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REGULAR MEETING - ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS - CITY OF NOVI
CIVIC CENTER - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
TUESDAY, January 9, 2001
The Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m., with Chairman Harrington presiding.
PRESENT: Members Bauer, Brennan, Fannon, Harrington, Reinke, Sanghvi and Kocan
ALSO PRESENT: Don Saven – Building Official
Sarah Marchioni – Community Planning Assistant
The Zoning Board of Appeals is a hearing board empowered by the City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of the Novi Zoning Ordinance. It takes a vote of at least four members to approve a variance request and a vote of the majority of the members present to deny a variance. A full Board consists of six members. Since there are six (6) members it is a full Board and any decisions made will be final.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Harrington indicated that there were five (5) cases on the agenda. Are there any changes to the agenda? Sarah Marchioni noted that Metro Detroit Signs for Home Video have requested to be tabled to February and the approval of the December 5, 2000 minutes are not included. Member Brennan added to the agenda a presentation regarding Mr. Harrington’s resignation. All in favor to approve the agenda as amended, please say aye. All ayes. Agenda approved subject to amended.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Harrington indicated that there are minutes from the November 8, 2000. Are there any changes or corrections to the minutes?
Member Kocan: I have a few corrections. In the middle of the page, in the middle of member Brennan’s comments, it states we have a letter from compound. It should state Khanh Pham who used to work for the city. On page forty, the eighth line down. It speaks of a couple of proposed residents and it should say residences. Page forty-nine, second paragraph, second sentence in my comments. It should say that I am in a subdivision that abuts industrial, not residential. I do not know if I said residential, I meant industrial.
Chairman Harrington: All in favor to approve the minutes as modified, say aye. All Ayes. Minutes approved as modified.
Johnnie Capron of Collins Signs, representing Home Depot is requesting a variance to allow a second sign.
TABLED UNTIL FEBRUARY 6, 2001 MEETING
Johnnie Capron of Collins Signs, representing Home Depot is requesting a variance to allow a second sign.
TABLED UNTIL FEBRUARY 6, 2001 MEETING
Carmine Martune, representing A & W / Long John Silver’s is requesting a sign variance of forty three (43) square feet. A & W / Long John Silver’s will be located at West Market Square on Grand River and Beck Road.
Bruce Charette of Accent Remodeling #1 Inc., representing Denise Walsh of 21888 Siegal is requesting a seven (7) foot rear yard setback variance for the construction of an addition and a Three Season sunroom enclosure.
Chairman Harrington: Do I recall that this is a continuation that was before us but, we needed a subdivision permit approval?
Don Saven: Correct.
Bill Cowdin and Denise Walsh were present and duly sworn in.
Bill Cowdin: I am a designer with Accent Remodeling representing Bruce Charette, who is the draftsman in the project. This is Denise Walsh the homeowner.
Chairman Harrington: We are familiar with the variance because it was before us before, so if you would please continue where we left off and give us the new information.
Bill Cowdin: Per your request of the last meeting, we went to the Turtle Creek homeowner association and were granted the approval with no questions asked. Also, you requested us to try to sit down with some of the neighbors and go over some different ideas with the project. Denise could cover this area and what she has done.
Chairman Harrington: Do I remember correctly that there was a neighbor directly behind that appeared and was not in favor of the project?
Denise Walsh: Correct. I did send him a letter on December 6th, explaining my reasoning for the addition and invited him to come over and discuss what their questions and concerns were. I did not receive a reply from them until Saturday evening, January 6th. They left a message on my answering machine. I was away for most of the weekend. I worked Monday evening. I did talk to him this morning on the phone. Pretty much he would like me to scrap the whole deal. I am not willing to do that. I do need the addition and I am hoping that you will grant that to me.
Chairman Harrington: We will not his continuing objection.
Rob and Donna Paul, homeowners directly behind petitioner: I would like to point out that the homeowner’s bylaws do not address rear yard setbacks, so there is no specifics as far as you automatically get it when you ask for it. The other information is that we felt that maybe we were out of line in our objection in the first meeting. So we wanted to give Denise Walsh the benefit of the doubt. We came to the city offices. I spent seven (7) or eight (8) hours here, and took time off from work, to gather information. It took quite a bit of time to do it because I did not know what I was looking for. I completed that on Friday, January 5th. I then tried to contact Denise Walsh on Saturday, with the information that I have. What I have so far is that in the subdivision, there are one hundred forty-one (141) houses. Of those, twenty-nine (29) are ranch houses the average square footage is nineteen hundred forty-five (1945) square feet. Her house is twenty-two eighty-four (2284), three hundred and thirty-nine (339) square feet above the average already. The distance, she currently has forty (40) feet on her rear yard setback, we currently have fifty (50) feet. Of the houses in the subdivision that back up to each other the average distance is ninety-four (94) feet. Which is more than we have already. There is one addition, two (2) houses down that was mentioned last time that I believe has a twenty-seven (27) foot rear yard setback. The distance between those two (2) houses is eighty-six (86) feet. The average rear yard setback distance in the subdivision is forty-eight (48) feet. What I am getting at is that we feel the house of Miss Walsh is already large enough for the piece of property. We are very concerned about the look of the neighborhood, the feeling of it, the spaciousness of it and with the building coming toward us, that encroaches on our feeling.
Donna Paul: If her proposal goes through and she builds it like she plans, she will have the largest home in our entire subdivision and we will have the smallest distance between houses in our entire subdivision, of the houses that back up to each other. Some have a berm behind them and others are facing Turtle Creek. This is objectionable to us. We do not want to have the smallest distance between houses in our entire neighborhood. We would have seventy-eight (78) feet if she goes ahead and builds. Currently the smallest one (1) is at eighty-six (86) feet. Basically that is our objection to this. We are not in favor.
Chairman Harrington: Your objection is to the eighty-four (84) inches that they are looking for? They are looking for a seven (7) foot variance. Your objection is not to the entire construction project, it is to the seven (7) feet that they need in order to do it?
Donna Paul: Obviously we can not object if she built the five (5) feet that she is allowed without violating the ordinance, we still would still have the smallest distance. We would be eighty-five (85) feet whereas eighty-six (86) is the smallest. But, obviously we can not do anything about that, that is her decision to go ahead and do that.
Chairman Harrington: If the petitioner were to put up an all year round screening of some arborvitae or some type of planting, would that make any difference to you?
Donna Paul: That would be more objectionable than what is there right now. Our neighborhood is not fenced, we moved into it because it was open and a lot of trees in the neighborhood. There is not rows of bushes except between our two (2) homes. There is not that type of screening and it is not necessary because the houses are far enough apart. It is very enjoyable to look out your window and see the park-like setting. We would not be in favor of arborvitae. We do not need a living fence.
Fred Richter, 41100 Cubbentry: I am a real estate broker and have been for thirty (30) years in the area. also a friend of Denise Walsh. She has been discussing this with me and asking for advice relative to the value of the property and whether I thought it would enhance or detract from the value of the property. She asked if there was a justifiable reason that I thought it could detract from the values in the neighborhood. My opinion has been, if anything, it would enhance the values in the neighborhood as well, by increasing the size of the home. It is not an objectionable plan, it is appealing. It would seem to me that it would enhance the appearance of the house itself and the surrounding homes. She attempted to invite the people as she said to come and look at what she wanted to do. She actually pleaded with them in her letter, which I saw. She was rather frustrated, because the response seemed to be that they just did not want her to do anything back there period, and they do not like her shrubs or what she has there now. They seemed to be very negative on the whole business. I just wanted to add that I looked at the other house that has been added on to, it is actually extended much farther back than what hers is and perhaps you heard that last time. I was not here. That is two (2) houses down. This one (1) will not be going back as far physically as that one (1). Besides, she already has a deck so a good part of this is simply enclosing that deck. The deck already comes out that far. The overall structure is not coming out any farther than the deck already is. She really is frustrated by this whole process and certainly hopes that you would consider granting the variance so that she could improve the size of her home a little bit.
Chairman Harrington: The neighbors are frustrate to, but we are going to deal with it.
Fred Richter: We did not have any other objections. Only the one (1) out of all the letters that were sent. Other than that it seems okay with everyone else. She even received a letter of encouragement from one (1) of the other neighbors.
Don Saven: I would just like to ask the applicant, the reason for the two (2) L’s that you have coming off of the back, is that because of the tree in the middle? I think this is an important factor for the board to know. If the tree was not there, could you reconfigure that building to meet your needs?
Bill Cowdin: The reason that there are two (2) gable ends added on to the back of the home and a small little center courtyard in the middle, to be an aggregate concrete. The reason for that is an existing deck which the three (3) season porch is going to be added on top of. To compliment that there is an addition on the opposite side of the home to balance the weight so that it does not look like an L-shape and it is more of a U-shaped. It is more pleasing and will give her the space that she needs without detracting from the house or the neighborhood.
Chairman Harrington: Was the answer that the preservation of the tree is an architectural consideration.
Bill Cowdin: Yes. The addition was going to go out much further, but the tree is being left to preserve the neighborhood and lot.
Chairman Harrington: It looks like a big tree. How old do you think that is?
Linda Lemke: Probably forty (40).
Member Brennan: Well, as I recall, there were two (2) things that we asked them to take care of. One (1) to try to get resolution with the neighbors and two (2) have the homeowner’s approval. They have the homeowner’s approval and there was no resolution with the neighbors. We are back to whether there is hardship. The lady has presented that she has a niece living with her that needs some space. I assume there are three (3) bedrooms in the main home?
Denise Walsh: Yes, I have three (3) children.
Member Brennan: Looking at the map, I do not understand why if this request is built, with seventy-eight (78) feet between the addition and the homeowner’s behind them... While I have always contended that we try to make the adjoining homeowner appeased, they do not seem willing to move at all. So, I am willing to make my decision based on the petitioner’s case.
Member Fannon: Notes show that there was another gentleman that was here that said that he had just received the prints that night. He did not know if he had an objection or an approval because he did not have time.
Denise Walsh: Bill and I talked to the man after the meeting and he said that he was fine with it. He just wanted to make sure that it was not encroaching on his property. He is not here tonight.
Moved by Brennan,
Seconded by Fannon,
THAT IN CASE NO. 00-093 TO GRANT THE PETITIONER’S REQUEST FOR THE SEVEN (7) FOOT VARIANCE SINCE IT IS A MINIMAL REQUEST AND THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL EXISTING REAR YARD SETBACK
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Chairman Harrington: I support the motion. We are talking about a variance from about this sign to about that sign. I understand the neighbor’s concern. We would all like to keep things as they are, but there is a genuine practical difficulty here associated with the construction. It can not be done architecturally without the variance. It is a question of approximately seventy-four (74) inches, is basically close to minimal.
John Karakian of 2450 Shawood Drive is requesting two (2) variances to remove and replace an existing front porch, retaining wall and patio. Presently, the cement slab and retaining wall are non conforming and is located within the thirty (30) foot front yard setback. Please note: Existing and proposed construction is within the right-of-way.
Proposed: 0 feet
Variance: 30 feet
Henry Wildman Jr. and John Karakian were present and duly sworn in.
Henry Wildman: I am the contractor. Last summer, John Karakian and I discussed a problem that he had with his basement. His basement was leaking water. In the far corner by the wall, there is a very small area for water to drain away. This whole home is on a very steep grade. The wall is retaining water and causing water to run down the basement wall and leaking into the basement. I suggested to John that we remove the wall and remove the cement patio. Replace the cement patio with the paver patio and warp the paver patio so that the water would run parallel with the road going to the side lawn which would allow the water to run down the grassy area to the west of the house. Also on the east side of the door, we would remove the patio. It is exactly the same on the east side, except there is no wall. The problem is the water running down into the basement. By removing the cement walk, removing the wall and I would propose to move the… You can see the porch is here. There is a dotted line that represents the warping of the patio. By taking out the patio, the wall is an old cement block wall. I propose to put in a very decorative wall. And moving the existing steps from going straight out the front door and up a set of steps, eliminating those and moving the steps over to the side in front of wooden deck. I have no intention of changing any of the grade. All it would be is a matter of moving the wall and putting in a twenty-nine (29) inch wall to replace the wall that is there.
Chairman Harrington: It appears that the existing patio is below grade?
Henry Wildman: It is below grade.
Chairman Harrington: The new patio will be below grade?
Henry Wildman: The new patio will also be below grade, but it will only be twenty-nine (29) inches below grade. The way that the old wall is, it is terraced. It goes up fifteen (15) inches and drops back two (2) feet and goes up another fifteen (15) inches.
Chairman Harrington: Why isn’t rain, snow and ice going to go in the new patio as well?
Henry Wildman: It is very much so. But the new patio… what the problem is sir, is the cement has sunk down against the home. It cause the water, or any rain or ice on the cement to flow toward the home. I propose to raise the patio up along the edge of the home so that it has a down grade toward the center of the patio from the wall, from the home and then the whole patio would be warped and the water would run out to the side yard.
Chairman Harrington: That is going to fix it?
Henry Wildman: Yes sir.
Don Saven: There is not going to be an obstruction on that side.
Henry Wildman: There is a partial patio that is going to be on the west side of the house also. This wall is going to be extended around this tree, which would be very ornamental and very attractive.
Chairman Harrington: Is the grade of the new patio going to be too high or too low to preclude running a single drain pipe out somewhere else in the property? Just incase the water in the center of the patio does not go anywhere? What would happen in a heavy rainstorm?
Henry Wildman: The wall is retaining any water from getting off of the patio. The wall that is there is right here. From there over, there is nothing. The existing wall that is there…
Chairman Harrington: But, it is still below grade.
Henry Wildman: Yes sir. But the patio is at the door, it is going to be pretty much at sill level of the door. As we go from the door over to the side of the house, there is going to be a three (3) to four (4) inch drop. It will be the same way going the other way.
Chairman Harrington indicated that there were sixteen (16) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: I have worked with the owner on this quite bit. This was located in the right-of-way. If you could look at exhibit A. This was the beginning of everything. They had to go to council to get the licensing agreement, which they obtained. They had to deal with the right-of-way permit to be able to do what they had to do. They have received all of the necessary information. I too was concerned about the drainage and what was going to take place. Making sure that they had some drain within the paver area to get the water away from the building. This guy does have a problem without a doubt. He needs to be able to do something here or he is going to lose the house.
Member Bauer: I do not have any problem with the request.
Member Brennan: It seemed like with the city giving him the okay being on the right-of-way, we are just stamping this because he needs a variance.
Member Reinke: It is an unfortunate situation…(inaudible)
Moved by Brennan,
Seconded by Sanghvi,
THAT IN CASE NO. 00-102 TO GRANT THE PETITIONER’S REQUEST OF THIRTY (30) FEET FOR THE PURPOSE OF SAVING HIS HOUSE
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Timothy Stoepker, Attorney, representing Jaguar of Novi is requesting five (5) variances for the construction of a proposed new sales and service building located at the northwest corner of Haggerty and Ten Mile Roads. Variances requested are for landscaping, berming, off street parking setbacks display area and service door location.
1) Required Parking setback (north side): 10 feet Proposed: 2 feet Variance: 8 feet
2) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 1502.1.c. requires a ten (10) foot wide greenbelt planting strip be maintained between the street right-of-way line and any area used for customer parking or vehicle display.
3) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2509, Paragraph (7c) requires a twenty (20) foot wide landscape buffer area including a thirty-six (36) inch berm with a 3:1 slope abutting a right-of-way.
4) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2509 Paragraph (9a) "Interior Building Landscape Requirements" require a four (4) foot green space immediately adjacent to the building on all four (4) sides with 60% of green space planted with shrubs and ground cover.
Timothy Stoepker: You are aware of the project before you and I think the plan indicates and speaks for itself. What we have promised the city at the rezoning process, we intend to deliver. The dealership before you is the Jaguar of Novi store. It is a different type of dealership in the sense that the typical dealerships result in the display in the vehicles across the entire front. In this case if you look at the Haggerty Road frontage, you will notice that the building comes up to the setback line. As a consequence, the normal display of vehicles that you would see along there, which is one of the variances that we are asking for, does not exist. If you look at the Ford Dealer across the street, you would see a line of vehicles which is a design and concept that Jaguar in this case would like to avoid. However, by placing the building up along the setback line, they typical display area is lost. As a consequence and visibility to show our product to those individuals who might be interested in purchasing a Jaguar, we have asked for a variance to allow us to…(tape ends)
Chairman Harrington: Where are you going to be in relation to what used to be the old Providence Facility? Or are you demoing that?
Timothy Stoepker: It is where my finger is. That office building is still there and will remain. We are L-ing around that site with the main development on the frontage of Haggerty Road, which was requested by the City Council when we went through the rezoning process. The first variance that we are asking for is a side yard variance as it relates to the parking requirements along the entrance of Haggerty Road as it comes in toward the site, where my finger is here. There are parking spaces here. This is the most northerly boundary of the property. It borders the Suburban Chrysler Jeep Eagle Dealership. To meet the required parking for the site, we had to place parking along that particular area to meet the minimum requirements under the zoning ordinance. Part of the resolution of the City Council when we obtained our rezoning approval, was that we are to maintain the Haggerty Road ingress and egress on the site. Because of the location and because of the required parking, the only place we could place the parking was there. There is no way to create any extra parking. If you put the spaces back out, you put them in egress or ingress lane. The setback there varies from eight (8) feet to two (2) feet. Eight (8) feet near to Haggerty Road diminishes two (2) feet as you go into the interior portion of the parking area. There is sufficient space there to landscape between our property and the Suburban Chrysler Jeep Eagle Dealership. The only thing that we abut there is their display area parking. The other advantage of doing that was to get the interior parking. That was one (1) of the focuses to get parking to the interior to the site and get it off of Haggerty Road and off of Ten Mile Road. To obtain that, this was the only way that we could do it. That addresses the first variance that is before you. The second variance as you follow down your sheet is the ten foot (10’) wide green belt planting strip be maintained between the street and the area. Again, the issue there is the nine (9) pods that exist within there. The concept again was to get rid of the typical display of vehicle parking on the street and create an accent garden format and actually the yard will underlay just like you see there. Opposite the underlying park of the building. The concept was to take off the curvature of the Jaguar vehicle itself. Other than pushing the building back here, and placing vehicles, there would be no other way for us to display our vehicles on the Haggerty Road frontage. Again in reviewing this with your consultants, they concurred with this concept and design as well did the Planning Commission that confirmed Preliminary Site Plan Approval and Special Land Use Approval. Item Number three (3) that you have before you again has to do with the first concept before you is no berming along the Haggerty Road and Ten Mile frontage. A thirty-six (36) inch berm requires essentially a twenty (20) foot area to accomplish that due to the slopes. That is my understanding and our engineers could speak to that. Since that would greatly go into the landscape areas, what we proposed to do instead was to substitute the berming with a continuous hedge that runs along the entire perimeter. You can see it here, and here where the parking area shows. There is and evergreen hedge that will run along the continuous frontage of the property both on the Ten Mile and the Haggerty Road areas. Accomplishing the same purpose of the berm, which is to provide a decorative landscape area and also to conceal parking areas from passer bys on Haggerty Road and Ten Mile. That concept we believe meets the intent and the purpose of the ordinance while allowing us to make full maximum use of the landscape belt area as a garden concept. This would otherwise would not be possible with the berm. The other request under that concept relates to the display vehicle platforms within the twenty (20) foot wide planting strip. I have explained that and do not need to repeat that issue. The next variance request has to do with the four (4) foot green belt space immediately adjacent to the building on all four (4) sides. We meet the green belt space. The question was the percentage of plantings within that. if you read Ms. Lemke’s letter, which was addressed to staff, she concurs with what we have proposed and to make sure that the percentage of plantings met the ordinance. This area here, where my finger is, is a landscape area as well as this area around the showroom. We agreed at the Planning Commission that we would increase the amount the planting that fall within that area to meet the percentage under the ordinance. The concept was not to put the typical planting within the four (4) foot green belt space adjacent to the building because it would hide the architectural features of the building, the shadowing and the light of that. I think that all that we could do to retain all of the architectural integrity of what is being proposed is vastly different from what you would see with any other building that was illuminated. We do meet the four (4) foot green belt in percentage of plantings. The final issue before you has to do with the overhead service store. The overhead service store is a porte chere for services for people that come into the site. It is over two hundred (200) feet from Ten Mile. It is completely concealed by this entryway. It is not visible at all. To allow proper access into this site without having to put a door here, which would create difficulty for customers coming in. The way most dealerships are designed now, you can take you car for services which folks generally do not like. We want to make the introduction to our service department a friendly and positive atmosphere. They will drive through this porte chere, the service door will open up and they will park their car there and be met by a service attendant, who will take down their information and their car will be brought into the service area for services. From a design and utilization of property standpoint, the best place that we could think to locate the door was at this location. The best way that we thought that we could conceal that was with the porte chere. Again, it is over two hundred feet (200’) from Ten Mile at that location and it is not visible. I do not think that anybody will ever know that there is a door there except unless you have to drive in there for service. For design integrity and also for access for customers to be able to have their vehicle serviced as opposed to driving into the service areas in the back. we do not customers driving directly into the back. I think there are issues with people driving directly into there. We wanted to create a separate entrance which is the state of the art type of dealership. I think that covers the variances that are before you. There was one (1) other variance that the Planning Commission dealt with and maybe it was within their jurisdiction. That had to do with the façade, was that correct?
Don Saven: That is correct.
Tim Stoepker: Then we do not have to address that, I did not want to omit that and then have to come back. Mr. Delicoli the architect is here, Mr. Conyers is here. Mr. Conyers will be your new neighbor at this dealership and is very excited as we progress and have a goal to open August or September of this year. Mr. Conyer the engineer is here to answer the questions that you may have as well as representatives from Ford Motor Land Services Corp.
Chairman Harrington: Mr. Stoepker, I note that there were five (5) variances that were noticed and put before us. I also note from our package that there is a reference to an addendum to the application and you have already reference the façade issue, which was in front of Planning and before us. Does the list of requested variances A through F, are those any different than the five (5) that you just described?
Timothy Stoepker: I don’t believe so. I think the only one (1) that I dealt with was at Planning Commission that is not before you was the actual façade of the building. Under the ordinance there is a brick requirement and we wanted to create a block effect here. The Planning Commission did recommend approval of that waiver. Luckily, you do not have to see us bring in the display. It is a block that big. The concept is to create the appearance of a stone building as opposed to anything else. I think when you go by this site, whether you ever buy a Jaguar or not, I think that you could be proud that this building will be in the City of Novi. It is a first of a kind that will be built across the country and this is the first place where this will occur.
Chairman Harrington: Well, it is going to class up the intersection in contrast with the dealership across the street in Farmington.
Chairman Harrington indicated that there were fifteen (15) notices sent to neighbors and there was one (1) approval and one (1) disapproval. Letter of approval from Pheasant Run Plaza, references that all of the tenants, Papa Romano, Baskin Robbins, KFC and other support this. There is no signature from the other tenants, however, I would assume that they contacted them and received their approval. Joyce Trombley, Blairton Drive – objects because this end of Novi is saturated. Take the commercialism of all five (5) requests and put Jaguar across from City Hall. How would you like no berming and looking at an overhead service door.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: I have no comment other than the fact that what you see before you as far as signage is concerned is not before us tonight.
Ms. Lemke: You will see from my letter and from the Planning Commission that I have supported this rather vocally. It is a different type of design for Novi from a landscape perspective. I do feel that it does meet the landscape intent. The parking lots are screened. The model shows less trees than what is on the plan and what will be required. The plantings around the building, Grism Mets Associates, which is a premier landscape architecture design firm, which we should be proud to have in Michigan, has guaranteed me that that will be spectacular by the building. I will hold them to that. I am supporting that and I will be happy to answer any question.
Member Reinke: I think it is a very unique concept. I think they have done an excellent job in screening, rather than having it look like a typical car dealership. I like the lot arrangement. It does not look like you have five thousand (5000) cars sitting on a corner some place. You have done an excellent job gentleman.
Member Brennan: Likewise, I broke it down into the three (3) issues. Number two (2), three (3) and four (4) were all landscaping and Linda has that all sorted out. Really we are dealing with items one (1) and five (5). Five (5) I did not have an issue with, because that door faces commercial properties. I do not know where that lady lives that objected to it. If I am not mistaken, you have a restaurant across the street and a strip mall. I like what they have proposed. The only issue is number one (1). That is no problem with me. You should take a hard look at the signage ordinance in the city. What we have done with other dealership very recently and be aware that signage is more of an issue than anything that we are going to talk about tonight. Right or wrong, it is an important issue in the city, so I encourage you to look at that one real strong. I support the petitioner.
Member Bauer: I have no problem with this. I think it is superb.
Member Kocan: In taking out the berm on Ten Mile Road and having the parking going across. The petitioner mentioned that there would be a continuous hedge. It is not going to be a hedge is it Linda? I guess I am thinking a hedge is only three (3) or four (4) feet tall. My other suggestion and wondering if it was ever discussed is was there ever discussion about lowering the parking there so that you could get away without the berm and have landscaping there so that it would hide that parking along Ten Mile Road? It may not be feasible at this time, I am just wondering if it was ever discussed.
Ms. Lemke: We did not discuss lowering the parking. All we have discussed for alternatives to screen parking was the hedge. If this had come in and were strictly a normal commercial building I would probably not be supporting it. I am supporting it because of the way the whole design goes together with the building. I think it is a unique design overall. The hedge will have to be at least three (3) feet tall by requirements. It will be a solid evergreen hedge. We have not gotten down to the details yet, but we will be working through those.
Member Bauer: Linda, doesn’t that property go above the roadway a lot?
Ms. Lemke: I have not looked at it in a while.
Timothy Stoepker: It does. When I applied for the sign variance for the Suburban Chrysler store next door, that was one of the basis that you granted the variance. It was because of the blockage of the visibility of the hill at that location. I am very familiar with that corner.
Moved by Koneda,
Seconded by Bauer,
THAT IN CASE NO. 00-103 TO GRANT THE PETITIONER’S VARIANCE REQUEST DUE TO LOT SIZE AND SHAPE CONFIGURATION
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
7) Case No. 00-104 filed by Metro Detroit Signs representing Home Video
Heather Whitman of Metro Detroit Signs representing Home Video is requesting a variance to allow a second wall sign on the west elevation of the business.
TABLED TO FEBRUARY 6, 2001 MEETING
Vicki Snearly, homeowner of 23253 Mystic Forest is requesting a rear yard variance of 8.5 feet for the construction of a deck enclosure at their residence.
Chuck Snearly was present and duly sworn in.
Chuck Snearly: There is an existing deck there. We were going to put in a screened in porch and hot tub. We have an irregularly shaped lot. It is pie shaped and very big in the front and small in the back with an easement on the side. There is not a lot of room in the back yard. The deck is existing and this would be the same dimensions as the deck.
Chairman Harrington: If you do not get the variance, then you can not do the project correct?
Chuck Snearly: Correct.
Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-nine (29) notices sent to neighbors and there was three (3) approvals and no disapprovals. A.P. Russie 23262 Mystic approves. Valerie Widall on Mystic Forest approves. Todd Swanson, 23250 Mystric Forest advises enjoy the enclosure. Chairman Harrington indicated he had an architectural permit application and approval from the homeowner association with no objection regarding this matter.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: The property is unique in character and the addition is within the existing deck area.
Member Brennan: He is right, he does have an unusual shaped lot. All he is doing is going up and around what is already there. No neighbor problems, no association problems. I have no objections.
Member Kocan: Did we get a letter or response from your next door neighbor who is going to be closest to?
Chuck Snearly: The Widall’s, which is one of the names he mentioned.
Member Kocan: The pine trees, are they on your property, or are they on your neighbor’s property?
Chuck Snearly: On our property.
Moved by Fannon,
Seconded by Reinke,
THAT IN CASE NO. 00-105 TO APPROVE THE VARIANCE OF 8.5 FEET DUE TO LOT CONFIGURATION AND THE FACT THAT THE ENCLOSURE IS NOT GOING OUTSIDE OF THE ENVELOPE OF THE EXISTING DECK
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Intercity Neon representing First Federal of Michigan is requesting two (2) sign variances to be located on the back wall of the Kroger’s facing I-96 (Sign A) and the front exterior of Kroger (Sign B). Please note: The business does not have a separate direct entrance from outside the building.
TABLED TO FEBRUARY 6, 2001 MEETING
Michael Kahm representing Waltonwood of Twelve Oaks is requesting two (2) variances for an off-premise directional sign (Sign A) and an entranceway sign (Sign B).
Mike Kahm 7125 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield, was present and duly sworn in.
Mike Kahm: As you are all familiar our Waltonwood at Twelve Oaks is a senior citizen project on the ring road at the Twelve Oaks mall. When we first developed this project, we were under the mistaken opinion that we would generate a great deal of traffic from the mall. Actually the reverse has happened. We have had many concerns about people not being able to find our building because we are on the ring road of the mall. What we are asking the board to consider this evening are two (2) items. One (1) is Sign A that would be a directional sign on the southeast corner of Twelve Mile Road and the road into the mall. That property that we are proposing to place a sign on is owned by us. We purchased it from the Taubman Company. We are asking for the sign in your packed to be placed here so that the people on Twelve Mile Road know where to turn to get into our facility. We have had many complaints from perspective residents and their families driving up and down Twelve Mile Road and not being able to figure out how to get to our building. This sign will help direct them into the correct entry into the mall and therefore be able to get to our building.
Chairman Harrington: Is that the sign which is contained in our materials that says now leasing luxurious senior apartments one and two bedroom, that is your directional sign?
Mike Kahm: Yes it is, and I would be happy to discuss if you do not like the language on there. We are open to discussion. Our primary concern is to get people to the building. Obviously we want people to understand that we have apartments available and also what Waltonwood is, is helpful. Item B parallels that concern as you come down the finger road. As you enter the finger road on Twelve Mile Road, it bends slightly to the east and comes back to the ring road on the mall. We are proposing to put a second entry sign. As you know we have one here at our main entry off of the ring road. We are asking to have a second sign placed here so that as people come in, they can identify the fact that this building is Waltonwood. When people come in they are not sure what our building is. As you come in this road there is no signage on this road to identify what it is. We would like to put the sign that is in your packet which is an identical design as our main entry here. In addition, which I did not mention in our application, is that you may note this as a second phase of our building. It will be an assisted living component. This sign could and we would agree to count that sign toward phase II, if that helps support or understand why we need it more. If the directional sign helps people get in the finger road. This sign helps people identify that this is in fact Waltonwood. Then it is pretty obvious to make a left turn. As you know there is no cut in the boulevard and there is really no way to get in here unless you get on the ring road and come in the main entry.
Chairman Harrington indicated that there were ten (10) notices sent to neighbors and there was no approvals and no disapprovals.
There was no audience participation.
Don Saven: It is a difficult site. I do want to bring up that I did receive a note from Alan Amolsch this afternoon. There are some issues regarding the now leasing and new home flags that you have out front will need to be removed.
Mike Kahm: On ring road?
Don Saven: Yes. Also there is the real estate sign on the northeast corner will have to be removed.
Mike Kahm: I do not know if it is called a real estate sign, but there is a development sign that we do have a permit for that is on the ring road. He does not mean that one (1) I don’t think. That is the one (1) that has the same information.
Don Saven: If that is the case, then there is a time stipulation for that particular real estate sign. I would suggest that you meet with Alan regarding that matter.
Chairman Harrington: We made reference to the finger road and the ring road. Do either or both of those roads actually have names?
Mike Kahm: No they do not.
Chairman Harrington: Isn’t it a simple solution to have Twelve Oaks Mall put names on there so that you can tell people to go to a named street? How can we have road in the city without names on them?
Don Saven: I think the venture was that everyone knew it was Twelve Oaks Mall. Now that they are building up around it, those particular roads coming off of the ring road now have names.
Member Brennan: Why wouldn’t this sign on the Twelve Oaks corner be considered a real estate sign that we would grant you eighteen (18) months until you are sold out?
Mike Kahm: That would be great.
Member Brennan: I am reading this as it is proposed to be a permanent sign.
Mike Kahm: The directional sign?
Member Brennan: Sign A.
Mike Kahm: Yes, it was intended in this application to be a permanent directional sign. If you are suggesting that we consider it to be a second real estate sign, we could do that.
Member Brennan: It looks more like a directional real estate sign.
Mike Kahm: Our problem is that our address is here on Circle and the boulevard coming off of the ring road is called Mackinaw Boulevard, but they are off of nothing.
Member Brennan: In principal, I see your hardship and why you are here. I just wondered if the problem is getting people in there and filling this thing out. If it is filled out in two (2) years, do you still need that sign on Twelve Mile Road? You probably don’t. Especially if you have signage on the front of the building, Sign B.
Mike Kahm: Sign B would help a great deal.
Member Brennan: What I was leading to Mr. Chairman, was that I believe that there is sufficient hardship that has been presented. I would propose that some thought be given to a time duration to Sign A and with permanent Signage for Sign B.
Chairman Harrington: I have never heard of this board approving a sign until the places are leased. We have done it for sales. These are not even condominiums. I am not convinced that there has been diligent effort in my mind to exhaust the issue. The issue is identification and direction. I am not so sure that that is what it is. I think it is about sales and marketing or rentals and marketing. I would like to see the issue of getting a street name on the finger road. As I recall, where would your sign be Mike? Didn’t there used to be a movie sign there?
Mike Kahm: We are on the southeast corner and that is on the southwest corner.
Chairman Harrington: That is the road where the movie theater sign is correct?
Mike Kahm: Correct.
Chairman Harrington: You can not tell people to turn left at the movie theater sign?
Mike Kahm: Well, now there is not movie theater sign there.
Chairman Harrington: You are the only structure in that whole area right?
Mike Kahm: Our problem as mentioned in our application is not only horizontal separation from Twelve Mile Road we also have a vertical separation. If you look from Twelve Mile Road you can just see the top of the roof. We are probably twenty (20) feet below the elevation of Twelve Mile Road where our building is.
Chairman Harrington: You are about a quarter mile away.
Mike Kahm: Probably an eighth (1/8) of a mile. We have a horizontal and vertical separation problem and there is no way that anybody could identify where our building is unless they are familiar with the location.
Chairman Harrington: You tell them to turn into the mall.
Mike Kahm: You are correct that it is a leasing problem. Just like anybody selling, leasing is the same thing. In addition to that we have a directional concern about visitors, families, particularly families coming from out of town, who have a difficult time finding it. That is why I am here, I am not trying to create anymore trouble than I already have.
Member Reinke: (tape begins) I think a real evaluation of what the needs are and not having a billboard sign out there.
Mike Kahm: I draw a parallel to it, not much different to the sign that we were granted for the sign at Thirteen Mile and Meadowbrook Road for sale directional to Tollgate project. Also the one for Meadowbrook Condominiums that was granted by this board. I am looking for some way to direct people who are on a major mile road how to get to a project that is not commonly know for its location unless you are familiar with the area.
Chairman Harrington: The problem from my view, and maybe the board will work with you on something for a temporary basis, I have a real problem with off premise sign period. I really have a problem when the off premises signs are primarily marketing and sale devices rather than directional. This is by no means a directional sign as presented, at least Sign A. It is clearly intended to get people in there because they know you are leasing. It is not with an arrow saying here is the Waltonwood project. I think you are trying to do too much with it from my point of view. I might reluctantly support on a temporary basis some kind of sign, but by no way a permanent sign. Particularly a permanent sign that said "leasing". You are always going to be leasing and will have people coming in and out of there. But you are not up to full occupancy at this point.
Mike Kahm: Not even close.
Member Kocan: There is a sign exactly the same as this A sign isn’t there?
Mike Kahm: That is the one that I think that Don was referring to that we need to meet with Al to have extended. That is the development sign yes.
Member Kocan: But it says the same thing?
Mike Kahm: Pretty similar yes. The only thing that it does not have is the arrow on it.
Member Kocan: The condo development, the apartments that were turned into a condo to the south of Waltonwood, I do not think there are directional signs to that in the mall at all.
Don Saven: I do not believe so, but I also believe that they are all leased. They are owner occupied. Mr. Chairman, to help the situation out. Mike, can you give the board possibly an estimated time as to Phase B and when you plan on starting that, and if this sign is specifically for the one (1) and two (2) family senior house.
Mike Kahm: This sign as it is presented to you this evening is intended specifically for the first existing phase. We have other projects like this around the metropolitan area. We usually build the assisted component once our initial independent component is fairly close to being leased up. Because then we have the aging in place process where people need the additional assistance. To give you a time frame, I would guess two (2) years from now. Given our current volume of leases, probably the next year to eighteen (18) months. These are traditional slow lease buildings. They are not like normal apartments at all.
Moved by Brennan,
Seconded by Reinke,
THAT IN CASE NO. 00-108 TO GRANT SIGN "A" FOR A PERIOD OF TWELVE (12) MONTHS FOR THE PURPOSE OF LEASING OUT THE FACILITY AND THAT SIGN "B" AS PRESENTED AND THE DOCUMENTATION OF THE GROUND / IDENTIFICATION SIGN LOCATED AS THE APPLICANT HAS PRESENTED TONIGHT BE GRANTED AS A PERMANENT STRUCTURE FOR BOTH PHASE 1 AND 2 OF THE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROJECT IDENTIFICATION, DIRECTION AND LEASING INFORMATION
Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried
Member Fannon: The ground sign as you said it would be part of Phase II signage?
Mike Kahm: We would commit to not apply and come back for more signage because that would count for Phase II.
Member Fannon: The permanent ground sign would be put up premature before Phase II was built.
Member Brennan: It takes care of Phase one and Phase two.
Chairman Harrington: If you do come back, I think the board may be interested in you having exhausted the issue of getting some actual street names on those streets. Twelve Oaks has been there for about thirty-five (35) years, I think it is about time that they had names on those streets.
Mike Kahm: I would be happy to present that idea.
Chairman Harrington: I think there is an issue that we are getting away from the single signage identification of the Twelve Oaks Mall when we just went through this with new theme and granted variances for those signs at the major entrance ways. We approved those and now we are going to have second sign which is in no particular way either related to or consistent with the other signage. It is just another sign at the street. I think the issue needs to be dealt with and perhaps if you do come back and try to get longer than twelve (12) months, talk to the Taubman company or Twelve Oaks and perhaps integrating a proposed permanent sign in conjunction with what they have out there. Then we will not have a bunch of signs in the entrance way. Because we have now doubled the signs out there.
Mike Kahm: That is a good suggestion.
Member Sanghvi: I was just looking at the information. According to that, the temporary leasing sign expires February 1, 2001.
Member Kocan; I have a concern about the second permanent sign being placed somewhere where there is no entry road. Personally I think it is going to be confusing to people if they are coming in and see a monument sign similar to what is off of the ring road, they will be looking for an entrance there.
Mike Kahm: We do have an entry. This is an ingress and egress road.
Member Kocan: People that are going south can not get to that road. Those are the people that you are trying to get directions to.
Mike Kahm: I am trying to have them realize when they come in that this road is Waltonwood. Hopefully they will figure out to make a left here into our boulevard. You are right, I would entertain you giving me another direction sign. This sign is our development sign here that we need to get an extension for. That will expire under the same conditions as the one that you are proposing to give us this evening. Once we are filled or close to filled, the conditions of those expire.
Chairman Harrington: Why don’t we do this all at once. We have one that is expiring next month. We have to notice it and place it on the agenda.
Mike Kahm: My over-site, I apologize. I overlooked it and I did not realize that it was expiring February 1st.
Member Bauer: Sign B I can support. Sign A I would prefer to give them a time limit on that.
Member Brennan: I motioned a time limit of twelve (12) months. The directional sign is the one that will go on Twelve Mile Road correct?
Mike Kahm: Correct.
Chairman Harrington: I decline for professional reasons and professional commitment to sign on for another three (3) years. But the reason that I am still here is because I agreed to stay for a month or two (2) until council interviews and appoints a full board. I will probably be here next month unless the council fills the vacancy up before that time.
Chairman Harrington: Don, I have not seen or heard anything of our discussion with the attorney from Secrest Wardle last month. That is an issue of concern of the chair that with respect for the motions for rehearing be processed an put into place. Whereby council approves our bylaws or does an amendment to ordinance which permits a board to act in accord with rules and procedures. We discussed that at some length last month and the attorney was here. If a copy of these minutes could go over to the gentleman that was here, Tom Schultz. If he could report back to the board at next months meeting regarding what is in place in this regard. I think it is a loop hole that should be closed. This board has rules and procedures allowing it to grant a rehearing under certain circumstances. If there is an issue that we may not have that power because that has not been ratified by council then we need to take care of that.
Don Saven: We will get him a copy of the minutes.
Member Brennan: Isn’t January when we elect a new Chair?
Member Reinke: Usually they appoint (inaudible) I think they usually elect in February.
Chairman Harrington: Let’s do officers in March.
Member Reinke: We should put it on the February agenda and if we do not have a council appointment. I think we should delay it until that point in time so that we can table it to the month of March if we need to.
Member Kocan: My term for alternate expired at the end of the year so I am up for an interview next Thursday night.
The Meeting was adjourned at 8:47 p.m.
Community Planning Assistant
Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji
January 19, 2001
Date Approved: February 6, 2001