View Agenda for this meeting
View Action Summary for this meeting


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


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

Absent: Member Reinke (excused)

ALSO PRESENT: Don Saven – Building Official

Sarah Marchioni - Recording Secretary

Tom Schultz – City Attorney

Rod Arroyo – Planning/Traffic Consultant

Linda Lemke – Landscape Architect

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.


Member Brennan indicated that there are sixteen (16) 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.


Member Brennan indicated that there are minutes from the May 1, 2001. Are there any changes or corrections to the minutes? Hearing none, all in favor say aye. All Ayes. Minutes approved as written.


Ted Minasian (Beechforest Office Park) – requested an extension of one year for his variance to coincide with expiration of final site plan approval.

Ted Minasian: Just to refresh your memory, this Board granted a variance for the Beechforest Office Park, which is to be located on Meadowbrook Road south of Twelve Mile Road. The variance given was height related where the side yard setbacks needed to be increased based on the height of the building. The height of the building, if it was determined by the architectural features of the dome, would then set the side yard setback a few feet shy. It recently came to my attention that a variance would expired thirty (30) days after receiving final site plan approval, which I think would be in the near future as the stamping sets have been issued. I was hoping to have an extension of a variance to coincide with expiration of the final site plan approval.

Member Brennan: How much time do you need?

Ted Minasian: If the final site plan approval is good for one (1) year upon issuance, I was hoping that the variance would go with the site plan.

Member Brennan: That is reasonable. Board members, any comments? I see a lot of heads shaking yes. Let’s make a motion.

Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Bauer,



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

Don Saven: I would like to remind the Board members that in unusual circumstances as the site plan process, there is a process a lot of times that the applicant must come before the Board to have a preliminary site plan approval. At that particular time, he has to go through the final site plan process, which can take a certain amount of time, sometimes months in this particular aspect. In this case, I do not think this is unreasonable.


Member Brennan: Before we hear the first case, I would like to make a point that is evident. We have a huge agenda before us tonight. This Board gets our packets typically ten (10) day to two (2) weeks before, so if you are presenting tonight, please present it in a summary. I do not want to hear word for word verbatim of what we already have in our packets.


1) Case No. 01-018 filed by Michael Storm of 46103 Grand River


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.


Member Brennan: This is an extension of the previous case. Please give us a quick and brief update as to what is going on.

Michael Storm: The tenants have taken care of all of the items that Hal placed on the list to take care of. I believe that he has ninety percent (90%) of them done. The furnace needs to be replaced. It has a bad heat exchanger. He has to still hang the new electrical box that has been purchased and is there at the residence. He has repainted the house and finished it today. He removed the gutters, replaced the boards that were rotted on the home. He replaced the sump pump that was causing the basement to get water. I put a new one in and piped a line out to the back of the property. I think he put in fire alarms over the ceilings in front of the bedrooms. I think we got all the main issues.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: The Board was specific about having these items completed at the last meeting. There was an updated inspection done through the Building Department back in May, which two (2) items were completed. I am just hearing now that the majority of the items are ninety percent (90%) completed. I think it was the Board’s directive to make sure that everything was taken care of.

Michael Storm: Right.

Member Fannon: The fact that everything is not done is kind of upsetting, so I personally make a motion to deny this variance due to the self-imposed hardship. When and if this gentleman is ready, he could bring it back to the Board. We have been dealing with this for two or three months. I can not see it going on and on.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Sanghvi,






Member Gray: I have concerns about what happens, although it may not be under our purview, with the petitioner’s standing within the court. Perhaps our attorney could address that.


Tom Schultz: As you know, this matter is still pending in front of the District Court. There was a plea entered on the record. I would like to clarify that there was no issue or residency specified before the court with regard to the tickets that Mr. Storm was issued. They related to wetlands, soil erosion, land development permits and I believe outside storage. We did resolve each of the tickets, but there was a condition to each of the resolutions, that there would be no further outside storage after a certain period of time. It is my understanding that this is resolved. I do not know whether Mr. Saven could comment on that. There was a clarification I guess for the benefit of Mr. Storm and his attorney that we did put on the record. It is the City’s position that the prior lawful, non conforming residential use has been abandoned. The party has essentially stipulated to that in connection with the criminal prosecution. The clarification here is that if Mr. Storm does not walk away with a variance tonight to continue a residential use of the property, he will be in violation of the ordinance in terms of that continued residential use of the property. In a way it is not related to the criminal matter, there would have to be a separate determination whether to bring some enforcement action if the variance is denied tonight.


Member Brennan: Mr. Schultz, I thought there was specifically in the court action an item regarding no residential.


Mr. Schultz: As a condition of the plea agreement that we worked out with Mr. Storm, it was placed on the record a clarification that there would be no legal use of that property until he came in and got some sort of approval. The avenue that he chose was obviously a use variance to continue residential use. If he is denied that tonight, then he has a decision to make in terms of what to do with that residential use. The City would have to determine what kind of enforcement actions to take.


Don Saven: If I may ask Mr. Storm, in regard to the property itself, I understand that this is going for a site plan review process. Is this correct?


Michael Storm: Yes.


Don Saven: Have you submitted plans?


Michael Storm: My father-in-law is doing it. I do not think that he has issued any papers to show any plans yet as to what he would like to do with it. He has talked to Beth in the Planning Department about some different things that he would like to do with it.


Don Saven: What is the time factor that you are looking at for this residential application?


Michael Storm: One (1) year.


Member Gronachan: I am concerned that we could make a vote on this variance or grant this variance when there is health, safety and welfare issues at hand. I have read the inspections. In good conscious I can not vote in favor of this until all of the repairs are done. The basement issue is a big concern of mine. I understand the delay with the outside repairs with the weather that we have had to deal with and perhaps been lenient with the outside work. But, not on the inside, not the furnace, not the basement, not the sump pump or the electrical. I can not support this variance.


Michael Storm: The furnace has been disconnected. It is disabled and it can not be run right now. He has electric heat that he purchased from Home Depot. The new fuse box is in there. The only reason why it was not checked off of the list was because it is missing the cover off of the front of it. So this is the reason that we have to replace the electrical box. The basement, were you referring water being in it? We put a new sump pump system and pawned that out to the back of the property. Hal was over and I think he saw that too on his last report.


Member Brennan: Mr. Storm, we have a motion and we are going to call the vote. We have a litany of problems with this property going back to 1975. I am not aware how many are associated with you, but this has been a troubled spot with the City for a long time. Until this thing is "crystal clean", I do not think you are going to get a lot of support from this Board.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Sanghvi,



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


Case No. 01-034 filed by Susan Friedlaender, attorney for

Ten & Beck LLC


Susan Friedlaender, attorney for Ten & Beck LLC is requesting to develop a single family residential site in a R-1 zoning district and is requesting a non-use variance for less lot area and setback requirements throughout the proposed 40 home site.


Required minimum lot area: 21,780 square feet

Proposed: 14,425 square feet


Required minimum lot width: 120 feet

Proposed: 90 feet and greater


Required minimum side yard setbacks: 15 feet with a total of 40 feet

Proposed: 10 feet with a total of 30 feet

Member Brennan: I have been very close to this particular case for sometime, so I will not participate nor will I vote. The petitioner should be aware that that leaves five (5) voting members. Member Fannon has offered to hear this case.

Member Fannon: Before we call this case, the petitioner should understand at the beginning of the meeting, if there had not been a full Board, we would have asked anybody that wanted to withdraw at that time, if you did not want to participate because it is not a full Board at five (5) members, you could withdraw and return next month. Knowing that there are only five (5) of us, which is not a full Board, do you wish to withdraw until next month? You will need four (4) out of the five (5) votes to obtain and will need four (4) out of the five (5) votes to deny.

Susan Friedlaender: We will go forward.

Member Fannon: This is the continuation of the case that was tabled last month to allow the Board to obtain more information.

Paul LeBlanc was present and duly sworn in.

Paul LeBlanc: I am the Planning Consultant with Langworthy, Strader, LeBlanc & Associates. I would like to begin by giving you a very brief overview of this particular property and why we are here tonight. I know that you have the reports that we submitted prior to last month’s meeting and another report that was submitted, I believe, last week in response to Mr. Arroyo’s report. I will try to keep things brief. The drawing to my left and on the screen illustrates the proposed development on roughly 24-acres of property at the northwest corner of Ten Mile and Beck Road. The property is at best, non descript. It is a flat piece of land. There are no woods, no lakes, no rivers, no streams, and no hills. It is basically a vacant field awaiting some form of development. The uses around it to the north and west are single family residential homes, platted subdivisions. To the east across Beck Road is a mixture of neighborhood, commercial and moderate density residential condominiums and single family homes. To the south is mainly vacant property with some scattered single family homes along the Ten Mile Road frontage. The character of the area is primarily residential, but there are some more intense uses to the east. The property is zoned R-1 and this zoning permits up to 1.65 dwelling units per acre. The Master Plan for this particular property and the surrounding area is single-family residential also at a density of 1.65 d/u per acre. If you do the math, and we have done it for you, 1.65 units per acre times 24-acres is forty (40) units. The character of the site, which brings us before you tonight is unique and makes this property unusable under the current zoning, is based on several factors. One is the size of the property 24-acres, is relatively small. The size and the shape do not allow any latitude into laying out the property. The streets have to be where the streets have to be. The lots are pretty much "cookie cutter" lots. We do not have a lot of flexibility to get creative here. It is what it is. The dimensions of the property are such that the parcel is relatively shallow. You may say to yourself that eight hundred (800) feet is not all that shallow, but if you look at the drawing, we have basically four (4) rows of lots and the center rows have to be wider than the minimum required in the R-1 District. They can not be any deeper to get the minimum lot area of a half-acre. We have to make the lots wider. There is difficulty there. Also, we are bordered on two (2) sides by major arterial streets, Beck Road and Ten Mile Road, which are both, designated as major arterials in the Master Plan. Both are planned for major reconstruction and upgrading to four (4) lane divided boulevard roadways. We can not have lots fronting directly on either of these streets; instead we will have to have two (2) roads of through lots or double frontage lots, which is an inefficient and costly manner to develop. This is unusual because where we look at the properties to the north or to the west of us, they have frontage on one of those streets and one row of double frontage lots. They are also larger parcels and have more flexibility in their layout. We do not have that opportunity with this parcel. We have to provide storm drainage on the property, which removes a substantial area that might otherwise be used for individual lots. We have to provide for our storm water detention and for detention for the property to the west of the site, which is another unique encumbrance on the property. The corner location itself makes the property less attractive and a less desirable for a single-family residential, because it is a highly visible and highly exposed area. It is not the kind of property that one would drive by and say "What a great place for a house. I would like to buy a house there." It is just a field bordered by two (2) very busy streets. Those factors coupled with the lack of any kind of site amenities places this parcel at a competitive disadvantage. If you look at a zoning map and look at all of the vacant land in the City of Novi that is zoned R-1 (Single-Family) there are many more locations that are more suitable for the kind of single-family home residential that we would want to put here. However, because of the development cost that are associated with putting lots on the property, we can not do this under the current restriction under the R-1 District. That brings us to you. We are asking for a variance from lot width, lot area and in some cases side yard to make it feasible to put the forty (40) lots that are provided for in both the R-1 zoning district and the Master Planned verses thirty (30) that is the maximum possible to put on there under the current R-1 zoning regulations. We have submitted, I think prior to the last meeting, in your packet some letters from developers, builders and the applicant themselves indicating the cost of developing this property, what the lots could be sold for and the kinds of home prices that they would have to get to make it financial feasible. The numbers do not work, so we are asking for some relief here by way of dimensional variances to get enough lots on the property to make it financially feasible to develop. I am going to stop here and ask Susan Friedlaender, the attorney representing the applicant, to say a few words in response to the whole question of whether this is a use variance or dimensional variance as well as some response to Mr. Arroyo’s comments. After I would like to address the standards that are in the ordinance with respect to whether or not the test for a variance can be met.

Member Fannon: Most of us have seen this property. I have lived here since 1972. I was shocked when you said that people would drive by Ten Mile and Beck Road and not say that would be a great place to have a house. Are you saying that this is basically financial? That because of the uniqueness of that property, because it is only 24-acres, that the purpose of your request for the variance is financial/economic?

Paul LeBlanc: We are saying that in order to make a reasonable use of this property, we would have to have more than thirty (30) lots.

Member Fannon: There are not other uses allowed on this property that are economically feasible?

Paul LeBlanc: None that we have encountered, no. For your information, and I believe it was in the written materials, for the last year or more, the property owners have been meeting with the neighbors to talk about options for developing the property. I think it would be fair to say that the neighbors have unanimously indicated single-family residential as the only use that would be acceptable to them. That is what brings us to this point, to try to find a way to place single-family homes on that property and make a viable use of it.


Susan Friedlaender: This is not only an economic issue. I am going to be talking about the standards that we have to meet in order to obtain a variance or the standards we have to meet in order to justify the Zoning Board of Appeals in granting a variance that makes certain findings. The first thing is, I think there seems to be a conflict on whether what we are seeking is a use variance or a non-use variance. I am going to be very brief because I have written about it in our application. To me this is very simple. With a use variance, you seek a use in the zoning ordinance that is not permitted. We are not seeking a variance from the R-1 permitted use provisions of the ordinance. We are seeking variances from Article 24, Regulations that apply in R-1 Districts. We are seeking dimensional variances. By definition, we are seeking non-use dimensional variances. When you seek such a variance, the legal standard, under which the ZBA can grant the variance is the standard, called practical difficulty. This is a different standard than unnecessary hardship. When you are talking about unnecessary hardship, according the court analysis, you can not economically use the land. It is not feasible to use the land in the use or category in which it is zoned. Under a practical difficulty standard, the issue is more in the character or nature of the property that presents an obstacle to using the property, as you would be entitled under the Zoning Ordinance. We are not seeking anything different or more than what the Zoning Ordinance provides, which is the density of 1.65 d/u per acre. The practical difficulty here, Mr. LeBlanc mentioned the factors of the size and the shape of the property. If you look at it, R-1 ordinance permits 1.65 d/u per acre, which is forty (40) units. Due to the character of the land itself, its location, its size, we are unable to develop twenty-five (25%) of the lots that we would be allowed under the R-1 District if the land did not have the configuration that it has or the location it has. I have heard and Mr. Arroyo mentioned in his response to our initial application, that not everyone gets to develop at the permitted densities. That may be true. I think you may find may situations where people get to develop at the density, where they develop at less than the density and develop at more of the density permitted or planned in the ordinance. I think you have to look at each case individually. I do not really know, because I am not aware of all of the different situations in Novi where people have not been able to develop at the densities. I do not know what their situation was, what their location (inaudible) of the land was, whether it was a twenty-five percent (25%) deficit they were dealing with, or was it that they could not develop ten percent (10%), five percent (5%) or fifty percent (50%) I do not know. I think that twenty-five percent (25%) is pretty significant. If you would like to get into the economics and why we meet your unnecessary hardship standard, when I do not believe that we need to, for dimensional variances, the economic difficulty is also tied to the nature and characteristics, locations, size of this land. Due to its location on two (2) major roads, there are certain setback requirements that your ordinance has and certain landscaping berming requirements. The cost to put in the berming and the type of landscaping that you need, in order to offer a product that is consistent with the values of nearby homes, makes the cost of developing this property very high. We would have this cost if we could have forty (40) lots on here, but when you lose twenty-five percent (25%) of the lots of which you could spread, those high costs, that a lot of other lots may not have, you have a practical difficulty. You also have an unnecessary hardship. It is the characteristics of the lot that make it more expensive to develop with having a lot that you would normally be entitled to under the R-1 District in order to spread the cost and make it more reasonable. I also know that the ZBA might feel that they are setting precedence, if you say that we could have the variances because we can not develop twenty-five percent (25%) of our lot. This is why I think you are dealing with a case by case basis. I think there is enough uniqueness in this situation if you look at all of the different factors together, the location, the size, the frontage on the two (2) roads, the loss of twenty-five percent (25%), the fact that we are only asking to develop at the density that is permitted under the ordinance and under the Master Plan. I do not know that everyone could come in and ask for this with the same kinds of difficulties and the same kind of unique situation. I have heard Mr. Arroyo ask if we created this difficulty for ourselves, did we spend too much for the property. Well, no. The price that was paid was based on the R-1 zoning with the reasonable expectation that it could be developed under the R-1 zoning, but that means forty (40) lots. Usually when a developer is looking at how much to pay for the land, they consider how many lots they can get out of it and determine the worth. The City assessed the property and the S.E.V. of this property was originally six hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($625,000), which was actually more than we paid for it if you take the true cash value. The petitioner actually had a reduction in the taxes because of that. I think the City is assessing it at the same value that we bought it at, which is saying that you believe that we paid a reasonable price for it. Hardship here is hardly self-created. Again, I do not want to repeat myself too much, the hardship has to do with the fact that you lose twenty-five percent (25%) of the lots and you paid for, you take in the expense of developing it, the hardship is caused by the land itself, not by what we paid for the land. Also, something that you have to look at is the variance that we are asking for, is it within the spirit of your Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan. Again, I am being a little repetitive, but I just can not stress enough that ordinance permits 1.65 d/u for density. The City of Novi seems to in the Master Land Use Plan look at residential development, as far build-out in the future, on the basis of density. You look at how many more lots or dwelling units could we build in the City. Not at what size, but at what density. We are not increasing the density at all. We are asking simply to build with the density that the property is zoned for and Master Planned for. In that sense, it is certainly within the spirit of the ordinance and the Master Plan. In all fairness to Mr. Arroyo, I did want to say that you are correct, I did misunderstand your point concerning the Ten Mile and the section lines. I apologize for that. Mr. Arroyo asked if the variance would alter the essential character of the area. I would have to say that it would be a matter of law. It can not. As Mr. LeBlanc mentioned, you have commercial, business, R-3 zoning to the east and R-1 to the north, south and west. Your zoning ordinance groups together R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-4 zoning districts under one (1) broad article, Article 4 Section 400. These residential districts are one (1). They have the same intent. The intent of all of these districts is to provide areas with low density single-family dwellings. I think it is almost impossible under the very definition of your ordinance, to have two (2) R-1 uses next to each other or a R-1 and a R-2 next to each other that could alter the essential character of the area. All we are really asking is to develop the property using some of the regulations, the lot area, the lot width and the setback provisions that you would find in R-2 or R-3, but at the R-1 density. It would be for a single-family use on corner with commercial use across the street, the same single-family use and the same density around it. It seems impossible to say that we are altering. You would be approving the alteration of the essential character of the area by granting the variance we are requesting. Another planning point is that this parcel could be seen as a transitional parcel, because it is unique in the sense that it is the only parcel across the street from which, along Beck Road, is across the street from a commercial use. R-1 next to R-1 is not a transitional use, it is the same density, but if you would like to see some of the smaller dimensions in a transitional sense, it makes planning sense as well. Now, Mr. LeBlanc is going to go over the legal standards of a practical difficulty. He is going to show you under your standards how we also meet the requirements for a variance. We hope that you would look kindly at this. Thank you.


Member Fannon: How much longer do you think you would need for your presentation? We have read all of this material.


Paul LeBlanc: Five (5) minutes.


Member Fannon: We are not trying to rush you. We have come prepared to this meeting.


Paul LeBlanc: The standards that I would like to address are the standards that are spelled out in your ordinance Section 3104.2, which states the considerations that you have to look at when granting any kind of variance. We have addressed those in writing, but I would like to address some of the high points. The first one is "…that the proposed variance will not impair an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent properties…" It is important to understand that we are asking for a reduction in lot area, but by no means are we asking for "little-bity" lots. The average lot size would be about seventeen thousand (17,000) square feet overall. Certainly these are good size lots. The front and rear yard setbacks would not be any less than what the current R-1 standard is, so that there is ample separation between dwellings and between neighboring properties, etc… We also have, because of our situation with two (2) arterial streets on the east and the south; we have to have deeper lots abutting those streets and greater setbacks. The second standard is that the variance not lead to an increase in traffic congestion. Initially we asked for a rezoning request to R-3. As part of that rezoning request, we did do a traffic study. The traffic study indicated that we were developing the property and there would obviously be additional traffic. However, the net effect would be a zero (0) impact, because the zoning and the Master Plan are based on 40 lots on that piece of property. There is no net increase. When the planning consultant/traffic engineer reviewed that, he agreed and did not have any quarrel with that conclusion. There is not net traffic increase beyond what was anticipated for this property. I would also note that both of those streets are planned to be widened substantially. The Master Plan recommendations are based on the densities proposed on the Master Plan, as Susan pointed out, on full build-out. The third point is that the variance not lead to an increase in fire or public safety danger. Again, we are not proposing a high intensity development that is significantly different than what is around us. In fact, it is substantially less than what is across the street to the east. Lot sizes and setbacks remain generous and there is no increase in the proposed or permitted density. The forth point is that the variance not unreasonably diminish surrounding property values. This is a point that you probably hear with most requests, that it will negatively impact my property values. There is absolutely no evidence related to this property or any similar situation that I have ever seen, that say that because we put homes on 17,000 square foot lots next to homes on ½ acre lots that the property values would go down. In fact, just the opposite, by maintaining a comparable quality of development and providing some transition or buffer between the arterial streets and the existing residential neighborhoods, we are actually helping to preserve the value of those homes. The whole point of this, as Susan pointed out, is to get enough lots in there that we could afford, to put in the landscaping, the aesthetic treatments, creative development that is of comparable quality to what already exists. The last point is that the variance not lead to any impairment of the health, safety and welfare. That has been partially addressed. Again, there is no evidence that smaller lots will negatively impact the health, safety and welfare. I point out that the City Engineer has indicated that forty (40) sewer taps have been allocated for this particular property. Again, the density provides for forty (40) units. There is no indication that granting this variance, that there would be a negative impact on the general health, safety and welfare.


Member Sanghvi: I would like to suggest that we hear about whether this is a use variance or a dimensional variance first and then go from there.


Tom Schultz: I will start with whether this is a use variance, non-use variance or area variance is quite apart from the merits that you will be addressing. I do not mean for my comments to reflect on that. You need to also be clear that this is a decision that the Board is going to make. Ms. Friedlaender and I will give you our various interpretations but you will determine the standard and you will apply the standard. From our perspective, what we saw when we received the application was one, a blanket variance for an entire residential development of 40 lots. The blanket variance asks for particular relaxations of standards for a setback, width and area of the lot, that are consistent and are contained in an existing zoning district within the City Zoning Ordinance, the R-3 District. You need to put aside the plan that they have placed in front of you and treat this as a situation of one coming before you requesting to place R-3 sized lots on this piece of property. I could concede what I would view as superficial logic, the point that the proponent makes, which is that they are only asking for width, area and setbacks and those are non-area typical issues. There is no case law that we could look up and point to in Michigan. There are no cases that I am familiar with and I did not find any in Ms. Friedlaenders submission to determine whether this is a use variance or a nonuse variance. The obvious ones are pretty clear. If you would like to place a bar in a residential neighborhood, this would be a use variance. If you have a lot or a parcel and request relaxation standards for size or setbacks, this may be a nonuse area variance. We did some research on the question and there are discussion and other jurisdictions. In particular, we went to one of the treatise that we often use for land use questions, the Rathkopf Law of Zoning and Planning. First, please acknowledge that there is often difficulty in deciding what is before you. There are a number of cases that have actually made a proponent prove both practical difficulty and unnecessary hardship where it looked like a mix of things. In one example, I thought applied, the author of that treatise essentially says that what you are looking for is the answer to the question, "Does it change the character of the use that exists on the property?" The example given was a multiple-family property with a requirement for 800 square feet of area for every unit in an apartment. The ZBA is then asked to give a variance to permit one unit per each 400 square feet. By definition, it is an area variance as stated by Ms. Friedlaender. By definition, I am speaking of area, but the reality is that a different use is being created on the property. From my perspective, you are creating a different use on the property. You are not simply giving a relaxation for setback or width for a particular piece of property. Instead, you are authorizing use under essentially different standards that exist in a different district in the ordinance. This is the way that we viewed the situation. As it is obvious to Ms. Friedlaender and her submissions, (tape ends)…the practical difficulty standard that they have set forth or the use variance that is a little more burdensome that essentially requires a determination that there is not reasonable use of the property as it is zoned.


Susan Friedlaender: May I make one comment?


Member Fannon: Please wait. I will get back to you.


Mr. Arroyo: I would like to point out that we have our report of May 17, 2001, our report of June 14, 2001 and I think the applicant has indicated that they did misunderstand some of the information that was in our original report. We have tried to clarify and hopefully we have done that. I have nothing to add at this time. I will be available to answer any questions.


Member Fannon: Board members, do we want to hear from the residents next to find their position on this matter? After we have a full perspective we could have Ms. Friedlaender respond.


Ms. Friedlaender: I would like to respond to Mr. Schultz.


Member Fannon: Okay.


Ms. Friedlaender: The distinction here, I would agree with Mr. Schultz that we were asking for R-3 zoning if we were asking for 66 lots. That I would say is a use variance, okay. But, we are not. We are asking for 40 lots. We are not asking to change the essential character of the R-1 District, which is 1.65 units per acre, which is the density, which I think clarifies that this is not a use variance. Thank you.


Tom Schultz: Mr. Chair?


Member Fannon: Yes.


Tom Schultz: This is a point that I think you may want to discuss with Mr. Arroyo. The distinction that the proponent keeps coming back to is that they are only going for the density that applies to the R-1 District. I think Mr. Arroyo may be able to comment at greater length on how many developments in the City of Novi or other communities come in at precisely the density that is permitted under the ordinance.

Member Fannon indicated that there were sixty-one (61) notices sent to neighbors and there were zero (0) approvals, sixty (60) disapprovals and one (1) return.

Member Fannon: There is one large letter with signatures attached, a petition in effect. Is Mr. Krystoff present? Will you be speaking on behalf of this group and then we could allow additional comments?

Larry Krystoff: Larry Cjecki is the President of our association.

Member Fannon: If someone could be the spokesperson at the beginning and then we could catch up with anything that is not said to allow the meeting to move forward.


Larry Cjecki 24383 Nantucket: I am an attorney. I come from a couple of different perspectives. I would like to take a moment to share those. Number one, I have been a resident here for ten years. I am currently the president of the Greenwood Oaks Homeowner Subdivision I and II. I am an attorney with real estate as my area of concentration. I am also a banker with construction financing as my area of concentration. I am also a developer for commercial, not residential. I would like to defer to Mr. Schultz. As the petitioner has addressed, I believe it is National Boatland v City of Farmington, and their petition. There is another Supreme Court decision in 1984 in the State of Michigan, which is Johnson v Robinson Township. The Supreme Court effectively decided that it was within the purview of the ZBA to deny a petition based upon self-created hardship. I believe that this is a self-created hardship for a couple of reasons. One, as long as I have been in that subdivision, Ten Mile has been in existence as well as Beck Road. Also, since I have been there, I believe the Oakland County Road Commission has set forth that Beck Road and Ten Mile would be expanded. In addition to that, the surrounding residents and subdivisions have been there since 1992 for Greenwood Oaks, Echo Valley and others prior. The petitioner has advised us that he is well versed in real estate development matters. He has been doing this for quite some time, I do not know exactly how long, but he had indicated he has. I believe his family has been involved with this business for quite sometime. In fact, I think his family was involved with the shopping center controversy/issue across the street, which I believe resulted in a referendum some years back on zoning request. The petitioner is well advised on its circumstances and sensitivity surrounding that particular piece of property. The property over the last nine (9) years has gone before the City body, most consistently the Planning Commission, by a couple of developer that have attempted to have the property rezoned from R-1 to commercial. I believe Max Sheldon, who owned the property at one time probably was seeking that designation for some time prior. In addition to Ten Mile and Beck Road, the controversy and the flavor in sensitivity in the zoning in that particular corner has been well known. This issue is basically about money. Invariably every time anyone comes before the ZBA or Planning Commission, it involves money. I speak on that from personal experience. Money on both ends, both in terms of the amount of money that can be maximized from the proposed use of the property whether or not it is consistent with the intended use by the petitioner. It also had to do with the money that was involved at the time of the transaction of the purchase of the property. Sometime prior to April of 2000, because around April of 2000, the petitioner met with some of us residents to discuss and advise us that he had acquired the property outright, it was no longer under option and what his potential plans were. Due diligence is something that we practice in the business. I see here today, that the petitioner has a planning consultant, land use consultant or architect and is represented by counsel. The petitioner is very well experienced in this particular field. He, who is in the best position to remedy the financial circumstances surrounding this particular piece of property, was in fact the petitioner. That time was at the time of the sale. The petitioner may have been "duped" and bought a "bill of goods" and paid too much for the property because he did not know any better. I doubt that. He appears to be a pretty sharp individual. Did the petitioner attempt to meet the asking price or more than he wanted to pay but less than the asking price in the basis that potentially all of the property could be rezoned commercial or more practically 2 or 3-acres zoned commercial? You understand that commercial property commands a much higher price tag in today’s market than residential. Getting back to the issue of due diligence. It is simple. You pull title work, you have your geo technical work, your surveyors, planning consultants, find out the zoning and talk to your planner to find what you can put on that piece of property. Generally you would like to do this during your due diligence period. That period being where you have the property under contract and if you do not like what you see, you can walk away or come back with the reasons why the property is not worth what it being asked and ask for a cut. Sometimes, you are not provided the opportunity to have as long as a due diligence period that you would like to have. At that time you would have to ask yourself if you are willing to pay this price for the piece of property knowing that you could only develop it at 30 lots or do you take your chances and hope that you could get 40 at a ZBA meeting, Planning Commission or City Council. What other circumstances are in this particular case, I do not know. The person that was in the best position to eliminate this, the financial hardship that has been addressed in the petition and referenced here today, would have been by the petitioner. Myself as a resident, my neighbors as residents and those in this room were not a party to that and had no opportunity to advise and counsel the petitioner as to what he should or should not pay for a piece of property. Whatever the reason was, he chose to do it and took his chances that he could come here today and be successful at the ZBA or quite frankly take whatever answer you give him and do whatever else he needs to do to get the approvals that he is looking for. In addition to that I concur with Mr. Schultz and I think my neighbors too. If it looks like duck, if it quacks like a duck, if it smells like a duck, it generally is a duck. When you see a petition that is asking for the variances on each and every lot that they are proposing, that is a R-3 designation. It is not a simple variance; it is a variance in the entire development to which we have a problem with. In addition, I believe on the petitioner’s own account, it is a matter of money. He has indicated that it will cost him $105,000 to develop each lot at 30 lots. However, he has addressed the fact that he has received an offer from a residential homebuilder that would pay him $110,000 a lot. He has not suggested that he was going to lose money in this endeavor, but rather, he would not make as much money as he had hoped to if he was to turn around and sell these lots off to a residential builder. My sense is, given his experience in the real estate industry, at a thirty lot designation, he would probably not see these lots off to another residential builder, but rather he would try to maximize his profits by acting as the residential developer as well as the builder on the site. Lastly, if I address the issues of National Boatland that has been set forth here, one of the factors to consider would be if there would be a substantial benefit to the proponent and the surrounding homeowners by allowing the variance. I have not seen, nor have I heard in any of the presentations that the petitioner has made to the residents, where 30 lots as opposed to 40 lots would do a substantial benefit to the surrounding property owners. If I did not speak on behalf of the residents and surrounding property owners, I trust that they would come down and speak.

Jane Keller: My property is just west of the Ten Mile and Beck area that we are discussing today. My east property line attaches to his land. Under the proposed development, I would have two (2) houses behind my home instead of one (1) under the current ordinance. When I moved here ten (10) years ago, I bought the lot for $60,000, if that helps you place a value on a ½ acre lot today. I expected a home behind mine to be built similar to mine. My name was not on the petition because we have custom homes along the western property line. I wanted to be represented tonight and plead with you to keep it zoned R-1. The petitioner would be a continuation of our subdivision. He would be using our entranceways. I think this will effect the surrounding subdivisions, over sixty (60) homes. Just because his lot is a smaller piece of land, he should not assume that he could build smaller lots. I would like to see a home similar to ours. Thank you.

Paul Garizian, 47588 Wellesley Court: I am the president of the Greenwood Oaks III and IV Homeowner Association representing 56 homeowners. Our development is immediately north of this piece of property. I urge you to not grant a variance for this piece of property. The arguments that I have heard are that it is a small size parcel, bordered by major roads, storm drainage, corner location and unique amenities. The petitioner was aware of these when they purchased the piece of property. My concern is granting a variance would adversely impact the property values of the homeowners of the Greenwood Oaks III and IV. Please do not support a variance.

Member Fannon: Are there others in the audience that would like to speak to the matter? Building Department?

Don Saven: No comment.


Mr. Arroyo: One question that Mr. Schultz raised, dealt with other subdivisions was how often you actually see the maximum density provided. I can not give you specific numbers on every subdivision, but my experience is that most subdivisions do fall short of the maximum density that is included in the zoning district. Your zoning ordinance sets forth minimum lot sizes and sets forth minimum lot widths. To fall short in the range of seventy-five percent (75%) of the maximum density that could theoretically be placed on the site, I would say is not unusual. The range above seventy-eight percent (78%) to eighty percent (80%) is probably found in other subdivisions. In your zoning ordinance, the City Council has basically determined that there are some opportunities, where you can reduce your lot sizes if you go through one of the development options. There are some development options, it is a discretionary decision as to whether or not you can go with a lot width and lot area that is less than what would otherwise be permitted in the district. However, in order to do this, you have to meet specific standards. Generally that includes corresponding open space that equals to the amount of lot reduction and lot area that is being provided for. There are other standards that you have as a City indicated that you are looking for when someone reduces their lot sizes. In this particular plan that you see before you, the lot sizes are being reduced, but it does not meet the other tests of your other open space options. In terms of bringing up whether or not it is appropriate to reduce lot sizes and whether it is appropriate to meet the maximum density, the key points are that most subdivisions do not meet the maximum density and when lot reductions do occur it is based upon specific standards that the City has determined are appropriate. This plan does not meet the standards of the options that are already on the books in the City Zoning Ordinance.

Tom Schultz: I do have one other comment to add. I apologize for not raising the issue immediately. I gave the Commission a copy of a facsimile from JCK that I received late today as a result of a phone call. I think the proponent should be given a copy also.

Member Fannon: Ms. Friedlaender, if you object to the letter after you review it, we will just turn it over. I will give you a minute to read it, but I do not think it will be shocking to you.

Tom Schultz: This was a result of a late phone conversation.

Ms. Friedlaender: (in audible)

Member Fannon: You are going to have to come up to the microphone to speak so that everyone could hear you. Is there an objection other than the fact that you received the letter tonight? If you do not want us to deal with it, please bring it back up here and we will not consider it.

Ms. Friedlaender: You can have it.

Member Fannon: Other than objecting that you did not get it?

Ms. Friedlaender: Right.

Member Fannon: I understand. This is a letter to Tom Schultz from JCK consulting engineers for the City. The letter states, " We have reviewed the information you faxed which included a letter dated April 16, 2001 from Richard Rosin and a letter of the same date from Fazal Khan & Associates as well as other documentation. It is our experience that a per lot engineering design cost of $1,500 for the items listed is consistent with current engineering practice. With regard to the preliminary cost estimate for the infrastructure (water, sewer, storm, paving and grading) they have calculated a cost of $42,000/lot ($350/foot). It has been our experience that a cost of $35,000-$40,000 per lot is reasonable for a development of this size. We are available to provide more detailed analysis should it be necessary. Dave Bluhm."

Sarah Gray: When I go through what has been presented to us in the packets from the petitioner, our consultant’s review, our attorney’s recommendations and I read the ordinance and I try to apply a standard to grant a use variance verses a standard to apply a non use variance, I could go either way. A Special Land Use variance is in fact a rezoning, whether we like to call it that or not, that is what it is. It is not going to go away, it is going to stay there. A math approach of 24-acres at 1.65 gives 40 units. However, I understand the ordinance as stating up to 1.65. As Mr. Arroyo pointed out, very few subdivisions come in exactly as they want them the first time. I have not seen anything that compels me to feel that there is no feasible alternative for the site. Turnberry is a very exclusive community with very large and very elegant homes. It is located on Eight Mile across from Meijer. Perhaps that would be an option here. I am not comfortable with reducing a zoning by a use or a non-use variance that would result in a reduced zoning to R-3. Although some elements of the request are close to R-2, we have long held R-1. We have had that as the transition between R-3 and R-A. Our Master Plan reflects it, our Zoning Ordinance reflects it. The findings we may have in front of us this evening from our consultants my in fact support the overall density that we hold to be true. There are some unique qualities on this parcel. They do have to provide drainage, but everybody does. They do have to put in infrastructure, but everybody does. So there is nothing that unique about it. Again, I am new on this Board, but I wanted to voice my thoughts.

Member Sanghvi: We have gone through this before, but I wanted to make sure that it is very clear that I do not think that your client was not aware of Ten Mile Road and Beck Road’s existence when he purchased this property. Was he?

Ms. Friedlaender: I do not think that… I heard the argument that it is a self-created hardship if you buy property…

Member Sanghvi: I did not ask you that. I am asking you a simple question. Do you think your client was unaware of the fact that Ten Mile Road and Beck Road existed right around that property?

Ms. Friedlaender: No, they knew that Ten Mile Road and Beck Road were there.

Member Sanghvi: Because you have been bringing that up, over and over again that there are two (2) arterial roads here. They have been there for a long time as far as I know. I have been here for over twenty-five (25) years in this community. I do not think there was any surprise there. Was it?

Ms. Friedlaender: Well, you know the Johnson Case that the gentleman sited and asked if this was a self-created hardship because these roads are here. That case says that you are not stopped from seeking a variance if you buy property knowing that it has certain problems, so that is not a basis to say that he can not come here for a variance.

Member Sanghvi: You are very welcome to come here for a variance. I am not doubting or debating your right to do that. That is not the question. The question was whether the issue of the two (2) arterial roads suddenly crept up and that changed the circumstances of your lot.

Ms. Friedlaender: No, it is the facts that those roads are there and have a certain impact on the lot and that is just the facts.

Member Sanghvi: But, that was self-evident even before…

Ms. Friedlaender: But, that is not what a self-created hardship is. I have to say that very respectfully sir. That is not really the legal standard for a self-created hardship. A self-created hardship is when you buy a lot, you split it and then the lots no longer meet the area requirement and then you come in and say "But I need a variance, I can not use these lots…" You have created that hardship, because you came in and split the lots. You caused the non-conformance. That is a self-created hardship. We did not cause the problem with the lots.

Member Sanghvi: I have never mentioned anywhere in my questioning, any word of self-creating or anything of the sort. I was not asking or talking about that, but thank you very much.

Member Gronachan: Before we go any further, this Board needs to make a decision in regards to use or non-use. I think we are all in agreement with that. I concur with some of Member Gray’s comments. I also understand Member Sanghvi’s comments. I would like to state that I have read every piece of paper on this case and I have come fully prepared to make a decision tonight. We are residents of the City of Novi. Ten Mile and Beck Road have been there for as long as most of these members have been here. When you look at this piece of property and think that there is someone that is going to be effected, anyone that is going to go out and buy this piece of property needs to look at the entire picture. I am famous for saying that on several occasions. I am going to step in and tell my fellow Board Members, that in my opinion, that this is a use variance. I concur with what the City Attorney and Mr. Arroyo have said. I believe that this is a blanket variance and I am looking for support from my other members. Thank you.

Member Bauer: One hundred percent (100%) I think this is a use variance and I think that they are trying to rezone the whole area.

Member Fannon: Is there any other Board Member that does not believe that this is a use variance? I myself believe that it is.

Member Gray: I do as well.

Member Fannon: If that is the Board’s wishes then we should deal with this as a use variance.

Ms. Friedlaender: I would like to make one last comment.

Member Fannon: Yes.

Ms. Friedlaender: I understand. Well, maybe I do not understand and maybe that is my problem. I get the sense that we do not have a whole lot of support here for what we are asking for, either from the ZBA or from the members of the audience. What I have not heard yet from the people that have spoke, is what is the real harm that they feel, how they would be hurt by this or how this would harm the city or its residents. I know someone said that it would reduce his or her property values. I do not really understand. It is a home of similar value. The only person who said something to me that I can understand was the woman who said that she would have two (2) houses in her back yard when she thought she would only have one. My understanding is our lots are going to be the same depth, so the houses would be the same distance apart. Other than that, the only thing that I have heard was "If this is all about the developer making more money then, we do not want them to make more money."

Member Fannon: Did you say that these homes are going to be of similar value?

Ms. Friedlaender: That is what we are hoping.

Member Fannon: Is that what we read? I thought that it said that they would be of lesser value than they would be if they were in R-1.

Ms. Friedlaender: What we are saying is that if we have to develop thirty (30) homes then that would probably have to take some cost cutting in order to achieve that. Those home would probably be of lesser value than the surrounding homes.

Member Fannon: Why don’t you tell us and the sixty (60) people that object to that, what benefit is there to this? For them.

Ms. Friedlaender: The benefit is if there are forty (40) homes… I guess the benefit, if they are worried about their property values, the benefit is that my client have determined, based on the economic… If someone says "Look, it looks like a developer would buy this", and you would earn some money, what the money there would be, my client would have to spend over three million dollars to earn over ninety thousand over several years. I do not think any businessperson would say that is a reasonable return on an investment and there are better things that you could do with three million dollars. I guess, the benefit we see to the neighbors of the forty (40) units is if we could spread the cost over more units, they will be more than able to offer a higher quality product, homes in the range that are similar to the range to the neighboring properties. They are developers, you have to understand that and they do not build houses, they develop property. If they can not get the 40 houses and they have to do the 30 houses then you have to get into the home building business, because it is not viable for them to develop the lots and sell them. Under that scenario, they feel in their business plan, what they will have to develop are probably houses that are a lot less in value than the houses around them.

Member Fannon: Aren’t there a lot of developers that are homebuilders?

Ms. Friedlaender: If you want to talk to the developers they could explain it better.

Member Fannon: Aren’t there people that actually develop lots and build them just because of this reason? That the only way to make it work is to build the home and you have the other part of the profit? It seems to me that there are a lot of people that do just what you just said, they buy the land and build the house because their only option is to build the house in order to make the whole deal work.

Ms. Friedlaender: What I am saying is that they do not want to, because they are not in the house building business.

Member Fannon: But, is it an option for them?

Ms. Friedlaender: Yes, it is an option.

Member Fannon: They could build to the R-1, build to 30 lots and make the whole thing work if they built homes?

Richard Rosin: We do not build homes.

Member Fannon: Your client just said that they could do that. I understood you saying that it could be feasible to build the 30 lots if you build homes and your client does not build homes. But if they decided to build homes, would it be economically feasible?

Ms. Friedlaender: I can not answer that. I would have to ask them if it would be economically feasible for them.

Member Fannon: I think maybe we should speak to your client.

Ms. Friedlaender: Would you like to speak to the matter?

Member Fannon: If you would like to speak, you will need to come to the podium. You do not have to speak. Whatever your legal counsel requests.

Richard Rosin: No response.

Member Fannon: Could you respond to the gentleman that came down and mentioned the words due diligence? That when you do due diligence on a piece of property, that most developers would buy themselves some time, at no cost usually, to go and find out all of the problems or unique characteristics of that piece of property, and found out during it that they would have never gotten 1.65 per acre, that they could have made that purchase agreement subject… Are you coming up to speak?

Richard Rosin: I would like to talk to my legal counsel before I address the Board.

Member Fannon: Why don’t we take a ten (10) minutes break, because we can not have two (2) conversations at one time.

Ms. Friedlaender: Thank you for your indulgence here. I am going to be quick. I do not want you to misunderstand what I said before. I was not saying that they have determined anything about the feasibility of developing it if they build the houses. You have to understand and maybe I did not express clearly enough, is what is not feasible is that they could overnight become builders. They are developers. They bought the property as developers. In order to become builders, they need licenses, contractors and a whole lot of things that they do not have and are not equipped to do. They have spoken to builders and actually the developer of Greenwood Oaks, who told him that he had discounted all of the lots that were on the road there. He said that he would not pay more than $85,000 for any of the fifteen (15) lots that we show bordering Ten Mile and Beck Road. Basically I have to leave it as is, no it is not feasible to develop this property in their business as developers as they have invested here. It is not feasible for them to become builders.

Member Fannon: Is this land owned by the petitioners or is it under contract?

Ms. Friedlaender: No, I believe that they own it.

Member Sanghvi: I have no more comments.

Moved by Bauer,

Seconded by Sanghvi,








Member Gray: I would like to amend the motion to include that we are looking at this case as a use variance.


Member Bauer: Yes, I accept the amendment.


Member Fannon: Member Sanghvi, do you accept this amendment?


Member Sanghvi: Yes, I accept the amendment.


Tom Schultz: This is a more formal process as a use variance. As we have said before and as Mr. Arroyo pointed out in his memo, we need to make sure that we have made sure all of the findings and facts that are available to be made. On page 2 of his memo are the standards for the use variance. 1) Is this a self-created hardship? 2) Is the requested based on unique circumstances related to the case or to the subject property? 3) Can the property be reasonably used for any purposes listed in the district? 4) Will the variance alter the essential character of the area? I would call the fifth standard, will the spirit of the ordinance be observed, public safety secured and substantial justice done? The key is to sustaining a decision that you make tonight is to make sure that you have taken all of the facts and make as good a record for the denial as you can. I know that the motion has indicated that there is a finding of a self-created hardship. I thought the maker of the motion could expand on the basis for that.


Member Fannon: Would you like to withdraw your motion?


Member Sanghvi: We can incorporate all of these findings.


Member Gray: Mr. Schultz, would it be appropriate for this Board to table so that you could publish the findings based on our discussion?


Mr. Schultz: I am assuming that what you are asking is, when you have made all of your comments and you want them all compiled and brought back to you? That is an option that is that is sometimes exercised. I would still need some discussion as to what findings you are making, if you would want to do that.


Member Bauer: The request variance is not a unique circumstance. I feel it is a self-created hardship. They should have known prior to buying the property, what the regulations are and what the zoning is for that property. It can be reasonably used as zoned without any variances. There is a possibility that the variance, if it was given, could essentially change the character of the area.


Ton Schultz: I do not know if the other members have comments. If rather than making a final decision tonight, you want to direct me to prepare a motion, that would be fine. It would help to have everybody’s thoughts.


Member Sanghvi: I have no problem with that. I support Member Bauer’s comments.


Member Gray: I believe that we need to stated exactly what Member Bauer said and relay it in the form that "We the Board at our meeting…we find that…" and that we state that we agreed we would treat it as a use variance and on that basis, a decision was made.


(tape ends)


Moved by Gray,



Motion dies lack of support.


(tape begins)


Member Fannon: I have a problem with that. It does affect the residents to the north and to the west because they are relying on when they moved in there that the property would remain R-1. The comments that we heard tonight, where they would have two (2) homes in their backyard verses one (1) could not only effect their economic situation, I really don’t know, but effects their general lifestyle. In the fact that the due diligence period did not pick this up is concerning to me also. I do agree that all these comments should be reviewed by the City Attorney for a motion. Is that how it works?


Member Bauer: For a concises of everything put together.


Member Fannon: It is probably some technical wording of it and we could look at it next month.


Ms. Friedlaender: I would like to add to the record that I believe it is totally improper not to make a decision tonight based on the findings that you just made and instead let your attorney rewrite the findings. The only thing that Mr. Schultz can do is verbatim provide, and I do not understand why that can not be reworded right now verbatim, the motion made exactly on the findings based today.


Member Fannon: Could you please come up to the podium when you speak so that the television viewers can hear your comments. Thank you.


Member Fannon: We are going to listen to our legal counsel. None of us are attorneys. Your objection is, the way the Board is handling this right now is wrong because?


Ms. Friedlaender: My objection is, if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that you are

going to table making any decision tonight because you want your attorney to take what you said tonight and make findings and put that in a motion and give it back to you to decide on that motion. Is that what you are suggesting?


Member Gray: Would you like me to respond to that since I brought it up?


Member Fannon: Why don’t you explain what we are trying to do.


Member Gray: In my own opinion we have, as the Board, the majority of us in attendance, have found and have stated. I have asked Member Bauer if we could read it as "We have found…" We have made our decision, we have not voted on it yet. The only reason I have asked our attorney to take our findings and put them into, what I would consider to be legal form and I am sure he will do it verbatim, was simply because I look at this as a legal matter.


Ms. Friedlaender: Is there some way to get a verbatim transcript of this hearing?


Member Fannon: Yes.


Ms. Friedlaender: Can we do that please?


Member Fannon: Yes. Mr. Schultz, what are we attempting to accomplish here so that I understand?


Ms. Friedlaender: If you have a verbatim record, you findings would be on the record.


Mr. Schultz: As I understand, if it is going to be a verbatim resuscitation I am not sure that you need me to do that. As I understood the request, was to take the comments that the Board members are leaning in the direction of denying a use variance by recognizing the fact that the petitioner is entitled to a statement of precisely what findings lead to that decision. If I prepare a set of findings based upon a transcript of the evidence presented here, testimony from their experts and Ms. Friedlaender and the comments from the Board Members, it would be a document that you may or may not like. You may change it, accept it, not accept it or accept it the way it is written. It is my understanding that I am being asked to prepare findings based on what the discussion has been made for the denial. You would decide whether you accept them or not and at the next meeting we will make a motion denying with those findings or as amended by you at that meeting. It is not that unusual to have this happen. It does happen at other Boards and Commissions. Ms. Friedlaender can object and note her objections.


Ms. Friedlaender: Under the law of the Zoning Board of Appeals must make it own findings. Its attorney can not take what has happened at this hearing tonight and make the findings and ask you to accept them. You have been put in office here to make your own findings. You have made them tonight; they are on the record. Those are your findings and they can not be changed by your attorney, I am sorry.


Tom Schultz: We will be making findings at the next meeting if you accept the written comments. They will not be my findings; they will be your findings.


Member Fannon: If we did that, we would not vote tonight on this matter. Am I correct?


Tom Schultz: You would ask me to prepare the findings, if you do not like them, you do not accept them.


Member Gray: I could withdraw my request if that is what the Board wishes.


Member Fannon: We need to find out what the Board wishes to do. The City Attorney says that it is not uncommon to do this, and it would still be our findings. We are the ones that would read it and decide it, then we have to make a decision if we want to go through that process or just deal with it right now. That is the question.


Moved by Sanghvi,




Motion Dies lack of support.


Member Fannon: There is still a motion on the table.


Member Bauer: In that motion, we have asked him to draw these up in legal form and we will sign them.


Member Fannon: I am not objecting to what you are saying. I am afraid that if you vote yes or no, then what is the purpose of Mr. Schultz putting all of this in front of us next meeting to vote yes or no? I do not know that you would need it twice. Am I wrong?


Tom Schultz: As I understand, you are recognizing the fact that this is a use variance, there is some contentious issue and you want to make sure that your findings are complete. They are not my findings, I understand that I am being asked to put together something that requests your comments on the evidence. That would be the only motion. To prepare a motion, to prepare a set of findings for your review at the next meeting and nothing else.


Member Fannon: If we do that we would have to withdraw the motion that is on the table.


Member Gray: I made a motion to table. I understand that a motion to table takes precedence over a motion, does it not?


Member Fannon: Then we will not be able to take any action on this. If we would like Mr. Schultz to prepare a summary of the findings, to bring it back to us to look at next month, we have to get rid of the motion that is on the table.


Member Bauer: I withdraw the motion.


Member Fannon: We then need a motion to do just that.


Moved by Bauer,


Seconded by Gronachan,




Member Fannon: (addressing the audience) To explain what we are doing. We are asking our City Attorney to take everything that was said here tonight and put it into a concise finding, so that we could review it next meeting and then vote on it and make sure that everything that was said here we agree to. It is complex. The Board wants some concise English on what it is that we are voting on. This is complex for us, we are not attorneys. We are going to take this matter up next month based on this request if the motion passes.


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

Member Brennan abstained.


Case No. 01-025 filed by Mark Jacoby representing New Horizons


Mark Jacoby of New Horizons is requesting a variance to allow the continuation of outdoor storage in an I-1 (Light Industrial) zoning district for property located at 41108 Vincenti Ct. A variance to allow outdoor storage was granted on January 4, 2000. Please see Case No. 99-080.


Mark Jacoby was present and duly sworn in.

Mark Jacoby: I am the branch manager at New Horizons Rehabilitation Services on Vincenti Court in Novi. We are a facility that works with one hundred sixty-four (164) individuals that have a wide range of physical and mental disabilities. On January 4, 2000, you granted a supervisory variance to Kelly Watson, who was the manager at that time, to build a storage unit. This was due to an issue that we were having with amount of supplies in our shop, which was causing a safety issue. Behind you are pictures of the enclosure that was built in March. We are simply asking for permanent variance that we would be allowed to keep the storage unit here. It is still a use to us and provides safety for our consumers.

Member Brennan indicated that there were eleven (11) notices sent to neighbors and there were two (2) approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Member Brennan: Building Department, have there been any issues or any problems?

Don Saven: No.

Member Fannon: I had a chance to visit New Horizons and if that is the way that you are keeping it all of the time, it is admirable. Is there a way to give a two (2) year variance?

Don Saven: Yes.

Sarah Gray: In the minutes of the prior meeting, I would respectfully quote that they would be invited back for a permanent variance. I am wondering why we would not give a permanent variance in this case?

Member Bauer: Because it is temporary storage.

Member Brennan: If after another two (2) years and he comes back and there are still no problems, then we could do it then.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Gronachan,



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


Case No. 01-033 filed by the Taubman Company representing Lifestyle Café


Bruce Heckman of the Taubman Company representing Lifestyle Café is requesting a variance to allow a wall sign at the entrance to Twelve Oaks Mall. Lifestyle Café does not have a direct separate entrance to the business from outside the building.


Michael O’Connell was present and duly sworn in.

Michael O’Connell: I am a representative of the Taubman Company. We are the owners and operators of the Twelve Oaks Mall. We are building a thirty thousand (30,000) square foot, nine (9) kitchen food court called the Life Style Café at the mall. We are requesting permission to install a Life Style Café sign at the entrance. Since the City Code does not expressly permit such a sign, we are requesting a variance from the Code to allow this sign. In general, the purpose of a sign is to announce a destination and efficiently direct people to the destination. You have already recognized this in your Code, which allows a business with an exterior entrance such an exterior sign. The sign would tell the customer where Lord n’ Taylor is in the mall and directs them efficiently to the store allowing them to park as close as possible to that store. The Life Style Café is similar to this. We have a destination in the mall, the food court that we would like to announce to our customers. The erection of the Life Style Café sign would do this in an efficient and elegant manner. It will save the customer a lot of time wandering around the mall and the parking lot searching for the food court. Since many of the potential customers would be office workers on lunch break and mothers with hungry children, I think the last thing they are going to want to do is wander around looking for the food court. Typically most of the uses in the mall that have an external entrance are allowed an external sign. In the case of the food court, we are efficiently packaging nine (9) uses, food tenants, in one (1) location. Rather than designing the food court to allow each tenant an external entrance, with the façade cluttered with nine (9) signs, we think installing the Life Style Café sign would be efficient and attractive. This is a unique situation. The slide behind you is an aerial view of the Twelve Oaks Mall. The food court location is by the JC Penny Store. There is no frontage on any public street and therefore would not contribute to any sign pollution. It is located at an internal corner in the mall. It is over eight hundred (800) feet from the private ring road and over a quarter (.25) of a mile from the condominium complex The Enclaves. I hope that you agree that this sign would be an attractive addition to the mall and should be installed in the manner proposed.

Member Brennan indicated that there were twenty-six (26) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: This used to be the theater area and the sign is no longer in use for the theater. We do have a sign out there that was once a theater area. I am not sure what the applicant wishes to do, but it might be a good chance to negotiate. They do have a beautiful rendering.

Member Bauer: How many restaurants will be inside?

Mr. O’Connell: There will be nine (9) food court tenants.

Member Brennan: Do you expect that you would be removing all of the theater signage?

Mr. O’Connell: We are removing the theater signage on the building in the location of the Life Style Café. We would like to keep the sign on Twelve Mile Road to announce various events in the mall, such as sales and other events in the common area.

Member Brennan: Are you referring to the large sign on Twelve Mile Road?

Mr. O’Connell: Yes.

Don Saven: Mr. Chairman, the ground sign on Twelve Mile Road is under the jurisdiction of the Zoning Board of Appeals and it was used for the theater.

Member Bauer: Yes it is, for theaters only.

Member Brennan: I think you are going to have difficulty with the theater sign, especially as an advertising or event sign. We are typically not too supportive of that. Your rendering looks very nice and in line with what you have done at your other malls. I do not have a problem with it.

Mr. O’Connell: I think we would be willing to remove that if we were approved here.

Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Fannon,



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


Case No. 01-035 filed by Brian Hickey representing Turley Building


Brian Hickey is requesting a variance to the rooftop screening requirements for the structure located at 22241 Roethel Drive. Applicant is concerned for the integrity of the roof system as the roof top screening would require several roof penetrations.


Steve Lowe was present and duly sworn in.

Steve Lowe: I am here on behalf with Brian Hickey and his brother Patrick Hickey. They have recently built a small building here in Novi to house their business offices, partners and manufactures rep business. They have decided to relocate their business office from Farmington to Novi. They need to screen their rooftop units to obtain their certificate of occupancy. However, when I was at the Industrial Complex and noticed that none of the other buildings had screening and I assumed this would not be needed for their building. It was found near the end of the building process that they would need to provide screening of the HVAC units. I suggested that it might have been an ordinance that was in place recently. If they were to screen, then they would be the only building with screening and the location is way in the back of the complex. I suggested that they request a variance of the ordinance. The main reason would be for the roof integrity. They went to the expense of a rubber roof and would have to go back to penetrate the roof to supply the support needed. I felt this was worth coming to the ZBA to request relief.

Member Brennan indicated that there were seven (7) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approval and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Member Brennan: There are other buildings without the screening, including the Fire Department. Is this something new?

Don Saven: Probably.

Member Fannon: I could hardly find the HVAC and I actually did not think it was up there when I first got there. The only time that I could see it was while sitting on the rail road tracks on Nine Mile Road, which I do not think many people would do for very long. One request if the variance is granted is that you would paint the HVAC unit to match the building so that it would disappear almost completely.

Mr. Lowe: It is an attractive building. Yes, we would paint the building.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Gronachan,



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


Case No. 01-037 filed by David Plautz representing South Pointe Condominiums


David Plautz representing South Pointe Condominiums is requesting a variance to erect an entranceway sign.


Chuck Nerkel was present and duly sworn in.

Chuck Nerkel: The variance is for our sign presently on the building, which is set far off of the road. Deliveries and those visiting the residents drive by and do not see the sign. The building is set back quite a bit. We would like to place a sign on the front.

Member Brennan indicated that there were one hundred thirty (130) notices sent to neighbors and there were twenty-five (25) approvals and no disapprovals. We also have a petition with fifty (50) or sixty (60) signatures.


George Kiba: I am a resident at South Pointe. I am also here on behalf of the South Pointe Condominium Association Board as their Administrative Assistant to the Board. We are a self-manage adult community. Our age category is within 55-70 years. I would like to point out that we have not had a decent sign out there since I have been out there and I have been out there since 1992. Our sign has usually been way back there. As a consequence, we have a lot of people go right by our place. The sign that is being proposed by Dave Plautz is an improvement from the sign that we have out there. We have had the comment with the emergency crews that come in there. Every moment counts in this category. We are here after reviewing the proposed new sign on June 2001 and hope that you have looked at it. We believe and support the variance of fourteen (14) feet. We have been hard at work to put up a decorative type on the under front. It looks a lot better than it has before. We hope that you also support the variance.


Don Saven: Is it your intention to remove the other sign?

Mr. Nerkel: Yes.

Member Brennan: Is there an issue of the setback from South Lake Road?

Don Saven: Yes.

Member Sanghvi: Do you have a mockup there now?

Mr. Nerkel: It is the real sign. We put it in, but it is temporary. It is placed a foot higher than we planned.

Member Gray: I remember when South Pointe was first built, there was a sign in the middle of the island. I believe it was removed during the construction on the back of the building pad. This replaces the original sign that was in place year ago? Are you familiar with that?

Mr. Nerkel: No, I am not familiar with that.

Member Gray: I live over the next two (2) streets and I have been very familiar with your area for a long time. This is a necessary sign because of the nature of it being senior housing. They are great people. I question the right-of-way on South Lake Drive because it is thirty-five (35) feet and not fifty (50) feet. With the South Lake Task Force, I have surveys that I believe show the right-of-way to be thirty-five (35) feet.

Moved by Gray,

Seconded by Bauer,



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


Case No. 01-038 filed by Steven Schneemann representing Oak Pointe Church


Steven Schneemann is requesting four (4) variances; an interpretation and variance to the building height requirements, a variance that would permit front yard parking, an interpretation and variance to the requirements for perimeter landscape berms and an interpretation of competency in the evaluation of noise per ordinance. These variances are requested for the construction of the proposed Oak Pointe Church located on Ten Mile Road between Napier and Wixom Road.


Ken Neumann was present and duly sworn in.

Lee Mamola: Our role in this project is to assist the regular architects of the project, Neumann & Smith, through the approval and permitting process at the City of Novi, as they design Oak Pointe Church. We are not only seeking variances that the Chair mentioned; we are also seeking some interpretations/clarifications. Mr. Neumann will discuss the issue of the site configuration, topography and the nature of the hardships. The practical difficulties associated with the building height issues and front yard parking issues. I will then talk about the various interpretation issues, berm height and physical study matter.

Member Brennan: I will remind both of you that you have presented a substantial amount of information.

Lee Mamola: We will only highlight and present some new information since the submittal of our packet.

Ken Neumann: This property is unique and there is clearly in our mind a practical difficulty generated by the nature of the land. The property is a U-shaped component. It has two (2) sections that have frontage onto Ten Mile Road. We have tried to identify the comparative topography on the site. If the highpoint was level zero, as indicated at the corner of the site, diagonally across the site is a fifty (50) foot drop to the site. Forty (40) feet on the opposite corner and thirty-five (35) feet on the opposite side of the property. This is a property with an usual shape and considerable topography. The property sits within a community of buildings, which will be built a residential development. The original plans we received indicated a general development pattern that included houses around this site and buffer zones between the backs of the lots to the properties in question. This is relative to the relationship of these buildings. Everything on this site has been developed in an attempt to be harmonious to make both a terrific church for the church and to be the best neighbor possible with our neighbors. We were aware that the church is larger than the houses and we took a sensitive attack in the designing of the site. The building, with a regular shape, has one area (designated in the slightly darker color), the auditorium component, which by nature has the characteristics of longs spans to house the twenty-eight hundred (2800) people within it. It needs a certain height that would be above the height requirements. The smaller area of the building, the fly loft, which is functionally necessary for putting on the liturgy that would go on within the building. Specifically, we would like to point out that there was clearly a relationship between where the building is located, its height, the height variance, asking for the least variance possible and the relationship of its parking. We looked at a serious of other development schemes for the site, as submitted in your packets. It was very important to us to make this building the least important thing that we could on the site. The notion was to place the building at the lowest point of the site verses the tallest, to make it less important. We took the tallest part of the building, the location of the auditorium and fly loft, and made it the lowest part of the site. We do not want to make the building disappear, but we are attempting to make it less important. Any of the other schemes would have made this building eight (8) to twelve (12) feet higher, which we felt was not appropriate for our neighbors. The next drawing suggests that to go further to make the building integrate and be more neighbor friendly, we developed a building that would be mostly sunk into the ground. The red line indicates that from the existing grade, a major portion of the building has been diminished by placing the building within the ground. By placing the building in the place where it would be on the lowest part of the land meant that the parking would need to be placed in the front. Meeting the requirements of the ordinance, we suggested that no one would need to look at the parking when driving by. The big athletic components set between the road and the parking along with extensive landscaping. As the diagram shows, in five (5) years this will grow and the parking would not be visible. Five (5) years ago, we could not have done these computer graphics. We tried to look at all the places where one (1) might see this building from the outside, along the street and the adjacent property. By the use of computer, we could show literally what it would look out from these sites. In the picture you see, the parking is not visible. When looking down the main drive into the site, you can see the building is distanced with a considerable amount of landscaping. Meeting the City’s Ordinance, the parking will literally disappear from view from the passers by. We believe it will disappear from the homes around it. Later we will discuss a variance relative to a berm at one section of the land. You can see in the rendering that there is already an enormous grade difference between the accepted parcel. The requirements of the variance and the landscaping proposed, there is a substantial protection to the accepted parcels homeowner from the view of the property and his privacy will be maintained. This picture shows what we would call the worst case scenario, with the closest location of view from the house that was from the proposed plan. It shows the fly loft, the tallest part of the building, the parking, the planting as it would be planted now, etc… For a period of time, probably since February, we have been dealing with the developers of the adjacent properties. Due to discussion that we have had, we have already cut the fly loft down by ten (10) feet to the minimum height that would allow the productions to go on within the facility. We have also agreed as part of the record at the Planning Commission meeting, to plant trees that would start out at twelve (12) feet high, fifty percent (50%) taller than what is required by ordinance. We have also suggested that we would work with our neighbors to coordinate the plantings specifically with them to make an artful development. We knew the fly loft of the building was taller we had suggested to place that part of the building further away from the adjacent neighbors. Where a seventy-five (75) foot setback would be required for a church building, this building has an additional eighty (80) feet of additional space beyond the seventy-five (75) feet. (tape ends) We recognize that the Code measures the building height in different ways for different kinds of roofs. We could have suggested using a sloped roof, which would measure half way between the eve and the peak of the roof, and built a roof that would have been seventy (70) feet high. This would have been considerable higher than the flat roof. We believe that this is the right approach for the church and our neighbors. There are elements related to the berm, which will be handled by Mr. Mamola.

Lee Mamola: I would like to continue on the building height question and talk about the interpretative portion of this matter. When the plans were submitted for Preliminary Site Plan Approval, I believe Birchler Arroyo did an assessment of the building height based on the numbers that were on the prints. The numbers on the print indicated a certain measurement from a grade point, which was a number of feet away from the building. This building has some earth berming up against it to create the visual impact of the height. There was a misinterpretation at the Preliminary Site Plan Approval matter. We have advertised publicly for a variance of nineteen (19) foot in height. We believe if you interpret the zoning ordinance the way that it is written, that we do not need as extensive of a variance as nineteen (19) feet. When you define the building height, you look at two (2) portions of the definitions of the ordinance. The definition of height, which says that it is measured from a particular point low to a particular point high, whether there is a sloped roof or a flat roof. The definition of grade is also looked at, which in part says that the building grade shall be the level of the ground adjacent to the walls of the building if the grade is level. This would mean that if you look at the building, there is straight line across the building, which is the grade. If the ground is not entirely level, then the grade shall be determined by an averaging of the elevation of the ground for each face of the building. That is what we have here. The brown line is the topography, the dash line is what would be established by definition as established grade. Wherever that established grade is highest, is the height of the building for purposes of the zoning ordinances. We believe when you do that, and look closely at the building elevations and the grade line around the building elevations, the variances required are four foot one inch (4’1") for the worship area and twelve feet nine inches (12’9") for the fly loft area. We are asking, should you elect to grant these variances, that it be limited to these portions of the building. We are not asking that these variances extend to the entire portion of the building. We are asking for a confirmation for what the Zoning Ordinance says and you determine the height of the building.

Lee Mamola: Regarding the berm question, which is possibly a difference in opinion. We need a 4’6" variance. On the top diagram, is the ordinance and what it states? It states that where there are two (2) adjoining properties, assuming the property levels may be relatively level to one another. The intent to the ordinance is have four and one half (4.2) of dirt and landscaping on top of it. The ordinance definition also states that where the properties are not level with a high and a low point, the purpose would be to not allow any berm. The purpose is, on the residential side, to provide four and one half (4.5) feet of protection (dirt) and landscaping on top of it. I do not believe the ordinance, anywhere states in writing, that the top of the berm must be measured. As an example the finished floor level of the adjacent parcel. If you can find that language in the ordinance, I would appreciate you pointing it out to me. If this was the case, we would need to have to build it taller and it would come out farther. Respectfully, I have worked with Ms. Lemke for many years. We have fine landscaping in the City because of her strictness. However, I do know that there are quirks in the ordinance that I think with all due respect to her landscape talents. We have a minor disagreement. If you do agree with our interpretation of the ordinance, there would not be a variance required.

Mr. Neumann: If we meet the ordinance, as the suggested in the more strict interpretation, this would be the height of the berm in relationship to the road next door. We believe that no service would be in the benefit of the homeowner to make this very large element. Protections could still be granted for that owner with the berm that we find more appropriate, as shown on the rendering.

Lee Mamola: Regarding the question of the acoustical study report and the need for it. We do not disagree that there is a need for it. It is more the qualifications of the person that would prepare the report. We believe the ordinance is vague and ambiguous. The ordinance refers to "certified sound engineer". The ordinance does not tell us, as we found out after the Planning Commission meeting, that the word means certification by National Institute of Certified Acoustical Consultants, etc… It is a professional organization with a rigorous certification process. We took the ordinance to mean a professional who is licensed in the State of Michigan that is certified. The engineer who has prepared the report has an extensive experience in the area of acoustics. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Michigan. I think with consideration and understanding that this requirement of the ordinance grew out of industrial uses next to residential uses, we have a quasi residential use, a church use, next to residential uses. The report concludes that there should not be any problems conforming with the ordinance. We are asking for the purposes of this project and the limited purposes of this project that this gentleman’s report be accepted as competent for this project. In conclusion, there was fair amount of effort put forth to work with the neighbors. Not only the development of Island Lake, but the person that owns the accepted parcel was kept informed and by record knowledge not stated any objections. There was an objection by a neighbor across the street that was raised at the Planning Commission. The church has contacted those residents between the public hearing and now and we understand that that resident no longer has any objections to this development. There is some new information that I would like to elaborate on that is not in our packets. I was informed as of last Friday, that there is some apparent objection now being expressed from the Island Lake Developer, Toll Brothers. From my understanding, in February, there were a series of request made by Toll Brothers upon this development, which the church did. The church lowered the fly loft ten feet (10’), the increased the size and density of the trees surrounding the neighboring residential property and a few other miscellaneous items that were requested of them. They were not able to move the building to the west or the north due to the need to request the minimum amount for a building height variance. By moving the building, it would be eight (8) to twelve (12) feet taller, which we did not feel would be in the best interest of anyone immediately surrounding the property or the image that would be seen by those passing along Ten Mile Road. I would like to point out that our property doubles the setback requirements of the ordinance. It would be triple to approximately two hundred forty feet (240’), from the effective rear yard line is of the cross section. (Pointing to the house at the bottom) Here is the backyard and there the vertical line is the buffer line indicated on the plan of approximately eighty (80) feet varying at depth, seventy-five (75) feet and another eighty (80) feet at the tall portion of the building. We believe that we have done everything possible to separate that building from the neighboring resident. Nothing would be achieved by tabling to work with these people by moving the building, other than to make the effect of the variances worse. This would lead one to conclude that Toll Brothers has some objection to this development, we do not know for a fact what they are because they have not really stated those objections other than they do not like the building where it is. I think they have to understand that there is no other opportunity to place it elsewhere. We have done all that we can do mitigate the buffer between them. The only objection that I could conclude must be that they have some sort of economic concern on their part.

Member Brennan indicated that there were nine (9) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


Erick Bean, attorney representing Toll Brothers: Earlier today I submitted by facsimile some written comments, which contained our objections. I am not certain if the Board has received a copy. If you have not I have copies that I could pass out.

Member Brennan: Sir, we would have had to receive that information some time ago. I do not know if the Board members are interested in receiving information this late.

Erick Bean: The Island Lake Development consists of approximately seven hundred fifty (750) homes. As it was shown by the architect, the property in question is immediately adjacent to many of the home sites that are part of the Island Lake Development. I think it is important for the record to state that we are not objecting to the fact that the church wants to be on this property and use the property for whatever it deems appropriate. Our objections are related specifically to the structure that is being proposed. As it has been stated several times tonight and at various other hearings, to obtain a variance there are certain criteria that need to be met. Those criteria are set forth in the ordinance. In this case, I am not sure whether they are seeking a use variance or a dimensional variance. In any scenario, I do not believe that they meet the requirements that are set forth in the ordinance and under State Law. The ordinance requires that there is either a showing of unique circumstance about the property that requires the variance or that there is an undo hardship based upon a use standard. A review of the petition indicates that neither the height variance nor the parking variance that are sought or the variance from those requirements fall within either one of these standards. If you review the letter that is attached to the petition that was submitted by petitioner, the bottom line is that the reason they need the variance is based upon the structure that they are proposing to construct. There is nothing about the property that is set forth in the petition that necessitates granting the variance. It is simply that the petitioner wants to construct a certain type of property to enable them to construct it, they are in need of these variances. As a result of that, I do not believe that they meet the criterion that governs the decision making of whether or not to grant the variance. It is essentially a self-created hardship. Under the ordinance, they need to make a specific showing that if the variances are granted from the strict interpretation of the ordinance, that there would not be a detrimental impact on the value of the property. I did not hear anything here tonight, nor have I read anything that has been submitted that shows that the Island Lake Development would not suffer a diminished value to its property. The proposed structure is two hundred thousand (200,000) square feet. It is going to be approximately seventy-five (75) feet from the rear numerous lots in the Island Lake Development. I would assume that you could imagine the problem of marketability and subsequent evaluation as to what someone might pay whom is faced with looking at this large expansive structure. For those reasons, which I would summarize that they do not meet the criteria set forth in the ordinance, either for a use variance or a dimensional variance, we would ask that you deny the petitioner’s request as it relates to the height and the parking variance.


Don Saven: To clarify Mr. Bean’s concern, I would like to know what the setback is from the rear yard. He indicated it was seventy-five (75) feet. I thought I heard that it was something different earlier in the meeting.

Member Brennan: I propose to go through these requests one at a time and discuss them.

Ken Neumann: That portion of the building that complies with the height regulations (the long length of the building) is approximately seventy-five (75) feet. It varies with portions of one corner being seventy-five (75) feet of the rear property line of the church property. To the best of our understanding, from the drawings that we have received that have been publicly indicated, there is an additional buffer space that is part of the planning process of the Island Lake Development that is a further buffer. The portion that is taller that needed the variance, which we have placed considerably farther back. If this is the line of the seventy-five (75) required setback; the part which is in this darker color is considerably farther back in both directions from the property line. In this case double and more than double going in the opposite direction.

Member Brennan: How many feet from the high elevation portion to the property lines of Island Lake?

Ken Neumann: That would be in excess of no less than one hundred fifty-five (155) feet.

Member Brennan: The discussion will be building height. Mr. Arroyo is there anything discussed tonight that changes you mind?

Mr. Arroyo: In terms of building height calculation, if you look at the building and look at the grade, there are not too many buildings that are more complicated than this one. There is nothing consistent about the roofline across the building or the grade. We looked at it more than one way as you can see in our letter. We tried to do a weighted average around the building and found that it came out with a weighted average of thirty-four (34) feet. This is less than thirty-five (35) feet, which is the maximum height. But, the ordinance calculates building height, it does not specifically say that you can do an average for a flat roof. It says that it is measured from the highest point of the roofline. This is a unique building and a unique site. An interpretation could be sought. We think if you look at the strict definition in the ordinance for building height, the proposed exceeds the height and a variance is required to build the building as proposed. I know that you have had other places of worship come before you and ask for height variances. You have taken those into consideration given the use. I think that is appropriate to do given the use and whether it is customary and reasonable to have additional height for this particular use. I would ask that you take that into consideration in deliberating whether you feel the variance is appropriate.

Member Brennan: Is there something special about that end of the building? This is an area that has a stage and equipment involved in raising curtains, etc… Without this variance, assuming it is twelve (12) feet, is it functional?

Ken Neumann: The building would not function the way that the church intends it. Very much a part of the way that they put on their service, is by having presentations that require sets. Sets as in a traditional theater need to be raised and lowered. It has now been lowered from its original height to the absolute minimum height that we could make it work to function for its purpose.

Member Brennan: I would not make the assumption that it is twelve (12) feet, but let’s assume that there is some agreement that the interpretation that Mr. Mamola has suggested is correct. Any other questions on the height variance?

Member Brennan: Seeing none, let’s move on to the front yard parking. Building Department?

Don Saven: No comment sir. It is an unusual piece of property. You have a piece of property located in the middle that could cause a little bit of a problem.

Member Brennan: It seems that this was a situation where front yard parking makes sense. I believe that the information presented tonight is indicative that this is a very unusual lot. They have the church at the lowest elevation of the lot and parking that will be undistinguishable from Ten Mile Road. I did not have any questions on item #2. Perimeter landscape, Ms. Lemke?

Ms. Lemke: Several years ago, Section 2509 was changed in regard to screening adjacent to residential where it abuts non residential. At that time it was added a Special Land Use for churches due to problems that we have had with various churches, noise and headlights. Requirements were added to the Zoning Ordinance at that time. The emphasis at that time was on audio screening. It is currently on audio screening although visual screening is certainly an element of the screening that is required. Since that time, I have been interpreting the ordinance where there is an existing house on the property that the berming be measured from the first floor elevation of that existing house. Where there is not an existing house, and there is a proposed house, we look at approximately where that house would be located to measure the berm. Certainly the topography varies, conditions vary for each site and it is looked at on an individual basis. I have consistently looked at that to measure it, because of the requirement for audio screening, which is what the committee at that time was interested in when they changed the ordinance. This particular property when you look at it, the 4’6" berm is required on the outside north, east and west property lines. Then it is required on the interior for the accepted parcel for the north, east and west property lines. They have met the requirements the way that I have measured them for all of those areas except for the north area of the accepted property line. I support the variance, because of the physical limitations of the site. It is lower and the site continues to be lower as it goes north. If the site came up as it went north, I probably not supporting the variance. They do meet the visual screening because of the evergreen trees that are there. They do meet the audio because the whole site is recessed and at lower level.

Member Brennan: Thank you. Any other questions of Ms. Lemke? We will move on to the noise analysis. I do not think that I have to ask any questions of anybody. The question is whether this gentleman is competent to give a noise analysis. I think it is very obvious that this guy has the credentials. We are at the point where we have reviewed the four (4) variance requests. What is the Board's pleasure, to take one at a time?

Member Sanghvi: What happens when you take over that property? Suppose you buy out the property, what would happen?

Ken Neumann: I do not know, but I might tell you that the church had attempted to purchase it. Just like the church would like to have their church in Novi, the resident of that property likes living in Novi. At this point on many occasions, he has indicated that he has not intentions to leave, so we are doing a great deal of landscaping around him to accommodate his desire to stay.

Member Gronachan: Regarding the distance and the audio for the theater location at one hundred fifty (150) feet from the future houses. How is this going to effect on Sunday morning? Would they be able to hear what is going on in the theater?

Ken Neumann: I have designed a number of open air theaters across the country that makes sound that is heard for great distances. This building is completely enclosed and is a masonry structure virtually all the way around it. The walls will be dense. Density is the thing that makes the sound not transfer from place A to place B. Therefore, with the distance and the construction of this building, that we could guarantee you that a residence would not hear the music that is going on within the church. When we designed Pineknob Theater, I could not say that.

Member Brennan: I believe this was taken into account with the noise analysis.

Member Fannon: Is the height variance twelve (12) feet according to Mr. Mamola?

Member Sanghvi: At one point only.

Member Fannon: Are we voting on a 12’9" or a 19’?

Member Sanghvi: 19’

Lee Mamola: Again, when the plans were submitted for Preliminary Site Plan Approval, I believe Birchler Arroyo’s office looked at a dimension, which established a building 19’ higher. The took a dimension approximately fifty (50) feet away from the building and did not take into account the grade as it slopes towards. That was on the drawing submitted for Preliminary Site Plan Approval. After the Preliminary, we did a "fly speck" of the definitions and where the grade meets the wall. I think if that explanation is acceptable, then we would only need a variance of 12’9" for the fly loft and 4’1" for the worship area. We would obviously live to those restricted portions of the building.

Member Brennan: I think we might be safer making this variance based on Mr. Arroyo’s interpretation. It is a worse case scenario, which is 19’ and not to exceed.

Member Sanghvi: How do you believe your grading system in calculating this and Mr. Arroyo’s calculation?

Lee Mamola: I think our differences are generated from a drafting error on the print. We had a project come before the Planning Commission not too long ago located on Beck and Grand River. There we have one height on Grand River Avenue and a different taller height at the back. The height was determined by taking the height at the top with the higher grade and the grade was lower at the bottom and an established grade was taken as shown in the diagram. I think this is the same situation. I believe that they were looking at the wrong information on the site plan when they did their analysis.

Member Brennan: We have had the visual presentation, the documentation and a lack of a firm agreement between two architects. Let’s take Mr. Arroyo’s interpretation, the presentation is not changed at all. The building is a big as it is and it is our decision whether we grant the variance or not.

Mr. Arroyo: If you were to move forward with this in a positive manner then you would be approving it as presented on the plans that are in your packet. This may clarify things. The applicant’s demonstration of what they are indicating tonight and showing how the number would be different from what we calculated. If there was an error on their print or elsewhere, I have not seen it demonstrated. I am confident that if you are comfortable with what they are asking for, that if you base it on the prints then everyone is clear what the Board is granting. This will take care of the issue.

Member Brennan: As the plans are presented tonight.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Bauer,


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

Moved by Gray,

Seconded by Sanghvi,



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

Moved by Fannon,


Seconded by Gray,



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

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Gronachan,



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

Lee Mamola: Normally these variances are good for 90 days. We have an extreme amount of site engineering related traffic improvements and off-site traffic improvements. I do not think it is possible to do the extent of work in 90 days. We are requesting an additional 90 days to prepare the Final Site Plan.

Don Saven: You have 30 days after Final Site Plan Approval. Could you work it in?

Lee Mamola: There are some complexities. We might, but we may not.

Don Saven: What is the time factor that you are looking at?

Lee Mamola: Ninety days would be more than enough.

Don Saven: After Final Site Plan Approval?

Lee Mamola: Yes.

Member Brennan: Board Members?

Board Members agree unanimously.

Member Gray: I would like to raise an issue that was raised in Mr. Harrington’s synopsis, which was very much appreciated in this matter. I think it would be appropriate to refer his letter to the Ordinance Review Committee for their action. If they are going to say that we need a certification, then I think it is up to the City Council and the Ordinance Review Committee to tell us whom we should be accepting as "certified".

Member Brennan: Ms. Marchioni, would you please handle this for us?

Tom Schultz: I do not believe a motion is necessary for this.

Member Brennan: No, it is not a vote.


Case No. 01-039 filed by Jeffrey Kasper representing Jimmies at Home


Jeffrey Kasper representing Jimmies at Home is requesting a variance to erect a second sign.


Jim Seek was present and duly sworn in.

Jim Seek: I am the owner of Jimmies on Grand River Avenue and Wixom Road. I have a ground sign that has been there for over twelve (12) years. Over the years, it has been a battle with customers calling to find where we are located as they are driving up and down Grand River Avenue. I am not certain if it is related to the traffic flows or etc… We typically have to respond that we are located next to Don’s Diner of Traverse City. The building comes to a point on Grand River Avenue and Grand River Avenue is on an angle. There is not a front of the building, instead there are two (2) sides. I am proposing to remove the existing sign completely and place a wall sign on each corner. The building would be more accessible to customers. It is very difficult to turn around, especially when traveling east on Grand River Avenue. Simply, I would like to erect two (2) wall signs, which I think are very elegant. I would like make an inkling of the building visible from both directions to allow for better business and convenience for my customers.

Member Brennan indicated that there were nine (9) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: If you decide to approve the variance it should be conditional upon the removal of the ground sign.

Member Gronachan: I drove up and down Grand River Avenue looking for Jimmies and I did not find the ground sign. Your building almost gives the illusion that it is on an angle. When driving down Grand River Avenue, the side of the building is visible before the front. Everything the petitioner stated is absolutely true. I support the petitioner’s request.

Member Bauer: I also support it. I go by there three (3) or four (4) times a day. If the ground sign is giving problems, put the new one in place.

Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Gronachan,



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


Case No. 01-044 filed by Abbas Bazzi of Flaming Shish


Abbas Bazzi of Flaming Shish Restaurant is requesting a variance to allow seven (7) tables for temporary outdoor seating from June through September 2001, located at 39777 Grand River Avenue in the Pheasant Run Plaza. Refer to Case Nos. 1430, 1619, 1867, 91-70, 92-080 and 00-036.


Abbas Bazzi was present and duly sworn in.

Abbas Bazzi: I would like to place outside seating. We did this before last year. In addition, I would like to have a three (3) year permit. This would prevent my business from being interrupted from one season to another. If the weather permits, we could do this late Spring or early Summer. When customers see the tables, they would be able to sit outside. They prefer that more than to be seated inside. I would like this permit to be extended for three (3) years if possible.

Member Brennan indicated that there were five (5) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: We have had no issues. However, I would like it subject to my approval of the accessibility around the specific areas for the tables. I am looking at this a little differently than last year. I would like to get out there and make sure that we have handicapped accessibility.

Abbas Bazzi: Handicapped accessibility to the tables?

Don Saven: For the walkway area in front of the complex.

Member Brennan: To ensure that the tables outside are not going to interfere with handicapped access.

Abbas Bazzi: I do not think that they did in the past.

Don Saven: No, they did in the past. I was out there taking a look and making sure that they did have this. I would appreciate this consideration very much should you decide to approve the request.

Abbas Bazzi: I will make sure there is room and enough space for the handicapped access.

Member Brennan: The original variance was granted in June of 2000.

Member Sanghvi: Could we do it for three (3) years with the same provisions.

Member Fannon: The last one was twenty (20) inch table and now we are moving up to forty (40) inch tables. Is this the reason that you would like to go out and look at them?

Don Saven: Yes.

Member Fannon: The last permit said that each table could not be more than twenty (20) inches.

Abbas Bazzi: They are the same tables.

(Tape ends)

Don Saven: I saw forty (40).

Member Fannon: Do we need to waive the five (5) days waiting period again.

Member Bauer: That is why we made it twenty (20) last time.

Member Sanghvi: We could include that in the motion, the 20" tables.

Member Fannon: It is in the motion from last year.

Abbas Bazzi: Could you please waive the five (5) day waiting period? I would like to start on it as soon as possible. Business is slow.

Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Fannon,



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


Case No. 01-040 filed by Ronald Cieslak representing Meadowbrook Congregational Church


Ronald Cieslak is requesting three (3) variances; a reduced exterior parking setback, an omission of landscape buffering and a variance to the noise analysis requirement. These variances are requested for the construction of an addition to the Meadowbrook Congregational Church located at 21355 Meadowbrook Road.


Ron Cieslak was present and duly sworn in.

Ron Cieslak: I would like to touch on each variance briefly. In terms of the setback, when the original Meadowbrook Congregational Church was built in 1984, the original parking lot was installed here (L-shaped). At that time it was a forty-five (45) foot setback to Broquet on the north side. We were required to place a berm as landscape. In 1991, we added the new sanctuary, where again it met the requirement. We are now adding approximately thirty-six hundred (3600) square feet of Sunday School classroom space. There is a seventy-five (75) foot setback for parking. The existing parking comes to here and we are taking some parking out to accommodate the new building. This gray area represents the setback for the wetland. We would like to move the parking further north and align it with the existing parking. We are asking for a variance to allow us to continue at the forty-five (45) foot line. We are continuing the berm with landscaping to screen the parking. The second variance is the requirement for a landscape berm along Meadowbrook Road. When the sanctuary was added in 1991, the landscaping was added here. The berm would have to be placed where the landscaping wants to be. We are augmenting the landscaping and adding more. The berm would not conceal anything in front of the building. In fact the nicest view is the façade of the facility. It is directly adjacent to the new concrete walk. We are requested a waiver for this berm. The third item is for the noise requirement. We are putting a thirty-six hundred (3600) square foot addition on the building. We are adding two residential condensers on the north side of the building, which are one hundred eighty feet (180) from this property line with the landscape berm in front of it and three hundred (300) feet from this property line with heavy landscaping. We are asking that the necessity for the noise study be waived.

Member Brennan indicated that there were thirty-two (32) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and four (4) disapprovals. The disapprovals consisted of one agreement to waive the noise analysis and objections for the other two (2) variances.


There was no audience participation.


Ms. Lemke: I am supporting both variances. They are providing screening for the parking lot. There is an existing parking lot with existing evergreen trees, which they will continue to the east to provide screening. In regard to the berm along Meadowbrook Road, the reason for the thirty-six (36) inch berm is due to their driveway. They do have existing plant material that they are trying to save. They have added additional plant material along Meadowbrook Road.

Member Brennan: It is unfortunate that you were not able to talk to the neighbors, because they perhaps do not understand what you are intending to do. This may be why they have voiced their opinions. They do not say specifically why they oppose, they just say oppose. I take a great deal of respect for Ms. Lemke’s opinion. If she feels that you have met the intent of screening and keeping this isolated, then I have no problem with her support.

Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Bauer,


Member Brennan: I would just add that it is an expansion of the existing facility and that they are keeping the setbacks in line with the existing facilities. It seems to be a minimal.

Member Gray: We are presented with the issue of certified sound engineer again. Since this is technically a residential in nature use, would there be some remedy for the circumstances for the petitioner. Although they have not requested it, I am basing this on the last case.

Member Brennan: The motion that is on the table is one that would eliminated the need for. I did not have any problem with that personally because the church has been there and it is a continued use. The building will be larger, but I think they have offered with the screening some of the audio. This is the reason that I did not find a problem with the request.

Member Sanghvi: I do not live very far from your church and I have never seen any problem in that area. I am not concerned about the noise.

Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Bauer,


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


Case No. 01-041 filed by Harry and Colette Scholten of 46075 White Pines Drive


Harry & Colette Scholten are requesting a 270 square foot variance to allow additional garage space (attached) at the proposed new residence on lot #134 at 46075 White Pines Drive. Property is located in an R-1 zoning district.


NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, Section 2503, Para 1 (G) states:

"No detached or attached accessory building is intended for the parking and storage of private motor vehicles shall exceed, in total aggregate floor space of all such accessory buildings on a lot…seven hundred fifty (750) square feet in an RA or R-1 District."


Proposed Accessory Structure: 1270 square feet

Permitted: 1000 square feet

Variance: 270 square feet


Colette Scholten was present and duly sworn in.

Colette Scholten: We are proposing a two hundred seventy foot (270) square foot variance for additional garage space. This is a new construction. It is within the building envelope to do this. Our situation is that we have five (5) children that are of driving age. We have a lot of vehicles. This is on White Pines Drive, which is a major connector between Taft and Beck Road. It is for four (4) subdivisions and there is a lot of traffic there. For safety factors, we would prefer to be able to have the vehicles on the driveway or in the garage. We currently have lived in Novi for several years. We have a situation that it is problem to not block the sidewalk, which is an ordinance issue. For a safety factor as well as an aesthetic issue for the subdivision, we purposely selected this lot to build this house on to avoid this safety issue.

Member Brennan indicated that there were twelve (12) notices sent to neighbors and there was one (1) approval and one (1) disapprovals. Ron Schoniak objected strongly.


Sheryl Schoniak, 46035 White Pines: It was my husband Ron who sent in the objection and he is out of town. We are the lot directly east of the petitioner. I regret having to make an objection to the Board. However, this garage, although on the opposite side of the house, would effect my property. I have several pictures here that will show you the lot line between our properties. If you take the plan of the house and cut the lot directly in half, you will see that eight-five percent (85%) of the house is what if feel shoved over against my house. On this side, it would be all cement. If you look at it, it would be rather lopsided and pushed toward my house. I do not feel that aseptically, it would hold well for the neighborhood. That was my first issue with the request. Also, you can not see it on here, but, you can see that there are trees in between us. It is a regulated woodland area. If the house was pushed over into this area, it would be eliminating some of the regulated woodland area. If the garage exceeds out and the driveway was not there, then the house would not have to encroach on the woodland area that is directly next to me. I know that the house meets the regulation of a fifteen (15) foot setback here, however, it doe not take into consideration that this is a woodland area. It is encroaching into that woodland area. This is the other reason that I object. Mostly, I feel that if the house was centered on the lot proportionately, instead of having all of the cement on this side. Unfortunately, there is not a homeowner on the West Side of the lot. There is not someone that could object at this time to having all of that cement there. I do have a couple of questions from sitting here tonight going through the agenda. It says on the agenda that R-1 District gives 750 square feet. I do not understand why it has been permitted for 1,000 square feet.

Don Saven: There is a provision in the Ordinance for the R-1 District. It has a maximum requirement of 750 square foot. You are allowed to have an additional 250 square foot for other matters. It could be in conjunction with the garage. There is the 750 plus the 250, which is additional space, totaling the 1000 square foot.

Sheryl Schoniak: I would hope with my objections tonight, my husband’s letter and additional neighbor’s objections would be taken into consideration. We are thinking about the appearance for the neighborhood. The five (5) car garage is out of line with whatever else is in our neighborhood already. If the garage were not attached and all of the cement not there, the home would need to be re-approved with new drawings? I would assume that it would center the home on the lot.

Don Saven: We have an issue regarding the Zoning Ordinance whether or not they comply. The other issue is whether or not there are woodlands that are effected by what is taking place. Certainly I am sure there was a Woodland Review Board and maybe there was not. On this particular case, was there?

Sheryl Schoniak: There was. We have a letter, but it is under appeal at this time. I spoke to several committee members who were involved in that vote. They told me that their decision was subject to what the variance decision would be tonight.

Larry Pap, 46000 White Pines Drive: I reside across the street and one lot to the east of this location. I am also concerned with the Woodland. The five (5) feet that they would be taking out and the clearing of the brush that is in there. As we all know, when they build houses, tractors do not cut a straight path and they usually take a little more than what they want. I am opposed to the five (5) car garage in the neighborhood, because most of the houses in the neighborhood are three (3) car garages, with one four (4) car garage in Arden Glen. The sixteen (16) inch Elm tree is very healthy as noted in the photos submitted. I am told that it would have to come down if the house went in this location. Again I would think that the house could move over if the garage was not approved. It could face more to the angle of the road rather than straight on the lot.

Mark Sturring, 22631 Foxmoor Drive: I am a real estate attorney. I would like to support the request here. I do believe that the proposed structure is within the building envelope. It shows prudent planning on the part of the petitioner to recognize; based on the number of drivers in their family, that it is better to have their vehicles in the garage as opposed to parked on the driveway. I am very familiar with the type of house that Harry and Colette Scholten would build. I think it would be very aseptically pleasing. I am here to support their request for the variance.


Member Sanghvi: How old are your children?

Colette Scholten: Seventeen (17) through twenty-five (25) years of age.

Member Sanghvi: They are at home at 25-years of age?

Colette Scholten: Yes, we are still finishing college.

Member Sanghvi: So they will be soon back.

Colette Scholten: Yes.

Member Sanghvi: Maybe you will not have five (5) drivers.

Colette Scholten: We have seven (7) drivers in our house.

Member Brennan: I have the same observation. I have five (5) children and we have a lot of cars. My children are moving out and my car problem is going away. I do not know that we should be considering a variance of this magnitude for a situation that might be fixed in the near future. I did not find anything compelling to grant a variance for a five (5) car garage in a neighborhood. I did not hear anything new tonight. I do not have a lot of support for this.

Don Saven: If you stood within the 1,000 square foot requirement, would you still effect the trees based upon the building envelope that you need to build in?

Colette Scholten: I think that there are some things that we could do. There are actually only two (2) tagged trees in that tree line. One of them is a dead Elm tree. There are two (2) other dead Elms in that tree line and the sixteen (16) inch Elm is within the same area of those already three (3) dead Elm trees. Right now, that Elm tree would be four (4) feet off of the corner of the house. We have already adjusted the house and moved it back a little to accommodate this. I do not think with it being 4’ off of the house it could be saved. In addition to this, a swale is required for drainage on that side of the house. The swale itself is going to require some of the underbrush to be removed to effect the swale. Looking at the plat plan, if the trees are the issue, it looks to me that we could move the house another 4.5’ and still be in the building envelope. This would make us 8.5’ from the Elm tree. Building on that lot, there will be root damage. We have looked at this. As president of the American Lung Association of Michigan, I am definitely a tree hugger. There is nothing more than I want to save as many trees as I can. In the past in the City of Novi we have done that. We have saved trees that were not required. I am very much for saving the trees. When we were approved by the Woodlands Board and they walked the lot with us, we were planting a lot of additional trees because that was what we wanted to do. We would like to maintain as much Woodland as possible. We would be happy to save that Elm tree if there was a way to do that.

Don Saven: We have a very serious problem with this. We love the trees, but we also need to build a house. One of the issues of building a house, is how close we get to the trees. It is a rough situation when we go to the end degree to try to preserve the trees as close as they are to the house, but only after the two (2) years to find out that they are dying because they are too close to the house in the construction. Then it becomes a burden to the homeowner to have the trees cut, which could be very expensive. We have to recognize that there are some issues of how close that we get to the trees and how far away that we could stay away from the trees. This is very much an issue to a lot of residents today.

Member Brennan: I believe we are losing site of the issue here. The petitioner has petitioned for a variance to build a larger garage because they currently have five (5) children with cars. I contend that they will not always have five (5) children with cars living at that house. I do not think that we should be considering a permanent variance of this magnitude for a short term problem.

Member Gray: Would the petitioner possibly be willing to negotiate with neighbors and bring it back with perhaps a three (3) car garage. The neighbors indicated that there are three (3) car garages in the subdivision. Also take a look at the tree issue, which I also have difficulty with. I look at an Elm tree as a very good tree, but it is not the highest quality as opposed to a Maple or a Beech tree. When you are trying to build a house, you can do all that you can to save the root system, but if there is something where the other trees in the immediate vicinity are effected now…

Member Brennan: I am assuming that the trees are being taken up by a different Board.

Colette Scholten: Yes, we are meeting with the City Council.

Member Brennan: We do not have anything to do with that Board. We are looking here at a 270 square foot variance request. I do not find the hardship.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Gronachan,



Tom Schultz: Clarification on the terminology, Practical Difficulty.

Member Brennan: To the lack of practical difficulty.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Gronachan,



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


Case No. 01-042 filed by Kevin Taylor of Programmed Products Inc.


Kevin Taylor is requesting a variance to allow the continued placement of an overhead door at Programmed Products Corporation, 44311 Grand River. The property is zoned I-1 and the overhead door is adjacent to a residential district.


Kevin Taylor was present and duly sworn in.

Kevin Taylor: I am the plant manager of one hundred employees that are doing a lot good things. Unfortunately, I made an error in judgement in promoting safety within our facility. I had placed an overhead door in the wrong side of the building, which faces a residential area. We received a notice that this was not the right thing to do. I have been with the company approximately one year. I have the owner of the company here to offer support and answer any questions you may have. I have included in your package a document for the reasoning for the location of the garage door. It is an overhead door approximately 10’x10’. We have a trash dumpster located on the outside of the building. Our goal was to minimize traffic through the facility with the large dumpsters. Upon weaving in and out of machinery and personnel, I deemed that it was unsafe to do this on a daily basis. Enclosed you will find several photographs, lines and numbers indicating the location of where I was standing to take the photographs. As you can see, the photos 1-8 were taken and show a rather large berm that keeps us out of a bad line of side with our neighbors. Photos 9 and 10 show an approximate 60 foot deep barrier, which is our buffering zone, which is a fifty (50) foot tall plus tree line. Photograph 12 is a midway into the tree line or buffer zone looking toward the garage door that we installed. Photographs 13-17 show views of the residences that are placed along Clark Street. These photographs show what our neighbors have to look at on a daily basis. As you notice, the aesthetics of the door is a professional installation. I visited two (2) neighbors that are behind us and the door and neither of the two had any issues with the door being there. In the interest and safety of my employees, I made an error of judgement in installing the door on the side of the building. I was not familiar with the ordinance regarding this. I am asking for a Zoning Variance on this issue.

Member Brennan indicated that there were forty (40) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and two (2) disapprovals. Shing Dwan Lee on Lannys Road objected writing regarding the residential abutting commercial or industrial. Tom and Claudia Clark, reside directly behind Program Products, wrote, "We can not go along with this variance for the following reasons, after the door was installed and before the City discovered it, there was way too much noise. We had high lows going in and out honking their horns each time. People would congregate there and have loud conversations, listen to music during their breaks and lunch. The whole reason for not allowing these types of doors to face abutting residential is to minimize the items above. Since the City has stopped use of that door, the noise level has dropped to almost zero and frankly that is the way that we would like to keep it."

Member Brennan: It does not sound like Mr. Clark was one of the people that you talked to and he does live directly behind you sir.


Clinton Price, 26070 Lannys Road: We live directly to the West of Programmed Products. This is the view from our backyard. I would like to point out that this semi is not even parked on the Programmed Products property. It is parked on an adjacent lot that used to be a fenced storage area. The business went out of business and was purchase by Guardian Alarm and this became vacant land. I do not know what agreement that they worked out for use of this, but it seems like there are some serious violations here with berming and parking. This is a view directly from my back window. I do not think it is very pleasant. We put up with welding, grinding, high lows creating noise and several parties going on in the early morning hours and on the weekends on the shipping dock doors. Cars take off at three shift operations at 11:00 p.m. and their lights shine directly into our house. We have a concern with how the site was approved in the first place. We were not notified two (2) years ago when the building was constructed. It was a renovation of an existing office structure. Now it is a manufacturing site. I think there are several issues here beyond the overhead door. We would like to petition that you deny the overhead variance. (Showing another photograph) This is the other side that faces Clark Street. There is a complete residential street between this side of the building. This is what the guys on the other side of the street get to look at. They are not abutting against this property. These may be the trees that he is referring to. I think this view contrasts heavily from the view that we have.

Member Brennan: You may take it upon yourself to give the Building Department a call to point out some of these issues.

Don Saven: The Ordinance Division.

Member Brennan: They may want to send someone out to take a look at the trailer and use issues. However, the only thing that we can discuss tonight is whether we would allow the use of the overhead door that was put in without a permit abutting residential property.


Member Brennan: This was put in without a permit?

Don Saven: That is correct.

Member Fannon: This print is 1995. On it, there is a proposed ten (10) foot wide bay door where this door is. Is there any chance that this site plan was approved?

Don Saven: No. I believe that this is a plan that came in with the Building Permit Application to put the door in. This was where the door was going to be. There is a permit in the office but we can not approve it because of the condition of the Zoning Ordinance.

Kevin Taylor: That is correct.

Member Gray: I have a real problem with the doors abutting residential for exactly the reason that the residents brought to our attention tonight. Whoever did the work should have known that a permit was required. I do not think that that is a hardship. I am prepared to make a motion.

Moved by Gray,

Seconded by Gronachan,


Member Brennan: Do you have any comments regarding the comments of the neighbors?

Kevin Taylor: Regardless of whether or not there is a garage door there, we have a parking lot for our employees to have a break and eat lunch. Last Fall, we has several temporary employees come aboard who brought their baggage with them, but we took care of that.

Member Fannon: More specifically the high lows beeping their horns until a ticket was issued. Do they go to the trash dump that often?

Kevin Taylor: No, once or twice a day. The beeping of the horns on the high lows is when they are backing up. With the door being open during operational hours, you would hear that. I would propose that we would close the door and only open it in the time of need, maybe once or twice a day to eliminate any potential noise. If the aesthetics would be an issue, we could paint the door to match the building. I have photographs.

Member Fannon: I believe that we have all visited the building.

Member Bauer: Our Building Department can not be a Police Department either.

Member Gray: If they are running three shifts, then they may deem that it would be a need at 3:00 a.m.

Kevin Taylor: No, we are not running three (3) shifts. We have been on a one shift operation for over a month and less than three (3) shifts for the last six (6) months.

Owner: When we built this building, five (5) or six (6) years ago, we went through a lot of expense for landscaping. There is a lot of parking on that side of the building, that everybody knew that parking would be there when they approved the plan. We had big RV vans there that are much bigger than a high low. There are cars back there all of the time, because it is the parking that you approved. We admit there is a mistake here. I am semi-retired and they put the door in for safety purposes. I told them that it was against the City Ordinance, but it has already been put in. This is the next best thing that we could do. It does say that a lot of accidents could happen. As far as employees, when business is good, you put on more employees. Is that not why we are here in Novi? To give more job to people? We never have three (3) shifts. The shifts are 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. We do the best that we can. The building was there a long time before I got there.

Member Brennan: The door was not.

Owner: No, the door was not.

Member Brennan: That is what is before us.

Owner: We are wrong for doing that. I understand that. We are just here to tell you that we do not have to use it that much. We are watching it now because we know that it effects some. It is a mistake, we know that.

Member Brennan: You did not have approval for this door back when the building was upgrade in 1995 and there was reason for that. It was because it faced residential. I think that we clearly have evidence that there is a problem now with that door. Since you were ticketed the problem was resolved. I am going to support the motion.

Moved by Gray,

Seconded by Gronachan,


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


Case No. 01-043 filed by Bright Star Inc. representing Fatoosh Mediterranean Restaurant


Ibrahim Mchaimech representing Fatoosh Mediterranean Cuisine is requesting variances to erect two (2) signs located at 42875 Grand River.


Tony Bergard was present and duly sworn in.

Tony Bergard: I am going to be the owner of the Fatoosh Mediterranean Restaurant. The entrance is going to be the Main Street Vic’s. The location exists at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Main Street. I am leasing the upper restaurant and the banquet facility. It will be two (2) business at the top being almost ten thousand (10,000) square feet. The location needs a sign on Grand River Avenue for visibility. I would also like to have a sign on Main Street. This would be the main entrance for the restaurant. I would like to have a variance. We are in need of two (2) signs. The restaurant has been close for three (3) years and this is a risk for me. I would like to see a lot of customers.

Member Brennan indicated that there were ten (10) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: This is a Town Center District (TC-1). It is a second floor arrangement. Vic’s had a variance for what they had. The maximum size, which was allowed, was 65 square foot. He is requesting two (2) signs. Vic’s should come down and your is going up, correct?

Tony Bergard: No. We are going to have one for the banquet facility and one for the restaurant. One on Grand River Avenue and one on Main Street. (tape ends)

Don Saven: (tape begins)…their own separate entrance and therefore, he needs the variance for the two (2) signs.

Member Sanghvi: I have no problem.

Member Bauer: I have no problem with the request.

Member Brennan: This is somewhat consistent with previous sign variances in that district, because there are two (2) main streets. These are the same conditions that we have here tonight.

Don Saven: This gentleman does not have a Building Permit as of yet. I can not issue a Sign Permit until that Building Permit has been obtained. Could you please make that a condition of your motion? They will need to go to the Town Center Committee to approve the sign also.

Member Sanghvi: What is the time period on that?

Don Saven: That would depend on his architect or whatever he is going to before.

Tony Bergard: I am not changing anything, it would only be cosmetic.

Don Saven: Then it would be pretty quick.

Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Bauer,


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


Case No. 01-045 filed by Wayne Miller representing Fountain Walk


Wayne Miller of JPRA Architects representing Fountain Walk is requesting several sign variances for the project located at 12 Mile.




1) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(2)a1i "Area" states:

"Except as provided below, ground signs shall not exceed a maximum thirty (30) square feet or one (1) square foot for each two (2) feet the sign is setback, whichever is greater…"


PERMITTED: 50 square feet

PROPOSED: 60 square feet

VARIANCE: 10 square feet


2) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(3) "Number of signs" states:

"…no building or parcel of land shall be allowed more than one (1) sign permitted…"


Variance requested to the number of signs permitted per parcel of land.



"Where four (4) or more separately owned and operated businesses with an exterior pedestrian access to each business occupy a one store building on a single parcel of land, the parcel is permitted one (1) business center ground sign."




1) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(2)a1i "Area" states:

"Except as provided below, ground signs shall not exceed a maximum thirty (30) square feet or one (1) square foot for each two (2) feet the sign is setback, whichever is greater…"


PERMITTED: 30 sq. ft.

PROPOSED: 75.5 sq. ft.

VARIANCE: 45.5 sq. ft.


2) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(2)a2ii "Height" states:

"All other ground signs shall not exceed a height of five (5) feet…"



PROPOSED: 15 ft.

VARIANCE: 10 ft.


3) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(2)a3 "Placement" states:

"Ground signs shall not be placed less than sixty three (63) feet from the centerline of a thoroughfare…"


REQUIRED: 63 ft.

PROPOSED: 40.67 ft.

VARIANCE: 22.33 ft.


4) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(3) "Number of signs" states:

"…no building or parcel of land shall be allowed more than one (1) sign permitted…"


Variance requested to the number of sings permitted per parcel of land.




1) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(2)a1i "Area" states:

"Except as provided below, ground signs shall not exceed a maximum thirty (30) square feet or one (1) square foot for each two (2) feet the sign is setback, whichever is greater…"


PERMITTED: 30 sq. ft.

PROPOSED: 99 sq. ft.

VARIANCE: 69 sq. ft.


2) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(2)a3 "Placement" states:

"Ground signs shall not be placed less than sixty three (63) feet from the centerline of a thoroughfare…"


REQUIRED: 63 ft.

PROPOSED: 41.67 ft.

VARIANCE: 21.33 ft.


3) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(3) "Number of signs" states:

"…no building or parcel of land shall be allowed more than one (1) sign permitted…"


Variance requested to the number of sings permitted per parcel of land.




1) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(2)a1i "Area" states:

"Except as provided below, ground signs shall not exceed a maximum thirty (30) square feet or one (1) square foot for each two (2) feet the sign is setback, whichever is greater…"


PERMITTED: 30 sq. ft.

PROPOSED: 74.25 sq. ft.

VARIANCE: 44.25 sq. ft.


2) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(2)a3 "Placement" states:

"Ground signs shall not be placed less than sixty three (63) feet from the centerline of a thoroughfare…"


REQUIRED: 63 ft.

PROPOSED: 38.83 ft.

VARIANCE: 24.17 ft.


3) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-6(3) "Number of signs" states:

"…no building or parcel of land shall be allowed more than one (1) sign permitted…"


Variance requested to the number of sings permitted per parcel of land.




1) NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, SECTION 28-11(a) "Prohibited Signs" states:

"A sign not expressly permitted is prohibited."


Wayne Miller, Craig were present and duly sworn in.

Member Brennan: Gentlemen, there was a large amount of material presented for this case. I would like to commend you on an outstanding sign package. I am going to give this package to Ms. Marchioni to keep on hand as a model of a correct submittal for future large developments.

Wayne Miller: Certainly you are acquainted with our project of sixty-seven (67) acres and seven hundred thirty-two thousand (732,000) square feet. The access to this project is from the southeast corner off of Novi Road and the expressway. There is another access point off of West Oaks directly from the east and the also west and east off of Twelve Mile Road. The uses of this project vary. It is an entertainment project, due to the cinemas, bookstores, furniture stores, restaurants and value shopping. It has a varied customer base that will come from all walks of life great distances to the site from many angles. Our customers, we like to think of them as guests to our site, and invite them to come to the site and find their way very easily. Consequently, we have eleven (11) signs on the site, much more than your ordinance calls as a single site for a project of this size. We have three (3) identification signs and eight (8) "way finding" signs. A great deal of time has been spent on making sure that the signs are appropriate for the safety comfort level for the customer that is coming to this property. We in Novi, would come to this property and get to know it over time, but in the retail business, we know the customer comforts that it takes to find your way around the site like this. However, we do have people coming down the expressways that will be unfamiliar with the site. Every effort has been made to size the signs and place them in a location that balances the direction of parking that comes to this site. We have a grade situation on the East Side of the project that faces the rear end of West Oaks Mall. Some sites that are set a farther distance back from the property line would not be seen, therefore, the site signage is close to the road. For obvious reasons when traveling east, to what is called Donelson Drive, we have spaced the signage out verses having one sign and all of the traffic turning in at one location. We have purposely place four (4) signs on that side of the site to identify to people who are coming for a specific locations, how to enter the site. This is to prevent jamming up the traffic all coming into one entrance. On the West Side of the site, we do not have a grade situation there. We have three (3) "way finding" signs there. We are again attempting to balance out the traffic coming off of Twelve Mile Road and the southerly direction from Twelve Mile Road to the site and the cinemas at the south side of the project. The site had a large physical presence by the materials, color selection and design. However as you come in from the East Side of the site along I-96 and Donelson Drive, we have placed two (2) identification signs. We want to announce a sense of arrival on the southeast corner. We want to draw the traffic in toward the boulevard at the central portion of that sign that leads directly to the access street that may be called the north/south access to the center of the this property facing south. We have done a great deal of graphic studies to make sure that the size of the letters on the way finding systems are appropriate to the speed of the traffic that would be coming through the site. We have not tried to make them larger than necessary. It is not a necessary retail need but to help the public find there way throughout the massive site.

Member Brennan indicated that there were seventeen (17) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


Debbie Bundoff, Novi and Twelve Mile Road: I guess I have a concern or a question in the sign that is at the corner of Donelson Drive and Twelve Mile Road. If that is the size and the location of a sign, I have a real concern. It is very close to a road that I thought was to be expanded. So is this really the location? I thought putting up a mock sign would be the approximate location and size. So is it not?

Don Saven: It was based on a fact that it was my recommendation that the signs be as close as possible to the approximate location of where they would be placed. Unfortunately, the construction of Twelve Mile Road has caused us to place the signs in an area, which would be visible for the Board to take a look at to give them an idea of the size and height of the sign. This is not the area.

Debbie Bundoff: That was scary. Which meant if they expanded Donelson Drive, then it was right in the middle of the road. I was also concerned, because I did not know which of these signs were which. It did not help me not knowing. Maybe the petitioner should have allowed the property owners a packet so that we would know. I read this which gave me the setback requirements from centerline and how much was being requested. I had some concerns especially if something was going to be on Twelve Mile Road, if the petitioner was able to place a sign from centerline of road back. Since Twelve Mile Road is being boulevarded, I read a 63 foot requirement, it would still be in the road. I wondered which one of these was for Twelve Mile Road?

Member Brennan: We will start with Sign A and proceed from there to each one.

Debbie Bundoff: After I am finished talking then you will say it, which is late of my asking. This is why I am asking. I still do have a problem. Even if a ground sign shall not be placed less than 63 feet of a centerline of a thoroughfare, our thoroughfare is quite large.

Member Brennan: They have put together a variance matrix, which will help us to walk through all of these signs. They point out and summarize what is allowed and what they want and why.

Debbie Bundoff: Although they are numerous in amounts, I thought the signs on Donelson Drive were nice. They will allow people to know which direction to turn. They did not take a kindly suggestion and put their entrance directly across from the road that leaves West Oaks I and II, which would have allowed people to go in and separate directions from there. I did appreciate those signs.


Don Saven: They did a fantastic job. Mr. Amolsch was directly involved in putting this together with the appropriate personnel and they did a fantastic job.

Wayne Miller: I would like to thank Novi for all of the help that they have been. Building Department under Don Saven’s direction and Alan Amolsch has been more than helpful in assisting us in putting this package together for you to view. I hope that you have had the opportunity to visit the site and see the mockups. We do apologize for the condition of a couple of the mockups, as the weather took a toll on one of them. The construction manager has hopefully made the repairs.

Member Fannon: Is there any Board Member that has a problem with any sign that they saw? If we do not have an objection to anything that we saw, if we all agree, then we should have a motion to approve the entire request tonight?

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Gronachan,



Member Fannon: And also as presented in this package that was given to us date May 15, 2001, the rendering.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Gronachan,



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


Case No. 01-050 filed by the City of Novi representing Meadowbrook Commons


Craig Klaver representing the City of Novi Building Authority is requesting a sign variance for the size and height of a temporary real estate sign proposed to be located on the southwest corner of Cherry Hill and Meadowbrook Road.


NOVI CODE OF ORDINANCES, Section 28-7(3) "Temporary Signs" requires signs used for sale, rental or lease of buildings on site shall be no more than six (6) square feet in area and no higher than five (5) feet in height.


Proposed size of sign: 64 square feet

Allowable: 6 square feet

Variance: 58 square feet


Proposed height of sign: 10 feet

Allowable: 5 feet

Variance: 5 feet


Craig Klaver was present and duly sworn in.

Craig Klaver: I am here this evening as a member of the Building Authority. We have two (2) of our other members in the audience. We are here this evening to request a variance for a leasing sign as indicated. The Building Authority is very conscious that with the City-projects there is a reluctance to deviate from the standards. We reluctantly feel for several reasons that the sign is needed. Due to the width of Meadowbrook Road, with 120 foot right-of-way, the rezoning sign would be forty-five (45) feet from the travel of the roadway and we felt it essential that the sign be of a large size. In discussion with the Administrative Staff, the Building Authority was asked to take a second look. In a closer look we found that some changes in the text would enable a slightly smaller sign. I would like to amend our request to a 6’x6’ sign verses the 8’x8’ sign. I have submitted notes to the clerk that show the reductions of the request. The proposed size of sign amends from 64 to 36 square feet, reducing the variance from the original request to 58 square feet to 30 square feet. The height would change from 10 feet to 8 feet, reducing the variance from 5 feet to 3 feet. I would like to talk about the necessity for the sign. As some of you may be aware, this is a two (2) phase project. We built sixty (60) ranch units that were completed many months ago. We have been trying to lease those. Unfortunately, we have a large three story main building that could not be in a worse location in terms trying to market. The ranches are around the perimeter of the site. Most of them are against the west property, Meadowbrook Glens. We did this deliberately to be good neighbors, because they were more in keeping with the nature of that residential subdivision. However, the end result is the first thing visible is the main building. The entrance is also orientated to clearly identify that as the main entrance. We have forty-five (45) of the sixty (60) ranch units rented. For the safety of those residents, while we are continuing to build this main building, we are limiting construction to the main entrance. We are asking the residents and potential rental traffic to use Cherry Hill. This sign would have an additional purpose of directing people on to the site. We have seen a number of cars pull into the entrance, realize it is construction only and either back out or drive through the construction to reach the rental office and ranch units. The sign would also have the purpose of directing traffic to Cherry Hill, which is a safer egress. Although I am here representing the Building Authority, I would like to think that I am really here representing the interests of the senior citizens that would be residing here. This is not a subsidized project. Therefore, the rents will be directly impacted by the success we have in leasing these out. If we are not able to lease these up, then we would have to raise the rent. As a result, the residents would bear the brunt of our inability to market this. This is why we feel this is essential. The main building has been significantly delayed. It was originally scheduled to be completed in February, however, due to turn over on the general contractor staff, (we are on the third project manager), we are now looking at a completion date of August 3, 2001.

Member Brennan indicated that there were fifty-one (51) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


Larry Czekaj: As a resident and the Chairman of the Building Authority, I would like to echo Mr. Klaver’s comments. Given the nature of our clientele, they are very respectful of the signage. I believe that they are very scarred of the project itself. Seeing this massive building under construction with a main entrance monument sign behind it and perpendicular, that says "construction entrance no entry", they are scarred off. It is imperative to have another kind of additional signage to give them the comfort level that "yes you are invited in", there is a product here for you to have immediately and this is the way that you do it.


Don Saven: Mr. Klaver, you may want to indicate long.

Mr. Klaver: We are pushing ahead as rapidly as possible. We have done a lot of advertising and are hoping to have these pre-leased as soon as we can. I am hoping that the sign would not need to be in place more than a month or two.

Member Bauer: One month? That is all?

Mr. Klaver: It may be longer, but in a perfect situation, if we are able to get these leased or a point of a sufficient number of leases that could guarantee.

Member Brennan: I appreciate the effort that you have into this program and the modifications that you have made to the size. I would add that the people that are looking at this project are elderly people and you need a larger sign. I have no problem with the petitioner’s request. I think that we should give six (6) months.

Don Saven: I agree.

Moved by Bauer,

Seconded by Gronachan,


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


Case No. 01-051 filed by the City of Novi representing Standard Federal Bank


Tony Nowicki, Director of Public Services, representing the City of Novi is requesting a 7’5" parking setback variance for the Standard Federal Bank building at 43600 West Oaks Drive. The variance request is in conjunction with the Twelve Mile Road SAD improvement variances and for the realignment of West Oaks Drive. It is a direct result of the increase in right of way. Please refer to Case No. 01-026.

Craig Klaver: Mr. Nowicki was scheduled to speak to this request however, he was ill. I will be speaking to the matter.

Member Brennan: I understand that this is something that was missed in a large variance that we have granted already for the enhancement and the betterment of the community.

Craig Klaver: Correct.

Member Brennan indicated that there were four (4) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no disapprovals.


There was no audience participation.


Moved by Sanghvi,

Seconded by Gray,



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


Fountain Walk

Don Saven: I would like to thank the Board with the Fountain Signage issue. As indicated this is a very complex project. I believe next month it will come before you for the continuity of signage with the second phase of this project and then should they need any variances.

Member Brennan: Why would that not go before the City Council.

Don Saven: Continuity of signage is part of the project itself.

Member Brennan: There will be variances that they will be seeking?

Don Saven: They will have a blanket variance for continuity of signage. They will not all be boxed signs or a certain style. They will all be different signs for each different project. This would probably be the second phase.


The Meeting was adjourned at 12:01 a.m.





Sarah Marchioni

Community Planning Assistant

Transcribed by: Christine Otsuji

July 6, 2001


Date Approved: July 17, 2001