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


PRESENT: Members Bauer, Brennan, Gronachan, Gray, Reinke and Sanghvi

Absent: Member Fannon (excused)

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.


Chairman Reinke indicated that there are twelve (12) cases on the agenda. Are there any changes to the agenda? Hearing none, all in favor to approve the agenda, please say aye. All ayes. Agenda approved as submitted.


Chairman Reinke indicated that there are minutes from the March 6, 2000. Are there any changes or corrections to the minutes? Member Gray indicated minor non-substitutive corrections that she would give to Sarah Marchioni after the meeting. All in favor say aye. All Ayes. Minutes approved with Member Gray’s non-substitutive corrections.


  1. Case No. 01-016 filed by Heileman Signs representing Willis Insurance Co.
  2. Heileman Signs representing Willis Insurance Co. is requesting a variance to erect a 19.24 square foot wall sign to be located at 43155 Main Street.


    Colleen Theese was present and duly sworn in.

    Colleen Theese: My name is Colleen Theese and I am attending tonight’s meeting on behalf of our President and CEO, David Lobbs, who is out of town on business. We request the position of the Willis Sign in its current mock up location because of the serious problems our clients and prospects are encountering while locating our office in the building. Most of our clients and prospects enter the Novi Main Street Development at the main entrance of the building near the Real Estate One on the opposite side of our suite. Consequently, they get lost and need to inquire for directions to our suite. Since our entrance is located on the west side of the building, near the stairs and the elevator shaft, we have no direct access from the east or north side. The visual image of our sign located in its current mock up position would make identification of our suite clear and concise to our clients and prospect. We thank you for your consideration on this matter and request your approval of this variance for our sign. If you have any questions I will be available to answer them.

    Chairman Reinke indicated that there were fourteen (14) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals, no disapprovals and two (2) returns.


    There was no audience participation.


    Don Saven: Willis Insurance Co. occupies a predominant amount of space on the second floor. They are here for a variance because the signs were not approved for the second floor located in that particular area.

    Member Brennan: Why is the ordinance written as such that does not allow signage for a business located on the second story?

    Don Saven: When the Sign Ordinance was originally drafted, the consideration for the second story businesses was based upon a direct resign to be placed at the entrance to the mall area. This is the only place it would be allowed. An exception may include a future development. The concern is that Willis Insurance Co. occupies a lot of space on the second floor and therefore, there is a need identification for the area.

    Member Brennan: The petitioner has presented a case of practical difficulties and their request for a nineteen (19) square foot sign seems to be reasonable. I would be a little concerned if this meant we would have a string of signs along the second floor. However, it does not appear that would be the case.

    Member Gray: Having been to numerous downtown areas like Birmingham, Northville and Milford, my point of view on the whole Main Street Concept is that most second floor businesses are allowed to have advertising. Since the City of Novi has instigated this entire Main Street project, I sense that we as the City are pushing for this to be successful. In order for this to be successful with second floor tenants, signage should be allowed to enable their customers to find them. If we deny this need, in the end we will have several empty buildings, which I am certain we do not want.

    Member Gronachan: I agree with both of the speakers. I can appreciate that this lack of signage could cause confusion for some clients. They should not have to hunt for the place they need to go. When first reviewing this case, I was concerned with the consistency of the appearance of the outside building and the leveling of the signs etc… However, after reviewing the case, I find it important that this business be able to be identified. I agree that causing confusion would only lose clientele. I am in support of the variance.

    Moved by Bauer,

    Seconded by Brennan,


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


    Sarah Gray: Does the Board find it necessary to send this signage item to the Ordinance Review Committee?

    Don Saven: I believe this is currently in process, is it not Mr. Chen?

    Jim Chen: Yes it is. However with the recommendation from the ZBA, it would be a strong recommendation. We do need your understanding and your support. Thank you.

    Chairman Reinke: I think this is a good point. I believe we previously addressed the concern that the Ordinance Review should review Main Street due to the unique situation, buildings and location.

  3. Case No. 01-009 filed by John & Linda Anderson of 207 Charlotte
  4. John & Linda Anderson are requesting a front yard variance of five (5) feet, a west side yard variance of one (1) foot, an east side yard variance of ten (10) feet, a rear yard variance of fifteen (15) feet and a five percent increase in lot coverage. PLEASE NOTE: This revised variance request is a result of the concerns expressed at last month’s ZBA meeting.

    Required front yard setback: 30 feet

    Proposed: 25 feet

    Variance: 5 feet

    Required side yard setback (East): 10 feet

    Proposed: 5 feet

    Variance: 5 feet

    Required side yard setback (West): 10 feet

    Proposed: 9 feet

    Variance: 1 foot

    Required rear yard setback: 35 feet

    Proposed: 20 feet

    Variance: 15 feet

    Maximum lot coverage: 25%

    Proposed: 30%

    Variance: 5%


    John Anderson and Linda Anderson were present and duly sworn in.

    John Anderson: We were here last month and submitted a plot plan for the extremely small lot I purchased. There were some good points raised at the previous meeting. I was tabled to come back at this time and with a changed plot plan. I moved the house away from the neighbor Mike and Celeste. I moved the house back and now there is more front yard space. I added a garage on the side that is away from the neighbor’s house. The reason I need a forty (40) foot deep house is to place a two (2) car garage in line and some storage purposes. It would also provide a kitchen eating area. The house is only twenty-six (26) feet wide.

    Chairman Reinke: Is there anything further that you have at this point?

    John Anderson: No, I covered all of the points at the last meeting.

    Chairman Reinke indicated that there were twenty-seven (27) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approval and one (1) disapprovals. Objection – Victoria Thompson.


    Jim Korte, Shawood Lake: I was here last time and I asked for something better. Last time, we had two (2) variances, today we have five (5). When we look at what is going on and what has been presented at this point, the visual has a shorter driveway. There is a garage of some sort. Has the house gotten larger? What is the square footage? Where is all of the information that was presented for us to review at the first meeting? Coming from the Walled Lake Sector Study, in research, I researched where the petitioner resides at this point in time. They have a lovely house in the Walled Lake area with deeded lake access, numerous cars, trailer and a pontoon boat. Anybody is allowed to own whatever he or she chose. Where are they going to put it? If they are renting and are going to build their own, I went into the record and found they have another lovely house with the same situation. I have houses, I am a landlord, and I can own what I want. I find it questionable that anyone would move from the loveliness with Lake Access to a miniscule piece of property that has deeded its rights away to the City of Novi. If you recall when Eldridge was amongst us and we gave a piece of property to him, later we had to pay to have it back. One of the major lawsuits concerns was Lot 47. People paid for the 40 X 85 Lot with no deeded lake access or general lake access. I think when we look into what to push and what to not push in the way of lake area. We have allowed thirty (30) foot constructions with Lake Access, with Lake Frontage. This is far too small. I do not want to say that there is no real value, because there is real value to anything in Novi. Where do we set the line of allowing overbuilding or not overbuilding. This is where the line has to be set. There is not deeded lake access. Shawood Lake there is no public access. I do not understand how going from two (2) variances to (5) variances is an improvement. Thank you.

    Celeste Hamilton, 209 Charlotte: The new plan has the house moved back closer to our home. Mr. Anderson increased it to nine (9) feet between houses, however, he moved the house back closer to our home. Our home is only two (2) feet away from the fence. Now, with the house being pushed back the way it is, even with the nine (9) feet, there is only eleven (11) feet between this house and our houses. When you look out our master bedroom window, we are going to be nine (9) feet away from the two-story house. That is too close. I do not like the fact that the houses are that close to each other. I spoke last time about potential fire hazard and problems with fire trucks. I drew a little map with the two houses, would you like to see it?

    Mike Pachane, 209 Charlotte: As I read the variance zoning in this instance, one of the requirements is a hardship for the variance. As Mr. Korte stated, we found to be true, that they already own two homes. In fact the home they are going to build is to be sold or rented. I do not see it conforming to the rules as I remember. I think I am correct on that. I am stating for the record, my objection.

    Member Gray: Did the applicant contact the neighbor as it was requested at the last meeting?

    Celeste Hamilton: We received their layout a week ago. John called us today and asked if we had received it.

    Member Gray: Did they contact you to discuss with you what you were looking for or how to compromise?

    Celeste Hamilton: No, because I was considering faxing him a layout of our property to see what they could come up with, but…


    Don Saven: Two issues were raised. One being to move the house away from the property at 209 and the other issue was the potential for a detached garage. Considering if this could possibly be incorporated into the house so that they could attempt to work in the garage into the house to avoid additional square footage in the backyard. This is what I believe they attempted to do. By doing this, the house had increased in size to accommodate the garage. This is one of the issues that they are presenting to you tonight. I believe the applicant should take a look at this.

    Member Brennan: I was surprised by the number of variances requested. It concerned me at the meeting last month. We are looking at a five percent (5%) variance for lot coverage. I think this is going the opposite way. If this is a buildable lot, it would be a one (1) bedroom, bungalow. I do not know if the house proposed tonight is larger than what was proposed last month, but something has changed.

    Member Gronachan: Most of my questions have been answered. Last month, this board gave the petitioner some sound suggestions to come up with a better plan, to contact the neighbors and conversing to work things out. It does not appear that this has been demonstrated. I also do not find the hardship. I feel that the hardship is self-created. You purchased this property with the knowledge of its size. I can not support this request.

    Member Gray: They have partially fulfilled the requests of the Board. I have a strong problem with any front setback variances. The two trees in the front and the fence are not are on the property line. I am not aware if you have had a stake survey, but there have been several done for the water main installation and other improvements. There is a ditch across the front, that at some point will be finish the improvements for the drainage to the area. Therefore, this ditch can not be filled in. The pine trees are in the City road right-of-way. The appearance of the property starting at the fence is misleading. This does make your property smaller. In an area of thirty (30) and forty (40) foot lots this is probably the most difficult area to build in. A forty (40) foot lot that is eight-five (85) feet deep may not be buildable. I recall you stating you could build a 20 X 20, but realistically you would need variances to build this due to the minimize size requirements. The only suggestion that I could make is to for you to meet with your neighbors. I can not support this as you have come back, because this requires too much of a variance in an area that I within two small houses. I am presuming that you are building it for rental or speculation?

    John Anderson: I am pulling a homeowners permit and by law I would have to reside in it for one (1) year.

    Linda Anderson: I do not think it is relevant what we own at this point. Our future plans are different.

    Member Gray: I understand that. It is not relevant what you own. If you are pulling a homeowners permit and will be moving into it. I am concerned about the vehicles that you would be parking there. With new construction, we do not allow on street parking.

    Linda Anderson: We understand that, and it would not be a problem.

    Member Gray: I could not support this.

    Member Bauer: I can not currently support half of these variances with new construction.

    Member Brennan: I would like the petitioner to have the option of having the board vote or tabling.

    Linda Anderson: We would like to build something here.

    Member Brennan: Then you are going to have to re-work the plan. If you would like to delay this, meet with your neighbors and come back with something that is closer to being compliant. I think you may have a sense of what would happen if we vote.

    John Anderson: Before I bought the lot in September 2000, I went to the building department and spoke to Terry Morrone to inquire what the setbacks were. It was concluded that I could build a house 20 X 20, 2˝- story, one thousand (1000) square foot, otherwise I would not have bought the lot.

    Member Gray: Would that be a thousand (1000) square foot per floor?

    John Anderson: No, it would be four hundred (400) square foot, four hundred (400) on the second floor and two hundred (200) square foot on the ˝-story.

    Don Saven: The square footage requirement is basically a guideline for the individuals to use who are purchasing the property. However, compliance would need to be with the similar/dissimilar standards of the zoning ordinance, meaning the home needs to be approximately of the same size of the adjacent homes. This would be reviewed. The issue with the setback requirements, the nonconforming issue has been taken out of the ordinance, it is no longer part of the ordinance. I discussed with the City Attorney regarding this change. This is the reasoning for the modifications the previous presentation. The modification of term "grandfathering" is not a provision in the new ordinance as it exists now.

    John Anderson: Am I able to have a copy of that ordinance and that change since last August? Exactly two (2) weeks ago, the inspector okayed the 20 X 20 house also. I am not aware if something occurred in the last three (3) weeks?

    Don Saven: After the last meeting is when this became an issue.

    John Anderson: Did it become part of the ordinance after the last meeting?

    Don Saven: No, it was part of ordinance. Once a person becomes aware there is a change in the ordinance, he has to comply with that provision of the ordinance. This is why I sought the recommendation of the City Attorney as to what they were able to describe those issues on nonconforming lots and develop an opinion.

    John Anderson: I would classify this as a hardship.

    Don Saven: I believe what the board is trying to tell you is to talk to your adjacent neighbors. They are not telling you that the this lot can not be built on. They are trying to encourage you to work with the people next door and to the rear of your property. Everyone is trying to work with you. This needs to be a workable situation to everybody.

    Chairman Reinke: If you would prefer, we could table this. I think you have the feeling from the board that they will not support the number of variances you have requested tonight.

    John Anderson: Should I only request two (2) variances?

    Chairman Reinke: I could not tell you that, until we see what we are reviewing. If the neighbors are in support of your plan, there will be a lot of merit on this Board’s action.

    Don Saven: I would like to address the issue of the garage. There is no requirement or building code that the garage has to be built. If it is an issue that the petitioner needs a garage, it would need to be part of the plan. One of the concerns was the garage and because of this, we were able to move the house over. However, if the garage did not become part of the house or is not an issue, then they could make the house a little smaller to avoid some of the variances. This may be one of the issues that would need to be settled on.

    Chairman Reinke: The feeling I am getting form the board, is that the plan will need to be drastically different than what was presented tonight. This would include changes in the requested variances, lot coverage, etc… and something mutually worked out with the neighbors.


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

  5. Case No. 01-017 filed by Kevin Sovel of Marathon Oil
  6. Kevin Sovel of Marathon Oil is requesting a sign variance to allow a façade alteration from Sunoco to Marathon Oil. Please refer to previous Case No. 1042.

    Kevin Sovel was present and duly sworn in.

    Kevin Sovel: Last month we came in and decided to attempt to explore additional possibilities for the sign in front of my business. I met with the ordinance officer and he wrote a letter of his feelings toward the matter. I have submitted the letter to the Board. The ordinance officer did not find another option to bring the sign into compliance. He did state the possibility of building signs. I do not think we have the space for a building sign on the Ten Mile side. Although there is space on the Meadowbrook Road side of the building, I feel it is critical to have pricing available for customers to see. I am asking if we could change the face of the sign.

    Chairman Reinke indicated that there were four (4) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals, no disapprovals and one (1) return.


    There was no audience participation.


    Don Saven: Alan Amolsch went out to find if there could be any alternatives and as the gentleman indicated, he found it to be very difficult. He found that there was nothing more this gentleman could do.

    Member Brennan: Thank you for your effort to explore additional options. I have read Alan Amolsch’s letter and I concur with his findings. I will support your sign.

    Moved by Brennan,

    Seconded by Bauer,


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

  7. Case No. 01-008 filed by Carol Eberhart of 2293 Austin
  8. Carol Eberhart of 2293 Austin is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of a wood fence within the minimum front yard setback distance.

    Carol Eberhart was present and duly sworn in.

    Carol Eberhart: I put up a few panels in my front yard in between my neighbor and myself. I replaced a fence that was previously existing there. I did not extend the fence to the front. Although I installed the fence two (2) years ago, I recently received a letter indicating I was in violation of the ordinance. I installed the fence due to my neighbor’s boyfriend. He would go through my yard, he threw a top of a camper into my yard, broke down my tree, kids running between the yards, when I mowed my lawn, I found beer bottles, cans and trash. I am requesting a variance for my existing fence.

    Chairman Reinke indicated that there were twenty-seven (27) notices sent to neighbors and there were six (6) approvals and no disapprovals.


    Jim Korte, Shawood Lake: This is historically an Linda Oakler house, whom she purchased her home from. They owed this house and the house next door was their rental home. When they moved to Florida, the rental she resides in, three lengths of fence illegally to the front of the house. This was to cover the worst "mess" on the face of the earth in Shawood Walled Lake Heights. If you examine the ordinance regarding not fencing beyond the front of the house, her home sits further back than any house in the subdivision. This is one of the houses that is from Austin to Novi Road. At one point in time, the kitchen of that house, sat on the commercial property. Currently this has been rezoned. This is how she got back so far. Mark Robbins to the south, and original Linda Oakler house, sticks out further than hers. Mark Robbins can place two lengths of 8’ paneling legally and not come in front of him. If we are looking at legalities on 40’ wide, we are looking at the most a panel and one half being questionably illegal. Without measuring I guess it is probably 25’ off of the City road right-of-way. We could have a house thirty-five (35), thirty (30) or twenty-five (25). If you are looking for a hardship, the house is still in poor condition after being re-built. There is no way that any civilized person could live next to that mess without 6’ fence. It is a shame she did not place an eight foot (8’) fence. Thank you.


    Member Gronachan: Ms. Eberhart, this fence was replacing an existing fence?

    Ms. Eberhart: I was told that a fence existed there before I resided in my home. There was still some of the wiring there before I bought the house.

    Member Gronachan: The fence did not exist when you purchased the house?

    Ms. Eberhart: No, but there was still part of an old wiring fence. The neighbors supported me to place the fence, so I did.

    Member Brennan: I think we have some testimony here that supports the petitioner’s desires. I would have no problem supporting the maintaining of the fence.

    Chairman Reinke: I reside in a neighborhood near the petitioner and drive quite frequently through the area. I know what you are speaking of and what you are dealing with. I can support the petitioner’s request.

    Member Gray: I wanted to add that I know the situation and I certainly have to commend the petitioner for living where she does for as long as she has. I know the City has, for many years, attempted to correct the situation to the north. They are doing what they can. I support your variance request.

    Moved by Gray:

    Seconded by Bauer,


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

  9. Case No. 01-018 filed by Michael Storm of 46013 Grand River
  10. Michael Storm of 46103 Grand River is requesting a variance to allow residential use of an existing home in an I-1 (Light Industrial) zoning district. One and two family dwellings are not permitted.

    Michael Storm was present and duly sworn in.

    Michael Storm: I am requesting a one (1) year temporary use for this home to be used as a residence. I would like a variance for one (1) year.


    Jim Korte, Shawood Lake: I happen to run into this business within the last two (2) years. The introduction is someone that is no longer with this City. It had to do with HCD Funding and such. I attempted to reach the person at the property and this was not successful. If there is a legitimate business running out of a Grand River Avenue property, I would like to be able to have the phone number and deal with the situation. Helwig gets involved with this, and for many reasons, the business was never consummated. I do not understand why we allow this kind of situation to occur if it has not been the commercial property. I do not understand the hardship. If the hardship is that you need the wonderful Novi address, then maybe you need to run your business out of the lovely Novi address. I do not like having to call Northville to deal with the business that is presumably in Novi. No hardship has been presented.


    Don Saven: For what purpose do you need the one (1) year variance?

    Michael Storm: My father-in-law will be purchasing the property off of me. He would like to develop the property. He is getting his financing in place and working with the Planning Department.

    Member Brennan: I would like more clarification. We have a long history of this property back to 1975. Your desire is to have a short term residential use for your father-in-law to live in?

    Michael Storm: No, he would like to purchase it and develop it right now, but there is "someone" living in it.

    Member Brennan: This someone is the person that you would like to continue to allow to live in it?

    Michael Storm: Yes.

    Member Brennan: Building Department, are there issues with respect to the building condition? Is it livable?

    Don Saven: I would have the building subjected to an inspection done on the premises.

    Member Brennan: If we were to grant a short term, even one (1) year, we need to ensure that it is a safe place to live.

    Member Sanghvi: That is a well covered point. The home needs to be good for human habitation before we grant this type of variance.

    Member Bauer: I think this variance request should be tabled until an inspection can be completed.

    Chairman Reinke: Mr. Saven, what time table could this be worked out in?

    Don Saven: This would depend on Mr. Storm. How soon could we get in there for the inspection?

    Michael Storm: I would tell the tenant that someone would be coming in within three (3) to four (4) days.

    Don Saven: I would request your presence for the inspection.

    Michael Storm: Okay.

    Member Brennan: Could you clarify the current situation with the property being used for landscaping supplies?

    Michael Storm: No, the business has been moved to Six Mile and Northville Road, in Northville Township.

    Member Brennan: There is currently no commercial business being done there now?

    Michael Storm: There are some folders in the back that are being transported over to Northville Road and Six Mile. That is something that I have been working out with Novi. They said the materials in the back needed to be moved. This is across the street from the new Expo Center location. I was aware this was a concern to move everything out.

    Member Brennan: Mr. Saven, is there discussion for planning for a different use of the property?

    Don Saven: That is what the petitioner is claiming. I do not know.

    Chairman Reinke: I think we should table this request for one (1) month subject to clarification of what the plans are for the property and the inspection of the residential function.

    Michael Storm: That is fine. I would like to know the procedures for the inspection.

    Chairman Reinke: Meet with the Building Department and they will set that up for you.

    Tom Schultz: To clarify, this matter was recently before the District Court for a prosecution under some of the ordinance violations. Mr. Storm, I would like to speak to you after the meeting or tomorrow because it is my understanding that there is to be no resident currently in the building. I believe I understood Mr. Storm stating there is currently a resident there?

    Michael Storm: Yes.

    Tom Schultz: The resident is not permitted to be there. Please call my office or meet with me after tonight’s meeting to clarify this. This was a condition of the guilty plea.


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

  11. Case No. 01-019 filed by Karen Wyerman of 45859 Willingham
  12. Karen Wyerman of 45859 Willingham is requesting a rear yard variance of 13.81 feet to allow the construction of a screened porch enclosure of an existing deck.

    Required rear yard setback: 35 feet

    Proposed: 21.19 feet

    Variance: 13.81 feet

    Barry and Karen Wyerman were present and duly sworn in.

    Barry Wyerman: We are requesting a variance for the rear yard setback based on two (2) hardships. 1) The set back on the cul-de-sac as the house was positioned, runs from the prescribed thirty (30) feet to over sixty-five (65) or seventy (70) feet due to the curve of the cul-de-sac. This has created a backyard that is short and prevents any effective use of the backyard in terms of placing a screen porch. 2) We feel that we are unable to use the backyard because the rear of the property abuts a wetland. We have standing water in one corner of the rear property line. Last year it was difficult to be outside after five o’clock. We do have the approval of the Homeowner’s Association and seven (7) neighbors that I have approached within a three hundred (300) foot radius. I have also included in a package I submitted to Sarah Marchioni, architectural review, approval of the plans by seven (7) neighbors, plans for the deck and screen porch off the rear of the house per the contractor and the lot plan showing the deck and the screen porch at the rear of house at the property line.


    There was no audience participation.


    Member Brennan: This is consistent with similar cases. We should have a similar result. I would support the petitioner’s request.

    Member Sanghvi: Just one clarification. There is no problem with building a new deck. This is only a variance for putting on a screen?

    Don Saven: Correct. Once you are enclosing with a roof and walls, then it would take on the same principle setbacks requirements as the building.

    Moved by Brennan,

    Seconded by Gronachan,


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

  13. Case No. 01-020 filed by Daniel and Cheryl Noble of 24580 Bramblewood Drive
  14. Daniel & Cheryl Noble of 24580 Bramblewood Drive are requesting an eighteen (18) inch variance to allow the construction of a sunroom within ten (10) feet of an existing swimming pool.

    Required setback: 10 feet

    Proposed: 8 feet, 6 inches

    Variance: 1 foot, 6 inches


    Daniel & Cheryl Noble was present and duly sworn in.

    Daniel Noble: We have the mosquito problems as the previous petitioner. We added a pool in 1996 and it is impossible to lifeguard the children in the evening due to the insects. We would like to construct a sunroom to protect us from the mosquitoes. We did the architectural plans and the contractor set up. We also filed with the City to have the plans approved, however we needed a variance. Of the eighteen foot (18’) wide sunroom wide, 7’4" of it would be in violation of the ordinance. It is concave shape of the pool. We are asking for the variance to keep it at twelve feet (12’) wide. The plans that we already have call for three inches (3") into the room. If we take away the foot and half (1’˝") with the necessary passage ways that we need, (we feel that we will need to travel with inside of the room), we would only have seven (7) feet to place furniture. We would have to return the four foot (4’) window that is non refundable and other additional cost. We looked at the deck and laid out where the differences would be between the twelve (12) foot and the ten foot six (10’6") to meet the variances. We set up the furniture, as shown in the plan, and you can see it is not practical. We are requesting that you approve our variance request.

    Chairman Reinke indicated that there were twenty-eight (28) notices sent to neighbors and there were ten (10) approvals, no disapprovals and one (1) return.


    There was no audience participation.


    Don Saven: As indicated it is a ten foot (10’) setback requirement that must be maintained between the accessory structure and the principle building. Their pool is kidney shaped. Progression along the side of the pool could effect five foot (5’) or six foot (6’) of the one wall that is within the one foot four inch (1’4") requirement that needs an appeal.

    Member Bauer: I do not have any problems with the variance request.

    Member Gronachan: I would like to commend the petitioner for the wonderful job done on the packet. I was impressed with the effort that you put into this packet. Everything was provided and the pictures were helpful. I support the petitioner’s request.

    Member Sanghvi: I agree, you did a nice job preparing this application. What is the height of the sun room?

    Daniel Noble: I believe it is ten feet (10’). It is peaked, so the center would probably be about ten feet (10’).

    Member Sanghvi: I would be concerned of the jumping activity from the roof to the pool.

    Chairman Reinke: The intrusion or the required variance covers the one corner, five foot (5’) area. I feel the petitioner has done as much as he could to work within the existing ordinance as stated. I can support the request.

    Daniel Noble: Is this the meeting that I need to request the waiver for the five (5) days?

    Chairman Reinke: Yes, do you need the waiver?

    Cheryl Noble: We would like to take the deck down.

    Daniel Noble: We would like to have the construction complete by Memorial Weekend so that we could use the pool.

    Moved by Sanghvi,

    Seconded by Bauer,


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

  15. Case No. 01-021 filed by Scott Pardel of 41011 McMahon Circle
  16. Scott Pardel of 41011 McMahon Circle is requesting an eight (8) foot front yard variance to allow the construction of an attached garage within the thirty (30) foot required front yard setback.

    Required front yard setback: 30 feet

    Proposed: 22 feet

    Variance: 8 feet

    Scott Pardel was present and duly sworn in.

    Scott Pardel: I currently reside at 41011 McMahon Circle, a ranch style home with a carport. The current carport size is approximately 9˝’ X 12’. This is a limited area to park my car. The residence does not have a basement, therefore, storage is limited. I am requesting a variance for the garage and storage. I do have an existing shed roof structure (about 6’) that is within the existing zoning requirements. I am asking for another two (2) to total twenty (20) feet. This is a standard size depth for a garage. I did go through the neighborhood and talk to the neighbors. I have signatures on file stating the support from my neighbors with what I am proposing to do. They do not have any objections.

    Chairman Reinke: We do have a copy of the signatures here.

    Chairman Reinke indicated that there were forty-one (41) notices sent to neighbors and there were eight (8) approvals and one disapproval. Objection – James Bruce, 23780 East Lebost, I object to the granting of the variance for the purpose of constructing the garage that will not meet the thirty (30) foot setback. I feel that property values will be affected by this and the home appearance up to the street. Adjacent neighbors will see this structure from their homes and traffic and out of it.


    There was no audience participation.


    Member Bauer: I think it will add to the neighborhood. I do not find any problem with the petitioner’s request.

    Member Brennan: I also note that the one objection was a gentleman on LeBost, all of his neighbors on McMahon, signed the approval. I have tendency to support the petitioner’s request.

    Chairman Reinke: Is part of the house behind the proposed garage correct?

    Scott Pardel: Yes it is.

    Chairman Reinke: What rooms are in back of that?

    Scott Pardel: There is a kitchen and a laundry room behind there. I felt going this route would be the lease structurally changing to the home.

    Member Gronachan: After looking at this, I am not sure of the shape of the lot. It is an odd shaped lot. There is not another location to put the garage. In reviewing this, I do no think he has any other options other than what he has proposed.

    Chairman Reinke: This is an area that notoriously has come before us because of where the homes are placed on the lots and the lot size, etc… If he did not have the kitchen there, he could have possibly set the garage back a little further. However, this could not be done without dismantling half (1/2) of the house.

    Moved by Bauer,

    Seconded by Gronachan,


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

  17. Case No. 01-022 filed by Diana Calvin of 47236 Sierra
  18. Diana Calvin of 47236 Sierra is requesting a fifteen (15) foot front yard setback variance for the construction of an addition and a fifteen and one half (15 ˝) foot front yard setback variance for the construction of a porch within the front yard.

    Required front yard setback: 45 feet

    Proposed: 30 feet

    Variance: 15 feet

    Required front yard setback (Porch): 41 feet

    Proposed: 25.5 feet

    Variance: 15.5 feet

    Diana Calvin was present and duly sworn in.

    Diana Calvin: When my home was built in 1968, the setback was thirty-five (35) feet and that is where my house is built. I believe my house is nonconforming. The setback is now forty-five (45) feet. What I would like to do is add five (5) feet to my living room. I have a thousand fifty-six (1056) square foot house. The living room is 12 X 18 with a 3’ closet for guest coats. I have a piano and an organ in my living room and we have to climb all over ourselves to move around. My company can only consist of six (6) people. I would like to add new window, new siding and a new roof.

    Chairman Reinke indicated that there were twenty-five (25) notices sent to neighbors and there were five (5) approvals and no disapprovals.


    There was no audience participation.


    Don Saven: I would like to remind the Board members that this zoning district has changed several times. It was an agricultural zoning, R-1, R-4 and R-A. I believe the setback for the area in 1969 was twenty-five (25) feet , then it was R-1 with the setback at thirty-five (35) feet, then R-4 at thirty (30) feet and presently R-4 forty-five feet. It was legal nonconforming at the time.

    Chairman Reinke: Do you have a homeowner’s association?

    Diana Calvin: Yes, we submitted the letter.

    Member Brennan: I have been in Diana’s living room. It is tiny with the organ and piano in the 12 X 18 space. She has her neighbor’s approval and Homeowner’s Association approval. I feel this is a reasonable request.

    Member Gray: This is another issue that I think is a City imposed hardship. When the City changed the zoning it changed the setbacks and it is not her fault. I have no problem supporting her request.

    Chairman Reinke: I think the intrusion to the front yard is minimal. It is not projecting out and it is not an obstruction.

    Moved by Brennan,

    Seconded by Sanghvi,


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

  19. Case No. 01- 023 filed by Michael Kahm representing Main Street Village

Michael Kahm representing Main Street Village Phase 2 is requesting an interpretation to Article 24, "Schedule of Regulations", Section 2400, Footnote (e) which governs the criteria for separations between buildings.

  • Proposed building elevation plan includes a one story garage element protruding from the main four story building. Applicant is requesting an interpretation, which provides for separate building separation distances depending upon the height of the building element along the face of the same elevation.

Tony Marszalec was present and duly sworn in.

Tony Marszalec: We are before you tonight to ask for an interpretation of the Footnote (e) to the Section 2400. The condition that we have is an interpretation of a four-story building. We have a one-story projection beyond that. We believe the formula stated in Footnote (e) is applied to a fixed building. When you have an adjacent structure as this structure gets larger. It is the intent that the distance between those buildings gets greater. You have a one (1) story to a four (4) story there is a dimension of approximately twenty-nine (29). When you take a two-story structure, the distance between them grows. They are approximately thirty-two (32) feet. As you continue, the necessary dimension would be a minimum of thirty-five (35) feet. The four-story would be a dimension of approximately forty (40) feet. As the height of the structure grows, the formula requires that the dimension between them becomes greater. What we are trying to show is, when you place our four-story within the envelope we described, the four-story fits within the four-story portion and our one-story is well within the remaining portion. We are here to ask for the interpretation of the one-story projection to not be applied with the height of the four-story building. This is because one-story is of a smaller mass than the four-story.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: I think it is important that you explain to the Board, how far the one-story projection goes out into the setback between the buildings.

Tony Marszalec: We are proposing the one-story element five feet (5’) beyond the four-story. If you take the dimension of the one-story verse the four-story, we are approximately seven (7) feet greater that what we would need for the one-story section. It is a five foot (5’) projection beyond the four-story.

Don Saven: I wanted to make sure that the Board understood that the projection was only for a certain amount of feet beyond the four-story application.

Tony Marszalec: That is correct.

Chairman Reinke: If the one-story is not considered, then you would meet the setbacks between the buildings of the two (2) four-stories?

Tony Marszalec: We meet the setback requirement from four-story to four-story and four-story to one-story.

Member Brennan: The ordinance does not get that specific to a building that has two different elevations. If the calculations suggest that the four-story distance meets ordinance and the relationship between the existing four-story and one-story meets the distance, it seems like they would be within the ordinance. This is what they are asking, correct? If we believe their interpretation of the ordinance is within the ordinance?

Tony Marszalec: Yes, that is what we are asking for.

Member Gray: Is the reason for the extension because you are going to park cars two deep in the garage?

Tony Marszalec: Yes. This is a necessary dimension to park two (2) cars in the garage,

Member Brennan: That would be for the parking in the lower level?

Tony Marszalec: Correct.

Member Gray: It is a two-car garage but it is a lengthwise cars as opposed to the width.

Member Brennan: The use dictates the design and the question is whether the design meets the ordinance. I would think it does.

Chairman Reinke: You are looking at the principle structure and you have these protrusions like a deck protrusion. It is not going across the entire face of the building. There is a small section and it is back to the existing wall of the four-story structure, correct?

Tony Marszalec: Correct.

Chairman Reinke: I agree with you comment Member Brennan. The interpretation as I see it as meeting the ordinance, because of the main structures there.

Member Sanghvi: Could the City Attorney please address this issue?

Tom Schultz: I think that Member Brennan’s comments are a fair interpretation of what is the issue here. The ordinance is not clear. Therefore, it falls to this body to make a fair interpretation to the ordinance.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Gronachan


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

  1. Case No. 01-024 filed by Kimberly Golematis representing Lazy Lizard
  2. Kimberly Golematis representing Lazy Lizard is requesting a variance to erect a portable sign. PLEASE NOTE: The applicant is not in the appropriate district to erect a portable sign.

    Kimberly Golematis was present and duly sworn in.

    Kimberly Golematis: I am co-owner and President of Lazy Lizard Cantina located in the downtown Novi development. We have been in business for one (1) year. I think the largest problem we face is parking and it is not because it is not available. It is because our customers do not know where the parking is located. We would like a temporary variance to place "this" sign in front of our restaurant to direct our customers to the rear of the building, where they can access complimentary underground parking.

    Chairman Reinke indicated that there were thirteen (13) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approval and no disapprovals.


    There was no audience participation.


    Don Saven: You have indicated it would be temporary. Please define temporary.

    Kimberly Golematis: One (1) year. It would be until Novi and the development could conclude how they would direct to the parking structure in the future.

    Member Brennan: Didn’t we approve a parking sign for the parking deck approximately five (5) or six (6) months ago?

    Jim Chen: Yes. This entire parking signage is currently being worked one. One (1) year of time would be needed to work it out between us and the City and have it installed.

    Member Brennan: Could you please recap where the previously approved sign would to be placed? Would this be on the side of Lazy Lizard or the end of the building?

    Jim Chen: The sign was approved to be located behind the building, to indicate the location of the underground parking entrance. It would not be in front of the building. We need to be able to direct the people from the front of the building to the back of the building.

    Member Brennan: I had a discussion with the owner when they first opened because we were not certain about the underground parking. I think there is legitimate cause here. This restaurant is recessed. It is easy to drive by it. People still are not aware of the underground parking.

    Kimberly Golematis: Customers are parking as far down as 5th Avenue and walking in this cold weather.

    Member Sanghvi: This sign would only be place outside during the hours of operation, correct?

    Kimberly Golematis: Correct. It is a portable sign and would be removed each night.

    Don Saven: Could you indicate the location of the sign? Will it be in the right-of-way?

    Kimberly Golematis: The direction would be out the exterior doors, straight ahead, across the sidewalk, in between the sidewalk and the curb. It would need to be visible to those driving by. If it was any closer to the restaurant, it would not do any good. We need to place it past the air intake in front of our door.

    Member Brennan: Is this visible with cars parked in the front?

    Kimberly Golematis: Yes, because there is no parking directly in front of the restaurant.

    Member Gronachan: I am not in support of a full year. I can appreciate the frustration out there, having driven by, I could see where it would help. However, I do not think a full year would be necessary. Possibly another means for making the underground parking known would be a good suggestion as opposed to this sign. I am worried that an approval of this request would set a precedence that everyone could put a sign out for underground parking in the back. I feel with repeated business, the customers would eventually learn of the parking.

    Kimberly Golematis: Hopefully it will be before the business fails, because no body could find a place to park. We put it on the guest checks. We do make announcements on busy days. However still, customers do not realize there is parking in the back. I think one-year to allow the City, the development and Jim Chen could implement a system to show people where to park.

    Member Bauer: I could see a sign saying underground parking but with the other…(inaudible)

    Kimberly Golematis: The now open? Because that would be Mr. Chen to do that sign.

    Member Gray: (Raises issues regarding liability.)

    (tape ends)

    Tom Schultz: If the it is determined to grant the variance, then we could make it subject to determination of whether a license agreement should be entered into and hold harmless agreement.

    Member Gray: At the very least, we should be named as an additional insured on her business insurance policy. Not necessarily hold harmless, but that is your discretion.

    Chairman Reinke: I can see and understand the need for direction on this. However, my opinion would be that this would be a one (1) time variance request with additional input to the committee to review signage and direction for Main Street.

    Tom Schultz: There is an ordinance that has been prepared, an amendment to the Main Street Ordinance that does include some changes to the signage questions. This is under review from the various consultants.

    Kimberly Golematis: That is a great idea, because it is time to revise.

    Don Saven: Is it possible that she could place a sign out of the right-of-way at this time until such time the attorney office can make the decision regarding any additional information? This could satisfy the beginning of the one-year time frame?

    Kimberly Golematis: We did not spend a lot of money on this sign. We do not plan on keeping it. It is temporary.

    Moved by Gray,

    Seconded by Sanghvi,


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

  3. Case No. 01-026 filed by Tony Nowicki representing the City of Novi

Tony Nowicki, Director of Public Services, representing the City of Novi, is requesting eight (8) site variances for the construction of the Twelve Mile Road SAD Improvement. Variances requested are on a lot or parcel basis and a direct result of the proposed increased right of way (ROW).

  1. Ann Marie Bitonti
  2. 44264 Twelve Mile Road

    Sidwell: 5022-10-400-013

    Existing Road ROW – 33 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

    Proposed Road ROW – 75 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

    Required front yard setback: 45 feet

    Proposed: 32 feet

    Variance: 13 feet

  3. Cornrite Properties
  4. 44244 Twelve Mile Road

    Sidwell: 5022-10-400-030

    Existing ROW – 33 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

    Proposed ROW – 75 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

    Required front yard setback: 45 feet

    Proposed: 34 feet

    Variance: 11 feet

  5. Midas Realty Corp.
  6. 43421 Twelve Mile Road

    Sidwell: 5022-15-200-018

    Existing ROW – 43 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile and Centerline of Novi Road)

    Proposed ROW – 75 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile Road

    Proposed ROW – 51 feet (Centerline of Novi Road)

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "Schedule of Regulations" requires a minimum of a one hundred (100) foot front yard setback in an RC zoning district. NOTE: Midas was originally approved under a B-3 zoning district requiring a thirty (30) foot front yard setback and a ten (10) foot green space between property line and parking.

    Required front yard setback (12 Mile): 100 feet

    Proposed: 15 feet

    Variance: 85 feet

    Required front yard setback (Novi Road): 100 feet

    Proposed: 55.9 feet

    Variance: 44.1 feet

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2506, "Off-Street Stacking Space, Layout Standards, Construction and Maintenance" requires that no parking stall adjacent to a parking lot entrance from a street shall be located closer than twenty five (25) feet from the street ROW.

    Required parking setback (12 Mile): 25 feet

    Proposed: 15 feet

    Variance: 10 feet

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "Schedule of Regulations" requires a twenty (20) foot minimum front yard parking setback.

    Required parking setback (Novi Road): 20 feet

    Proposed: 18 feet

    Variance: 2 feet

  7. West Oaks II

Sidwell: 5022-15-200-059

Request for interpretation regarding parking spaces based upon approved site plan

NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 31, SECTION 3104, "Jurisdiction" states the Zoning Board of Appeals is empowered to act on matters of administrative review per the Ordinance, interpretation, exceptions or special approvals and variances.

  • Approved site plan for West Oaks II provides for excess parking. An easement is being proposed to provide access to Midas, which will affect five (5) of those excess parking spaces. West Oaks II concern is for future development. The request is for a favorable interpretation which will allow West Oaks II to maintain their current parking calculations once the easement has been granted, by counting the spaces as existing for all purposes under the Ordinance, including parking requirements.
  • This interpretation is conditioned upon West Oaks II granting the easement to Midas.
  1. Siena Group, LLC
  2. 43300 West Twelve Mile Road

    Sidwell: 5022-11-300-006

    Existing ROW – 33 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

    Proposed ROW – 75 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, ARTICLE 24, SECTION 2400, "Schedule of Regulations" footnote (b) requires a minimum of a seventy five (75) foot front yard setback for uses other than single family residential and for off street parking within a front yard.

    Required Non residential use front yard setback: 75 feet

    Proposed: 31.7 feet

    Variance: 43.3 feet

    Required front yard setback (Off street parking): 75 feet

    Proposed: 8 feet

    Variance: 67 feet

  3. Oaks Corner, Inc.
  4. 27800 Novi Road

    Sidwell: 5022-14-100-063

    Existing ROW – 43 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

    Proposed ROW – 75 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2406, Paragraph 6, subpara (D) requires a seventy five (75) foot minimum front yard setback to a principle building.

    Required front yard setback: 75 feet

    Proposed: 74.9 feet

    Variance: 0.1 feet

  5. Scott Shuptrine
  6. 43606 West Oaks Drive

    Proposing an additional ten (10) foot ROW along front property line

    NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 2407, Paragraph 6, subpara (D)(2) requires a minimum of a twenty (20) foot front yard setback for off street parking.

    Required off street parking setback: 20 feet

    Proposed: 14 feet

    Variance: 6 feet

  7. West Oaks Drive

Interpretation or variance request regarding Highway Easements.

  • An interpretation or variance is requested regarding a highway easement as it applies to lot lines. A five (5) foot highway easement is proposed on West Oaks Drive across from the Standard Federal Bank.
  • An interpretation or variance is requested in that the area granted for highway easement not be considered right of way for purposes of measuring setback, landscaping or any other requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, in order to ensure that the grant of the easement to the City will not limit or prevent property owners ability to maintain, expand, rebuild, alter, or lease the improvements on the subject property to the same extent as would be permitted without the grant of the easement.


Don Saven: The petition tonight is based upon the City of Novi’s request for the variances. In your packet you will notice the additional information regarding the right-of-way requirements and you can see the tremendous right-of-way requirements that are necessary for the improvement of the SAD.


Tony Nowicki was present and duly sworn in.

Chairman Reinke: Mr. Nowicki, before you get started, I think the details were covered fairly well in the information we were provided with. Could you please do a brief overview and great detail is not necessary.

Tony Nowicki: Mr. Chairman and Board Members, thank you for allowing me to appear before you tonight on the behalf of the City of Novi and Special Assessment District No. 155. As you know, the City of Novi is pursuing the improvements of Twelve Mile Road. Generally from Dixon Road to East of Novi Road. (Using an overhead.) The improvements take place in this general area. This is Dixon Road through east of Novi Road. It provides for the construction of a four (4) lane boulevard roadway section along Twelve Mile Road, with landscaping and decorative mass arm signal supports. Improvements to Novi Road would be turn lanes in this intersection and turn lanes north of Twelve Mile Road. Also, improvements to West Oaks Drive; construction of a new street in this area; additional ramp improvements from I-96; and improvements to Donelson Drive. The project is being funded one hundred percent (100%) by a private development of approximately 18.45 million dollars. Construction of this road and the design calls for the expansion of the existing roadway. Currently, the roadway is approximately thirty-two (32) feet. The roadway will require seventy-five (75) feet on either side of the center line of the road. This creates nonconforming uses and setbacks for the existing properties. There will be homes and businesses that will be nonconforming as a result of these nonconforming parking requirements, Midas Muffler modifications and issues associated with the cemetery. We have a very exciting project. We are hoping to in the near future to put together a full set of plans to carry that improvement all the way east to Meadowbrook Road. We are working on that now and when it happens this summer, it will be a fantastic project.

Chairman Reinke: Could you please give the effect on each case?

Tony Nowicki:

Parcel #50-22-10-400-013

Required front yard setback: 42 feet

Proposed: 32 feet

Variance: 13 feet

Parcel #50-22-10-400-030

Required front yard setback: 45 feet

Proposed: 34 feet

Variance: 11 feet

Midas Muffler (Along Twelve Mile Road)

Required front yard setback: 100 feet

Proposed: 15 feet

Variance: 85 feet

Midas Muffler (Along Novi Road)*

Required front yard setback: 100 feet

Proposed: 55.9 feet

Variance: 44.1 feet

*Zoning of this parcel was B-3 when Midas Muffler was established.

Chairman Reinke: Will Novi Road be widened at this point?

Tony Nowicki: Yes, it will be widened. There is another southbound lane.

Midas Muffler (Along Twelve Mile Road)

Required Parking Setback: 25 feet

Proposed: 15 feet

Variance: 10 feet

Midas Muffler (Along Novi Road)

Required Parking Setback: 20 feet

Proposed: 18 feet

Variance: 2 feet

West Oaks II

Requesting an interpretation regarding the parking spaces, based on the approved site plan. There are excess parking spaces for part of the West Oaks Development. West Oaks is granting easements to the City of Novi and Midas in order to provide for enhanced circulation around the Midas Muffler Shop. This would require the elimination of those five (5) parking stalls. The West Oaks II is concerned that the five (5) spaces could become critical in future expansion and do not want to lose them.

Siena Group, LLC

Parcel #50-22-11-300-006

Existing ROW – 33 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

Proposed ROW – 75 feet (Centerline of 12 Mile)

Required Non residential use front yard setback: 75 feet

Proposed: 31.7 feet

Variance: 43.3 feet

Required front yard setback (Off street parking): 75 feet

Proposed: 8 feet

Variance: 67 feet

Oaks Corner, Inc.

Parcel #5022-14-100-063

Required front yard setback: 75 feet

Proposed: 74.9 feet

Variance: 0.1 feet

Scott Shuptrine

Required off street parking setback: 20 feet

Proposed: 14 feet

Variance: 6 feet

West Oaks Drive

Interpretation or variance request regarding Highway Easements.

An interpretation or variance is requested regarding a highway easement as it applies to lot lines. A five (5) foot highway easement is proposed on West Oaks Drive across from the Standard Federal Bank.

An interpretation or variance is requested in that the area granted for highway easement not be considered right of way for purposes of measuring setback, landscaping or any other requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, in order to ensure that the grant of the easement to the City will not limit or prevent property owners ability to maintain, expand, rebuild, alter, or lease the improvements on the subject property to the same extent as would be permitted without the grant of the easement.

Chairman Reinke indicated that there were ninety-three (93) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals, no disapprovals and two (2) returns.


Debbie Bundoff, Novi and Twelve Mile Road: I did not respond in writing because I just received the notice. I do not think it was mailed out until after the 27th. I have some concerns. I also have a question that I have been asking since the City started this project with the developers, in an alternative to the Boulevard Road of Twelve Mile Road. Because of the massive amounts of roadway that would be put in and the ability to maintain them would be set on the County. Whether the City took jurisdiction in the future is yet to be seen. It is a County road. A private development handling this because of their need to expand the road system in order to have their development. I have been asking since we were introduced to this plan in March of last year, "Why this could not be done in a four (4) lane or a five (5) lane road?" Which meant that as much asphalt or concrete would not be necessary and you would not need these variances. I have a concern over a lot of issues with this road. One is that I have a traffic light that would be shining into my front yard. That is great. I am not sure, because I have enough night light now. If this road was a four (4) or five (5) lane road, would it then be allowed to handle the traffic? Possibly. This is a two (2) lane road currently. We have very few curb cuts on Twelve Mile Road. The majority of those curb cuts enter in through either roadways or access points to malls. There are very few that we have for residential or small businesses. I have not seen anything from anybody that shows what the alternative would be. Does the plan show what they would be doing to Midas Muffler? Does it tell you how many excess parking spaces are at West Oaks II? There have been a lot of changes since the original West Oaks II was built. You now have JoAnn’s, the expansion of Cherry Blossom, the expansion of Kohl’s, stand alone building expansion and the previous Builder’s Square is not three (3) stores. Are parking spaces available for the additions that have already been there? A lot of added square footage has been added since the original parking was approved. Where do they sit on the excess parking? I have heard from Midas Muffler employees what the plan is for how they are going to maneuver their traffic through. If the road was not a boulevard, they may not have to have this agreement. If something occurred at the mall, this may be a future problem. I would hope that someone over this time period would have shown why this had to be a boulevard. It is great having a boulevard at the expressway. This is a road that although we are filling a gap now, between Meadowbrook Road and this project, we are now possibly going to dump this again into another two (2) lane road. Whether it is at Husky or before Husky is still undecided. There is a railroad track, so it will be a long time before this road is expanded beyond that. This may not have to effect these people in that right-of-way if there was an alternative on that road shown.


Don Saven: I think Mr. Nowicki explained everything well. Midas Muffler was a concern with the greatest requirement for a variance. When Midas Muffler was constructed, it was a B-3 Zoning with a setback at thirty feet (30’) from the property line, a ten foot (10’) green space area between the right-of-way and the parking space. Therefore, you can see the difference in the requirements.

Chairman Reinke: Living in close proximity, I have seen the problem of several cars attempting to exit both ways from Midas and the gas station. A boulevard street would create a less accident prone intersection and be less interrupting of traffic. It would be a safer intersection as a boulevard as opposed to a five (5) lane road. I understand that it uses more property, but I believe this would create a better traffic situation.

Member Brennan: Debating of the design and the engineering is not necessary because we have years and millions of dollars into this. What is before us tonight is a request for eight (8) variances. I would like to ask the City Attorney if the granting of all of these requested variances compromise the City and if they are all, including the interpretation, in the best interest of the City of Novi community and its tax payers?

Tom Schultz: In my opinion, the granting of these variances does not compromise. One statement of the obvious is that the easement referenced in the documents be granted and accepted by the City. I think the practical matter that has already been done, but I think if you reference, the variances and interpretations are conditioned upon the plan substantially as presented being built. If this is the case, I do not believe there could be any compromise to the City’s interest. Is it in the best interest of the City? I think I would have to defer to the Council, which is determined to go forward with the plans, and has in fact set this in motion, such that it will happen. These need to be granted and are in the City’s interest as the plans are currently framed.

Member Brennan: The reason for my asking is because we have a letter from Council that suggests this is in the best interest of the City. Based on their professional input and those that have put all of the work into it, I am compelled to support the petitioner’s request.

Chairman Reinke: Mr. Nowicki, are there excess parking spaces in the West Oaks II in the allocation?

Tony Nowicki: That is my understanding, yes.

Member Sanghvi: How does this all fit in with the Ring Road concept we have been addressing in the planning?

Tony Nowicki: The Ring Road concept is south of I-96, through the Main Street, Crescent Boulevard and what was proposed to be Crescent Boulevard West. This enhances the traffic flow in that area. As most of you know, the intersection of Twelve Mile Road and Novi Road at times is failing in respect to capacity. Even without additional development, the intersection would continue to operate at certain times at a Level of Service E or F with substantial delays in vehicular traffic. This was designed to minimize those delays, enhance traffic flows in the area and continue the boulevard section from Farmington Hills through Novi and up to the CSX bridge near Taft Road. The concept is that the boulevard would neck down from a six (6) lanes, as it currently exists near Meadowbrook Road, to four (4) lanes. The four (4) lanes are carried through the intersection of Novi Road and east of the CSX track will taper down to a five (5) lane roadway as it transitions into the bridge, it will then carry across the bridge and continue the five (5) lane roadway through to Beck Road. Michigan Department of Transportation would most likely begin to improve this section near Beck Road this summer or next. (East of Twelve Mile Road east of Beck Road.) The Road Commission, as we know, is actively pursuing grants and has submitted applications for grand funding to complete the roadway. We are on track and hopefully things will be moving and we will be able to have a complete corridor in the not too distant future.

Member Bauer: Does it benefit both the residents and people passing through? (Safety, health and welfare.)

Tony Nowicki: Yes, we believe so.

Member Gray: Mr. Chairman, this again falls in the category of City-imposed hardships. I have another question for the City Attorney. If we grant these variances, what does this effect the rights of the individual property owners, should they chose to come and seek a variance in the future?

Tom Schultz: I do not think the granting of this or each of the particular variances has any conclusive effect in terms of the property owner coming forward and seeking additional variances. As you know, every variance that comes before you is reviewed on its own merits. I do concur in your characterization of this as a City imposed hardship. That is essentially what this is. They are essentially imposing restrictions on the use of the property for a public benefit. In the end, additional approaches are made to the Board by property owners and you will probably need to take that into consideration.

Member Gray: This was one of my concerns when I started reviewing this. In a lot of respects, I am not real thrilled with what we are doing for the project itself, but these are necessary improvements. As long as I have been in the are and active in the area, I know that there has been discussion through various administration of a boulevard out to I-96. Therefore, this is not new news to some of us. We have an obligation to move this along by granting the variances and agreeing with the intent as presented. If the Board is so inclined a motion would be in order.

Chairman Reinke: To answer you question, we had a situation similar to this at the corner of Thirteen Mile and Meadowbrook Road, where the same conditions existed. That case like any other case that comes before us, the Board tries to work with. The whole situation that has created what they have to work with also.

Tom Schultz: The motions should include subject to the easements referred to in the documents being granted and accepted and recorded and the ultimate improvement substantially agreement of the SAD 155 as presented tonight.

Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Gray,



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


  1. Joint City Council / Zoning Board of Appeals meeting

The Board discussed the different topics that had been previously submitted. They came to the consensus that everyone should think of more topics and return them to Sarah Marchioni before the next meeting.


Chairman Reinke: Correct me if I am wrong, but I am getting the feeling that this is "on again off again" at our discretion/their discretion. Where do we stand?

Sarah Marchioni: At the last meeting, I gave them the three (3) dates that we had discussed. It was suggested by the Clerk’s Department that we do it on the same night. Council did not agree, therefore we need to come up with different dates. Prior to this, they requested agenda items.

Chairman Reinke: This is a consolidation of input that was given to you?

Sarah Marchioni: Yes.

Chairman Reinke: I agree and disagree with some of it. The issue of the amount of a variance granted should be looked at on an individual case basis. We could not really identify the amount of a variance granted.

Member Gray: This was an item that I raised. It was my understanding at a training session, prior to my tenure, that the attorney has discussion regarding when one comes before the Board and requests a variance. (For example the request of a 10’ variance.) We as the Board have discretion of granting one foot, zero, ten foot or whatever. We are not required to grant the ten (10) foot variance just because that is the amount that they have requested. Correct?

Chairman Reinke: Correct.

Member Gray: This was the purpose of my comment regarding that issue. If this is not an item that should be discussed with Council, then you may remove it.

Chairman Reinke: In this discussion, I am attempting to clarify what we are looking for. Some of these are not items that need to go to Council because we could deal with them on our own. I do not want to take items to Council that are not necessary.

Member Gray: I agree.

Chairman Reinke: I view Fountain Walk Signage as how we viewed Main Street. I think in addition to the Ordinance Committee reviewing Main Street, they would probably be looking at Fountain Walk issues in the future.

Don Saven: We will be meeting with them tomorrow and going over issues regarding signage. We are still attempting to come up with some measure. The entire project was an entertainment project and it is a difficult project when addressing the signage. We are attempting to place things in perspective and have everything itemized according to need. I am certain they will be before us at the next meeting for exterior site signage. They will place mock up signs, however, because of the improvements to Twelve Mile Road the signs will not be visible. I am asking them to place the signs closer to allow us to get a size that is associated with the signs. It may not be directly at those locations, but it will represent what the size of the sign. These are basically the principle signs for the site identification or the business center and additional directional signs. (Located throughout the site upon entering from Donelson Drive or West Oaks Drive).

Chairman Reinke: Another issues is land use variances and what purpose does ZBA have and the efforts have been made to utilize the property for prior or pleading hardship. This is this an issue that the ZBA would need to question in each case. I would not except a statement claiming that they tried a couple of items. I would like to option to be able to question the petitioner to find if they have exhausted all efforts. I would like to hear that directly from the petitioner. I do not feel this issue needs to go to Council. The issue to add the request for the two hundred (200) variances I think it should go to Council. However, this would be a onetime issue. The issues that we would want to bring to Council are items that are a problem to the ZBA or reoccurring issues. I do not think this issue would be reoccurring.

Don Saven: I believe you are correct. I know how frustrating it is for the numerous variances that come before you when it could have been handled in the planning stages. We need to pick this up a lot sooner in the planning stages and recognize that we have these problems. We need to address these issues ahead of time. Therefore, if the variance is needed, then it is needed for that which is above and beyond what we have looked at.

Chairman Reinke: I agree with you completely.

Don Saven: The other ideas are issues that are dealing with concepts. Novi is not one to sit around and deal with the same stereotype things. Renovating, we have all kinds of ideas out there. It is great. However, we also need to take into consideration what needs to be done to achieve this.

Chairman Reinke: I agree with you completely, however, there may be further issues to address with Council. I wanted to review these issue and gather input from the Board Members, so that we have an agenda and an idea of items that we would like to discuss with them.

Don Saven: One of the items previously raised was when there are continued variance requests, such as berming issues and landscaping requirements. These are items that are hopeful that we could discuss with City Council and put it back in the area that it belongs. I am not a horticultural to determine which plant is better and yet we are here over these issues.

Chairman Reinke: I agree. I think that when we see when something is repetitious, we do need to address it. I can recall the example of the basketball hoops. Every week we were having as many as six (6) requests for variances for a basketball hoop. These items, at this point do need to be addressed by the Ordinance Review. However, when there is a situation that has only come before the Board once or twice, I do not think it is an issue that need to go to the Ordinance Review. Sarah, do you need additional dates?

Sarah Marchioni: No, I only needed the topics.

Chairman Reinke: Would the Board Members review and give some thought to the discussion tonight and if there are items to add, please input it to Sarah before our next meeting. We will plan to finalize the list at our next meeting.

Sarah Marchioni: I am to have figure out dates for May?

Member Gray: They are going to be getting into the budget process and their time may be limited.

Chairman Reinke: In my opinion, it will be in May or September. Find what dates are open and we will go from there.

Sarah Marchioni: Okay.

The Meeting was adjourned at 9:57 p.m.




Sarah Marchioni

Community Planning Assistant

Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji

April 20, 2001

Date Approved: May 1, 2001