is big and what is small in their eyes. This I would consider to be an average size house. I am not looking to put up some sort of mansion and take up the whole lot. We were concerned and I know that was a concern, I visited the neighbors behind me who would be directly affected by the rear of the house and I have a letter from them and they don’t have a problem with it at all. I spoke with them and showed them plans, sat down, went to their house. I spoke with the other lady on the south side of me, Margaret Rapnicki and I have a letter from her stating that she has no objections to it either. The other neighbor I haven’t met because it is a rental house and I wasn’t sure on who to go to. I do have some other pictures showing what is existing and also if a concern is sunlight or air flow, the 4 feet on each side and right now as best that I can measure on the property line you are looking at about 12 feet on one side and 13 on the other which would give actually 16 and 17 feet in between the houses. That is a lot more than the majority of the houses have there. I think on the other side of her house, it may be 5 foot.

 

Reuben Levy: I took some pictures, if you are interested, showing sunlight, sunrise at 8:30 in the morning and then also about 6 p.m. You can see by the shadows and by the way that the sunlight falls upon the houses that it rises in the east and sets in the west; the back of the house is the east and the front of the house is the west. It is a gorgeous view looking out of the front of the house over the lake and seeing the sun set. It really can’t be blocked. Coming from the back of the house you actually have some blockage just because of a lot of the trees, but it is not because of any structure in any way whatsoever.

 

Reuben Levy: Taking that into consideration we are planning 2 r-rated fire walls, definitely a 2 hour on the garage side of the house and most like a 1 hour just to prevent any fire, any thought of that in any way, we are looking to do steel framing structure on this house to prevent anything of that nature by occurring and to keep any risk of that happening down to the minimum. We have looked at many different options. The size of the house is basically something that I think that as a family grows and wants to remain in the area, because I do enjoy the lake quite a bit and I really like it. It is a beautiful area, I feel that it is growing up a lot and that is why I opened up my business in the Novi area. I definitely like the community and want to be a part of it and to help it to grow.

 

Member Meyer: If I understand correctly, it is a about 1500 square feet?

 

Member Harrington: That is the main level.

 

Reuben Levy: You can see by the main floor, just to have a garage and obviously there is no parking there. This house is actually set back 30 foot from the roadway there which I believe may be even a foot or so back from where the other residences to the north side of me; so you would even have a little bit of possibly a further setback on top of that. To have a garage or any parking, I am buying the house because of the nice view and I don’t think that any neighbors would want me parking cars or putting them across the street on the lake side there or having things stored there or sheds or storage that I think completely takes away the whole idea of living over there and that is to enjoy that view and see that. Obviously a 2 car garage, I don’t think is anything to much to ask for. We really tried to come up with a good idea and I mean the stacking and putting the 2 down. The garage on the first floor is half of the house.

 

Member Harrington: I am looking at the schematics, part of the problem may be the narrowness of the lot; but the narrow lot leaves the petitioner with very little options in terms of shrinkage. It is a 3 bedroom house, not 4 or 5. You have 2 bedrooms right next to each other without even a hall way in between. One bedroom is 9’10" and the other is 10’10" wide, what do we shrink those bedrooms to, 7 feet and 5 feet? I look at the bath on the upstairs and you can’t get 2 bedrooms up there because of the bath. You have one larger master bedroom. But, you have a bath that is 7 foot wide and do we shrink that to 4 feet in order to achieve some sense of square footage on the lot. The problem is the lot. The problem is that if we had a square shaped lot, rather than a long and narrow lot there might be some things that we could do to give the same utility to shrink the overall square footage and bring it closer to the ordinance. But, what we have here is a unique lot size configuration. The closer I look at this and again not being an architect, there is nothing that leaps out at me and in other situations we have said to "move this over the well" or
"can you turn the garage this way", there is nothing that leaps off of the page here that this applicant can do.

 

Reuben Levy: Can I interject? Actually the architect that came up with this, we went over and looked through lots and lots of plans to come up with something to fit on the sized lot. It wasn’t an easy task to come up with a type of dwelling that is suitable for a year round type of residence. The architect actually lives off of Monticello over in the area there; Creative Home Designs came up with this. He is very familiar, obviously, with up and down the lake and making sure that the house would fit in and that was very important to him.

 

Member Harrington: What is your construction timetable? Let’s assume that you receive some relief from the Board tonight, not that you are going to receive any, but if you did what would your construction timetable be?

 

Daniel Levy: We would go in for permits and we would start within 30 to 45 days of receiving the permit.

 

Member Harrington: How bad would you be hurt in terms of the weather and the time of the year, if I were to suggest that I would like to see staked out the actual dimension of where you are going to build on this lot?

 

Daniel Levy: It is kind of tough with the existing structure up.

 

Member Harrington: You could just put a string around it. Would that really impact you negatively in terms of what you want to do.

 

Daniel Levy: No.

 

Member Harrington: The other thought that I had is that we do have a short Board tonight, meaning only 5 Members rather than 6 and hopefully we will have another Member appointed by next month which may give you a better whack at it than tonight, because I sense that there might be some disagreement on the Board on this one.

 

Member Harrington: My thought is that I am in favor of this, if there is not some kind of consensus that we ought to give him some kind of relief; it perhaps might make a difference if we went out there and walked the property and got a sense of the impact of this lot size thing is. I don’t know and I look at these drawings and I can’t see shrinking this house much more than it is, you just can’t.

 

Daniel Levy: No, we spent a lot of time with this one trying to come up with room sizes that would make it a livable house for a family. It is not basically for a single fellow who wants to party. This is built as a family home. The constraints of the lot size made it very difficult. We spent probably about 120 days. We have about 4 months into the design.

 

Chairman Brennan: When will this house be razed, the one that is on there right now?

 

Daniel Levy: As soon as we get the building permit, the house goes.

 

Terry Morrone: We have put the demolition process on hold for 60 days, pending the application of this variance request. Everything is on hold for about 60 days, to see where we are going to go with the variances.

 

Bill Conley: Would I be out of order if I speak? I hope that I am not out order and I probably should have mentioned this earlier. Mrs. Farnsworth presented an offer to her friend and neighbor Mrs. Hughes to buy the property and Mrs. Farnsworth’s intention would be to buy the property and put a garage on it and, of course, to demolish the existing structure. I have a copy of the letter that she sent to her friend as well as a memo summarizing the other comments.

 

Chairman Brennan: Who owns the property right now?

 

Bill Conley: Patricia Hughes.

 

Chairman Brennan: So, you don’t own the property yet?

 

Reuben Levy: We have an offer to purchase at this time.

 

Member Harrington: Do you have an acceptance?

 

Daniel Levy: Oh yes, we have a firm contract, fully signed.

 

Member Harrington: So you have the right to build?

 

Daniel Levy: Absolutely.

 

Member Harrington: Is it the lady here who is objecting because she would like to buy it and use if for a garage?

 

Daniel Levy: Correct.

 

Chairman Brennan: But, you already have a deal?

 

Daniel Levy: Yes.

 

Chairman Brennan: Sir, why are we even looking at this? He has a contract with the property owner.

 

Bill Conley: The relevance is that there is a concern about the existing structure on the parcel and it is appropriate, Mrs. Farnsworth would formalize her offer to purchase with a formal document. Which means that you would deny the variances.

 

Chairman Brennan: I am not going to get into a legal contention over who is going to be the new property owner here.

 

Bill Conley: What I can provide you, Mr. Brennan, is a path out regarding the demolition of the current structure on this parcel.

 

Chairman Brennan: I am not going to get into the middle of whether this is a new property owner or whether there is another. I see this as being moot, unless Mr. Harrington has something.

 

Bill Conley: We have documentation from Mrs. Hughes allowing us to represent her in this matter.

 

Chairman Brennan: I would say that we are talking about granting 30 days, and if you have the opportunity in the next 30 days to change the property owners’ mind and to change the course of this petitioner’s variance request that is a different story. I think that right now we are looking at tabling this for the applicant. Are you in favor of tabling this for one month, so that we have a full Board and you can show us what this parcel is going to look like by staking it out?

 

Daniel Levy: Not a problem.

 

Member Harrington: Is there some sense of the Board that it would actually be helpful to see the dimensions on the property?

 

Member Sanghvi: It is so tiny, it is not going to make much difference really.

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that I am pretty clear where I am at. It may be in your best interest to stake it out.

 

Reuben Levy: I did some copies here, but even the existing structure is about 20 some feet and so all we would really be doing is adding onto the sides. Basically we would just be going a little further back.

 

Member Harrington: The problem that you have Mr. Levy is and I am sure that Mr. Conley would agree that even if it is one inch, you are enlarging a non-conforming structure which is a different threshold. You are not following the footprint of the building, which is a lesser standard. You are enlarging a nonconforming structure and the burden of persuasion is much higher in that regard. Although it comes down to what else can be done. I think that the relevance of the possible oral offer, and I agree that it is not material at least in my view, but I think that the inference is that something can be done less intrusive is a one story garage rather that a 2 story house presuming that the garage would not require any variances but that is beyond us to deal with something that might happen in the future. That is not legitimately before us although it is of great interest.

 

Member Meyer: I really appreciate as a Board Member your willingness to accommodate us so that we can make the best judgement possible here. As we have heard already this is not an easy case because we certainly don’t want to be blind to other people’s concerns. What I do hear though is that it appears that you have a written contract and so I am very much willing to say let’s put this off for a month and I would like to ask that we put them near the front of the docket because they have waited this evening.

 

Member Harrington: They will be in line, because all tabled cases go in order.

 

Moved by Member Meyer,

 

Seconded by Member Sanghvi.

 

THAT IN CASE NO.99-040 THAT IT BE TABLED FOR ONE MONTH AND THAT WE BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT THE SITE.

 

Discussion on motion.

 

Member Harrington: Stake it with real obvious stuff, within a week before the next meeting. Don’t do it for a month because someone will be out there tearing it down.

 

Member Meyer: Please call the secretary to let us know through her.

 

Reuben Levy: Will there be anything else involved besides the staking of that property and where the house would be that the Board would be interested in seeing?

 

Member Harrington: You are not going to do any decking?

 

Reuben Levy: No.

 

Member Harrington: Are the boundary lines on the property well marked in terms of fencing or the like, so that we can tell how much the setback is?

 

Reuben Levy: I had a boundary survey done, I have this with me. I went up and looked at the aerial photos upstairs to try to see where the house was, but I couldn’t make it out with the shadows and everything.

 

Member Harrington: That is the point, we want to go out there and see how it is going to impact on the neighbors property.

 

Member Meyer: Maybe you can do it with 2 colors. One color for the boundary line and another color the actual structure.

 

Daniel Levy: Not a problem. We will put some iron posts in and paint them so you can see the boundary.

 

Member Harrington: It probably would not work in this case, but I would not send you away nor would any other Board Member without the suggestion that don’t wait until next month without talking to the neighbor and perhaps Mr. Conley. Perhaps there are some specific concerns that she has that can be addressed and I don’t think that you want to lop off your second floor; but perhaps there is some concerns or maybe she hasn’t seen all of the architectural drawings and how your house is going to actually improve her property values. It may raise her taxes in the short run but it will improve the resale value of her property in the long run. Talk to the neighbor. See if you can work out an accommodation or at least give her all of the information that you have given us. A lot of time people come here and object but they haven’t seen the whole picture. Talk to them.

 

Daniel Levy: For sure.

 

Chairman Brennan: We have a motion and a discussion, all those in favor please say aye. All ayes. Case is tabled to the July 6, 1999 Meeting.

 

Recall of Tri-Mount Case Nos: 99-036 and 99-037

 

Chairman Brennan: There is no representation here from Tri-Mount. What is the Board’s pleasure?

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN THE TRI-MOUNT CASES, WHICH ARE 99-036 AND 99-037, TO DENY BY VIRTUE OF ABANDONMENT FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR. IF THEY DO RE-FILE THEY WILL HAVE TO PAY ALL NECESSARY FEES.

 

Discussion on motion:

 

Chairman Brennan: I don’t know if it is relevant, but we have had other Tri-Mount cases where signs have been erected without permits.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (0) Motion Carried

 

Other Matters

 

Member Harrington: It is of great significance to the Board, as you have mentioned, Mr. Antosiak is moving out of state pursuant to his retirement plans as is Ms. Weddington, from the Planning Commission. I would like to express my feeling as a Member of this Board, appreciation for both Members’ service to this community. Particularly Mr. Antosiak’s presence on the Board will be sorely missed and difficult to replace. Best wishes and God Speed.

 

Member Meyer: Ditto. I very much appreciated the devotion and the dedication that he brought to the task here; as well as his compassion and understanding for the various people who came before this Board.

 

Member Sanghvi: Would it be all right to have a motion made by this Board appreciating his services and his expertise and wishing him well in the future.

 

Chairman Brennan: Next month’s meeting is July 6th, any problems with attendance?

 

Chairman Brennan: The City Council is interviewing on June 14th, there is a possibility that we could have a new Member by that time.

 

Member Meyer: I would like to ask, in light of visiting that yard today, and feeling very embarrassed about walking in somebody’ backyard; if in the future that we could have the people notified to be home and maybe within a certain window so that we are not going up there. It was not an easy drive to get up there and then find that you are actually embarrassed to walk in the yard when no one is there.

 

Chairman Brennan: We have certainly had some unusual conditions with that particular case.

 

Member Harrington: I think that the rule of common sense applies and I was pretty unusual. I didn’t think to ask, "can you see the pole barn through the trees?" You can’t. I didn’t know that. There is a hill in the way and you can’t drive by and see it.

 

Member Sanghvi: We should have identification to carry around so if people question us that we can tell them who we are and why we are in their back yard.

 

Adjournment

 

The Meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date Approved _ _

Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary