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TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2002 -- 7:30 P.M.

Proceedings had and testimony taken

in the matters of ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS at City of Novi, 45175 West Ten Mile Road, Novi, Michigan, on Tuesday, June 4, 2002.

Frank Brennan, chairman
Gerald Bauer
Frank Brennan
Sarah Gray
Cynthia Gronachan
Laverne Reinke
Siddharth Sanghvi

Don Saven, building department
Thomas Schultz, city attorney
Sarah Marchioni, building department

Cheryl L. James, Certified Shorthand Reporter

MR. CHAIRMAN: We will call this

meeting to order.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MR. CHAIRMAN: The court reporter had

indicated that the minutes from last week -- or

last month were difficult to hear, so make sure

that you have your mics on. Thank you.

We do have a quorum. The meeting is

now in session.

Ladies and gentlemen, we do have

rules of conduct. It's on the front page of the

agenda. I'd ask that you review it and adhere to




The Zoning Board of Appeals is a

hearing Board empowered by the Novi City Charter to

hear appeals seeking variances from the application

of the Novi building and ordinance.

It takes a vote of at least four

members to approve a variance and a vote of the

majority of the members to deny a variance. We

have a full Board tonight, so any of the decisions

will be final.

Any changes to the agenda?


MR. CHAIRMAN: No? I would move for


All those is favor say aye.

(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: We do not have any

minutes, so we'll get on to public remarks.

This portion under public remarks is

relative to cases or issues not on our agenda. If

there is somebody here that wishes to address the

Board on a case that's on our agenda, would you

kindly wait until that case is called.

Does anyone want to approach the

Board on non agenda issues?



(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Seeing none, we'll

move on.




MR. CHAIRMAN: We will call the

first case, Case Number 02-037 filed by

Scott Salzeider.

And, sir, you will -- you're going to

be presenting three cases in a row. We'll have you

sworn in, and maybe what you can do is give us a

summary and then we'll look at each one


But if you'll give us your name,

raise your right hand and be sworn by Mr. Sanghvi.

MR. SALZEIDER: My name is

Scott Salzeider. I'm vice president of Singh

Homes, 7125 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Do you swear that

you will tell the truth in the matters before you?



MR. SALZEIDER: I'm here tonight to

request the variance for three lots at



Willowbrook Farms subdivision.

We have three lots on

Willowbrook Farms which we're unable to fit any of

the houses from the houses that we offer at

Willowbrook. The hardship is to the depth issue.

If you notice, on most lots there's a

full depth lot with a straight line here. On

cul-de-sacs, the lot -- the property lines actually

extend a little bit at these points.

I have three lots. The first one is

lot 45 on the agenda. You'll see how it's just

kind of straight and chopped off across the back

there, where on lot 44, next to it, is full depth,

and lot 46 here on the cul-de-sac is full depth.

Now, these areas -- when the

developer got this project approved through the

City, it was required that they save as much of

those park areas as possible, this Scarborough Park

and then Bloomfield Park at lot 73 and

Bloomfield Park here, which we agreed to do;

however, it's created a situation where we can't

fit houses -- any of our houses on those three


This lot 45 -- I would like to point



out on all these that we're discussing tonight, we

have not encroached the woodland buffer or wetland

buffer on any of them. I've highlighted that in

yellow on each of those plot plans. On all these

lots we have not encroached the woodland or wetland

buffer, which I've shaded here in yellow tonight.

So none of the structure encroaches on the wetland

buffer at all.

The blue is the house, and the red

shaded area here is what I've shown as a proposed

deck area, you know, if that was to be a concern,

for a future customer moving into these


On all three lots, lot 45, 73 and 56,

it's simply the fact of having to preserve those

areas, which we agreed to do, has created a

hardship for us that none of our houses will fit.

We will not be destroying or

disturbing any of those areas that were meant to be

protected on any of the lots, and every home that

we've selected for each of these three lots is the

least intrusive for that particular lot.

Lot 45 is simply -- which is the

first one on the agenda, it's simply a depth



problem. Normally on a cul-del-sac, as this goes

back, there's some type of a point that goes out.

On this particular lot this is chopped off, and

there's no depth to fit our line of houses in


MEMBER BRENNAN: Okay, good. There

were 28 notices sent; no approvals, no objections.

Is there anyone in the audience that wishes to

address the Board on this first case? I guess

that's a yes.

MR. MARX: Yes. I sent a letter in.

My name is John Marx. I live next door, lot 57, to

lot 56. I sent a letter in. Did the Board receive


MR. SAVEN: This is lot 45, sir.

MR. MARX: Okay. You had all three.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We're going to take it

a case at a time.

MR. MARX: Okay.

MR. CHAIRMAN: He just gave us a kind

of a general overall on-

MR. MARX: (Interposing) I'll wait


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Anybody else?



(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Building


MR. SAVEN: Scott has answered the

question regarding the deck issue that I want to

add regarding any future -- he answered the

question regarding the deck issue. I'll point out

to the Board that the closest proximity is the

27.45 feet, and does increase as it projects to the

opposite side of the home. You can see that in

the plot plan.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members, any

questions or comments?

MEMBER REINKE: Well, I think that

just because they don't have a home in their

packages to fit on these lots -- these lots are big

enough to put a home on, and that -- the issues are

gonna, for sure, come in if people are going to

want to put a deck. It's going to be that much


So I don't see any reason why a home

can't be built on these size lots. These lots are

big enough to build a home on. Maybe it would have

to be a little more creative. Maybe you have to



put something else in their package, but I see no

reason for a variance on any one of these three.


MEMBER GRAY: This is new

construction, and I'm -- I don't feel that a

hardship has been demonstrated other than the way

they platted their subdivision. And I agree with

Mr. Reinke. It hasn't been demonstrated that they

can't build something a little bit smaller.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let me ask, how many

homes are in this development?

MR. SALZEIDER: There's 56 in phase


And the problem is not, obviously,

the overall square footage of the lot. It's a

depth issue.

MR. CHAIRMAN: But these are the only

three properties-

MR. SALZEIDER: (Interposing) Right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: -three sites that you

have a problem with?


MEMBER GRAY: Then the houses are too




MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else?

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, I would

like to also remind the Board that you do have a

similar ordinance that has to take place regarding

building adjacent to homes that have certain square

footage. They have to stay within 75 percent

requirement, so I'm sure that's one of the reasons

why this gentleman is here today.

MR. SALZEIDER: Yes. We -- these are

the -- this is the lineup of houses that have been

approved for that subdivision for the architectural


The depth is a real issue from a

design standpoint of a house. I do agree that the

lots are, overall, square footage, but the fact

that they're irregular -- and I think I showed that

on the overhead. They're very irregular the way

the back is chopped off, and in certain areas the

property line is drawn in. And I know the intent

there, which the developer agreed to, was to save

and protect that -- preserve that wetland and

woodland area, and we are not encroaching in that

in any way.

It's not a -- it's not a custom



subdivision. There, you know, apparently was, you

know, an oversight on our part not to have houses

lined up for these three lots, but we have three

phases there, and these are the only three lots

that are affected, and there is really no

neighboring properties that are affected. It's all

park area.

I know lot 57 is next to lot 56,

which the customer has an issue, but there's really

no other residences that are adversely affected by

any of this variance.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Let me ask you this

question: What if you don't get a variance on any

of the three?

What's the impact on the construction

of these houses?

Obviously, they have to be a little

bit smaller to meet the setback.

MR. SALZEIDER: It's not so much --

yeah, they'll be smaller. It's really irregular.

You know what, it's been difficult to do a layout

that, you know, customers want to see when -- when

you're taking ten foot off the depth of a house.

We've been able to accommodate it,



and there are certain lots, like lot 52 -- if I can

put this back up here for a minute. Can I show the

overhead again on the -- there's a lot here, lot

52, it's not a bad -- it's real skinny and pie

shaped like that, so -- we have a house called a

Hampton house that we modified the garage a little

bit, and we don't fit a three-car garage on there,

but it doesn't encroach us in the back, so we're

still able to fit the house in there.

The similar circumstance on lot 54

and 51, they're very tight, but they're not tight

in a depth standpoint, so it does mean maybe

eliminating a three car garage, which is very

popular, but, you know, it doesn't -- the depth is

a real problem from a design standpoint which, you

know -- that's what the customers are looking for,

a house that has a decent layout with open floor

plan, and it's going to be hard to accommodate on

those three lots simply, you know, because of the

property lines jetting in like that on those two

lots and the back property line on 45 being chopped



MEMBER GRAY: Without getting into



trying to redesign houses, if they did a different

juxtaposition of the house and moved the garage a

different way, they could certainly fit this house

on the property just by being a little creative,

and I don't -- you know, I don't see where a three

car garage has to necessarily open to the front.

It could be -- yes, open to the front but maybe put

it on a little bit of an angle, and that would pull

the house forward, still keep the 30 foot setback.

Just get a little creative with it.


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Hold

on. We're still in discussion here.

MEMBER GRAY: I don't want to get

into, you know, redesigning their houses, and I

realize that they want to build these houses, but

they're going to have to get creative or they're

going to have to make the house smaller, as far as

I'm concerned.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mav, do you have

anything to add?

MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes. I just want to

really emphasize the circumstances which has



necessitated the situation, and that is

preservation of the wetlands and the woodlands.

I have been to the site, and it looks

very different than what you can see on the paper.

It's really flat. It has no depth whatsoever, and

to bring anything on there of -- in keeping with

the rest of the homes around there, I think they're

going to need a variance, without which would be a

very much smaller house, and it's not going to do

any good to the entire neighborhood by having a

tiny house there on that lot to meet with all the

requirements for the side yard and backyard and

rear yard and so on and so forth.

So, as far as I'm concerned, I think

this is a real case of hardship because they are

trying to preserve the woodlands and the wetlands,

and I wouldn't have any hesitation in supporting

their application.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. I'll give

my two cents, if it's okay. This is new

construction. The petitioner has already shown us

that they've been able to make adjustments in house

plans on other lots so that there wasn't any

variance requirements.



I will tend to support, at least

three other members, that there should be given

some further thought on laying out a house on these


Any other comments from the Board?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: If not, we'll take a

motion. We've called ZBA Case 02-037. We'll take

that one and then --

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in Case

Number 02-037, I move that the variance request be

denied due to insufficient hardship.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Got a motion and a

second. Any discussion?

(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Call that one -- we

have input from-

MR. SCHULTZ: (Interposing) Thank

you, Mr. Chair. Again, reference, again, to the

hardship, and just I want to make sure this is a

nonuse or area variance we're talking under

practical difficulty standards rather than hardship




MEMBER REINKE: Okay. So corrected.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other comment?

(No response.)


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Your motion on

that particular case has been denied.




MR. CHAIRMAN: You want to address

02-038 and we'll take a look and see if there's

anything different on that one?



MR. SALZEIDER: This is a similar

circumstance as lot 45. Again, we had the depth

problem. This one is the tightest that we have to

the wetland buffer.

I would like to point out that this

Hampton house -- this is a Hampton 2, which is

roughly twenty-seven hundred square feet, one of

the lower to average size houses in that

neighborhood, and has an overall depth of around

forty-eight feet, which -- and it's a very compact

house. You can see how the garage does not extend

much from the house.

I'm just going to use this other one

as an example. This is a (inaudible ) 2 house,

which is actually a hundred square feet less than

the Hampton house, and you'll see how it's set up

where the garage is extended further out, and that

has an overall depth of fifty-three feet, so depth

does not always correlate with square footage and

size of house.

And I just, you know -- on all three

of these, I just would like to reiterate that there

are certain things that we can do from a design

standpoint. I don't think -- unless we go to a



tiny, tiny house, which will not fit in this

neighborhood, this hardship is always going to

exist simply because of the way that rear property

line jets in and how it's chopped off on lot 45.

We don't offer a house from phase

one, which was even a little bit smaller than this,

that's going to work on any of these lots without

some type of variance, and we have taken into

consideration in all three cases the layout and our

specific plans -- like on that Bloomfield house it

offered, you know -- there is a garage that extends

out further. Well, we chose the three car front-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Let's

keep specific to this one, okay. Tell us what's

special about this case. That's what we're looking


MR. SALZEIDER: This is our least

deep house, forty-eight feet deep from front to

back, and it's our tightest area to the wetland

buffer, but we still are not encroaching the

wetland buffer. And, as you can see here, from my

red areas again, we will be able to accommodate an

average size deck which is approximately ten feet

deep by twenty feet long across the back there. It



opens up to the left.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. There were

17 notices sent; no approvals, no objections.

Anyone in the audience wish to

address the Board on this case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Seeing none, we'll

move to Building Department.

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman of the

Board, if you take a look at the variance they're

requesting, if they're required to build a smaller

house, the house depth would be thirty-eight feet

based upon meeting requirements to the ordinance.

Yes, the lot is unusual at the rear,

and where it projects on in, that's where the 24.11

feet is covered.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Board members?


Mr. Chairman, I still have the same thing. This is

new construction. I think they can be creative

enough to put a suitable home on there that will

fit with the rest of the development of the

subdivision and that could fit on that lot without

requesting a variance for a rear yard.



To me it has to be demonstrated that

nothing can be built there, and it's not


MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Others?


MEMBER GRAY: I agree with

Mr. Reinke. Again, I realize that they've made

every effort to stay out of the woodlands and the

wetlands, but they're taking out six quality trees

that are in the building footprint; four walnuts, a

cherry and a maple, and those are significant

trees, so, you know, those -- I realize trees do

come down when you build new houses, but again, it

hasn't been demonstrated that they can't build with

lesser variances to my satisfaction.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. No further

discussion, we'll entertain a motion and see where

we are on this one.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in Case

02-038, I move that petitioner's variance request

be denied due to lack of practical difficulty.




MR. SCHULTZ: Just ask that --

Mr. Chair, that Mr. Reinke's motion incorporate the

comments that he made which would serve adequately

as finding to fact as true to the comments.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So noted.

We have a motion and a second. Any

further discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right.






MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's address 02-039.

MR. SALZEIDER: The only difference

on this lot 56 is my hardship has two frontages.

Meadowbrook Road, there's an easement, a public

easement that does not allow us to go as close to

the property line as we would on a typical lot.

The other concerns are the same. Where -- this

yellow shaded area is well beyond the wetland

buffer; however, the property line does jet in

quite drastically on this lot. And even though --

if the Meadowbrook Road easement was not there,

obviously you would be able to shift this house

over to the left and meet the zoning ordinance.

It's really the two frontages on this particular

lot that create the hardship.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Again, 17

notices sent; no approvals, no objections.

Anyone in the audience?

MR. MARX: Yes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Want to give us your

name and address?

MR. MARX: Yeah. My name is John



Marx. I'm at 41326 Scarborough Lane, right next


And if you could do that overhead

again over here, I would appreciate it.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Do you swear that

you will tell the truth in this regard?

MR. MARX: I do.


MR. MARX: You can see visually that

lot 56 is larger than my lot, which is lot 57, and

they had no trouble putting a three car garage on

our side, and I would -- and as far as the easement

and Meadowbrook Road is concerned, I should think

the developer was fully aware of that at the time

of planning the subdivision, so I don't see any

hardship. It's -- pertaining to the situation, so

I would, you know, request that the variance be


MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

MR. MARX: I have a letter, by the

way, which I would leave.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Bring it on up. We'll

put it in the file.

MR. MARX: Okay.



MR. CHAIRMAN: The rest of the Board

hasn't (inaudible.)

MR. MARX: All right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Anybody

else in the audience wish to address the Board on

this particular case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Building Department?

MR. SAVEN: Only that this is a

corner lot issue, too, which doesn't help the


MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER REINKE: Well, it's -- really,

I see the same thing. I'm looking at this corner

here, I could see that corner being kind of angled

around or something to bring in four feet. That

would very simply take care of the whole problem

there really, not affect the basic size of the

home. To me that's very simple, so I think that

there's avenues there that are available to the

developer/builder that really doesn't necessitate a


MR. SALZEIDER: Could I make one





MR. SALZEIDER: The houses -- I've

heard two comments about adjusting the houses on

the lot. We make an effort so that they all face

the road. We shift them a little bit so that maybe

it's not too noticeable. And I agree, if I could

-- if I had freedom to twist this which ever way

I'd like, I may be able to squeeze it in there,

but that's not, also, good from a design standpoint

or, you know, from esthetic standpoints for a

customer that's going to buy these houses.

We always have to take into

consideration that -- the perpendicular entrance to

the driveway from the street.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I have to apologize.

I didn't have this last case open. I have to

retract. There were fifteen notices sent. There

were two objections. And, sir, we did have your

letter. I didn't have your file open.

There was another objection besides

Mr. Marx.

MR. MARX: Yes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There was another

objection from Scott Pouncher at Labost (ph). I



must say that he has his own reasons for objecting.

So there were two objections on this particular


Board members?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: If I might just pipe

in something here. I think what you're seeing --

or hearing here is some sentiment from the Board

that, historically, we've looked at new

construction and been very moved to variances

without some representation that the house as

presented can't be built any other way, and that's

been one of the -- one of the issues that has been

lacking in the presentations tonight, that you

can't build a little bit different house, position

it a little bit different, there's just no way you

can do it.

If you were to come back in another

month and show us something different, we might

feel different, but at least in the first couple

cases, given the clean sheet of paper, we have thus

far felt that you could spend a little bit more

time on this and get closer -- at least closer to

what is Code.



MR. SALZEIDER: Would that require

reapplication, or how would I leave that door open

to come back in a month?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, at this point

the first two cases you've been denied,

unfortunately. If you, at this point, want to pull

this one and come back in a month, you have that

option yet. We voted on the first two cases, so

it's kind of up to you if you want us to continue

on or if you want to take advantage of this point,

because we have not called the vote. We have not

called for any motions at this point.

MR. SALZEIDER: Yes. I'd like to

come back, if I could.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER REINKE: I have no problem

with it.

MR. SAVEN: We have to go back

through readvertising, Mr. Chairman, because there

will be a difference in the setback.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Understood. Kind of

salvage the last case.


MEMBER GRAY: I want to make a



comment to Mr. Marx, sir, that I can appreciate

your sentiment about the building that -- your

house on a smaller lot. With a corner lot there's

two front yards, so there has to be a thirty foot

setback as opposed to side yard on that one

corner. That's one of the reasons why, although

the lot is bigger, the house won't fit, so I just

wanted to make you aware of that.

And this particular house has the

smallest requested variance of only five feet but,

again, it's new construction, and we -- I don't

feel that we should be seeing variance requests in

new construction.

Thank you.

MEMBER REINKE: If I may make a

comment, Mr. Chairman. You're going to have to

really demonstrate that nothing else can be done to

get my support on any variance request on new

construction. I'm speaking just for my input and

feelings on that for that size of a lot.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Marx, sir, you

have some last comment, sir?

MR. MARX: I just wanted to respond.

Actually, I do a lot of development myself. I



don't want to preclude, you know, a good

development being on this particular site.

I was not contacted by the developer,

and I'm happy to, you know, sit and discuss with

them the possible configuration for the site if --

I'll leave that open.

MEMBER GRAY: We would encourage the

-- Singh to be in contact with you since you're the

next-door neighbor.

MR. MARX: Okay.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Board

members, the petitioner has asked that we table

this one. He's going to work on it.

All those in favor of moving this off

for another month?

(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think we have a

unanimous, so -- maybe talk with your neighbor

there and take another look at the other two cases

and see if there's something you can do that makes

it less of a variance request. Okay? Thank you.




MR. CHAIRMAN: Case 02-040 filed by



Jon Grayson, 175 Pickford. Mr. Grayson has got two

variance requests for a house on Pickford, 175.

They are a front yard setback and lot coverage.

You want to raise your hand and give

us your name and address and be sworn by

Mr. Sanghvi?

MR. GRAYSON: My name is Jon Grayson.

I reside at 175 Pickford in Novi.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Mr. Grayson, do you

swear that you will tell the truth in the matter

before you?



MR. GRAY: Basically what I have is a

house in an older neighborhood that I want to put

addition on but I'm too close to the front. I'm

asking for a variance, because I can't move my

house back, to meet the front yard setback.

Then on the side there's an empty lot

that abuts up to my property. It's lot 28. It's

going to come up for sale at auction July 16th.

I'm going to make every attempt I can to purchase

that lot to add it onto my piece of property so I

can have more property, plus make the lot look



better, too, which hasn't been taken care of for

four years now, and just trying to make everything


MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. There were

twenty-seven notices sent; one approval, Mr. and

Mrs. Roy Pierce. They note the neighborhood is

slowly growing and improving and they encourage

this petitioner's efforts.

Anybody in the audience wish to give

any input in this case?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: No hands waving,

Building Department?

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman of the

Board, I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Grayson

earlier on, and he -- the setback requirement goes

to his porch. That -- that's the reason why we're

looking at this extensive variance that's before

you tonight. He's staying in line with the front

building line of his main building, and I really

don't have a problem with this.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Board


MEMBER BAUER: Neither do I.



MEMBER REINKE: What's the actual

distance from the front of the house to the

right-of-way, or what's the width of the porch?

MR. GRAYSON: Four feet.

MEMBER REINKE: He's not coming any

-- Mr. Chairman, he's not coming any closer to the

road that's there. The side yard he's keeping.

And it's great to hear that he's going to look at

possibly adding another lot to the area there.

Since the house is in its existing

structure -- existing location, it's not coming any

further -- closer to the road than what is there

now. I can support the petitioner's request.


MEMBER GRAY: Normally these lots are

forty feet. These are two thirty-six foot lots,

and if he had the four more feet on each lot we

wouldn't even be looking at the lot size coverage,

I don't think. And as far as coming any further --

closer to the road, he's maintaining the line and I

don't have a problem with it. I think it's going

to be a nice improvement to the neighborhood -- to

the house and to the neighborhood.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I see a lot of nodding



heads. Do we have a motion to be made?

MEMBER GRAY: I would move that we

approve Case Number 02-040 filed by Mr. Grayson for

the variances requested because he has demonstrated

that no further increase into the setback from the

front will be required.

Would that be practical difficulty,


MR. SCHULTZ: Yeah. We can

incorporate the comments that you made comments

before your motion.



MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and

second. Any discussion?

(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?




MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Sir, you have an

approval for your variance. See the Building

Department for permits.

MEMBER GRAY: Thank you very much.




MR. CHAIRMAN: Next up is

Mr. Barnett, Library Sports Pub. This is case

02-041. This is one of a number of cases we're

going to here tonight regarding outdoor seating.

Are you Mr. Barnett?

MR. BARNETT: Yes, I am.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Want to stick your

right hand up and Mr. Sanghvi will swear you in?

MEMBER SANGHVI: Mr. Barnett, do you

swear that you will tell the truth regarding this






MR. BARNETT: Again, my name is

Robert Barnett. I am the owner/operator of

the Library Sports Pub on 42100 Grand River, and

we're entering our seventh year of operation, and

lucky enough to have been able to provide outdoor

seating for the previous six years to our

customers, and would very simply like to continue

providing that.

I would like to say that the setup

has not changed. We're using the same railing and

the same configuration of seating.

I know the landlord had gone through

major renovations last year, and the exterior of

the building is in better condition and the

concrete is in better condition, and we look

forward to be able to, again, provide our customers

with outdoor seating.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Good. Thank you very


There were 12 notices sent; no

approvals, no objections.

Anyone in the audience want to make a


(No response.)



MR. CHAIRMAN: Seeing no hands, prior

to asking the Building Department for comments I'll

note that we do have a letter in the file from

Allen that says that they have had no issues with

the applicant, and as he's already noted, he's been

doing this for six years. His request is for a

three-year extension.

Building Department?

MR. SAVEN: If it's the Board's wish

to approve the three-year extension, I would ask

that it be under continuing jurisdiction so that in

the event we do have a problem regarding this

matter, we can ask the gentleman to come back

before the Board at a show cause hearing.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Board


MEMBER SANGHVI: I can make a motion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: If you would.

MEMBER SANGHVI: That we -- in the

matter of Case Number 02-041, the applicant's

request be granted and we also keep the project

under continued jurisdiction for the period of next

three years.




MR. CHAIRMAN: Let's have some

discussion. You want to run this through what

month to what month? You have-

MR. BARNETT: (Interposing) The same

as we've done in the past. That would be May 1st

through September 30th.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. And we'll

make that part of the motion.

All right. We have a motion and

support. Any other discussion?

(No further discussion.)


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?




MR. CHAIRMAN: You've got your

three-year permit.

MR. BARNETT: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. See the

Building Department for your necessary permits.




MR. CHAIRMAN: Case 02-042, filed by

William Oliver, 2009 West Lake Drive. We have a

request for three variances -- actually, four

variances. They're all regarding the setbacks and

also lot coverage.

And, sir, you're going to be

presenting for the applicants?

MR. MCDONALD: That's correct. My

name is Craig McDonald. I'm the applicant's -- the

Olivers' architect.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You want to raise your

right hand and be sworn?

MEMBER SANGHVI: Do you swear, sir,

that you will tell the truth regarding this



MEMBER SANGHVI: I will. The Olivers



are looking to build a eighteen hundred square foot

home on West Lake Drive. They presently are living

in the existing small home that is on the site.

We're looking for a variance on the

north side of 5.2 feet, south side of 10.2 feet,

for a total of 15.4 feet.

The existing lot is extremely narrow,

as most of the lots are along West Lake Drive on

the west side of Walled Lake, so we could build

with this, minimally, a, 20 foot wide house that is

very long and narrow, which is very difficult to

design with today's standards.

I would like the Board to note that

the existing house is only half a foot off the

existing side yard, so we -- the new house would

be -- although still not conforming to the

ordinance, would be improving the nonconformance.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Is that it?


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. If we have

questions, you'll be the first to hear them.

Anybody in the audience wish to make

comment on this case? Come on down and give us

your name and address, please.



MS. BURKETTE: Good evening. My name

is Elizabeth Burkette. I live at 2005 West Lake

Drive, next door to his house.

I Actually have -- would like to

explain four reasons why I oppose this variance.

The first reason is that I think that

building a house this close to my house will

significantly decrease the value of my house.

Right now the houses -- the lots are narrow but the

houses are staggered. My house is in the middle,

Bill and Gina's house is in the back of the lot.

Even though it's a half a foot, they say, off the

lot line, it is not anywhere near my house. It's

back on the lot. And the house on the other side

of them is at the front of the lot, so the houses

are staggered.

What would happen if he was allowed

to build a long narrow house there is that six

windows of my house would face a solid wall.

This is from my upstairs bedroom

window, which is near the back of the house. It's

not by any means the best view of the house, but I

don't want to bore you with a view from every

window, but I want you to see that even the sides



of my house facing the south side has a view, and

-- just so you know, the new house, proposed house,

would be in between my house and the house that you


This is another view from that same

window looking toward the street or over the

neighbor's garage to the yard in the back.

Not only would the side of my house,

the six windows, have no view, we'd be looking at a


This is taken actually from the front

of the house, and because the proposed house would

extend to where my deck is, which is, of course,

five or six feet past the front of my house even

the front of my house would have an impaired view.

I wouldn't be able to see this part of the lake.

I know that Bill told me that he paid

good money for his house -- his lot that he has

now, but I have a, obviously, vested interest.

I've been in my house since 1979. I've not only

paid for it almost once, got a divorce a couple

years ago, and since it's the only home the

children have ever had, and I thought it was a good

investment, I went to the bank, borrowed six



figures, and I'll paying for this house again until

I'm eighty-three, so I have a very vested interest

in my house retaining its value.

The second point is I'd actually

like, for now -- the children might do something

different later -- to stay in my house, but I think

that it decreases the quality of life in my house.

There would be less light, less ventilation, so I

think it will not be lighted area as it is now.

I want to show you one more view.

This is actually out one of the side windows, not

facing the lake but looking squarely at the house

next door. This is not Bill's house, which is back

on the lot, but the house on the lot one lot over.

So, you see, the houses already close together, so

he's proposing to put a house in between my house

and this house.

So besides decreasing the value of my

house and making my house dark and having less

ventilation, I have a worry -- when his house was

surveyed several weeks ago, the surveyors did find

-- they asked me what it was. I was surprised they

didn't know -- that there's a marker in the back

with a stone cap on the top, a metal cap on the



top, that's shaped like a cross, and I would assume

that that is -- the exact middle of that would be

the lot line. His surveyor did not put it right in

the middle but he put the property line -- says

property line right on the wooden stake, to the

side of that.

And besides that, for the first

twenty that I lived there, we had an iron fence

between our house and the neighbor's house that

went all the way down to the lake.

In an effort to be a good neighbor, a

couple of neighbors ago -- five people have lived

in that house, by the way, since I've lived there,

including -- I see some people whose relatives have

lived in that house. We always assumed that that

was a lot line.

Now, that might not have been

correct, but let me show you on this -- if you can

see this. This is the property stake that was put

in, but there is still -- this is a hole in the

ground where the fence was, so when you look at

another view of that -- what I'm actually telling

you is, instead of going -- there's a straight line

that's been drawn with the property line stakes,



but it's at a different angle, so it goes closer to

my house, and if that's actually where the lot line

is, and if I don't take another foot on the other

side I've lost a foot of frontage of my house on

the lake, which I've been paying taxes on for a

very long time.

You'd think that wouldn't be a worry;

however, another neighbor who's here and I'm sure

will speak as well -- this is actually a copy of

the plat. What one of our neighbors has told us is

that the original plat was actually wrong and that

we all own inches less than we did before. I don't

know if that's true or not, but if the first person

takes a different amount of land, that might mean

the rest of us have less. I'd hate to see that

happen. I don't know if the original plat was


Can I pass that around?

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's fine.

MS. BURKETTE: That was created many

years ago. So I am worried about the lot line.

And the third -- or the fourth,

actually, and final main concern that I have is

that I'm very afraid of fires now. I'm just not



paranoid. Twice since I've lived in my house --

and one of those neighbors is here tonight -- I've

seen a house burn to the ground. Matter of fact,

out that same window that you saw. Fire department

came. The houses were a total loss.

When Ron's house burned, the fire was

so intense that it melted the windows in the house

which is next door to where Bill is now.

So if he is allowed to put a house

that's as very great variance, that's very close to

ours, if any one of the houses -- of course, it

could be his house, but it could be the house on

either side of him -- would burn -- I assume he's

also going to have glass in his windows -- that can

happen to him. And when Ron's house burned and

Patty's house, the windows melt, then the house

caught on fire. Even though the fire department

was there, there was extensive damage to the roof

and side of the house.

So with these very narrow lots and

these old houses -- actually, this is an appraisal

that I had done some time ago. It's actually about

two years ago -- the date on this is '99. It says

that the average age of the house is between new



and eighty-years-old, and the average price is

shown as well. It says the average age of a home

in our neighborhood is fifty-years-old, so if you

put fifty-year-old houses, even if there's one new

house in between, if Mrs. O'Leary's cow knocks over

the lantern, you can lose the whole neighborhood,

so I think for the safety of the entire

neighborhood, it's good to maintain the variances.

I appreciate your attention. Do you

have any questions for me?

MR. CHAIRMAN: We may. Not right



MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other comments

from the audience? Yes, sir.

MR. HAGER: Good evening.

Jeff Hager, 2109 West Lake Drive. I live

approximately four or five houses from the

petitioners. Normally I don't attend these

functions, but this is a little bit unique of a

situation because I've been in this position

before, and although I don't know the applicants

personally, they had came to me a few weeks back

telling me that they had plans on leveling their



home and building a new home, and they realize that

I had been in their position before with a limited

lot with adjacent neighbors that have very

reasonable concerns, and he explained to me what

some of their strategies were, to be accommodating

to the supporting neighbors.

And the question that I had was, is

your proposal going to obstruct the view of the

adjacent neighbors, and if the answer's yes, then

you do not have my support. If you can position

the home in a manner that will not obstruct the

view of the lake by either adjacent neighbor I will

then support you.

The applicants then came back and

said here is our plot plan, here is home A, here is

home B, our home falls behind that, there is no

obstruction to the view radius.

Number two is that when I was in this

position, the side yard setbacks were ten feet

north and south, and I was grandfathered in. Now,

I appeared before you back in '94, '95, and I was

grandfathered in, and we're in the same Bentley

subdivision, and I'm curious as to why that

grandfather clause no longer exists, but that's a



discussion for another day.

So I would like the Board to take

that into very careful consideration, that I

believe, in my personal opinion, that the variance

that the applicants are asking for should be based

on ten feet each side yard setback, not the


I also believe that having built a

twenty-one foot wide home on West Lake Drive, that

you assume some significant economic hardship by

building a skinny home, and that's the risk that

these two people are going to undertake.

Twenty foot does not allow you the

architectural capabilities to build and assemble a

home that will allow reasonable resale value. It

is at its absolute minimal. I wouldn't recommend

anyone building a new home less than twenty feet.

They are at their absolute minimum.

The other couple concerns that I have

is that the current position of their home right

now, it's right on the street. It's unsafe. It's

unsanitary when the gravel road truck comes by and

places the chemicals on the road and it splatters

onto their home to prevent dust. It's unsafe when



the plow goes through West Lake Drive and throws

six feet of snow up against their door and they

can't get in the home. Additionally, it's an

eyesore for the community.

We welcome new construction. We need

to avoid remodeling homes that don't have the

warrant to be remodeled.

Again, they were very conscious about

the view radius for the adjacent neighbors. There

is no obstruction. I believe that if they can

correctly position the home in line with the rest

of the waterfront community, that will yield the

best results for the community as a whole.

So we really have one of two

choices. We can leave the home as it is right now,

an eight hundred square foot eyesore that's on the

road, that's a danger to the community, or we can

permit the applicants the variance that's required

and allow them to replace a 1920 structure with new

construction, to take advantage of the latest and

greatest technology, apply new technology for

architectural design, and properly position the

home on the waterfront that will match a grow of




This should yield a dramatic

improvement to the appearance of the overall

community. It should improve the quality of the


I believe that the petitioners'

request is reasonable. The architectural drawings

and the footprint provided provide enough detailed

information for the Board to make an educated and

reasonable decision.

I would ask this Board to evaluate

the best interest of the community as a whole. If

there are residents whom oppose new construction,

we certainly welcome those comments, either for or

against, but I would also ask the Board to give

very careful consideration to the logic and the

credibility of the opposers.

There is no downside, there is no

risk. There's only significant improvement

opportunities that exist, and we have a right to

allow new construction in an area that is severely


I'm an economist. I believe in the

doctrine of laissez-faire. I don't believe in

putting rules and regulations on what a person can



do with his or her property; however, I do

recognize that zoning and restrictions and ZBA is a

necessary function to operate in today's society.

So I would ask, as a resident of Novi

for over ten years, as a neighbor a couple of

houses down, that you support their request.

Thank you very much.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else in the

audience? Come on down. Get in line. Let's get

this expedited. Let's keep our discussion to a

couple minutes, if we can.

MR. KOZIAN: Good evening, Board. My

name is Brian Kozian. I, too, live on

1523 West Lake Drive. I, too, have a narrow lot on

West Lake Drive.

I also stood before this Board in

1997 and was granted a twenty-eight foot wide house

on a forty foot lot. I have six foot on each side

of my lot lines with the neighbor.

I, too, had opposition when we went

to build our house.

After being in the house now for five

years, I have been able to control drainage,

shading, things of those situations. That was all



an issue at the time, but after five years down the

road, that's all seemed to have passed and things

are going very well.

I'm very familiar with the Oliver

home. Their home sits just three-and-a-half feet

off West Lake Drive.

As you probably will agree, there's

no right way to build a house on these narrow lots

that we live in up on Walled Lake. There's only

the best way. I feel that the Olivers' design is

the best way.

His design, most importantly, moves

the house off the street, and I think that's the

most important thing. His design gives

consideration to the neighbors with regards to line

of site, views of the lake. His design does not

ask for unreasonable side yard setbacks. His

design is going to add curb appeal to an area in

dire need.

I can speak personally for the

architect who designed this house, as he designed

two others on West Lake Drive, one which is mine.

I'm sure you will agree he does a fine job.

The Olivers' willingness to make such



a large investment in such a decayed area speaks

for itself.

You can make a difference here today

by approving these variances. By approving these

variances you win twice. First of all, you move a

house off that street; and, second of all, you

bring a house that is architecturally correct into

an area of dire need. Thank you.

MR. CURTIS: Hi. My name is

William Curtis. I live at 101 Penhill, which is

straight directly across the street from this

house. I'm also known as the surveyor in the

neighborhood. I work for a surveying company. I

am a licensed surveyor in the state of Alabama, and

have been doing it for 30 years.

I didn't survey any of the lots, but

I did go around and try to help the neighbors find

some of the points so that it would make it


Some of the lots have been surveyed

twice, and they're side by side. It's very hard to

make a determination on where the lot lines are in

that whole plat, but I think the surveyor has done

the best he could with what is existing now, and if



you look at the drawing you can see some of it.

The original fence went through the

existing house. It didn't run on a parallel with

the property line. It just ran from the lake to

that house. The fence was also -- when you put up

a fence you always put the post on your side and

the chain-link on the outside to make it look good,

and that's the way that fence was done.

I know it looks different than what

my neighbor remembers of where the property line

is, but the lot hasn't really gotten any smaller or

being cheated. It's just a little bit more on the

other side than she realizes, but it's still there.

It's only a couple inches shorter on the whole lake


But I think moving the house back

would be a good improvement and would bring all of

the houses into the 21st Century, and we can all

live with this. Thank you.

MR. GNATIC: My name is Greg Gnatic.

I live at 2023 West Lake Drive, recently purchased

1947 West Lake Drive, so I have a current new

construction on one side of the property and a

proposed new construction on the other side of the




I think moving this home would ease

the congestion on this road. Where they currently

park now in front of their house or across the

street makes it very difficult for two cars to pass

on this road at the same time.

I think the house positioned where it

currently is is a huge safety issue. The house

being three-and-a-half, three, almost four feet off

the road has concern with traffic going through

that area. Sometimes we get people driving through

that area at pretty high rates of speed, and this

house being so close to the edge of the road just

does make it a little scary at times.

I also think that at times during the

summer, where we have so many cars parked and

congested on this road, that it would make it

difficult -- it would be very difficult for any

type of emergency vehicles to get through there in

a safe and efficient manner.

I highly support the construction,

I've seen the plans, and I think he's doing a great


Thank you.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Anybody else in the


(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: We had thirty-eight

notices sent. We have two approvals; from

Mr. Peterson on West Lake and Mr. Hine on Penhill.

Building Department?

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, unlike

Mr. Hager, I'm a regulatory agency, I know where

he's coming from, but the bottom line is that the

issue regarding grandfathering for which he brought

up earlier on, yes, this was part of the ordinance

which existed at the time you were building your

house and is no longer part of the ordinance. You

must comply with the current provisions of the goal

for that particular district. I'm sorry it

happened that way.

So we'll see an increase in setback

requirements along the lake side, and you will

continue to see them as people continue building in

that particular area.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No comments with

respect to this particular case?

MR. SAVEN: No, just for the fact



that this goes back to the reason why the increase

in the setback requirements.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members? Sarah.

MEMBER GRAY: Don, would you -- for

Mrs. Burkette, would you address the fire issue


MR. SAVEN: (Interposing) The fire

issue is based upon the building on the lot

adjacent to the property line. The building code

provision requiring that protection shall be

provided for -- there's exterior walls that come

between three foot and the property line, so there

has to be fire protection on those exterior walls.

It used to be a-five foot requirement but now it's

a three-foot requirement. And the properties that

are adjacent this are ones that are even closer to

the property line and the proposed structure.


MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Oliver, or your

architect, how far are you proposing the front

setback from West Lake Drive to the front of the

garage? Is that 39 feet?

MR. MCDONALD: It's -- the surveyor

did not put a dimension on it, but I think it



scales over 40 feet.

MEMBER GRAY: Over 40 feet?


MEMBER GRAY: If -- I'm just going to

ask this, because I know how the houses are stepped

forward, and the neighbor to the north is concerned

about her side view. Would you be willing to pull

it closer to the street, since you have 40 feet,

but not to interfere with the proposed well site;

in other words, could you pull it forward towards

the street a little bit?

Are you going to live in the house

while you're doing construction?

MR. OLIVER: We were going to demo

the house.

MEMBER GRAY: So you could get to do

the construction?

MR. OLIVER: Correct.


MR. MCDONALD: We can take a look at

that; however, we have taken the site line to the

two owners of the existing residents, and we feel

that we have been sensitive to her site issues.

MEMBER GRAY: Thank you. I know this



comes up a lot in this area where an old house

is set closer to the road and now they want to

build a new house, and while my sympathies are with

the neighbors, I guess the comment has to be made

that if you want to retain your view perhaps you

should buy it, so having said that, I really think

this is a good situation with getting rid of a

house that's so close to the road, it's less of

an -- well, it's less intrusive in width because

it's narrower than the existing house.

And my only concern would be is if

they would be billing to work with the one neighbor

to possibly pull the house back towards the road a

little bit while not compromising the rest of their


And that's all I have. Thank you.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, I agree

with Miss Gray, that the -- that house is probably

one of the few homes that, along there, could

almost just -- three steps from your car if you

stop on the road and be at your front door. And

it's a very positive situation for the whole

community to get that house off that road.

What they proposed, I think, is a



tremendous improvement to the neighborhood. That

neighborhood needs as much help as it can get.

And it's a small lot, it's a tight

situation for the neighborhood. There's no

"hundred percent everybody have everything that

they want" there.

I think the petitioner has tried to

not obstruct the view, and from looking at the

layout of the three homes on the angle, it's been

very minimal into that, and I don't think that the

person that is totally obstructed from the lake,

that it's really a small part.

I can support the petitioners'


MR. CHAIRMAN: Let me make a quick

comment. Did I hear you say that you could look at

the possibility of pulling that back a little bit?


MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Is that

something that you-

MR. MCDONALD: (Interposing) We can

take a look at that; however, we feel that we have

made a sensitive attempt to try to provide for the

neighbors already.



MR. CHAIRMAN: Is it anything you

want to discuss with the neighbor right now?

I mean, if that's -- it has worked out

in the past -- I'm very sensitive to your next door

neighbor's issues that she brought up, and I think

that if you've -- if you have the opportunity --

you're all here tonight -- if you want to take ten

minutes and sit out in the atrium and talk about

it, we'll take another case and give you guys a

chance to maybe work something out. I'd like to

see her smiling, and she's not. That's just my


MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, sir.

MEMBER REINKE: Just one comment I'd

like to make. If you're gonna pull that house

closer to the road -- you've got forty feet.

You've got twenty feet wide. That means even with

the maximum, if you get four cars you're out on the

road. If you're in any closer, you get two cars,

the third one's there. I really have a problem

with bringing it any closer than what it is laid


MR. CHAIRMAN: That's just one lowly



guy's comments. Any other discussion?

MEMBER SANGHVI: I agree with you,

Mr. Chairman, that if there is any way to find some

happy medium without making drastic changes, and I

think it should be taken right now rather than put

it off later on.

MEMBER REINKE: Why don't we take the

next case?

MR. CHAIRMAN: That's what I've


Gentlemen, can we get -- can we get

some feedback from you guys?

Do you want to talk to your neighbor?

MR. MCDONALD: We'd be willing to

move the house back, as long as it doesn't cause a

problem with the front setback, even with the

front -- the lake side of her house.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'll tell you what.

I'm going to ask you to take five minutes, please,

and go talk to your neighbor. We're going to call

the next case, and when you're done, just come back

in and we'll finish up whatever case is up and then

we'll bring you right back. Okay?




MEMBER GRAY: Thank you.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Canup, will you

come on down? I believe you're next, Case 02-043,

Brent Canup of 47201 Glamorgan. And he wants to

tear down an accessory structure and build a new


You want to raise your hand and be

sworn by Mr. Sanghvi?

MEMBER SANGHVI: Do you swear to tell

the truth in this regard?

MR. CANUP: Yes, I do. As stated, we

live at 47201 Glamorgan. We bought the house and

property in 1973, and have been there ever since,

and really have no intention of leaving.

At the time we bought the property

there was an accessory structure on the property of

twenty-eight by thirty-two, which is roughly nine

hundred square feet. There was also an attached

garage on the house which is roughly five hundred

fifty square feet.

The -- over the years we didn't pay a

lot of attention, but recently noticed that the

structure that we want to tear down was built on a



easement, and what's worse than that, it's built

underneath a power line.

Also, the structure's footings on the

northeast corner are beginning to settle in the --

we've noticed about a three-inch settlement on the

front northeast corner of the building, which is

really cocking the whole building to one side. And

it's not noticeable if you don't go look for it,

but it is there.

And also in checking the building,

when the building was built it was built about

eighteen inches on the square, so the -- the

building that we have, as good as it does look, it

does match the structure, the architecture of the

house, as well as the facade of the house that we

live in.

As good as it looks, it's in sad

shape, and rather than trying to rebuild it I

thought I would take it and move it back into

compliance away from the easement that runs through

the property and turn it ninety degrees sideways

and build it some way bigger, the reason for that

being that I collect old automobiles and I have

more cars than I have garage space, and I've got



those kind of scattered around between my son's

house and my house. At this time I can only get

one of my cars in my garage, and I have four of the

older cars. And this has been a hobby of mine for

all my life, practically ever since I was 14, and I

would like to be able to continue that hobby and

keep my cars at home where I can maintain them and

work on them.

So if the Board sees fit, we would

like to be able to remove the existing structure

and increase the size of it by four hundred fifty

square feet, I believe it is, is the variance that

we really need; however, we do need a variance as

stated, but the -- actually, we have nine hundred

now and we will have fifteen hundred square feet,

if we're allowed to build the structure that we

would like to build.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Anyone in

the audience wish to address the Board?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: No hands. Nineteen

notices sent to neighbors; no approvals, no




Building Department?

MR. SAVEN: No objection, sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'll open comments. I

happened to be over at Brent's property on Sunday

to see the condition of the structure. It is right

underneath the power line. He does have room to go

back, and while he didn't mention it, there is a

considerable woodlands/wetlands that is protected

behind him, so there's nobody immediately directly

behind him.

Try as I might, I couldn't find any

reason to not give some consideration to this.

Any other Board members?

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, am I

correct, Mr. Saven, if he had over an acre he

wouldn't need this?

MR. SAVEN: That is correct. If he

had over an acre of property -- he is an RA zoning

district which allows him to have more of an

increase in square footage more so than any other

district, that being the R-1 district.

Based on the fact that his lot is

just a tad under an acre, because we had a

discussion about this earlier on, that he did not



qualify for this particular variance.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Can we define a tad?

MEMBER REINKE: What's a tad under?

MR. CANUP: 300 square feet.

MEMBER REINKE: Rules are rules, I

understand that, but I mean for 300 square feet

requiring this, I really don't see a problem with

the request.

MEMBER BAUER: I have no problem.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Mr. Chairman, may I

make a motion that in Case Number 02-043 the

applicant's request be granted because of unusual

circumstances of the power lines and other issues

as described.

MEMBER BAUER: Second the motion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and a

second. Any discussion?

MEMBER GRAY: Mr. Brennan, with all

due respect, what's the hardship?

MR. CANUP: The hardship is that I

have a building that is in sad shape of repairs and

has to be moved.

MEMBER GRAY: You could easily

replace with same size. What's the hardship to go




MR. CANUP: The hardship is I don't

have enough to keep the automobiles that I own.

MEMBER GRAY: Okay. That's what I

wanted to know. Thank you.

MR. CANUP: I would like to keep them

inside and not leave them outside. Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other discussion?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I think we have a

motion. Call the vote.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Canup, see the



Building Department for your permits. You have a


MR. CANUP: Thank you very much.




MR. CHAIRMAN: Case 02-044 filed by

Lee Mamola representing Spartan Concrete, and Lee

is going to discuss a couple of variance requests

and he's going to do it very quickly because we, as

the Board, have reviewed this packet at length.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Yes, we have.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Lee, want to raise

your hand and be sworn?

MEMBER SANGHVI: Mr. Mamola, do you

swear to tell the truth regarding this case?

MR. MAMOLA: Yes, sir, I do.


MR. MAMOLA: Lee Mamola from

Mamola Associates Architects. Also with me tonight

is Mr. Greg Dowling from Spartan Concrete.

I believe the Board members -- you

have my letter of May 8th which substantially

presents the arguments and the reasons for the

request for variances that we're seeking.



I'd like to add information, and that

is an explanation of what concrete is a little bit,

and I'll try to simplify this.

There are different types of

concrete. There's a type of concrete you pour a

basement wall with is different than the type of

concrete you make a sidewalk out of.

So in the nature of the concrete

business, they mix different ingredients to make

different types of concrete. Much the same way you

mix ingredients for a cake, you mix different

ingredients to make different cakes.

The real question here that I think

might have some gray issues to decide here is

whether or not this is an expansion of a

nonconforming use, and it's our claim that it is

not an expansion of a nonconforming use because the

addition of the silo is simply to accommodate a

different type of ingredient.

If you think of making one cake with

a sugar-free or special type of sugar versus

another cake with regular sugar, that's what

they're doing here. They're using a different type

of ingredient to make a different type of concrete,



so they sell one type of concrete A, they're

correspondingly selling a lesser type of concrete


There's no net increase in sales of

concrete by -- solely by the addition of this silo

structure. There's no additional staff hired as a

result of this business expanding, the silo being

added. There's no additional trucks that are

coming on, so there's no additional, therefore, use

or activity with this particular question.

To summarize the reasons why we need

the other two variances. It has to be next to the

existing silo because as these ingredients mix it's

very critical that they mix together from silo A to

silo B. If not, the concrete will not properly mix

in the truck and you could have failure out on the

job site which, of course, nobody wants.

And the reason the silo is there now,

existing today, is because it was there 30 some

years, and it was in accordance with the ordinances

way back when.

To comply with ordinance would mean

that we'd have to take down the existing silo, and

not only that but they'd have to essentially turn



the whole building around to revert towards the

back, and in the back they have aggregate storage

bins and other supply materials. It would totally

disrupt the ongoing day-to-day traffic of the

cement trucks moving in and out of that property.

As it is, they have ample turning radius in front

yards, et cetera, to go in and out of Grand River.

It would be a serious disruption to the day-to-day

activity of the trucks to not grant this variance.

So if there's any questions about the

detail of how concrete is mixed, the type of

concrete, et cetera, I think Mr. Dowling is here to

answer those questions for you there.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Lee.

Fourteen notices sent; no approvals, no objections.

Anyone in the audience?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: No hands. Building


MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, I'd just

like Lee to indicate the what the height of this

silo is in comparison to the other ones.

MR. MAMOLA: It's fifteen feet less

in height. I think the existing silo is either



seventy-eight or eighty feet, one of the other

numbers, and this will, essentially right next to

it, to the west, and it is fifteen feet -- within

an inch or two of fifteen feet shorter of the

existing silo.

MR. CHAIRMAN: About 20 feet over

what is currently allowed?

MR. MAMOLA: Yes, sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER SANGHVI: Why do you call it a


What does it store?

MR. MAMOLA: It stores the type of

ingredient, dried goods. And Mr. Dowling can give

you've the chemistry of that. But basically, every

day, that silo structure gets filled based upon

anticipation of the deliveries for that day, and it

basically gets emptied by the end of day, and

that's what determines the height, and that's why

it's the 60 some feet that it is.

MEMBER SANGHVI: I thought silo was a

structure where you store, specially grain, and I

would have seen the processing tower rather than a




MR. MAMOLA: Well, silo is somewhat

of a generic term. I mean, the materials are in

there, stored for a day-

MEMBER SANGHVI: (Interposing) That

is what is causing all the problem, because you are

using a generic term, silo, which it is not a silo

really. Technically, it's a processing tower, and

that's where all the problem starts.

MEMBER REINKE: I think the problem

really is height, no matter what you call it.

MEMBER SANGHVI: The height has

already been there. It's already pre-existing.

New one is lower than the current one.

MEMBER REINKE: Right. For what the

petitioner has requested, I think they've tried to

keep it to a bare minimum for their operation,

what's really required for their ongoing operation.

I don't think it's an expansion. It's just that

it's part of their business.

MR. CHAIRMAN: This is also an area

where this petitioner has been since 1967. He's

probably seen, Lordy knows, how many changes to the

ordinance, and has had to deal with a number of

changes from time to time.



I'm compelled to support the

petitioner's request.

MEMBER BAUER: I'm compelled to

support it also. Needless to say, up in things in

new processes and so forth, and I'm sure that helps


MR. CHAIRMAN: Who wants to make a

stab at it?

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in

Case 02-044, I move that the variance requested by

Spartan Concrete be granted because it is a non

expansion of nonconforming function and it is

required for his business operation.


MR. CHAIRMAN: You've got a motion

and a second. Any further discussion?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?




MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Good job, Lee. See

the Building Department for your necessary permits.

MR. MAMOLA: Thank you.



CASE NUMBER 02-042 (Continued)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I'd like to call back

the Olivers, please.

MR. MCDONALD: We adjourned as you

suggested and we have proposed to the neighboring

house to the north that we would -- as I mentioned

before we left, we would slide the house back so

that the Oliver residence would be in line with the

lake side of the neighboring residence to the


Her counter-offer was to request that

we take the house even further towards

West Lake Drive, which, in turn, would then start

to impede on the view of the Olivers.



We're willing to leave this offer

open on the table to -- in all fairness, to even

the house up on the lake side.

In my opinion, all it's going to do

is slide the house back so she has a better view of

the neighbor on the south side.

The site lines are what they are.

She's not going to see anymore of the lake.

That's what we're willing to

compromise on and offer to her as a good neighbor.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Ma'am, any comments

from your perspective?

MS. BURKETTE: Several things I


MR. CHAIRMAN: Would you get over to

the mic, please.

MS. BURKETTE: Sure. What they

offered was -- even though they've asked for more

than 15 feet on the side variance, they're not

willing to look at any variance on the back.

They'll only go a couple feet back so that they

don't have to ask for a variance, because what he

said was that that would delay his project, so I

guess I really have no choice.



What he's willing to do is go back a

couple of feet. That's better than nothing. It

doesn't address the safety issues, from my point of

view. You might think that fire's not a problem,

but having lived there and seen what I have, I

still think that's a very great issue.

I don't think that his view -- he

could have bought two lots as well. He could have

bought -- which might be a compromise in our area.

The lots are very narrow. We have some neighbors

that have two lots, then they could put a lot in

the middle of the house. I could have bought the

view but he could have bought a larger lot, he

could have bought two lots, so I really feel like I

still have no choice here. What he has offered is

just to move back a couple feet. That's better

than nothing.


MS. BURKETTE: It still did not

address a lot of my main concerns.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sir, would you tell me

whether this modification of your offer, whether

that changes any of the variance requests? You

still have the same side yard setback, you still



have the same-

MR. MCDONALD: (Interposing) The

variance requests would be the same.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Just position the

house --

MR. MCDONALD: If we pull it back

much farther, we would have to come in for a fifth

variance along West Lake Road, if we pull it back

so far that we start to encroach in the front yard


MR. CHAIRMAN: Don, if we consider

the architect's offer to pull the lot back -- the

house back five feet, do we have to re-

MR. SAVEN: (Interposing) No. It's

-- the setback requirement that you're dealing with

is what the issue is of the ordinance.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll take the Board

comments, but I'll tell you what mine is right now.

I'm satisfied that the petitioner has tried to make

some considerations for a neighbor, among many,

supportive of one neighbor that had some issues,

and I'm satisfied that an effort's been made.

Board members?




MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, ma'am.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I concur. I think

this is an overall improvement, considering that at

the current time there is no side yard setback with

this house.

There's -- it seems to address a

number of other safety issues, even though the

current neighbor may seem that a fire is an issue,

but fire is an issue wherever you are, and

especially up in those neighborhoods.

I think new construction is the best

thing as opposed to leaving this old house there,

because even if that house catches fire there's no

guarantee that your house is not going to be

affected, so I'm -- I'm glad that the two of you

worked it out to the best, at this point, and I

agree and concur and support the petitioner.

You want to make a motion?



Number 02-042 filed by William and Gina Oliver, I

motion that the variances requested by the

petitioner be approved with the agreement that the

house be moved back -- do we have a-



MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Five


MR. MCDONALD: I don't think we

should put a number to it as much as we should say

that the lake front wall should be even with the

house to the north.

MR. CHAIRMAN: That work?

MEMBER SANGHVI: The lake side wall

should be level.


front of the house be even with the house to the

north and that the north and south variances be



MR. CHAIRMAN: Any discussion on the


MEMBER SANGHVI: No question.

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, you have

several variances that are part of this.


MR. SAVEN: Would you do all of them


MR. CHAIRMAN: Do you want to read

them all off, or as submitted?



MEMBER GRONACHAN: I'll amend that

and add as submitted amended.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

Any further discussion?

We already have a motion. Sarah?

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. You have a

variance. See the Building Department for your

necessary permits. Thank you.

MEMBER REINKE: I have one comment

before the petitioner leaves. I must really

compliment you in putting your proposal together as

far as information wise. You've probably been one



of the best information packages I've seen put


MR. OLIVER: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You know what, I think

we can get one of these restaurant cases here real





MR. CHAIRMAN: 02-045, Nakia Shamany

of Hershey's Ice Cream. Come on down. This is

another request for temporary outdoor seating.

This is another case where there has been previous

-- and, sir, you want to give us your name and

raise your hand and be sworn by Mr. Sanghvi?

MR. SHAMANY: My name is-

MEMBER SANGHVI: (Interposing) Do

you swear to tell the truth regarding the matter in

front of you?

MR. SHAMANY: I do. My name is

Shamany. I want to present -- we want to allow to

get a permit temporary to outside seats on my

property during the summertime. That's it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Just like the previous

case, thank you.



Anyone in the audience care to give

some input?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: There were twelve

notices sent; two approvals. One from the

Pheasant Run Plaza, and the other from Two At A

Time. They both like the idea of tables and


And what I don't have in the file, or

maybe I do -- Building Department, do we have any

previous history, any problems?

MR. SAVEN: I've received no

complaints regarding this matter.

And, once again, if it's the Board's

wish, I'd like-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing)

Continuing jurisdiction.

MR. SAVEN: -to keep this under

continuing jurisdiction.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sir, can we, as well,

define the time frame roughly that you're looking

at, May through September?

THE SHAMANY: Yeah. To September 30.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And, again, three




MR. SHAMANY: You understand what

continuing jurisdiction is, that Building

Department, if they have a problem, they might ask

you to come back and talk to us?


MR. CHAIRMAN: You haven't had a

problem yet, so everything ought to be hunky-dory.

Board Members?

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman?


MEMBER REINKE: Case 02-045, I move

that petitioner's request for a variance for three

years be granted and maintain continuing

jurisdiction for business operation.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and a

number of seconds. Any discussion?


MS. MARCHIONI: What was the time

frame, May-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) May --

approximately May through September.

MEMBER BAUER: May 1st to end of




MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MR. CHAIRMAN: You've got a permit --

or, no, you've got a variance. See this guy for

the permit, and thanks for coming down.

We're going to take five minutes,

quick break.

(A short recess was taken.)




MR. CHAIRMAN: We're going to

reconvene, 02-046, filed by Sami Harb. Do you have

somebody that's going to be presenting for you or



are you going to do it?

MR. HARB: My name is Sami Harb. I

have with me Stewart Michaelson, my partner, and

representing us would be Mr. Kevin Holtz (ph).

MR. CHAIRMAN: And you, sir, are an



MR. CHAIRMAN: If the other two are

going to give testimony we'll ask them to when they

stand up.

Sir, you're in front of us for an

interpretation, and I'll remind you that we've had

your case, we've read it through, so give us a

summary and give us your point of view.

MR. COLTS: Okay. Thank you, Mr.

Chair, members of the Board. I'd just like to

briefly review the site that we have with you.

It's a 40 acre parcel on the west

side of Beck Road just north of the Greenwood Oaks

subdivision. The planning commission, subject to

your favorable interpretation, has approved it for

30 homes approximately as shown here. Over half

the site is wetland, which will be preserved in

perpetuity as part of the one family clustering



option that was granted by the planning commission

at its May 1st meeting.

The site also includes a pocket of

woodlands at the northwest corner that will be

preserved in perpetuity.

The developer will be building all of

the homes in this community. All of the decks will

be constructed with the homes, and the setbacks for

those decks will be fully conforming.

All setbacks for this community

satisfy the ordinance and no variances will be

required for setbacks.

All wetland buffers will also be

satisfied and respected as part of the


The issue presented today is the

thirtieth unit and whether the road right-of-way of

this extensive Beck Road right-of-way for this

community is included in calculating permitted


The density analysis starts with

Section 2400 of the ordinance, which states that a

R-1 district, the maximum density permitted, is

1.65 dwelling units to the gross acre.



There's no definition of gross acre

in your ordinance, although many ordinances do

define it, and the commonly accepted definition of

gross acre in the real estate industry is that that

is inclusive of road rights-of-way.

The ordinance gets more specific

though as it relates to the one family clustering

option. In Section 2403 of the zoning ordinance,

the permitted density is, again, 1.65 dwelling

units per acre calculated in accordance with the

density of density and -- in the ordinance.

When we turn to the definition of

density, it states that the density is the number

of dwelling units that may be placed on an acre of

net site area.

Then, finally, we turn to the zoning

ordinance definition of net site area, and the net

site area is an area of land, excluding identified

wetlands or water horses that are regulated, but

not excluding quality wetlands less than two acres

in size.

There is no exclusion of right-of-way

owned by the applicant from the definition of net

site area. The net site area includes the area of



land owned by the applicant. It excludes wetlands

or water horses regulated by the state or by the

city, and only excludes quality wetlands less than

two acres in size.

The applicant's position is very

simple. There's no ambiguity in the ordinance.

Net site area does not exclude road right-of-way

owned by the applicant; and, therefore, that

right-of-way should be included in calculating the

permitted density.

That will allow the thirtieth home to

be built in this community. It will provide added

tax base for the city. It will enhance the quality

of this development, and will cause no detriment to

any other land.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. There were

38 notices; no approvals, no objections.

Anyone in the audience care to make a


(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Come on up. You'll

have to be sworn. Give us your name, raise your




MR. MICHAELSON: My name is

Stewart Michaelson.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Would you raise your

right hand, sir, and swear to tell the truth

regarding this matter?

MR. MICHAELSON: I do. I know you

want to be brief, we all want to see the hockey

game, but I just wanted to add a couple of things.

We took a very difficult site that

had been looked at by many other builders and

developers. More than half of it is wetlands.

It's a beautiful piece of property. There's a lot

of woodlands.

We happen to have a unique type of

community that we've been building successfully.

In, actually, Farmington Hills we bought two pieces

of property from the City of Farmington Hills,

worked very closely with them. It's a type of

community that we're proposing to build in Novi.

It works well in an established city like Novi.

It's a site condominium. We do all the

landscaping. We build the decks, and we set up an

association that's -- it's private roads, and it's

set up in such a way that the residents have no



maintenance. All the outside maintenance is done

for them, and really what it appeals to are people

that are living in bigger homes, the kids are grown

and they don't want to leave the community but they

want to have something that, you know -- a nice

place to live, a ranch or a first floor master.

The don't want to live in a big colonial, they

don't want the maintenance anymore but they want to

say, in this case, in Novi.

We took this unique piece of

property, and we think we did a great site plan.

The Planning Commission approved it. We had a lot

of tweaking to do with the Planning Commission, and

we came up with a great product, and I think it's a

great asset, and I think the city of Novi is in

great need of this type of product.

And for us it's a major hardship to

lose one unit on such a small number of units as it


I mean, we have less than -- you

know, we're doing -- on 40 acres we're only taking

-- we're only asking for 30.

So besides the law on our side, I'd

like to appeal to your sense of what we're trying



to do here. And I'd just appreciate it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Anybody

else in the audience?

(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Building -- no.

Thirty-eight notices -- I already said this -- no

approvals, no objection.

Building Department, please.

MR. SAVEN: Stewart, based upon the

density that you were looking at, what kind of

numbers were you looking at as far as omitting the


What were you looking at, twenty-nine

point some?

MR. MICHAELSON: Yeah. Well, the

calculations actually came out to a fraction, so

it's really not a full unit. We'd be losing a half

a unit. Obviously, you can't build a half a unit,

so we're really -- I mean, we're way under

utilizing the site as it is, so the thirtieth unit

is really like asking for half a unit or some

fraction thereof.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER BAUER: I have no problem with




MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, what's before us

is whether the petitioner's case can petition that

right-of-way is not excluded so it's included.

MEMBER BAUER: That's right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And I think that

that's the basis for his case.


MEMBER GRONACHAN: You took the words

right out of my mouth. After reading this very

carefully, I have just come up to the conclusion

that since the right-of-way is not specifically

excluded from the definition of net area,

therefore, it must be included and that the

ordinance must be amended if they want the -- that

specific definition to not include right-of-way.

And I see Mr. Schultz raising his


MEMBER REINKE: Can I ask a question

of the Building Department. In calculation prior,

have we ever included the road right-of-way?

MR. SAVEN: That I couldn't -- I

really don't know.




MR. SCHULTZ: In response to that,

Mr. Royal was asked to come up with an answer to a

similar question before the Planning Commission.

We didn't find anything -- any developments where

it actually become an issue, and Mr. Royal

indicated that he expected the road right-of-way to

be included, but it was not a case issue, and it

was resolved one way or the other. And I guess I

would point out if the Board is inclined to do

this, he can simply say, as part of the motion,

that limited to the facts and circumstances of this

case, and leave it at that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

MEMBER GRAY: I would also suggest

that we may want to refer this to the council to go

back to ordinance review and get the exclusion put

in for future reference. I think that would be


I didn't -- I didn't find ambiguity

in the ordinance at all. It's cut and dry, as far

as I could see.

MR. SCHULTZ: I think that's a good


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. And, Sarah,



would you -- how do we want to handle this?

MR. SAVEN: You need a motion.

MEMBER REINKE: You have to make a


MR. SCHULTZ: Part of a motion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Part of a motion?

All right. Any other discussion?


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. We'll take

a motion.

MEMBER SANGHVI: I would like to make

a motion, sir, that in Case Number 02-046, the

applicant's request for the interpretation of --

interpretation be granted as there is no definite

exclusion in the ordinance as it is written at

present, and we may also suggest that this issue

should be taken up by the council and, if

necessary, the ordinance be amended.


MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and a

second. Any discussion?

MEMBER GRAY: We want to limit it to

this circumstance only?

MR. SAVEN: For this circumstance.




MR. CHAIRMAN: Everyone understand

that it's limited to this particular case?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Any other discussion?

MEMBER SANGHVI: We are only dealing

with this particular case really.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. Sarah, you want

to call the roll, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: We have our







MR. CHAIRMAN: Caribou Coffee is on

its way up. Case Number 02-047, Caribou Coffee

located on Grand River, also is in front of us for

outdoor seating.

Sir, I don't know if there were

previous grants.


MR. CHAIRMAN: This is new. Tell us

a little bit about your business and what you have

planned, please.

MR. AKERS: My name is

James Akers. I'm district manager for

Caribou Coffee.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Sanghvi is going

to swear you in, sir.

MR. AKERS: Okay.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Do you swear to tell

the truth regarding the matter of Caribou Coffee?

MR. AKERS: Yes. We are a new

business in Novi, and we've been open approximately

one year.

We have an outdoor seating area, or



patio, already set, and we'd like to put five

tables, twenty seats and three umbrellas up on the

the outside.


MR. AKERS: And also from

April 15th through the end of October.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. There were

three notices sent. You have an approval from

Providence. Apparently, they want to take a break,

walk across the street and get a cup of coffee.

MR. AKERS: Yes, they're very good


MR. CHAIRMAN: Anyone in the


(No response.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Seeing no hands,

Building Department?

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, this is the

first time for this gentleman to come before us. I

do appreciate the fact there were three years here.

This is something to consider for letting him get a

trial run for a year, see how it goes. If we get

any complaints, whatever, regarding this issue,

we'll be talking to this gentleman, and after this



year we'll see how it goes and if it's in good

shape then come back for three year time. Right

off the bat for three years is a little difficult

for me to swallow.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board members?

MEMBER REINKE: I totally agree with

Mr. Saven. I think we need to see some experience


MR. SAVEN: I would also, if it's the

Board's wish to approve this particular variance, I

would ask that I have the ability to go out there

and take a look at the setup to make sure it meets

the requirements and maneuverability around the


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, all right.

We'll take a motion if we're ready.

MEMBER REINKE: Mr. Chairman, in Case

02-047, I move that petitioner's variance be

granted for a period of one year with a stipulation

that Mr. Saven will review the arrangement that he

will have to comply with the City requirements.


MEMBER BAUER: And for continuing




MR. CHAIRMAN: And that the time

frame will be from now until the end of September.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. We have a

motion and a second.

MR. SAVEN: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman.

There was an issue here that they wanted it until

November; is that correct?

MR. AKERS: I was asking -- yeah,

April 15th -- well, to the end of October.

MEMBER REINKE: Make it the end of

October. I don't have any problem with that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Motion amended. Any

other discussion?

(No further discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?




MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. You understand

what you have to do? You have to see the Building

Department. They're going to come out and see how

you're going to set it all up so that you got safe

aisles and all of that.

MR. AKERS: Sure.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And if you don't have

any problems in a year, we'll come back and

probably discuss a three-year grant.

MR. AKERS: Great, thank you.




MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Kahm, you want to

come on down, Case 02-048. Mr. Kahm is here to

tell us why he needs a 23.3 foot square ground sign

at the entranceway of Willowbrook subdivision.

MR. KAHM: Good evening.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Raise your hand and be

sworn, please.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Do you swear to tell



the truth regarding this matter?

MR. KAHM: I do.


MR. KAHM: I'll try to make it

quick. We are in the process of constructing the

third phase of Willowbrook Farm, a subdivision

which fronts on Meadowbrook Road.

As the Board may recall, our first

phase fronts on Ten Mile Road, and the second and

third phases front on Meadowbrook Road.

There is an entry sign -- this is the

plan of the overall plan of phase two and three.

Phase two already has a boulevard entry to the

south of this entry with a sign in it. Phase three

has an entry to the north, but phase three, due to

dimensional constraints, could not have a boulevard

entry. We could only have a standard twenty-eight

foot back-to-back roadway entry.

We would like to put identification

signage at this entry as well to provide for public

identification for the entry to Willowbrook,

including emergency vehicles, so that someone,

particularly vehicles coming southbound on

Meadowbrook Road, would know that they could also



get into the subdivision at this point and realize

that this is Willowbrook at this entry as well as

the entry to the south.

The configuration that we're

proposing is two signs on either side -- or a sign

on either side of the entry at forty-five degree


The Board may recall, I was here not

too long ago regarding Churchill Crossing, and you

granted a variance similar to what I'm requesting

this evening for that entry as well.

The character of this entry

architecturally, if you will, is quite similar to

what we have on the entry to the south; same brick,

same piers, same design, just that we'd be putting,

again, as I mentioned, forty-five degree signs on

either side of the entry so that north and

southbound traffic could identify the entry of

phase three.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. There were

fifty-five notices sent. There was one objection.

I sure hope he's watching tonight because he's very

emphatic there's too many high profile advertisings

already. I object to any proliferation of this



commercial menace. Mr. Desuite's on Bethway.

That said, Building Department?

MR. SAVEN: We have two major

entrances to this project, and it's a means of

identifying second entrance for people, emergency

vehicles. It's something we should look at in the

ordinance as far as (inaudible) to subdivisions.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Board Members,


MEMBER SANGHVI: I don't see any

problem with the business to be identified, and the

sign has to go up, and the size of the sign is an

issue or not is another matter, and as far as the

sign, what he requested, I personally have no


MEMBER BAUER: Health, safety and


MR. CHAIRMAN: Make a motion.

MEMBER SANGHVI: I make a motion,

sir, in Case 02-048, the applicant's request for

this ground sign be granted for the purpose of

identification and also for making it easier for

the emergency vehicles in access.




MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and a

second. Any discussion?

(No discussion.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Sarah, please.

MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Kahm, you've got a

variance. See the Building Department.

MR. KAHM: Thank you very much.



CASE NUMBERS 02-049 and 02-050

MR. CHAIRMAN: The next two cases

will be presented by Mr. Saven. Let's call them

for the record. 02-049 and 02-050.



These both concern properties on

Grand River. They both concern the expansion, the

widening of Grand River. It relates to properties

that already exist, and we have to take some of

their front yard in order to get proper setback.

Anything you want to add to that,

Mr. Saven?

MR. SAVEN: No, not really, other

than this is the same thing we did on

Twelve Mile Road. The one -- the first one that's

before you is the little white house which is on

the south side of Grand River between -- or just

east of Taft Road. This is certainly a

nonconforming structure, but the fact is that we're

asking for approximately a 12.1 foot variance

because we're widening the right-of-way from

thirty-three feet to fifty feet.

And in Case Number 050, we have OST

property where they have two parcels which are on

the north side of Grand River between Taft and

Beck Road.

As you -- if you've been by there,

you can see they have kind of a gravel front area.

The City will be involved in installing a parking



lot in that particular area.

In your packet you'll notice that

this has been reviewed also by plan review center.

They're making some comments, but in the most

restricted use it is what's before you tonight.

If we can do the modifications to

decrease that variance, we're certainly going to

try, but as it exists right now, what's presented

before you is that, the requirement for a nineteen

foot variance.


MR. SAVEN: And -- I'm sorry. There

was also an issue about a one foot setback for the

proposed right-of-way requirement where we have the

issue of berming requirements and what have you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: In both cases there

were notices sent. There was a couple of approvals

on Case 050.

I'll also note, as I read it, that

the two properties are in cooperation and they're

in agreement with this, so it seems like a win-win

for everyone.

Board members?

MEMBER SANGHVI: May I make a motion,





MEMBER SANGHVI: That in Case Numbers

02-049 and 02-050 we approve the applicant's -- we

grant the applicant's request for the variances as

noted because of the special circumstances.



MR. CHAIRMAN: We have a motion and

support. Any discussion?

(No discussion.)


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Sanghvi?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gronachan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Bauer?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Brennan?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Gray?


MS. MARCHIONI: Member Reinke?




MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Saven, your

variance requests have been approved.

We do have another matter, couple

things to talk about. We lost our vice chair, so

if there is a --

MEMBER GRAY: Volunteer?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Volunteer or if there

is somebody that wants to make a surprise-

MEMBER BAUER: (Interposing)

Mr. Sanghvi.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Sanghvi?

MS. MARCHIONI: Wait. He's already


MEMBER GRONACHAN: I'll go back to

being secretary.

MS. MARCHIONI: You want to switch?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I have a motion for

Mr. Sanghvi.

MEMBER GRAY: So moved.

MR. CHAIRMAN: And looks like we have

lots of heads shaking up and down. All those in

favor, say aye.

(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.




MEMBER SANGHVI: Thank you. And I

make a motion that we have Miss Gronachan as




MR. CHAIRMAN: All those in favor say


(Vote taken.)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Good. Discussion on

portable signs that's on here for other matters.

What's that about, Don?

That's a carry-over from last month.

MR. SAVEN: I'm trying to remember.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, I think it had

to do with the-

MEMBER REINKE: (Interposing) I had

to do with the portable sign at Grand River and

Novi Road.


MEMBER GRAY: Well, it was an issue

that was brought up in a case, Starbucks, and then

there's some other ones that keep coming up, so

there are a lot of portable signs around.



MR. CHAIRMAN: And is there an

ordinance that deals with that?

MR. SAVEN: Yes, there is. Off

premises -- most off-premis signs, they're not

permitted, so Mr. Amolsh will be duly notified.

And I think he picks up these signs quite


MEMBER SANGHVI: Wasn't there an

issue about enforcing that situation because -- or

am I talking about something different?

MEMBER SAVEN: Yeah. I think if you

take a look at it you'll see what's happening right

now. I just happened to see all these arts and

crafts things for the Novi Lions Club that's going

up on every corner. These are off-premis signs but

it's a community event. Sometimes these things

need to be cleared -- need to be cleared through

the City Manager, which he is the person who can

allow them to placed for a community event.

MEMBER REINKE: This would apply to a

community event and not a business operation,


MR. SAVEN: Correct. If you can

recall, we tried to get an electronic sign out



here. We're in the process of looking into this so

that we can take all the concerns of everybody, put

it on one sign rather than having all these

portable signs all over the place.

MEMBER GRAY: I think there's a

difference between a community activity, like an

art fair, and an advertising sign that is for a

business, and if we don't allow them and -- well,

we have a liability issue when it's in a public

area like a sidewalk, don't we Tom?

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, you have a

liability issue. And, actually, when you start

regulating which -- what the content is in the sign

though, you have to remember that, that -- then you

start on a First Amendment issue, and speech is

entitled to less, but you try to stay away from

regulating content on signs.

MEMBER BAUER: Just the content?

MEMBER REINKE: My concern isn't so

much content. I can support a community function

and so forth that's going on at the discretion of

the City Manager. If it's going out in front of a

business, I think it's going in front of this

Board. That's my own comment.




MR. SAVEN: I'm not going to argue

that fact. I just know that we've had a tremendous

amount of community event signs go up, and I know

that everybody's trying to take care of people

within the community. I think this is what led to

the issue regarding this electronic sign, try to

get all the events that would happen in the city

notified rather than having these portable signs

being all over the place. I want to be cautious

about this.

MEMBER REINKE: I think it's a good


MEMBER GRAY: I think one of the

reasons I brought it up with Starbucks was because

they had approached us for the neon sign and then

nobody ever showed and we never ruled on that. It

never came back for any kind of sign, and then-

MR. CHAIRMAN: (Interposing) Next

thing we know we got --

MEMBER GRAY: Next thing -- yeah,

yeah. And I know we addressed it with the

Lizard Cantina, whatever.

MEMBER BAUER: We gave them for 30




MEMBER GRAY: Yeah. So -- I keep

wanting to say Leaping Lizard.

MEMBER SANGHVI: I guess I have a

question, Mr. Schultz, and that is, is the City

Manager really entitled to supercede the decision

of this Board?

MR. SCHULTZ: If you're going to put

it that way, the answer would be no. I guess the

question is what is the particular-

MEMBER SANGHVI: (Interposing) I'm

not talking about this particular -- this is a

general question.

MR. SCHULTZ: Unless the ordinance

gives the City Manager or some other city

administrative official the authority to grant the

sign, then, you know, there's -- there has to be

the authority by ordinance. I can't speak to

whether or not it exists. It's hard to answer the

question can he supercede the Board.

MEMBER SANGHVI: Would you kindly do

a research and give me an answer and maybe send a


MR. SCHULTZ: Absolutely.



MR. SAVEN: Is there any specifics

that's behind this, or is it just a decision of the


MEMBER SANGHVI: Just a decision of

the Board.

MR. SCHULTZ: I can probably talk to

Don about the specifics that lead to the question.

Obviously, I don't know them specific.

MEMBER SANGHVI: I don't want to

bring it up here.

MR. SCHULTZ: That's okay.

MEMBER BAUER: But when the Board has

turned something down.

MR. SCHULTZ: Sure. We'll get you a


MR. CHAIRMAN: All right. Cindy?

MEMBER GRONACHAN: I have one last

thing. I think that, if there is anybody at home

left watching, that maybe we should let everyone in

Novi know that there is an opening on the

Zoning Board of Appeals and anybody that would be

interested to please fill out their application and

set up an interview and we'd love to have another




MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

MR. SAVEN: Mr. Chairman, I have two

very quick issues that I'd like to bring before


Number one, one of the issues that

come as a result of the variance, and right after

granting a variance is see the Building Department

for your permit. Sometimes these people haven't

even applied yet. Needless to say, maybe you can

submit your application to the Building Department

at this time.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Maybe I'll say see the

the Building Department.

MR. SAVEN: I'd appreciate that,

because automatically they assume that -- they want

permit, I need that right now.

Number two is -- I know you guys are

going to beat me up over this, but I got a real

concern about a couple issues on subdivisions and

when people are developing subdivisions and they're

taking a look at issues whereby they have difficult


I happen to be real close with a lot

of issues, number one, when it deals with woodlands



and wetlands and configurations of properties; and,

number two, is that when they go to build a house

on a property and they have certain models, they

want to keep that same theme going through this

whole thing, it's very difficult to change in this

particular -- Mr. Reinke's ready to pounce on me,

but the bottom line is there's two things.

One of the concerns we have is if

you're talking about redesigning a house where the

house has to get smaller, you've got to be careful

because that's kind of like (inaudible) for the

adjacent. You want to try to maintain something

along that line where the square footage is

feasible. I mean yes, they could probably redesign

the house, but we want to make sure it's compatible

with the area.

MEMBER REINKE: I think that any of

the lots in question that are in a plotted

subdivision may take a little creativity by the

people that they really wouldn't have to downsize a

home, they're going to have to be a little more

creative in their design and maybe have to change

it around from their -- going around with their

cookie cutter stamping houses out.



MR. SAVEN: I understand. When you

have woodlands and wetlands -- we're dealing with

woodlands issues and wetlands issues and we're

trying to keep the people out of there.

MEMBER REINKE: Oh, I totally agree

with you, but what I'm saying is that what can be

done, what we have seen done, unless they can

demonstrate to me that they cannot build a house

that's compatible with what they're building, then

I'll talk and listen to them. But they come in and

say this is the one house in our portfolio that has

to fit on the lot, I can't buy that.

MR. SAVEN: Now I understand what

you're coming up with. If he would have showed you

five different house designs that were part of

this -- his particular -- now, I can -- this will

help me in getting this information out to the


MEMBER GRONACHAN: Otherwise, when

you're looking at this -- I'm sorry. When you're

looking at this you're thinking what's -- it's a

self-created hardship. I mean, they knew this from

the beginning when they laid this out. You have

your specific lot sizes, and you know what size



houses you're building. To come up with a

subdivision where you need four or five variances

on brand-new construction, I don't get it. And

then another variance for a deck.

I mean, I think that this Board is

very clear, especially on new construction.

And I was concerned when there's a

lay -- and maybe I'll talk to Tom on this at a

later date, but when they're laying out these

subdivisions and these lots are of different sizes,

okay. Nothing happened tonight that showed me that

nothing else could be built, and so until I see

that, I can't go and grant a variance on a new


MR. SAVEN: Okay. I understand what

you're saying now, for the fact what he was

presenting today wasn't adequate enough




MR. SAVEN: -for you to act on this.

What I'm saying is when we have -- this City always

has been so protective of the woodlands and the

wetlands issues, and even in the woodlands in



negotiations for woodlands and wetlands in the

development of the sub, the engineering behind this

thing goes a little bit to the forefront before the

woodlands issues are really resolved. And then

it's the determination out in the field upon once

that -- that subdivision is developed where that

woodlands protected fence goes, and all of a sudden

they're looking at this, how can this be.

MEMBER REINKE: I totally agree with



MR. SAVEN: So now they're working

off a much smaller area that they have to deal

with. Now they're talking about okay, if we have

to cut down -- we have to stay out of this

protected area, and now it's a situation where it's

a reality. It isn't something that's a development

from a line drawing. It's now a reality.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Now, I understand

that part of it, but nonetheless, you still have

to -- they -- then they still have to do their

homework. I don't feel personally -- and if I'm

wrong about this, please correct me, but I don't

feel it's the Board's responsibility to do that



homework for the petitioner.

MR. SAVEN: No. I think you've hit

it on the head. I got direction now because now I

can say okay, out of all of your designs which you

were trying to develop for this particular project,

your site one, site two, site three, site four,

site five plan, show them this doesn't fit this no

matter how you rotate this.

MEMBER REINKE: I don't want to give

you that direction because that's not my opinion.

MEMBER GRAY: That's not my opinion


MEMBER REINKE: The thing is, they

have the lot there, they have a sizable lot that

they can build the same square footage home if they

use a little creativity. Maybe it isn't one of

their five models.

MR. CHAIRMAN: It was the petitioner

that drove me. I mean, he's the one that showed

the plot plan and said here's a particular parcel

that's smaller than anything else we're talking

about, and yet we got a house on that. I mean, he

noosed himself.

MEMBER REINKE: Turn the house 90



degrees and put it on the lot.


MR. SCHULTZ: Put Don's comment a

little differently, just sitting through the

Planning Commission process a little bit, I think

what Don's saying is you may see these developers

come in and instead of designing that lot so it has

the V, so that they've got a little more park area

or wetland preservation, they may straighten it out

so they don't have to come back to you -- come to

you, the ZBA, next time. They may not preserve.

They may request a permit to build. They may

square that off so that they don't have to come

before the ZBA, and those little things that the

Planning Commission exacts, sometimes when they get

out in the field, may cause them to have to come to


MEMBER REINKE: So you're saying the

Planning Commission is saying that they're going to

set it up, send them to the ZBA and ZBA is going to

rubber stamp it?



MR. SAVEN: Just one second. If you



took that one case at the end of the cul-de-sac,

you have an arc to begin with, okay. Next thing

you have is you have a depressed area off the rear

property line. You just -- by virtue of the arc

you narrowed the distance down from front to rear,

and if that property was a hundred and thirty-five

foot, now you're dealing with something that may be

ninety-five feet, okay, for that distance, so now

you got a thirty foot setback, you've got a

thirty-five rear yard setback.

That one that was ten foot just

totally floored me. When I looked I says well, how

in the heck can this be. Because the angulation of

the property came down at such a drastic shape or

configuration, and the arc was there, it limited

it. There was no place to do this.

MEMBER GRAY: And I understand all

that, but I also know that -- from my background

growing up in construction, build the same house

but maybe move the garage to an angle and pull the

house forward. I'm not saying redesign the whole

thing, but there's got to be some way that these

builders, with all the subdivisions that they've

put in in all the cities around here, that they've



got to have at least two other plans they can maybe

bring in for these smaller lots.

MEMBER GRONACHAN: Show us what the-

MEMBER GRAY: (Interposing) Show us

what the options are.

MR. SAVEN: Okay, will be done.

MEMBER GRAY: Move to adjourn.

MR. CHAIRMAN: So moved, so accepted.

See you next month.

(The meeting was adjourned at

9:48 p.m.)

Date approved:

August 13, 2002 __________________________

Sarah Marchioni Recording Secretary







I, Cheryl L. James, do hereby

certify that I have recorded stenographically the

proceedings had and testimony taken in the

above-entitled matter at the time and place hereinbefore

set forth, and I do further certify that the foregoing

transcript, consisting of 127 typewritten pages, is a

true and correct transcript to the best of my abilities.






Cheryl L. James, CSR-5786