REGULAR MEETING Ė ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS Ė CITY OF NOVI

CIVIC CENTER Ė 45175 TEN MILE RD.

 

Tuesday Ė August 10, 1999

 

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

 

ROLL CALL

 

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

Sanghvi (alternate)

 

Absent: None

 

Also Present: Terry Morrone Ė Deputy Building Official

Heidi Hannan Ė Community Development Coordinator

Alan Amolsch Ė Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Nancy McKernan Ė Recording Secretary

 

Chairman Brennan indicated we do have a quorum present, the Meeting is now in session. Before we have the approval of the Agenda and the Public Remarks, there are three quick things that we will comment on. First of all, welcome to Mr. Brian Fannon Ė newly appointed to the Board. Mr. Fannon, for the Audience sake, has had 3 years experience on the Board at an earlier time; and we welcome his addition. Secondly, congratulations to Mr. Meyer Ė he has done everything he could to get off of this Board and is now one of two finalists for the mayoral race in November. Third, a congratulations to Nancy, who has her 10 years of service in as of yesterday.

 

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 and a vote of the majority to deny a variance. We do have a full Board, so any decisions tonight are final.

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

 

Chairman Brennan indicated we have the Agenda in front of us, are there any changes or alterations? Hearing none, we will move for approval. All in favor, please say aye. All ayes. Agenda approved as written.

 

PUBLIC REMARKS

 

Chairman Brennan indicated this is the Public Remarks section of the Agenda. Anyone who has comments related to a case, you should hold those comments until that case is called. If anyone wishes to address the Board to any other matter, now is the time. (No one wished to be heard at this time.)

 

Case No. 98-083A, B & C filed by Frederic Keywell, representing Art Van Furniture

 

Continuation of case filed by Frederic Keywell, representing Art Van Furniture, requesting variances to allow A) a wall sign 45í2" x 6í (305 sq. ft.); B) a wall sign 40í5" x 4í (161 sq. ft.); C) a wall sign 40í5" x 4í (161 sq. ft.); for property located at 27775 Novi Rd.

 

Frederic Keywell was present.

 

Frederic Keywell: I would like to pass out to the Board a diagram showing on paper what we have done via taping and I think that you were all made aware of on the Art Van Furniture store. (Diagram passed out to the Board.)

 

Frederic Keywell: This is the third time that we have been before the Board. We have had extensive discussion about the remodeled and expanded Art Van Furniture store and the sign that my client requests. At the suggestion of a Member of the Board at the last meeting, we have been able to cut the size of the sign so that the largest letter is 36". We have shown on the sign so that you could see the size of the sign utilizing the much smaller letter. The sign in the front of the building would thus be 216 square feet with no letter in excess of 3í. And the sign on the north side of the building would be 108 square feet with no letter greater that 3í. We are abandoning our request for a sign on the south side of the building.

 

Chairman Brennan: Which sign was the south sign; was that B or C?

 

Frederic Keywell: That would have been the smaller sign on the south side of the building.

 

Chairman Brennan: Was that B or C?

 

Frederic Keywell: I donít know.

 

Chairman Brennan: That is OK , we have a way to handle that.

 

Frederic Keywell: Oh, now I see what you are saying. It is the one on the south side and I donít know if Iineated between B or C. I think that what we are suggesting now is more in line with what the comments of the Board were at the last meeting and I would request that you act favorably on this request.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Member Reinke: I think that the petitioner has done an excellent job on coming along the lines closer to what the ordinance intention and direction is and still giving proper identification. I think it is an excellent job and I can support this.

 

Moved by Member Reinke,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 98-083A WHICH WOULD BE THE EASTERLY ELEVATION AND "B" THE NORTHERLY ELEVATION; AS REPRESENTED THE EAST SIGN WOULD BE 216 SQUARE FEET AND THE NORTH SIGN 108 SQUARE FOOT PER THE RENDERING LAYOUT AS PRESENTED BE GRANTED FOR BUSINESS IDENTIFICATION.

 

Chairman Brennan: I might make a suggestion, we have some of these stores and I am not suggesting that Art Van is going anywhere; but we do have changes in ownership so perhaps we should limit this to this owner.

 

Member Reinke: I would have no problem adding that to the motion.

 

Frederic Keywell: Excuse me, could we limit that to the use as contrasted with the owner? If sometime in the distant future that Art Van is sold to someone else and there is certainly no plans for that, and the store would continue as a furniture store surely whether Art Van owned it or somebody else owned it; it would impact the propriety of the sign.

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that we would like to make that decision, sir.

 

Member Harrington: The reason for that, Mr. Keywell, is in fact that part of the reason why I favor these particular variances is because the actual name of the business entity. It requires more space. Art Van Furniture requires more space than ABC Furniture, so that is why we are limiting it to this particular owner and we will take a fresh look if there is a new one that comes in or a new business that comes in.

 

Frederic Keywell: Let me ask one thing or make a suggestion, if I may. Could you limit it to this name as contrasted with this owner?

 

Member Harrington: We are talking about Art Van.

 

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

 

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

 

Continuation of case filed by FCA Construction, representing Lifetime Fitness, requesting a 146.75 sq. ft. variance to allow for the placement of a 21í4" x 10í (213.25 sq. ft.) wall sign to be placed at 40000 High Pointe Blvd. (21825 Haggerty Road.)

 

Mark Zaebst was present.

 

Mark Zaebst: I am here for the third time to speak to you in regards to our request for a variance for our sign. If I may take just a quick moment to state our reasons that we wish to request a variance since we didnít have a full Board last time.

 

Mark Zaebst: The first issue that we have is that the calculation for our sign is based off of our distance from High Pointe Drive. High Pointe Drive intersects Haggerty Road and truly only serves as a driveway coming into the property. It will never serve as a thoroughfare or a main roadway within the City. But we are having to calculate our signage calculation from our distance from High Pointe Drive which allows us only a 67 square foot sign on the building. If we were allowed to calculate our sign from the true thoroughfare which is Haggerty Road that is almost 900 feet away and would allow us a sign in the 250 square foot. We are requesting a sign of 217 square feet.

 

Mark Zaebst: The other issue that we feel that we have is that a very small sign on this building, because of the distance from Haggerty, is going to cause a potential traffic problem. Haggerty is a 45 mile per hour road which means that cars are going to be travelling at 65 feet per second. If you are coming south on Haggerty once you clear the office building you will only have approximately 2.4 seconds in order to be able to make a decision once you see the sign to turn or to go straight. We feel also coming up from a northbound direction that you are only going to have 3.4 seconds. We feel that is not a sufficient amount of time to make a decision and could cause people to slow down in order to see a smaller sign.

 

Mark Zaebst. Those are our two reasons for asking for a variance with our signage.

 

Mark Zaebst: Last month when I was here, we had a discussion on different sizes of signs. A couple of the Board Members had mentioned that we should take a look at a 130 square foot sign and I said that we would do that but we needed to elevate it, take a look at it, and then to make sure that it could handle all of our needs. The other request was that we originally had the sign placed here on the building over to the side where my pointer is; there was another request from a Board Member that we move that more towards the middle of the building which we are willing to do. This sign that we have elevated here, and I apologize it was supposed to be 130 but our architect drew it at 133 square feet, this is the sign that we were originally requesting at 213 square feet and what I am here this evening to do is to ask if we could meet in the middle and we have looked at a number of different signs going up and down from ten feet increments from 130 to 213. We feel that at 160 square feet, we still minimize the sign considerably from what we had originally intended; yet in our experiments of just driving up Haggerty Road we feel that even though it is a smaller sign will still be identifiable from Haggerty and allows you to make that decision once you get to that intersection.

 

Mark Zaebst: Again tonight I am asking for a variance for a 160 square foot sign on the front of the building.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Heidi Hannan had no comment.

 

Member Fannon: I went out there this evening and the larger sign that is on the bottom is still up on the right hand side of the building, is it not?

 

Mark Zaebst: Yes it is.

 

Member Fannon: Was there ever any discussion about putting Lifetime on the faÁade over the windows? As I drove in there, even putting it on the rightÖÖ.

 

Member Harrington: That was my reaction from day one; the sign even as it exists now is in the wrong spot Ė but they have made the determination that is really where they want the sign and they donít want it on the faÁade, for whatever reason. Your reaction was the same as mine two meetings ago.

 

Member Fannon: When I came up Haggerty and came flying in there, the first thing that my eyes went to wasnít even the signs, it was to the glass doors that you are going to be putting in there. It is really neat and I thought that maybe the sign above it made more sense; but I am not a member yet so it doesnít make any difference.

 

Chairman Brennan: Personally I am glad to see that you have moved toward the direction that we were prompting. I think that it is a lot more palatable. I think it is going to be difficult for anyone to see anything coming down Haggerty to begin with, but this does give you closer to what you wanted and what we wanted along the same lines.

 

Member Reinke: So we are looking at a total square footage of 160 square feet right now?

 

Chairman Brennan: Yes.

 

Member Reinke: So then the variance is really for 94 square feet, correct?

 

Member Meyer: What is the size of the signs on other buildings in that vicinity?

 

Mark Zaebst: Other buildings on Haggerty Road?

 

Member Meyer: No right near where this building is, what size are the signs?

 

Mark Zaebst: I am not sure, I donít have that information.

 

Chairman Brennan: There is not much back in there yet.

 

Member Meyer: Going back there is some buildings.

 

Mark Zaebst: The only building that is up in the complex that we are in is the phase 1 building, the office building which I believe is just finishing construction, but I honestly donít know what the sign package is for that.

 

Member Meyer: Well, this decision will determine a lot of what the other signs will be.

 

Moved by Member Bauer,

 

Seconded by Member Brennan,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-033 THE REQUESTED VARIANCE OF 160 SQUARE FEET BE APPROVED, GIVING THE APPLICANT HIS NAME DESIGNATION FROM HAGGERTY ROAD.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Meyer Motion Carried

 

Case No. 99-046 filed by Stone City

 

Continuation of case filed by Stone City requesting a variance to allow an off premise sign 9í x 5í (45 sq. ft.) with height from grade being 7í to be located at the northwest corner of Grand River and Taft Roads.

 

Joe Scarapelli was present.

 

Joe Scarapelli: Where we are at is that Tommy is no longer with our company and I was kind of given this based on the fact that I was here last time. I believe that you wanted a letter from DeMaria which has been obtained. (Copy given to Board.)

 

Joe Scarapelli: The last time that we were here we talked about a couple different signs. We decided that we could possibly put up a 6 x 4, with a 1 foot platform. We had that sign constructed and it was put up for you to inspect and to look at. That is pretty much the basics. As long as it is approved, all we have to do is to build the platform, or the rock foundation.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: Is that still at the 7í height?

 

Joe Scarapelli: Yes, it will be 7í tall with the 1 foot foundation. It is a 6í x 4í sign with a 1í base.

 

Member Fannon: There are 2 names on the sign, it is not just Stone City and that was discussed at prior Board Meetings? The Stone City logo is pretty nice looking and the other one is not.

 

Joe Scarapelli: I can say that since we put that up we have had a lot of people stopping in that had no idea that we were there. It is working for us, that is for sure.

 

Member Fannon: Do you need both names on it, or can Stone City stand alone?

 

Joe Scarapelli: I donít believe so, they are 2 completely different entities. Stone City being an entity of brick and pavers and things of that nature and Michigan Skid which is an equipment based operation.

 

Moved by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

Seconded by Member Meyer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-046 THE VARIANCE BE GRANTED FOR HEIGHT FROM GRADE TO TOP OF SIGN AT 7 FEET, DUE TO THE IDENTIFICATION NEED; FOR THIS PETITIONER ONLY.

 

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

 

Chairman Brennan: We have a 3/3, we need to keep talking. Where are the problems and where are the approvals?

 

Member Harrington: It is too tall.

 

Member Reinke: That is my feeling also. I believe that they need identification, but I think that they should be able to live within the height of the ordinance.

 

Alan Amolsch: Five feet is a normal business sign; this is not a normal business sign. It is an off premise sign.

 

Joe Scarapelli: I could say that if we were a McDonaldís or an Art Van or some other type of company, sure I could understand the variance. I can understand that you have to have regulations. We are not a common business. We are trying to conduct business inside of your City. It is getting kind of redundant where we are coming back here and trying to get a sign. It is a simple sign, 6 x 4; so that people can identify the fact that we are there and they have a direction of where to go. If you want to go back and talk to my boss; you are only talking 1 foot; well actually 2 foot with the 1 foot platform and I can take the 1 foot platform out of there. I will just push it down to the ground. The last time that we talked, you wanted a 1 foot platform to kind of give it some style or class and the sign as we talked last time was 6 x 4 and the down size from the previous and I donít know all of the discussions that took place before. It was my understanding that 6 x 4 was appropriate for our special situation andÖ..

 

Member Reinke: Speaking as one person, the sign size doesnít bother me as much if it would be rotated 90 degrees. So that it would be 4í x 6í rather than the 6í x 4í.

 

Joe Scarapelli: That is the same square footage, it doesnít make a difference to me. You know it is just that we keep coming back to this table and we need to makeÖ.

 

Chairman Brennan: He is making a suggestion that might solve the problem. Can you live with 4 x 6 and the 4 being the height and putting it on a 1 foot base.

 

Moved by Member Reinke,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-046 THE VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED WITH A SIGN OF 4 FOOT BY 6 FOOT ON A 1 FOOT BASE WITH THE MAXIMUM HEIGHT BEING 5 FEET, FOR BUSINESS IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES; FOR THIS PETITIONER ONLY.

 

Roll Call: Yeas (5) Nays (1) Fannon Motion Carried

 

Case No. 99-051 filed by Maria Nuculaj

 

Continuation of case filed by Maria Nuculaj proposing the construction of a 4í masonry fence/wall to be located within the required front yard of her home. This fence/wall is setback approximately 8í from the front property line and located within an easement which has been approved by City Council subject to the signing of a "Hold Harmless Agreement". The existing front yard setback is approximately 36.43í. The zoning district is R-3, requiring a minimum of 30í front yard setback.

 

Maria Nuculaj was present.

 

Maria Nuculaj: Hello once again. I wrote some more reasons hopefully that you can understand where I am coming from more or less. OK, I have like 7 so called reasons, which to me they are all very important. One, first and most important of all, the safety of my children which I still think is the first and most important. Second, I do think that it makes the house, the appearance, the corner look better. It gives it more beautification. It makes it look more presentable, more nicer or whatever you want to call it. Just better looks overall. Third, I still think that it gives us some privacy or some space from people walking around and being that we are a corner lot so we have our space and they have theirs if they want to walk around. It divides our home from where they want to walk or what they want to see. Fourth, I think and I feel that it gives me a peace of mind, ease, relaxation. I feel comfortable knowing that wall is there because me and my husband do work a lot and have 3 kids who stay with my in-laws who live with us. They are with the kids 70% of the time, besides when they are at home. Fifth, I feel that I have Ö.excuse me sixth; I think it is easier to upkeep it, once the brick wall is there you donít have to do the weeds, the grass, the trees. Once it is there it looks nice and it is easier to upkeep and maintain the look of the house and the value of the corner. The last thing is that I know that there are a lot of corner houses but how many corner houses are on two major, big streets as Nine Mile and Meadowbrook. There are a lot of corner houses but they are little side streets or one major streets. Both of those streets are very major and big and busier than I ever thought. Only when I moved in I saw how busy they both are. That is it.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Building Department had no comment.

 

Planning had no comment.

 

Member Harrington: I have not reviewed the minutes from the last meeting because they havenít been prepared yet, but I have a vivid memory of this case and the case terminated, I think, to the background music of threats of litigation and the like. We afforded the petitioner an opportunity to come before us again to see if there was some alternative proposal that she had short of this brick wall in the middle of her front yard at the intersection of 2, 2 lane roads; Nine Mile and Meadowbrook. We have given her the time this evening and I think that the Board has to provide some alternative suggestions to something short of either nothing at all or a brick wall and what I have heard is a repetition of the argument that has been made at the prior meeting. I havenít heard any new information. I still cannot support a brick wall in a front yard at the intersection of Nine Mile and Meadowbrook. Actually it is not on the intersection, it is setback as all of the Board Members know because we have seen it. Unfortunately I think that this case does set a precedent or could set a precedent for every other person who is concerned for their safety; and we are all concerned for our safety. Some people put boulders in their front yard, some people put in 4 or 6 inch pine trees which could be done next week; if the petitioner so chose. But I think that the issue has significance to the petitioner for reasons other than simple mere safety because pine trees are a pretty effective deterrent and so are some other things that can be done. So, I cannot support this variance.

 

Chairman Brennan: Well, to reiterate what you said; I was hoping to hear something new and we really didnít.

 

Member Fannon: The wall that is there now between the 2 driveways, is that the only wall that you are talking about? Is it going to b extended?

 

Maria Nuculaj: No, that is the only wall, between the 2 piers that are in the center of the house.

It is 12í wide and 4í high.

 

Chairman Brennan: The construction had started but there was a work order issued.

 

Member Harrington: Without a permit.

 

Maria Nuculaj: Instead of 4í would 3í make any difference? I really donít see why that would either but you are saying to make some kind of Ö.. I donít understand why it would; but if you would say 3í high instead of 4í; I donít see that it would make that much difference.

 

Chairman Brennan: I wonít speak everyone, but I think that the issue is just the wall itself in a front yard setback. That is what we are dealing with. I hoped that we had given you indirectly some ideas of how you might be able to accomplish what you want to accomplish. Bouldering you could get some 4í tall boulders in there and not need a permit.

 

Maria Nuculaj: You mean rocks? They are not that thin in order to put there to give people still space to walk and still a space to the front of our house. They are much bigger than the brick wall that would be going there.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-051 TO DENY THE REQUESTED VARIANCE DUE TO INSUFFICIENT HARDSHIP.

 

Discussion on motion:

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: The only discussion would be that there are other alternatives.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-042 filed by the Solomon Group

 

The Solomon Group is requesting a variance from the 4í6" obscuring earth berm and wall requirement along the south property line of the Society Hill project and a waiver of the 30" berm requirement along the Novi Road frontage of the project north of the existing retaining wall and along the 12 Ĺ Mile Road frontage of the project.

 

Joe Galvin was present.

 

Joe Galvin: I am here on behalf of the Solomon Group. Mr. Henry Sasson who is the owner of the property was to be here tonight and I was just informed by Colleen, who is the manager of the River Oaks Apartments which Mr. Sasson also owns, that he was called away. He had an emergency, so I would apologize that he is not present.

 

Joe Galvin: We are here tonight and we are asking for 2 variances from berming requirements of the Ordinance. One concerns the requirement along 12 Ĺ Mile Road and along Novi Road; for a screening berm to be placed or a wall. The property for those of you who are not familiar with is currently wooded and wetlands on both the northern 12 Ĺ Mile and Novi Road perimeter. To physically do the work and to take out the existing vegetation, assuming that DEQ would permit it, and put in a berm and replace the vegetation would be a futile act and as a matter of fact this particular request was precipitated by Ms. Linda Lemkeís initial report on the woodlands in and on this property. In a word, the existing woodlands meet both the aesthetic and the opacity requirements of the ordinance and on that basis we ask for the waiver along both 12 Ĺ Mile and the Novi Road frontage. The situation on the south property line is similar, but not identical. We are under a different ordinance provision and it is the separation of two residentially zoned and residentially used residential properties.

 

Joe Galvin: Now Ms. Bundoff, who is in the audience tonight, owns the property to the south. This portion of the property is clearly because of existing grade separation and the installation of a retaining wall going to have the purposes of the ordinance met by what is being planned. On this side of the property line we have a wetland area here, more of the wooded area that I have spoken about with some landscape plantings in the area that I am pointing out. Again, the purposes of the ordinance are being met by what is being shown on the plan. There is an area that I am trying to go straight between my 2 thumbs which I believe and I say believe because I donít have the finished grade plan with me tonight and I apologize for that. Ms. Bundoff is concerned and I have spoken with her, particularly about this area, so what I would request is with respect to the variance in this area that you grant the variance conditioned on us working on the final grading plan and the final plans which are now in the process going through Planning staff approval; administrative approval. We are to the final plan stage. Working out either that my belief is correct and that the grade separation is sufficient. I believe it to be in excess of the height of the berm requirement. But, if I am mistaken, that we work out a satisfactory resolution of that issue.

 

Joe Galvin: In a word, these variances are based upon the fact that this is a truly unique parcel physically. The existing woodlands, wetlands on the property together with the improvements which are to be made in the landscaping area meet the purposes of the ordinance. Waivers of those berming requirements that are within purview of the Planning Commission have already been granted. The City Council has granted a waiver of the sidewalk requirement along 12 Ĺ Mile Road. What we are trying to do is to preserve the property in itís current state. You are familiar with the retaining wall that is along this portion of the property. You are familiar with the woods, the wetlands and we ask you to keep them. On that basis we request that these variances be approved. We think that we have shown practical difficulties unique to this site.

 

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

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Debbie Bundoff, Novi and Twelve Mile Road. Yes, I do have a definite problem. In those pictures I am standing on my property. The majority of those pictures are taken from the western part of the property minus 200 feet westerly because that is the area of the heavy dense woodlands and behind the woods the wetlands. Basically they start where the apple orchard is and where the approximate location of the tennis courts, the swimming pool, the club house, the parking lot and their main entrances.

 

Chairman Brennan: Would you show us on the map where you are?

 

Debbie Bundoff: The pictures do not show this section, what they do show is from here to here with one of them viewing back this way which is their parking and their main entrance. I have since this project started, constantly reminded the City through Planning and through the Council that I am a RA zoned property with a small farm. This is one of the highest zoned residential developments that this City has, which is a PD option. I do have a problem with tennis courts which are approximately 20 feet from the property line. The area from the tennis court to the property line going south will basically be the main sewer line connection, which will run a little over 600 feet along that property line; which means that anything that is there Ė ainít going to be there, because I donít know a construction firm in this town that could leave the top soil and put in the sewer lines. So, by saying that it is going to have the vegetation and things that are currently there and the density that is there isnít going to happen.

 

Debbie Bundoff: I do have concerns about the drainage, I also have concerns about the section of the parking lot and which headlights would shine into what is technically a side yard of that RA strip. So I do have problems with that. I am concerned over flooding, this property has flooded to the east due to someone helping the drain close and for almost 8 years we kept hearing that it would be taken care of and finally when they did the road they found out yes, we were right and someone had closed the drain off. I do not want the runoff from the tennis courts, the sidewalks which was proposed and I asked Mr. Galvin if they plan on moving the sidewalk to the other side which I have not gotten confirmation on as of yet Ė he thinks that they may but whatever. What happens when the children bring their bicycles to come play tennis and they kind of throw them into the grass or whatever, there is nothing between us. That is basically and as you can see in the pictures pretty flat. I know that their topography shows a 5 to 6 foot grade, but I donít know; standing there it is not much of a grade difference. So unless he plans on raising his up about 6 foot I donít know where that topography comes from.

 

Debbie Bundoff: I am concerned because I havenít seen final plans that show the landscaping and where he plans on putting back trees and things of that nature. I like the idea of the sectioned walls but the ordinance strictly says buffer it from the residential use. I would hope that something, because it is so close would be done and definitely making sure that it does not drain into my yard from the runoffs of the project.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: We have no objection.

 

Heidi Hannan: No comment.

 

Member Reinke: If I am reading this right, Novi Road it is only from the retaining wall north?

 

Joe Galvin: No, it is the entire stretch because the trees come all the way down. What we are talking about is that the ordinance would require a berm all the way down that frontage. Up here in the corner you are in wetlands and you know from the contour there that if you were to build a berm it really wouldnít do any good along the portion; from here to here you have the retaining wall that you drive by, putting the berm there is useless based upon the existing conditions even if the DNR would let you do it Ė which they wouldnít. They wouldnít let you deal with this area which is the wooded/wetland area up here which drops down on the north face; and the trees which will remain in place come all the way down to here. On 12 Ĺ Mile I donít think that there is any question. The only issue as I understand that Ms. Bundoff is concerned about and I acknowledged it; is this area from here to here because on the south line, again you have a wetland over here on the southwest corner. You have the existing wooded area that will be untouched here. We are planting as you can see on the site plan to a depth of 4 trees all the way along the area to the tennis courts and from the road in you have a retaining wall because you have more than 10 feet there. So what we are talking about is this area and that is the area that in the initial presentation suggested that we make subject to the final plans. We will drain on our property and that is not going to be a problem. The staff is not going to let us do otherwise. So I think that the variance with respect to this area is uncontested and with respect to this area and I think what we are really talking about is this portion on the south line and I acknowledge that as it appears now it will be dependent upon the final grade plan and I do not have that with me. I do apologize to the Board for that. So I would ask that the 2 variance requests be approved and the one on the south side be conditioned.

 

Chairman Brennan: For Debbieís sake we do have a letter in file from Ms. Lemke and she doesnít always write us specifically about variances but she did on this one and she is supporting both of the variances, primarily for the reasons that have been discusses already. But she does make a comment that there will be heavy proposed evergreen and deciduous plantings on that. I am just telling you that you have your opportunity as there is still another step to go through in this whole process and I would make sure that you get if very clearly defined, Debbie; because all we can do tonight is to talk about the 2 variance requests. We cannot contingent it upon your property and drainage and other issues. Just comments from my perspective

 

Member Harrington: I think that Debbie has made a compelling case that she needs this berm. At least to protect her property and as to the remainder obviously you canít put a berm into a wetland and Joe is right. But to protect her property I donít see any reason why a berm canít be put in or maybe I missed something in Joeís presentation. Joe, are you saying you canít put a berm between her property and where the tennis courts and the like are?

 

Joe Galvin: No, I am not saying that. I did not say that. As to this area? I understand what you are saying and I would respectfully ask that you allow us to work it out with her; but I understand. But as to the remaining sections, I think that we are covered by the reasons in our letter and Ms. Lemkeís letter.

 

Member Harrington: Well you say let us work it out with her; would we table that portion of the variance request dealing with her property until a future time?

 

Joe Galvin: No, I would ask that you move; well first as to that I think that we are covered as to the south property that the variance be granted subject to a satisfactory resolution as to the area at the tennis courts and since I believe that there is sufficient room and I suppose that if the Board is more comfortable with it that if we are unable to work out another resolution with her that the berm be installed at the tennis courts.

 

Chairman Brennan: I will tell you what, you have the party here and you have presented your case; why donít you go out into the atrium and talk to Debbie; if you get some resolution come back in, wave to us and we will bring you right back.

 

Chairman Brennan: We are always concerned about adjoining property owners; you are here, she is here this is a perfect opportunity to a resolution. Do you have the authority to make some resolution?

 

Joe Galvin: I can try and if I canít I will try to get a hold of Mr. Sasson. I understand what is happening and I will try to deal with it.

 

Chairman Brennan: We will adjourn this case while they talk and we will call another case.

 

Case No. 99-052 filed by Patio Enclosures

 

Patio Enclosures, representing Larry Lotrey is requesting a 5í rear yard setback variance and a 4í exterior side yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a porch enclosure at 25408 Sullivan Ln.

 

Ed Dobson and Larry Lotrey were present and duly sworn.

 

Larry Lotrey: This is a proposal for a sunroom on the side of the house next to the garage. First I would like to correct the public hearing letter that went our for the zoning variance; the rear setback should have been 31 feet instead of 30 feet and the variance needed would be 4 feet. Terry and I have spoken and he is aware of the situation there. The last submission of plans had a very small 31 feet on it and the original plans really should have been deep sixed somewhere and they were still in the folder and somebody may have picked up the wrong number there. But I guess is somebody objected to the 5 foot variance, they probably wouldnít object to the 4 foot correct variance. But, I would like it on record that it is a 4 foot variance for the rear. The side yard is correct with 4 foot.

 

Larry Lotrey: The pictures kind of show a huge cul-de-sac next to my house; it is kind of my backyard. It cuts into the side yard quite a bit and the only place that you can really put a deck or something like a sunroom is in the side yard; you can just about land a 747 in that cul-de-sac it is 108 feet in diameter. Actually when Tri-Mount built the sub they didnít follow the exact curvature and I guess there is a leeway that they are given for 4 or 5 feet; they actually built it a 4 foot radius more so I actually have an agreement to move the sidewalk 4 feet over. When I was investigating the dimensions from the garage I found out that the sidewalk never did move, so I was betrayed by Tri-Mount as I learned this some 9 years later. But, that would improve this case where the sidewalk had been moved over. There is also 14 pine trees planted there and you really donít have a good line of site to the homes across the street.

 

Larry Lotrey: I was here maybe 3 years ago trying to put in a one piece fiberglass pool and the variance was a lot more than this; it was encroaching into the area almost touching the curve of the fence and I guess the argument there was the trees as you wouldnít have a direct line of site to the pool. These trees are much larger now, 9 years later, than when I planted them. They are probably 25 feet high now and they were 6 to 8 feet high at that time. So people across the street really donít have a direct line of site to the sunroom either.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 35 notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: The Building Department has no objections.

 

Chairman Brennan: I will start with the normal one, do you have homeownerís association approval for this.

 

Larry Lotrey: Yes, I do. It is right here.

 

Member Reinke: I think that the petitioner has done a very good job on the location, really it is not extending further in either direction than the existing sides of the garage or the one side yard setback of the existing home. The only comment that I have and we are going to run into this time and time again because these homes are sandwiched on these lots so tight that they canít do anything, or add anything without getting a variance. I really have a problem with that, but I donít know what else to do.

 

Larry Lotrey: Maybe I am lucky that I have a cul-de-sac there, because there is nobody there on that side of the house; I couldnít do anything on the other side. I agree. We are on 80 foot lots or maybe 85.

 

Member Meyer: There is no one behind you?

 

Larry Lotrey: There is wetlands behind me and a big cul-de-sac. In fact, if you look at the 4 foot variance; 4 over 30 is 13% encroachment and 4 over 35 is 11% and that is not that much.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: The proposed is to extend your wall 2 feet from the chimney side and it is even with the home itself.

 

Larry Lotrey: That was the big deal, if the letter went out correct it would be even with the chimney and I would think that if somebodyÖ..

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: Even with the home itself and not the chimney, that is 2 feet.

 

Larry Lotrey: The chimney is already in the variance.

 

Ed Dobson: I would also like to state or to reiterate a few things that Larry just said. At street side looking at this home it is a very hidden type of build. It almost gives you the feeling that you are in the back of your own home and yet as you see on this drawing you are on the side because of the unusual corner lot. Coming across this unusual type of lot, and I have been here a couple of times before, I would certainly like to request that you grant this in a favorable way for this homeowner; it is a beautiful and I am sure that he will enjoy it. With regards to where the room is located and adjacent to the house we tried our best to stay within the perimeters of the house lines. The 2í area there; the main reason that we designed it that way is that there is a drainage intake (sump pump) where it would be a perfect location to tie it in with any unusual difficulties.

 

Moved by Member Meyer,

 

Seconded by Member Harrington,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-052 TO GRANT THE 5í REAR YARD SETBACK VARIANCE AND THE 4í EXTERIOR SIDE YARD SETBACK VARIANCE TO ALLOW FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A PORCH ENCLOSURE AT 25408 SULLIVAN LN. DUE TO ODD LOT SIZE AND A WILLINGNESS TO STAY WITHIN THE SPIRIT OF THE ORDINANCE.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-053 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 Lannyís Road. The sign was erected without a permit.

 

Ray Cousineau was present and duly sworn.

 

Ray Cousineau: If you would like we could lump the two cases together as it is the same issue on both of them.

 

Case No. 99-054 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 Lannyís Road. The sign was erected without a permit.

 

Ray Cousineau: You are absolutely right, we constructed the signs without a permit. Guilty. What we did was; we constructed the signs in accordance with our approved site plan as the signs were detailed on the site plan both architecturally and on the engineering drawings. We felt comfortable going ahead with that and we constructed them in accordance with the site plan. After they were erected the City came out and informed us that they did not meet the zoning requirements for signage and specifically the setbacks and that is what brings us here this evening. We have 2 issues; obviously the cost involved in relocating, which I know is not a factor for your consideration but it is something that impacts us. But most importantly we like the location of the current signs and if the signs have to be relocated to meet the ordinance setback requirement the signs are going to be within about 2 feet of the building faÁade or the front elevation. I think that the appearance of the signs in that location is going to severely detract from the appearance of the buildings; which we spent a lot of money on trying to develop a residential character and to keep it in harmony with the adjacent residential properties. I am not going to make a big deal out of this; I will do whatever you want me to do. We like the signs where they are, we think that number one they are low profile, they are small signs (one is 4 x 5 and the other is 3 x 4) they are dark green in color, they are very unobtrusive and once the site is landscaped I donít think that you will really notice them. If we are forced to put them back to meet the setback requirement they are going to be within 2 feet of the building; which I think is going to detract from the appearance of our building and it is going to be in a location that is going to be undesirable as far as we are concerned.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 21 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection. Copy in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Heidi Hannan had no comment.

 

Member Fannon: I went out there today and I know that this company made a mistake and they admitted it; but it was probably one of the best mistakes that I have seen made. The signs seem to be in the right spot for the area. Lannyís is a little bit residential, the signs seem as though they are where they are supposed to be even though they violate the ordinance. I think that putting them back within 2 feet of the building would look kind of stupid. So I would support the variance but not support the fact that they were pulled without a permit. I would have supported the variance if they would have come in before the fact and they were on the site plans; which I guess doesnít mean ------- but if the City approves a site plan, it doesnít automatically mean that you can do that though? Am I correct?

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: Not without a permit.

 

Member Fannon: I still think that the signs came out very nice for the area as it is partly residential.

 

Member Meyer: Did you know ahead of time that you could not put the sign up without getting a permit?

 

Ray Cousineau: No, we didnít know; it was an over sight on our part. If we had known we would have applied for a permit and would have addressed this issue a lot sooner.

 

Member Meyer: It was a question that I had to ask and I appreciate the candidness.

 

Moved by Member Fannon,

 

Seconded by Member Harrington,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-054 TO GRANT THE VARIANCE DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE AREA IS PARTIALLY RESIDENTIAL AND PUTTING THE SIGNS BACK ANOTHER 23 FEET WOULD PUT THEM 2 FEET FROM THE EXISTING BUILDINGS AND AESTHETICALLY WOULD NOT LOOK PROPER.

 

Chairman Brennan: The petitioner had asked us to look at both of these, so we have 053 and 054; did you want to Ö..

 

Member Fannon: Then I would add 99-053 to the same motion.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-055 filed by Patrick Reaume

 

Patrick Reaume wishes to live in the existing home at 28790 Summit Drive while he constructs a new home on the property.

 

Patrick Reaume was present and duly sworn.

 

Patrick Reaume: I would like to live in my current house at 28790 Summit while I build a new house. That would make it easier so that I donít have to find another place to live while the construction of the house is going on. I have 2 Ĺ acres and I also have the support of the neighbors on both sides of me and across the street as they would very much like to see a new house there. I understand that the current house that I am living in now would have to be torn down before I could get a certificate of occupancy.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 13 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was 2 written responses received both voicing approval. There was approvals from 5 adjoining neighbors submitted with the application. Copies in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: Although we have no objection to this, I would ask the Board to entertain of the applicant to secure a demolition permit prior to the occupancy of the new home and then allow a TCO with a 30 day compliance on the move and the demolition of the home.

 

Member Reinke: What are we looking at as the time frame?

 

Patrick Reaume: Right now we would probably start next spring and trying to get it done next summer.

 

Member Harrington: When in the summer?

 

Patrick Reaume: As soon as we can get it done. I would like it to be done before Christmas.

 

Member Reinke: I would like to see a reasonable time frame so that you are not scrunched in there, but I donít want to see it open ended either. So that is my reason for that question. I appreciate Mr. Morroneís input on that and I think that would be a very good idea to incorporate that part of it if a variance is granted.

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that we get the gist of his intent. He is sincere and he has approval. As long as we can word our motion to fulfill the interest of the Building Department and the applicant is already nodding that he is agreeable to that; it sounds like we have a good plan.

 

Member Fannon: Is there a time limit that Laverne had in mind, that he thought was reasonable?

 

Member Reinke: Well, my thought on that is that if he is going to start next spring that it be completed and the old home demolished by the end of the year.

 

Member Fannon: An expiration of the end of 2000?

 

Member Reinke: Correct.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: The only thing is that if we get into bad weather, then he canít do it in December. So why donít we move it up to where there is still good time.

 

Member Reinke: I am just saying that I am looking at a maximum time frame; because I feel that the gentleman has a very good intention to start in the spring and to be done in the summer; but sometimes that is not real either. I donít want to put the petitioner in a situation that is an impossible task to meet and yet I would like to see an end date on this also. So that is why my time frame was to extend it out to the end of the year maximum.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: That is no problem.

 

Chairman Brennan: Do you have issues with either the Building Departmentís comments or Laverneís time lines?

 

Patrick Reaume: What if something unusual came up and you couldnít get it finished by the end of the year? I am not planning it that way and I donít see any reason whyÖ..

 

Chairman Brennan: You would have to come back and ask us for an extension.

 

Patrick Reaume: I donít think that there would by any problem, butÖÖ

 

Moved by Member Reinke,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-055 THE VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED AND THAT THE VARIANCE FOR LIVING IN THE EXISTING HOME WHILE CONTSTRUCTING THE NEW HOME SHALL NOT EXCEED THE END OF DECEMBER OF THE YEAR 2000 AND 30 DAYS PRIOR TO THAT A DEMOLITION PERMIT IS TO BE PULLED FOR THE EXISTING HOME.

 

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

 

Recall of Case No. 99-042 filed by the Solomon Group

 

Joe Galvin: What we have is the inability to get the proper piece of paper work. We would request, and I have spoken with Ms. Bundoff and she has agreed to this request, that the Board table sub-paragraph A the variance for the 4í6" screening wall/earth berm along the south property line and we will deal with that between now and when we intend to come back to your next meeting with a solution. We would ask respectfully that the berm requirement along Novi and 12 Ĺ Mile Road be waived for the reasons that I stated and those which were in Ms. Lemkeís letter.

 

Moved by Member Harrington:

 

Seconded by Member Fannon:

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-042 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE AS PRESENTED TO US BY VIRTUE OF THE PETITIONERíS LAST COMMENTS WHICH WOULD PROVIDE FOR A WAIVER OF THE NOVI ROAD AND 12 Ĺ MILE BERM BY REASON OF THE PRESENCE OF WETLANDS AND UNIQUE TOPOGRAPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS AND WOULD FURTHER MOVE TO TABLE THAT PORTION OF THE VARIANCE DEALING WITH THE ADJACENT PROPERTY OWNER UNTIL THE NEXT MEETING.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-056 filed by Novi Development, LLC

 

Novi Development, LLC is requesting a variance to waive berming requirements between I-1 and the residential district and along the rights of way for Haggerty Road and Regency Drive for the entire site and including Units 5 and 6. This request is to allow the construction of Regency Industrial Centre, for property located on the west side of Haggerty Road north of Grand River.

 

Matt Quinn was present.

 

Matt Quinn: I am appearing on behalf of the owners of Regency Industrial Centre. Mr. Fannon it is good to have you back, your wit and knowledge is always appreciated here on the ZBA.

 

Matt Quinn: We are here this evening for a few landscaping variances and these variances have already been supported in front of the Planning Commission by Linda Lemke and I believe that she has correspondence already in your file. The first variance that we are dealing with is a berm requirement on the east side of the industrial centre that is adjacent to Haggerty Road. Now picture this, Haggerty Road is 30 feet higher than our project. I think that you will agree, it doesnít make sense to place a berm whose purpose is to shield you from the adjacent property when the adjacent property is a public thoroughfare that is 30 feet higher and therefore we are requesting a variance from that. If you look at the proposed conceptual plan, we are heavily screening that area anyway with trees that will eventually grow up and may be as tall as Haggerty Road is, 30 feet above our site. So that is variance number one.

 

Matt Quinn: The second variance deals with the internal 30 inch berming requirement along Regency Drive. At the Planning Commission meeting the consultants stated that they are currently working on a rewrite of the draft to get rid of this requirement because it doesnít make any sense for us to put a 30 inch berm adjacent to property that we own. What this would require is along the frontages of Regency Drive to have a 30 inch berm to shield us from the buildings that we are going to own. This is a condominium development. The owner is going to continue to own these 6 sites and rent out or sell out the rest of these. We are as you see on the two plans that we have preliminary site plan approval for, units 5 and 6, we are landscaping heavily the frontage of these buildings along Regency Drive to in effect duplicate, to take affect, to actually maximize the screening requirements that the current 30 inch berm requires.

 

Matt Quinn: So we think that first of all the variance along Haggerty Road is due to the uniqueness of this site as it doesnít make sense to have a berm and the internal 30 inch berming along the non-vehicular areas is something that we can handle through the extensive landscaping that we will do and as I said they are currently working on getting rid of that ordinance for industrial parks anyway.

 

Matt Quinn: There was a possibility in the listing anyway, there was some language that we needed a variance for a berming requirement in this nature area, however, that was actually granted to us by the Planning Commission, the assistant City Attorney felt that the Planning Commission had the authority to grant that variance so that is not in front of you tonight for that reason.

 

Matt Quinn: I will be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 11 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written approval received voicing approval. Copy in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: The Building Department has no objection.

 

Heidi Hannan had no comment.

 

Member Harrington: I see that the proposed landscaping especially along the roadway there as sort of a form of mitigation. Do you view yourself as subject to a requirement to put that in or in the alternative if we were simply to grant your variance could you or your development at some future point decide that we really donít want to put that stuff in and we are not going to and beside we have our variance?

 

Matt Quinn: We only have site plans approved for units 5 and 6 currently. There is not site plans for this. This is showing conceptually what the intent of the developer is to do along the Haggerty frontage.

 

Member Harrington: Well conceptually it is critical to my approval of your variance, which I am inclined to do, that there actually be landscaping put in that within a reasonable generation or two is going to grow up and serve the same purpose. I think that the purpose is important. That is where I am coming from.

 

Matt Quinn: We would not have any objection to that because that is the intent as we have already expressed.

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that we may address that, Jim, in this letter and maybe this wasnít distributed to everyone, but this came from Linda Lemke; we are supporting this variance due to the evergreen shrubs proposed.

 

Member Harrington: I understand, but I know that often things change as they go through the planning process and things are added and deleted. Anyway when we are done here I am going to make a motion and I am going to make that a part of my motion.

 

Member Reinke: I think that Mr. Harrington has covered this quite well and addressed the issues and my concerns. I believe that it should be a part of the variance.

 

Member Meyer: Would you explain to me again the reason for not having the berm on Haggerty Road; was that because of the height?

 

Matt Quinn: Yes, if I can actually show you Mr. Meyer, here is the photograph and Haggerty Road being the upper and our property being to the west of the sidewalk there and you can see it is a 30 foot difference between the road elevation and out property elevation.

 

Member Meyer: Well, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words. Thank you very much.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Reinke,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-056 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCES AS REQUESTED BY REASON OF UNIQUE TOPOGRAPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROPERTY; BUT SUBJECT TO THE LANDSCAPING SUBSTITUTE IN BOTH AREAS AFFECTED BY THE VARIANCE AS DESCRIBED BY THE PETITIONER OR LANDSCAPING SUBSTANTIALLY EQUIVALENT TO WHAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED TO US AND THAT THE VARIANCE BE CONDITIONED UPON THAT.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-057 filed by Mr. Mahadevan

 

Mr. Mahadevan is requesting a 7 foot rear yard setback variance to allow for the construction of a deck and screen port at 24130 Trafalgar Ct. in the Broadmoor Park Subdivision.

 

Mr. Mahadevan was present and duly sworn.

 

Mr. Mahadevan: Actually it should only be the screen porch, we already have a permit for the deck and it has been constructed and in fact I think we are going to have an inspection tomorrow for the deck. When we moved into the house and our house backs into the DNR wetland, so when we moved into the house there is a lot of bugs in the evening time. So when we were going to construct the deck we said we would like to have half of the deck with a covered porch so that we can enjoy the deck when there are mosquitoes and come out outside at other times. So when we went to Coy Construction to get the design for that and they applied for the permit we realized that we would require a variance for that. So, our property since it backs into the DNR wetlands there is really no property just behind our house; just 200 to 300 feet of wetlands. So that is why we are requesting this 7 foot variance.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 25 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: The Building Department has no objection.

 

Member Harrington: I know that it is a concern for the Board when things are already built without a permit, did you build the deck yourself?

 

Mr. Mahadevan: No, we have a permit for the deck and then we built it. There will be 2 separate permits.

 

Member Harrington: How did you learn that there was a setback problem?

 

Mr. Mahadevan: When we submitted the design.

 

Member Sanghvi: When he submitted the design to create a screened area he realized that if he put a screened area in you need a variance and for a deck you donít need a variance.

 

Member Fannon: So the deck is in compliance with the setbacks, but if you put the porch on top of the deck the porch is to close to the property line by 7 feet?

 

Member Meyer: There was no malice intended here? In other words you did this without knowing?

 

Mr. Mahadevan: Yes.

 

Member Fannon: I donít think that he has done anything.

 

Member Meyer: I am sorry, I thought that he had already begun the project.

 

Member Reinke: It is very viable for what the petitioner wants to do and the only thing that I would say again is that we have houses that are built to the maximum and they donít have any avenue to go. I think that we overbuild our lots. There should be some kind of a cushion in there that somebody could go 7 feet. I can support the petitionerís request.

 

Moved by Member Reinke,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-057 THE PETITIONERíS VARIANCE REQUEST BE GRANTED DUE TO LOT SIZE, SHAPE AND CONFIGURATION.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-058 filed by William Bowman Sr., representing Thompson-Brown Company

 

William Bowman, Sr., representing Thompson-Brown Company, is requesting a 1í height variance and a 26 square foot variance to allow an 8í x 4í (32 sq. ft.) temporary real estate sign with height from grade to top of sign being 6í, for property located at 26900 Meadowbrook Road, between Twelve Mile and the I-96 expressway.

 

William Bowman was present and duly sworn.

 

William Bowman: As the marketing agent for the Meadowbrook Corporate Park we are requesting a variance to the size of a temporary ground sign to be permitted at 8í x 4í for a total of 32 square feet, for the identification and the acceleration of leasing and build to suit of the high-tech buildings to be constructed at the Meadowbrook Corporate Park lying north of I-96 and west of the M5 connector and facing on the east side of Meadowbrook Road.

 

William Bowman: We sincerely need an identification and a marketing sign that is commensurate with the high quality and high tech park. Presently we are limited under the Novi Sign Ordinance to a 2í x 3í sign on 5 or 6 individual properties that have been assembled and put together for a program of a 31 acre high tech corporate park. This series of signs does not reflect the image of a high quality tech park. A 2 x 3 sign cannot project the readability or identify the proposed high tech park.

 

William Bowman: So much for the necessity and the need for such a sign. Relative to the hardships that we face and that we cannot cure without the ZBA granted variance we are in the position where the 5 houses or structures which must all be removed at one time will not be removed until all the houses are vacated and so we are stopped at this point from any opportunity for a larger sign of the project type of sign that the builder is entitled to when he applies for a building permit. Our problem is that the building permit cannot be applied for until after we have some specific specifications of a tenant or a purchaser of a building so that the builder can actually make an application for the permit and then after the permit is obtained then he is entitled, as we understand it, for a larger sign. Similar to the same sized sign that we are requesting by variance.

 

William Bowman: In summary, each of the individual parcels has a house or structure there on which limits the size of the sign to 2 x 3 foot, which is frankly not very commensurate with the type of development that we are planning on the 31 acres. The houses cannot be removed until the developer has paid off the land contract and then the property and all of the houses can be raised. The developer is prevented from requesting the project sign that would give it the identity that we need and incidentally if there is a contingency or a time limit for a temporary sign up to the sign that we could get that type of identity that would certainly be agreeable to us. We would ask that you give consideration that the number of square feet that we are requesting, if you put in the number of square feet of the 6 signs it would be approximately the same as the 32 square feet that we are requesting for this temporary one sign. Thank you very much.

 

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

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Debbie Bundoff, Novi and Twelve Mile Road. I just have a concern about the other signs that are on some of the properties that list those properties through Thompson Brown and was hoping that possibly all of them could conform to the same size and nature versus having 5 or 6 separate signs all of different character.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Alan Amolsch had no comment.

 

Heidi Hannan had no comment.

 

Member Reinke: Is there a time frame when these homes will be vacated or is that still kind of open ended yet?

 

William Bowman: We think that the last home is anticipated to be vacated in a couple of months. The one person had a year from the time of the closing which takes them approximately another 6 months.

 

Member Reinke: When the last individual moves out, will those homes be demolished?

 

William Bowman: Yes.

 

Member Meyer: You are only allowed 6 square feet?

 

William Bowman: Yes and until we can start something that really makes an indication that they are moving ahead on it we are just at a point of not being able to particularly demonstrate that we are serious and that the developer is serious about do it.

 

Member Harrington: Sir, was there a rendering of this proposed sign on site? Is it already on site? I didnít see it, if it was.

 

William Bowman: Not, there is not.

 

Member Harrington: Where you aware that before we approve signs that are larger than ordinance the Board really likes to see signs, so that we can get a sense as to how they work in accord with what you say you need.

 

William Bowman: What I understood was that there was a discussion relative to this type of sign and I did not understand that we were required to have a mock up sign.

 

Member Harrington: It is like a strong that we really like, so that we can get a sense as to what is going on there.

 

Member Harrington: My sense as to this sign is that 8 foot is to big. I could like a 6í x 4í sign, I really like 24 square feet for some reason and most of our permanent signs seem to live with that quite comfortably with the ordinance. So for a limited period of time and I would like to hear some Board discussion on how long we think that he needs this sign. I could live with a 24 square foot sign, but if there is any sense that it needs to be larger or if the petitioner feels that he has to have the 32 square foot sign, I want to see it, which would mean coming back next month.

 

William Bowman: Mr. Harrington, let me say this; anything would be an improvement over what we have offered at the opportunity at this time. If you want to limit this to the 6 x 4 foot we would be certainly pleased to have that opportunity.

 

Member Harrington: Seeing that anything is better, would that mean any time frame that you can work with? Like is 6 months long enough or 9 months or 2 months? How much do you need?

 

William Bowman: How about 9 months?

 

Member Meyer: Do you think that you would have some of the structures up with 8 months?

 

William Bowman: Let me what I think that we will have. I think that there will be a building permit taken out and I think that then we will have the opportunity for the project sign and then we would certainly be pleased to remove it at that time. If you put a specific time limit on it, we will live with that.

 

Member Reinke: In echoing Mr. Harringtonís comments the 4 x 6 sign I think would be adequately helpful in this situation and also in conjunction with that I donít think that we would need a 1 foot variance as they could live with the 5 feet to go along with that.

 

Chairman Brennan: Was there anything magical about that?

 

William Bowman: No sir.

 

Chairman Brennan: So, if we understand our revised request we have 24 square feet and we are at 5 foot with the height and the duration is whatever the person on the Boardsí motion says.

 

William Bowman: Yes.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-058 TO APPROVE A VARIANCE FOR A SIGN WITH A TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE OF 24 SQUARE FEET, WITH NO HEIGHT VARIANCE FOR A PERIOD OF SEVEN (7) MONTHS.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-059 filed by Novi Town Center

 

Novi Town Center is proposing an expansion with a proposed restaurant and retail building at the northeast corner of Novi Road and Grand River Avenue and a proposed retail building at the northwest corner of Grand River Avenue and Town Center Drive and is requesting a variance to omit the 4í6" berm along Grand River Avenue and Town Center Drive.

 

Matt Quinn was present.

 

Matt Quinn: On behalf of Aetna Life Insurance Company, the owners of the Novi Town Center, and the Linder Company, the managers of this development. As you have read in the paper and heard from City Council Aetna Life Insurance and the City of Novi are working hand in hand to upgrade and coordinate the development of the Novi Town Center project including the upgrading of the old Amoco corner into a nice urban space that the City will have the opportunity to build a nice water fountain in so that the corner will be a real center piece of the community.

 

Matt Quinn: What we are here for tonight is the new building that is going to be located on the corner of Town Center Drive and Grand River, right up in this area. (Chart shown to Board.) There is a new pad, a building proposed for retail commercial purposes and as part of the plan for that area the current ordinance requires a 3 foot berm to be along Town Center Drive and along Grand River in this particular area. Now what currently exists there is an already heightened elevation on both streets and some very mature shrubbery. Linda Lemke, by the way, has submitted a letter to you and spoke in front of the Planning Commission in favor of granting this variance and the reason really is this; this shows the upper portion on this diagram the elevation as it now exists. This is a vehicle on Town Center Drive looking out the passenger window and you come to what you would call the highest elevation area which is currently ground level and once we build a parking lot behind there the purpose of the berm is to screen the vehicles that are parked within the development. What will happen is that we again from the same vehicle and again the eyes will be stopped right at the highest point of the ground elevation and we are proposing, of course, to keep all of the trees that are there and right now they are on a 5 foot center. They are mature trees with 5 inch calipers and we will propose a heavy hedge that will go adjacent to the parking lot area. What that does and you will see from the top line here, is that it is impossible for any traffic along Town Center Drive to see the vehicles that are parked behind the elevation and the existing landscaping and the new landscaping that is going to be proposed.

 

Matt Quinn: If we were to put in the required 3 foot berm, that would require a 3 on 1 slope and a 20 foot base for that berm. What that would require us to do is to remove all of the existing vegetation, all of the mature trees, take them out and build a new berm which is this orange area on the chart and by the way this berm would extend beyond the existing sidewalk, and then we would have to replant everything. So due to the uniqueness of the existing land grade it does not make any sense, in our opinion whatsoever, to have the requirement of putting in this 3 foot berm and the only purpose of that berm is to create any parking from the roadway. It is already handled somewhat today with what is in existence and with the adding of more landscaping; we can easily satisfy the requirements of the City for screening the parked cars from the travelling public.

 

Matt Quinn: For those reasons we would ask that this particular variance be granted. We will be more than happy to answer any questions.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 71 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection. Copy in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: Although we donít have any objection to this project and would support the variance, it is important to note that the 2 restaurants (A and B) appear to be adjacent to property lines with zero lot line conditions. When that occurs the building code requires that you have 2 hour fire resistance rated exterior walls with no openings. What that means is that you are either going to have address the building code requirements or seek a variance from the Construction Board of Appeals.

 

Matt Quinn: We actually approached that at the Planning Commission level and stated that we are going to work with your department. That has nothing to do with our variance request tonight. We are well aware of that and our people think that we can get together with your people and go to lunch and work it out.

 

Member Fannon: Is the landscaping that you are proposing to put in after the fact? The hedge.

 

Matt Quinn: In certain areas a lot of this exists now.

 

Member Fannon: The hedge?

 

Matt Quinn: Yes.

 

Member Fannon: Is that a requirement of the Planning Commission or is that something that should be made a part of this variance?

 

Matt Quinn: You can make it a part of your variance, but it will be part of our site plan for this particular structure. We have shown it and this is again the general idea of the landscape plan for this building pad which will be submitted. Actually it was approved come to think of it, I misspoke myself. The site plan for this was approved at the Planning Commission level with this landscaping plan being approved.

 

Member Harrington: If the site plan is proposed and approved or it is already in the approved stage, is there a continuing obligation to keep the property in conformity with the site plan? For example, there is a change in ownership on the parcel 10 years from now and they decide that they donít like trees or they donít like shrubs; may they come in and remove those shrubs or may they come in and cut those trees down? Is there any continuing supervision by the Planning Commission or the City or anybody else?

 

Matt Quinn: The first question is yes; the landscape plan is part of the site plan and is continuing for as long as the structure is there. If someone wanted to modify the landscape plan they would have to come back to Planning.

 

Member Harrington: If they just come in and cut the trees down, can the owner or whoever has control of that property be required to replace those trees.

 

Matt Quinn: Yes, because it is a part of the site plan. If they are going to change the site plan they have to go back to the Planning Department to get the change approved.

 

Member Harrington: Is Planning, and again I am dealing with housekeeping issues, at that point 10 years from now going to be aware of the fact that we may have conditioned a variance on maintaining that landscaping in substantially similar form?

 

Matt Quinn: It goes into a file for this address and whenever the building or ordinance enforcement decides to pick up the file for this address and check it out that would be a part of their review.

 

Chairman Brennan: I will speak the obvious, it seems crazy to rip out a bunch of stuff to put in a bunch of new stuff; when you have pretty stuff to begin with. I think that they would call that practical difficulties.

 

Moved by Member Harrington,

 

Seconded by Member Fannon,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-059 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE AS REQUESTED SUBJECT TO CONTINUED CONFORMITY OF THE LANDSCAPING AS DESCRIBED OR SUBSTANTIALLY EQUIVALENT LANDSCAPING, BY REASON OF THE PRACTICAL DIFFICULTY ON SITE.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-060 filed by Michael Klingl, representing Home Depot

 

Michael Klingl of Greenberg Farrow Architecture, representing Home Depot is requesting a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals to allow outdoor sales of merchandise in a zoning district which requires all sales to be conducted in an enclosed building.

 

Joe Galvin was present.

 

Joe Galvin: We are here in connection with the variance for the Home Depot to allow an approximate 9000 square foot area used for seasonal sales of plant materials. This area, where I am indicating on this rendering of Providence Park Place Shopping Center which is to be constructed having Home Depot and Kroger as itís co-anchor tenants. We are before you tonight in order that we obtain the variance which is necessary for this area shown on the phase 1 plan for the shopping center to be constructed.

 

Joe Galvin: (showing charts) Interstate 96, Beck Road, Grand River Avenue is where the development will be built. I know that you are all familiar with it and I suspect that you are familiar with the rezoning and the site plan approvals that have gone on. I am pleased to tell you tonight that both Kroger and Home Depot have signed letters of intent to come here and there will be a grocery in the western end of the City. The Kroger letter of intent is co-dependent with the Home Depot and that is why we are here.

 

Joe Galvin: The area that we are asking the variance for is an operational means of Home Depot. I would point out to you tonight that the area that we are asking for tonight is 9000 square feet. This is a prototype, which will put in Novi one of the first enclosed garden centers in the mid-west. All the remaining products that you have seen in Home Depots in other locations will be in a fully enclosed garden center area. It is only the live plant materials and related mulch and the like, outdoor pavers, brick and the like that will be in this area. It will be used principally the months of April through December. We ask that the Zoning Board of Appeals grant this variance. I can show you physically what the area will look like in this elevation. You can see that it is gated and it has brick and the other material which is on the face of the building. The architectural plans for the buildings have been integrated with the Providence Campus to the south and as you can see from the rendering the entire area will be landscaped. The existing wetland area that you are familiar with is to the west and will be left in itís natural state. The 15 acres that are necessary and that for the future interchange have been reserved on the plan and this variance is the last step or the last piece in the puzzle that will have this project go forward. We feel that we have shown practical difficulties operationally and you know what the business of Home Depot is and that these live products cannot be stored inside and on that basis we ask that you approve the variance to allow these seasonal sales in this 9000 square foot area.

 

Joe Galvin: I have Mr. Jonna, the architect and Home Depot here to answer any questions.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated that there was a total of 10 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was no audience participation.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone had no comment.

 

Heidi Hannan had no comment.

 

Member Reinke inquired of the Building Department: I am assuming that the reason they are here for a variance is because this is an open air section, am I correct in that respect?

 

Terry Morrone: Outside retail sales which are normally not permitted in this zoning district. They need to be within the building.

 

Member Reinke: What I am saying is that if this area was closed in Ė they wouldnít be here for a variance.

 

Terry Morrone: Correct.

 

Member Reinke: I really donít have any problem with this. It is maintained, it is a defined area that is not something we have to worry about (like an ant that crawls out further) and so I can support the request.

 

Chairman Brennan: Just to expand on Laverneís comments, we have granted similar type of activity for similar types of business and have had problems. Not to suggest that we will; but it is something that we are sensitive to. But, we also look forward to Home Depot on the west side as well as Kroger.

 

Member Harrington: It sounds like our action tonight is the final piece of the puzzle and this will be the only trip on behalf of these retail establishments and we arenít going to see a sign package later on? Or maybe not.

 

Joe Galvin: I canít say and you really know that.

 

Member Harrington: I do know that. I am in favor of the variance and I will say that I have always been impressed with the professional atmosphere that Home Depot brings to any community that they are in; they are a top notch, first class operation and we welcome them to this City.

 

Moved by Member Reinke,

 

Seconded by Vice-Chairman Bauer,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-060 THE PETITIONERíS REQUEST BE GRANTED TO DEFINE THE OUTDOOR SALES REQUIREMENTS THAT ARE NEEDED FOR THEIR OPERATION.

 

Discussion on motion:

 

Chairman Brennan: Was there any talk about seasonal? This is only from April to December.

 

Joe Galvin: That is the intention of their use.

 

Member Reinke: Since it is a defined area I donít think we really have to limit that because there are walls that hold it in there and if they can utilize or use so be it.

 

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

 

Case No. 99-061A & B filed by Allied Signs, representing JoAnn Etc.

 

Allied Signs, representing JoAnn Etc., is requesting A) to change the sign that was granted in ZBA Case No. 1370B limiting the sign area to not more than 48 sq. ft. to a sign 35í7" x 8í (284.67 sq. ft.) and B) to allow a second sign 24í x 22" (44 sq. ft.), for property located at 43570 West Oaks Drive.

 

Chairman Brennan: We are going to call your case and have you come up; but we may save a lot of time as I donít think there was rendering put up as we had requested.

 

Allied Signs: I didnít know that there was one required. We submitted colored drawings.

 

Chairman Brennan: What is the Boardís pleasure? Do we want to pursue or table?

 

Member Harrington: I want to see a rendering.

 

Chairman Brennan: As part of the application for variance on a sign the Board wishes to see a rendering or a mock up; you are seeking a considerable variance request and you really need to talk to the Building Department because I donít think we are going to hear your case or we can hear your case and you might not be happy.

 

Allied Signs: We plan to work with the Board. We are here to see what we can work out for signage at that location. The request that we have before you is their optimum sign plan for this location. We are not deaf to any request by the Board or recommendations by the Board so we can be directed in the right gear.

 

Chairman Brennan: Letís do this, this is case no. 99-061A & B; state your name for the record and be sworn.

 

Randy Schmitt was present and duly sworn.

 

Randy Schmitt: Your are probably familiar with the construction going on at that location; if not JoAnn Fabrics is going through a large renovation program. They actually are going through a nation wide change in their marketing plan and going to larger stores and carrying more product lines. The location square footage is increasing a great deal. The store front is increasing by a great deal over what they currently had been in. The store actually moved over to the right of their existing or prior location to allow for the construction to go on. What you have before you and I believe this is what we have submitted so far; showing a store frontage of 304 lineal feet with a 42 foot frontage area on the main entrance way. We are proposing 2 signs, actually, the JoAnn Etc. with the Experience the Creativity on the front. This again is the optimum plan that JoAnn Etc. is looking for at this location. But we are here to work with the Board to come up with a compromise that would work for the location.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 18 Notices sent to adjacent property owners; with no written response received.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Debbie Bundoff: My only comment is that because I was looking forward to seeing the sign, too because I understand that where they at now they will be in the other side of the building; so I was hoping to look at it too.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Member Reinke: For this sized sign without seeing something in the true proportions, I have a real big problem.

 

Chairman Brennan: As I tried to tell you, but it is your right to present your case; we have had the position for a long time of any variance request to signs that we want a mock up put up. This can be a white billboard and you can actually make the mock up with the verbiage on it if you so desire, but we want to see an outline of the proposed sign and actually it would be very helpful to also see in contrast what zoning allows so that you know what zoning allows and we have a perspective of what you want. With that said, I think that is the sentiment of all on the Board and with a nod of heads I would propose that you do this mock up as the building is still under construction and we would put your case off until September to have a chance to see the mock up and then discuss it further with you. Are you agreeable to that?

 

Randy Schmitt: If the Board sees fit, we would look for any other comments with direction to make sure that we are coming in as close to possible to the mark that the Board is looking for.

 

Chairman Brennan: You should be prepared, and this may be your first time in front of the Novi ZBA, am I assuming correctly?

 

Randy Schmitt: No, I have been here; but it has been some time.

 

Chairman Brennan: Then you should be prepared to discuss why you need a second sign and you should be prepared to discuss very much in detail why you need a sign 284 square feet. It is a huge sign. So, if you are willing to put this off for a month we will see you in September. If you need further clarification you can call the Building Department and they will give you some guidance. I donít think that we are going to vote on this tonight.

 

Member Harrington: Just a point of clarification, you do have a sign up there presently correct?

 

Randy Schmitt: Yes, the location is actually re-located to a vacancy to the right hand side of what the old location was and there is a sign on that store.

 

Member Harrington: Is that the original 48 square foot sign that was granted?

 

Randy Schmitt: Yes.

 

Member Harrington: I donít think that the Board is asking you to put up a new sign anything other than the 48 square feet; obviously that has been approved and I donít think that it would be the sense of the Board that it should be discontinued. So, if ordinance would provide for something less than that I donít think that you should have to go through that exercise as you already have a sign. Board comment on that. If ordinance only allows a smaller sign, obviously we have given them a variance already and I donít think that we are going to yank it from him just because he is reconstructing. But we want to see is the 284 square foot sign and we are not going to start at the top and work down; you have the burden to show us why you need anything more than what you have. If you think that there is something within a modest range above that 48 square feet that you think that you can live with, you might want to put a sample of that up there, too, because we are going to look at any sign that you have out there between now and then.

 

Member Meyer: I want to thank you for your willingness to collaborate with us on this.

 

Chairman Brennan: This is our first continuance so you will be first on the agenda or right up at the top.

 

Randy Schmitt: What is the date of the meeting.

 

Nancy McKernan: The meeting is September 7, 1999.

 

Chairman Brennan: We will see you next month.

 

Case No. 99-062 filed by Brad Byarski, representing Novi Crossings

 

Brad Byarski, representing Novi Crossings, is requesting a 20í front yard setback variance, a variance for 856 sq. ft. of loading space, a variance for the north side of the building for the 4í landscape belt, and side yard parking setbacks to allow 3í on the west property line and 0í on the north property line to allow for the construction of Novi Crossings at the northwest corner of Grand River and Novi Roads.

 

Matt Niles was present and duly sworn.

 

Matt Niles: We have been working on this project for a couple of years and working very diligently with the Planning Commission, the Steering Committee and what we have here is a very small urban site in a key location of the City.

 

Matt Niles: The existing site, the northwest corner of Grand River and Novi Roads, the existing Bates Hamburger building is there right now. We are proposing a small retail building, 7361 square feet that meets the ordinance. The building itself meets the ordinance as far a design and dimensions, materials. It meets the ordinance in parking, 38 spaces are required and 38 are provided. We provide the overall landscaping on site.

 

Matt Niles: Due to the size of the site, its location landlocked to the west with Knightís Auto Parts, to the north the existing Roman Plaza and Wonderland Center and of course the other two sides of the site are fronted by streets. It is quite landlocked. We have worked very hard for a long time to try to work out some kind of deal to acquire more property to maybe expand the site and make it a little more workable, but those businesses seem to be doing quite well on two sides and they are not really interested in pursuing that.

 

Matt Niles: So what we have is a site here with four ordinances that we are asking for. First Novi required 80 foot setback from centerline of the street and we have provided 60. In providing the 60 we have room to leave a 17 foot sidewalk, landscaping development streetscape along that frontage, completely meeting the Town Center requirements. What has happened to us on that side of the site, right now there is a 93 foot right of way on Grand River and after a couple of years of work the Road Commission came along and said "we want 27 feet of your site"; a site that was already pinched and in doing so we have contributed 27 feet of our site to the Road Commission or that will occur, causing us to set our building back farther but still allowing the street frontage to happen the way that the City wants it to happen with 17 feet of sidewalk and the landscaping.

 

Matt Niles: The next variance, the loading. The loading is calculated per street frontage and this site, if you look at it, 1146 square feet are required based on our street frontage. We are proving about 350 or 330. If you look at the site the proportion of street frontage as compared to the size of the building and the size of the site is so disproportionate that the standard doesnít lend itself to being a good and accurate judgement in this case. Our building with this size, we are probably going to have 3 or 4 small tenants and they are not going to need large semi trucks, probably just small delivery vans. We have a 35 foot deep loading area, plenty big enough for 30 foot vans to service the loading area. In the worst case a truck could come in the curb cut at the Wonderland Plaza and come around Wonderland Plaza and come into the back our site and sit in the service drive behind Wonderland Plaza, if that was the case. In this size building with these sized tenants we know that just isnít going to happen.

 

Matt Niles: A couple more things. The side yard setback for parking on the west; 10 feet is required and we have provided 3, partially a result of losing 27 feet of frontage to the Road Commission along Grand River. On the north a 20 foot setback is required and we have a 0 setback. Our view right now is the we have created a shared access condition with Wonderland Plaza and we have a shared service drive condition that is kind of like just one shared parking situation also. You have parking back to back which is a very typical parking condition in any parking lot. If it were one parking lot it wouldnít even be an issue.

 

Matt Niles: The final issue the north side of the site for the building is required a 4 foot landscape and we have provided a sidewalk there. In our judgement it would be more advantageous to the welfare and the safety of the customers to be able to have the sidewalk there; they can park in the back and then just follow the sidewalk right to the front. We can take that sidewalk out and make it landscaping. Linda Lemke indicated that she would support having the sidewalk if we just incorporated some pavers. So, that issue is very easy to take care of.

 

Matt Niles: So, if you look at the site what has happened here is that you take 10 foot setback on the west for parking, a 20 foot setback on the north for parking, an 80 foot setback on each frontage, with the Road Commission taking 27 feet; there is virtually no visible site left. There is about enough room to put in nice 3000 square foot house that we would need and ordinance for, too, because to build a residence and no one would want to live there. It is an urban site, urban location, urban conditions and we have urban solutions.

 

Matt Nile: That is basically what we are asking for, those four variances due to our landlocked site, taking of right of way, unavailability of land and practicality of the loading area. That is kind of what we are doing here and we are hoping that you folks could help us out here; look at it realistically and help us get passed the last hurdle. We can answer any questions that you might have.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 21 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There was one written response received voicing objection. Copy in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Milton Knight. I will briefly go over this letter with you and real quickly. Our company feels that these proposed variances go beyond the extreme compared to the Cityís code requirements. Our concern is that such excesses will jeopardize the safety of the general public, our customers and our employees. We have always tried to provide a safe and efficient access to our business property and we feel that the vehicular traffic of this landlocked property overflows onto our property it will cause safety problems and an undue penalty for our company. We feel that the variance request for off street loading and unloading alone will cause numerous problems. There is no guarantee that the proposed tenants will receive deliveries from small vehicles. Moreover in the future there may be large delivery trucks; the tenants might require larger trucks and we feel that this extreme variance will cause problems. How will they off load. The Roman Plazaís alley does not provide easy access and parking for large delivery trucks. Such problems could result in traffic overflow into our property. So we feel that the proposed variances alone that they are asking for could cause pedestrian and traffic problems on our property. Add the absence of an ingress to this site from Grand River there is no way to get onto this property from Grand River, you are only going to be able to make a right hand turn getting out of the Roman Plaza; so if you want to go to Frankís and have dinner you are going to have exit the property and make a right hand turn onto Grand River. It will be the same for a delivery truck, it will not be able to get into the property off of Grand River. Our concern, again, is the safety of our patrons, our employees and the general public. We feel that you have to provide a safe access to the business and that these variances will make it difficult to that in the future. It will add to the traffic congestion of this already difficult intersection. I am down there every day and I can tell you that there are problems galore down there trying to get in and out of that corner.

 

Milton Knight, Sr. The 3 foot variance on the side of the building from 10 on the parking line to 3 feet, we are concerned about that for one reason. We have to consider snow removal. If you let this man have this variance on the side of the property when it comes time to remove snow that is going to be causing against our fence which has been there for years, which will cause another problem and we feel that the 10 feet is the law and we think that they should be held to it because we donít feel that 3 feet is going to do us one bit of good when it comes time for him to start pushing snow as it is going to overlap on our property and we are going to get the drainage when it starts thawing. I just wanted to bring that up, thank you.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone had no comment.

 

Heidi Hannan: I would like to add that the Planning Department has worked extensively with the applicant to address issues related to this site including the circulation and that we believe that the site plan as shown does improve the circulation that is currently existing there. You are aware of the site and it is a difficult site but they have worked extensively with us and we do support the variances as requested due to the configuration of the site.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: I donít believe that we can give a variance if we are talking about the county road.

 

Member Reinke: My question, I guess, I will direct to Planning. One thing that has been addressed here is that if the snow is pushed up to the extreme end of his property is that going to be able to contain runoff?

 

Heidi Hannan: I know that the plan was reviewed for grading and runoff, I donít have specifics on that but it did receive approval from the engineers.

 

Chairman Brennan: When they review that, do they consider winter and the snow?

 

Heidi Hannan: I am sure that they do.

 

Terry Morrone: The runoff should be handled.

 

Chairman Brennan: I am not talking about runoff, I am talking about snow. They have a legitimate point. You have 3 foot between the properties and if we get a foot of snow, where are they going to put it?

 

Terry Morrone: I donít know if our ordinances address the backing of snow.

 

Member Harrington: Have you signed any leases with proposed tenants?

 

Brad Byarski: We have signed no leases at this point.

 

Member Harrington: What are you trying to fill that with?

 

Brad Byarski: The majority of the potential tenants that we are speaking with are retailers, Harmony House, Computer Warehouse and there are others.

 

Member Harrington: What other kind of businesses and how many do you anticipate that the building will break out to?

 

Brad Byarski: I donít think that we could end up anywhere between 5 and as small as 2, going small would just be Harmony House and a Computer Warehouse.

 

Member Harrington: Could you put a pure office building in there? Is there anything that would prevent that?

 

Brad Byarski: Just office?

 

Member Harrington: Yes, is there anything to prevent that?

 

Matt Niles: I donít think that there is anything that prevents an office tenant.

 

Member Fannon: Is there an agreement between you and the existing plaza to use that parking lot in writing? About 20 years ago I pulled into Daveís and couldnít get through because they put up about 2 feet of blocks. What prevents them from doing that again?

 

Brad Byarski: We have a cross easement agreement, it has not been signed yet. There is a concern that if we are not approved we may move the building to the back of the property and block his building, which he has a major concern with.

 

Matt Niles: So if it is approved in this location, then he is going to be happy with the agreement.

 

Brad Byarski: I believe that the Planning Commission made our final approval subject to presenting them with signed easement agreements.

 

Member Meyer: Will your front yard setback of 60 feet be an obstruction to traffic in any way, shape or form?

 

Matt Niles: What we are doing has been approved by the Oakland County Road Commission and their feeling is that as long as we provide 17 feet of sidewalk from the building to what could be potentially the new future curb line, that it is in compliance with their requirements.

 

Member Meyer: Are you planning on shoveling snow onto Mr. Knightís property?

 

Matt Niles: There is a couple of issues here that I would like to say a couple more words about. As far as circulation and access, actually if you look at our site currently there is a curb cut on Novi Road that we moved as far west as the site allows; getting as far away from the intersection as possible. The one on Novi Road we have moved west or we have located as far west as possible. The one on Grand River we have completely eliminated and that is the

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that you have that backwards.

 

Matt Niles: OK, so actually we have improved the accessibility to the site. The Cityís Traffic Consultant, we have worked with him extensively in developing this and this is what he has recommended as the best solution for the situation. The other thing is the snow and as far as location right behind the building we have a fairly large landscape area, actually. Which is probably larger than it appears to be for an area of the size parking, that along with another corner on the site we would be able to stack some snow. The parking lot has been designed and approved by JCK, the slopes and the grades of the parking lot were a very big concern and were really looked at; so when there is melting it is going to be handled within the site because of the sloping of the parking lot and it is not going to be flowing onto the adjacent site.

 

Chairman Brennan: Novi Crossings is the property owner or the developer?

 

Matt Niles: Novi Crossings is the name of the project. The developer is RemTech, which is Brad Byarksi.

 

Chairman Brennan: I will tell you what I have and I will go down them one by one. I think that your first variance request of the setback is certainly within reason and it gets that building back a lot further than the current building. I have a little problem with the ambiguity of off street loading. The landscape belt, I think that speaks for itself. I am concerned about the setbacks to the neighbor and feel that he has made a strong point that it may impact him even though the City Engineerís have signed off on it, I am not convinced that they have taken all of the considerations for the snow. Those are my thoughts. We will take these one by one obviously and perhaps others will have different comments.

 

Member Reinke: If they donít get to go within 3 foot of the property line, they are going to lose the whole row of parking because it wonít fit in there.

 

Chairman Brennan: That is a question for Planning, how many spots do they lose and does that present another variance request?

 

Heidi Hannan: They are right at the parking requirement now.

 

Chairman Brennan: So any loss of any spots opens up another problem.

 

Member Reinke: My main concern on this is that the site contains all of the runoff. I guess that has been addressed in the site plan. I think that is one of the requirements of any development that they must contain their own runoff. If it has gotten to this point on doing that I think that it is answered. Probably 95% of the problem that we are looking at is the snow being pushed; now if the snow gets pushed past that lot line that isnít a controllable problem. I donít see how it can be changed.

 

Chairman Brennan: Certainly one thing that could be changed, and I will speak the obvious as I always do, you could make a smaller building and then you wouldnít need as many parking spots.

 

Member Harrington: Where I am at is that it is inconceivable to me that any intelligent retail establishment would want to locate in that area, much less be a neighbor with 2 to 4 or 5 other tenants and have trucks coming through, loading and unloading and only have a single exit which would be a right turn onto Grand River. Normally I donít deal with gut issues like is it the right building or is it the wrong building; but I think that there is a burden of persuasion that the petitioner has, at least for this Board Member, which is that this is in fact a good project. I canít support any of it because I think it is the wrong project and maybe Iíve got my planning hat on which I am not supposed to do; this is the wrong location in the wrong part of the City on the wrong crossroads with the wrong use. I donít think that it has been truly thought through as a project. It has office development built all over it and why we would try to put 2 to 5 retail businesses in this congested area makes no sense to me. Unless I hear a lot more, I canít support any of these variances. That is where I am at.

 

Member Fannon: I would have to agree to some degree with Jim. I think that the building could be made smaller for maybe a single purpose user, with less traffic. I would even prefer getting rid of some of the parking to get away from the neighbors. Three foot is about as wide as this table; so I think that we are jammed right up against the neighbors who have objected here tonight. I think that the petitioner should take another look at this site and see if there is some way that they can use it differently. I just canít imagine retail customers coming in and out of here when Daveís was open it was a mess; it was terrible. We are going right back to where we were. It just seems like if the building were smaller and there was a way to lower the traffic, then maybe something would work on this site.

 

Chairman Brennan: That leads to a good point, I hadnít even thought of that; you canít make a left turn out of there. Planning must have obviously discussed this; you can only get in one way and you can only go out one way.

 

Matt Niles: That was recommended as the safest and the best route to use; the way to solve the circulation.

 

Member Fannon: It is something similar to what is on Novi Road next to Fendt there, the wishbone concept that is sitting right here where you can only take a right and I donít think that people can take a left coming in, if I am not mistaken. I guess you could go up here and take a right and go out onto Novi Road and if you did try to take a left you may make it, but probably not.

 

Member Harrington: It will be right across the street from one of the most dangerous retail establishments in the entire City of Novi by tenfold, which is the gas station where people routinely come out and make what ought to be illegal left turns and block traffic in both directions and ignore common sense and rules of safety and this is what people are going to do. It doesnít matter if they have a no left turn sign or not, they are going to do it anyway because they are not going to go down the street to the brake shop and turn around and if they do that is wrong because that is increasing a safety hazard.

 

Member Meyer: Let me get this straight, you have already been to the Planning Commission and the Planning Commission has not only approved your preliminary site plan, but they have also more or less supported these for variances that you are asking for.

 

Matt Niles: That is true.

 

Member Meyer: Did the Planning Commission mention anything to you about the fact that it might be to much on to little land? Did they say anything about this to you?

 

Brad Byarski: I guess that I will comment on that. About 2 years ago when we approached this site we sat down at the time with the past planning consultant whose name alludes me, Mr. Rogers and explained to him the situation with the site and that we had it under contract and we would like to pursue the thought of development and he referred us to a few other meetings and we have been to the steering committee probably 12 times on this site. The building was as big as 9000 square feet at one time based upon the expense of the land and the Bates and the other factors on the property. They also requested that we rezone the property, we have rezoned the property to TC1 from TC; all in the attempt to get this development on this corner. So, yes that is the long answer to your question.

 

Matt Niles: It has all been done completely with their direction.

 

Member Meyer: Mr. Harringtonís point is well taken; people trying to get in and out of there and knowing for example that if you have to make a right turn to try to get back, you have time to read a book while waiting at the corner of Grand River and Novi Road because of the time of that light. It almost seems incomprehensible that you would put more retail stores right there with the hope that there be a good flow of traffic. You have done research on all of this?

 

Brad Byarski: Quite frankly, it is what we were led to believe that the City wanted to see on this corner and we were told that a number of times.

 

Matt Niles: Also, there is other issues. The issue of possible office development has been brought up here and looked at, but the traffic situation with office development would be far worse than with retail because of the peak hours of traffic. You have a difficult intersection already and if you have an office use you are going to have your highest concentration of vehicular movements happening at the office rush hour and that would make this condition much worse than retail. In retail the shopping hours or the peak shopping hours are not within the office rush hour times. So they are opposite traffic uses and that is why the retail actually works much better than office, especially in this kind of a difficult location.

 

Member Meyer: If I might just ask two other questions. One, is this the first time that you heard of the concerns of the Knights?

 

Brad Byarski: Yes it is, I have spent numerous hours with Mr. Knight.

 

Member Meyer: And this is the first time that you have heard of his concern. The other question that I have is that when you say "the City" in the last two years has asked you to consider building something like this on this site, who is "the City"?

 

Brad Byarski: The Planning Department.

 

Member Meyer: Thank you, I just wanted a clarification of that. I have no other questions.

 

Chairman Brennan: We seem to have some problems with the variance requests and typically the way that we get that back into Planning to address those is to vote on your variances. I see really no other options except to do that. Continuing really doesnít really give us anything. They have been led down a path with Planning and there are certainly some things that we see wrong with this.

 

Member Reinke: I am assuming that these are minimal ÖÖÖÖ

 

Heidi Hannan: This is a whole package.

 

Matt Niles: Not necessarily or quite exactly; the 4 foot landscaping on the north side of the building is very easy to accommodate. Probably with all of the other setbacks that is true. Especially with the road commission taking 27 feet along Novi Road is what has really created our lack of setback on the west side of the side.

 

Member Reinke: But that is only one.

 

Matt Niles: It is one, but we could put the landscaping on the north side of the site so that is 2; the landscaping is not an issue but the setback is an imposed hardship, they took 25% of our site; that could put an awful lot of projects in jeopardy. Any developer coming along would incur these same problems and aside from leaving the Bates Hamburger building there is not much that you can do.

 

Member Harrington: I am not persuaded by what I have heard from the petitioner. I could be persuaded if someone who actually has specific knowledge of this particular project and how it is processed through Planning over the last year or two can speak with some intelligence regarding why this is the best and the highest use of the premises, I would listen to that. I am not impressed when I hear that office traffic which basically involves 8 to 5 or 9 to 6 employees would be a greater burden than the volumes of retail that would have to go through 2 to 5 businesses in order to generate a profit so that they donít go bankrupt and viscerally that doesnít appeal to me. But, if someone from Planning or someone else can make a pitch in support of this project, I would listen to it. The burden has not been met as far as I am concerned.

 

Matt Niles: Rod Arroyo has supported this.

 

Member Harrington: Well, where is he? This is an important project, isnít it?

 

Heidi Hannan: I am here representing the Planning Department.

 

Member Harrington: Then take us through it. Are you familiar with this particular project?

 

Heidi Hannan: Yes, I am. First of all we started out with the northwest quadrant and did a complete study, if we could wipe the slate clean what we could do there. Obviously this isnít the optimal development.

 

Member Harrington: What would be?

 

Heidi Hannan: Obviously, we would get rid of everything that exists there and we would improve the circulation. But that is something that we canít do.

 

Member Harrington: Are we perpetuating a problem then?

 

Heidi Hannan: The applicant came in with this site and they are interested in doing something that we see as an improvement to what is there, so we have worked with them on this improvement and in many ways it does improve the circulation. It is still not the optimal circulation pattern that we would like to see, but based on the improvements that have been made we are supporting it. We do acknowledge that it is a difficult site due to the size.

 

Member Harrington: Is this the optimal use for this particular site?

 

Heidi Hannan: We do believe that the commercial is what we are looking for there. It is TC1 zoned and we believe that this development is compatible with what will be happening across the street. So yes, we are encouraging that with the Town Center expansion. The two projects will have similar landscaping and will work well together. We believe that. But again, there are constraints related to the size of the site and some of those things we can address without wiping the slate completely clean so we have tried to work with the applicant.

 

Member Harrington: The county acquisition of the 26 or 27 feet; was that by condemnation or was it sold to the county?

 

Brad Byarski: They did not condemn the property, about 2 months ago in the planning process it was brought up that the road commission may wish to acquire this property for the additional right hand turn lane there. We sat down with the county and they essentially stated that they were not going to condemn the property or pay us for the property but they would just like us to develop our site and that we leave that available for them to take in the future.

 

Heidi Hannan: As you can see, the applicant has been working with many entities to accommodate some of the constraints with the project.

 

Member Harrington: So, this whole design is based upon something which might happen in the future and that is that the county might come in and acquire the 26 feet but thus far they donít own it. Correct?

 

Brad Byarski: Correct.

 

Member Harrington: So, we are afraid of something that might happen in the future; which hasnít occurred and that is why we are going for these variances?

 

Matt Niles: It is in their plans and theoretically they are starting the engineering on it next year, or so they have told us.

 

Member Harrington: But they are going to have to pay a ton of money for that property, right?

 

Matt Niles: I donít know what is going to be worked out there. Right now, there is a 93 foot right of way on Novi Road and they want 120 feet. In our attempts to do everything that we can to satisfy everyone we have said OK we will work with you and we will set out building back farther and we will leave that 27 feet available so that you can come through next year or the following year or ten years and do your road expansion.

 

Member Harrington: And then put another lane of traffic in front of your building.

 

Matt Niles: Which would be a right turn lane. Which in their opinion would improve the circulation at that intersection even more. That is why it is in their plans to do it.

 

Member Fannon: I guess my question is, if you didnít get any of these variances what is the maximum sized building that could go onto this lot? Or is it zero? What is the maximum sized building with no variances? Is it 2000, 3000, 4500 or?

 

Matt Niles: It is probably in that range. We havenít done an exact study.

 

Member Fannon: What range?

 

Matt Niles: Probably 3000.

 

Member Fannon: I would like to know if there is no variances what the maximum sized building that could go on that lot. Because maybe this is just an economic hardship, period. Like I could build a 4000 square foot building but I am paying so much for the property that I canít get the tenants to pay me rent. Well, I just donít know. I donít know the answers to all of these but I would like to know the answer to that.

 

Member Meyer: That could be a legitimate question.

 

Member Sanghvi: Can you go up?

 

Member Fannon: Would there be a variance to go up? That is a good point.

 

Matt Niles: It complicates things a lot to make the foot print smaller and then go to two floors. It doesnít really work in this sized retail building.

 

Brad Byarski: You would be looking at a very small and tall building, a tower kind of.

 

Member Fannon: I would like to have a little bit more information. I have lived in the City since 1973. I donít want to make a mistake on this corner which is a mess and maybe this is the best solution. I donít know as I am not on the Planning Commission. I hate to vote on something without knowing just a little bit more. That is my problem.

 

Chairman Brennan: You have put it very well. That is a critical corner and we donít want to make a mistake there.

 

Member Meyer: It is "the corner".

 

Brad Byarski: Can I invite Mr. Stevens up to maybe address Mr. Harringtonís question as to how we have come down this road as he has been involved, we have walked the site a number of times and I donít know if it means anything, butÖ.

 

Member Harrington: These questions may be more important than mine. Like what can be built there without a variance?

 

Chairman Brennan: What would be the Boardís pleasure. If our recommendation is to continue this who would we like to see and what information would we like to have?

 

Member Harrington: I would like to be satisfied that this is the highest and the best use for this property and that a variance is genuinely required because it cannot be otherwise developed within City Ordinance. That is what I would like to hear.

 

Chairman Brennan: Who out of Planning would best present that?

 

Member Harrington: I donít have the foggiest. We have a Planning representative here.

 

Heidi Hannan: If I may interject, I think it might be good to have Mr. Arroyo attend also, just to address the traffic concerns. I am not a traffic planner; I can tell you the basics but he may be able to explain how we arrived at the support.

 

Chairman Brennan: That is one, Mr. Arroyo.

 

Member Reinke: He is quite versed on the planning aspects of it, being the Planning Consultant of the City as well as being knowledgeable in traffic. I think that he could probably address the major issues that the Board would have, as into direction and what they could or couldnít do and what they would have if they didnít have any of these variances; with the required setbacks and everything what would be left? I think that he could very easily address these issues and answer these questions for us.

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that you may get the gist of what we are getting at here. We are very uncomfortable with this. It is a critical corner and we are not prepared to move on the variance request tonight. Rather than taking this to a conclusion tonight and giving you a no vote and sending you back to ground zero. I guess in speaking for the Board we would suggest putting this off a month and getting a little bit more information on each one of these variances and seeing if there is a way to minimize them or giving us a little more satisfaction that this what we really need to do. There are problems associated with just about all of the variance requests. What is your pleasure?

 

Matt Niles: We would definitely rather come back in a month; put together some more information and have Rod Arroyo in attendance then to start over again.

 

Chairman Brennan: I would highly suggest that you spend some time with your neighbor and satisfy their concerns. You have sat here all night and you know that we are very concerned about neighbors on new projects in particular and this has to be viewed as a new project on a clean piece of paper. If this was a house we would be asking you as the builder "why do you need any variances with a clean piece of paper?"

 

Member Meyer: Also, in light of our request it would really be good to know if you are planning on Harmony House and Computer Warehouse or if there is some other possibilities or varieties of who might indeed occupy that very, very critical piece of real estate in the City.

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that we have agreement that this case will be continued and Planning has our input and hopefully between you and the petitioner you can get the right people here. Are you OK with that?

 

Brad Byarski: Yes, sir.

 

Chairman Brennan: Then I would make a motion that this be continued. All those in favor? All Ayes. Case tabled to the September Meeting. As this is continued you will be at the front of the docket.

 

Case No. 99-063 filed by Medallion Homes

 

Medallion Homes is wishing to demolish the existing home and garage at 101 Penhill and construct a new home and garage. In order to do this they are in need of five (5) variances; a 3.5í front yard setback variance, a 3.73í side yard setback variance, a 15.03í exterior side yard setback variance, a 13.97í rear yard setback variance and a 1% lot coverage variance.

 

Mya Johnson, Medallion Homes and William and Vanessa Curtis, property owners were present and duly sworn.

 

Mya Johnson: I would like to present a couple of photographs of the existing structure on the property. (copies presented to the Board.)

 

Mya Johnson: I know that it appears as though we have asked for a multitude of variances in this particular instance but in actuality we are really not asking for to much more than what is actually in existence with the current residence on the property and you can see from the photographs is in a pretty bad state of dis-repair. What we are proposing is going to enhance the property, the neighborhood and basically is going to be an improvement to the entire site.

 

Mya Johnson: The first variance that we are asking for is a 3.5 foot front yard variance. The current existing front yard setback deviates from the required setback 5.9 feet; so what we are asking for is 3.5 feet. We are going from a 24.1 foot setback to a 26.5 setback; so we will be increasing the existing front yard setback with the proposed structure. The current side yard setback is 6.27 feet and the side yard setback that we are asking to have with the new structure is also 6.27 feet and there would be no difference from the setback for the existing residence on the property at this time. The exterior side yard setback Ė we are asking for a 15.03 foot variance for the exterior side yard and the current setback is 14.97 and we are asking for a 15 foot variance so it is ever so slightly larger than what is in existence with the proposed structure at this time. The rear yard setback, we are asking for a 13.97 foot variance on the rear yard setback. The current setback from the existing home is 58 feet but the current garage is only 2.3 feet from that rear yard and the new home which includes the home and an attached garage would be 27 feet from the lot line, so although we are asking for a considerable variance on the home itself, we would be demolishing, what you can see from the pictures a garage which is in quite a sad state and is almost on the property line. It is currently 2.33 feet from the property line. The lot coverage variance that we are asking for is only 1% of the total lot area, currently the lot coverage which includes the home and the garage is about 22% and our proposed lot coverage would be a 26% overall percent of the property.

 

Mya Johnson: I would also note that the surrounding properties in this area have a history of nonconformity, the lots are very small, the lots are irregular, it is an older area just on the other side of Walled Lake. The neighbor to the northwest is in a 6 to 7 year old structure has about a 33% lot coverage and the side yard setbacks are 6.1 and 5.15 with 24 foot front yard setback and a 32 foot rear. The next property to the northwest also has an 8.03 side yard set back and a 24.09 front yard setback. Across the street, across West Lake Drive from this property virtually all of the homes are nonconforming and some of which actual encroach into the road easement. The home to the immediate south of this property has an existing shed which is on the property line. So, all of the surrounding structures to speak of are nonconforming.

 

Mya Johnson: The Curtisí have submitted a petition to their neighbors which was submitted with our application. They have canvassed approximately 10 neighbors which would be all of the surrounding neighbors to their home and all of whom have approved the proposed residence which they would like to see because it is going to be much more attractive than the existing structure that is there right now. Two of those neighbors are in the audience here and have spent all evening sitting here and waiting for their chance to support their neighbors in the proposal that we have on the table right now.

 

Chairman Brennan indicated there was a total of 33 Notices sent to adjacent property owners. There were 2 written approvals received and as the petitioner has pointed out there was 8 additional home owners signing the petition. Copies in file.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

Elizabeth Burkett, I live directly across the street at 2005 West Lake Drive where I own the property. I have seen the plans and I think that it will be an improvement to the property and I welcome it in the neighborhood.

 

Brandon Kaufman, 109 Penhill; I live 35 feet to the north. I would also support this, specifically for the fact that they are proposing to have an attached garage and then a driveway and that currently doesnít exist and this will provide off street parking spaces which are desperately needed; the school bus can almost not get through there, or the snow plows, garbage trucks, etc. I would encourage you to support this.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Terry Morrone: The Building Department has no objection.

 

Member Reinke: It would be nice if the if the lot were bigger. It is a definite improvement. It is an existing lot, something needs to be done. I can understand the neighbors feelings in wanting to see better as an improvement there, especially with what the pictures show. To take everything out and put a new residence in as to what they are depicting here, I think it is a very positive asset to the area. Even with the lot I can support the request.

 

Moved by Member Reinke,

 

Seconded by Member Harrington,

 

THAT IN CASE NO. 99-063 TO APPROVE THE REQUESTED VARIANCES TO ALLOW FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW HOME AND A GARAGE AT 101 PENHILL. THE NEW RESIDENCE WILL BE A POSITIVE ASSET TO THE AREA.

 

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

 

Other Matters

 

Chairman Brennan: Under "Other Matters" we have discussion of HQ and K-Mart temporary use for outdoor storage. Is that something that Don was prepared to discuss?

 

Alan Amolsch: I have been in contact with the new manager at HQ and they have cleaned up quite a bit of the site. They have removed all of the stuff from the front and the sides. They still need more work in the back. They are still having growing pains with the new business going in there. K-Mart is OK, they just had some flowers where they were not supposed to be, they were in the parking area and they have corrected that.

 

Chairman Brennan: If Mr. Korte is watching and I am sure that he is, Mr. Saven is working on your letter that was submitted in last month, in July, and he has promised to get an answer for you at our next meeting.

 

Chairman Brennan: We had also kicked around ideas for accelerating the ZBA Meetings and I put together a list.

 

Member Reinke: Whatever you put together and implemented tonight, you did a very good job on.

 

Chairman Brennan: I think that the bottom line is that if we can all do what we can to accelerate and that is asking questions and making motions and cutting out all of the needless banter which there really isnít much on this Board.

 

Member Harrington: On that issue, I think it is really critical that the petitioners and their hired representatives who have a buck to make; understand that we have read the materials that are submitted and that we really donít want to see brand new materials at the meeting unless for some reason it couldnít have been in the package; but most important and most significant is that we do not need the package reiterated word for word in front of us. We can grasp the issues, we understand the issues and I think it is important sometimes perhaps to give a little background and local color information - but we donít need 15 or 20 or 25 minute presentations which is not typical but it happens often enough. I think that if you get 2 or 3 of those particular people who we see here every now and then and they know who they are and if not call me tomorrow and I will tell you who your are. I think it is really important that the presentations of the petitioners be streamlined and I am not talking about residential petitioners but the commercial business petitions that we see. We can handle the issues. We can understand the hardship pretty quick.

 

Chairman Brennan: That is a good point. What we have here on my little cheat sheet is that after the person is sworn that I do have it underlined that I remind them that we have reviewed the information and to please summarize the case. I can add that in and perhaps that will prompt people to be a little more direct.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: I go along with that 100%, but the people that are listening on television really donít know what we are talking about.

 

Member Reinke: I think that a lot of times what we do, in a quick overview in the presentation would suffice for general information as to what we are dealing with without going into fine line detail and anything that is really pertinent is going to come out in the general discussion rather than being brought out by the petitioner in his request and then we go over the same thing again.

 

Member Sanghvi: Maybe we can prepare some guidelines for them to be more effective in their presentation, so that when they come for their application they can have it, refer to it and bring it along.

 

Chairman Brennan: They actually have that.

 

Member Sanghvi: I donít know how many get it and then utilize it.

 

Chairman Brennan: Does everyone get Mr. Harringtonís comments? I thought that it was seriously given out.

 

Member Sanghvi: I think it should be part of the packet that they receive.

 

Alan Amolsch: They also do not read about the mock ups.

Chairman Brennan: And if they donít they are going to get kicked right back out too. I think that with the variance request application, everyone should get one and this was being done.

 

Nancy McKernan: Basically it is only the developers that Don talks to that gets these rules.

 

Member Sanghvi: I think they should have something in writing so that they can refer back to it.

 

Member Fannon: Would the Board consider letting the homeowners who have variances go first so that they donít have to stay here as late? Or is the policy first come, first serve?

 

Chairman Brennan: We used to do the sign cases last, but we changed.

 

Member Sanghvi: We do first come, first served.

 

Chairman Brennan: The exceptions are the continuances which go first on the next go round.

 

Member Fannon: I just thought that somebody who would need a 250 square foot sign would come second to someone who is trying to build a new house.

 

Member Reinke: I just wanted to remind the Board and I will push this off on Nancy, that the MSPO Conference is coming up the 22 Ė 25th of September and I want to make sure that all of the Board Members were aware of this. I hope that the ones that have the opportunity to go will do so. Nancy, if you can get an outline of what the program will be and somehow get it out to the Members so that if the program looks appropriate people should make every attempt to go.

 

Member Harrington: It was very valuable last year.

 

Member Reinke: If anyone can find the time to attend, I found this to be very beneficial.

 

Member Harrington: Where is at this year?

 

Member Reinke: It is at the Amway Grand, in Grand Rapids. It is the 22 Ė 25th of September.

 

Member Harrington: I have an issue and I will be brief, but it is the same issue that I raised a year ago and the year before that; and this is not a commentary on any of the people associated with the video or the audio going over the airways but it is a commentary on the technology that this City refuses to budget adequately for. The audio and video that emanate from all televised City Meetings is abysmal, it is awful, it is horrible and that is on a good day. You cannot see people when they are talking, the camera will not follow the flow of conversation and an intelligent view would give you a view of the entire Council, the entire Planning Commission or the entire Board. We apparently donít have the money to pay for that and what we do pay for doesnít work. The last meeting or the meeting before, the audio was broken or the video was broken and I really think that our citizens deserve better and if we are going to take the time to hire video techs to do this stuff we should give them the tools they need to do it right. So that is my commentary and I would suggest and I may even make a motion that if the video tech who is recording this stuff and putting it out over the airwaves knows that it is broken or that there is wavy lines or that there are purple faces which are not a natural color; cut the video or cut the feed. Why are we sending this junk over the air waves for. This is silly, if it doesnít work; cut it off for the night. We are sending out junk and it is wrong.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: I know that Farmington Hills and Farmington seem to have very good reception,.

 

Member Harrington: They have a wonderful program there. You can actually watch them talk them talk and catch the flow of the debate. Maybe their tax or millage is higher; I donít know, ours will be pretty soon I suspect.

 

Member Meyer: I was at the City Council Meeting last night, none of the presentations were up on the back screen. I was sitting there and I couldnít see anything that was going on. I really think that if we have it for Zoning Board, the City Council should have it, the Planning Commission should have it; so that the people at home can see these charts and the diagrams. I also think that we should be much more specific with the people who are presenting that they speak into the microphone and that we donít have this where 2 or 3 people are speaking from angles over here and there without microphones. I think that we could do a much better job. The people are entitled to it, they deserve a better communication.

 

Vice-Chairman Bauer: We need more bang for our bucks.

 

Alan Amolsch: I will bring this up again, does the Board want mock ups for temporary signs? We brought that up the last time at Bristol Corners and they didnít put up a mock up; I donít know if the Board wants a mock up for a temporary sign and then basically it would be a temporary sign for a temporary sign.

 

Member Reinke: I think that anybody with a variance for a sign could nail something together to show what the size is going to be. It doesnít have to be a complete sign. Just something for the proportion of what we are looking for and for what they are trying to do. It is like the old slogan "a picture is worth more than a thousand words". It helps to decide if it is warranted or needed. It is to the petitionerís benefit. Unless you see it you think that it could be smaller and then we start to play letís make a deal and we donít know what we are dealing with.

 

Alan Amolsch: We will tell them.

 

Adjournment

The Meeting was adjourned at 10:47 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date Approved

Nancy C. McKernan

Recording Secretary